Celebrating the Creative Community of Venice.

VJAMM and Venice Arts Council raise funds for the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker.

 VJAMM Jams Beyond Baroque
By Don E. Geagan and Suzanne Thompson
In a time when we are consistently threatened by the loss of public space and facilities, such as the Venice Post Office, a very special building continues to serve the community. On Saturday, October 29th, a place dedicated to the possibilities of language, housed in the Old Venice Town Hall, Beyond Baroque welcomed over a hundred mostly Japanese Americans in  support of the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker (VJAMM) to be placed on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards.

VJAMM Benefit Saturday October 29, 2011 at Beyond Baroque. Reception 1pm, Films 2pm

 The Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker Committee will host a benefit screening with co-sponsor Beyond Baroque in Venice on Saturday, October 29, 2011. Reception with performances at 1PM, Films at 2PM.

Venice Boardwalk Art Benches Need Repair

Some of the  Venice Beach Art Benches are crumbling.  See John Moody's Photo documentation of the benches.

Humor from my Pen - more photos

Humor From My Pen - Photos



Front of SPARC 

On June 4 the art of the incarcerated Cuban 5 patriot, Gerardo Hernandez, was inaugurated at the SPARC Gallery in Los Angeles, California in a show entitled "Humor From My Pen". The event coincided with the birthdays of Gerardo Hernandez and fellow Cuban 5 hero, Ramon Labañino and the International campaign "The 5th of each month for the Cuban 5".
 The SPARC Gallery, in the old jail of the city of Venice, opened its doors on Saturday June 4th to give life to the political cartoons of Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Five Heroes of the Republic of Cuba. Hernandez created the cartoons during long years of imprisonment in maximum security prisons in the United States. 


Gente Mirando SPARC

As Gerardo explained in his message to the audience "The cartoons that you are about to see were not made with the idea that some day they would be displayed all together in an art exhibit.  Amongst other things, I respond continuously to hundreds of solidarity letters and I do this work lacking the material and appropriate conditions of a real artist.  I am an art aficionado who draws cartoons out of necessity to express myself in a certain way.  This necessity is to send out a message to our people, or to express my perspective before different events such as the birthdays of someone who we admire or the death of a friend for example. That is what has motivated the work that you will be viewing today..."


As people entered the gallery they could observe a memorial honoring renowned civil right attorneyLeonard Weinglass, who was part of the legal team of the Five and who recently passed away.

The well-attended event also featured the artwork of Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the nationally syndicated daily cartoon "La Cucaracha"; Matt Wuerker, the Politico's editorial cartoonist and illustrator; Judy Baca and Emily Winters. Well known Spanish artist, and long time supporter of the Cuban 5, Paco Bernal, also contributed his work to the exhibit.  Part of the exhibit was an installation piece that imitated the prison space where Gerardo created his works. Gerardo is currently serving two unjust life sentences.



The evening program included an informational panel and a section of question and answers. Suzanne Thompson, from the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 was the MC. Ms. Thompson gave a warm welcome to the public and thanked all of the individuals and organizations that made this cultural event possible.   


Debra Padilla, Executive Director of SPARC gave a warm introduction to Gerardo's cartoons and expressed  they were honored to offer the space for cultural expressions such as "Humor from my Pen". Alicia Jrapko, from the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, presented an update of the case of the Cuban 5 and read a message from Gerardo Hernandez intended for the audience.  Jrapko spoke of the national and international campaigns in support of the Five and invited people to join in their struggle.  


Judy Baca, Artistic Director of SPARC, said that only the best cartoonist, such as Gerardo, can quickly take contemporary issues such as these and find the absurdity in them.  Carol Wells, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, said that throughout history the struggles for justice have always had a component of artistic expressions such as graphics, illustrations and murals.

Finally, Emily Winters, co-founder of the Venice Art Council, spoke about the importance of continuing to fight and defend our cultural organizations that are under serious danger of disappearing due to the economic crisis that is affecting all sectors of community programs.   


Cantan Happy Birthday

Audience sings "Happy Birthday" to Gerardo 



Biography of Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo - Cuban Artist.

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo was born in Havana on June 4, 1965. He graduated with a degree in International Political Relations. While in school Gerardo participated in amateur festivals as part of a theater group. He also worked as a cartoonist-humorist for Cuban publications and collectives; Palante, Melaito and Aspirina. The members of Aspirina, collectively participated in two exhibitions at the University of Havana and created a mural at Havana Cuba Pavilion. "Asprina was a great school," recalls Gerardo. “We participated in the First National Encounter of Young Comedians, where he met Carlos Ruiz de la Tejera, Virulo, Tomy and other recognized professionals. For me, who always dreamed of being a journalist, that was really exciting ... but we learned a lot, because nobody wanted to look like anyone and everyone he was shaping his own line, his own style."

Humor From My Pen - Opens June 4th at SPARC

 Humor From My Pen

Humor From My Pen - backside

The Argonaut: Former internees gather on anniversary to commemorate planned Japanese-American memorial marker

 BY VINCE ECHAVARIA - Link to Argonaut
On the 69th anniversary of their departure from Venice to Manzanar, several former Japanese-American internees returned to the site from where they and their families left behind their homes and their war relocation camp experience began.

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