Thursday, June 22, 2017

Peace Economy

I love walking around Venice and coming upon the delightful surprises that happen all the time. There is so much creativity to tap into, it's as if it comes up through the cracks of the actual earth. It's also a great joy to know that people here CARE. One obviously cares a whole lot about humanity for them to paint their intentions right on their house.

"Growing a local Peace Economy" sounds like a great idea to me, and I'd like to know more about it. I saw this beauty on Linden Avenue on my way to somewhere that I had to be, so didn't have the time to really investigate, but I love it. And appreciate it. We all need to be doing our own part to make this world better - now more than ever - and growing food, supporting each other, participating in your community, and even just putting peaceful thoughts out there all helps so much.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Ziggy Marley Live With Orchestra At The Hollywood Bowl - One Love!

One of my favorite nights in Los Angeles went down last night with the 16th annual Reggae Night from KCRW at The Hollywood Bowl. It was extra special this year, because the headliner this year was Ziggy Marley playing the songs of his father, Bob - on Father's Day, with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for the first time. Special, for sure.

The good times were already rolling when we arrived at the Bowl, due to the ever-awful traffic that one must endure to reach this storied venue. Once there, however, the long lines were a distant memory as the whole place was raring to go to have as good a time as possible. Which we all most certainly did!

The show opened with a set from Keith & Tex that got the people dancing in their seats. It was still light out, and picnics were still the main focus, so these cats provided a welcome soundtrack to the al fresco dining. "Sweet Jamaica", indeed. I ran into a whole slew of people I knew, and many of them were mainly excited to see The Specials. The legendary U.K. punk/ska band had the folks up and at it from the first note. People were excited, and it showed. The dancing was non-stop, as was the wafting of weed from the last row to the stage. It felt like a giant, open-air club, of the best possible kind, with only the very best vibrations. Everyone looked to be in an awesome mood. At one point, Lynval Golding shouted out, "Are there any father's here?!" A huge roar indicated yes. "Well, Father's Day has been cancelled, it's Mother's Day every day!" Right on.

The Specials got quite a long set, and it kept building until it reached the superhits, and the superfans were overjoyed. "A Message To You" was ever-classic, as was the ultra-upbeat, "Monkey Man." By the time Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, Terry Hall, and their excellent backing band reached the final number, "Enjoy Yourself" - well, that's exactly what everyone there was doing. Beyond enjoying themselves, really ... it was just an absolutely perfect night. That was about to get even better.

I LOVE Reggae, and it doesn't get any better or more legit than when played by a Marley. Tonight was Bob's eldest son Ziggy's turn to shine in the spotlight, and the fact that it was Father's Day made it feel even more poignant when Ziggy played his father's songs. Marley was introduced by KCRW host, Aaron Byrd, who said that it felt more like April 20th than June 18th in there, and acknowledged single mothers (like his and mine) who pulled double duty ... "Happy Father's Day, Mom!" We toasted our own mother right then and there. Byrd added that there were three things that brought Los Angeles together ... "The Lakers, The Dodgers, and Reggae Night!" That certainly felt true last night, and when Marley and his band took the stage, as it felt like instant global unity the moment they began to play.

They opened with "Revolution", which was very well received by this most-likely lefty crowd that would be more than fine with a revolution here in the U.S.A. right about now. Timely stuff. "True To Myself" is some great advice disguised in a peppy song, with the line "I can't make you happy unless I am", particularly resonating. "Wild and Free" was an homage to all the marijuana blowing in the breeze, and the miracle that the plant itself truly is. Watching Marley, you can tell he means every word he sings, and performs with everything he's got. His denim shirt was soon soaked through with sweat, from his non-stop dancing and entertaining, with long dreads flying. He's great.

1988's "Tomorrow People" is the one that put Ziggy on the reggae map for me, and he has only made his own name as prominent as his father's ever since. After that one, Marley introduced the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, who took the stage with their conductor this evening, Thomas Wilkins. I got immediate chills as the majestic horn section chimed in on "Beach In Hawai'i". Orchestras always make everything sound even better - and more emotional. Like on "Love Is My Religion", which is very much true for me, and always brings up a lump in my throat as we used that song for a friend's funeral years ago (RIP Sponto!), and it still always gets me.

The whole place was got when "Is This Love?" started up, and the lights on the Bowl turned to the rasta colors of red, green and yellow. People love themselves their Bob Marley songs, and Ziggy is the closest thing we've got now to the real thing. He didn't speak much between songs, but at one point shouted, "It's so good to see people gathered in unity! Oneness!" That's what it feels like at each year's Reggae Night, total unity and One Love ... and that's why I've never missed one. My soul needs this feeling annually. Thank you! (It should also be mentioned that pretty much all I want is to be a Marley backup dancer or flag waver. I'm available!).

"We Are The People" carried on that theme, and it urges all not to "let them divide us" as we are "People, not corporations" (exactly what we say in Venice these days). "Get Up, Stand Up" - I did, I do. Last night, we all did in there, as this one caused the Bowl audience to leap to their feet, front to back. "Don't give up the fight" ... there's no way we can. Not when things keep happening, like Philando Castile's murderer being acquitted of that crime. NEVER give up the fight.

"One Love" summed up the whole event, as we all sang along to that reggae-defining song that really is the answer to world peace. Just love everyone ... we're all in this together. Why is that so hard for people to remember in regular life outside of Reggae Night? Thank Jah for this reminder of a tune.

Looking around, everyone was so happy, up and dancing and singing (and smoking and drinking and hugging and laughing), that all one could really feel was truly One Love. My heart was full.

"Exodus" was the last song, and proved to be our outro as well, as there was no encore to Marley's surprisingly short set. I haven't mentioned much more about the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since their first song, because, frankly, it was very hard to hear them. The reggae beats pretty much drowned them out, but it was still nice to know they were there. Or it all blended so seamlessly that you couldn't discern between it, but I think it was the reggae guitar domination. Before our mass exodus, Marley brought out his own kids, who shouted, "YEEEEEAAHHH!" in their Father's Day appearance on this grand stage. With that, the Marleys were off to have their own celebration, and we all filed out, still humming along, with springs in our steps. Happy. Full of One Love.

Reggae Night is the very best. All thanks and praise to KCRW, The Hollywood Bowl, the wonderful bands, and the people that provide all the unity and fun each year for one of my very favorite nights of the year. JAH! Rastafari.

*Photos by Paul Gronner Photography.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dan Auerbach Live For KCRW Apogee Sessions - Waiting On A Song

KCRW's Jason Bentley introduced Dan Auerbach for last night's Apogee Sessions (at Bob Clearmountain's Apogee Studios) by saying, "Please welcome one of the most important musician/ songwriter/producers of our time," and it was no hyperbole. Auerbach and his friend, Pat McLaughlin, came on to the tiny little stage at Apogee and showed us just why he garners such high praise.

It had been a perfectly gorgeous day in Southern California, and when Auerbach and McLaughlin sat down - and got down - with their first song, "Waiting On A Song" (from Auerbach's new album of the same title), it was so lilting and lovely, it immediately recalled a summer day sitting on a riverbank watching the clouds drift by. For me, anyway. I dug it right away, as did everyone packed in there so tight you truly couldn't move.

By way of introducing "King Of A One Horse Town", Auerbach said that he and McLaughlin had written it together when "We had a fling last summer ... it was hot." He and McLaughlin exchanged looks, and he added, "Nah, not that hot." They sang of how they "could barely pull my weight around", and I got it. Some days even that feels like too much. But we persevere ... often thanks to music. 

"Never In My Wildest Dreams" promises to be this year's big wedding first dance song, trust me. It's so beautiful, and absolutely dreamy, I couldn't help but get choked up. If someone sang you that song - never mind wrote it for you - it would be so on. I instantly got crushes on both of these dudes, as their harmonies wove together a deeply touching love song where the honest lyrics of "Never in my wildest dreams would I be loving you ... dreams come true." The whole joint was in a full on swoon after that one, and hopefully it gave the guys present a mental note to step up their own game. Phew.

"Livin' In Sin" featured some serious riffage from both, and McLaughlin's mandolin really shone. I also like how Auerbach puts his whole body into his playing, really crouching into his guitar and becoming a part of it. These cats are really, truly players' players ... all of which was further illuminated in the interview portion of the evening that came next.  Bentley came back and McLaughlin split to give his chair up for the Q and A.

Bentley shared that Auerbach had just written a song in the green room, and had to immediately record it, which is why the whole shebang started a little late. Auerbach cracked that it would be available for sale at the door on the way out ... and I wouldn't be surprised, with how prolific this guy is. Auerbach, though from Akron, Ohio, has made his home in Nashville for the last eight years, and it's very clear how much he has embraced the legendary music town.  After constant touring for years with The Black Keys, The Arcs, and solo, producing albums for a ton of people (Dr. John, Lana Del Rey, Ray LaMontagne, etc, etc...), he decided to stick around Nashville last summer and just work on writing music. His friend, "Ferg" (David Ferguson) made introductions to all the players and writers around town for him, and before you knew it, he was so inspired he bought a building - a former call center - and turned it into his own studio, Easy Eye Sound.

Easy Eye Sound is now also the name of Auerbach's own label, to help bring music to the world from people that live in Nashville, and have spent their entire lives being creative. "I feel a connection to music that draws from everything, but isn't one thing in particular ... and that is the Easy Eye Sound." I love it.  Auerbach told about how when he was recording his new "Shine On Me", he kept hearing Mark Knopfler's (Dire Straits) guitar in his head, so got his email and sent him the song. Two days later he sent it back with his guitar part  ... "And I've still never met him." That anecdote speaks to how highly Auerbach is respected among his musical peers, and the feeling is mutual. "You pray a song comes along ... that's a bit dramatic, but you want to work with somebody that helps ignite that creative spark." It seems as though there's a whole lot of that going on over at Easy Eye Sound these days, and it feels exciting. "I hoped it would happen, and it's happening. It's very special," he said, confirming that. He said he records so much, and employs so many musicians in Nashville that the President of the Musician's Union pats him on the back when he sees him, saying, "Anything you need." He ribbed Bentley a bit, saying that they have a recording of Bentley saying, "I can feel the reverberation of your rocking through the walls" from a past KCRW performance that they play on a loop to entertain themselves. In those days, all the players wore big beards and intimidated Bentley, he said. Auerbach laughed, and said, "I've never intimidated anyone, it's empowering."

That wrapped up the interview, and McLaughlin returned to help Auerbach further intimidate us all. They kicked off the second set with "Trouble Waits For You", a jangly, strolling along kind of a song. Again, these players were all the way into it, yet kind enough to take us along with them on this jaunt. "Stand By My Girl" (also off the new Waiting On A Song album), which cracked everyone up when they got to the lyric, "I'm gonna stand by my girl ... she'll kill me if I don't." At song's end, Auerbach joked that "That's a true story. Sad, but true." It was again awesome, as was "Trouble Weighs A Ton" from Auerbach's first solo album, Keep It Hid. It was gorgeous, even though Auerbach had promised "not to be too intimidating" - they still were. "You've got a couple miles to go to drive me crazy ..." - Auerbach writes great lyrics, man.

"Shine On Me" is the obvious hit, and was again extra- evocative of summertime. I mean, it shouts out to Raybans. I was feeling a bit of a burn on my arms from a day trip along the PCH, so summertime was on my mind, but if it hadn't been, this song would have done the trick for sure. Blast it, roll down your windows, and enjoy yourselves this summer, friends! With jams like this, you really can't help it.

We all clapped wildly, enough to get the guys to jam one more song, which was "Goin' Home". The beautiful strumming took me back to the river's edge, on a lazy day where maybe getting some Countrytime Lemonade would be the tallest order of the day. Wholesome goodness that instantly made you homesick, even if you were home. I almost hitchhiked from this studio to Minnesota when  Auerbach sang, "I spent too long away from home ...", and it hasn't even been that long. The prominent line from the tune goes, "Be thankful for all you got", and was so just LOVELY that I again choked up - of course. What a wonderful reminder through song - to indeed be SO, SO thankful for what you got, because if you were here, in this moment, hearing tunes like these, you truly had an awful lot to be grateful for.

With that, it was "So long, hope to see you again soon in some form!" and Auerbach and McLaughlin were off - probably to record another excellent tune backstage. And I was off - to go get Waiting On A Song to help me have an even more beautiful summer. I hope you'll have the same! Thanks so much to KCRW for putting on yet another fantastic evening of live music. Love you.

Waiting On A Song is available now - everywhere.

*Photos courtesy of KCRW/Brian Lowe

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Rohitash Rao Show At Wabi Sabi - Eat Art!

There was a really fun art opening last night at Wabi Sabi, featuring the wonderful work of Rohitash Rao. There were so many friends, neighbors, and fellow artists crushed in for the reception that I almost felt kind of bad for the diners who perhaps weren't aware that they were going to be eating in the midst of a full on art show. But, hey - good for them. I was told that there was special "Shoe-shi Surrealist sushi" (?), but I never saw that. I like the creativity though. A lot. 

Rao is one of my favorite local artists, with his witty pieces that poke at current events and our society today with clever humor and proper digs when necessary. He was in such demand to talk to that the photo I took of him is just a blur ... and good for him!

I love the old thrift store paintings that Rao inserts Darth Vaders into ... particularly the beach scene being accosted by the Dark Lord. Why not?

It was great to see so many familiar faces out to support their friend, and even more encouraging to see that so many of them are artists still working in Venice. We need you! More than ever!

And this night was a celebration of exactly that, as also on view were photographs of Venice artists in their studios by Debbie Zeitman for her "Before They Go" project - which we all hope they never do.

The ceiling in Wabi Sabi is so beautiful, it really deserves its own artistic shout-out. It's essentially a big terrarium, full of living plants, that need to be lowered to water. It's so gorgeous, I find myself spacing out into it often. Good job, Wabi!

Good job all around, actually, as this was Venice doing what Venice does best - celebrating art and each other, every chance we get. Congratulations to all the artists, there in person and in spirit. We love you and appreciate you! Thank you to Wabi Sabi for recognizing this, and throwing a darn good art soirée! Congratulations Ro and Debbie! Love.

Check it out! See you at happy hour.

Monday, June 12, 2017

An Punk Rock Art And Music Weekend In Venice

With heavy things continuing to go down practically every day in the world, last weekend made clear that people were again in the mood to blow off some steam.

The weekend was also book-ended by tacos. After some Friday night hijinks, we finally got to try the excellent tacos at El Primo tacos, the little taco set up on Lincoln Boulevard by the old aquarium building. There was still a line after 11 p.m., and once we had a bite, we knew why. YUM. Get yourself there for some street tacos ... you will be happy.

Saturday was all about art. I picked up my pals at In Heroes We Trust, and we made our way over to San Juan and Main, where they were having a party with a virtual reality situation, set up to show new ways of advertising.

There was quite a line for the v.r. thing, so after admiring Matthew Heller's new First Amendment mural on the wall outside, we made our way over to the C.A.V. E. Gallery for the opening of the Still Screaming punk rock photography show.

The walls were covered with shots that do a great job at summing up that time period that was ruled by punk rock. My favorites were by our local photographer, Josh "Bagel" Klassman, whose black and whites greeted the opening goers right inside the door.

C.A.V.E. was packed with people in their Suicidal Tendencies sweatshirts and otherwise black clothing. It had been announced that Black Flag's Keith Morris was going to be there to spin the punk tunes, but he did not show due to a diabetic situation, we were told. Healing wishes to Mr. Morris!

This Is Why I'm Such A Mess took over the back room was decked out with the whimsical works of Amanda "Mando" Marie & The Lost Object (AKA XO), with her little girls and ghosts beguiling the crowd.

I also very much liked the wooden pieces that named beaches of Southern California, though Venice was missing, curiously. That would have sold for sure.

As it was pretty hot and crowded inside, a gang of us hung outside on the sidewalk, swapping tales and shooting the breeze. That was probably my favorite part, as you don't always get the chance to really stand around and talk with the homies at these events. We really slowed it down and talked, and remembered what we love about Venice ... exactly nights like these. Friends coming together for art and communion, and on this night we even got an extra big full moon to compliment it all. Dreamy. This show is on through July 3rd.

Sunday was the now annual Booze/Bands/Boil at The Cinema Bar, put on by my good friend, Matt Ellis. It was a gorgeous day, and after a fiery set by Chief White Lightning, we took it out back to the patio to indulge in the wonderful crawfish boil put out by our friends at Hatchet Hall.

It's a very messy proceeding, but one that is always fun, always delicious, and once again, designed to bring about a communal vibe. Everyone is in the same boat, ripping off crawfish heads and sucking them down, with juice all over their faces. What a great time!

Lacey Kay Cowden was at her boot-stomping best, with her full band bringing it just as hard. The sunshine steamed in the windows, and her cinematic songs gave us all a bit of an escape ... not that we needed one. Things were perfectly great right where we were.

By now a whole lot of my friends had shown up, so it was back to the patio to do some laughing and catching up, but not before I caught a bunch of good songs by Kat Myer & The Buzzards, who I'd never seen before, but will now certainly keep an eye out for. They were great.

Golden hour found us laughing our heads off, and boy, was that needed. These escapism afternoons are pretty much the only things holding us together these days, and I was full of gratitude for all the great people and vibes. It really is what this life is all about.

Matt Ellis and his full band were in excellent form to headline the proceedings, and we were all in there singing and dancing along the whole time. Any woes that had been brought along this afternoon were soon forgotten, as friends belted out their friend's songs with abandon.

"They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To" is the Matt Ellis/Paul Chesne duet that finds that title absolutely true ... they sure don't make 'em like these guys anymore. Make sure you get out to see them play - it's always a great time, and they play a lot. Lucky us!

The Cinema's little stage is so small that bass player, Dustin Bookatz, stood on the floor along with the crowd. Each player (also Fern Sanchez, Josh Norton, and Tim Walker - all awesome) in Ellis' ensemble is so good, I always find myself getting distracted by watching one of them riff, and then snap myself back to the whole. Ellis ended his high-energy set with his "Hey, Mister" song, that we all again sang along to, reminding the Misters of now that we are not down with what's going on. Music for the People.

By now, the People were hungry again, and that meant Tito's Tacos. The line was insane, but the tacos were well worth it, as ever. It was again communally fun, as all the people in line chatted and mingled, and made even a long line fun.

Back to the Ellis Ranch, for more tunes and more fun, and more denial that the weekend was coming to a close. One that had been great, and jam packed with all the things that make being in Venice (and its adjacent zones) so dang great ... especially in the Summer - which it's just now starting to feel like. I'll see you out there, everyone! Have fun, People!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Material By Merchant - A Neighborhood Art Show

There are always so many things going on around Venice, that sometimes you can lost track of all the events and dates. That was the case last night, when I was strolling down Abbot Kinney with my friends. We were on our way to picking up a bite at Casa Linda, when we noticed a crowd inside the BAM space. That's when I remembered that Denise Portmans from Merchant Modern (and previous owner of Gotta Have It) was putting on an art show, and the opening reception was this night - right then.

What a fun event to stumble upon, as the place was packed with familiar Venice faces there to check out the show Material, that "explores the relationship between local LA artists and vintage Moroccan rugs." Cool.

The work was mainly textiles and wall hangings, with some paintings mixed in, and featured the local artists Tom Lieber, Lila Roo, Sara Marlowe Hall, Jesse Salto, Mattea Perrotta, and Marischa Slusarski. All were wonderful, and I especially enjoyed the ultra-feminine pieces throughout.

Everyone particularly liked the piece that we referred to as "the vulva", by Lila Roo. Right?

It was wonderful to just chance upon such good work, and such good people, and catching up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while was the best part.

Portman's husband, Joel Marcus was out on the back patio on D.J. duty, spinning tunes and yarns alike. Drinks were flowing, as was the fine conversation.

Each time I turned around, I saw another friendly face to greet, making me so happy that so many of our old school Venice friends will still brave Abbot Kinney, and show everyone that we're still here. The only bad news was that we had called in our food order to pick up to go, and were very aware of it sitting there getting cold as we hob-nobbed with all the good people. We had to go, regretfully.

Walking back down the sidewalk, seeing all the fun happening inside the art reception amid all the change and new slickness of the boulevard gave me the spring in my step that was needed. Gentrification can happen, corporate entities can try to come in and take over our storied town, but what they can never do is steal our vibe.

That excellent Venice vibe ... alive and well. And today the sun came out and chased away the June Gloom too! Have a fantastic weekend out in it, Everybody!

Material is on at B.A.M. through this weekend, with a closing reception on Sunday, June 11th from 5-9 p.m. Enjoy!

1306 Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Proud Weekend In Venice

Well,  that was fun! Venice Pride took over Venice for the weekend, and it was a celebration of diversity and inclusivity for the entire town. Venice has always been a place to be yourself, no matter what, and this past weekend brought that fact into sharp focus with a street party for the ages.

After a ceremony on Thursday (that I missed) to dedicate the rainbow lifeguard tower at Brooks Avenue and that stretch of sand to be officially known as Bill Rosendahl Beach, the real party went down on Friday night with an epic dance party in the street at Windward Avenue in front of the Venice sign.

Venetians of every make and model turned out to support their LBGTQ brothers and sisters (if they didn't identify as that themselves), and those brothers and sisters got DOWN. DJ Victor Rodriguez got the whole thing started at about 5 pm, and kept the party going in the streets until 11pm, when people dispersed to the many after-parties.

The crowd was huge, and beach balls were batted around overhead, in true beach party fashion. Each speaker's comments about the wonderful people and town of Venice were met with massive roars and applause, and you could tell that absolutely everyone was in the mood to blow off some of the steam this crazy world of ours has built up over recent weeks/months. That steam would have blown the roof off of the place, had their been one, but we were partying under the stars, and under the rainbow lights of our Venice sign.

The whole proceeding was family friendly, and many youngsters were spotted in the crowd, creating wonderful memories and building support for EVERYONE from a young age. I was so encouraged to watch my little friends loudly cheering and pumping their fists for every declaration of unity and love for all ... it gave me real hope for the future, watching them with their rainbow-sprayed heads of support. It was truly a night of One Love, and beautiful to behold.

Mike Bonin spoke, of course, as did Pride spear-headers Grant Turck and Danny Samakow. The celebrity sign lighter was Venice fixture, Lori Petty (star of Point Break, Tank Girl, and Orange Is The New Black), who spoke about how she came to Venice from Hollywood, saw naked, wet Red Hot Chili Peppers here, and decided never to leave. She talked about how everyone here is beautiful, and diverse, and how we stick up for what's right. How it's special here, and no greedy landlords or corporations can change that, no matter how hard they're trying. And you could feel exactly that.

All gathered yelled their agreement, and all the camera phones went up to count down from 10 to light the sign. When the rainbow bulbs lit the sky, the crowd went wild. Photos were taken, dancing re-commenced in the streets, and all was well in Venice, California. First Fridays was happening over on Abbot Kinney, but that's for tourists. If you wanted to see and know the real Venice, we were all on Windward Friday night.

The street party was so fun, and every time the streetlights changed, it was another dance-a-thon right there in the diagonal crosswalk under the Venice sign. Strangers danced together, high-fived, hugged, and generally thanked our lucky stars that we're living in a place that not only accepts all, but rejoices in our differences. It was truly an awesome sight to see.

After a while, people took off to all the various after-parties (I'm told the official one - "Gaywatch" at The Birdcage on Main Street was beyond packed, and went OFF). We just carried on dancing around in Venice, feeling happy that our gay friends once again had a place to celebrate on the Westside.

The weekend was super June gloomy, but that didn't dampen any spirits. There was a beach clean-up ("Beach Please") on Saturday morning, and then an all day party at Muscle Beach ("Status Is Sexy") with performances by singers and dancers, speakers, and all the Boardwalk tourists getting a taste of how we support each other down here by the sea.

Pride shirts were for sale, with proceeds going back to the Venice Pride organization to do it all again next year, even bigger and better. I want to shout out to the L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers for both so publicly supporting Venice Pride by buying up many of the light bulbs for the sign, and taking out ads voicing their support. For such a typically homophobic organization such as the NFL to come out in support of celebrating the wonderful diversity of Venice indicates a real sea change, and true progress for ALL. Super cool. *I do not want to shout-out Snapchat, who did not chip in, even though they could really use the good p.r. Just beat it already ... you're not wanted here. Thanks.

Sunday was pretty much a day of rest, as it felt much quieter everywhere. We basically kicked it with George at The Townhouse, having bloody marys inside to wait out the gloom and discuss how much fun everyone had had the nights before. An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this very prideful weekend in Venice, from the organizers to the partiers! The world is always watching, and we showed them that Venice continues to be a place of wonder and acceptance and a real good time. Pride is a great word for it, as I'm super proud of Venice when it comes together to support everyone like this.

Keep up the good work, everybody! xoxo