The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “Hold Me, the Walls are Falling”

Hold Me, the Walls are Falling
Poetry by Robert Krut
Directed by Nick Paonessa

Embracing the decrepit Downtown Los Angeles imagery brings a nostalgic tone to Robert Krut’s poem, Hold Me, the Walls are Falling. Like so many other big cities, DTLA is falling into the Condo Cancer syndrome of gentrification. “Hold me, hold me because when we look up this will all be gone”, like so many other places whose charm was sculpted by preceding generations. The formula repeats itself: allowing an area to tumble into seediness, sometimes due to a failing economy. Then it’s rediscovered by artists, chop shops, ninety-nine cent stores, and vagrants. Cheap rents and larger spaces is the reason why these places are so attractive.

The street scene is typical. The “illegals” are the ones who are visible along with people who have time to spare and addictions to feed. They can still find low-wage work in sweatshops that will also fall victim to urban renewal.

It’s just a matter of time before this landscape disappears and is eaten up by large corporations, only to make way for more luxury housing or another Disneyland, where the “hipsters” will live six in a room, because it’s the next “cool” neighborhood to inhabit.

I feel the poem is very much in sync with the imagery. It’s telling us that we can’t stop the inevitable. But for this particular moment in time, the calm before the storm so to speak, we can dwell in its loneliness and enjoy the pause before it moves into its next phase.

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.”