Henriëtte Brouwers is the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department since 2000. She (co-)directs, performs with LAPD and produces and the annual Festival For All Skid Row Artists. She worked with John Malpede on the creation of RFK in EKY (2004) a community-based re-enactment of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 trip to investigate poverty in Appalachia. Born in the Netherlands, Brouwers has performed, directed, and taught in the Netherlands, France and the US. She was a member of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed group and studied corporeal mime with Etiènne Décroux in Paris, France. She founded movement theater ACTA in Amsterdam and performed with Shusaku & Dormu Dance Theatre, Grif Theater, Nationaal Fonds, AO. In the US, Brouwers performed and taught at the Theatre Project and Towson UT in Baltimore, Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, UT Knoxville and Touchstone Theatre, PA. She was the movement director for Blue Monk by Robert Earl Price, at the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta and performed the The Non and the solo Maya by Jim Grimsley at 7 Stages Theater. She devised a series of performances based on the Mexican legend of La Malinche and La Llorona, The Weeping Women. Henriëtte Brouwers is featured in Bill Viola’s renowned 'The Passions' series.
Zachary Rutland is an archivist who is interested in helping document and preserve community history and memory, and is a dedicated advocate on housing justice and criminalization issues in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the UCLA Master of Library Science Program who specialized in media archives and digital preservation from 2018-2020. He was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Community Archives internship, which allowed him to complete a year-long internship at the Skid Row History Museum and Archive for the Los Angeles Poverty Department. As a part of his continued work in this archive, he has helped process, catalogue and digitize photographic and paper collections while providing insight on other archival projects. Zach currently lives in Koreatown and there he has volunteered for a community organization called Koreatown For All.
Anthony Taylor was a contributing writer and performed in LAPD's 'State of Incarceration' (2010), 'Walk the Talk', 'Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere', 'Chasing Monsters From Under The Bed' (2015) ,'What Fuels Development?' (2016) and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). LAPD has inspired him to pursue an acting career. He has completed three years as a student at the Actors Academy at LA City College. In 2018 and 2019 he co-facilitated a 16-week series of LAPD workshops working with re-entry programs for people coming out of California State Prisons at the Weingart Center.
Natosha Smith started performing with Los Angeles Poverty Department in 'I Fly! - or How the Keep the Devil Down in the Hole' and she contributed to 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). She is a visual artist and poet and a Skid Row advocate.
Keith aka Footie, started performing with Los Angeles Poverty Department in 'I Fly! - or How to Keep the Devil Down in the Hole' (2019). He is light on his feet and loves to sing. "The Prime Minister, God’s servant to Skid Row."
Clancey Cornell, Archival Projects Manager, Skid Row History Museum, has worked in the Skid Row community since 2015, when she began collaborating on grassroots arts programming at Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Skid Row History Museum and Studio 526. She graduated from the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University in 2015 with a concentration in Archival Photography and Cultural Memory and a second major in Spanish. She earned the award for Best Overall Thesis for “Excavating the Photo-Archive: Exploring Memory and Healing with the Creation of Radical Archives.” Her interest in archives began in Buenos Aires, where she facilitated the recovery of a damaged archive for the Association of Graphic Reporters for the Republic of Argentina. She has since engaged in a variety of archival projects in Argentina and Los Angeles, focusing on archiving as activist practice to narrate histories that would otherwise go unexplored. Her interest in community archives also led her to work for Women’s Voices Now, a nonprofit that curates an archive of over 200 educational films about women's right issues, and in the past year she has worked in arts program development for the organization to activate the contents of the archive in community programs and advocacy events.
Lorraine first tipped her toes into acting with the LAPD crew at the Creative Thinking Project at MOCA. Her first LAPD performance was 'Walk the talk' (2020) and then she performed in 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). “I am Lorraine I am a singer. I sing from a place in my heart, a homeless woman that found her way back home by the grace of God.”
Leyla is proud of her roots and her Cuban community in Skid Row. She is a salsa dancer and started acting with LAPD in 2019. She performed in 'Amazon Comes to Skid Row' (2020), 'Walk the Talk' (2020) and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). “This quiet time made me think more about myself. Therefor I made some plans to save money to fix my backpain. Wow, you will see me dancing salsa like a pro!”
Iron G. Donato
Iron joined LAPD in 2019 and played the part of Jose Huizar in 'Amazon Comes to Skid Row' (2020). He performed in 'Walk the Talk' (2020) and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). He is also member of Urban Voices Project and a fellow with Street Symphony. “Actor, singer, poet, artist, dancer. I’m Iron Angel, I’m a romancer, I cast magical spells with creativity. It gives me my dignity and all those under my spell humanity.”
Jamaya started working with LAPD on 'The Back 9' (2016) and played Gen. Jeff in 'What Fuels Development?' at Pangea World Theater, MN (2018). He performed in 'I Fly! - or How to Keep the Devil Down in the Hole" (2019). Jamaya has performed with various San Fransisco and Los Angeles Dance and Theater companies since 1965.
Henry Michael Apodaca
Henry Michael Apodaca, Media Archivist, Skid Row History Museum, served as the 2018-2019 UCLA-Mellon Community Archives Intern at the Skid Row History Museum and was recently hired to continue his work with the organization. With undergraduate training in anthropology, and fifteen years public teaching experience, Henry is an educational specialist turned archivist, who received his MLIS degree from UCLA in June 2019. Henry’s interests include locating media archival professionalization on the landscape of community archives by triangulating human, financial, and technological resources that motivate decision-making processes towards archival best practices. Additionally, he is interested in ontological design(s) and epistemic justice that nuance traditional notions of cognitive authority represented in archival records. He is also an avid record collector.
Stephanie Bell has been an actress, singer and motivational force with LAPD since the early 90’s. She performed in Pascal Rambert’s 'Race' in 1999, a rooftop collaboration between LAPD and Cal State University-Los Angeles. After an absence due to severe health problems, Stephanie again energized the group with her deep and strong, and occasionally hilarious performances as part of the cast of 'A (micro) History of World Economics, Danced' (2013), which was performed at Pershing Square and many LAPD productions including, 'Chasing Monsters From Under The Bed', 'Walk The Talk', 'Red Beard - Red Beard', 'What Fuels Development?', our 2019 production 'I Fly!' and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). Stephanie has introduced a number of performers and first time performers into the LAPD mix. "I've been with L.A.P.D. since dooms day. Love working with our people in the community. Hope and pray to see everyone in the near future!"
Lee Maupin is an actor and Skid Row resident who has worked with LAPD since 2014. He worked on 'Walk the Talk', 'Red Beard - Red Beard', 'What Fuels Development?', 'The Back 9', 'I Fly!' and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). He is also a stage manager for LAPD’s yearly art and music festival, Festival for All Skid Row Artists. In addition, he has worked with Cornerstone Theater Company on Love on San Pedro and most recently the California Tempest. "My name is Lee (Monkey) Maupin. I've been working with Los Angeles Poverty Department 7 years now, knocking down door and turning out shows!"
Tom Grode is a Skid Row resident with numerous credits for casting films and television series. He moved to Skid Row in 2015 and has performed with LAPD in 'What Fuels Development?'(2016), 'Walk the Talk' (since 2016), 'The Back 9' (2017), 'I Fly!' (2019) and 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). For 'The Back 9' Tom performed and contributed to the script as a writer and he traveled with LAPD for community residencies in Philadelphia and Minneapolis. Tom has been active in the Skid Row Community with the Skid Row Design Collective, the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee, and the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition, and is involved in numerous other dialogues that include ongoing consultation with Mayor Garcetti’s homeless coordinator and with the office of City Councilman Kevin De León. As a member of LA Poverty Department Tom also is a docent at the Skid Row History Museum and Archive.
Diane first showed her beautiful paintings at the festival for All Skid Row Artists in 2017 and exhibited her works in the “Nick Paul & Diane Prozeller” (Nov. 2019 – Jan. 2020) exhibition at the Skid Row History Museum and Archive. She joined the actor’s group shortly after and performed in 'The New Compassionate Downtown' (2021). " We’re all deserving of mercy and compassion."
Our dear friend and collaborator and Key LAPD staff member KevinMichael Key has passed on. He died on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, surrounded by his loving children, brother, grandchildren and friends.
Kevin is a big and loving presence in the Skid Row community, working as an advocate with UCEPP (United Coalition East Prevention Project), as a community liaison for the diabetes program at JWCH Community Clinic and an important member of Critical Resistance. He’d also worked with LA Community Action Network (LA CAN) and been a 2 term member of the Downtown Neighborhood Council. He was one of the community leaders in the campaign to defeat a liquor license in the New Genesis Hotel, and that organizing victory became the subject of LAPD’s 2016 production “What Fuels Development?”
Through his many involvements Kevin was an amazing effective connector in the community, coolly ambling down the street he operated at a speed faster than internet–and louder. He’d boom out a shout to somebody across the street and get things done. Or as he’d say, “when everyone’s out there is pumpin’ and fakin’, KevinMichael is smoken’ and shaken”. Kevin loved Skid Row cause it was the “New York part of LA”. A former public defender Kevin was at ease approaching and if necessary getting in the face of people in suits, but his main love was striking up a conversation with anyone on any street in Skid Row. Of course, he loved people wherever he was. LAPD was in El Alto Bolivia, about to do “Agentes y Activos” our Spanish language show about the futility of the war on drugs. El Alto is a shanty town of over a million people that hovers over the city of La Paz. Before the show, Kevin went out in to the plaza, and with super limited Spanish approached families, adults and children, giving them fliers and a big smile. “Agentes y Activos, teatro, gratis, aqui en quince minutos”. Fearlessness enabled by love. When we played the same show in a prison, afterwards one of the inmates referred to him as “the big Cubano”, because of his accent. We all felt this was a big coup—that his accent was recognizable as anything in particular, as he’d learned his lines phonetically.
Kevin was proud to say, “Skid Row saved my life. I got clean and sober on Skid Row.” And he helped a lot of people on the road to recovery. Never preachy, but always warm, disarming and funny, Kevin was able to convince people that they could do better for themselves, get out from under their pain. We were reading an article from the New York Times claiming that Del Rey Beach was a big location for recovery, because there are all sorts of expensive programs there and people come there, go through the programs and then stay in the community. We laughed and decided that’s nothing compared to Skid Row. We decided to make “Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere”, which we did.
When he received his cancer diagnosis, we went from rehearsal to the sidewalk outside his apartment at the Yankee Hotel for a group hug that lasted 15 minutes —as sirens blared and fire trucks pealed off from Skid Row firehouse #9. At the end of the hug Kevin looked at us all, Henriëtte, Tone-Tone, Christina and myself and said, “From now on only love.”
We’re carrying your love with us my brother. We love you Kevin. Only love.
Linda Harris, performer and singer.
Linda was a singer and actress who loved to dance. She worked with LAPD since 2009, performing in Let’s Go, State of Incarceration, 3 Walk the Talk projects and Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere. She traveled to the Netherlands to rehearse and perform HOSPITAL with Wunderbaum. She was an inspiration, singing her favorite songs at the Festival For All Skid Row Artists. Linda’s optimism, her love for her husband Robert and her community inspired us all to stay positive and never give up. As she used to say: “I love myself and life is beautiful.” Linda also performed in The Soloist and appeared in the documentary Lost Angels. She was a member of the choir of the Central City Community Church. Linda Harris died in the summer of 2016 and we miss her.