Friday, 23 October 2020

Arts & Life

The Neurographica process drawing. Courtesy photo.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center invites community members to participate in “Navigating the Chaos,” this Saturday, Oct. 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The workshop will be facilitated remotely on Zoom by Neurographica Specialist and artist Antje Howard.

The workshop will include a combined drawing and writing process, with time to share insights into drawings and writings.

Participants will use a combination of free-writing and simple drawing techniques to process and reframe their experiences of chaos and uncertainty into a more navigable form.

“Collectively, we are feeling confusion, grief and a range of other emotions. With the help of the creative process, we will bring them into a more navigable form,” explained Howard. “We will use the Neurographica Method, a drawing process that can help us to interact with our subconscious mind and see things from a new perspective. In addition, we will use writing to bring the new insights back and anchor them in our conscious awareness. No prior art experience is required, and all you need is a piece of paper, thin and thick black markers or pens and colored pencils, markers, or crayons."

Please register at www.middletownartcenter.org/classes. Participation is by donations of $5 to $25. A Zoom link will be provided following payment. No one turned away for lack of funds.

The MAC Gallery is open Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment by phoning 707-809-8118. You can also visit the show virtually at www.middletownartcenter.org/current.

Find out more about 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.



‘NEXT’ ON FOX NETWORK

Don’t we have enough paranoia with the coronavirus pandemic that we need not start fretting about artificial intelligence thinking for itself in ways that may prove detrimental to our sanity, let alone existence?

Many rely on Alexa (doesn’t she sound condescending sometimes?) for useful information, like Derek Jeter’s career batting average or what is today’s weather in Istanbul.

FOX network’s new fall series “Next” postulates an advanced first true digital assistant that is actually interactive, and in the words of one techie “uses cognitive architecture” and “rewrites its own code.”

Interestingly, the series opens on a black screen with a warning from the Elon Musk quote: “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.” The billionaire industrial designer views A.I. as an existential threat to humanity.

“Next” has its own eccentric mega-rich tech inventor, John Slattery’s Paul LeBlanc, whose growing paranoia on top of a degenerative disease, has resulted in him being forced out of his Silicon Valley company by his scheming younger brother Ted (Jason Butler Harner).

Even though out in the cold from his own creation, Paul is sounding the alarm about a malevolent A.I. system, known as “neXt” that poses a threat to human existence.

The tech billionaire brings his concerns to FBI agent Shea Salazar (Fernanda Andrade), who heads up the agency’s Cybercrime Task Force in Portland, Oregon. At first, Salazar is unconvinced that LeBlanc’s worry should be taken seriously.

Suffering from a hereditary disease that causes paranoia and mental decline, LeBlanc remains brilliant about technology in extraordinary ways, but his brusque and often volatile behavior often undermines his credibility.

For her part, Salazar may well be coping with dark secrets that may emerge at some point. Her family life is also troubled because 8-year-old son Ethan (Evan Whitten) is being bullied at school.

The Salazar household, including the agent’s husband Ty (Gerardo Celasco), discovers that their home version of Alexa, known as “Iliza,” turns ominous with private talks with Ethan, prodding him to take violent action and how to access a handgun.

Salazar’s cyber team, including expert hacker and former white supremacist CM (Michael Mosley) whose presence is resented by co-worker Gina (Eve Harlow), is reeling from an attack wiping out critical case files.

For a thriller, there’s plenty happening in “Next” that is suspenseful, with murders needing to be solved and an invisible enemy that must be vanquished.

ABC VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR

The ABC television network came late to the party in holding its own virtual press tour to tout some new fall programs and a return of certain series that adapt to the pandemic situation.

Visionary storyteller David E. Kelley has created the thriller series “Big Sky,” slated for a debut on November 17th, that is adapted from a series of books written by author C.J. Box.

“Big Sky” follows private detectives Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) and Cassie Dewell (Kyle Bunbury), who join forces with Cody’s estranged wife and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote Montana highway.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to catch their captors before it’s too late.

While a preview of the series is not yet available, writer and showrunner David E. Kelley did not want to give away plot details, noting that “a big part of the series are the twists and story turns that we take.”

Kelley divulged a tantalizing morsel in observing that what the audience will “notice is we come out of the box as a thriller and as we proceed from episode to episode, we will cultivate a real investment in the characters.”

“The Conners” returns on October 21st in an all-new season that follows the family continuing to grapple with parenthood, dating, financial pressures and aging in working-class America.

John Goodman’s Dan, the family patriarch, is still trying to catch up on delinquent mortgage payments and avoid a potential eviction, while the Lunch Box is closed for everything but takeout and delivery.

Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) are both forced to search for additional income at the newly reopened Wellman Plastics plant, the same place where George Clooney played a foreman in the first season of “Roseanne.”

As a production in progress during the pandemic, showrunner Bruce Helford told critics that while there are rigid protocols on the stage, “the family doesn’t wear masks or social distance amongst themselves” because they are in quarantine in the house.

The seventh season of “black-ish” takes us to the beginning of the global pandemic for the Johnson family with stories that address such topics as systemic racism and the movement for social justice.

As a first responder, Tracie Ellis Ross’ Rainbow Johnson gets praise for her work but soon discovers someone in her house is breaking the quarantine lockdown rules, while Anthony Anderson’s “Dre” Johnson tries to convince everyone that he too is an essential worker.

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

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Edward Muir’s poem, “The Horses,” published many years ago, envisioned a future in which the work horse would return, and with them we’d have a new beginning.

Today, some of our fellow creatures aren’t to come back.

Here’s a poem by Robert Hedin, of Minnesota, that I found in the most recent Alaska Quarterly Review.

Hedin’s most recent book is “At the Great Door of Morning,” from Copper Canyon Press.

Monarchs, Viceroys, Swallowtails

For years they came tacking in, full sail,
Riding the light down through the trees,
Over the rooftops, and not just monarchs,
But viceroys, swallowtails, so many
They became unremarkable, showing up
As they did whether we noticed them or not,
Swooping and fanning out at the bright
Margins of the day. So how did we know
Until it was too late, until they quit coming,
That the flowers in the flower beds
Would close their shutters, and the birds
Grow so dull they’d lose the power to sing,
And how later, after the river died,
Others would follow, admirals, buckeyes,
All going off like some lavish parade
Into the great overcrowded silence.
And no one bothered to tell the trees
They wouldn’t be coming back any more,
The huge shade trees where they used
To gather, every last branch and leaf sagging
Under the bright freight of their wings.


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 ©2019 by Robert Hedin, “Monarchs, Viceroys, Swallowtails,” from the Alaska Quarterly Review (Vol. 36, No. 3 & 4). Poem reprinted by permission of Robert Hedin and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Jehanne Dubrow is the wife of a recently retired naval officer and has written very moving poems about their life.

This fine love poem is from an as-yet-unpublished manuscript. She lives in Texas and has, at quite a young age, already published eight collections of poems.

The newest, due out this year, is “Simple Machines,” from University of Evansville Press.

Pledge

Now we are here at home, in the little nation
of our marriage, swearing allegiance to the table
we set for lunch or the windchime on the porch,

its easy dissonance. Even in our shared country,
the afternoon allots its golden lines
so that we’re seated, both in shadow, on opposite

ends of a couch and two gray dogs between us.
There are acres of opinions in this house.
I make two cups of tea, two bowls of soup,

divide an apple equally. If I were a patriot,
I would call the blanket we spread across our bed
the only flag—some nights we’ve burned it

with our anger at each other. Some nights
we’ve welcomed the weight, a woolen scratch
on both our skins. My love, I am pledging

to this republic, for however long we stand,
I’ll watch with you the rain’s arrival in our yard.
We’ll lift our faces, together, toward the glistening.


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 Jehanne Dubrow, “Pledge.” (2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Jehanne Dubrow. Introduction copyright @2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

RESTORE: Restoring Community Post-Disaster Through Art. Cover image by Yelena Zhavoronkova.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center invites the public to a reading of poetry and prose from its newly released chapbook “RESTORE: Restoring Community Post-Disaster Through Art.”

The reading will take place on Zoom this Saturday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. and is hosted by Lake County Poet Laureate 2020-2022, workshop facilitator and RESTORE chapbook editor, Georgina Marie.

As the people of Lake County, and so many others in California, grapple with the trauma and uncertainty of six consecutive years of devastating wildfires and loss, the value of the arts as a sanctuary for healing, transformation, and connection has become urgently clear.

The writings and images in the book convey a sacred negotiation with both the reality of ecological disaster and basic human needs of love, safety, connection, a sense of belonging and home.

The book is a poignant collection of works by 26 writers and 25 printmakers who participated in MAC’s RESTORE workshops July 2018 through May 2019.

RESTORE is a wildfire recovery project supported in part by the California Arts Council, and the generosity of local businesses, organizations and individuals.

The MAC has been involved in community recovery through the arts since the Valley fire of 2015 which devastated the area and 1,300 homes.

“The writing workshops of the RESTORE project inspired and supported poems of grief, trauma, vulnerability, and authenticity of the self,” explained Georgina Marie. “As an editor of the RESTORE book, I had the opportunity to read a variety of personal and creative original work; as a writer of the RESTORE book, I had the chance to write poems which explored my own grief and sensitivity. To write about loss, heartache, and even wildfire lead to a deeper sense of creativity and a realization of perseverance, of my own and of our community.”

Preregistration is required at www.middletownartcenter.org/chapbook. Participation is by donation $5 to $25, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. A Zoom link will be provided upon registration.

Proceeds from this event will support MAC’s Literary Arts programming.

The MAC Gallery is open Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment; call 707-809-8118. You can also visit the show virtually at www.middletownartcenter.org/current.

Farmers Markets and Maker’s Faire are offered Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. during fall months.

The MAC continues to adjust and adapt its programming during this time of COVID-19. Social distancing and masking are observed at MAC.

Find out more about 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.



‘ENOLA HOLMES’ ON NETFLIX

While the summer is now over and gone and Hollywood held back almost all of its major film releases during the prime season, entertaining family fun at the movies dwindled down to streaming service offerings.

Turning to Netflix, the choices weren’t always that welcoming for families. Consider the controversy that erupted over eleven-year-old girls in a provocative dance crew twerking their moves in “Cuties.”

But now there is something for people of practically every age to enjoy on Netflix, and that would be “Enola Holmes,” starring the delightful Millie Bobby Brown as the titular character, the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.

Set in England’s Victorian era of 1884, “Enola Holmes” delights as much with its gorgeous scenery of the countryside that contrasts with the urban jungle of bustling London as it does with appealing characters, of which Enola is the most engaging and charming.

Living far from England’s capital city, Enola (who’s name she reminds us often spells “alone” backwards) is a free-spirited independent living with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), where she’s homeschooled on everything from great literature to self-defense.

She’s never really known her older brothers who live and work in London. Sherlock (Henry Cavill), the famous detective, and the even older Mycroft (Sam Claflin), a government functionary, only appear on the scene after Eudoria goes missing.

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Enola wakes to find that her mother has disappeared, leaving behind an odd assortment of gifts and no immediately apparent reason as to where she’s gone or why, and yet a few cryptic clues only a sleuth could figure are left behind.

Enola’s unconventional upbringing is now uprooted when her siblings decide she’ll be under the guardian care of the stiff, uncaring Mycroft, who decides what’s best is placement of his sister in a girls’ finishing school run by the austere Miss Harrison (Fiona Shaw).

Wanting to prove that she has innate detective skills and to express a thoroughly modern sentiment of feminism, Enola runs off to catch a train to London in search of her wayward mother.

Often breaking the fourth wall, Enola speaks directly to the audience in frequently comical self-aware declarations of her pursuits. After crashing her bicycle and landing in the dirt, she dryly explains that “cycling is not one of my core strengths.”

What is certainly one of her strengths is a fearless willingness to confront adventure and danger with enormous self-confidence, such as rescuing fellow teenage train passenger Viscount Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) escaping an assassin.

A bond is formed between the young lord and the runaway budding sleuth, but romance is not what is on the mind of Enola. In fact, she seems initially to regard her new companion as more of a hindrance until realizing they share common interests.

Disguising herself on occasion in boyish clothes, Enola has no problem expressing a defiance of the existing social order of the Victorian period, and this will serve her well to navigate the treacherous pitfalls of the big city.

While focused on her primary mission to locate her mother, Enola gets caught up in the political turmoil that surrounds an upcoming critical vote in the House of Lords that would consider the granting of suffrage to women.

The mystery of why the life of the young aristocrat is in danger could be related to actions pending in Parliament. At this point, any political issues are just another subplot that may prove important to the story, or it’s just another diversion.

Due to her uncanny ability to break codes and solve puzzles, Enola displays ingenuity by even going undercover as a widow and then later uncovering a secret underground group that might lead to the whereabouts of Eudoria.

Near the end, there is an element of violence that plays out at Tewksbury’s mansion when the young viscount is placed in mortal danger, which allows Enola to be as daring as she is resilient and adaptable to fierce challenges.

Courage is not the only virtue for the plucky Enola. Her wits and clever skills are particularly effective in outsmarting adults and the various bad guys. For that matter, her brain power poses a real threat to the more experienced Sherlock.

Since “Enola Holmes” is based on the Nancy Springer young adult novel “The Case of the Missing Marquess,” the first installment in a series of mysteries, sequels could be on the horizon.

Keep in mind that Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories of literature’s most famous detective did not include a spirited younger sister, perhaps because it would not fit with the expected propriety of the times.

As long as Millie Bobby Brown remains in the picture to carry on the Holmes tradition, Netflix would do well to continue adapting the Springer books. Sherlock’s catchphrase “the game is afoot” should be the guide.

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

Upcoming Calendar

24Oct
10.24.2020 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
24Oct
10.24.2020 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
City of Lakeport Community Cleanup Day
24Oct
10.24.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
24Oct
10.24.2020 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Neurographica workshop
24Oct
10.24.2020 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Window to the Universe: Saturn
27Oct
10.27.2020 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Free drive-thru flu vaccination clinic
28Oct
10.28.2020 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Free drive-thru flu vaccination clinic
28Oct
10.28.2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Library hosts ‘Zoom with the Director’ 
29Oct
10.29.2020 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Free drive-thru flu vaccination clinic
31Oct
10.31.2020
Halloween

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