The City of West Hollywood is celebrating the holiday season with a different type of holiday card which acknowledges the current coronavirus pandemic which we’re living through.
The city has taken a poem especially written for the occasion by the city’s poet laureate, Brian Sonia-Wallace, added artwork by WeHo-based artist Steven Rahbany and had it animated by Zoo Crew Productions.
Titled “After the Music,” the two-and-a-half minute video addresses the Zoom call and failed internet connections, working out at home, social distancing, isolation and more, while also offering holiday greetings.
“This year has been exceptionally challenging. The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact all of us and many people in our community are struggling with isolation during the holiday season,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath in a statement. “Art and poetry have the power to inspire us and bring us together, even in virtual spaces. This year’s City Poet Laureate holiday season poem and animated video creatively remind us to ‘praise the Zoom call’ and celebrate the things that connect us. Let’s heed its message to support one another, boom laughter, gather in virtual spaces, and stay connected. Happy Holidays, West Hollywood!”
Sonia-Wallace became the city’s poet laureate in Oct. 2020. He said he created the poem to address feelings of hope, connecting, and coping with isolation and change during this holiday season, which looks and feels so different due to the coronavirus pandemic. The motto of his company, RENT Poet (which was featured on NPR’s “How I Built This”), is “everyone needs a poem.”
Sonia-Wallace’s 2020 debut from Harper Collins,“The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America With a Typewriter,” was lauded as “full of optimism and wide-eyed wonder” byThe New York Times.
Steven Rahbany’s art explores queer identity and social issues through photography, textures, and illustration. His work has been exhibited in group and solo shows around the country, at venues such as the Houston Contemporary Art Museum, the Los Angeles Center for Photography, Agora Art Gallery in New York, and the California African-American Museum.
Watch the video below: