The close-out party at Sponto’s, March 15th, was so much fun! The music started with Eddie La Grosse and was followed by Suzy Williams and the Nicknamers. They were wonderful, and Suzy sang all of her signature songs, including “Dirty Old Men Need Loving, Too,” and “Moon Over Venice.” Suzy had everyone up and dancing, and there was dancing in the streets outside the gallery.
The gallery is in the location next to where Sponto had his original gallery, occupied most recently by Henry’s Market. It is much bigger than the original gallery, and was covered with art from artists in the Venice community. It was great to remember how much fun we had, over the years, at Sponto gatherings. Sponto would open his doors to street artists and give them a chance to sell their work in a gallery, instead of only in the street.
Slavin’ David followed Suzy, and had everybody dancing again. It was a good turn-out, with old friends rediscovering each other at our old stomping grounds. It also turned out to be Gerry Fialka’s birthday, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him, as he blew out the candles on his cake.
Sponto was a force for change in our community. He brought in new artists and provided a place for community. He would let Gerry Fialka have his film exhibitions at the gallery. He often booked comedians and poetry readings and it became a hip place to go to. Over the years he became a major player and friend to many. Venice hasn’t been the same since he passed away. You could feel his spirit in the party, because there was nothing Sponto loved better than being the host, and welcoming new and old friends. He made his space available to artists and musicians, poets and writers. And lots of beautiful young ladies. Sponto definitely was fond of the ladies. A good time was had by all who were there, and all were hopeful that this venue would be used again for parties.
– Mary Getlein
Above: Jaynee Novak