tarving Artist

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The death of Sonny Zorro - the 'King of Venice Beach' - in April 2003, marked the end of an important era not only in the history of Venice but was a cruel benchmark in the history of the LAPDs abuse of its homeless population. 

For 22 years, King Sonny had lived homeless on or near the beach.  He never bothered anyone and he had become a Venice icon, revered by famous musicians such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others who admired his eclectic musical genius.  They would meet up with Sonny while visiting the beach, incognito, and many times they would try to persuade him to go into the studio to record his inimitable musical style for posterity.  Sonny resisted these offers, afraid of commercial success, preferring his nomadic lifestyle of art, poetry and music. 

That's why, when Barbara Peck of The Benefit Network (TBN) approached Sonny in 1996 to record some of his music in their tiny 8-track studio, on Abbot Kinney Blvd., in Venice, he agreed because he knew that it would be done for charity.  In fact, he told Barbara that he was doing it for 'her' - meaning The Benefit Network.

When King Sonny entered the studio he was eager to record a variety of tunes that he performed on Venice Boardwalk - jazz/blues standards like "St. James Infirmary",  "Queen Bee" and some of his own original material such as:  "Millennium", "Venice Beach" and "Goddess".  He brought with him 'Harmonica Dave' who could blow a mean harmonica and, together, they set about recording what would become a classic collection of eclectic jazz/blues compositions in the unique style of the 'King of Venice'.  For more about King Sonny go here

The Benefit Network has set up a memorial fund to commemorate the life and works of King Sonny Zorro. The fund will be used to help other 'starving artists' who are struggling to give form to their artistic expression. Now you can support our Starving Artist program by making a tax-deductible donation to the KSZ Memorial Fund:


or send check/money order to:
The Benefit Network P O Box 1952 Venice CA 90294


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