Henriëtte Brouwers, LAPD’s Associate Director, is a performer, director and teacher. As Associate Director she has worked with the Los Angeles Poverty Department since 2000. Born in the Netherlands, Brouwers has a degree from the Academy for Expression by Word and Gesture in her native country and studied corporeal mime with Etiènne Décroux and ‘theatre of the oppressed ‘with Augusto Boal in Paris. In the Netherlands, she created and preformed a number of works, which led to invitations in the US by the Theatre Project in Baltimore in 1993. She subsequently performed and taught at 7 Stages in Atlanta, UT of Knoxville, Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem and Highways in Santa Monica. Inspired by Mexican legends about women, Brouwers directed ‘Weeping Women and War’ at Pomona College, ‘Weeping Women of Skid Row’ and ‘La Llorona of Echo Park’ with LAPD. In 2003–4, Brouwers worked with John Malpede on the creation of RFK in EKY a community-based reenactment of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 trip to investigate poverty in Appalachia. For LAPD’s UTOPIA/dystopia project, she directed the outdoor movement element “220 Glimpses of Utopia” (2007) with several hundred performers from Skid Row, colleges and high schools, Brouwers has co-directed a number of LAPD performances with Malpede, including, “State of Incarceration” (2011), and “Chasing Monsters from Under the Bed (2016), and I Fly! (2018).
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) and most recently, What Fuels Development? (2016). 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. For the past 2 years he has co-facilitated a 16-week series of LAPD workshops working with re-entry programs for people coming out of California State Prisons.
Matt has been part of many Art Shows with Studio 526 at the Skid Row History Museum and Archive with his bamboo installations and artworks. In 2019 he became part of the LAPD actor’s group and played the part of ‘Mayor G.’ in Amazon Comes to Skid Row (2020). He also performed in Walk the Talk (2020) and is now rehearsing for a new performance “Compassion and self-deception”. “I’ve been in Skid Row since 2013. I’d like to thank the Weingart Center, the People’s Concern formerly Lamp, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Studio 526 big time and now Los Angeles Poverty Department. I’m living in an apartment now and I’m able to pursue my artistic endeavors, especially the acting.”
Natosha Smith started performing with Los Angeles Poverty Department in I Fly!. She is a and visual artist and poet.
Doug found LAPD when he ran into our Walk The Talk parade in 2018. He performed in the next Walk The Talk in 2020 and is staying close. “A parade entering by Gladys park, I remember asking myself is this real? No, it can't be. I pinched myself, and then realized I wanted a burrito. - Life has thought me that we don’t get to pick all our battles in life, but the ones that pick us elicit the strength of our character. Or that, it’s not that a bad thing is a good thing, but you can be the good that comes from it.”
Keith aka Footie, started performing with Los Angeles Poverty Department in I Fly!. He is light on his feet and loves to sing.
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.
Walter joined LAPD in 2010 and has performed in State of Incarceration, Walk the Talk, Biggest Recovery Community Anywhere, HOSPITAL, A (Micro) History of World Economics, Settlement, What Fuels Development?, The Back 9 and I Fly!. He has traveled with LAPD to perform in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Walter is the Stage Manager of the Festival for All Skid Row Artists. He is the founder of the "SkidRo Playaz"; a percussion group that often performs at community events and is the house band at the Festival For All Skid Row Artists. Walter has drummed and danced for Rudy Perez and he is an actor in a Bill Viola video work that premiered in London in 2016. Walter is US army veteran who volunteers to at the VA hospital in Westwood. He is an important member of the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition, and instrumental in the coalition’s successful partnership with the City of L.A. to establish an outdoor hygiene facility staffed by Skid Row residents. Walter is a docent at the Skid Row History Museum & Archive.
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 she is now rehearsing for a new performance “Compassion and self-deception”. “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) and Walk the Talk (2020) and is now rehearsing for a new performance “Compassion and self-deception”. “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 is now rehearsing for a new performance “Compassion and self-deception”. 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 (20-16) in 2016 and played Gen. Jeff in What Fuels Development? at Pangea World Theater, MN (2018). He recently performed in I Fly! 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 has recently 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, 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? and most recently in our 2019 production I Fly! 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 and I Fly! 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 6 1/2 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 5 years ago and has performed with LAPD in What Fuels Development?(2016), Walk the Talk (2016 and 2018) and in The Back 9 (2017). 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. He performed most recently in our 2019 production I Fly! 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 Jose Huizar. 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 “Nick Paul & Diane Prozeller” (Nov. 2019 – Jan. 2020) at the Skid Row History Museum and Archive. She joined the actor’s group shortly after and is now rehearsing for a new performance “Compassion and self-deception”.
Charles Jackson has performed with LAPD since 1995. He worked closely with Henriëtte Brouwers in developing the movement sequences in Is There History on Skid Row? In 2002 and 2007 he coordinated the activities of 12 university participants and international visitors in changeXchange: LAPD's month long instructional workshop in making community based art. For many years Charles has been the tenant representative for his building, The Ward Hotel.
Robert Citizen C. Smith
Robert Smith, A.K.A.“Citizen Cane” in his rap artist persona. Cane has performed in a number of early LAPD productions including LAPD Inspects Raleigh, N.C. and LAPD’s co-production with Goat Island, I Was Sleeping with My Eyes Open. He made his come back with What Fuels Development? and Walk The Talk. "My Los Angeles Poverty Department acting goes all the way back to the mid 1990's. One of our first shows was "Paul's Place". I had just stopped performing as Citizen cane a R&B rapper/sing."
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.