May 22, 2022

Come Together
presentations by community members and visual art workshops by Creative I and Piece by Piece

At Inner City Arts

May 28, 2022

Walk the Talk
performance / parade

Starts at NOON at the Spring Street Community Garden
and travels to General Jeff Memorial / Gladys Park

About the Project

WALK the TALK – SKID ROW VISIONARIES CELEBRATED
PARADE – BRASS BAND – PERFORMANCE – VISUAL ART

Walk the Talk 2022 is the 6th iteration of the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s biennial, peripatetic performance: an on-going chronicle of the accomplishments of Skid Row people and their visionary initiatives.  Walk the Talk is a parade with a New Orleans Second line brass band and attendees dancing down the street from one performance site to the next while holding aloft portrait / collages of each honoree designed by Dakari Akil.

Join us as we, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), perform scenes honoring organizer and musician Mr. Pancake (at the Spring Street Garden), advocate and poet Suzette Shaw (at the New Genesis Hotel), musician and empresario Unkal Bean (at 5th and San Julian), punk band singer, theater maker and activist Chella Coleman (at 6th and San Julian), singer, music therapist and co- Director of Urban Voices Project Kate Richards-Geller (at the Union Rescue Mission), visual artist, rapper and activist CruShow Herring (at the site of the former Umeya Noodle Factory, where CruShow is designing a mural), cultural organizer and government consultant Alisa Orduña (at the ReFresh Spot), and drummer and healer Ray Lewis (at General Jeff Memorial Park).

This year, Los Angeles Poverty Department is thrilled to have so many valuable partners jumping in to realize this year’s performance / parade, starting with our Skid Row Arts Alliance partners Street Symphony, Urban Voices Choir, Piece by Piece and Creative I.  Street Symphony is once again bringing the brass band to keep us dancing down the streets from one performance site to another.  Urban Voices Choir is going be calling us to attention before each LAPD scene. The L.A. Catholic Worker is once again lending us shopping carts to stash and transport our sound system.

Honorees bios

Mr. PANCAKE
Pancake is a soldier and a part of most events in Skid Row. He is warm and loving and he blesses people with his singing. Pancake has a song or a smile for everyone he meets – he doesn’t have to know you, even better if you are a stranger. He is one of the bold few who are out in the street waving people into the organic market on Thursdays at LA CAN, dressed as a cucumber and it’s 85 degrees! Pancake also has a religious side to him, and he meets people wherever they are at. He is a soldier for the community.  You’ll hear “BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE” ringing of the buildings of the Historic Core. Pancake is the guru of Skid Row: a healer and spiritual giant.

SUZETTE SHAW
Suzette is a Skid Row resident voice for Black women. The first resident elected as board member for LA Community Providers C (LACPC). Suzette has been continuously active speaking up for women in Skid Row and for Black history in downtown. She has also been very active in creating the “No Place to Go” report. And she’s on many peer mental health committees with Department of Mental Health. It’s time to acknowledge her for her powerful poetry and activism.

CHELLA COLEMAN
Chella is a kick ass organizer and artist, who has been participating in liberation work for many years. Chella’s relationship with Skid Row and with people she organizes with is characterized by honesty, thoughtfulness, and combined with attention to her own needs. Over the years she’s had a consistent presence in numerous projects from the Festival for All Skid Row Artists to Stop LA Police Dept Spying Coalition, while also practicing and performing with her band, blocking Sunset Boulevard for a Trans Day of Vengeance concert, or performing on zoom from a small room.

UNKAL BEAN
Unkal Bean is a rapper extraordinaire! He is an accomplished rapper in Skid Row and he’s the Empresario at the King Eddie open mic evenings. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Lorenzo Punchello Hollis Unkal Bean Kwansi was blessed to be introduced to music at a young age and has been inspired by all genres of music, releasing his first album in 1998. Focusing on the living dream, Unkal Bean performed at numerous events and has opened up for some of the biggest names in hip hop. As a member of the Skid Row Community for over 20 years, he has participated in nonprofit events and performed at The First Occupy Skid Row Concert that took place on Skid Row in 2012.

KATE RICHARDS-GELLER
Kate Richards is a music therapist, and a big part of Urban Voices. Kate has been phenomenal in her commitment to the people in the community. She first came to Skid Row 6 years ago discovering Urban Voices Project at the Skid Row Artist Festival in Gladys Park. She immediately jumped into the Urban Voices Project program and now functions as the interim Executive Director. She is a leading voice for wellness through the arts. Kate cares deeply for the Skid Row artists she works with and represents the work being done in Skid Row around arts and healing at many national and international summits, amplifying the voice of Skid Row. Kate helped hold people together who were afraid and emotionally drained during the pandemic. She is dedicated to helping and healing the Skid Row community, and does it with love, grace, humility, and passion.

CRUSHOW HERRING
Crushow is a talented performer, an amazing artist, advocate and athlete, responsible for many murals in Skid Row. He is a great rapper and community activist standing up for the community and doing community work with the Sidewalk Project. He was an unhoused resident for a time and still proudly lives in Skid Row. His art permeates the community. He helped bring Venice Beach Street ballers to collaborate with Skid Row. Most definitely the bomb-est “hood artist” brings cultural liberation to community in rare artist fashion.  He’s been decorating the community with portraits of freedom, block by block for decades. Crushow organizes community members and gets jobs for the people.

ALISA ORDUNA
Alisa did amazing work as Mayor Garcetti’s Homeless Policy Director from 2016 until 2018. Alisa was the first person in power who had the nerve to listen to the community and do what they asked for: create the ReFreshSpot! The Skid Row ReFresh Spot is an important example what can be achieved when a community led project is supported with City funding. Alisa is a tireless advocate for the spiritual and material conditions of women and all members of Skid Row community. Alisa is a compassionate heart and bright light of hope and healing. She is a trusted friend of many Skid Row organizations.

RAY H. LEWIS
Ray is the leader of the Ase Ashe drummers. He has been in the community for over a decade and participates in LA CAN actions, is a fellow with Street Symphony, and performed in LA Poverty Department’s performance, “I Fly!” (at REDCAT Theater) and the Festival For All Skid Row Artists since its inception in 2010, where he now leads the festival’s ‘house-band’. He’s also a victim of police brutality. He has studied African healing techniques and shares them with the community in workshops at community events.

Building the Project

COME TOGETHER

In advance of the parade, on Sunday May 22nd, join us at Inner City Arts, to learn about more extraordinary people in Skid Row who are working hard to uplift the community. From 2 PM to 3 PM come and participate in visual arts workshops by Piece by Piece and Creative I. The workshops will take place outdoors on the beautiful Inner-City Arts campus. Piece by Piece is a nonprofit mosaic arts program and social enterprise. Piece by Piece will display artwork from their active artists and conduct a mosaic art making activity. Artists from the “Creative I” collective, will also lead a participatory arts workshop. Piece by Piece and Creative I are well known in Skid Row for their ongoing work in the community. And the Ase Ashae drummers will energize the art makers –and everyone present with intricate West African rhythms.

From 3pm-5pm LA Poverty Department will perform one of the eight Walk The Talk performances.  During the “Come Together,” 7 community members will each introduce a person they believe is doing inspiring work in the community and that person will tell us — in any form they choose (talk, music, film, slide show, workshop, etc.) — about the cool things they are doing in Skid Row.  Come hear from DJ Sir Oliver, Soma Snakeoil, Executive Director of the Sidewalk Project, Evans Clark manager of the ReFresh Spot, Deacon Alexander, advocate with the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition, Linda Leigh, a champion for women and women’s rights in Skid Row, Monique Alvarado, Organizational Development Project Manager at the LA Mission, and Emergency Mental Health worker on the DMH Crisis Negotiation Team Anthony Ruffin.

WALK THE TALK WEBSITE

Available 365 days 24 /7, the Walk the Talk website,  provides access to interviews and past performances of all Walk the talk honorees. The website provides on-line access to the 76 and counting people whose real-world accomplishments —from 1970 until today, have been celebrated in Walk the Talk from 2012-2022.  The website, created by artist / technologist Rob Ochshorn and his company Reduct, includes hour-long video interviews and transcripts of the interviews, for each honoree as well as videos and scripts of the scenes distilled from the interviews and performed by Los Angeles Poverty Department in each Walk the Talk performance / parade.

The website also features reflections and commentaries by scholars, artists, community members, activists, journalists and others on what they’ve discovered and appreciated in the archive. With the support of the California Natural Resources Museum Grant, 12 new responses will be uploaded to the site –along with the transcripts and videos of the interviews and Walk the Talk scenes created from them for this year’s honorees. The 12 responses will be uploaded and released in December. All project materials are part of the Walk the talk collection and are available at our Skid Row History Museum & Archive.

Walk The Talk 2022 Cast

Tom Grode, John Malpede, Lorraine Morland, Leyla Martinez, Henriëtte Brouwers, Lee Maupin, Sullivan Braun-Slavin, Iron Donato, Keith Johnson, Diane Prozeller, Stephanie Bell.

Project Funders

Walk The talk is a project of the Los Angeles Poverty Department and our Skid Row History Museum & Archive. This year’s Walk the Talk is made possible in part by grants from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, and The National Endowment for the Arts, The Mike Kelley Foundation, The Kindle Project, LA Arts Recovery Fund, and funding provided by the special interest license plate featuring the image of Snoopy, with permission and support from Peanuts Worldwide (Section 5169 of the Vehicle Code) for the Museum Grant Program under the California Cultural and Historical Endowment.