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2014 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:


HISTORY OF INCARCERATION, a new performance project 2010- 2011


State of Incarceration Performance - Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Examination of the Personal and Social Costs of Incarceration in the U.S. 

Image June 15-18, 2011

“Scared Straight! has nothing on this often compelling piece of political theater.” —LA Weekly

In a performance space filled wall-to-wall with prison bunk beds, performers and audience share overcrowded conditions akin to a California state prison for the latest work from Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD). One-third of the state’s parolees settle in the 55 square blocks of Los Angeles known as Skid Row, and State of Incarceration—developed collaboratively by LAPD’s Skid Row artists and in dialogue with organizers and recent parolees—powerfully examines the consequences of California's penal system on individuals, families and communities. Outlining a ritual of incarceration from entry to release and re-integration, State of Incarceration constructs a complex challenge to the societal perceptions and fear-based policies of a nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Directed by John Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers - Run Time: 90 minutes

Image The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that out-of-control overcrowding in California state prisons prevents minimally humane medical and mental health care.  Ex-Governor Schwarzenegger appealed the decision. On May 23, 2011 the Supreme Court endorsed a court order requiring California to cut its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates to improve health care for those who remain behind bars.

Image The performance State of Incarceration explores the consequence of incarceration on people, families and communities. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, California has the greatest number of prisoners in the US and 33% of parolees released to the Los Angeles area settle in the 52 square block neighborhood of Skid Row.

LAPD, a theater company of people living and working in Skid Row Los Angeles, is in a strategic place for undertaking this exploration.  Many of the creator / performers in State of Incarceration have been incarcerated.  LAPD performances link lived experience to the historical and social forces that shape that experience.

Image About LAPD’s: “History of Incarceration” Project: LAPD’s History of Incarceration project combines theater, installation and public education to examine the personal and social costs of incarceration in the US. The performance and installation’s creative material is developed in workshops and brings together the first hand personal experience of performers including their inside understanding of how the prison system functions. In State of Incarceration these artists articulate the mental and physical challenges of incarceration and the resources needed to endure and recover from it.

This project has many goals.  One is that it will enable the public to visually and viscerally understand the conditions created by public policies that have led California to have the largest prison population in the US.  The second is to create an opportunity for former prisoners to share their lived expertise, about the prison experience, the state of incarceration and how to survive it.  And the ultimate goal of the project is to create a moment of exchange and reflection on how they and we, the people of California, as a state can recover from living in a state of incarceration. State of Incarceration performances began in June 2010. Additional performances took place at various community locations throughout the fall and at the BOX gallery in Chinatown, in Jan. & Feb. 2011 at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica and in June at the RADAR LA Festival.

Image State of Incarceration is directed by John Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers and written / improvised by the LAPD performers. The trajectory of the piece extends from entering prison through incarceration, to release and the challenges of re-integration after prison.  The piece is not character based, but is a litany of experiences suffered under similar conditions, contributed by and recognizable to all the performers.  In that sense State of Incarceration performs the ritual of incarceration. The performance is a communal quest to understand, communicate and recover from the experience of incarceration: by making peace with yourself and others who have made you suffer. There’s personal responsibility and there’s societal responsibility. Getting your life back means accepting personal responsibility and understanding societal responsibility. The two come together in recovery from incarceration, by understanding that it’s part of your individual responsibility, as a recovering convict, to work together collectively to change the societal stigma and current judicial approaches to rehabilitation.

“History of Incarceration” is a project of Creative Capital, which currently receives funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The TOBY Fund, The James Irvine Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and more than 150 other individuals and institutional donors. The project was developed with support from National Endowment for the Arts-Theater and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and The Creation Fund of the National Performance Network. “State of Incarceration” is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Highways Performance Space in partnership with Tucson-Pima Arts Council], VSA Arts of New Mexico, The Queens Museum and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: LAPD would like to thank The Box Gallery and United Coalition East Prevention Project for the space to create and The Bold and The Beautiful for their donation of 30 bunk beds.




State of Incarceration at the Queens Museum in New York. January 31 & February 1, 2014 @ 7:30pm.


LAPD’s State of Incarceration was the centerpiece of the retrospective exhibition. State of Incarceration’s 60 prison bunk-beds are installed in 1200 feet of gallery space along with video excerpts for the 4 month duration of the exhibition. --- LAPD’s large State of Incarceration cast came to NYC for a week of performances and residency activities, which included public conversations and workshops on reforming the criminal justice system.


Jan. 28+29 & Feb. 4+5, 2011 @ Highways Perfromance Space, Santa Monica

In Highways’ Gallery: LAPD created an exhibition in the gallery that included images charting the expansion of the prison population and prison construction in California over the past 3 decades. The exhibition also included elements from the prison poster collection of The Center for the Study of Political Graphics.  In the gallery visitors were asked to read one page from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, that the health services and over-crowded conditions in California’s State prisons are in violation of the US constitution and constitute “Cruel and unusual punishment”. These readings were videoed. Pages read by Californians at previous project locations were projected as part of the exhibition.

LAPD created a 8 hour film of the 184 Californians reading the entire 184 page decision of 9th. Circuit Court.


Image November 6-20, 2010 - a gallery installation, and performances @ The Box Gallery in Chinatown

This installation will fill the main floor of The Box wall-to-wall with 30 bunk beds, same as in over crowded California State Prisons--- where gymnasiums and cafeterias have been turned into dormitories housing 3 and 4 hundred prisoners. The exhibition will include 5 performance events –each one different--- all will take place within the prison bunk-bed installation. Each performance is an experiment in which the performers, the audience, and the performance material are inserted into this restrictive prison architecture.


OPENING RECEPTION Nov. 6, Saturday, 6-9 pm

The opening will include performance material developed in LAPD workshops. The performance will take place in the installation. LAPD’s State of Incarceration project combines theater, installation and public education to examine the personal and social costs of incarceration in the US. 


PERFORMANCE Nov. 12, Friday,  8 pm

In State of Incarceration LAPD artists articulate the mental and physical challenges of incarceration and the resources needed to endure and recover from it. Image


PERFORMANCE Nov. 13, Saturday, 8 pm

California has the greatest number of prisoners in the U.S.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeal has ordered the State to reduce the prison population to 137% of capacity.


PERFORMANCE Nov. 19, Friday,  8 pm

When released from state penitentiaries with $200 gate money, parolees are directed to Skid Row with the largest concentration of low cost housing in LA County.



PERFORMANCE Nov. 20, Saturday, 8 pm

33% of parolees released to the Los Angeles area settle in the 52 square block neighborhood of Skid Row. 

The main floor gallery will be installed wall to wall with prison bunk beds. Video elements will be installed on the beds. The basement gallery will include images charting the expansion of the prison population and new prison construction in California over the past 3 decades and the 21 year and counting history of the lawsuit challenging the quality of the health services available to inmates in the state’s over-crowded prisons.  In 2010 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that these conditions amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment.” Governor Schwarzenegger has appealed this ruling.

2010: Community performances STATE OF INCARCERATION:

* Aug. 12: Behavioral Systems SW Inc.,van Nuys

* Aug. 14: Jonahproject, Skid Row

* Aug. 21: AMITY Foundation Re-entry Program, Los Angeles

* Dec. 17: Chuco's Justice High School, Inglewood




* June 9: Central City Community Church, corner 6th and San Pedro Street

* June 10: LA CAN, 530 South Main Street.

Image The June performances were structured around the making and serving of a communal meal—prison style.  Prisoners come together and combine the foodstuffs they each have in their cells to make “THE SPREAD”.  Using Ramen noodles as the base ingredient, the cooking is done by putting noodles, hot water and everything else in a large clear trash bag and kneading it for 20 minutes until done.  

Here’s the recipe: MAKING THE SPREAD

-18 packages of soup Ramen noodles: beef-chicken-oriental-shrimp,

-2 bags of Cheetos chips-cheese 1 bag original flavor and 1 hot,

-1 bag tortilla chips, guacamole flavor,

-2 packs crackers-original flavor,

-1 pack of big flour tortillas,

-1 jar light mayo,

-1 jar sliced jalapeños- hot,

-1 jar sliced pickles,

-12 OZ. turkey bologna ,

-1 pack of small beef sausages,

-4 packs of light tuna in water ,

-plenty of garlic,

               -hot water.

"I was thrown into the county jail for six months for not completing my year-long domestic violence classes. I was transferred to Wayside County jail to do my time. My money hadn’t caught up with me yet. But the guys I was hanging out with invited me to the spread. It made me feel like a part of a family. It took about a month before I get any money but I was invited to the spread every time they had one, which was about four times a week. The feeling of being accepted was overwhelming."


A performance that looks at the reality that California has the most people in prison anywhere. LAPD members show the mental and physical condition of this State of Incarceration and the resources needed to endure and recover from it. ‘History of Incarceration Song’ and ‘Making the Spread’ text by Riccarlo Porter with Debra Anderson, Celestine Williams, Vinson Fuller, Charles Jackson, Austin Hines, Bill Grant, Jimmy Johnson, Daniel Meza, Ibrahim Saba, Henriëtte Brouwers, Jennifer Campbell, Richard Butts, Sista Mary, Michael Coleman, Jesse Buenrostro, Wylie and ‘CO - Prisoner’ texts by John Malpede, ‘The Slave Boat’ by KevinMicahel Key, ‘Jumping Jacks’ by Anthony Taylor, ‘Buck Rogers Time‘ by Ronnie Walker, ‘Predatory Prisoner’ by Diop Ababacar, ‘My First Job’ by Elona Williams and more!

Image Image Image Image

This food is for the ones who were denied food

For one day in Chile

For one week in Haiti

For one month in Louisiana

In the prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo

The Federal Prison

The private prisons

For all of them, everybody eats today.

Feed them.

Feed them.

You can stop whenever you want to, but the hunger never ends.

You can stop whenever you want to, but it never ends.

The line never ends.

The hunger never ends.

Reach out to all the hungry in the universe.


May 20, 2010:  PANEL & DISCUSSION: Parole Reform Shakeout: Who Wins and Who Loses? The Effects of California's Parole Reform on Parolees, People Getting Out and Transitional Programs Downtown @ the Central City Community Church on the corner San Pedro & 6th Street.

Image   Image The Los Angeles Poverty Department has organized a panel to discuss the effects of the state’s parole reform on people living downtown: current parolees, transitional programs and people who will be released under the provisions of the parole reform.    Already the effects are being seen as some current programs lose funding and people in defunded programs scramble for housing and support services.   Professionals working with parolees will share their insights into the effects of the reform on the people who will be most effected by it: current and near future parolees and people who will be released with non-revocable parole.  Currently, one-third of the city’s parolees are in downtown.


Alan Richards, Second Chance Act Mentor Coordinator/ Amistad de Los Angeles.

Marilyn Montenegro, social worker and coordinator of the Women's Council Prison Project, a project that provides social work services for women in prison and women leaving prison.

The panel will be moderated by:

Ruthie Gilmore, professor of American Studies at USC and author of “The Golden Gulag”.

According to law enforcement officials and others, the reforms have created public safety concerns that need to be addressed.  But, we would like to return the focus to the needs of the people who are coming out of the criminal justice system.