A walking tour investigating the layered history of the 3-block area around In the Heart of the Beast Theatre with mini-performances in 8 different sites, July 2005

  • Instigated and Directed by Sandy Spieler. Thanks to my ‘Excavation’ artist creator/partners with this project: Ramon Cordes, Soozin Hirschmugl, Masanari Kawahara, Roy McBride, Patricia Mendoza, Duane Tougas, Laurie Witzkowski, Esther Ouray, Julie Kastigar, Anne Sawyer.

Director’s Notes


An Act of Curiosity and Gratitude

On May 16, city officials broke ground for the Lake Street Reconstruction Project. During the next 6 years, every inch of Lake Street will be opened up, mended, and re-stitched according to plans negotiated with a blend of city planning and community participation.

The opening of Lake Street awakened our curiosity of what lies beneath its skin of bricks and cement. We began our own ‘excavation’ as questions of pasts and futures rose up. Questions of economics, of loss and love , migrations, entangled systems of poverty, violence and re-gentrification and the idiosyncratic weave of culture alongside the evolving infrastructure of the city.

There were no over-riding perspective or theme with which we began- each of the Excavation artists brought their own ‘sight’ to the work of this ‘performed tour’ along with their deep affection for this place.

What is the intrinsic soul of Lake Street?

Even though I have lived and worked here for over 30 years, I cannot rationally define the mysterious energy which continues to hold my heart. I have grown into my passion for this place through the people I meet, their stories inscribed honestly in their faces and eyes. Communication happens in many ways beyond the constructs of human language.

Even the buildings speak…..

Many thanks for the generosity of neighbors and shop keepers who shared their detailed stories with us! We entered many doors, meeting neighbors who are now part of our conscious daily patterns.

As you journey on this tour with us, we hope you glimpse the ‘glorious realness’ of these three blocks of Lake Street with expanded appreciation for the creative and cultural vitality of our neighborhood. Please participate with questions and stories of your own as we travel together.

May this project bring us each a bit closer to one another.

Photos by Bruce Silcox