Help Matt Brawley and CoRE

Six weeks ago, the home/office of Matt Brawley, a member of suspension performance crew CoRE was devastated by a massive fire, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage both to Matt’s belongings as well as CoRE’s supplies. Steve Joyner and Patricia Cram have written the following piece detailing what happened and how you can help.

When Matt Brawley got the call from his landlord that told him his living/work space in downtown Los Angeles was on fire, he assumed, as many of us would, that the call was a joke. But his landlord abruptly hung up the phone and didn’t answer when Matt tried to call him back. Questions hammered at his head as he rushed out of the nightclub and raced home. What met his eyes, just after 3 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, eliminated all hope of it being a prank. The building in which he lived was, indeed, on fire.

The moments that followed were riddled with chaos as well as that silent reverence that comes from watching things burn and being helpless in the face of it all. He learned that the fire had started in his space, and that firefighters were working to contain it before it ravaged the homes of his neighbors (one of whom was a sound artist with a full recording studio, even). All production schedules and ideas for breakfast and plans for photo shoots and longing for sleep came to a screeching halt for Matt, the Director of the Los Angeles chapter of our performance art troupe, CoRE.

The fire spread quickly through the 2,000 square foot loft as firefighters cut a hole in the roof and worked to douse the flames. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to Matt’s personal space, his business, and to CoRE, as all of our gear for the L.A. chapter was housed in his loft. Later, fire investigators determined that the fire was started by one of the surge protectors that ran some of the equipment for Matt’s personal computer business. (And we learned that surge protectors are not made to outlast a life of five years.)

In this inferno, Matt lost everything but some dishes and family photos. Fierce were those gods of fire who took the computing equipment that has been his work for many years, all of his clothing, his furniture, his paperwork, his books, his movies…. Though his business and sustenance were lost alongside the memories collected throughout a life, we have all been grateful that the devastation did not take any lives, or make ruins of any of his neighbors’ homes.

We placed hope in the thought that Matt’s wise investment in renters insurance would help recoup his, and our, losses. But we discovered that the policy covered Matt’s computer business only. Our Los Angeles chapter has been reduced to ashes. CoRE lost approximately $11,000 worth of equipment in this fire:

- Flight cases
- Rigging equipment (ropes, pulleys, daisy chains, gloves, hard hats, etc.)
- Piercing equipment (hooks, needles, nitrile gloves, masks, equipment carts, custom PVC trace receptacles, a gurney, etc.)
- Costuming (custom corseted wings, custom collars, dresses, etc.)
- Makeup
- Props
- Set pieces
- And, sadly, on and on…

Immediately after word of the fire reached us, we sent a letter to the suspension community in the hopes of raising funds, and have since been able to also host two benefit parties in Los Angeles. Donations have reached $1,700 for Matt and CoRE. Our emotions run deep with gratitude as we turn to you, our larger community and the industries therein, to ask for your help in rebuilding our L.A. chapter and to help get Matt back on his feet. He has endured a great loss, and it is because of the support of others that he has been able to move forward with as much staunch determination as he has. And it’s been a time of great mourning for more than just objects – we are having to start over now and work to cull the phoenix from the ashes of all the blood, sweat, and tears that our family in L.A. put into CoRE and the walls that held it. Thank you to all who have supported us in word and deed.

We have set up a Paypal account for donations HERE, and are enduringly grateful for any assistance you can spare in these skin-and-bones times.

For those who want to see some other media on the fire, there’s this report from an L.A. County news source.

11 thoughts on “Help Matt Brawley and CoRE

  1. As a friend of Matt, i thank you for posting this for Him and for CoRE’s LA chapter.

  2. Back in the day, we would’ve seen craploads of comments with people saying they’d donated. But now BME is just a carbon-copy, a plastic fantastic shell of its former self, I don’t think you’ll get much of a response. Good luck though!

  3. I work for an insurance loss assessing firm (for the record – we work for the people against the evil corporations :p) so I see stuff like this all the time :( I know from my clients how much it sucks, especially when they find out they are underinsured :( I will donate on the condition that once replaced, proper insurance is taken out on the equipment so this doesn’t happen again!!!!!!!!! Ok I’ll donate anyway but please… get insurance… !

  4. I donated as much as I could. I know how bad it sucks losing everything you have. My house burned to the ground a few years back. I lost everything I owned. I seriously had nothing but the clothes on my back and my car. Good luck Matt. I hope that everything turns out ok for you.

  5. Best wishes to Matt and CoRE in general.
    ive had my stuff burned up before but i can only imagine how must it must suck for him.

  6. Yo Matt, threw you what I could nig. My band ION is playing the benefit show for you and CoRE in late July in Houston so that’ll throw you even more man. take care.

  7. Good luck getting CoRE back up and running. I chucked a few $ your way, its not much, but hopefully it helps.

  8. Oh that is bad luck…. And a terrible technicaöl failure, which makes you stunned. lack of insurance?! Sorry, but that is silly…

  9. Ooii, I’m so sorry this happened. I hope all goes well with raising funds…and if I actually had any of my own I’d help out in a heart beat.

    Good luck to you matt!

  10. Karma is a bitch. Matt lost everything because he gave nothing. He lost his 2000 sq ft loft in downtown LA while his daughter Noel resides in a modest 528 sq ft condo with no support from Matt for YEARS! That’s ok, things are looking up for Noel, while things will always remain bleak for Matt. What goes around comes around!!

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