The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “We Are The Parents of L.A. (for Harvey Kubernik)”

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I first visited L.A. in 1986 with the intent of moving there. I stayed in Laurel Canyon and enjoyed the gigantic billboards on Sunset and what the city had to offer. When I finally did move in 1987 it was a different story. I lived in Silver Lake. At that time it was one of those forgotten neighborhoods teeming with bodegas, Mexicans and of course artists. Silver Lake sits between two, then-seedy neighborhoods, Hollywood and Echo Park. At the time, gentrification was slow going east towards Downtown and you took your life in your hands walking or riding through. This was my L.A. back in the 80s and I loved every aspect of it. A façade of glitz against the graffiti sun baked streets where people struggled to stay one step ahead of the landlord and/or worked as waiters, anticipating the next audition and perhaps their chance at stardom.

We Are The Parents Of L.A. (for Harvey Kubernik) captures my existence in the city of angels. Film trio T. Gerike, R. Koval, S. Raphael (also known as Facts), did an awesome job creating the film. The cinematography is beautifully framed and captures every aspect of the city, from the Pacific Ocean, to the oil fields and flavorless shopping malls. The people on the street selling Mylar balloons and clothing add to the tone of the entire piece, revealing the reality of how most people live and not what you see on T.V. The poem grew out of a spoken word piece by Henry Rollins (one of my favorite commentators on pop and counter culture). See “Thank You America: Punk prayers old and new fuel a Thanksgiving message” at NOWNESS.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Cheryl Gross (website, blog) is an illustrator, painter, writer, and motion graphic artist living and working in the New York/Jersey City area. She is a professor at Pratt Institute (where she received her MFA) and Bloomfield College.

Her work has appeared in numerous festivals and publications as well as gracing the walls of many galleries, corporate and museum collections.

“I equate my work with creating and building an environment, transforming my inner thoughts into reality. Beginning with the physical process, I work in layers. I am involved in solving visual and verbal complexities such as design and narrative. My urban influence has indeed added an ‘edge’ to my work.”

Cheryl has often been compared to “Dr. Seuss on crack.”