Category Archives: Experience

The Highland Park Trailer Project

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I moved to the one-of-a-kind neighborhood of Highland Park in North East Los Angeles (NELA) early 2014. Paradise. I was steps away from Figueroa Street, a melting pot of history, culture, and the kind of diverse community one only dreams of. Day and night I heard the buzzing of cars traveling north to Pasadena or southward toward Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), just a couple of miles away via the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway.

Highland Park Silver Streak Trailer

Everyday I passed vintage autos lining my street, a stunning collection belonging to a life long HP native. I’d stroll by the Highland Theater ,with its giant, glimmering marquee lights, and quickly became a deeply involved member of the Milagro Allegro Community Garden after winning my own plot in the biannual garden lottery. Shortly after, I joined the Arroyo Seco Arts Collective, the longest standing active arts collective in East LA. From the top of Deb’s Park, I had a 360 degree view reminding me of all the reasons I now find myself residing on the West Coast. It should be noted, however, a piece of my heart will forever reside in the south, where I grew up in Florida.

When I first arrived to HP, I lived with two brilliant physicists (my soon to be best friends) pursuing and ultimately receiving doctorates in particle and theoretical physics at CalTech University. I found them on Craigslist. Together we explored HP and its various and equally interesting surrounding neighborhoods. We still are passionate about experiencing and absorbing the uniqueness of every corner. I adopted my dog, a xoloitzcuintli named Tesla, from my next door neighbors whom tended the Tierra de La Culebra Art Park, a long-time beacon of communal arts in the area.

It came time to relocate, and I most randomly, bumped into a true spur-of-the moment deal of a lifetime for myself and my new landlord. I’d move my belongings that very evening (consisting of just two trips across the way in my Honda Fit) onto an acre of sacred land in the heart of the place I called home. Sharing the large piece of land with me, would be my landlord and close friend, a world-renowned artist (look her up here–), tediously working away in her studio and pouring her heart and soul into her land. It would not be a conventional living arrangement (I’d have to run across the yard to go to the restroom, take a shower, and use the kitchen and washing machine), yet it turned into my most prized art project and life experience to date.

The 19′ long 1969 Vintage Silverstreak “Jet” that I’d passed by wondering about everyday for well over a year had suddenly become the space and canvas for a most great art piece andadventure. The caveat was that I’d have to re-build everything from the ground up, as the livability of the trailer was next to zero—a challenge I did not hesitate to accept. There was undeniably work to be done. When the project began, my heart was in it, and there was no turning back. Soon after the groundbreaking, passing travelers, and neighbors in their cars cheered me on as I worked tirelessly with some friends through the heat day after day, every day, for over a month. I was thankful to be in a place where I could afford to make the renovation my full time job for at least a little while. The odds and ends came organically.


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Initially, this trailer was used as a mobile office for the LA Department of Water and Power . Therefore its original interior had been modified to accommodate a more functional work space. Task #1—it had to be gutted. Whatever critters might have been calling it home would have to relocate elsewhere.

In the heat of summer, the next priority was ventilation. Initially, it seemed there was none. It was stagnant and suffocating, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.  After some YouTube research, with the help of a friend, we installed three air vents atop the roof. Until these were installed, I improvised by sleeping in the breezy outdoor porch of the main house, or slept in my car with the trunk open (it was cooler in those spots than inside the 100+ year old, 100% American Craftsman home). We caulked, tarred and sealed any existing cracks to prevent water damage inside, and re-screened the multiple surrounding windows. Privacy and curtains would have to come later.

Some of the most enlightening things I learned about myself during this journey were a) I don’t need a lot of material things, b) I like getting my hands dirty, and most interestingly of all, c) I don’t require much privacy (like, at all). At some point, there isn’t anything left to hide.


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This is what it looked like after the initial gutting. Luckily there was a pre-existing deck (this plays a major part soon).


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After acquiring some beautiful lumber from my friend/owner (and one of the most up-and-coming contemporary  artists to watch of this time, Kyle Austin Dunn) of BayAreaCustomFurniture  located in Oakland, I was able to do some fine-tune wood working with the beautiful extra donated slats used to add accents and personal touches of my own. Primarily these pieces were used for wall panels and my custom work desk. I came across solid red wood floor panels and gained my hands on experience laying down a genuine hardwood floor, replacing sheets of old, damp, plywood. The result gave a true breath of life to the space. Stark white walls were established after three layers of primer, three layers of paint, and two days of scrubbing and cleaning away years of grime and dust.


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Living a minimalist lifestyle has always been my chosen path. Each item in the trailer was of personal value. My goal was to create product of form and function working in concert—Pictures, curated salon wall, artwork of friends, antique furniture and accent pieces, the works. The vintage barber chair show is a stellar find from a local man of the neighborhood with an unparalleled skill collecting metal odds and ends selling them to local antique and vintage stores. We’d done business before, and he came to me first, knowing I’d be ecstatic. Um, yes please.


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Hanging on the wall to the left in the photo below is the original hand drawn design plan for the the community garden. These sort of pieces are priceless. My bed shown above is small and an irregular shape. A special foam pad needed to be cut to accommodate the curved front of the trailer, but it fit me perfectly. Space underneath functioned as extra storage, optimizing any and all extra areas I had to play with.

Those nights ended up being some of the best rests I’ve ever had. In the summer, when it was scorching, I’d sleep with the door wide open, facing palm trees, while Chopper, our sweetest property dog, staked out on the deck keeping me safe. In the winter, it was a different story. I had a small yet effective space heater. Yet my mother sensed the probability of changing weather conditions and mailed an electric blanket well in advance during the early fall…(thanks, Mom).


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Power ran straight from the main house under a shallow ditch using a couple long, orange extension cords. Something tells me this isn’t to code. I’ll apologize later. Moving on!  It was thrifty clearly a project in which we had to be resourceful—not to mention, it worked perfectly. The hanging lanterns shown here proved my primary light sources. When it came to using the internet or talking on the phone I took that business out to the deck any hint of a signal.

The stump pictured below is actually made of real California avocado wood, originating from a mature tree I knew during my time surfing for six months in Ventura, California  before making my post-graduation move to LA to pursue my burgeoning future as a writer and producer in Hollywood. The beautiful tree was tragically cut down, despite much protest from locals. Alas I collected the remnants I could. I created this stump and a live edge coffee table which I added hairpin legs to and use on a daily basis.


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This is the even more fun part.

Months later after the bulk of the work was in good standing, a close friend of mine, a Senior Producer at The Ellen Show, approached me about an upcoming segment of the Ellen Show show called Grand Design. A professional crew would come in, and renovate various spaces across the country in just two days per project for under $1,000. Obviously, I was down for it all. Within a month the job was done and exceeded any and all expectations. See for yourself.


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The revived shiny coat was achieved by using a finish that is used by airliners to maintain their appearance and upkeep. A turquoise stripe added just the right personal touch, matching the style of not only myself but also my eccentric property owner/artist whom generously allowed me to share her land. Potted succulents on the deck lived organically among the surrounding natural plant landscape.

The best parts are the simple horizontal slat privacy walls and sunshade, making it easy to entertain, as it was more difficult in such small quarters. The transformation was not only aesthetically transforming but also initiated a re-birth and revitalization in the mindsets and hearts of all that gave energy to this project.

Others seemed to agree!

Look at all the attention it received on social media! My project got its fifteen minutes of fame and also a lifetime of appreciation and love from me.


Check out the articles here.

Want to see the episode? Click HERE!


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There were many of these lazy days and and existing  lifetime of gratitude, memories and pride in my work and the team of others that helped me with achieve my vision.


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Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

Original post here: Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

trailer update 2

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The Whirling Girlish for @HappeninginHighlandPark !

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As of late I’m writing for @HappeninginHighlandPark (http://happeninginhighlandpark.com) and below is a feature that just posted today about the urban garden in, you guessed it—Highland Park!

Link to full article here!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The time has come! The Best of Craigslist LIVE! is having our “12 Days of Craigsmas” Holiday Performance…and it’s TONIGHT!

Do you live in Los Angeles? Do you like laughing? Do you find that you like laughing with people who aren’t annoying, or laughing because of the delirium that has set in after three hours of idling on the 405 during rush hour traffic? Then, boy, do I have something for you…

That’s right! It’s here! The Best of Craigslist Live! is have our holiday performance tonight in the MiMoDa Studio at the Paper or Plastik Cafe. Here are what the official details look like: 

Best of CL Live Official Event Info Screen Shot

And I wish I could give you a taste of what’s to come in the show tonight, but then I would have to label this post as Not Safe For Work, and that would do me no good! 

It’s gong to be a great show with some even better material. The only things better than both of the betters that I have listed is the audience members, which always succeed in making The Best of CL Live! shows as amazing and absurd as they are. 

If you just want to walk in without knowing what to expect (my hat’s off to you), then see you later! For the rest of you that like to do a little research before hand ( no shame, no shame) then here’s a little more about The Best of Craigslist Live! : 

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Website: http://www.thebestofcraigslistlive.com

AND, the venue itself is pretty stellar. Check out more about the MiMoDa studio here (since you are already delved into research this far).http://www.mimodastudio.com

I also have a lot of information available on my Linkedin Account, so feel free to add me and check it out for yourself!https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreakainumajackson

As posted before, it never falls short of a good time. Just look at this picture! 

the best of craigslist live performance Facebook original image performance art comedy show mimosa theater paper or plastic cafeThose people look bored to you? Nah, I don’t think so! So come one, come all! Experience the beautiful art form that is comedy, live performance, and a display of true human eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. For more information, contact me here or refer to the official Best of Craigslist Live! Facebook page by clicking here : https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Best-of-Craigslist/556564161036696

See you there! And if you aren’t there, then, you’re probably somewhere else. 

Love always,

The Whirling Girlish 

Brasilian Artist Lise Forell: WWII Jewish refugee, renowned artist, woman of brilliance, innovation, and courage

by Andrea Jackson

**A re-post of an original piece written by me in October 2013. Lise Forell has been a mentor and mother-figure to my own mom for over 40 years. Her work has been admired by millions around the world, and has a message and story unique to the incredible life journey she has led. I thought it would be a nice taste of the multi-cultural make-up of Brasil during this exciting time while Brasil hosts the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. As always, thanks for the love and support, Whirling Girlishers!  **

The story of a remarkable woman’s journey through history and her love affair with art     

In a few weeks, artist Lise Forell will be ninety years old. People from around the world will flock to her home of Sao Paulo Brazil to celebrate her life and to attend her annual holiday bizarre. Audiences stand entranced in the presence of her enormous art collections. Regular attendees meticulously analyze each piece, partaking in a ritualistic decision making process to determine the next addition to their Lise Forell collections. Among the pieces are murals portraits, landscapes, abstracts and more. One room remains unvisited by eager collectors, however. Referred to by Lise as the “forbidden room”, this untouched space houses some of Lise’s most precious works, some displaying graphic and controversial images. Some of these works might not be revealed to the public in her lifetime, because the public might not be ready, says Lise. Her signature style incorporates bold colors, a vast range of cultural situations, and even images of her dreams. It is the display of a broad range of inspiration derived from a culmination of life experiences.

“Lovingly sheltered by Nature, I can, with neither hurtful nor revolting feelings, dive into reminiscence and care for my memories. As much as the bad, as good.” – Lise Forell

Lise Forell Painting

Lise’s epic journey begins in city of Brno, the capital of Moravia. Born to Kaiser Army decorated Jewish Lieutenant Otto Forell and her mother Grete, Lise began her infant life in war torn Europe. A strict and unusual upbringing only cultivated Lise’s rebellion from the ideals of the masses, and her preferences towards humanism, pacific idealism, and awakening.

Her school years also found themselves tangled in conflict. Lise would inevitably find herself soaked in a mix of diverse cultures for the duration of her academic career. It began when the German schools converted to the Check language, and by that time, it had become too difficult for young Jewish children to be accepted into the system. It was typical for the Jewish youth to flee to countries such as Palestine to continue their educations and attempt to live in peace. Unwilling to send Lise away alone, her parents sent her to live in Belgium with her paternal grandparents. Her vast array of language would include German, Yiddish (a combination of Hebrew, Medieval German and Russian) and some Latin, among others.

Despite her young age, of about 15 or 16, Lise attended classes at the Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp. Her family displayed some sporadic hesitancy because of the liberal associations of the art world, however Lise pressed forward.

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Her time as an art student was interrupted around her final year when she was stricken ill with the Scarlet Fever. During this time, Scarlet Fever claimed the lives of thousands across Europe. Fearing for their daughter’s life, her parents were able to ruse their way into Belgium to tend to their ailing daughter. Little did they know, once they left their homeland, they would never return again.

Lise recovered from her fever, only to enter the time of the initial Nazi Invasion of 1939. This was no time for a Jew, let alone a Jewish woman. Her family vowed to stick together, and they packed what little belongings they had into a single car, and headed from the border of Spain and France. During this trek Lise and her family endured air raids, malnourishment and the piercing cold. Upon reaching their destination, they were redirected to Marseilles, finding that Jews were not permitted to cross the border.

Relentlessly, her father ,Otto, sought a way to flee Europe. The cheapest visa for purchase was to Brazil. So, Brazil it was. Although time was of the essence, it would take months for the visa to arrive. Meanwhile, Lise was able to acquire a job through an acquaintance, hand-painting cinema signs. She was a skilled worker, and in charge of painting the faces of the actors and actresses advertised in the movies. Here she endured the ridicule and harshness of her French co-workers. Alas, in the December of 1940, her family’s visa arrived. They boarded the small crowded liner named Alsina only to be held prisoner on the ship for the next seven months. Ship workers claimed the delay was a result of mechanical malfunctions on the ship, but the passengers knew otherwise.

A pit stop on Casablanca, and a brief relationship with an officer, introduced Lise to her acquiring a new method of escape. In time, her father was able to work up enough money to purchase new tickets to Brazil, despite having paid full price for the same tickets months before. This was finally their chance. By September 25 of the following year, her family touched foot in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rapt in her new culture, Lise quickly learned the native tongue of Portuguese and observed the many layers of society in which she now called “home”. In time, her father gained a position as an accountant at a magazine, and her mother was able to earn work as a caterer. Though their living conditions were far less affluent than in their homeland, they worked hard to achieve success and networking in their new surroundings.

Lise’s passion still remained in art. Her paintings often were sold using the barter system rather than money. It was around this time she used her skills as an artist to give lessons. This would be her profession for the rest of her life.

By the time the Nazi Empire collapsed, and the end of the Second World War left the world in disarray, Lise’s family learned that many of their family had not survived concentration camps and the terror that came with them. Her life after this time would include her husbands and children, unaware of the personal struggles and experiences that have constituted Lise’s life until their existence. Her independent nature caused much of her support to reside in her lifelong friendships and community.

A short-lived marriage with her first husband, Herbert, gifted Lise her son, Gregori. A longer marriage to Leonardo Bevilcqua produced her children, Gessica, Yorick, Diego, Debora, Raffael, and an adopted son, Roberto. After separating from her second husband, Leonardo, Lise and her grown children decided to start fresh, without the presence of their distracted father. This new chapter of life would take them to the bustling city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. A fresh mindset left Lise ready to conquer anything that cam her way, and with the confidence to move forward without a man. It was here that Lise’s art classes boomed, and her artwork began to sell. Often against her will, Lise sold paintings in various exhibitions, quickly attracting attention from collectors and critics from all around.

Eventually, she was given the opportunity to venture to Israel for a show. Unaware of the affect this trip would have on her paintings, Lise agreed. This was just the beginning of several trips she would take to Israel in her lifetime. The impact of her travels to Israel in a post Holocaust world would influence not only her artwork, but even some of her children. Her daughter, Debora, would eventually immigrate to Israel permanently to be closer to her religious roots.

To this day, Lise is recognized globally by renowned organizations, publications, critics and esteemed artists. She still maintains her ever rebellious attitude on life and paints what she pleases, categorizing her works to avoid being labeled any kind of “ist”— A trait perhaps resembling that of an actual first Avant Garde.

Her artwork evokes a sense of youthful play while engaging the audience in a quest for answers. This historical effect of her paintings leaves viewers asking questions about each piece and its origins. Elaborate floral murals capture the essence of each season, while portraits of families just as equally capture struggle, devotion, and love. Such an extensive and inclusive body of work provides aesthetically and emotionally appealing works for almost any human, despite background or beliefs. It is this that makes not only Lise’s work, but her actual self unique. Her open-mindedness and liberal ideals encompass respect and love for all, opening doors not only for her art, but soul.

She continues to draw inspiration from friends, family, students (which often refer to herself as family), and her country retreat. Like a true artist, Lise finds refuge in her country home which she calls SCHALOM, to escape the masses recharge her senses, and re-establish her relationship with nature. She returns from her sporadic retreats, with ample motivations to lay down her paintbrush to canvas and create her next masterpiece. Lise Forell shows no signs of slowing down, with scheduled classes every day, and multiple projects posted on easels around her studio at once. Her plants are always maintained and lively, while her many cats purr by her ankles.

It is powerhouse women such as Lise Forell which exemplify the notion that following your passion in life can defeat almost any obstacle despite the ideas of others. She is an example for young women and all artists alike to work hard and diligently towards a cause, despite outlying factors and naysayers. Not only does each piece of art Lise Forell creates embrace the past, but it also charges forward fearlessly into the future.

More information on Lise Forell can be found in her published book “Contrasts”.

An award winning film has been created by European filmmakers, following the incredible story of Lise. Trailer Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdJzizXxBz8 

“This is What Feminism Sounds Like”: FeministMagazine Interviews Bluestockings

Bluestockings Magazine

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This spring,an episode of Feminist Magazine featured a brief interview with Chanelle Adams, one of our Editors-in-Chiefs, by Cherise Charleswell

LISTEN HERE.

Feminist Magazine is a weekly So. Cal. radio show with feminist perspectives.

You can listen on Tuesdays 3pm PST 90.7 FM Los Angeles 98.7 FM, Santa Barbara, 99.5 FM Ridgecrest/China Lake & 93.7 FM San Diego.

OR, YOU CAN LISTEN LIVE HERE KPFK.org

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The Whirling Girlish featured in Rabble News (Canada)

Full Article here: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/thewhirlinggirlish/2013/12/caught-haze-angel-hazes-heart-felt-freestyles

The mission of The Whirling Girlish is to always embrace diversity, and advocate equality by raising awareness in others. The Whirling Girlish is a place in the digital community for forward thinkers and writers to share their content, art, and more.

Caught in the Haze: Angel Haze’s Heart Felt Freestyles

Angel Haze, born Raykeea Wilson, is as much a societal trailblazer as she is a rising rap artist. The career of the 22-year-old has come a long way since its genesis on Tumblr just a couple of years ago. But her story starts way before then. At age 16, Haze left her strict Pentecostal Greater Apostolic Church community in Detroit, Michigan and set out for Brooklyn, New York with her mother. Here, she was able to begin to tackle the mental and traumatic scarring inflicted by her unique religious upbringing which she now refers to as “a cult”.

Haze might be new to the music scene, but notable sources like Flavorwire are already deeming her the “most important rapper of 2013”. Notice this label is not gender specific. That’s right. Angel Haze is being called the most important and groundbreaking rapper of 2013 in general.

A self-proclaimed pansexual, Haze touches upon topics often swept under the rug in mainstream music. Her much anticipated debut album Dirty Gold is scheduled for release in January 2014. In preparation for the album’s release, Haze is currently releasing one freestyle cover track a day for the next 30 days as a part of her 30-Gold series.

Her freestyle cover of “Same Love” by Mackelmore and queer artist, Mary Lambert, explores the ever present topic of burgeoning sexuality. Sure, Mackelmore’s heart was in the right place when he released “Same Love”, but Haze has taken it further. Bold lyrics and personal accounts of Haze’s own sexuality create her honest, raw, and heart wrenching seven minute SoundCloud track. The original ‘Same Love” music video links the civil rights movement of yesteryear to the gay rights movement of today. Despite inspiring images of Martin Luther King Jr. and such, the music video paints too pretty a picture of the nature of gay rights justice in the present. While the surface message of the original version is noble, Mackelmore implies that there is an “us” or a “norm” that the LGBTQ community should be accepted into. Angel Haze throws out that idea entirely, and instead makes her version of “Same Love” dedicated to eliminating stereotypes and rather appreciating separate cultures for what they are. She challenges labels and the ideas of the entity of “us” because she understands that the reality is that we are all different, and there is no one way be.

Angel Haze doesn’t shun away the complexities and complications of gender. Many artists today, try to over simplify issues, by pooling people together, and creating generalizations. But it doesn’t work that way. It is important to resist this movement, for the reason that equality is not based on being accepted as a part of a heteronormative standard, but rather gaining acceptance for whomever you are as a person, regardless of labels and societal generalizations. Mackelmore was on the right track with his generic anthem, but the real progress will come from the artistic pioneers that aren’t afraid to speak about real unresolved issues that others like to think don’t about.

Similar to the original version of “Same Love”, Haze begins the song with personal accounts from her past:

“At age thirteen, my mother knew I wasn’t straight / she sat me on the couch, looked me straight in the face / and said “you’ll burn in Hell, or probably die of AIDS”.

In her own version, the lyrics transition to rage. She goes on to take a stand against labels and bigotry in the queer community with words from genderqueer poet Andrea Gibson. She concludes her freestyle with the words:

“No, I’m not gay / No, I’m not straight / And I sure as hell am not bisexual / Damn it I am whoever I am when I am it / Loving whoever you are when the stars shine / And whoever you’ll be when the sun rises”.

She refers to poets Andrea Gibson and Joshua Bennett as inspirational influences for her writing. Haze’s lyrics are blunt, brutal, and powerful. It is refreshing for such an innovative and young artist to make the most of her time in the spotlight to bring to surface some of the LGBTQ community’s most pressing issues. But it doesn’t stop there. Haze’s remix to Eminem’s “Cleaning out the Closet”, shocked and resonated with the public as she spit the truth about her past of sexual abuse, self-harm, and racial prejudice.

She’s already made great strides and etched a sound name for herself in the music community, and it’s just the beginning.

Angel Haze is here, she’s queer, and you can bet she’s not being quiet about it (and we’re glad.)

Check out more of her 30-Gold Series on her SoundCloud.