Wednesday, 08 February 2023

Arts & Life

John Brennan of Lutz, Florida, is the winner of the 2022 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. Courtesy image.

A painting by John Brennan of Lutz, Florida has been chosen as the winner of the 2022 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

The painting, which depicts three Canada geese, will be the official design for the 2022-2023 stamp.

The judges praised the anatomical accuracy of the geese and realistic quality of the painting, remarking that it looked almost like a photograph.

They were impressed by the attention to detail, especially in the feathers and reflection on the water, and noted the contrast between the birds and the simplicity of the background.

They also appreciated the composition — the decision to use three geese was unique and created an artistically pleasing image.

Brennan decided to enter the contest when he learned that the Canada goose would be this year’s species.

“I find them to be a very elegant and versatile subject to paint,” he said, “considering their high-contrast head and cheeks and the warm tones of their body.”

He was lucky enough to photograph these geese for reference at Yellowstone National Park. The glassy water made for some very interesting reflections and play of light. He decided to keep the composition clean and simple, so as not to distract from the beauty of the animals.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW.

Buck Spencer of Junction City, Oregon, placed second, Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, placed third and Michael Patrick Bailey of Los Angeles, California, received honorable mention.

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival in Sacramento, July 16-17.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects within California.

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses.

Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license.

However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Local writer, poet and journalist Thurman Watts’ writing is featured in a new anthology of Black writers titled “Black Fire — This Time.”

Watts’ contribution is a short story entitled, “Mbombe’s Glass.”

The anthology focuses on the history and legacy of the Black Arts Movement and features the writings of several Bay Area poets, along with more than 80 other contributors from across the country.

The 500-page collection provides a new generation with the powerful voices of the Black Arts Movement and beyond.

The foreword by Ishmael Reed, a poet and MacArthur “Genius” fellow, describes the work as a 21st century “update” on the state of Black writing arts, building upon the traditions of Alain Locke’s The New Negro (1925) and Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal’s Black Fire: an anthology of Afro-American Writing (1968).

Edited by Dr. Kim McMillon of the University of California, Merced, and with an Introduction by Dr. Margo Natalie Crawford, the theme of this anthology is “Black is Beautiful, Black is Powerful, Black is Home.”

The collection bridges many of the founders of the Black Arts Movement, including Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti, Amiri Baraka, Wanda Coleman, Dudley Randall, Eugene B. Redmond and Askia Touré. It also features contemporary established writers in the tradition such as Brian G. Gilmore, extending to Ishmael Reed’s “younger generation”— Karla Brundage, Allison E. Francis, Tongo Eisen-Martin and C. Liegh McInnis.

The book is also distinguished for its inclusion and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community to provide a more complete view of the myriad perspectives on Black Identity and writing.

On Saturday July 16, at 1 p.m., Watts will join a virtual online conversation and reading with other contributors to “Black Fire–This Time.” The event is presented by the San Francisco Public Library and can be live streamed at this link:

“Black Fire —This Time” was published by Willow Press on March 15. The book in paperback retails for $34.99.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Area Merchants Association is once again presenting free movies in Middletown Square Park this summer.

The movie “Encanto” will be shown on Saturday, July 9, at dusk.

Come early to enjoy an evening in Middletown.

Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic to the park at the library and senior center at 21266 Calistoga Road.

All those attending must abide by California COVID-19 guidelines.

Upcoming movies are “Jungle Cruise” on July 23 and “Sing 2” on Aug. 13.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

In her poem, “Scarf,” Rita Dove, with inimitable delicacy, efficiency and grace, captures something of the way in which our sensate bodies are often the true legislators of beauty.

Here, the sense of touch is celebrated through a beautiful image that evokes just how much our need to feel is as essential as breathing.

By Rita Dove

Whoever claims beauty
lies in the eye
of the beholder

has forgotten the music
silk makes settling
across a bared

neck: skin never touched
so gently except
by a child

or a lover.

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 ©2021 by Rita Dove, “Scarf” from Playlist for the Apocalypse, (W.W. Norton & Company, 2021.) 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.

Only a few weeks ago, CBS was claiming a ratings victory for the 2021-2022 television season, with a top network executive boasting that CBS was repeating its position as “America’s most-watched network.”

What does this have to do with the NBC network? Well, the Peacock network touts winning the September-to-May Season as the number one in the key 18 to 49-year-old demographic.

In the end, do the bragging rights have any real impact on the viewing audience’s consideration of where to tune in? It’s inside baseball that matters only to advertisers, so let’s chalk it up to pointless statistics.

Claiming to be the most-watched television show of the decade, “The Voice” returns this fall to anchor Monday nights for its 22nd cycle, welcoming multi-platinum global recording artist Camila Cabello.

Gwen Stefani, global superstar and music legend, returns to “The Voice,” alongside John Legend and Blake Shelton. The versatile Carson Daly, with a career as radio personality and talk show host, resumes his hosting duties.

Television producer Dick Wolf may be best known as the creator of the wildly popular “Law & Order” franchise, but success has also come to his Wednesday night lineup known as “One Chicago.”

The Windy City is at the center of a highly-rated night of drama series focusing on the professional and private lives of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel with “Chicago Med,” followed by “Chicago Fire” and concluding with “Chicago P.D.”

NBC could also be the Dick Wolf network, at least for two full nights. The producer’s iconic brand owns Thursday nights with the flagship “Law & Order” kicking off Season 22, followed by the 24th season of “Law & Order: SVU.” The night concludes with “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

What’s old becomes new in network television. “Night Court,” which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992, starred Harry Anderson as eccentric Judge Harry Stone, who presided over a courtroom that devolved into plenty of wackiness.

John Larroquette’s prosecutor Dan Fielding, a constant presence before the judge’s night court, was an amoral narcissist and a lecher constantly hitting on attractive women with his sexual banter.

The new “Night Court” in the fall lineup has Melissa Rauch joining the cast as Judge Abby Stone, the daughter of the late Harry Stone, who follows in her father’s footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court.

Judge Abby has the unenviable task of trying to bring order to the courtroom’s crew of oddballs and cynics, most notably former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding. Indeed, John Larroquette returns 30 years later to the role. Will he be an aging lothario?

A family affair arrives for comedian George Lopez and his daughter Mayan Lopez in the fall comedy “Lopez vs. Lopez,” which is described by the network as a working-class family comedy about dysfunction, reconnection and all the pain and joy in between.

Apparently, George Lopez will have to contend with his ex-wife Rosie (Selenis Leyva), Mayan’s mother, as well as with Mayan’s live-in boyfriend Quinten (Matt Shively), seemingly thought to be the bane of his existence.

Another reboot to hit the fall schedule is “Quantum Leap,” which ran from 1989 to 1993 and starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a scientist who experimented in time travel and found himself trapped in the past.

Dr. Beckett’s journeys would have him “leap” into the bodies of different people on a regular basis to sort out their problems while trying like E.T. to get back home. On one occasion, he leaped into himself as a teenager to help his high school basketball team win a championship.

With Raymond Lee in the lead, a fresh team has been assembled in the new “Quantum Leap” to restart the time travel project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

“Million Dollar Island,” a new unscripted series, is a high-stakes social experiment in which 100 contestants must forge friendships and build alliances as they plot to stay on a remote desert island for up to 50 days and compete to win their share of the ultimate $1 million prize.

Upon arrival each contestant is given a bracelet worth $10,000. During their time on the island, contestants gain and lose bracelets through various challenges, but when a player leaves the island, they must choose who will receive their portion of the money.

In this intense competition, the strength of personal bonds is just as important as being the ultimate player. “Survivor” won’t be the only game in town for an adventure reality show.

For the holiday season, “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” is a movie musical about the frenetic backstage story of Dolly’s desire to uplift an exhausted world’s spirits by sharing the unique “mountain magic” found in and around Dollywood at Christmas.

Dolly shows the world that the real magic lies in the realization that Christmas is about the people we share it with, and how her faith remains the common thread between Christmases past, present and future.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Alice Friman, in her emotionally complex poem, “The Peach,” describes what appears to be the end of a relationship.

The nature of the relationship is not clear, though Friman’s images of stickiness and running juices suggests a tactile sensuality, that stands in contrast to the final image of snowdrifts and numbness.

It is a short, compact, narrative, that ends with a delicately captured disquiet, captured in the question that ends the poem.

The Peach
By Alice Friman

I stood on a corner eating a peach,
the juice running down my arm.
A corner in Pergos where he left me,
Pergos where I could catch a bus.
What was I supposed to do now
alone, my hands sticky with it
standing on the corner where he
left me a Greek peach, big as a softball,
big as an orange from Spain, but it
wasn’t from Spain, but from Pergos,
where I could see his red truck
disappear around a corner, not
my corner but further up the street,
and only later, months later, back
home when the trees were slick
with ice, their topmost branches
shiny as swords stabbing the heart
out of the sky, the earth chilled under
snowdrifts or as we tend to say, sleeping.
But I don’t know, frozen maybe, numb?

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 ©2021 by Alice Friman, “The Peach” from The Georgia Review Vol LXXV No. 3. 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

02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
02.09.2023 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Middletown Area Town Hall
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
02.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
Valentine's Day
02.16.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Presidents' Day

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