On Sunday July 2nd, 2023 1000 people, mostly comprised of natives Venetian families, gathered at Oakwood Park to celebrate and honor Chris “Spanto” Printup. He passed away the previous Sunday afternoon of June 28. The gathering at Oakwood Park was a spontaneous and loosely organized event. It is common for native Venetians to gather at the park for memorial vigils for relatives who have passed on.
Given Spanto’s popularity as a Los Angeles legend, we knew the gathering was going to be huge. The gathering boasted an estimated 1000 people. With the attendance possibly even surpassing the #BlackLivesMatter rally for the First Baptist Church of Venice in mid 2020. Aside from a mad number of native Venetians in attendance, the event was filled with lowriders, bikers, street racers, and food tables.
Centered at Broadway and 7th Ave., and with no permits, we shut down the streets about 2 blocks in every direction. Surprisingly even though LAPD maintained a presence, they didn’t really try to shut it down. It was a great exercise in community sovereignty and the power of the people, even more so with the First Baptist Church of Venice edifice still standing tall and mighty in the backdrop of it all. Spanto’s memorial gathering coupled with the FBCV’s victorious existence chillin in the backdrop sends a strong message of power and resilience against the racist mechanisms of gentrification.
The event was a fun gathering and networking of all the different people Spanto’s legendary work with Born x Raised brought together. It was essentially a huge celebratory BBQ with lowriders and other positive car and motorcycle shenanigans. Venice’s own Chicanitos Sonny & Penny filmed another episode on location as well.
All in all, an extremely beautiful event for a remarkably unique person from a unique neighborhood and in true Spanto spirit, we were brought together to be reminded that these streets are still ours.
Rest in Peace Chris “Spanto” Printup