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No Rant Control at These Places

November 01, 1998|BOOTH MOORE

If it's President Clinton, Ken Starr, the media or the whole darn capitalist system you're mad at, you can get it off your chest at Barry Wayne's Venting Events.

Wayne, 47, a stockbroker who has also worked as a clown and a stand-up comic, has been holding his free rant 'n' raves monthly at Santa Monica's Novel Cafe since August of '97. He says the idea came out of the nationwide "A Season for Nonviolence" campaign.

"There are many things in life that make us angry. People may not go to therapy for them, but, hopefully, they will come here to work them out in a peaceful way."

Discussions center around a different topic each month and are taped for broadcast on local public access television. Past themes have included sex, lies and relationships, the environment, and, most recently, "Leadership in America: Trick or Treat?"

A few ground rules keep the evenings from turning into shouting matches (no personal attacks, no cutting anyone off, etc.). And it's a good thing: October's venters included an athletic-looking Rollerblader; a shoeless hippie type; the publisher of Santa Monica's magazine to benefit the homeless, the Big Issue; a community college teacher from Brentwood; and a dozen others of every stripe. Likewise, the venting suggested a number of ideologies, from conspiracy theories to anarchism to a call to revolution.

But to at least one regular participant, diversity is the main draw. "I learn so much from these people who I otherwise might never have talked to," said Lisha Coleman, a hair extension specialist from Hollywood. "I hear a lot of views that are different from mine, but it's also great to discover what I have in common with these people."

November's Venting Event, titled "Giving Thanks and Thanks for Giving," will be held at 8 p.m. Nov. 27. Attendees are asked to bring a book or a toy for donation to the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. * Novel Cafe, 212 Pier Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 394-VENT.

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