- Memorial Tribute: Venice Artist Diane Butler – Mary Getlein
- Song: There’s a ghost at every corner – Diane Buter
- Poem: To Diane Butler – Suzanne Verdal
- Poem: My Humble Ode to Diane – Tina Catalina Corcoran
- Poem: For Diane – Mary Getlein
By Mary Getlein
The Venice community lost a valuable member when Diane Butler, 59, died on February 11. She died from an aneurysm and two strokes.
Diane was a central figure in the struggles of the homeless and RV dwellers in Venice. She was a community activist, artist, singer and drummer in Ibrahim’s Drum Orchestra.
Diane and Ibrahim were instrumental in the Venice art scene, with their bi-annual Solstice gatherings, called The Circle of Color. It was held at Sponto Gallery, from 2001 to 2009. Diane participated in all 93 weekly Venice Peace Walks down Ocean Front Walk after the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ibrahim organized a celebration of Diane’s life on February 19th. A big shrine dedicated to Diane was erected by people who knew her. There were lots of candles, teddy bears, flowers and paintings. People left offerings all through the day. It was a wonderful send-off for Diane – many old friends showed up and played amazing music for Diane, and for us.
The music was great and lots of people danced. Diane always encouraged people to dance with her. Throughout the afternoon, people would spontaneously shout Diane’s name. Diane’s mother, Virginia, and Ibrahim’s father, Daniel, sat in special chairs in the drum circle. Daniel Butler talked about how Diane was up in Heaven, hanging out with his wife. Many people talked of Diane’s warmth and generosity. She gave of her time and her heart. She was a wonderful artist, singer, activist, mother, wife, daughter and friend.
Diane is survived by her husband, Ibrahim Butler; her mother, Virginia Ruffolo; her daughter, Lani Ware; son-in-law, Caan Hamlet.
To Diane Butler
I’ve seen the unraveling
Of your heart’s desire
For Peace …
Not just for you
But all of Earth’s inhabitants.
The undue stress
Left you undone.
By the L.A.P.D.,
By the sins of Babylon.
For some, this is a culture.
But now your paintbrush
Across the canvas
The Venice Dance.
I said Goodbye,
And saw your angel
Our smiles and tears.
Sleep sweetly, my Sister.
With much love,
———–My Humble Ode To Diane “Mary” said it ALL: (…alive and NOT well …) In Paradise… Now — It hurts like hell — A hole, in the heart– Of Paradise… (Oh, Diane — Oh, Diane) So OUT THERE — for ALL — To see, Know, Love, BE, In Paradise… “Give Me Liberty” or “Give Me Freedom” “Give Me Life After Death” Where The Pain Meets The Sea — In Paradise… With Deep Love, –Tina Catalina Corcoran ———— For Diane Diane you made me laugh, so much we both saw the crazy humor in all the madness all around us you were so magical you know you are – not were you – I can see you dancing in the clouds adding a little more pink to the sunset the Blessed sunset of Venice I’d go down there and sit and all my friends came by all the spirits of Venice are here – That’s a secret – don’t tell anyone anyway, we all know who’s supposed to know Philomene certainly did – watch the flickering films of Venice you will see scraps of wizards, witches, healers, artists, clowns, magicians, and musicians we need all we can get plus the endless sea of humanity that descends every weekend and drives the residents crazy. Diane – I love you! Thank you for sharing yourself with me you taught me so much your big wide open smile that embraced everybody. Babies – you love babies baby birds, baby humans, dogs seagulls, pigeons, especially pigeons – gypsy music in your soul the same relentless thing that drives any artist – you have to do it – it’s not a choice – it’s a gift that’s been given to you and you gotta play with it – so – you embrace holy poverty as well as any monk but your poverty was backed by drums and drummers dancers drawn to the drums dance, dance, dance – how cool is that? there were no dry eyes in the orchestra – they played their hearts our at your memorial we danced – like crazy gypsies!!! The old and the young, all the homeless of Venice and the housed of Venice came too – your smile embraced everyone – you are our dancing flower-child This old Black man was drunk and this guy was buggin’ him – and he said: “Go away, don’t bother me – I lost my home girl today and I’m hurting.” That’s how I feel – she is going home to a golden pure place that she’s been dreaming of for years and put down in her paintings – enter the world of Diane’s art – beautiful wishes of mothers, children, Martin Luther King, Native Americans – angels, birds, people – all floating by, in Diane’s world. Anyway – you are my home girl and I miss you with an ache – but I know you’re home, just like you were home here. This is your home, Venice, CA 90291 – and you will always be here dancing all around us, that smile that appears and disappears – that will be you, Diane – telling us to get up off our butts – and DANCE!!! Thank you for your example of a Beautiful heart, soul and mind and the Best Friend anyone could have – She loved you with a direct love – a direct line to your heart – She was so encouraging – never a discouraging word – that was Diane – She was – she is – she always will be. Love, Mary. –Mary Getlein