ABC- Akashic Bardos See is a list of obituaries written by Gerry Fialka and Suzy Williams. Most have been published in the Venice Beachhead http://www.freevenice.org/
We welcome your input. Thank you
pfsuzy@aol.com 3130-306-7330 http://laughtears.com/

These writings are dedicated to all of Venice California's most iconic humans including:
RALPH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msnvtmTl2WQ
PHIL CHAMBERLIN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GngwX22Hk8
and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEO8uGoBS_8
https://laughtears.com/sponto_lives.html and http://laughtears.com/ItCameFromVenice2014.html


PAUL IS...NOT DEAD by Gerry Fialka

The "I" stands for "Investigative" and the "S" stands for "Satirist." Paul Krassner merged witty humor with investigative journalism. He changed comedy clubs recently . . . from the earthly one to the heavenly one. His contagious ability to get people to laugh lives on.

Over the years, I taped interviews Paul four times. He would always tell me recollections that still impact me. Hear them at Archive.org and search "Paul Krassner" and Fialka. Here's a sampling:

Gerry (GF): Do you more pursue meaning or more pursue happiness?
Paul (PK): I think that happiness and meaning are two sides of the same thing. From early on, when I saw unhappy people I would seek to understand what caused unhappiness. I strive for happiness. Groucho Marx once told me that his favorite guest on You Bet Your Life was an elderly gentleman, who was so chipper. I asked him about this positive attitude. He said, "I wake up every morning and I choose to be happy that day." I was intrigued because I never thought of happiness as a choice.

GF: Please tell me a childhood memory?
PK: My father used to beat us with a leather belt. Each generation cherry picks the virtues and vices. I didn't learn until after he died what my father really appreciated. I was a child prodigy, but I wanted to make people laugh. My parents eventually accepted what I did to change their expectations."

GF: What would you want God to say to you after you die?
PK: I'd want her to say, "Thank you for questioning authority."
GF: Can satire be destructive?
PK: Satire is similar to what Picasso said: "Art is a lie to reveal the truth." I read something in the news that makes my ego suddenly pop up. Like alchemy, I want to turn horror into humor. I am not negligible about horror. In the context of infinite time and space, it can then put horror in perspective.
GF: Discuss enemies of The Realist.
PK: When I was 9 years old, I had a crazy aunt who tried to murder me.  Even though she treated me like an enemy, I knew that it was her problem not mine. I mean, it was my job to do something about it. I didn’t take it personally. Publishing The Realist I got many threats, but I realized that it had nothing to do with me. They were revealing things about themselves. Subscriptions kept growing because of word of mouth and, "Okay here's somebody that’s not afraid to attack these authority figures." So I look upon enemies as if I'm just the vehicle for their Rorschach Test.

GF: What books had an impact of you in early life?
PK: J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, which really became my bible.
GF: Is perception reality?
PK: Perception isn’t reality, the concept itself. But it is reality for people. If they have a prejudice toward somebody of another race, it’s a perception. Yet it’s their reality. But in reality, they're their fellow humans.  In 1950 they still had "colored only, white only" signs. Racism was really in action, and lynchings were going on. My first girlfriend had gone out what they called "a negro." I asked her, "Did he kiss you on the lips?" And as I heard myself say that, I was astounded that I would utter such a thing. You think you're relatively enlightened. You peel off that layer. The layers are endless. I felt awful about even saying it, but it was good that I did it because it caused me to apologize. I realized that I had internalized the racism of the culture.
GF: How do movies shape our behavior?
PK: I remember as a kid when I went to the movies, and saw Marlon Brando. I would walk out of the theater as if I were Brando. Guy Madison wore this jacket with the collar up. So I would imitate his style. They were role models. It was interesting in the 60s when men were letting their hair grow. Then the same lawyers and news anchors who made fun of us would start doing the same, longer sideburns with hair covering part of their ears and going down their neck. It is why artists always seem to be ahead of politicians. They don’t have to worry about being elected.

GF: How do you find peace of mind?
PK: I try to keep my perspective of mystery and infinity. I have fun with it. In the 40's, ventriloquist Charlie McCarthy played a city slicker with a top hat and monocle. His side kick dummy was Mortimer Snerd, a farm boy in overalls with freckles and buck teeth. Edgar said to Charlie, "What are you doing?" and Charlie said, "Nothing." And Mortimer said; "Well how do you know when you've finished?" The answer is the absurdity of existence.  The beauty of it can overpower the ugliness and the injustice. 

GF: What’s the healthiest cultural shift developing today? 
PK: The legalization of marijuana. That affects other things that can change. Putting people in prison for smoking a little weed is the cornerstone of a police state. People can look the other way and say: "Well, it’s not good for him to smoke." But cigarettes are legal. So there’s a linear connection between putting someone behind bars for having pleasure that doesn’t harm anybody else. The other ones that are legal, like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs, can have quite negative results. Even though they try to make lovely art out of the side effects with the voice-overs in prescription commercials, with beautiful visuals that take your mind away from the warnings. Putting people in prison for having pleasure or medicine is INSANE. That insanity, and lack of compassion ultimately extends to dropping bombs on strangers from drones on the other side of the world. That's the same lack of compassion and same looking the other way, and accepting the totally unfair and unjust.
GF: Utah Phillips said "Anarchy is making rules for yourself, not others."
PK: That’s a good one. I’ve known anarchists who live by the Golden Rule, not because they're following it but because they feel it. And I’ve known anarchists who are ego-maniacal. Utah, He passed away, instead of dying. (Laughs.
GF: Is ambition based more on fear or more on joy?
PK: Ambition is fear you might not make it, but joy when you do! But I try to do something for its own merit. And then let that have a life of itself. One of the things that Nancy said as a little slogan once I really like: "process is product."  When I was a kid, my best friend was the radio. Lionel Barrymore, as Dr. Kildare, was in a wheelchair in the movies. He had this radio show where he spoke in this kind of quivering voice with these little maxims like "When you stop growing old you're dead." Another really struck me: "Happiness is not a state you arrive at, it’s a train you are riding on." That became my philosophy. I didn’t need to go through a thick book by Sartre called Being and Nothingness. That summed it up. I wrote a little fable called Tales of Tongue Fu. The character had a little Jack-in-the-box. It sprung up holding a little sign saying: "IT IS NOW." And the other side of it said "AND THAT'S ALREADY GONE."
GF: What gives you the most optimism?
PK: That I took too much acid.

GF: If a statue was made in your honor, where would you want it displayed and what would it be It would of?
PK: It would be made of Titanium sitting on Abraham Lincoln's lap.
GF: How do you explain your longevity with your wife Nancy Cain ? (40 years plus)
PK: We trust each other. We have each other's interest in mine. With that awareness in mind, arguments aren’t necessarily fights. We have an argument once every year just to look human.

GF: Please tell me a weakness you’ve turned into a strength. 
PK: I'm essentially a cripple, which is literally a weakness. Through the process, I’m trying to accept it, because I know I can’t change it. A friend of mine wants me to go to some kind of bodyworker, who has performed magic. I keep resisting it because I can’t imagine that my problem can be cured because it is incurable. A doctor told me: "Next you'll have a little scooter with a motor. Your insurance will cover it partly. And then you'll have a wheelchair!" He was giving me his view of evolution in a nutshell!

Here's some of my favorite KRASSNER JOKES:

JOKE: The little league batter looks up to the sky and says, "Please god let me hit a homer." The pitcher looks up the to sky and says, "Please god let me strike him out." The clouds part and god's voice declared, "You superstitious fools!"

JOKE: I only believe in reincarnation in one of my past lives."

JOKE: I was living in Venice California. Everyone is happy there with a sunny disposition. I was visiting my birthplace New York, and buying some groceries. At the checkout line, the cashier rings me out, and I ask her, "Aren't you going to tell me to have a nice day?" And the clerk says, "It's on the fucking receipt."

Paul opened his autobiography “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture” with the Don Marquis quote: “It is quite true that I have invented for myself a good many experiences which I never really had. But they were all experiences which belonged to me by right of temperament and character. I should have had them, if I had but had my rights. I was despoiled of them by the rough tyranny of Circumstance. On the other hand, I have suppressed a number of incidents which actually happened, because I did not, upon mature reflection, find them in consonance with my nature as I like to think it is—they were lies that were told about me by the slinking facts of life. Evangelists of various descriptions assure us that we can make the future what we will, if we can but attain a sufficient degree of spirituality. It has been my endeavor to attain such a degree of spirituality that I may be able to influence the past as well as the future.”

An anagram for The Realist is "stealthier," and for Paul Krassner is "sparkler anus."

Paul published his last story in Variety in July: "A few years later, without my permission, Jules Siegel, the editor of a short-lived magazine, Cheetah, published a fake obituary of me. I thought it was funny. A reporter called, and I explained that it was a hoax.
'Are you sure?' he asked. 'Of course. I would tell you if I was dead.'"

Paul and his wife Nancy Cain lived in Venice for awhile. His performance at a Boardwalk venue is funny and informative. Go to YouTube and type in Venice History Tapes - Free Venice Beachhead 20th Anniversary Part 2and cue it to the 1:22:09 point. Watch Paul flap his wings and fly for 18 hilarious minutes.

Paul asked me to write an essay on McLuhan. That request really got me jump-started on writing. He constantly nurtured me with humor and shared knowledge. When I bought his autobiography in 1993, I was elated when he wrote in my copy: "To Gerry Fialka who is actually the Wizard of Oz spreading communication like butter across the toast of civilization. Enjoy your ass off! Paul Krassner"

Thanks PAUL KRASSNER. Let us all take his lead and enjoy our asses off.

Paul in Venice 1:22:09 for 18 minutes 
Here's 4 interviews of Paul Krassner by Gerry Fialka on Archive.org
One of Paul's favorite questions: Q. Why is there evil in the world? A. To thicken the plot. - Krishnamurti
Special Thanks: Hank Rosenfeld, Suzy Williams, John Humphrey, and everybody spawned by Krassner.

SOLOMON TURNER - The Venice Sankeman
Utopia with Solomon by Gerry Fialka

Solomon Turner, known as "The Venice Snakeman," moved his Boardwalk show up to heaven last week. His gorgeous mind and body will always touch deep in the heart and soul of Venice, California. MX Farina and me helped Solomon make a nine minute film in 2007 entitled Solomon Turner in Utopia. It captures this memorable Venice Boardwalk performer rapping transcendental righteousness. It was screened for the PXL THIS 17 Film Festival at the Sponto Gallery. Clips also appear in the feature  The Brother Side of the Wake. View it on Youtube and enter "Solomon Utopia PXL."

Celebrate a few wise thoughts from Solomon's narration:

These are the famous Venice snakes. This is like a miracle show. These snakes bring miracles to me and other people. They are images. I wish y'all blessings.

They say this world is magic, that we transcend death, we have life, we have appreciation, we have good food, we have love, we have beauty, we have togetherness, harmony, we have everything . . . clean water, clean underwear, and no underwear at all. Everyone can be naked.

R.I.P king solomon snakeman from venice beach california  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J85YV8AtqJg
Thanks to Greta the Great !


DEDE AUDET: "Go raise hell!"  by Gerry Fialka

"Go raise hell!" is one of the mantras of the iconic Venice activist Dede Audet that came up during her memorial service on Sunday, September, 2019. This feisty woman moved her spirit to heaven's version of the Venice Neighborhood Council recently. Her friends and family describe her with words like "guts," "humor," "irascibility," "spunk," and "fearlessness."

Dede Audet contributed her inspired input as a regular participant in our discussion groups, including the Marshall McLuhan - Finnegans Wake Reading Club and M.O.M. (Meditations On Media) - probing the hidden psychic effects of human inventions.  As Dede said, "the more knowledge we have, the better able we are to cope" with what we do not like about our inventions. 

I was fortunate to interview Dede on Oct 12, 2013 for two hours. Go to archive.org and search "Dede Audet." https://archive.org/details/DedeAudet She appears in my feature film about Venice called The Brother Side of The Wake, where her vibrant wit always gets laughs. I agreed with her stressing the importance of "having fun . . . and enjoying each other." She nurtured connection with all of the community- whether they agreed or disagreed over issues.

Dede's granddaughter Kate Alkarni (who provided these stills) wrote: "I was truly fortunate to have a grandmother who was such a leader. She always made me feel like I was capable of doing anything. We are all going to miss her."

Her son Brian McKinney wrote:
        Dede was born Dec. 29, 1920. As an only child, she grew up on a houseboat on the Williamette River, a tributary of the Columbia River. She had a black cat for company.
       Her whole family was involved with swimming and diving. Her father Earle Smead  was an AAU national champion 3 years in a row. Her aunt, Thelma Payne, was the National Springboard Diving Champ, winning a bronze star in Antwerp’s 1920 Summer Olympics. DeDe was called ‘little Thelma’ as she appeared to be another water genius, learning to swim at age four. Once she wore a frog costume and swam under the ice in the river to demonstrate a lesson for one of the big Thelma’s swimming promotions.  Like her parents, she had good bones but was told to fend off the boys with steel-toed shoes.
      She did not finish high school, choosing instead to make money to help take up the slack of her father’s quick exit from the marriage to Dede’s mom, Flora Payne.  Dede always said she was educated by the smart boys from Reed College who were waiting for their jackets or trousers to be altered by her grandmother. She had Jewish friends - which was not everybody's kettle of tea in Portland and she opposed the Bundt and support of Hitler. At one Bundt event she convinced fellow anti-Hitler friends to help her put up a Roosevelt banner over the Hitler banner, killing the rally.
      She met my father through her interest in photography. He was a self-taught photographer; a former cowboy on a family owned horse ranch in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. Together they developed new techniques to how exploded views of machinery for repair manuals. A few years later she landed an administrative job in Southern California without even trying, later realizing that her famous aunt was teaching Howard Hughes to swim, so that he could be insured as a test pilot and that he probably put in a good word for her. Dede rose to the occasion and became a technical writer, claiming to have written the instructions for part of the Nike Missile system.
   She had two sons two years apart. One was a tech wizard, showing extraordinary mental and physical skills, like his mom and dad largely self taught, leaving high school early, learning electronics theory and practice on the job, and the other an athlete with artistic yearnings who swam a mile at age eleven to win the prize of Auntie Thelma’s folboat, a collapsible kayak for two, the same son she cajoled into a cash-earning job - producing simple crossword puzzles for an in-house Union 76 gas station monthly newsletter when he was 12.
     After amicably divorcing her first husband, Dede met Earle Audet out on the silver strand between Washington and the Marina channel where he lived in a new England style compound of little beach shacks. She was reborn trying to please him, a former Olympic level shot putter and all American tackle at Georgetown and then USC . Earle was a fairly conservative friend of J Edgar Hoover and many wealthy people like the Aldriches. They bought a house on Thatcher Ave, she finally - at age 47 - becoming a housewife while he became an outstanding probation officer working in the fire camps helping many wayward youths gain self control. Together they remade the NFL Retired Players Association, improving the benefits for beat up veterans from the early days when baseball was still king.
     While Dede was learning about the newfangled things called computers she was getting her G.E.D. from Venice High night school, (which Earle insisted she acquire before he would marry her), Dede signed up for night school woodshop and built an entire wall of cabinets, including a pocket-sized wet bar with sparkly mirrors and matching louvered doors, all stained a particular hue of lush reddish brown that was aesthetically perfect. Earle had this effect on her, of a little girl pleasing her father, and in turn she constantly amazed him, and he was able to reciprocate with his brand of quiet appreciation. 
       Earle had her back when she ventured into citizen action and then the Venice Town Council, often providing the key idea or mantra to make clear guidelines for action or calling on his old football buddy who was president of the LA City Council, John Ferraro, for advice and help.
      Dede was soon part of the gig economy, working at tax time for H and R Block, becoming a supervisor for a series of offices on the Westside. But forces unknown decided California needed a freeway to connect tourists directly from the 405 freeway to a highway one, the coast route. Her neighborhood did not like this and they gathered signatures opposing it and Dede went to  Sacramento and found the man in charge, Frank Lanterman, who said, okay, we won’t build the Nixon freeway through Venice, let’s build this other one.Today Highway 2 connects downtown with the Glendale freeway and the then-emerging highway 210. A sign dedicated to Mr. Lanterman stands on the side of Highway 2 but when I see it, I think of the people of Venice, especially those who stepped out of the normal into the extraordinary atmosphere of protest and citizen action, and especially Earle and Dede. 
     In the middle of the Reagan revolution Dede and Earle decided to live in Spain, staying in various cities and along the coast for two years. Able after some study Dede had taught herself to read the Spanish papers, and she was astounded to learn before anyone else in the United States that U.S. weapons had been sold to Iran in exchange for cash to help the dictator-friendly, throat-slitting counter-revolution in Nicaragua. She often cited this as a celebration of freedom of the press, even though it tarnished her fellow republican, Ronald Reagan.
     Coming back to their home in Venice in the late eighties, she once again became interested in local politics, being elected president of the VNC.  Earle passed away after a long battle with a spinal infection. Perhaps to deal with the loss, Dede bent herself to calling attention to future global warming outcomes in her neighborhood, convening experts in a confab on predicted Tsunami flooding damage in Venice.
     Her last years were characterized by her own decision to leave her house for the world of assisted living, a decision following her giving up driving in her early nineties.  During this time I would organize, with the help of Liz Wright and Debra Bowen, a regular Sunday early dinner with friends from the neighborhood. I would shuttle her every Sunday from her assisted living center to Tony P’s or the Chart House or SALT and discuss the issues of the day, especially entertaining when Dede remembered to put her hearing aids on. Her sense of humor bubbled up often but she was a good audience as well.
     Dede did not always suffer fools kindly, yet throughout my life she gave me a gift greater than trying to help me avoid foolishness—the recognition that life in a democracy requires each of us to take responsibility for our actions, that blaming others, or bad luck or fate itself ignores Dede’s simple truth—change is up to you, and no one else. Or, putting it succinctly, as Cassius says in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, "the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves." Dede knew this early on, and gave her children the opportunity to make mistakes and then correct them. For that lesson alone we are indebted to her forever. Her devotion to the task, her high energy, keen and curious mind, that was extra, for those who could follow.


TWO VENICE ICONS PASS at 72 by Gerry Fialka

Bill Mitchell helped start the Venice BeachHead. He was Venice's political orator supreme, standing on an old TV set on the Boardwalk announcing "This is Bill Mitchell on TV." Bill could read-between-the-lines profoundly. His radical activism was rooted in comprehensive awareness. His earthy laugh could touch you deep in your soul. Bill was the ultimate infectious agitator. I once asked him to summarize his life in three words all beginning with the same letter. He said, "Pot, pussy and politics." In others words, "Get high, then fuck, then make the world a better place - re-EVOLUTION !" Thanks for all your love, laughs and revolution Bill. You live on, Brother ! Someday Youtube will have Political Bill Mitchell Venice CA videos. Stay tuned.

Another icon passed in March. David Waller, an amazing bass player for Motown, lived in the Rose Ave parking lot for years. He played the Apollo with David Ruffin of the Temptations. He told me the story of meeting Jimi Hendrix in an 18 minute interview. Watch it YouTube: "David Waller Interview Motown Bass Player Venice CA Pixelvisionhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXQbptNml-k&feature=youtu.be
Also check David Waller playing bass with David Ruffin and his "Ruff Riders": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIlanpcQhds

"Without music and humor, we'd all be dead." - David Waller.


THERE ARE MANY FRIENDS & PEOPLE who are changing their consciousness. We salute and thank you all.