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Artist Statement: In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a series of informal fireside chats, evening radio talks to the American public. He calmed fears over the Great Depression by offering a sense of hope and security.

Unlike the presidential addresses, this fireside chat is multi-vocal. “Talking bricks” reveal stories about Kearny Street Workshop’s multiple homes and multiple displacements: from the International Hotel to North Beach to basement of the Manilatown Senior Center to the California Flower Market. These stories expose the resilience of KSW’s community and our ability to turn any place into a home.

Production Notes: This installation couldn’t have happened without the collaboration team of Max Chen and Sue Pak. With their help, we were able to construct the fireplace with wood and chiseled foam (by Max), make the "talking bricks" with very inexpensive speakers and short elbow 1/8" plugs (again, Max), and apply the images to the "talking bricks" (by Sue). We also each chipped in our resources to "borrow" the more expensive materials (mp3 players and frames).

And with our varying degrees of working with KSW, were were able to learn more about KSW history and current incarnation.

Featured interviewees: Al Robles, poet; Bob Hsiang, photographer; Chris Huie, photographer; Curtis Choy, filmmaker; Jim Dong, co-founder and printmaker; Leland Wong, printmaker; Mark Izu, musician; Nancy Hom, poet and printmaker; Norman Jayo, poet and musician; and Zand Gee, graphic designer.

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