Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Roxane Beth Johnson’s elegy to her father is striking for the tender and intimate details that constitute the memory of him, especially his shirts, which become almost talismans for her to explore ideas of mortality and life: “first slick with water, last a bowl of ash.”

In the end, this beautiful sonnet, “In His Lover’s House, A Father Rises,” is an ode to persistent memory as an antidote to the existential void of death.

In His Lover’s House, A Father Rises
By Roxane Beth Johnson

The end’s always there at the beginning
Dad said, quoting a prophet who knew then
what we’d come to—beings held in two hands
first slick with water, last a bowl of ash.
As a girl, I ironed his shirts, seams stained
from sweat, hot-washed in bleach turned yellow, and grass
scent of clean white rose under the iron’s
scald and steam I used to press his shirts out.
How fitting in the end a heap were found
in his lover’s house, the last I heard
of him who told me always that the grass
and ants were ancestors come back to see
if we’d crush them, then forget them again—
like dust their lives so small compared to ours.


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 Roxane Beth Johnson, “In His Lover’s House, A Father Rises” from Harvard Review, 45, June 10, 2020. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Nowhere in her poem, “Self-Portrait with Impending War,” does Lauren K. Alleyne mention a war, but the rumors of war and the disquiet of the world seem to haunt this “self-portrait” in which the self extends far beyond Alleyne’s personalized self and attempts to achieve a connection to all who must consider the complications of a home that is at once embracing and dangerous.

In the end, Alleyne’s poem is a jeremiad—a warning of what can be lost to the wars that are always impending.

Self Portrait with Impending War
By Lauren K. Alleyne

Home is the hodgepodge house,
the vacant lot beside it, the ailing
mango tree, the stingy coconut trees
with nobody left to climb them anyway.
Perhaps, you think, home could be this
continent with its confused seasons,
the roads that roll out in front of you,
limitless as the night sky. Home be this
small silence you curl into anywhere you go,
the one hovering in your chest beating
its fleshy time. This planet you scar
with too many clothes and plastic bags: home.
And where to run but everywhere?
What to weep for, but what is going,
somehow, to be gone?

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 ©2022 by Lauren K. Alleyne, “Self Portrait with Impending War” from Porter House Review. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The city of Lakeport is seeking proposals for mid-range to large-scale sculptural and/or innovative, mixed or multimedia installations to be showcased in the new lakefront park development in downtown Lakeport at 800 and 810 N. Main St.

Awards to successful applicants will range from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the scale and budget of the proposed work, which includes materials, artist’s labor, installation needs and any necessary travel expenses. Proposals with interactive components are encouraged.

Lake County artists and Black, Indigenous and people of color, or BIPOC, are strongly urged to submit proposals; there are no geographic restrictions for applications.

All proposals must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19.

Proposed art works must be made of materials that can endure the outdoors and extreme weather in a public setting.

All object-based sculptures must be securely mounted to the ground or a plinth base at the designated site; all work must be safe for pedestrian traffic.

The call for artists may be viewed on the city’s website, www.cityoflakeport.com/bid_opportunities.php.

The request for proposal includes specific application requirements and a map of the lakefront park with designated spaces for art.

In January 2020, the city of Lakeport was awarded a competitive grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation funded by Proposition 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018. After two years of design, the project is ready for construction.

The new park consists of approximately 6.9 acres and will include, in addition to the public art, a basketball court, splash pad, skate park, concession building with restrooms, shade structures, picnic areas, fitness equipment, a pavilion, lighting, irrigation, and landscaping.

Estimated completion date is spring 2023.

For more information, contact Community Development Director Jenni Byers at 707-263-5615, Extension. 201, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ABC’s fall season offers two new drama series, one of which is a spinoff from the flagship series “The Rookie.” To leave no doubt as to its origin, the new series is, naturally, titled “The Rookie: Feds.”

The spinoff was introduced as a two-part event during the current fourth season of “The Rookie,” where Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) and the LA Division of the FBI enlist the help of Simone Clark when one of her former students is a suspect in a terror attack.

“The Rookie: Feds” stars Niecy Nash-Betts as Simone Clark, the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Fillion’s John Nolan was the oldest rookie at LAPD when “The Rookie” launched in 2018.

The middle-aged recruit to the federal agency will be joined by Frankie Faison as Christopher “Cutty” Sark and Felix Solis as Special Agent Matthew Garza.

Not much else is known about Nash-Betts’ Simone Clark than her ride-along as an FBI trainee helping Fillion’s LAPD officer in a search for a suspect behind a bomb plot somewhere in the city.

From the mind of Tom McCarthy (writer and director of the film “Spotlight”), “Alaska” stars Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald, a recently disgraced reporter who leaves her high-profile New York life behind to join a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage.

On a journey to find both personal and professional redemption, the discredited journalist’s search for a fresh start brings her in touch with Jeff Perry’s Stanley Cornik, Grace Dove’s Rosalind “Roz” Friendly and Matt Malloy’s Bob Young, among others.

In a likely endeavor to achieve verisimilitude, two of the executive producers of “Alaska” are with the state’s largest newspaper, “Anchorage Daily News,” one serving as the chief executive officer and the other as an editor.

“Celebrity Jeopardy” was a series of hilarious skits on “Saturday Night Live” in which cast members lampooned the television quiz show. Will Ferrell, in the role of host Alex Trebek, was often subjected to vulgar insults from Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery.

Parody is not what ABC has in mind for its “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” an all-new game show airing this fall. This new series welcomes real celebrity contestants to compete for a chance to win money for a charity of their choice. Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) will host.

For the moment, only one midseason replacement series is on tap. “Not Dead Yet” follows Nell Stevens (Gina Rodriguez), a broke and newly single self-described disaster, working to restart the life and career she left behind ten years ago.

When she lands the only job she can find – writing obituaries, Nell starts getting life advice from an unlikely source. The series is adapted from Alexandra Potter’s book “Confessions of a 40-something F**K Up.”

USA Network, a basic cable channel owned by NBC Universal Television, has an upcoming slate of new larger-than-life unscripted series and exclusive live international sporting events such as cycling’s Tour de France and being the cable home of soccer’s Premier League.

Longtime friends Blake Shelton and Carson Daly head to Nashville and open the doors to Blake’s bar, Ole Red, and everyone is invited to join their party in the new series “Barmageddon.”

With Daly behind the bar and Shelton taking the stage with his house band for live music sing-alongs in front of a rowdy crowd, both the icons and celebrity favorites show a new side to themselves in this anything-but-ordinary game show.

No stranger to competition, WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella heats up the party and sets the stakes as celebrity friends go head-to-head in a series of classic bar games with a fun twist, including “Keg Curling,” “Drunken Axe Hole,” and many more.

In the most remote parts of Alaska, businesses such as canneries and hunting lodges operate seasonally. Each winter these businesses in the distant wilds shut down and hire “winter watchmen” to defend their properties against man, beast and the elements.

In “Winter Watchman,” four pairs of amateur survivalists sign on for a unique social experiment, based on the job of real winter watchmen. We will see if they can survive the harshest winter of their lives while protecting four respective lodges.

Can each duo make it to the spring thaw and collect a cash bonus? Or will extreme weather, isolation and fear of man-eating bears compel them to tap out? The cash bonus had better be a serious amount of greenbacks.

Pushing human nature to the limits with the new competition series “Snake in the Grass,” this action-packed social experiment is hosted by national radio and television personality Bobby Bones.

Each episode will feature four strangers who are dropped into the wild with a chance to win $100,000.

In order to win, the team must figure out which one of them is the Snake – a saboteur who is secretly undermining the group every step of the way.

In the ultimate outdoor competition series “The Chain: Alaska,” adventure racers and survival experts clash while battling through the horrible elements of Mother Nature to claim the $500,000 prize.

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




‘BEAST’ RATED R

Animals gone wild is nothing new in the movies. Stephen King’s “Cujo” involved a rabid St. Bernard conducting a reign of terror on a small American town, and the same could be said of the shark in “Jaws.”

The aptly-titled “Beast” is a suspenseful action tale about a father and his two teenage daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator.

Idris Elba’s Dr. Nate Samuels, a recently widowed husband returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife, on a trip with his daughters to honor the memory of their mother’s heritage.

The trip is meant to heal the father’s rift with his offspring who resent the fact that the parents had been separated while the mother was dying of cancer and the good doctor was unable to save her.

Nate obviously loves his daughters with all his heart, but the girls, 18-year-old Mare (Iyana Halley) and 13-year-old Norah (Leah Jeffries), must learn to trust him again after so much disappointment.

Landing by small plane in the middle of nowhere, the family is met by old friend Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), manager of a game reserve and wildlife biologist, as well as a fierce foe of poachers who wantonly kill protected animals for financial gain.

With Martin as a guide, Nate and his daughters venture into the savannah, and their first encounter is with a pride of lions who are almost domesticated as they have been protected by Martin’s humane crew.

The beast in question, whose own pride of lions has been wiped out by vicious poachers, has decided to declare war on all humans regardless of their intentions.

The beast’s killing instinct is soon revealed when Martin, Nate and the girls discover to their horror that the habitants of a remote desert village have been wiped out.

Shortly thereafter, they become the prey of the monstrous lion, finding themselves stranded in Martin’s jeep after it takes a beating from the animal’s overpowering desire for revenge against mankind.

Just like in most horror films, poor decisions are often made by the characters that make you want to yell about their stupidity. Such is the case when one of the girls ignores the father’s entreaty to not leave the vehicle.

If dumb choices are avoided, then perhaps we’d be missing out on some of the excitements derived from the unimaginable dangers posed by an alpha lion hell-bent on killing humans.

A good reason as any to see the pulse-pounding thriller “Beast” is that it stars superbly talented, versatile British actor Idris Elba, who should be the next James Bond even though he has apparently stated no interest in the role.

Running at a brisk 93-minutes, “Beast” has many moments of intensity and great thrills which makes for nice escapist fare, even if some of the scares can be seen coming from a mile away.

Even if predictable, this B-movie thriller proves to be effective.

THE MAHOGANY BRAND ARRIVES ON HALLMARK CHANNEL

The Hallmark brand is not just the popular and widely recognized line of greeting cards. Through Crown Media, the Hallmark Channel is family-oriented cable programming with a mix of series and original made-for-TV movies.

During an in-person event for this summer’s press tour, Hallmark launched what Wonya Lucas, President and CEO of Hallmark Media, called “a new programming initiative rooted in the spirit and sensibility of the iconic Hallmark Card line.”

That distinctive card line is the Hallmark Mahogany brand, consisting of greeting cards that have honored and celebrated Black culture with empowering themes for more than three decades.

The initiation of Mahogany programming in late August brings original movie “Unthinkably Good Things” to Hallmark’s Movies & Mysteries, a seminal moment in the evolution of Hallmark content with authentic stories through the unique lens of Black women.

At a crossroads in her career and love life, Karen Pittman’s Allison is in need of the love and support of her two friends Melina (Joyful Drake) and Reesa (Erica Ash) in “Unthinkably Good Things.”

When the friends visit Allison in Tuscany, the reunion causes each woman to reexamine the state of her own life and relationships. While they have different personalities and perspectives, they know each other’s truths and help to make life-changing decisions.

Between the good wine, delicious food, a healthy serving of romance, set against the beautiful backdrop of Tuscany, the three women relish the importance of friendship and inspire each other to take the leap to pursue the life and loves they have always wanted.

Watching “Unthinkably Good Things” may do more than pull at one’s heartstrings. The beauty of the Italian countryside is the siren call that will have you looking at travel guides.

During the press conference, Karen Pittman said being in this movie was about the countryside and “the pastoral sense of wine and culture, and I thought it really added a lot to the story, right?” Yes, she’s exactly correct.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

“Mend” is a poem of great intimacy. L. Renee, remembers her mother as the mender of garments, and as someone who had a life of rich experiences before the poet was born.

This moment of separation described in this poem is a testing and revelatory rite of passage for mother and daughter.

Her mother’s gift of precise hand-sewing is also a gift that mends whatever may seek to separate mother and daughter.

Mend
By L. Renee

My Mama had the gift of hand sewing—one perfect stitch
after another perfect stitch, eyeballing the precise length

of thread needed to repair what had ripped a gaping
hole, unmaking the whole swath of cotton-polyester fabric

she draped across her delicate boney shoulders before
a night out with my father—painting the town red

she said of those early dates when he handed her his fat
quarters hoping they would be enough to make something

beautiful like the outfits she sewed: plaid culottes with matching
vests, paisley dresses, fringed halters—she tells me this while

I watch the needle bully a ruby rivulet from her thumb, sullying
the myth of cotton without the blood, when she tries to mend

my middle-school uniform skirt, a navy pleat I never noticed
had been stretched into splitting—

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 ©2022 by L. Renée, “Mend” from Poetry Northwest. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Upcoming Calendar

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12.01.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
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Adult Literacy Program in-person tutor training
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Hometown Christmas in Lower Lake
10Dec
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