"Mad as Hell" Protest at L.A. City Hall
Abraham Butler is an artist and something of an icon on Venice Beach. He has been selling his art every day on the Westside of the Boardwalk between Rose and Dudley for more years than I can remember. He is important because he doesn't just sell his art there. He performs numerous public and humanitarian services such as looking after people and fighting for their rights. For example, after he saw my documentary production Vietnam: American Holocaust, he got me to set up a little stand on the beach that gives away the movie posters. He watches over it all day. I set it up in the morning and fill it with posters and I take it down at night, which makes for two excuses to walk up to the beach each day.
Another more important and general service he performs is food distribution. A variety of food stores or distributors know they can drop off boxes and bags of food at his location and a lot of people know they can likely do some cost free shopping a Abrahams. I got lucky with strawberries and mushrooms this morning when I set up my stand. But fruits and vegetables are somewhat unusual. What you can find virtually every day is bread. He gets a regular deliver most every morning of lots of bread. French Bread, Rolls, Bagels, Pastry, sometimes cakes and cookies. I love walking up to the beach in the morning with my coffee for a free donut and coming back with some fancy bread that was marked $5.95 yesterday. A lot of people see him just for the bread. What is left, he feeds to the pigeons and seagulls on the beach.
This evening when I put up my stand, Abraham pointed to the bread blanket and said, "Look no bread left. It's been that way for the last couple of weeks. You know, people are hurting. They are now taking everything, and at the end of the day I don't have anything to give the birds.