Spartan Trailer

Sun. October 28: The Nomadic People of Kentifrica

LOS ANGELES – Look for our 1951 Spartan trailer at the Leimert Park Art Walk on Sunday, October 28 where multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle will present “Kentifrican Travel Narratives,” a performance piece exploring  the nomadic cultures of Kentifrica, a continent where the history of Kentucky and the ancestral heritage of West Africa converge. The event will feature a concert with Kentifrican songs for safety on the road and other music performed on instruments made from and inspired by Kentifrican culture.  A café with Kentifrican food will offer food to the public.

Kenyatta Hinkle (Cal Arts, M.F.A. ’12) was the youngest artist to participate this summer in the Hammer Museum’s  “Made In L.A.”  Her work is currently on display at a group exhibit, “BAILA con Duende”at Watts Towers (September, 2012 – January, 2012. )  In October, she will be at the Bindery Projects in St. Paul, MN.  In November her work will be shown at another group exhibit at  The Studio Museum in Harlem.

 Kentifrican Travel Narratives: Transversing Boundaries                                    Leimert Park Art Walk                                                                                                                Leimert Park Village, Los Angeles, CA 91804  map                                                               Sunday, October 28 – 12 pm – 4 pm                                                                                               This event is a co-production with Ben Caldwell’s Kaos Films

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

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Downsized: Real Stories of Homeless Children

Downsized: Real Stories of Homeless Children, A Multimedia Exhibit

Trailer Trash is taking it to the streets.  We want to tell the stories of children living with their families in cars and trailers parked along the streets of Los Angeles.  We’re also want to hear from children whose families are facing foreclosure.  To get started, we need to buy a used van to tow our mobile recording studio – a 1972 Aristocrat trailer. Trailer Trash is a member of Fractured Atlas. Donations through our Indie GoGo Campaign are tax-deductible!

Our Mobile Recording Studio

CLICK HERE TO DONATE THROUGH INDIE GOGO

 ”…a  concerted effort to place children’s rights at the centre of urban decision-making is the only way to narrow the gaps [of inequality] and build a more equitable and prosperous urban future.”                                                             -UNICEF’s  State of the World’s Children 2012

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

A House Is Not A Home

Nearly $7 trillion dollars went up in smoke with the housing crisis in the United States. The loss in social capital has not been calculated.

The Trailer Trash Project is hitting the road, taking a mobile recording studio into Southern California neighborhoods to the tell stories of families fighting  to stay in their homes in the face of foreclosure.   A House Is Not A Home is the name of our new series of bi-monthly reports for KPFK 90.9 FM (Pacifica, Los Angeles). We’ll dig beneath the surface of housing crisis to pinpoint how one foreclosure can affect an extended family, a neighborhood and community.  We’ll also document how a coalition of activists have come together under the umbrella of the Occupy Movement to bring about much needed change. The series will also include a traveling exhibit will online access to material

Help us report from the road on the foreclosure crisis in Southern California.  We need to raise $3500  to buy an audio recorder and a used van to tow our 1972 mini camper. The camper will serve as  recording studio and home on wheels which we’ll take into neighborhoods around Southern California. (This 16′ camper is not to be confused with our 33′ Spartan trailer we are restoring as a performance space.)  Click here  to make a tax-deductible donation.

Javier Hernandez: "You hear stories of people who loose their homes and never get over it." Javier and his 4 year old brother are pictured at a rally in downtown L.A. to lend support for a lawsuit seeking redress of unlawful foreclosure practices.

We’ll tell the stories like these: Javier Hernandez was a 25 year old delivery driver in 2006 when Countrywide Finance him a $546,000 loan on a home.   Before signing, Javier, who planned to live in the house and share costs with mother, father and brother asked the lender if he thought the family could swing the $3,900 monthly payments that would require more than half the family’s income (The family had no   no credit medical or car payments debt.)   The lender assured him that after two years the value of the house would increase substantially and he could then refinance with lower payments.

In fact, the opposite happened. In 2008 Javier’s mortgage payments ballooned The lender assured him that the value of the house would increase substantially after two years at which point the family could lower their payments.  The opposite happened. In 2008 Javier’s mortgage payments balloonedThe lender assured him that the value of the house would increase substantially after two years at which point the family could lower their payments.  The opposite happened. In 2008 Javier’s interest rate ballooned, raising mortgage payments to $5,000. They asked to refinance but were told the value of their home had sunk; the only way to get help was to stop payments and go into default.  In 2008 they were given three months to vacate the house.  While the family remains in the house, they know the axe could fall at any time.  Meanwhile, Javier and his brother Ulysses – both previously apolitical,  have joined the Occupy Movement to support the fight to keep people in their homes.

When Bank of America bought Coutrywide,

Faith Parkerwho has lived in her South Central L.A. home for 50 years.  An educator

Mrs. Faith Parker and her eldest daughter Brenda outside Mrs. Parker’s South Central L.A. home of 50 years.

who has contributed much to children and families in her community, Mrs. Parker fell on hard times when she refinanced her home to get a loan to help care for her daughter who had contracted multiple-sclerosis.  Her mortgage payments shot up from $900 to $2200.  When Mrs. Parker asked for a second revision, Bank of America told her she would first have to default.    In a letter the Bank told her not to worry, trust the bank,  she didn’t need a lawyer.  After months of frustrating letter writing and calls, Faith’s house was put up for sale.

Bertha Herrera, a grandmother and volunteer chaplain for has lived in her home of more than 40 years.  Mrs. Herrera’s troubles started with an accident and ended with eviction from her home in January.  The Trailer Trash Project was there when deputies with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department broke down her door and evicted her.  On hand as well were more than a dozen “Occupiers” providing support and publicizing Mrs. Herrera’s plight. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Occupy The Hood

About 15 members of Occupy L.A. set up tents in Bertha Herrera’s back yard. They were there in solidarity with Bertha when the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department broke into the house and carried out a court ordered eviction notice. A day later, the house is on sale by Coldwell Bankers Residential Brokers.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Trailer Sows Ground With Creative Seeds

The rain didn’t stop us from having fun on Sunday November 20 when our 1951 Spartan Trailer served as a video booth for people to record their stories about food access and equity at Cornerstone Theatre’s Block Party. The party was the last in a two-week series of events called Creative Seeds – performances, discussions and learning opportunities – that kicked off a major Cornerstone Project, The Hunger Cycle – nine world premiere plays that will be performed over the next five years. In preparation for a show we plan for July, Sam Breen performed Bob Dylan’s poem “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie” accompanied by musician Kevin Robinson. Share YOUR stories of hunger and food at www.cornerstonetheater.org.  Cornerstone will post them on their blog and use them to inspire their work on the Hunger Cycle. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

NOMADS Mix It Up, Make It Up On Human Rights Day

The NOMAD Lab Art Project for children celebrated Human Rights Day on December 10 by envisioning a world – real or imagined – that they would like to live in. Multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and musician/composer Kevin Robinson led the event, held in an apartment complex at the Valle del Oro Neighborhood in Santa Clarita, CA., where the children live.  The Trailer Trash Project organized the event in collaboration with NOMAD Lab founder Evelyn Serrano, who uses art to encourage children to work together build a peaceful, tolerant multi-cultural neighborhood.
Musician/Composer Kevin Robinson with NOMAD kids

Tenor Saxaphonist Kevin Robinson, who is a firm believer in the power of music to heal, demonstrated how the sound that comes out of his instrument is influenced by his stance, breath, emotions – even the rate of his beating heart.  He showed how musical instruments can be fashioned from found objects such as hat stands, lamp stands and shades. Even the voice, hands and feet can be effective instruments, he said. A lesson in learning about how the music becomes one with your body came with Kevin encouraging the kids to clap their hands to a set beat, while he riffed and a NOMAD kid repeated sounds to a tune.This winter, the Kevin Robinson Ensemble (KREation) will be on tour in New York City and Baltimore this Winter (see dates)

For her part, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle recounted tales from her Kentifrica homeland, providing maps and drawing of the people who live there and the instruments they play.  She encouraged the NOMADS to draw maps of their own home country (real or imagined) and then asked them to describe what life was like there.

Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle's shows her portrait of a fellow citizen of Kentifrica to kids with the NOMAD Lab Art Project

Kevin Robinson, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and the NOMAD Lab Art Project collaborate with Sam Breen’s Trailer Trash Project in its mission to foster creativity and a sense of community through a program of art performances, exhibits and residencies in local Los Angeles neighborhoods.

NOMAD Lab founder, artist and CalArts faculty member Evelyn Serrano

In recognition of Human Rights Day, two international human rights lawyers based in Geneva, Switzerland joined the group.  Tom McCarthy and Anna-Lena Svensson McCarthy who were in California on a family trip, provided an opportunity to explain to that shelter is a human right.

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housingand medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” (article 25(1))  Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Thanks to Whole Foods of Valencia and  Steve’s Valencia Florist for their donations. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Trailer Trash at PACT Zollverein

Sam Breen joined a group of students and graduates presenting “CalArts Plays Itself” (September 29 – October 2, 2011) at PACT Zollvereinin Essen, Germany, one of Europe’s up-and coming culture centers. The show featured original, cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary work, including Breen’s “Trailer Trash Project: Life Meets Art in a Tin Can.” Using a 15-foot inflatable model of a travel trailer he told the story of how he lost his family home after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.  He explained how his mother—a former filmmaker for the United Nations refugee agency—was left without a place to live after the storm. A few years later, he took on unlikely

Musician Archie Carey presented at "CalArts Plays Itself," part of PACT-Zollverein 2011

project: he began transforming a 33-foot long trailer into a green place to live (for his mother) and a moveable place for him and his fellow artists to showcase their work. Even in its un-restored state, the 1951 Spartan trailer soon became a emblem at CalArts for student-driven creative work, the backdrop and the catalyst for many cultural events around the

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

institution. In Essen, Breen’s gallery space was crammed with the oversized blow-up model, making it hard for guests to ignore his invitation to step inside. The inflatable served as a dominating yet fragile symbol, a reminder of those who turn to transient living as a last resort.

” Sam Breen’s inflatable trailer project … lays bare contemporary America’s white whale: the housing problem, its connections to the current economic crisis, and to Hurricane Katrina. Like Jonah in the Old Testament, Breen was swallowed up by the whale. Several months later, he has been vomited out: the whale has turned into a screen onto which new stories are projected. The contemporary state of collapse has turned into a space of play, where new individualities and collectivities emerge”

Breen, who recently received an MFA in acting from CalArts, considered his 10-

Sam Breen in Essen with his inflatable trailer by sculptor Michael Darling

day stay at the PACT-Zollverin festival as a residency, using the opportunity to develop his presentation with his audience. He invited fellow artists— musicians taking part in other performances at the festival— to impromptu jam sessions inside the trailer. Daily conversations with patrons helped shape the installation. Many noted how the inflatable, sustained by two household fans, appeared to “breathe” as people entered and exited. It had a similar effect on Breen, who returned to Los Angeles energized with a new perspective on his project. He is planning to conduct more residencies, this time inside his actual trailer, which he will bring to the parking lots of cultural institutions in and around Southern California to continue renovating the trailer and performing art.

The Trailer Trash Project is a recent recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Sam Breen Receives Investing In Artsts Grant

The Center for Cultural Innovation has awarded Sam Breen an Investing In Artists Grant, given to individual artists to acquire equipment or materials that will support them in their creative process.  The $6,500 grant will be used to build a performance space inside the 1951 Spartan trailer that Sam has been working on since September, 2010. Thanks to CCI, Trailer Trash is able to engage Eddie Paul Industries to open up the trailer’s now-fixed front windows, making the indoor performance space accessible to outdoor audiences.  The process requires considerable re-engineering, since it means cutting into the trailer’s aluminum skin the structure that gives the trailer 80% of its strength (see monocoque design.)

The banquette will be used for readings and discussions. It can fold away and become a small performance stage for indoor or outdoor audiences.

The work should be finished for up-coming performances this Fall, including one in December for the NOMAD Lab Art Project for kids.  Like Sam, most artists pursue their work with little outside help – often by holding down low-paying, no benefits jobs. CCI understands that at certain points along an artists’ creative path, material and organization support can be critical.  In addition to material assistance, CCI provides training organizational support and networking with organizations like USA Projects. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Help KPFK Go Solar

On Saturday Sept. 24, Trailer Trash will help power a KPFK fundraising event at MacArthur Park to help the radio station go solar.  Bring your e-waste, enjoy some great food truck eats and listen to featured music.  Then pay us a visit inside our 1951 Spartan that we’re restoring into a green and mobile space to showcase art.   We’ll show you how we operate off-grid with solar.  Get a preview of  our composting toilet (Relax, it’s not hooked up yet!)

Saturday, 24 September

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

MacArthur Park in Los Angeles

corner of 7th and Park View St. (see map) 

Bring along these items to donate to KPFK:  computers, monitors, printers, scanners, copiers, routers, hubs, modems, peripherals, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, A/V equipment, cell phones,  and answering machines  No large home appliances like microwaves, refrigerators or air conditioners, please. For more info on KPFK’s solar plans, click here.

Featuring Music by KPFK’s Chuck Foster, Sergio Mielniczenko and DJ Boxy D!  Raffle, Food Trucks, Good Vibes & Green Energy!  Other participants: Lime Truck, Rebel Bites, Nomad on Wheels, ANEW, Grid Alternatives, Energy Upgrade California.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Trailer Gets Sleek and Sustainable Design

SCI-Arc student Dovid Feld has been helping us work out a new design for our 1951 Spartan Trailer.   The banquette area that wraps around the front windows will be the centerpiece for our indoor events:

Dovid's design envisions a modular banquette area for rehearsals and performances.

The area will be used for rehearsals, discussions, poetry and play readings, as well as art sessions with young people like our buddies the NOMADS. We took our inspiration from 1950′s-style diners. But we had to make sure that the seats would be light-weight so we could transform the space into a “stage” for concerts, puppet shows, etc.:

Vinly upholstery made with low VOCs and recycled content

Check out the upholstery material we are considering!   We are committed to building in a sustainable manner and take pride in doing considerable research before choosing materials.  This material is made from sturdy vinyl but it contains low VOC’s and uses 30% recycled content (20% post-consumer recycled polyester and 10% pre-consumer recycled vinyl).  We got the idea for using this particular brand from some of the students at SCI-Arc who working on a design for the Solar Decathlon, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The front windows have always been a key feature of Spartan trailers; the designs are intended to be reminiscent of an airplane cockpit.  However, the windows are fixed.  To open them up requires cutting into the skin and frame – not an easy feat.  The Spartan’s aluminum frame (a monocoque design) accounts for 70% of the trailer’s strength.  Cutting into it involves risk and opens up the possibility of leaks.

The bay window area of our 1951 Spartan is a great design. But the windows are fixed; we want to open them out. The job represents a considerable engineering challenge.

We’ve found the right guy for the job – Eddie Paul from EP Industries.  Opening up the windows, will allow us to make art (puppet shows, shadow plays, dances) available to outdoor audiences.  A small portable stage over the trailer tongue will add further possibilities:

The windows will open and a portable stage will go over the trailer tongue.

How is this all going to work?  We’ll figure that out as we go along, with the help of playwright and puppeteer Leila Ghaznavi and friends.  Her “Silken Veils” will be used as a template for other shows:  the audience will be seated outside;  marionettes and shadow puppets will be stage inside with actors and musicians on the outside stage.

Leila Ghaznavi’s “Silken Veils” will be used as a model for other performances we can stage in and around the trailer.

We’ve got a ways to go before we finish the restoration.  But we have a great new design to keep us motivated.  (Thanks, Dovid!)


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.