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NEIGHBORS : Art From on High : Leeann Lidz’s wall mural gives her pause to reflect--at 29 feet above ground.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

What’s the biggest difference between painting on canvas and painting on the outside wall of a building? The height.

That was one of the obstacles Ventura artist Leeann Lidz had to overcome to paint a 29-foot-tall mural--depicting a combination of environmental awareness and Mexican culture and heritage--at the Westpark Community Center. The mural, which Lidz worked on with community members since early August, began as a way to cover graffiti on the wall. It was completed earlier this week and an unveiling is set for Oct. 4.

But back to this height problem. Lidz did the work from atop a scaffolding, which initially was uncomfortable for her.

“I hate heights. The first couple of times it was really scary and I could not imagine being up there painting,” she said. “Probably after a couple of days I didn’t mind, and after a week I really loved it up there. It’s got a fabulous view--you don’t notice it from down below.”

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Lidz said there was an added benefit to being up there--she got a good workout. “My upper body has gotten very strong going up and down the ladder.”

In case you’re wondering: Lidz estimated that the project took eight to 10 gallons of paint to complete, including three gallons of white paint.

If you drove through downtown Ventura recently, you probably noticed the banners advertising last weekend’s Ventura Music Celebration, each one with the name of a local merchant and the outline of a dancer’s contorted body.

Well, the contorted body at the intersection of Thompson and California took on a whole new meaning as it danced under the words “Ventura County Chiropractic Society.”

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I just wondered if the picture was a “before” or an “after.”

Maybe self-help groups have gone a bit too far. There’s one that meets at the Ojai Community Center known as “Quilters Anonymous.”

National Banned Books Week begins Monday, and for the eighth consecutive year the Ventura Bookstore will commemorate the event with a dramatic window display featuring books banned in the past year or so.

One of the standouts among recent bannings, said bookstore co-owner Ed Elrod, is a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” written and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

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Why was the publication banned? “There is an illustration of Little Red Riding Hood bringing a basket to grandmother, and there’s a bottle of wine in the basket,” Elrod said. “They feel it’s a bad encouragement for children.” The bottle of wine in question appears on the cover and on eight illustrations inside.

The book was banned by both the Culver City and Empire school districts in California for condoning alcohol consumption.

License frame on a car parked outside the Hall of Justice in Ventura: “Will Rogers never met a public defender.”

Of course this would be the amendment to the famous Rogers quote: “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

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Is it just me, or has anyone else had second thoughts about going into the “Organ Exchange” shop in the Esplanade Mall in Oxnard. As if the name weren’t intimidating enough, a sign inside the store reads, “This store takes anything in trade.” No thanks, I need all my things.


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