City Releases Poetry-Filled Animated Video
The City of West Hollywood celebrates National Poetry Month each year in April with a variety of events and exhibitions honoring poets and poetry. This year, in addition to programming, the City of West Hollywood has produced a flamboyant and imaginative five-minute video called “I Sing the Body West Hollywood,” which animates a citywide collaborative poem of the same name crafted from lines contributed by more than 100 participants. The video was released today on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/TP0aC2lvhPA.
West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Kim Dower created the poem “I Sing the Body West Hollywood” in homage to Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” during National Poetry Month in April 2017. The poem, in first-person, opens with the verse, “Lights twinkling, swanky, wrinkled penthouse delirium embedded in cactus hills, high heels ablaze, steam from heated motel pools rising to kiss the night air, I sing the body West Hollywood.” The poem’s lines were collected from West Hollywood community members over the course of several months and were intricately woven together by Dower. The poem paints a vivid picture of place like no other, which offers community members a sense of belonging unrivaled anywhere. “West Hollywood,” the poem finishes, “its hills, skinny sidewalks, cafes, seniors, heroes, sightseers, freedom seekers, treasures, my city with a small town feel. I sing the body West Hollywood: my past, present & future.”
Dower’s poem was the inspiration for a public art project called I SEE YOU WeHo by West Hollywood artist Miguel Andrisani, also known as Migs, which was installed in March 2018 as a set of three-story-tall triptych banners at the West Hollywood City Hall Community Plaza, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. The artwork, which is a direct reference to scenes within Dower’s poem, overflows with the vivid landscape of West Hollywood’s iconic places brought to life with a cast of Technicolor-hued characters. The artwork brings the poem to life, through a digital rendering, traversing from day into night and from the streetscape to the rooftops of the City. The installation was organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of its Art On The Outside program, which installs temporary works in parks and public places throughout the City.
The video for “I Sing the Body West Hollywood” was produced by the City of West Hollywood’s Communications Department, which combined the ingredients of Dower’s poem, read aloud by the poet herself, with animated imagery from Andrisani’s renderings, mixed with an electronic dance music soundtrack curated by Derek Monteiro, Audiomoe, and Aaron Colbert. The result is a colorful and captivating five-minute voyage into the lyrical heart of what makes West Hollywood uniquely special as a place that its residents have come from all over the world to call their own. The video was produced in collaboration with Zoo Crew Productions.
The City of West Hollywood began its City Poet Laureate program in 2014. The City’s current City Poet Laureate, Kim Dower, has been a West Hollywood resident for more than 30 years. She received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she also taught. She has published three poetry collections (Red Hen Press): Air Kissing on Mars (2010); Slice of Moon (2013); and Last Train to the Missing Planet (2016); and her poems are included in several anthologies. She teaches workshops called “Poetry and Dreaming” and “Poetry and Memory” in the B.A. Program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.
For additional information, and to read the 2018 citywide collaborative poem “West Hollywood is for Dreamers” please visit the City of West Hollywood’s City Poet Laureate program web page or the City’s Arts Division website at www.weho.org/arts.For more information about the video, please contact Joshua Schare, Communications Manager for the City of West Hollywood at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 848-6431. For more information about the City’s Arts Division, please contact Andrew Campbell, Arts Manager for the City of West Hollywood, at email@example.com or (323) 848-6883. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.