Friday, 18 September 2020

Arts & Life

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Here’s a delightful poem you can almost smell.

Don’t we all know that old-shoe-plus-shoe-polish odor? I don’t remember oxblood smelling different from plain old black or brown, but Andy Roberts, writing so vividly of his father, makes us feel that it does.

He’s from Columbus, Ohio, and his most recent book of poetry is “Leaning Toward Greenland,” (Night Ballet Press, 2020).

We found this poem in Atlanta Review, edited by Karen Head, one of our former colleagues here in Nebraska.


I squeeze into nine pounds of my dead father’s
Brooks Brothers wingtips,
heels worn down from running between women.
Slip on his herringbone suit coat, flash on him
snapping his fingers, popping his Dentyne,
swinging along to “The Great Pretender.”
The suit’s too big, it can go to Goodwill.
But they don’t make shoes like these anymore.
The old tin of oxblood I prize open,
shift to my nose and remember
all he ever needed was Nat King Cole,
a slice of phosphorescent moon
and a blonde in the passenger seat
down Wainwright Road to the quarry.

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 ©2017 by Andy Roberts, "Oxblood," from Atlanta Review, (Vol. XXIV, no. 1, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Andy Roberts 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.

Sculptor Marcus Maria Jung and community members at the making of “Resurrection” at Trailside Park for the 2019 EcoArts Sculpture Walk. Photo by MAC staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center will kick off its reopening this Saturday, June 13, with a natural woodworking workshop with sculptor Marcus Maria Jung.

The public is invited to join the workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Social distancing will be observed. Bring a mask, work gloves and tools you might have (like chisels and hammers) as well as water. There will be a break for lunch, so plan ahead.

Please sign up in advance at to reserve your spot. Registration helps MAC prepare and stay in touch for scheduling. The class is offered by donation $1 to $30.

“I sincerely hope to see you back in the field doing what we all love so much: creating art and learning from each other in this wonderful creative community,” said Jung. “Our tentative plan is to work on Phase II of Vertical Pathways until Tuesday, June 16, then transition to a new piece on the western slope of Rabbit Hill that elicits a dialogue with the EcoArts Sculpture Walk in Trailside Park.”

Work will take place indoors and outdoors on Saturday, with continued work on collaborative sculptural projects on Rabbit Hill over the next two weeks.

The public is invited to join Jung by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that scheduling is coordinated and tools are available.

“The shelter in place coupled with fall power shutoffs really hindered our ability to continue work on our project LOCUS: A Sense of Place,” said MAC Programs Director Lisa Kaplan. “We are thrilled to have Marcus with us again to restart the project and all of our activities. Please consider joining us in revitalizing the outdoor spaces we share and love by repurposing fallen trees to create something new and inspiring. If you can’t make Saturday’s class, you can lend a hand another day.”

Middletown High School students are also invited to participate in MAC’s beautification efforts for the experience and for Community Service credit.

Projects include Rabbit Hill sculptures and improvements to the MAC Art Garden in town. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to inquire.

Jung lost his studio on Cobb in the Valley fire. He has since been living and working in the Los Angeles area, and coming to Lake County to participate in MAC exhibits and fire recovery projects.

He engaged community members in co-creating “Resurrection,” his contribution to the EcoArts Sculpture Walk in 2019, and co-facilitated Phase I of Vertical Pathways on Rabbit Hill.

Both “Resurrection” and current collaborative sculpture making activities are part of “LOCUS: A Sense of Place,” supported in part by a grant awarded to MAC in 2019 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sculptural projects on Rabbit Hill are made possible through MAC’s partnership with the Lake County Land Trust, stewards of Rabbit Hill.

The MAC is located at 21456 State Highway 175 at the junction of Highway 29 in Middletown. MAC is pleased to reopen to the community while observing social distancing requirements. The MAC gallery will reopen Friday through Sunday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with expanding hours in the coming weeks.

You can call MAC at 707-809-8118 to arrange for a private viewing of “Dreams” during business hours. Summer Camp will be offered June 22 to 26 and again for two weeks in July.

To find out more about what’s happening at the art center and ways to support MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County visit .

The making of “Resurrection” at Trailside Park for the 2019 EcoArts Sculpture Walk. Photo by MAC staff.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

How fascinated a young person can be with the secret lives of his or her teachers.

I left junior high—middle school today—more than 60 years ago but still I occasionally wonder about the private lives of my algebra teacher, my science teacher, my English teachers, whose deep and abiding privacy I would have done anything to break through.

Here’s a poem by Fleda Brown from her University of Nebraska Press selected poems, “The Woods Are On Fire.”

Fayetteville Junior High

What happened was, when we weren’t looking
Mr. Selby married Miss Lewis.
We tried to think of it, tiptoed Mr. Selby,
twirling the edges of blackboard numbers
like the sweet-pea tendrils of his hair,
all his calculations secretly
yearning away from algebra, toward
Miss Lewis, legs like stone pillars
in the slick cave of the locker room,
checking off the showered, the breasted,
flat-chested. All this, another world
we never dreamed of inside the bells,
the changing of classes:
Selby and Lewis, emerging
from rooms 4 and 16, holding hands
like prisoners seeing the sky after all those years.
“Bertha,” he says. “Travis,” she says.
The drawbridge of the hypotenuse opens,
the free throw line skates forward,
the old chain of being transcended
in one good leap, worn floor creaking
strange as angels. In homeroom, the smell of
humans, rank, sprouting, yet this hope for us all.

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 ©2017 by Fleda Brown, "Fayetteville Junior High," from The Woods Are On Fire, (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Fleda Brown 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.


Readers of this column may recall past references to the television press tours that occur during the winter and summer to preview upcoming series in panel discussions with cast and production crew.

The Television Critics Association canceled the 2020 summer tour that was scheduled to start at the end of July due to the uncertainty that attends the public gathering restrictions which remain unabated.

An equal concern is that film and television production of new films and series, which have been on hold during the pandemic, may not be ready for the fall season.

First out of the box, the FOX network has already announced new series for the upcoming season, if such a thing is remotely possible at this moment. Savvier folks are betting that January 2021 is a likelier scenario for the networks.

Nevertheless, FOX may have an opportunity for new series only because some series were expected earlier this year as mid-season replacements or the product was already in the can or in the case of “L.A.’s Finest” it ran elsewhere.

From the universe of the Jerry Bruckheimer “Bad Boys” franchise, the one-hour series “L.A.’s Finest” has been a Spectrum Original, which means it probably hasn’t tapped into the wider audience available on a network.

This series looks to be the female version of “Bad Boys,” with Gabriel Union’s Syd Burnett, moving on from taking down drug cartels in Miami to become an LAPD detective, and then pairing up with Jessica Alba’s Nancy McKenna, a working mom with a complex history.

“Filthy Rich,” a southern Gothic family soap in which wealth, power and religion collide, was thought to be a mid-season replacement. When the patriarch (Gerald McRaney) dies in a plane crash, his wife and family are stunned to learn he fathered three illegitimate children.

A thriller about rogue artificial intelligence, “NeXT” stars John Slattery as a Silicon Valley pioneer, who discovers one of his A.I. creations might spell global catastrophe, leading to teaming up with a cybercrime agent to fight a villain unlike anything seen before.


Recommendations from friends certainly come in handy to choose a streaming series to fill the void. This is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Goliath,” which is now in its third season. As with “Bosch,” I have some catching up to do with this series.

As a legal drama, “Goliath” may not break any new ground in courtroom scenes, except when you have Billy Bob Thornton’s Billy McBride pulling tricks in a courtroom, where his exchanges startle with a gut punch.

Abundantly clear from the start, McBride is the David of this linear series, a once stellar lawyer who co-founded a major firm before descending to his present status of conducting business from a Santa Monica motel room across from the bar when he spends a great deal of time.

The Goliath is the Cooperman McBride law firm, to which the down-but-not-quite out lawyer’s name is still attached and where his aggressively assertive ex-wife Michelle (Maria Bello) fits perfectly in a toxic corporate culture.

Arranging plea deals for petty criminals, McBride’s low-rent legal practice allows him to spend more time at the Chez Jay bar or parking himself on the beach with a bottle in a paper bag.

The persons closest to McBride’s orbit turn out to be his estranged teenage daughter Denise (Diana Hopper), who now hopes to set him straight, and his off-and-on legal assistant Brittany (Tania Raymonde), an attractive sex worker plying her trade on the side.

A big case comes McBride’s way when the excitable, motor-mouthed Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda), a defense lawyer for DUI clients and real estate agent in the Valley, seeks to help her neighbor Rachel Kennedy (Ever Carradine) to sue for the wrongful death of her brother.

Not interested at first in the case, McBride changes his tune when learning Rachel’s brother died in a boat explosion and the target for the wrongful death lawsuit is Borns Tech, a major client of the Cooperman McBride firm.

That there is plenty of ill will between McBride and his former partner Daniel Cooperman (William Hurt) turns out to be enough motivation for the David vs. Goliath legal battle to play out for the entire first season.

Cooperman, disfigured from facial burns, is an odd fellow and recluse hiding in his darkened office where he spies on his employees and monitors depositions and courtroom proceedings on surveillance cameras.

Taking a look at the Cooperman firm’s legal team defending Borns Tech is all one needs to know about which side to root for, though that’s hardly a challenge because Thornton’s flawed McBride is the underdog that draws sympathy.

Rooting for McBride is easy when compared to Cooperman’s lead attorney, Callie Senate (Molly Parker), an ice queen yet brilliant lawyer eager to skewer anyone in her path, even fellow colleagues.

“Goliath” rises above the conventional with the basic construct of Thornton and Arianda bringing quirkiness to adversarial courtroom theatrics.

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

“Black Water Lilies” by Allison Patrick from Alhambra High School in Contra Costa County, California.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that local judges have selected Allison Patrick from Alhambra High School in Contra Costa County as the 2020 Congressional Art Competition Grand Prize Winner.

Her piece, “Black Water Lilies,” which is a paper and light abstract photograph, will hang in the Capitol for the next year.

“Honored to announce that Allison Patrick from Alhambra High School is this year’s Grand Prize Winner for the Fifth Congressional District Art Competition! Her artwork impressed our local judges with its use of different materials and techniques as well as a strong mastery of positive and negative space,” said Thompson. “She will represent our district’s artistic talent in the halls of the Capitol for the next year and I am excited to see it in person when I go back and forth to vote. Congratulations, Allison!”

Thompson also announced the finalists for counties in his district, though not all counties were represented among the entry pool.

They are Orobosa Olotu, from Mare Island Technology Academy in Solano County; Emma Chen, from Maria Carrillo High School in Sonoma County; and Samantha Shelton, from Napa High School in Napa County.

Thompson was unable to convene receptions for each county finalist due to the coronavirus pandemic but recognized their efforts with a certificate.

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


Adhering to the stay at home orders, notwithstanding some loosening on restrictions, has hindered our ability to enjoy such things as patronizing movie theaters, attending baseball games and enjoying concerts and live stage productions.

Of course, this is stating the obvious, but for available entertainment some of the best options require access to streaming services, with Netflix and Amazon Prime featured most prominently.

The plethora of choices on these streaming services would probably allow someone to stay in the basement at least until the next decade, but that’s not a scenario holding any allure for anyone who’s not a hermit or in a witness protection program.

Time now permits discoveries of programs that were somehow overlooked. A long-running success story on Amazon Prime, the “Bosch” police procedural aired its first episode in 2014 and is now on its sixth season.

How did I miss a cop show this good from the beginning? In the titular role, Titus Welliver is outstanding as LAPD detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch, a veteran in the Robbery Homicide Division at the Hollywood precinct.

From personal experience this past week, “Bosch” is binge-worthy entertainment, and I am determined to see it through to the end. Though with the seventh and final season announced, the wait for final closure might be taxing on my patience.

Titus Welliver carries the weight of the series, and he makes Harry Bosch a fascinatingly gritty character in so many ways. A hard-boiled detective, Bosch’s style brings to mind the type of no-nonsense officer found in a vintage film noir story.

Struggling with his own demons, Bosch once served in the Special Forces with tours in the Gulf War and later Afghanistan. With his military background and hardcore attitude, Bosch understands what needs to be done for effective policing.

Unafraid to take action when necessary, we come to grasp his tenacity at the beginning of the first season when he engages in a foot chase with a suspect that ends in a fatal shooting in a darkened alley.

Accused of planting a gun on the suspect that would allow Bosch to discharge his service weapon in self-defense, Bosch faces the heat in a wrongful death lawsuit where the plaintiff’s lawyer Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers) proves to be a tough adversary.

By the way, it won’t be the last time that Bosch has to deal with his attorney nemesis, as he will cross paths with Chandler in a later season and even under circumstances that requires mutual cooperation on a volatile murder case.

A sign on Bosch’s work space that sums up his credo reads “Get off your ass and go knock on doors.” That’s exactly what he has to do in the hunt for serial killer Raymond Waits (Jason Gedrick).

Between court appearances and waiting for a verdict in the wrongful death case, Bosch works with his steady, younger partner Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) to unravel the mystery of the cold case death of an adolescent boy whose bones were found buried in Laurel Canyon.

A disturbing cat-and-mouse game ensues with the serial killer whose claims of having murdered the boy as one of his victims is not deemed credible by Bosch, when evidence shows the boy had suffered a history of brutal beatings.

A psychopath of the first order, Waits has learned enough about Bosch’s background to know that the detective grew up in horrible institutional conditions from a young age after his prostitute mother was killed at a motel and dumped in an alley.

Frequently troubled by his own past and the death of his mother, Bosch will get entangled in cold case investigations that cause worry for Deputy Chief of Police Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick).

“Bosch” has great supporting characters in the work place, from veteran detectives Moore (Gregory Scott Cummins) and Johnson (Troy Evans), longtime partners known as Crate and Barrel, to Lieutenant Grace Billets (Amy Aquino), who is Bosch’s immediate superior.

As a friend, Lieutenant Billets often has Bosch’s back as his disdain for authority puts him at odds with the career bureaucrats in the department and the Internal Affairs officers probing his moves.

While Bosch is famously taciturn to the point of exasperation for his colleagues, Crate and Barrel are humorously cantankerous and bring welcome levity to the squad room.

Divorced though still cordial with his ex-wife Eleanor (Sarah Clarke), Bosch’s personal life is messy when he gets involved in a romantic relationship with rookie cop Julia Brasher (Annie Wersching).

Nevertheless, Bosch is devoted to his teenage daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz), who lives with her mom in Las Vegas, but later spends more time in Los Angeles and takes on a bigger role.

Bosch occasionally bends the rules, whether conducting searches without a warrant or roughing up a suspect, and he’s willing to vent his frustrations with authority figures, such as the annoyingly ambitious District Attorney (Steven Culp) who seeks higher office.

“Bosch” is addictive and now is a good time to jump into the series from the first episode.

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

Upcoming Calendar

09.19.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
09.20.2020 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Democratic Party virtual fundraiser 
09.22.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
09.22.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
09.23.2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Library hosts ‘Zoom with the Director’ 
09.24.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
09.24.2020 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
Dine Out with Hospice
09.26.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
09.29.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
09.29.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection

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