Friday, 18 June 2021

Arts & Life

The Apart and Connected exhibit at the Middletown Art Center in Middletown, California. Photo by MAC staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center presents “Ekphrasis: Apart and Connected,” a creative writing workshop hosted by Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie on Saturday, April 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. in hybrid format on Zoom and at MAC.

Ekphrasis, meaning “Description” in Greek, is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art.

Artwork from MAC’s current “Apart and Connected” exhibit will serve as writing prompts. Participants will create ekphrastic writing using description, imagination, and narration to reflect the artwork or an interpretation of the artwork.

The Apart and Connected exhibit at MAC features a stunning variety of expressions of separation and connection by local and regional artists. It includes an exhibit of Nicholas Hay’s series of works on paper “Strategies for Sanity” and works by Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology Project Ceramicists.

The workshop will take place on Zoom, but as a hybrid offering, participants are welcome to come to the MAC gallery on Saturday to enjoy the exhibit and find a spot to write and connect to Zoom in MAC’s spacious facility. Social distancing and masking are always observed at MAC.

The exhibit is also available online in virtual interactive format at www.middletownartcenter.org/connected.

For those who prefer to attend on Zoom, a visit to the gallery to view this stunning exhibit in person prior to the workshop is encouraged. The MAC Gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The Apart and Connected exhibit is a moving, visceral collection of vibrant art with all sorts of mediums from paint to raw earth to epoxy and botanical inks. The artwork in this exhibit expresses the isolation, distance, pain, and perseverance of the human spirit in the time of a pandemic, demonstrating excellence that can come from a time of both intensity and quietude,” explained Georgina Marie. “It is beautiful to see virtually on-screen but physically affecting to see in person."

Facilitator Georgina Marie is the 2020-2022 Lake County Poet Laureate, the first Mexican-American and youngest local poet to serve in this role. She facilitated writing workshops for MAC’s “Resilience” and “Restore” projects and served as co-editor for both projects’ chapbooks of writings and prints. She has facilitated and participated in poetry readings and workshops in Northern California and online and is the Literary Coordinator and Poetry Out Loud Coordinator for the Lake County Arts Council. Visit her website at www.georginamariepoet.com to learn more about her work

Adults and children ages 12 and up are invited to write in the company of others in a safe and supportive environment. All are welcome regardless of experience or writing styles. The fee is sliding scale $20 to $40. Preregistration is required at www.middletownartcenter.org/classes. No one turned away for lack of funds.

To find out more about MAC events, programs, opportunities and ways to support the MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County at www.middletownartcenter.org​.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

José Alcantara’s poem, which appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Rattle, seems simple enough – a splendid and hopeful account of a familiar moment – a bird stunned by a collision with glass, held in the hand and then, recovered, it flies away.

Then we return to the title, “Divorce,” and we see it’s doing what poems like to do, take one moment to describe another, seemingly unrelated moment.

In the end it is a poem about resilience and care, something we all need.

Divorce
By José Alcantara

He has flown headfirst against the glass
and now lies stunned on the stone patio,
nothing moving but his quick beating heart.
So you go to him, pick up his delicate
body and hold him in the cupped palms
of your hands. You have always known
he was beautiful, but it's only now, in his stillness,
in his vulnerability, that you see the miracle
of his being, how so much life fits in so small
a space. And so you wait, keeping him warm
against the unseasonable cold, trusting that
when the time is right, when he has recovered
both his strength and his sense of up and down,
he will gather himself, flutter once or twice,
and then rise, a streak of dazzling
color against a slowly lifting sky.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2020 by José “Divorce” from Rattle, (No. 70, Winter 2020). Poem reprinted by permission of José Alcantara and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Kwame Dawes, is Chancellor’s Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.


Only 0.03 per­cent of us end up doing jury duty each year. But we all car­ry an aware­ness that it can be us next.

Accord­ing to casi​no​.org a quar­ter of Amer­i­can adults serve on jury duty at least once in their life­time. Kath­leen McClung’s poem reminds us of the cost of such duty.

The poem appears in her 2020 chap­book, “A Juror Must Fold In On Herself.”

The Forewoman Speaks
By Kathleen McClung

Among us twelve, just three have raised a child.
We’re mostly gray and promise to be fair
and wonder if the prosecutor smiled
to greet or warn, or both. We go nowhere
for weeks. We’re stiff and silent in these rows,
our faces stony though we ache to cry,
delete that damn surveillance video
(Exhibit A) that shows a girl, six, die,
night, crosswalk, SUV. And in the end,
our verdict signed and dated, read aloud,
we will resume routine—go meet a friend
for lunch on Harrison, admire a cloud
above the bridge, ten thousand cars an hour,
some backseats full of kids.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2020 by Kathleen McClung, “The Forewoman Speaks” from A Juror Must Fold In On Herself, (Rattle Foundation, 2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Kathleen McClung and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2021 by The Poetry Foundation.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A‌ ‌hint‌ ‌of‌ ‌summer‌ ‌is‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌air,‌ ‌and‌ ‌in‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌only‌ ‌mean‌ ‌one‌ ‌thing:‌ ‌the‌ sixth‌ ‌annual‌ ‌Shakespeare‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lake.

Last‌ ‌year’s‌ ‌production‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌tragic‌ ‌‌”Romeo‌ ‌and‌ ‌Juliet,‌‌” ‌which‌ ‌seemed‌ ‌appropriate‌ ‌considering‌ ‌what‌ ‌a‌ ‌grim‌ ‌year‌ ‌2020‌ ‌was.‌ ‌

With‌ ‌hope‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌horizon‌ ‌in‌ ‌2021,‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌Theatre‌ ‌Co. ‌and‌ ‌Mendocino‌ ‌College‌ ‌are‌ ‌teaming‌ ‌up‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌comedy,‌ ‌‌”All’s‌ ‌Well‌ ‌That‌ ‌Ends‌ ‌Well.‌”

Like‌ ‌most‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shakespeare’s‌ ‌comedies,‌ ‌this‌ ‌one‌ ‌tells‌ ‌the‌ ‌tale‌ ‌of‌ ‌unrequited‌ ‌love,‌ ‌mistaken‌ ‌identities,‌ ‌betrayal,‌ ‌and‌ ‌revenge.‌ ‌

After‌ ‌a‌ ‌faked‌ ‌death,‌ ‌a‌ ‌miraculous‌ ‌treatment‌ ‌for‌ ‌an‌ ‌incurable‌ ‌disease‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌pregnancy,‌ ‌the‌ ‌play‌ ‌concludes‌ ‌with – you‌ ‌guessed‌ ‌it – a‌ ‌wedding!‌ In‌ ‌the‌ ‌end,‌ ‌all’s‌ ‌well‌ ‌that‌ ‌ends‌ ‌well … or‌ ‌is‌ ‌it?‌ ‌Tune‌ ‌in‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌performance‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌out!

Due‌ ‌to‌ ‌continued‌ ‌restrictions‌ ‌on‌ ‌large‌ ‌gatherings‌ ‌and‌ ‌uncertainties‌ ‌for‌ ‌what‌ ‌the‌ ‌coming‌ ‌months‌ ‌
may‌ ‌bring,‌ ‌this‌ ‌year’s‌ ‌play‌ ‌will‌ ‌again‌ ‌be‌ ‌an‌ ‌online‌ ‌production.‌

The company and college said they sincerely‌ ‌hope‌ ‌this‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌the‌ ‌last‌ ‌virtual‌ ‌one,‌ ‌and‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌2022‌ ‌Shakespeare‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌will‌ ‌return‌ ‌to‌ ‌its‌ ‌rightful‌ ‌outdoor‌ ‌venues‌ ‌in‌ ‌Clearlake‌ ‌and‌ ‌Lakeport‌ ‌along‌ ‌the‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌shores‌ ‌of‌ ‌Clear‌ ‌Lake.‌

For‌ ‌this‌ ‌year,‌ ‌the‌ ‌entire‌ ‌production‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌auditioned,‌ ‌rehearsed ‌and‌ ‌performed‌ ‌online.‌

‌Pre-recorded‌ ‌performances‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌available‌ ‌for‌ ‌viewing‌ ‌on‌ ‌Friday,‌ ‌July‌ ‌24‌, ‌and‌ ‌Saturday,‌ ‌July‌ ‌25‌, ‌at‌ ‌7 p.m., and‌ Sunday,‌ ‌July‌ ‌26‌, ‌at‌ ‌2 p.m.

Actors‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌required‌ ‌to‌ ‌register‌ ‌for‌ ‌THEATRE‌ ‌220‌ ‌at‌ ‌Mendocino‌ ‌College‌ ‌in‌ ‌order‌ ‌to‌ ‌participate.‌ No‌ ‌experience‌ ‌is‌ ‌necessary,‌ ‌and‌ ‌since‌ ‌the‌ ‌production‌ ‌is‌ ‌entirely‌ ‌online,‌ ‌performers‌ ‌from‌ ‌outside‌ ‌of‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌are‌ ‌welcome‌ ‌(and‌ ‌encouraged)‌ ‌to‌ ‌try‌ ‌out.‌ ‌

Auditions‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌held‌ ‌online‌ ‌on‌ ‌May‌ ‌13‌ ‌and‌ ‌15.‌

Audition‌ ‌materials‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌posted‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌LCTC‌ ‌website ‌in‌ ‌early‌ ‌May.‌

To‌ ‌sign‌ ‌up‌ ‌for‌ ‌an‌ ‌audition‌ ‌time‌ ‌slot,‌ ‌email‌ ‌director‌ ‌John‌ ‌Tomlinson‌ ‌at‌ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..‌ ‌

Shakespeare‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌joint‌ ‌production‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌Theatre‌ ‌Co. ‌and‌ ‌Mendocino‌ ‌College,‌ ‌with‌ ‌generous‌ ‌support‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌Friends‌ ‌of‌ ‌Mendocino‌ ‌College.‌

‌For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information,‌ ‌email‌ ‌‌This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.‌‌ or‌ ‌call‌ ‌707-278-9628.‌ ‌ ‌

‌Laura‌ ‌Barnes is a producer‌ ‌for the Lake‌ ‌County‌ ‌Theatre‌ ‌Co.



‘BAD TRIP’ TV MOVIE ON NETFLIX

Johnny Knoxville has been on hiatus for several years from the idiocy of the wild pranks of the “Jackass” franchise, but until the next installment arrives the vacuum can be filled by others making a hidden camera movie.

We are long past the days of Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera,” and for the uninitiated, clips of classic episodes of this landmark television series from the Fifties and Sixties may be glimpsed on YouTube.

To fill the void until Knoxville returns, Netflix steps into the breach with “Bad Trip,” a raunchy prank-filled adventure thankfully devoid of a political agenda or social commentary.

Be warned that two best buddies in dead-end jobs in Florida, namely Bud Malone (Lil Rel Howery) and Chris Carey (Eric Andre), are thrust into a road trip to New York City that is fraught with, well, an abundance of gross humor.

The goofball of the pair is Chris, first seen working at a car wash when the girl of his dreams, high school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin), arrives to have her car detailed.

Sharing his excitement at spotting the dream girl with a customer, Chris mishandles a vacuum so powerful that it sucks off his clothes, leaving him completely naked and afraid to the consternation of the customer.

A chance encounter later with Maria plants the seed for Chris and Bud to steal the pink Crown Vic belonging to Bud’s sister Trina (Tiffany Haddish), who breaks out of prison and loses her mind about her missing car.

What ensues is a wild journey to New York for Chris to find Maria at her art gallery, with an enraged Trina not far behind. That Bud and Chris take time to push some boundaries at a southern cowboy bar is just one of many pranks.

Inarguably, bad taste runs ramp in “Bad Trip” with its degrading pranks from fake vomit spewing on bar patrons, penises stuck in Chinese finger traps, and not least with Chris getting sexually molested by a gorilla at a zoo.

“Bad Trip” may be an uneven comedy but there are plenty of laughs for those willing to take the ride.

CABLE TV PREVIEW

May we ponder the question of whether certain actors are destined to play particular characters? Can you imagine someone other than Charlton Heston becoming the personification of Moses in “The Ten Commandments?”

Though not yet an iconic actor in her own right, Danielle Brooks, by way of a role in the 2015 Broadway revival of “The Color Purple,” came to the realization from castmates that she should play the part of gospel artist Mahalia Jackson.

The Lifetime Channel’s TV movie “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” fulfills a destiny for Brooks, who let it be known during the winter press tour that Broadway co-star Jennifer Hudson would come to her dressing room to say she should play Mahalia Jackson.

When Jennifer Holliday stepped into a role in “The Color Purple,” she suggested the same thing to Brooks, who told the press that “maybe this is a sign. Maybe God is telling me maybe I should really think about this character.”

And so, Brooks will play the part in “Mahalia” of the New Orleans native who began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in U.S. history, melding her music with the civil right movement.

Mahalia’s recording of the song “Move on Up a Little Higher” sold millions of copies, skyrocketing her to international fame and gave her the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball.

Acorn TV, one of several cable brands within the umbrella of AMC Networks, is a good source of entertainment from Great Britain and neighboring European countries. The four-part Irish crime thriller “Bloodlands” has made its debut but there is time to catch up with it.

In “Bloodlands,” James Nesbitt stars as Tom Brannick, a veteran Northern Ireland police detective going into his own dark past to try to solve an infamous cold case that holds enormous personal significance for him.

When an expensive car containing a suicide note – but no body – is pulled from the sea, Brannick immediately sees a connection with the cold case that may link to a long-buried series of mysterious disappearances.

Not to be outdone, AMC will bring the British drama series “The Beast Must Die,” starring Jared Harris and Cush Jumbo, to the United States this spring. The six-part thriller is based on the novel by Nicholas Blake (the pen name of Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis).

Unlike the 1974 horror film of the same title, “The Beast Must Die” tells the revenge story of a grieving mother who infiltrates the life of the man she believes killed her son.

At the winter press tour, AMC executive Dan McDermott observed that this engaging revenge thriller “explores the human condition and how the depths of suffering sometimes give rise to unexpected consequences.” We’ll soon judge for ourselves how this plays out.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.



‘BOSS LEVEL’ TV MOVIE ON HULU

The first question one may have about “Boss Level,” not knowing the videogame lexicon, is the meaning of the title and its relevance to the wild action that unfolds in a continuous cycle of repetitive battles.

The phrase “boss level” is the highest level of difficulty in a fighting videogame, the ultimate challenge for any gamer. I would have had no idea of this unless director Joe Carnahan, who knows plenty about delivering violent action, explained the meaning.

If you’ve seen Carnahan’s explosive “Smokin’ Aces,” where bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters are determined to fulfill a contract hit on a mob informant, you may have a good idea of what’s in store for the target in “Boss Level.”

Mix in the formula of “Groundhog Day” with a heavy dose of Carnahan’s most outrageous action sequences, and the result is what ex-soldier Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) experiences every day in his time-loop nightmare.

Living in a spacious loft, Roy wakes up each morning dodging a machete-wielding assassin and the hail of bullets from a machine-gunner hovering outside his building in a helicopter. Sometimes an escape requires jumping out of his multi-story building.

Having no fear of death, Roy survives for another day, and the only thing that seems to matter is whether he can ever live past 12:47 p.m. on any given day. That appears to be the magic threshold to get to the boss level.

Depending on how Roy reacts to daily attacks, he finds refuge in an underground bar run by the wisecracking Jake (Ken Jeong), where he proceeds to get hammered while listening to an annoying security expert that he refers to as “Dave the pantload.”

As a former Delta Force operative, Roy may have been battle-hardened by his service, but it’s nothing like enduring daily slaughter by assassins in different ways, such as being shot, blown up, or decapitated. He takes it all in stride with self-deprecating, profane humor.

Unraveling the mystery of the time loop leads to the discovery of a connection to his ex-wife, Dr. Jemma Wells (Naomi Watts), a brilliant scientist employed by Colonel Clive Ventor (Mel Gibson).

As an unwitting part of Ventor’s plan to use a powerful machine called the Osiris Spindle, Roy is targeted by Ventor’s security chief (Will Sasso) with an army of killers that include a redneck with a harpoon, an Irish little person fond of explosives and the German twins.

The best and most memorable of all assassins is Guan Yin (Selina Lo), a sword-wielding ninja with the running gag of uttering the catchphrase “I am Guan Yin, and Guan Yin has done this” every time after beheading Roy.

While the supporting players are good, including Michelle Yeoh’s Chinese champion sword-fighter who trains Roy to defeat Guan Yin, it’s Frank Grillo’s tough guy, with his sarcasm and weary cynicism, who carries the day.

“Boss Level” may be one of the best entertainments to reflect our pandemic times. With lockdowns and avenues of fun mostly closed, it often feels like we are trapped in a terrible time loop of repeating the same daily routines. At least “Boss Level” offers a cool diversion.

HBO CABLE TV PREVIEW

HBO’s two-hour documentary film “Tina,” which will also be available to stream on HBO Max, is a revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her improbable rise to early fame, along with her personal and professional struggles.

Insightful interviews with Tina herself were conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland (she became a Swiss citizen in 2013), and with those closest to her. Also featured is a wealth of never-before-seen archival footage.

“Tina” draws to an emotional conclusion with Tina Turner taking a bow at the opening night of the Broadway musical about her life, a fitting swan song for a talented artist who courageously spoke truth about domestic abuse at the hands of Ike Turner.

After a long absence from an HBO production, Kate Winslet stars in the limited series “Mare of Easttown” as Mare Sheehan, a small-town Pennsylvania detective who investigates a local murder as life crumbles around her.

That “Mare of Easttown” explores the dark side of a close community may explain why Winslet, during the winter press tour, said that being Mare Sheehan was “like one of the biggest challenges I think I’ve ever been slapped with. And she’s nothing like me.”

Jean Smart also stars as Helen, Mare’s mother; Julianne Nicholson as Lori Ross, Mare’s best friend since childhood; and Evan Peters as the county detective called in to assist with Mare’s investigation.

In the new drama series “The Nevers,” Victorian London is rocked by a supernatural event which gives certain people – mostly women – abnormal abilities, all of whom belong to a new underclass in grave danger.

It falls to mysterious, quick-fisted widow Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and young inventor Penance Adair (Ann Skelly) to protect and shelter the gifted people from brutal forces determined to annihilate their kind.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

Upcoming Calendar

19Jun
06.19.2021
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2021 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Clear Lake Shoreline Clean-Up Day
19Jun
06.19.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
19Jun
20Jun
06.20.2021
Father's Day
22Jun
06.22.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
23Jun
06.23.2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
NCO hearing on 2022/2023 Community Action Plan
26Jun
06.26.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
29Jun
06.29.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
3Jul
07.03.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market

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