Kevin Jerome Everson

Kevin Jerome Everson: Cinnamon

USA, 2006, 71 min., color and b/w, Beta SP

"Making something beautiful out of the grime, labor and noise of the dragster circuit, Kevin Jerome Everson continues his string of fascinating doc-dramatic hybrid films." -Robert Koehler, Variety

Los Angeles premiere
Jack H. Skirball Screening Series

Documentary footage and conventionally scripted narrative alternate in this engrossing and lush portrait of African American drag racers as Kevin Jerome Everson lovingly tracks the meticulous routine kept by Erin, a mortgage loan officer who races on weekends, and John, her ace mechanic and coach. An ode to the beauty of repetition as much as to the thrill of automobile and racetrack, Cinnamon is also an intimate celebration of African American craft.

In person: Kevin Jerome Everson

Preceded by:

A Week in the Hole (2001, 6 min., color, 35mm)
A factory employee’s adjustment to materials, time space and personnel during his first day of work.

Pictures From Dorothy (2001, 5:30 min., color, 16mm)
A delightful experimental variation on The Wizard of Oz.

Nectar (2007, 3 min., b/w, DVcam)
The poetry of close-up.

According to (2007, 8:30, b/w, DVcam)
Stories of interracial murders are told twice.

The everyday routines of life and work form the backbone of the films and videos of Virginia-based, Ohio-raised artist Kevin Jerome Everson. Taking his cues from everything from Leonardo da Vinci sculptures and Caravaggio paintings to school-supply deliverymen and African-American drag racers, Everson connects the ivory-tower realms of high art with the gritty, day-to-day grind of working-class America, especially as it’s lived by black Americans. “My artwork and films are about responding to daily materials, conditions, tasks and/or gestures of people of African descent,” he writes. “The results usually have a formal reference to art history and resemble objects or images seen in working-class culture.”

Whether in his 2005 debut feature Spicebush (winner of the Best Documentary Award at the New York Underground Film Festival), the 30-odd shorts he made beforehand or his most recent creation, Cinnamon (premiered at Sundance in January 2006), Kevin Jerome Everson contemplatively turns his camera toward the worlds that most artists ignore but which the rest of us live in every day. His films illuminate, as he puts it, “the relentlessness of everyday life,” the gestures, rhythms and places of black working-class America, and the pride and grace found within. It’s as if Jonas Mekas left the Lower East Side and made films chronicling Mississippi’s barely getting-by. A mechanic lovingly working on a car; a bank teller going through her day; correctional officers pacing a prison walls: ordinary people, living ordinary lives. Suddenly onscreen, afforded the necessary respect by Everson’s photographic eye and unassuming experimental textures, the ordinary moments of their days turn extraordinary, and speak with a bruised beauty and a halting poetry. Everson, who has an MFA from Ohio University, is now an assistant professor of art at the University of Virginia, and splits his time teaching, creating fine art, photography and sculpture, and making films. Cinnamon, his portrait of the craft of African-American drag racing, played at a number of A-list festivals, including Sundance and Rotterdam festivals. In Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Filmmaking 2006” Everson says the film “is about creativity; it just so happens that it is suggested through drag racing. Drag racing is like abstract painting; the layperson thinks it is easy, but it has its own complex language.”

Associated Images: 


Date/Time G ST CA
Mon 4.9.07 8:00 pm $8 $6 $4

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff