Saturday, 15 May 2021

Arts & Life

NORTH COAST, Calif. – The Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, or MCWC, has posted the program for MCWC 2021, its 32nd conference, which like last year’s event will be held online via Zoom in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s conference faculty will include keynote speaker Wendy C. Ortiz, authors Lillian Li, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Saretta Morgan, Chris Dennis, Alex Sanchez, Suzanne Rivecca, Krys Malcolm Belc and Sam Krowchenko, and literary agents Elise Capron and Tricia Skinner, along with other special guests, writers and publishing experts.

View the complete schedule by visiting

Applications for scholarships to attend MCWC 2021 are now open for submissions. Writers of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to apply by visiting The deadline to apply for a scholarship is Feb. 15, 2021.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by Feb. 28, and general registration will open to the public on March 1.

“MCWC is pleased to offer a range of full scholarships to our conference designed to make our conference accessible to writers from diverse backgrounds and to reward writing of outstanding merit,” Executive Director Lisa Locascio said.

She said scholarships are available specifically for writers from underrepresented groups on the basis of age, ethnicity, sexual identity, disability, social or cultural background, and financial need.

There are scholarships available for MCWC first-time attendees and for those who have never attended a writers’ conference before. There are scholarships for Mendocino County high school students as well.

“We especially want to encourage local young writers to apply and come get a taste of a world-class literary gathering where they can meet fellow writers and gain valuable feedback on their writing. MCWC exists to serve and enrich our beautiful Mendocino County home, and we want to give back in every way we can,” said Locascio.

The scholarship judging categories are organized by submission genre, including the categories of novel, short fiction, middle grade/young adult, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, and speculative fiction.

All applications will be considered for all possible scholarships, and all applicants are welcome to register for the conference regardless of the outcome of their scholarship application.

Locascio added, “Since the conference is online again this year, we hope that writers who might not be able to come to the coast for a four-day stay will apply for a scholarship that will enable them to join from the comfort of their homes.”

The conference encourages all writers to apply.

For more information about registration, visit Questions can be directed to Lisa Locascio at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The origin story of Wonder Woman was developed in the 2017 film named after the DC Universe superhero, delivering the elegant, stunning and strong Gal Gadot as the demigod warrior on a mission to thwart the Germans during the First World War.

“Wonder Woman 1984” places Diana Prince (Gadot reprising the role), whose alter ego is the superhero, into the thick of the Cold War era where a con-man utilizing the television medium to promote a Ponzi scheme may prove more threatening to mankind than the Soviets.

But first, the film opens with a flashback to the paradise island of Themyscira that is inhabited solely by Amazon warrior women. As a young girl, Diana competes in a grueling triathlon against adult women more than twice her size.

Showing grit and determination in a contest of skill and strength that represents a hybrid of Olympic competition and a fantasy match in a “Harry Potter” film, Diana learns a valuable and virtuous life lesson from her elders.

The year 1984 brings the still elegant Diana to the position of a staff archeologist at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., where she studies and catalogs ancient artifacts, one of them being a seemingly ordinary stone object that is anything but mundane.

In a reflection of the solitary responsibility shouldered by one possessing superpowers, Diana appears to be a loner, even aloof from her colleagues. This also could be her still longing for the lost love of her life, pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a casualty of war.

However, she befriends Smithsonian colleague Barbara Minerva (Kirsten Wiig), a nerdy, awkward geologist who is overlooked or dismissed by workmates and harassed by louts on city streets.

Barbara takes an interest in the odd stone object that Diana has deemed to be of no significant value, at least not until TV con artist Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) who peddles get-rich-quick schemes on oil prospecting wants to get his hands on it.

The stone has power to grant anyone’s wish, which leads to Steve’s return from the dead. Diana’s love has delightfully humorous fish-out-of-water encounters with the marvels of technology and the gaudiness of contemporary wardrobes.

As for her part, Barbara covets the confidence, strength and appeal of her glamorous colleague, not realizing that there is much more to Diana’s poise and beauty than surface appearances.

Meanwhile, the snake oil salesman Maxwell Lord, who cares about no one other than himself and his young son Alistair (Lucian Perez), ingratiates himself into the museum’s work for ulterior motives.

The beginning and middle parts of the story in the nation’s capital allow Diana to moonlight on occasions in crimefighting with random acts of heroism, like rescuing kids from deranged robbers at a mall or saving an oblivious pedestrian from being creamed by a speeding Pontiac.

But when Steve is back in the picture, the duo take flight in a purloined jet and head to the Middle East for other heroic acts contra the dastardly plans of Maxwell Lord for world domination and supremacy in the oil markets, or something to that effect.

Truth of the matter is that in the middle part, aside from great stunts by Wonder Woman disrupting a hostile military convoy in the desert, a lot of the action, with the exception of fight scenes in the White House, becomes forgettable not long after the viewing.

What is not so unmemorable is the evolution of Barbara into full villain mode as the Cheetah, whose powers grow stronger while Diana’s appear to diminish. And yet, the Cheetah looks more like a cast member in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical than true menace.

In his quest for self-aggrandizement, Maxwell Lord becomes more a caricature of overacting than a true threat to the world, even though he’s a megalomaniac destined to fail as he’s ultimately no match for Wonder Woman.

In this dreadful year of a global pandemic, movie studios have struggled with how or even whether to open any tentpole films that deserve the big screen experience. “Wonder Woman 1984” may be viewed on HBO Max and whatever theaters might be open.

Does this superhero movie lose its full impact by being seen on a flat screen in one’s family room? The hunger for blockbuster entertainment not on a streaming service makes it worth the effort for fans of this genre.

At a running time of two and a half hours, “Wonder Woman 1984” could have been trimmed, or at the very least, the wait to get to the climactic action with Diana in full superhero costume, whipping her mystical lasso, could have come sooner.

Be sure to hang through the end credits for a special appearance of an iconic figure, still looking marvelous after all these years and demonstrating that she’s still got it.

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


What could not have been a coincidence, “Run” was produced to be a theatrical release for Mother’s Day weekend.

That’s a bit of cruel irony once the dysfunctional dynamic of a mother-daughter relationship is fully revealed.

A few films come to mind that involve an abusive and manipulative mother, but none probably more prominent in the zeitgeist than Faye Dunaway’s Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest,” a disturbing look at the mistreatment of her adopted daughter in a movie almost four decades ago old.

Fresh in the public’s mind from her role in “Ratched,” Sarah Paulson’s Diane Sherman has entered into the sweepstakes for an equally cruel and controlling mother caring for her homebound teen daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen).

If the Nurse Ratched role in the Netflix series didn’t solidify Paulson’s adept performance of an unhinged caregiver, then “Run” should seal the deal for one depraved enough to win the Munchausen by proxy lottery.

In the opening scene, Diane is giving birth to a premature baby clinging to life in the hospital. The screen goes black to list definitions of asthma, diabetes, paralysis and even the rare disorder of hemochromatosis.

Jumping to the present day, Chloe is a high school senior being homeschooled by her mother, who has apparently spent the last 17 years in full-time care of a child who can only move about in a wheelchair.

Chloe’s daily routine never varies. Pulling herself out of bed in the morning into the wheelchair, Chloe gobbles more pills than a seriously ill senior citizen, tosses up phlegm in the toilet and rubs ointment on body rashes. Other treatments follow throughout the day.

Schoolwork may involve 90 minutes of physics, followed by less time with literature since Chloe has already read many chapters. She’s obviously smart and eagerly waiting to hear about college applications.

Living in rural Washington brings little interaction with the outside world. In fact, the sprawling two-story home, with a vegetable garden that Diane tends to every day, is so isolated that there are no neighbors within shouting distance.

The daily arrival of the mailman has Chloe rushing to the door to see if any acceptance letter has come from the University of Washington or another college. Somehow, Mom always reaches the mail first, assuring Chloe she’d be the one to open any letters from a school.

Odd happenings start to creep into the picture, such as Chloe finding a new prescription in her mother’s name but the mystery green and white pills turn out to be a new medication that she’s taking.

Growing suspicion that festers in Chloe’s mind leads to a cat-and-mouse game where her investigation into the pills is thwarted by the only computer in the house having no Internet connection.

As a matter of fact, Chloe may be the only teenager in the entire Pacific Northwest without a cell phone and access to social media, which obviously thwarts an inquiring mind to break free of a mental and physical prison.

When Chloe convinces her mom that they should go see a movie, she slips out of the theater on the pretext of a bathroom visit in order to go across the street to the pharmacy, hoping to determine what ailment is addressed by the mysterious new medication.

Meanwhile, later at night, Mom usually spends time in the basement with a bottle of wine watching old home movies of her child while secrets are stored in boxes and desk drawers that are inaccessible to Chloe.

As tension starts to build between a suspicious daughter and an overprotective, scheming mother, the madness of Diane turns ugly with incidents that would warrant the attention of the authorities.

There is no intention here to spoil any of the twists and turns of extreme behaviors that are threatening and dangerous or the secrets unearthed that cast a whole new perspective on the psychosis at hand.

Kiera Allen, a wheelchair user in real life, brings authenticity to the role as a disabled person. But more than that, Allen is genuine as a bright teenager ably coping with her own challenges.

On the occasion of being trapped in her bedroom, Chloe seeks escape by dragging her body across the roof of her house in a thrilling moment that demonstrates her resourcefulness and resolve.

Sarah Paulson’s Diane is a terrific character study of someone with a tenuous grasp on reality in spite of a seemingly caring façade that slowly boils into a frightful meltdown.

In the serviceable running time of approximately 90 minutes, “Run” is long enough to wholly establish the enormously villainous nature of an abusive parent and short enough not to wear out its welcome as a thriller.

Viewing “Run” on a theatrical big screen as originally intended would have been added bonus, but since the dreadful pandemic has limited our options, thankfully Hulu stepped into the breach to offer a rousing original film.

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

Ted‌ ‌Kooser.‌ ‌Photo‌ ‌credit:‌ ‌UNL‌ ‌Publications‌ ‌and‌ ‌Photography.‌ ‌

 ‌Time‌ ‌to‌ ‌clean‌ ‌out‌ ‌a‌ ‌closet‌ ‌and‌ ‌make‌ ‌room‌ ‌for‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌2021‌ ‌will‌ ‌bring‌ ‌us!‌ ‌ ‌

I‌ ‌hope‌ ‌every‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌you‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌year‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌much‌ ‌better‌ ‌and‌ ‌happier‌ ‌than‌ ‌the‌ ‌one‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌all‌ ‌shoving‌ ‌behind.‌ ‌ ‌

This‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌last‌ ‌column‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌part‌ ‌in,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I’ve‌ ‌written‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌goodbye‌ ‌poem‌ ‌for‌ ‌you.‌ ‌ ‌

Happy‌ ‌New‌ ‌Year!‌ ‌

A‌ ‌Donation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shoes‌ ‌

They’re‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌Goodwill‌ ‌
in‌ ‌Destiny’s‌ ‌old‌ ‌cardboard‌ ‌carton,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌flaps‌ ‌folded‌ ‌inside,‌ ‌lending‌ ‌its‌ ‌
scuffed‌ ‌shoulders‌ ‌a‌ ‌look‌ ‌of‌ ‌authority,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌box‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌the‌ ‌route,‌ ‌the‌ ‌shoes‌ ‌
badly‌ ‌lost‌ ‌and‌ ‌confused,‌ ‌their‌ ‌toes‌ ‌
starting‌ ‌in‌ ‌every‌ ‌direction‌ ‌at‌ ‌once,‌ ‌
clambering‌ ‌over‌ ‌each‌ ‌other,‌ ‌laces‌ ‌
entangled—wingtip,‌ ‌slip-on,‌ ‌work-‌ ‌
boot‌ ‌and‌ ‌sneaker—every‌ ‌pair‌ ‌
trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌one‌ ‌last,‌ ‌lingering‌ ‌look‌ ‌
at‌ ‌the‌ ‌closet‌ ‌before‌ ‌settling‌ ‌down‌ ‌
into‌ ‌their‌ ‌smell.‌ ‌What’s‌ ‌the‌ ‌saddest‌ ‌
about‌ ‌this‌ ‌is‌ ‌seeing‌ ‌those‌ ‌insoles‌ ‌
floating‌ ‌up‌ ‌naked,‌ ‌pale‌ ‌flounders‌ ‌
beat‌ ‌flat‌ ‌and‌ ‌then‌ ‌dried,‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌
to‌ ‌swim‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean‌ ‌of‌ ‌days,‌ ‌
led‌ ‌on‌ ‌by‌ ‌plump‌ ‌dolphins‌ ‌of‌ ‌feet.‌ ‌

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 ‌Ted‌ ‌Kooser,‌ ‌"A‌ ‌Donation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shoes."‌ ‌Poem‌ ‌reprinted‌ ‌by‌ ‌permission‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ted‌ ‌Kooser.‌ ‌

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

We three at American Life in Poetry, Ted, Pat and Cameron, wish you a happy and wholesome 2020, and here’s a poem to celebrate our friendship with you and our 15th year of weekly poems.

Warren Woessner is a poet and a patent attorney who lives in Minneapolis. If you’ve invented a new kind of poem and want to get it patented, well, he’s pretty busy and probably can’t help you with that.

His newest book is “Exit – Sky” from Holy Cow! Press.

New Year's Eve

5 p.m., corner booth,
Oak Bar, Plaza Hotel,
New York City, Center
of the World of all
that matters.

Where a Belvedere martini,
up with a twist, contemplates you
like a languid gold fish
in a clear garden pool,
or a suspended tear

that you can take back inside,
like that first full breath,
in case you need it,
as the world gets ready
to start all over again again.

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 Warren Woessner, "New Year’s Eve," from Exit – Sky, (Holy Cow! Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Warren Woessner 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.

Language is a magic bowl that can hold all we imagine.

Here in five words, carefully chosen by Jennifer Hambrick of Ohio, are the front and back of the galaxy, acorns underfoot and stars high above, and, magically, everything else in between.

Her most recent book is “Unscathed” from NightBallet Press.

starry night
acorns popping

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 Jennifer Hambrick "starry night," from Modern Haiku (2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Jennifer Hambrick 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.

Upcoming Calendar

05.15.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
05.15.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
American Legion Post flag retirement ceremony
05.16.2021 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Fair cleanup event
05.16.2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Konocti Fire Lookout volunteer meeting
Tax Day
05.18.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
05.18.2021 11:00 am - 3:30 pm
Lakeport Community Blood Drive
05.22.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
05.25.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market

Mini Calendar



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