John Malpede

John Malpede, directs, performs, and engineers multi-event arts / organizing projects. In 1985, Malpede founded and continues to direct the Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), the first performance group of artists living and working in Skid Row. LA. LAPD ‘s mission is to create performances that connect lived experience to the social forces that shape the lives and communities of people living in poverty.  Recent projects have addressed mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and the resilience of the Skid Row community faced with gentrification and displacement.  In addition to ongoing work in Skid Row LA, LAPD has produced projects around the U.S., Europe and in South America. Malpede’s  “RFK in EKY” recreated Robert F. Kennedy’s original “war on poverty” tour of eastern Kentucky in the course of a four-day, 200 mile series of events that included, performance, installation, and in-depth discussion of jobs, education, environmental degradation and war. As a fellow at MIT, he created Bright Futures a critique of financial engineering in response to the 2008 financial crisis.


LAPD’s Walk the Talk is a biennial parade and performance, and epic people’s history of the Skid Row neighborhood and the activists, artists, and recovery minded folk living and working there that have made it a dynamic center of compassion and visionary social interventions. Next iteration of Walk the Talk will be memorial Day Weekend 2016. Photo by KCRW’s Avishay Artsy.