Today the Venice Paparazzi Spotlight shines on Small World Book’s Deb Goodfader Loucks!


How many years in Venice? I’ve lived in Venice since 1976, my parents moved here when I was a very small child. They were looking for a space for my mother’s bookstore Small World Books and my father thought he’d open a “small take-out restaurant on the side,” which turned out to be The Sidewalk Cafe. My mother Mary still runs the bookstore, where I worked for many years, and my brother Jay now runs the restaurant and our other businesses, since my father passed away in 2002.

Tell us about your art/medium? I am a mixed media artist. I use paint, charcoal and collage to create layered paintings. I’ve focused on the female figure mostly, spending many years in life-drawing classes, and now expanding beyond that to my own artistic vision. I’m also a theatre artist, working with my husband Jim, who is a solo performer. We tour the country with his one-man shows, he does everything onstage (writing and acting) and I do the off-stage, including producing, stage managing booking, marketing, etc. We work with a director Lisa Chess, who also lives in Venice, to round out the artistic team.

How many years, and how did you get into it? I’ve been in theatre for most of my life, starting with acting in junior high school and eventually moving into the production side of things in college and graduate school. When I met my husband, it seemed like a perfect artistic match-up! We met when we were both working backstage at the Mark Taper Forum downtown. I had been dabbling in drawing and painting for years, but I started really focusing on it in 2001, when my father got very sick and I wanted to be available to spend more time with him. Theatre can be a very intense schedule, working most nights and weekends, so it was time for me to take a break. I found myself needing an artistic outlet and painting filled that. Then I found that I loved it and it has become my second passion. Now I’ve found a way to do both and I’m thrilled! It’s a good balance, my light-filled painting studio by day, inside the dark theatre by night.

Small World Book Store is located on the Venice Beach Boardwalk

What projects are you currently working on? We just finished up a 6-week Artist Residency in Madisonville, Kentucky- performing the play and helping them launch a storytelling festival there in the Fall as well as painting. A local councilman saw our show at one of our tour stops and invited us to be their artists-in-residence! I had a lot of time to paint while I was there in Kentucky. They provided us a lovely house in the woods with room for an art studio, which certainly gave me a different perspective than I’m used to in Venice! Here I had been working on a series of paintings of empowered women I’m calling my Adventure Women. It started with a woman in a hot-air balloon floating over a map of the world and expanded to 7 different women, a Motorcyclist, an Astronaut, Scientist, Doctor, Tightrope-walker, and now I’ve added a Bird Watcher from all of the amazing wildlife just outside our windows there! I showed my paintings at Small World Books at the Venice Art Crawl last September and some of them are still on display over the bookshelves. We rotate our artists on the main display space in the store to coincide with the Art Crawls, and I curate it to include local Venice artists. We’re currently showing the work of long-time Venice artist Susan Weinberg, and will be showing new work from Alex Crist in May. Jim is writing a new show to premiere at the storytelling festival in Kentucky in the fall and I’ve been producing it. We’ll be working on it all summer at home in Venice, we rehearse all of our shows at the Electric Lodge with our director. It’s a wonderful home base for us, and we love the work they’re doing over there. We’ll hopefully perform our new show there sometime in the next year.


Describe your perfect day in Venice: (start from morning to night) My perfect day in Venice would start with a run on the boardwalk with Jim and our dog ending up at the Sidewalk Cafe for breakfast- waffles or eggs benedict! Then a walk home through the Canals or along the beach if we didn’t bring the dog. Then a lazy day reading on our back

porch and later shopping on Abbot Kinney or on the boardwalk if we need a new hat or funky T-shirt. Dinner would be either at Moto Azabu for sushi or Casa Ado down at the end of Washington, followed by a walk out on the pier to watch the sunset and a drink at the bar at Mercedes Grill, before walking home.

What Venice places would you take a visiting artist friend? I like to take people straight to the boardwalk. It’s the heart and soul of Venice to me. The beach and the ocean, of course, but also the artists and performers and even the vendors of jewelry and t-shirts capture the art-meets-carnival feel that I love about our town. Then there are pockets of art along the way, LA Louver, with its world-class art, the murals popping up around every corner, the local artists selling their work on the boardwalk. You never know what you’ll find. And course, a stop at Small World Books for all of your literary needs!

What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience? I grew up roller skating on the boardwalk in the 70’s out in front of the Sidewalk, that will always be one of the defining memories of my childhood. I loved the roller boogie dancers, and we had a host in the restaurant who was always on his skates. I love that the skate park is out there now, I could stand there for hours just watching the skateboarders. Tragically, I never learned to skateboard. It was always the old-school roller skates for me, with my pink satin skate covers and my rainbow knee-high socks. Ah, the 70’s…

Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next? Josh Berkowitz, the new co-Artistic Director at the Electric Lodge. He’s been directing some very exciting work and is building a great artistic hub over there.





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