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2013 LAPD Year End Newsletter
About LAPD
Upcoming Projects
Walk the Talk
Festival for All Skid Row Artists
The Real Deal - documentary
Queens Museum - retrospective
A (Micro) History Of World Economics, D
Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere
Agents & Assets
My Eyes are the Cage in my Head
Skid Row History Museum
La Llorona of Echo Park
ROUND TRIP happening
UTOPIA/dystopia - 220glimpses
SleepWalking Democracy
Evacuation Plan for Charlotte
Fried Poetry
La Llorona of Skid Row
Is there History on Skid Row?

RFK in EKY, The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project , is a series of public conversations and activities centered around the real-time, site-specific intermedia performance that recreated, on September 9th and 10th 2004, Robert Kennedy’s two-day, 200 mile “poverty tour” of southeastern Kentucky in 1968.
An Appalshop project directed by John Malpede.

Recreating Imbalance
A short description by John Malpede that describes the conceptual links between Agents & Assets and RFKinEKY.

'Findings from a Collaborative Inquiry by the Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Urban Institute': MAKING THE CASE FOR SKID ROW CULTURE

LAPD Funding provided by

LAPD Funding provided by:

2013 LAPD Year End Newsletter | Print |

download 2013 Newsletter


ImageLAPD 2013. Our projects have highlighted the creativity and compassion of the Skid Row community. Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere focused on the emergence of a sophisticated recovery friendly environment. That’s right, people still battling their addictions on the streets of Skid Row, are given hope by seeing their former comrades in struggle living indoors, attending and setting up neighborhood recovery meetings. (There are 80 meetings weekly in Skid Row, most run not by programs, but by people residing in the community). 


Creativity comes from the ground up on Skid Row --- people find a way to make art on their own, wherever they are. To affirm this process, we produced our 4th annual Festival for All Skid Row Artists, with over 100 performing and visual artists participating. More artists than ever, more audience than ever, the roles of our Skid Row artist registry swelling to over 500, self identified artists living and working in Skid Row.


Weirdly, our commitment to revealing the community assets on Skid Row, is in 2013-14 resulting in bringing 3 international artists / artist groups to work with us on Skid Row.  Dutch theater collective Wunderbaum collaborated with LAPD to produce Hospital - addressing the problem of healthcare here and abroad.  “Hospital” played in LA in the Radar festival in September, in Rotterdam in November and will tour in the US in January and April 2014. LAPD and major French writer and director, Pascal Rambert, presented his spectacularly human “A (Micro) History of World Economics, Danced”, with a 50-person cast outdoors at Pershing Square. Many artists from our Festival joined in this production along with others from throughout downtown and 15 members of the West Coast Singers. In March, the Belgian movement group SOIT, will mount another month long, large cast project, “Settlement” in which everyone will get together, imagine and enact the rituals and daily life of a fictional community.


Meantime, in New York, The Queens Museum will curate and present a 4-month gallery retrospective show on the history of LAPD.  The exhibition, running from the end of January through mid-May is entitled; “Los Angeles Poverty Department: Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal?”  LAPD will present 2 performances, “State of Incarceration” and “Agentes y Activos” in New York as part of the exhibition.


May 24, 2014 we’ll once again bring a New Orleans style marching band to the streets of Skid Row, for the second iteration of our “Walk the Talk" project that highlights transformative initiatives in the neighborhood—at the places where they happen.


And, the following weekend, we’ll celebrate the 25 anniversary of Highways Performance Space, by performing there. Highways transformed the LA performance landscape by opening the door to gay and lesbian performers and people of color. LAPD was the first group to perform at Highways. 


For more on all these projects, read on. And please, consider making a donation to LAPD. And please, please, come by and see us some time.


Thanks, John Malpede, director 


Image Image Image


Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere | Print |

Image  Guess what. Skid Row is a special place. Itís got something heavy to offer. In some ways it does the heavy lifting for all Southern California. And one of those ways is that Skid Row is Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere. Skid Row is where recovery and transformation happen every day and on a huge scale. Iím not talking just about the many professional resources and programs in the neighborhood. No, Iím talking about the 80+ weekly meetings each week in the community, organized by community residents. Guess what. Getting clean and sober happens in funded programs, but recovery happens in the community, one day at a time. Because so many people living and working in the neighborhood are following the spiritual path of recovery, the neighborhood is full of a sophisticated recovery consciousness. People get clean, they stay in the community, start meetings, work in the neighborhood. In recovery every day, walking down the street they are concrete evidence, living breathing billboards for all to see, that change is for real." --- John Malpede 

Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere was created and performed by members of our theater group; people who live and work on Skid Row. The performance explores the concepts of recovery and draws upon the wisdom of company members and other notable members of Skid Rowís recovery community.

Image The project documented the development of Skid Row as a site of recovery and transformation and resulted in a 3-day theater- and film festival at Inner City Arts on May 3, 4 and 5. We organized many film screenings and conversations at different locations in the neighborhood. LAPD collaborated with OTIS Public Practice students and curated a bookshelf with Skid Row based writers about recovery at The Last Bookstore's Indie Shelves initiative, a project that seeks to draw attention to the high-caliber work produced by LA writers and publishers by devoting shelf space to independent books. Our bookshelf included a video and 6 books: Alcoholics Anonymous - the Big Book and books by Robert Sundance, Michael Dolphin, Flo Hawkins and Los Angeles Poverty Department. And on January 26: we celebrated the Birthday of Recovery at the Cecil Hotel, downtown LA.

Image LAPD partnered with the REEL Recovery Film Festival to present 3 days of recovery themed performance, film, discussion and fellowship. With 3 films and LAPD's performance each day. The REEL Recovery Film Festival is a project of Writers In Treatment, which has produced previous editions of the film festival in New York, Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Vancouver. This festival THE REEL RECOVERY Film Festival ~ the Skid Row Edition was a first in several ways: first time on Skid Row and first time integrating theater and film.

On June 15: we performed excerpts of Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere at MicroFest, Honolulu, Hawaii.

HOSPITAL | Print |

Confronting the realities of contemporary healthcare, HOSPITAL, draws on the clichés of serialized medical dramas, as well as real-life encounters with patients, doctors, healthcare professionals and reformers in both the U.S. and the Netherlands. With intelligence, compassion and absorbing stagecraft, Hospital shrewdly sends-up a genre while its cast creates a hallucinatory exposé of free market healthcare and seek alternatives for its future.

ImageLAPD received a generous New England Foundation for the Arts National Touring Project grant to co-produce HOSPITAL with Netherlands based theater collective Wunderbaum. Hopkins Center invited John Malpede to research the project for two weeks at the Medical Center and the surrounding community of Dartmouth College. 

In Augst 5 LAPDers went to Rotterdam to rehearse with Wunderbaum and bring them back home, to LA and Skid Row, where we continued rehearsing at REDCAT theater for 3 more weeks. We performed in the oldest still existing movie theater on Broadway: the TOWER theater as part of RADAR LA from September 24 - 29, and had our Dutch premiere on November 16 & 17 at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

More performances are planned for 2014:

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis - January 9, 10, 11

HOP, Dartmouth - January 17 & 18

FUSEBOX festival, Austin, Texas - April 18, 19, 20

Image Here is what Kevin Michael Key has to say about that experience:

When I tell people coming to Skid Row opened up the whole world to me they think I’m only speaking figuratively, while I really mean it both figuratively and literally. When I first met Henriëtte Brouwers, co-Director of The Los Angeles Poverty Department, I became a fan of LAPD, but little did I know how it would be expanding my world. Now, 11 years after that chance meeting, both my worldview and my passport entries have been enhanced. Happily this is shared experience, recently myself, Linda Harris and Walter Fears travelled to Rotterdam with John and Henriëtte to perform, “Hospital.

As a group we're able to create, rehearse and perform, along with the Dutch troupe, Wunderbaum, in both Los Angeles (Radar LA Festival) and at the beautiful, Rotterdamse Schouwburg. During our August rehearsals we three had plenty of time to roam about Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Linda and I attended the Surinamese-African inspired Kwaku Festival in Amsterdam. Walter visited many of the old museums, as he had a particular interest in The Dutch West Indies Company’s influence on the slave trade. I also made time to attend 12 step meetings and ride the Zipline from the top of The Euromast. I’m telling you, that was a new kind of high!!

I have become an “Artivist,” a person who uses art to speak to today’s issues. Because of my involvement with LAPD I have had the chance to widely broadcast thru the use of our making art, a new Skid Row narrative. Oddly enough, the wider we promote the new narrative outside Skid Row, the greater impact we have had within this community. Community folks take pride and interest in our adventures, we now have more members than ever.

4th Festival for All Skid Row Artists | Print |

October 12 & 13: @ Gladys Park

Image--- by Austin Hines


The sounds coming out of Gladys Park on Saturday and Sunday, October 12th and 13th were anything but a cacophony.  Rudy Pacheco, a Skid Row artist and resident, can attest, “The last two days have been beautiful, I wish we could do this every weekend.” For the fourth year in a row, Skid Row’s Gladys Park has been the site of the Festival for All Skid Row Artists, a weekend of music, art, and community, in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) produces the festival each year; it is a place where artists can network, perform and play for the community.


The festival saw the likes of many different types of artists: musicians, singers, dancers, visual artists, performance artists and…performance sports artists? That’s right. On Saturday, the 3-on-3 Skid Row Basketball League had a game during the festival! The athleticism on the court was definitely a work of art and an interesting compliment to the sounds and visual arts that adorned the park. Myka Moon, an artist from Lamp’s Fine Art Program, set up both days and worked on his latest paintings. Flo Hawkins sketched portraits for people free of charge and Michael Blaze of Veterans in Photography took pictures and printed them for people, right there on the spot.


Hundreds of people came and went. Some came to perform, some came to produce, but many simply came to enjoy the talents. Many new artists signed up to LAPD’s artist registry. Over the two-day event, LAPD welcomed over 50 new local artists to the festival and more than 30 returning artists performed for their second, third or fourth time. Tightgrip, a guitarist and singer, played for the second year in a row; he gracefully performed an original song about his mother. Presidential Smoke returned once again, energizing the crowd as he performed his unreleased single, “You Want Me.” George Porter, a singer and songwriter from Jacksonville, Florida, moved to Los Angeles in July. It was his first time at the festival; he said jokingly “I came down because I wanted to play…let everybody know that there’s a new sheriff in town.” Porter did what he does best and he played the Blues.


There were many individual artists, but also many bands and groups that performed. Once again, the trio Black Onyx took the stage and blessed us with their harmonies. The Wicked Saints, a band from outside the Skid Row community, returned for the third year in a row and the LA Playmakers, a group made up of Skid Row artists, brought the house down with their Sunday afternoon performance.


The annual festival would not have been a reality without the hard work and dedication of everyone who contributed; it was a team effort. Thanks to UCEPP who generously gave us their space for 2 days, organizers from Lamp’s Fine Art Program, the volunteers from Amity, LAPD members, and especially the artists, the festival was once again a success!  

A (Micro) History Of World Economics, Danced | Print |

Oct. 26 & 27: 4 performances @ Pershing Square 

October 25 from 12-2pm, excerpts performed at:

12:00 @ 707 W. Wilshire Blvd.

12:30 @ 830 Flower Street

1:00    @ 705 W. 9th Street

1:30    @ 900 S. Figueroa Street


Image Conceived at the height of the European economic crisis, A (Micro) History of World Economics, Danced explores our collective economic history over centuries of time. Integrating stories of a diverse range of Angelenos with 300 years of global economic history, this work explores the community impact of the financial crisis.

                  Previously staged in Paris, Tokyo and New York’s P.S. 122, our production assembled a 50 person cast of LA downtowners, blending professional and non-professional performers, including a 15-person chorus and the musings of an economist played by artist / activist John Malpede. The play was written and directed by Pascal Rambert, artistic director for the innovative Théâtre de Gennevilliers and an artist whose theatrical works are often presented worldwide. In 2012, Rambert’s "Love's End” won the “Best New Play” award from the French Drama Critics’ Association.


--- by Austin Hines ---

I was riding my bike around downtown, LA – it has a trailer attachment with a poster on it to promote the show, it was pretty hilarious.  – I passed out fliers soliciting people to join our cast and as a result of that a few people did. I really enjoyed talking to people about LAPD and the project at hand.

My name is Austin Hines and in late 2013, I began working with LAPD as a line producer for the production, “A (Micro) History of World Economics, Danced,” which was performed in Los Angeles at Pershing Square, October 26th and 27th. I’ve worked with LAPD for almost 4 years as a performer, but this was my first opportunity to produce theater for them.

Working on the project was, at times, very stressful, but when it was all over, I was extremely proud of what we had accomplished together and honored to have been given the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of talented artists.

After two weeks of rehearsal we were ready to open the show. I had taken care of all the necessities: lights, sound equipment, props, etc. We were rehearsed and ready to put all of our hard work to the test. At 3pm on Saturday, we opened. I took a deep breath and we were off. I was working with the sound techs to make sure that everything went smoothly and for the most part it did. The shows got better and better and by the last performance Sunday night; everyone had their roles nailed.

It was rewarding to see all of our hard work come to fruition. I was especially proud of a few of the performers, individuals who never performed before, but who took the work very seriously; even though they were dealing with the struggles of being homeless, they were professional and a true asset to the cast.

All in all it was a pleasure to be a producer on this project. Working with LAPD gives me a sense of purpose. I appreciate the opportunity to work with an organization like LAPD. Working on “A (Micro) History of World Economics, Danced” was truly an experience that I will cherish for years. It was my first opportunity to produce theater and I had a blast doing it. I learned so much working with John and Henriëtte and am looking forward to working on future LAPD projects and seeing how I can be an asset to the organization.

click here for more

Doris Duke Performing Artist Award | Print |

Image  In 2013, LAPD founder, John Malpede, received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.


The Doris Duke Artist Awards invest in exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and related interdisciplinary work who have proven their artistic vitality and commitment to their field. Launched in 2011, the Awards program honors individual artists in contemporary dance, theatre, jazz and related interdisciplinary work.  John was one of 20 jazz, theater and dance artists in the nation to receive the award.  The only other Los Angeles based artist was jazz musician Billy Childs.

Retrospective at the Queens Museum, NY | Print |

January 30 Ė May 11: "Do You Want the Cosmetic Version or the Real Deal?: Los Angeles Poverty Department 1986 Ė 2013" @ QUEENS MUSEUM, QUEENS, NY


The work of LAPD will be the subject of a large retrospective gallery show, one of the first in the renovated and expanded Queens Museum. The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadow, Queens, New York has gained a reputation for curating exhibitions that directly relate to contemporary urban life. The exhibition will include documentation of five works from 1987 to 1998, live performances of two major recent works, a Skid Row Oral History section, and a six-week residency starting in January 2014.


January 31 & February 1 & 2: LAPDís State of Incarceration will be the centerpiece of the retrospective exhibition. State of Incarcerationís 60 prison bunk beds will be installed in 1200 feet of gallery space along with video excerpts for the 4 month duration of the exhibition.

--- The successful United States Artists online fundraising campaign helped to bring LAPDís large State of Incarceration cast to NYC for a week of performances and residency activities, which will include public conversations and workshops on reforming the criminal justice system.


February 28 & March 1 & 2: During a month long residency, LAPD will engage Drogadictos Anonimos, a Corona, Queens-based recovery group, in a unique partnership creating the North American, Spanish language premiere of Agentes y Activos.

Coming up in 2014 | Print |

March 17 - April 6: "SETTLEMENT" by SOIT and LAPD @ the BOX gallery

Performances: April 4, 5, 6.

Los Angeles Poverty Department has invited SOIT to Los Angeles and will produce SOIT’s 'Settlement' project at The Box Gallery at 805 Traction Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. ‘Settlement’ performance project will be created in three weeks and led by Hans Van den Broeck with two dancers from SOIT, Belgium, the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s performers and additional performers from the artist community in Los Angeles: dancers, performers and actors.  The creation process at the BOX gallery will be open to the public.  SOIT is a Brussels based contemporary dance company founded and directed by Hans Van den Broeck. The ‘Settlement’ work process generates a temporary, self-made, self-sufficient fictitious village, separated from the rest of the world, as a metaphor for transitional settings in modern society (refugee camps, detention camps, homelessness, alternative gatherings, sects...). The conflicts and dilemmas arising from being trapped in a transitional situation with limited options are translated into movement.


May 24: Walk the Talk

Walk the Talk is no ordinary walk. It’s a parade! A brass band, Paradigm Brass, (plus pick up musicians), lead the way. It’s a performance! LA Poverty Department brings the neighborhood to life with performances along the parade route that pay tribute to neighborhood initiatives of men & women whose contributions to the community call for a big, blaring celebration. It's an epic history of Skid Row! This year LAPD is turning our Walk The Talk peripatetic performance into a two-year re-occurring event that brings the history of the community to life and keeps it alive.


May 30 & 31: Highways 25th anniversary

Highways in Santa Monica, has transformed the LA performance landscape by creating a performance space where the ideas and works of gay and lesbian performers and people of color were welcome.  LAPD was the first group to perform at Highways.  We’re bringing back one of our earlier shows for these performances—at the moment the main contenders are either the wild and crazy, “No Stone for Studs Schwartz”, which initially rocked and enthralled LA’s underground.  Or maybe our most controlled and beautiful performance of all time, “Red Beard, Red Beard”, a duet for Kurosawa film and live performers, which was celebrated when given a beautiful production in Paris in 2008, but which was seen by only a few Angelinos when presented in 2000 in a small hotel space in Skid Row. Which impulse will win out?  Wild and crazy or subtle and gestural?  Don’t know yet. Stay tuned.


October 18+19: 5TH annual Festival For All Skid Row Artists

Next year Los Angeles Poverty Department and partners UCEPP and Lamp Fine Arts Project will produce the Festival for All Skid Row Artists for the 5th time in Gladys Park. We are looking forward to another weekend of activities that identifies artists in all genres who live and work on Skid Row. Neighborhood artists perform and show their artwork. LAPD collects information about the artists, documents their work and creates an artists’ registry and an archive of their work. We want the world to see that Skid Row is a neighborhood, a community that’s home to many creative people!!



In September, Los Angeles Poverty Department will begin working on a new production: “Phoenix in the Sky With Diamonds,” a theatrical performance centering on mental health issues. This show will explore the creativity, resilience and challenges of Skid Row residents struggling with these issues, including the experiences of people such as Phoenix Rupp and Ron Allen, friends who, having accepted their mental illnesses, went on to reinvent themselves and lead rich lives. Their hard-earned wisdom helps to create a culture of understanding that permits life-altering insights and transformation.


Los Angeles Poverty Department projects are made possible with the support of:




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