Beloved Wheels, Love S.A.N.S.

Shandela Contreras
Seacrest Dixon
Nathael Torres
Andy Gonzalez

Our film “Beloved Wheels, Love S.A.N.S” is a tribute to World on Wheels, a South LA cultural iconic infrastructure. The legacy of World on Wheels (WOW) was threatened during its first closure  in 2013  prior to its reopening on July 19 2017.  The way this skating rink survived the LA Riots of 1992, a bankruptcy, a change of ownership and gentrification,  and its struggle to persist in the 2020 pandemic sparked an interest in our group.  The space has witnessed multiple key moments in South LA history, and has been protected and loved by South LA music icons like Nipsey Hussle (who saved the rink in 2017), Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-z, Beyonce-- the list goes on.  In documenting what it means to the community and its symbolic importance to youth today,  our team found it essential to tell the life of the place that gave life to many others in return, a place that had provided the community with a sense of security in times of need.  A rink that gained popularity in the ‘80s when it opened on Halloween has since then been passed down to another generation of individuals. In a four-part structured film - memory, love, loss, future, we present to you Beloved Wheels, Love S.A.N.S.

When we initiated the creation of this film, we sought to connect it to our class’s study of Frances E. W. Harper’s novel, Iola Leroy.  We were inspired by the novel’s scenes that were in relation to Black cultural infrastructure, for instance, the A.M.E church, described as a space where the community could “share experiences and break bread with each other” through the building of memories; or a community conversation, where for example Harper uses metafiction to preserves herself and her call for a triumphant future through Miss Delaney (who does a poetry reading of a “Miss Watson” (a.k.a Harper)’s  poem, “A Rallying Cry;”  or the freedmen school run by the protagonist Iola, burned down by the malicious white southerners.    
These separate, but plot-unifying moments in the novel reveals and preserves the complex struggles of the Black historical experience.  The themes in them--memory, love, loss and the future-- are conceptual catalysts of our own retelling of the deep history of this important center for Black LA culture, World on Wheels.

Beloved Wheels, Love S.A.N.S would like to thank Ms. Kim Thomas Barrios, d. sabela grimes, Giovanni Harper, and of course, World on Wheels.  The film’s soundtrack samples from “World on Wheels (ft.kyle dion)” by Duckwrth,  “September”, by Earth,Wind, & Fire , “Little Red Corvette” by Prince, “Young, Wild and Free” by  Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa, “Memories” by The Temptations, “Do You Love What You Feel” by Chaka Khan, “Double Up” by Nipsey Hussle, “Letter4U (Interlude)” by 42breezy, “We Ride (I See the Future )” by Mary J. Blige, “Play that Funk Music” by Wild Cherry.  Beloved Wheels also sampled visuals and footage of skaters and about WOW from the following sources Ellis Vernon (Los Angeles Magazine), Do LA ( Do Stuff Network), Christine Renee (Curbed Los Angeles), Kamry James (Instagram), “WOW Visualizer” by Summer Breeze Hoskins & Duckwrth (Youtube), Save World on Wheels. Transcript of original poetry featured in the film available here.

“...the elements of evil burst upon her loved and cherished work. One night the heavens were lighted with lurid flames, and Iola beheld the school, the pride and joy of her pupils and their parents , a smouldering ruin.”

“...a neat, commodious, frame building, with a blue ceiling, white walls With and without, in large windows with mahogany-colored facings. It was a site full of pathetic interest to see that group that gathered for miles around.They had come to break bread with each other, relate their experiences, and tell of their hopes of heaven.”