Founder and Artistic Director
Jesse Bliss is an international playwright, director, producer, actress, poet and veteran arts educator. Miss Bliss is a ground-breaking story teller. Her tales are experienced through the eyes of women and give voice to matters we seldom ever experience. Her pieces are deeply soulful, incorporative of visuals and powerful musical scores in collaboration as well as music she writes on her own. She herself experienced art as life-saving and in turn has dedicated her life's work to offering art to others of all ages, backgrounds and socio-economic standings. Miss Bliss attributes art to her own healing and wellness, knowing the power of what it can do to reshape lives, resist oppression and help raise awareness on matters of civil and human rights.
Her works ROOTS AND WINGS, DIAMONDS (in collaboration with dance legend Rennie Harris), BETWEEN FINGERTIPS, A RECORD OF LIGHT and TREE OF FIRE, among others, have been widely produced with stellar artists at world-class venues including the United Nations, Edinburgh, S.P.A.R.C. at the Old Jail in Venice, Lincoln Heights Jail, The Last Bookstore, The Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts, UCLA, Occidental College, California Institute of Integral Studies, UC Santa Cruz as well as countless others. Ms. Bliss is featured in the documentaries LA WOMAN by Kate Crash, YAHOO SHINE about her work with the incarcerated and Julie Hebert's LOOK WHAT SHE DID! She is the author of the chapbook and companion manual I LOVE MYSELF GOLDEN, written for incarcerated young women and core curriculum at Occidental College. Her poems, articles and curriculum have been published by Center Theatre Group, Inner-City Arts, Street Poets, Angel City Review, Brooklyn and Boyle, Writ Large Press, Art Share and The Roots and Wings Project to name a few. Her project, MATRIARCH, consists of monologues that shine light on the critical need to disrupt patriarchy, created by some of Los Angeles' most powerful writers/performers including Diane Rodriguez, Rose Portillo, and Larry Powell among others. Ms. Bliss directed and executive produced LUMINOUS STREETS, a DTLA Site-Specific Theatrical Tour in the Historic Core addressing women's survival and pursuit of justice with artists such as Josefina Lopez, Ricardo "Booogie Frantick" Rodriguez, Jr., Sigrid Gilmer and co-produced by Tobias Tubbs of Words Uncaged who was recently released after serving 30 years of a juvenile L.W.O.P sentence.
Ms. Bliss specializes in writing curriculum and teaching Theatre and Writing (of various forms) to people of all ages and backgrounds including underserved and incarcerated populations. She has worked with some of the most prestigious organizations in the nation including Center Theatre Group, The Geffen, Inside OUT Writers, Skirball, Inner-City Arts, ArtworxLA & Performing Arts Workshop among others, Jesse was awarded a Flourish Foundation grant for partnership with J.U.I.C.E. for the Roots and Wings Project Theatre Program and a grant from Poets and Writers to support workshops in Central Juvenile Hall , Lancaster Men's Prison, and California Institution for Women. She's honored to have The Roots and Wings Project Writing and Theatre Program in California Institution for Women in partnership with Poets and Writers. The Roots and Wings Project is deeply honored to have received the Cultural Pathways Grant from the California Arts Council for the trilogy of shows including MATRIACH, LUMINOUS STREETS: A Downtown LA Theatrical Tour, and WOMEN AT WORK. Most recently, Ms. Bliss created and directed THE JOY RIDE, An Act of Political Warfare, a theatre show performed out of a vintage convertible addressing critical matters of the pandemic and race supported by artEquity. Ms. Bliss is a Co-Host and Co- Producer of KPFK 90.7 FM's THINK OUTSIDE THE CAGE, a show addressing matters of mass incarceration.
GABRIELA LÓPEZ DE DENNIS
Gabriela López de Dennis is an award-winning storyteller—writer, producer, director, actor, content creator. She has been working in the arts and entertainment industry for over 20 years. Gabriela is the owner of the design studio, Soap Studio Inc., and one of the co-founders and CEO of Lone Stars Entertainment, an independent production company that produces films, videos and web content. She recently co-produced the Women at Work virtual performance (which included a work in progress she wrote), The Joy Ride mobile, outdoor, multi-disciplinary show, and the Matriarch outdoor performance, for The Roots and Wings Project with its founder and creator of these projects, Jesse Bliss. She was invited to perform in and co-curate the event, Frankenstein 200: 4 Women at the Villa Diodati, as part of the El Camino College’s award-winning program, “Art of Science/Science of Art,” created by Betty L. Sedor.
She is a producer and writer (episode ‘Where Did All the Color Go?’) on the award-winning digital series #HighlandPark. She is producer and co-creator of the award-winning documentary short series Overcomers, which was aired on PBS/WORLD Channel (Episode 1: Jasmine). The series was produced for the American Graduate initiative and made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NALIP. Gabriela also produced the pilot episode of the digital series she wrote and directed, Hoop Girls, an official selection and nominee at the 2017 Official Latino Short Film Festival (New York), based on her stage play. Hoop Girls was originally developed through TeAda Productions and Center Theatre Group, and was part of the [Inside] the Ford summer readings at the Ford Theatre. It had a full production at CASA 0101 Theatre in Los Angeles, a workshop production at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a reading by Amigos del REP at the San Diego Rep, and was part of Center Theater Group’s Boyle Heights Theater Tour in collaboration with CASA 0101 Theater. Her latest project to be released is the sci-fi short film she wrote and directed, Are You Still There?, also based on her stage play. Gabriela was included in Remezcla’s list of “10 Latino Filmmakers You Should Know.”
Tobias Tubbs is previously incarcerated and was given a youthful offender death sentence---L.W.O.P. (Life Without the Possibility of Parole) but through a commutation, he was pardoned and released after 30 years. He is a fierce advocate for the rights of those formerly and currently incarcerated. As a keynote speaker, artist, author, and mentor, he teaches resiliency and the importance of The Arts when it comes to healing individually and collectively. Tobias is currently working on multiple projects: He is the lead of of the healing through narrative/art with Wordsuncaged. He is a community partner with Theater of the Oppressed with Professor Brent Blair (USC) where he appeared in the starring role of the play PAUSE. He is a consultant for LACOE, and he produced the DTLA Site-Specific Theatrical Tour LUMINOUS STREETS for The Roots and Wings Project. He is an advocate of both arts and healing and is using his freedom to change the world.
BOARD of directors
JESSE BLISS, President
Founder and Artistic Director, The Roots and Wings Project
TOMAS BENITEZ, Secretary
Development Director, Plaza de la Raza
EDUARDO ESPINOZA, Treasurer
Senior Project Manager, EAH Housing
Advocate, Innocence Project