What Fuels Development?
Directed by John Malpede

Performances:
The Armory Center for the Arts

In conjunction with the Armory’s Exhibition:
Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2016.
March 25 & 26, 2016
April 1, 2 & 3, 2016

Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA.
November 3, 4, 5, 2016

Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis, MN.
September 2017

About the Project

Directed by John Malpede, the devised performance What Fuels Development? addresses a particular development struggle, in which Skid Row residents organized to successfully appeal a non-profit developer’s attempt to put an alcohol serving restaurant in the ground floor of a residential hotel housing formerly homeless people. Many of the hotel’s residents are in recovery, while others are actively struggling with addiction and mental illness. The hotel is located on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles that is on the border of Skid Row. Main Street development interests don’t want Main Street to be thought of as Skid Row, but rather as part of the ‘historic core”, “gallery row” or the “new downtown”. The hotel’s nonprofit owner tried to placate the developers who preferred a full bar restaurant rather than having social services in the ground floor of the hotel. Skid Row residents appealed the granting of the zoning variance and organized other Skid Row residents, to testify at the zoning commission and collectively their words created a change of heart in the commissioners. The commissioners themselves delivered surprisingly moving statements in upholding the appeal and denying the permit for the full bar liquor license.

The performance combines “found text” from this hearing and improvised scenes that in a satirical, hallucinated fashion imagine moments that could have led to the conception of this ill-fated restaurant. The performance takes place in a fantasy restaurant, designed and installed by Alan Tollefson in the Armory’s Caldwell Gallery.

Building the Project

The Armory Center for the Arts presented Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2016, a survey exhibition with new work and performances by Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles based performance group.

The exhibition was on view in the Armory’s Caldwell Gallery from January 24 through May 15, 2016. A reception took place on Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 6-8pm. What Fuels Development? was performed on March 25, 26, April 1, 2 and 3, 2016. Exhibition, reception and performances were free and open to the public.

Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2016, organized and originally presented by the Queens Museum, is the group’s first survey exhibition and features extensive archival material, including photographs, texts, and ephemera, drawn from LAPD’s archives. The centerpiece of the Armory’s exhibition is the debut of a significant new installation and performance work entitled What Fuels Development?, which is newly commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), in partnership with Pangea (Minneapolis, MN), Armory Center for the Arts, and National Performance Network.

The Cast in Pasadena

WFDcrew1400pixRCB: “The things I tell you today, will be like time capsules exploding in your minds.”; Meisner’s words… the foundation that haunts my every move.
Anthony Taylor: “Tell me who you’re with and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Jen Wilson: Comme si, comme ça.
Austin Hines: We’ll beat any advertised price or your meatball is Free!!!
Stephanie Bell: I been here, always close, now is time for another blissful year, songs, dance and be happy, loving, joyous. God Bless!
Christina Collier hails from Cleveland, Ohio and is now to call LA home, she is truly thankful to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people.
Adrian Excel: Skid Row Housing Trust should know better.
Chas Jackson: Truly a touching and informative production.
Suzette Shaw: The bone of contingency is that… one cannot expect a community to buy in, when you have not bought into the community > that is the hypocrisy of gentrification.
Tom Grode: Front of this unique street – based residential community.
Lee Maupin: I live in the New Genesis Hotel.
Robert ‘Cane’ Smith: OK, meatballs and a salad bar would be more interesting than the other bar.
Silvia Hernandez: So, I just want you to know that this is certainly interesting (laughs) to be considering all this..
John Malpede: A beautiful day it was as hearts were opened, minds were moved and votes changed.
KevinMichael Key: I stand with the People of Skid Row as a member of the world’s largest Recovery Community.
Henriëtte Brouwers: It’s not about liquor but about principals; which community are you serving?
Walter Fears: What about me?! When is enough, enough?!!
Sherrie Walker: “I don’t agree with what you want to do with the New Genesis Hotel, that’s all I have to say.”

The Cast in Philadelphia

wfd_philly1

Henriëtte Brouwers: Hey Philly, it’s not about liquor, it’s not about cappuccino, but about which community are you serving?
Christina Collier This is my first performance in Philadelphia with the LA Poverty Department. Next time I perform in this amazing city, it will be across the street at the Kimmel Center!
Charles Daniels: I live in the Project Home community, and am a Hall Mercer / Social Rehab alumni.
Walter Fears: Just like Society Hill, they DON’T have access to it.
Tom Grode: Born in Erie, PA, now part of this street-based residential community.
Silvia Hernandez: There is no Liberty in the Bell.
KevinMichael Key: I stand with The People of Skid Row as a member of the world’s largest Recovery Community.
Maev Lowe: is a theatre maker, who is new(ish) to Philadelphia, and is very excited to be welcomed into the wild and wonderful LAPD.
wfd_philly2John Malpede: A beautiful day it was as hearts were opened, minds were moved and votes changed.
Lee Maupin: Dallas Cowboys!!
Wesley (Wes) Mitchell: My life has changed tremendously with the support of Project Home, a similar organization here in Philadelphia.
RCB: “The things I tell you today, will be like time capsules exploding in your minds.” ; Meisner’s words… the foundation that haunts my every move.
Bradley Spann: This is my first performance in Philadelphia and I’m glad it is with my Los Angeles family!
Anthony Taylor: #Celebratelife
Jen Wilson: “Do you want to house more people… or not?”
Jo Thornton: From Baltimore, MD, stepping into something new.

Project Funders

The exhibition Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2016 at the Armory originated at the Queens Museum. The Armory’s presentation of this exhibition, along with the commission and presentation of the new work, What Fuels Development?, is made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council Creative California Communities, and the National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project.

What Fuels Development? has been co-commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), in partnership with Pangea (Minneapolis, MN), Armory Center for the Arts, 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). The Forth Fund is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information: www.npnweb.org.

Do you want the cosmetic version or the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2016 at the Queens Museum was produced with funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and National Endowment for the Arts. Project funding was also provided by Surdna Foundation and Institute of Museum and Library Services.