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Iris Berry

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Iris Berry. Photo by Don Spiro
Iris Berry is a musician, writer, poet, Los Angeles pop culture historian and actress. One of the true and original progenitors of the L.A. punk scene. A native Angelino, her lifetime spent in the City of Angels has resulted in over two decades worth of astonishing literary contributions. Berry’s writing has been widely anthologized. In The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry she appears along side the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. Internationally known, her wit and often dark, factual accuracy and empathy for her subjects has brought critical acclaim as well as a huge fan base. Berry is the Author of several books including “Two Blocks East Of Vine,” and “The Underground Guide To Los Angeles,” co-authored with writing partner Pleasant Gehman.


[edit] Style and Themes

Berry writes her experiences with wit, grace and deadly precision. Her lullaby-and-bedtime-story voice is like a haunting tour of Los Angeles that lingers like one of the city’s famous unsolved murders. Her writing is gritty and scarred, but loaded with details, and an ironic, wry sense of humor. Whether she is paying tribute to a deceased cat, describing the suicidal tendencies of a gangster ex-boyfriend, or matter-of-factly chronicling a string of heroine overdoses, there is always a connecting thread – survivors wisdom and a sense of universal hope. Telling stories of Hollywood as it is and was, with a nonchalance that’s fragile, intelligent and tough all at once. And she doesn’t hide the sometimes unpleasant scenarios beneath flowery language.

[edit] Performances

No stranger to the microphone, Berry co-founded and toured extensively with legendary Los Angeles rock-n-roll and spoken word troupe, The Ringling Sisters (A&M Records) with legendary producer Lou Adler —famous for their numerous benefit shows enlisting local fundraising help from the likes of Henry Rollins, Hubert Selby Jr., Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, X, Possum Dixon, Ann Magnuson, The Gun Club (in their last-ever appearance), the Red Hot Chili Peppers, River Phoenix, Mike Watt, Concrete Blonde, Jim Carroll and more. Iris also fronted, sang and wrote songs for LA combos The Dickies, The Flesh Eaters, The Lame Flames and Pink Sabbath.

[edit] Entertainment Industry

Berry, not only a fixture, but also a chronicler of LA’s extensive underground scene. From bartending at after hour speakeasies; from working within the “legit” entertainment industry (Paramount, CBS, Culver Studios) to strutting around a Mexican wrestling ring in showgirl feathers; authoring the sex column titled; “Forbidden Fruit,” to appearing in a number of Independent films, best known for her performance in the Classic “Border Radio,” directed by Alison Anders. Berry can also be seen in the Beth Dewey film “Killhouse.” And is featured in a supporting role in Chris Desjardin’s “I Pass For Human.” Berry also appears in the documentary about Bob Forrest, titled, “Bob and the Monster,” and also in the soon to be released Allison Anders film, “Strutter.”

[edit] Bands

Berry has been involved with forming and playing in many bands including: The Lame Flames, Ringling Sisters, Pink Sabbath, Leather Mumu, The Bittersweets, The Flesheaters, Honk If Yer Horny. She sang along with Pleasant Gehman on the Dickies Record, “Killer Clowns From Outer Space.”

[edit] Movies


  • The Pyrex Glitch, 2012
  • The Casserole Club, 2012
  • One Night with You, 2006
  • Kill House (video), 2006
  • I Pass for Human, 2006
  • Border Radio, 1987


  • Bob and the Monster (documentary), 2011
  • Camp Casserole (documentary), 2011
  • Phone Sex (video documentary), 2006
  • The Pikme-Up (documentary), 2006

[edit] Publishing

On January, Friday the 13th, 2012, Iris Berry and A. Razor made a pact to publish prose, short stories, poetry, creative non-fiction and, of course, well erudite rants, forming, “Punk Hostage Press,” that is going to come at you from every direction in a way like you have never seen before… a non-profit organization, bringing books and writing classes into homeless and women’s shelters, jails and institutions… keeping books alive.

Berry is currently completing her book of prose and short stories, “The Daughters of Bastards,” on Punk Hostage Press, along with her book on the notorious Hollywood haunt, The Tropicana Motel, titled, “Tales From The Tropicana,” co-produced the launch of a series of burlesque and comedy variety shows with comic and activist Margaret Cho titled, “The Sensuous Woman,” all proceeds for charity.

[edit] Charity

In March of 2009, Iris received her second certificate of merit and achievement from the City of Los Angeles for her contribution as a Los Angeles writer and Historian, and for the charity work she has done, producing large scale fundraising events to benefit organizations such as The American Red Cross, Habitat For Humanity, Hollygrove Orphanage, Aids Project Los Angeles, Amnesty International and Rock the Vote, as well as many women’s shelters and organizations devoted to homeless youth and runaways.

Berry is currently a member on the Board of Directors for Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center. She has served as the mentor to many up and coming writers. With her prolific creative output, devoted work ethic, and passionate artistic integrity and social awareness, Iris has been an inspiration to generations of writers and artists of Los Angeles.

[edit] Works Online

[edit] Poetry

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Further Reading

[edit] External Links

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