Friday, 18 June 2021

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Pat Emile, who served as assistant editor to American Life in Poetry for over a decade, was described by past editor, Ted Kooser, as the “Jill-Of-All-Trades for this column.”

I was fortunate enough to enjoy her sensitive ear for the rightly tuned poem, and her generosity as a liaison with poets, publishers and our collaborating periodicals, as a necessary component of the training for my tenure.

It all makes sense, as Pat Emile is, herself, a poet of fine taste, lovely insight and, as evidenced in this poem (from column 580), “They Dance Through Granelli’s”, a poet with a remarkable eye for sensual detail. T

hank you, Pat, for all you have done for American Life in Poetry, and for your gift of delightful verse. Her poem is a fit way to start this exciting re-launch of ALiP!

They Dance Through Granelli’s
By Pat Emile

He finds her near the stack
of green plastic baskets waiting to be filled
and circles her waist with his left arm,
entwines her fingers in his, pulls her toward him, Muzak from the ceiling shedding a flashy Salsa, and as they begin to move, she lets
her head fall back, fine hair swinging
a beat behind as they follow
their own music—a waltz—past the peaches bursting with ripeness in their wicker baskets,
the prawns curled into each other
behind cold glass, a woman in a turquoise sari,
her dark eyes averted. They twirl twice
before the imported cheeses, fresh mozzarella
in its milky liquid, goat cheese sent down
from some green mountain, then glide past
ranks of breads, seeds spread across brown crusts, bottles of red wine nested together on their sides. He reaches behind her, slides a bouquet
of cut flowers from a galvanized bucket, tosses
a twenty to the teenaged boy leaning
on the wooden counter, and they whirl
out the door, the blue sky a sudden surprise.

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 ©2016 by Pat Hemphill Emile, “They Dance Through Granelli's.” Poem reprinted by permission of Pat Hemphill Emile.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Award-winning poet, author, and editor Kwame Dawes, PhD, has published his first weekly column as American Life in Poetry editor, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and relaunches a new and engaging website to connect people to poetry through interests, geography, and representation.

Dawes carries the column forward after founding editor and curator, Ted Kooser, retired after 15 years as project creator and editor.

The first poem featured is “They Dance Through Granelli's” by Pat Emile — an homage to the recently retired editorial assistant of the project for 15 years.

Dawes seeks to maintain, and expand the original vision for the column by continuing to reach readers through local news media outlets, as well as subscribers to the newsletter that publishes weekly on Mondays.

“This column is rooted in the everyday, the broad sense of Americanness that eschews elitism and that embraces a democratic sense of lives that make sense to a vast cross section of the population,” Dawes said. “I welcome readers who can engage in a wide section of American life, can find poetry that speaks to various aspects of American existence, and that somehow embraces the full range of this America.”

Along with a completely refreshed visual statement, the website features increased browsing and discovery capabilities, new photography, and an increased social media presence. Front and center allows users the ability to browse past columns by theme and region.

“The site allows for readers to dig deeper into what they may see in the newsletter or on social media,” Dawes said. “We want readers to stay on the site for awhile and get comfortable with poetry, or to find new ways to engage with poems whether that’s through a love of sports or geography.”

Dawes hopes new readers will connect with American Life in Poetry by finding columns that are approachable and speak to their interests, particularly for new poetry readers.

With over 60 different themes that can be combined while searching, users can find a poem that speaks to gardening and unrequited love from the archive which includes more than 800 poems.

Dawes is the author of 22 books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, “Nebraska” was published in 2020.

He is George W. Holmes University Professor of English, Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and also teaches the Pacific MFA Program.

He is director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His awards include an Emmy, Nation­al Press Club Joan Frieden­berg Award for Online Jour­nal­ism, the For­ward Poet­ry Prize, the Mus­grave Sil­ver Medal for con­tri­bu­tion to the Arts in Jamaica, the Governor’s Award for ser­vice to the arts in South Car­oli­na, a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship and the Wind­ham Camp­bell Prize for Poet­ry. In 2009 he was induct­ed into the South Car­oli­na Acad­e­my of Authors.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) has announced the start of his 2021 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition and encouraged local high school students to submit their artwork.

Each year, this competition allows the chance for students to have their art displayed in the United States Capitol for an entire year.

“Each year, the Congressional Art Competition is one of my favorite ways to connect with our local students and showcase their incredible artwork to our district and our nation. The grand prize winner will have their artwork displayed in the United States Capitol for one year, an example of our local talent to the nation,” said Thompson. “Particularly in this virtual environment, I am looking forward to the excitement of this competition and encourage all our local young artists to participate.”

The 2021 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition is open to all high school students in Thompson’s district.

Artwork must be submitted by Monday, April 19, and must be submitted virtually via a high-resolution photograph of the artwork to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Submissions must include this completed form.

Please find the 2021 Rules for Students and Teachers by clicking here and the guide to copyright and plagiarism here.

Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.


Making a sequel to a beloved comedy more than three decades later is challenging. Will it be something completely fresh or a rehash of many rhetorical devices that were so endearing the first time around?

For “Coming 2 America,” an Amazon Prime Video original movie that is a semi-sequel to 1988’s “Coming to America,” starring Eddie Murphy as an African prince from the fictional country of Zamunda, it might be a little of both, depending on one’s estimation of its originality.

One thing that might be indisputable, despite any critical divide over the film’s appeal, is that the extravagant costumes, designed by Ruth E. Carter (Oscar winner for “Black Panther” fashion), certainly bring a spectacular look to this production.

Over 30 years ago Eddie Murphy’s young, pampered Prince Akeem traveled undercover to New York City’s borough of Queens to find an independent woman to be his bride rather than accept an arranged marriage.

Still with the love of his life, Lisa (Shari Headley, reprising the role), Prince Akeem has three strong-willed daughters, the oldest one Meeka (KiKi Layne) having spent her life preparing to be the heir to the throne even if royal decree requires a male to takeover.

Enter Wesley Snipes as General Izzi, leader of the rival nation of Nexdoria, who remains upset that Akeem backed out of an arranged union with his sister Imani (Vanessa Bell Calloway) to jet off to America to find his true love.

Plotting to unify his country with Zamunda for a taste of prosperity, General Izzi offers up his son Idi (Rotimi) to marry Meeka, an idea which is immediately shut down, but that’s not the end of Izzi’s plotting to secure his place in Zamunda.

Meanwhile, Zamunda’s aging King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones also reprising this role) delivers the shocking news that Akeem has a long-lost illegitimate son, Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), the product of a drunken one-night dalliance during the Queens sojourn.

Traveling back to New York with his trusted sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hall also back), Prince Akeem finds Lavelle, referred to as his “bastard son,” a slacker scalping tickets to basketball games at Madison Square Garden.

Needing an heir to the throne, Akeem can only convince Lavelle to return with him to Zamunda as long as his son can bring his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) and Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) along for an adventure in a distant land.

Culture shock sets in for the Americans to comedic effect as they try to adapt to an opulent lifestyle of luxury, especially for Lavelle as he’s expected to acclimate to the trappings and customs of royalty.

Next comes an appeasement to General Izzi with the notion that Lavelle will marry the military leader’s alluring daughter Bopoto (Teyana Taylor), but the new prince yearns for the pretty palace hairstylist Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha).

The nostalgia that comes with “Coming 2 America” and the comic pleasures derived from Eddie Murphy and his crew surmount the dated material so that enough joy makes for a nice diversion.


During the winter press tour, the Hallmark Channel rightfully boasted that it surmounted the challenge this past year of delivering a slate of 40 new original holiday movies during industry-wide production shutdowns.

President and CEO Wonya Lucas reminded the TV critics that “Hallmark has been in the Christmas business well before it was a network,” marketing greeting cards and ornaments for a hundred years.

For 2021, Hallmark already has 26 movies in production, with many more to come when holiday season rolls around again. Filming in places like Utah and North Carolina can be done safely, but the majority of the shooting takes place in Vancouver.

Hallmark Channel celebrates the return of its annual “Spring Fling” programming event with romantic stories that will transport viewers to snowcapped mountains, mythical waterfalls, Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher and beyond.

Late March brings the first of five all-new original movie premieres every Saturday night, starting with “Chasing Waterfalls,” starring Cindy Busby and Christopher Russell.

Busby’s aspiring photographer Amy gets a career break on assignment to shoot one of North America’s fabled waterfalls and ends up falling for her rugged guide Mark (Russell) and bonding with his young daughter.

In “Breakup Bootcamp,” Italia Ricci’s Miranda runs a boot camp for the recently broken hearted, and she forms a connection with Ben (Ryan Paevey), an undercover investigative reporter.

Taylor Cole’s Cara is leaving on an international book tour in two weeks and Jack Turner’s Ben is busy with a business expansion, but that won’t interfere with them going ahead with their nuptials in “One Perfect Wedding.”

Fitting for its Irish setting, in “As Luck Would Have It” JoAnna Garcia Swisher’s Lindsey decides to enter the town’s world-famous matchmaking festival to win over a handsome local (Allen Leech).

The last movie in the series, lacking a final title, stars Janel Parrish’s Carly getting a second chance at romance with her college crush with the help of a new friend (Marco Grazzini).

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

Darina Simeonova installing work for “Apart and Connected.” Photo by MAC staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – Join the Middletown Art Center on Saturday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. for a live-streamed virtual opening reception of Middletown Art Center’s new exhibit, “Apart and Connected” on Zoom​.

The exhibit features a broad variety of expressions of separation and connection as we mark one year of pandemic challenges.

Enjoy work by artists you are familiar with as well as work by artists new to MAC. Also on view is Nicholas Hay’s series, Strategies for Sanity and ceramic works from Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology Project artists.

The MAC is also celebrating six years of operations and its 42nd gallery exhibit, having opened in March 2015, just six months before the Valley Fire.

The MAC has become a dynamic and vibrant center for the arts and culture, helping to galvanize the community through the challenges of sheltering in place, social distancing ​and continuous years of wildfires.

MAC has been leveraging digital tools to offer virtual exhibits, opening receptions, and workshops to continue to provide arts and cultural engagement and enrichment for the people of Lake County during the pandemic.

The opening reception will be hosted by MAC Co-curator Nicola Chipps, a former art and design consultant at ​Ærena​ Galleries in the Napa Valley.

"We are thrilled about the new work, new artists, and an addition of a featured series of work in the small gallery", said Nicola. "The opening reception for Apart and Connected will be shorter than our two previous virtual openings, and we'll save most of our Conversations with Artists for additional events to enjoy in the weeks to come."

Ceramic artists from around the country come together to join Scott Parady, founder of Cobb Mountain Art & Ecology Project, at his property nestled in the forest.

“One of the amazing draws to this facility is the Anagama kiln, a 250 cubic foot tube-shaped kiln built into the hillside,” said artist-in-residence Jacque Adams, who is also the operations coordinator at MAC. “The Anagama fires for nine days on a mixture of hard and soft wood, sourced and processed from the property. The laborious firing takes a team of dedicated artists, and is no easy feat.”

An impressive display of ceramic artwork from the latest firing is on view as part of the exhibit.

To join the virtual opening reception visit where you will find a link to register for the Zoom event. The opening will also be livestreamed on Facebook from MAC’s page.

“Apart and Connected” is on view through June 20.

The MAC Gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by appointment 707-809-8118.

The MAC continues to adjust and innovate during this time of COVID-19. Social distancing and masking are always observed.

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

The theme of the eighth annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest is “Be An Invasive Species Detective.” Pictured is one of 2020’s winning submissions.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is pleased to announce the eighth annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest.

This year’s theme, “Be An Invasive Species Detective,” encourages students to think about how paying attention to their surroundings can protect against the spread of invasive species.

“Detectives look for clues and use observation to solve crimes,” said Elizabeth Brusati, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Invasive Species Program. “We want young people to look for ways to stop the spread of invasive species. Helpful actions could include choosing native plants for landscaping, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species sightings, and taking precautions to clean, drain and dry gear after visiting water bodies.”

The contest is offered by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of California Invasive Species Action Week, June 5 to 13.

There are three age divisions for youths in grades 2 to 4, 5 to 8 and 9 to 12.

All types of media are welcome and encouraged, including (but not limited to) drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos and public service announcements.

Entries should reflect the 2021 theme: “Be An Invasive Species Detective.”

The top three winners in each division will receive awards and have their entries announced on CDFW’s Facebook page.

The deadline for art contest entries is May 5. Completed entries and entry forms should be submitted electronically. Submission instructions can be found on the CDFW website.

The goal of California Invasive Species Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

Please visit CDFW online for details about the 2021 contest and information on how to participate in Action Week.

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California.

The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur, and prevent the spread of those species that have been established.

Upcoming Calendar

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

Mini Calendar



Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.





Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies! uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.