Category Archives: Current Events

Ed Simmons: Venice Beach Trashed

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Photography and Text by Ed Simmons, Copyright 2018

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VENICE BEACH TRASHED

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OK, like the way most things go in Venice, we should hope too that this is transitory. God only knows it ain’t normal this blight. Walk out onto the sand, step in someone’s shit, maybe get stuck by a syringe flung out from someone’s tent.  This group shows literally no respect. For half a century I’ve floated in and out of  Venice Beach, California.  LA’s ghetto on the sand. I’ve watched  it change. Every time it seems when an uproar over one group is raised and the group gets run out, something worse always fills the vacuum.  What i’m seeing today, for tomorrow is scary.

House keeping on the sand.  Yeah, thats right. Weekly maid service for the homeless. What happens each Friday, people camped out on the sand, camped out on most all the side alleys connecting the Speedway to the Ocean Front Walk.  They gather up whatever belongings they wish to keep, then move it up and out of the way, while waiting for the mess they don’t want to be taken away.  So, I wonder whether this “Every Friday Morning Venice Beach Cleanup Routine” might just be feeding a vicious cycle of co-dependency.  These kooks, not cleaning up their own mess, leaving their trash all over the side streets and sand, should be fined handsomely, then run out of town. 

Certainly what we’re seeing here is a public health problem. However, I’m guessing some of this situation could get resolved soon.  After years of blocking chainstores from occupying any boardwalk storefront space, Starbucks is helping out by contributing some decent restroom facilities.  Lord knows, the public bathrooms haven’t been able to handle the homeless load.

In other news, Snapchat employees moved in to town.  The rents went up and the price for a regular cup of coffee went up too. I recently went with a friend for some lunch. New management at an old spot set in. We ordered a couple chicken enchalada’s, each with rice and beans, no chips, no salsa, no service, no cheese, $26 bucks, yes,… $26.00 bucks! I said no cheese on the beans! With Snap Inc. grabbing up all the space on market street, acquiring so many of the storefronts/properties along the boardwalk, prices for everything, everywhere across town now seem to be double what they used to be! They ran the artists out. A  few were able to find other spaces, but Market Street was gutted, for years this Venice Street was filled with studios and galleries. Well that ended quick. Snapchat has decided maybe it be better now to move their urban campus to the Santa Monica Airport. It goes without saying things are really hurting here in this little gem of a beach town. I’m praying for life to get better, not continuing to get worse.

Ya really gotta watch your bike in Venice Beach.  Seems a lot of wrenching goes on down by the Ocean Front Walk. One could lose a wheel or a seat as fast as a blink of an eye. Early in the morning, right after the first of the month, out on the boardwalk riding, you see signs that people out here been spinning in circles all night, all sprung, so much random stuff flung everywhere. Its sad. Seems anymore all of this is just accepted as normal. ITS NOT!

 Please don’t let me be misunderstood.  I’ve at times come back to Venice homeless too.  Almost anyone can be chopped off at the knees. The Venice Beach community has always had compassion for the down and out. A diverse community of locals, some of whom I’ve known near 40 years in Dogtown  all have a home. I know this guy, this old friend is a savant. I was hanging with him just the other day. We were talking about all this mess left out all around his home. You don’t see any tents pitched anywhere near his spot. His oasis. He keeps it clean. So we were talking, I told him my birthday was coming up in a few days. That I was turning 66. He said “your a Dragon”. I said yes, a Water Dragon. His eyes lit up.  He said “interesting you know that, I  then said my Mother was an Earth Dragon”. Then we started talking about the order of elements in the  Chinese Astrological Chart and how it represented a cyclical world, then “The Boy” took off on an oratory  of both Chinese Astrology, the Zodiac,  then finished up with a Miles Davis primer.  That old friend I admire. He ain’t letting go of his Venice Beach.  Much respect for him! 

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http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/ed-simmons-jay-adams-local-hero/

Ed Simmons: Self Portrait. Copyright 2018

About The Author: Ed Simmons is a documentary photographer and assistant to Tony Ward, based in Los Angeles, California. To access additional articles by Ed Simmons, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/ed-simmons-jay-adams-local-hero/

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Perfect Holiday Gifts: Fashion Fetish 25 Years. Available in Store!

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Fashion Fetish 25 Years

 

 

FASHION FETISH 25 YEARS now available in Storehttp://tonywarderotica.com/store/

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With introduction by A.H. Scott. Copyright 2018

 

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Katie Kerl: Family, Till Death Do We Part?

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Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018

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Slideshow: Kerl Family Archives, Copyright 2018

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FAMILY: TILL DEAT H DO WE PART?

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A statement usually made at weddings. In this circumstance I am talking about when family members get sick, or pass away. Nothing breaks up a functional family like death, inheritance money, and assets. I come from a very large family. My dad is one of 9 children, and my mother is one of 5 children. I could not have asked for better family as a child on either side. Everyone supported each other, huge holiday parties, happy hours, and summers on the River.

  When my grandparents died on both sides the family dynamic changed drastically. All of the sudden everyone was arguing over possessions. A grieving family left behind is a dangerous thing if nothing is sorted out before the death occurs. A sibling who feels slighted in a grieving state only becomes resentful, and is almost impossible to console. A decade later some of the family is still divided. I hope one day they can drop the superficial issues they have with each other. You never know when someone walks out the door if that’s the last time you will see them. 

In a totally different situation, I had back to back years of my parents getting sick and almost dying. The experiences were like night and day. Having gone through it to a certain degree, I get it. I sat in the hospital numb, with my mom and her newly diagnosed autoimmune disease crippling her muscles. Polymyositis is a muscle disease that involves inflammation of the muscles or associated tissues, such as the blood vessels that supply the muscles. A myopathy is a muscle disease, and inflammation is response to cell damage. My mother went from being healthy to lying in a hospital bed not being able to lift her head or swallow.   Her best friends were amazing. I would not have survived that time if not for them. My mother’s other two brothers and their wives were also a great help to her, along with everyone who contributed to her new home.

I have my own built up anger towards superficial cousins from that side of the family. They wouldn’t come see my mother in the hospital, help move her from her place, visit the assisted living home she was in, or help move her into her new place. Yet, I was receiving invitations to wedding showers, weddings, and holidays. To me there was nothing to celebrate. When their only excuse for not seeing their aunt was, “we were living our lives”. My response to their most genuine invite was, “excuse me while I get to live mine again”. I did not want to take part in celebrating their lives when my mother almost lost hers. She is in remission, working, and will be on disability for the rest of her life.

On the other hand, I have my father who I am the spitting image of. He had been sick with cancer for quite some time. Last winter it took a turn and I almost lost him in the emergency room. This was a totally different experience despite having to work through it. When I could not be there I received text and call updates from every friend and family member that stopped to see him. His hospital room was like a party at one point. That is how I imagined support to be going through something like that. It only confirmed that I should feel that way about the previous experience. My cousin Mike takes time out of his work day to go to doctor appointments I cannot take off for, being an only child that means the world to me. We are very lucky to have him and everyone else that has been there for us through this time.

My mother and I are very different personality wise. She is a saint, and way better human inside then I can strive to be. She taught me to be resilient; to get up when life throws you down and become a better person. She didn’t let me give up on myself when I was recovering from my car accident, and always reminds me it is the little things in life that truly matter. She deserved that same level of support that my father had in the hospital. If I have learned anything from both situations; it is to pick and choose my battles and be happy in the moment.

I also believe in choosing your family. After experiences like these I quickly found out who would be there for me when it counted.  Even if I don’t get to see them all the time, I have some very irreplaceable friends that I consider family. My boyfriend Oliver also refused to give up on me through all of this. I was pushing him away unintentionally with my emotional highs and lows, I did not want to put all of that on him. I was used to dealing with it on my own, that I knew how to do. Letting him in took some time to break down the giant wall I had built up. He took me to the hospital after his 12 hour days, sat with me, wiped every tear from my face, and made me laugh when I thought I forgot how to.

As the holiday season approaches, before you start arguing over who will be hosting what party, and making what dishes. Ask yourself, “Is this worth the argument”? Ask your single family members “are you happy”? Not “when you are going to have a family”? Take photos with your parents. Ask them if they need help, as we age if you are tired your parents are exhausted. Keep the traditions your grandparents started, bake cookies, and decorate. Be there for your friends who may not have family here. I am very fortunate to celebrate another holiday season with my parents. I am going to remind both how far they have come, and how truly grateful I am to have such strong resilient parents. Happy Holidays!

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About The Author

Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. 
Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .
Occupation : commercial/ residential  design 
Philadelphia resident since 2011 . 
Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . 
Instagram:  @beatz_eatz_n_freaks 
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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: http://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-backlash/
 
Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Friends of TWS, History, Popular Culture, Women

Now Available in Store: Fashion Fetish 25 Years!

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Fashion Fetish 25 Years

 

 

Studio News:

Fashion Fetish 25 Years.  Introduction by A.H. Scott: Now taking orders in limited edition of 500 copies. Click here to enter Storehttp://tonywarderotica.com/store/

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

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Katie Kerl: Backlash

 

 

Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018

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BACKLASH, 34 What’s Normal?

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In today’s society the motto is “do what makes you happy”, until what makes you happy makes others uncomfortable. Growing up catholic in the suburbs it was ingrained that you cover up, go to college, get married, and you have kids. Pushing us all to be the same in that regard, and expecting a lot of someone by the time they are of a “certain age”. 

  I never wanted that conformed life.  I have always leaped head first into things regardless of what I am “supposed” to be doing. When Tony asked me to write a piece for his blog and take photos of course I said “YES”! That also led to a slew of negative remarks from my more cooperate friends who must keep up “appearances”. My more creative/fit friends thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to express myself on so many levels.

A few of the women that criticized me fight their own insecurities and the inability to communicate feelings through tight dresses & plastic surgery. Just to gain social acceptance.  I do not judge them either because at the end of the day, it is your life. The only regrets you will have are the chances you did not take.

Being comfortable in my own skin and communicating raw feeling through blogging seems to be worlds away from that zone of heavy judgment. Your job title does not make you a good person, the amount of money you make, or the level of education you have received. None of that has to do with your personality, or comfort in passing judgments on people you barely know.

My own mother thought she did something wrong in raising me because I chose to do something so far outside of her comfort zone that was the only explanation she had. Instead of her realizing she raised an opinionated self confident woman. 

At almost 35, I like to think I make good decisions in my own time. I have made enough wrong choices early on to know what I’m getting myself into, what I like, don’t ,  and will more than likely be vocalizing that regardless of what other people think. I’m always in disbelief when older women cast a look of horror on me when I tell them how old I am, I’m not married, and childless. I would love to see the look on some of their faces at the photos from these blog posts.

Moving to Philadelphia was the best choice I could have made. I have learned so much about myself here. Philly is such a melting pot of cultures, history, art, sexual acceptance, random nights, and fast paced life. You can go from black tie gala to save a playground, to an underground house music party that goes till 7am all in one night. Not to mention all the amazing food this city has to offer.

The people I met over the last 8 years that have stuck around for all of my head first antics completely blow my mind. Being accepted for who you are is an amazing feeling. That is why I keep my circle of friends small and grateful for every one of them.  I will continue to find that level of acceptance from people who I let into my life. One of my favorite quotes: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Einstein

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Katie Kerl

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About The Author

Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. 
Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .
Occupation : commercial/ residential  design 
Philadelphia resident since 2011 . 
Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . 
Instagram:  @beatz_eatz_n_freaks 
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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here:http://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-epidemic/
 
Also posted in Accessories, Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women