Thursday, 25 February 2021

Arts & Life

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – Artists are invited to submit work for the upcoming exhibit, “Apart & Connected,” at the Middletown Art Center, Lake County’s premier contemporary art gallery.

The curatorial team seeks strong, well-crafted work in any medium that expresses the new normal which now marks over one year of challenges with distancing and how we strive to maintain connectedness.

Submissions are due via email Feb. 28, with a hybrid virtual and on-site opening reception March 20. The exhibit will run through June 20.

“The work at the MAC is as impressive as work I have seen in boutique galleries throughout the Bay Area and Wine Country,” said Nicola Chipps, co-curator at MAC and former art and design consultant at Ærena Galleries in the Napa Valley. “With support from a CARES grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, MAC is leveraging digital tools such as virtual exhibits and hybrid opening receptions to reach a broader audience.”

MAC has been a beacon of resilience and hope during challenges of widespread social distancing, sheltering in place and continuous years of wildfires.

A dynamic contemporary arts resource, the gallery features rotating exhibits of exceptional work by regional artists.

Applications and high-resolution (300 dpi) jpeg images of work are due via email by Feb. 28. Delivery of accepted work is March 12 or by appointment.

The submission fee is $40 for three entries, or free to MAC Professional Members. Download an application and learn more about the benefits of exhibiting at MAC at www.middletownartcenter.org/calls-for-work.

The MAC Gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by appointment 707-809-8118. You can also see the current show virtually at www.middletownartcenter.org/home.

The MAC continues to adjust and innovate during this time of COVID-19. Social distancing and masking are always observed.

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.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Theatre Co. announced open auditions for its next play, “A Virtual Whodunnit.”

This will be an online production that will be rehearsed and performed completely via Zoom.

Preston Sterling is hosting a Zoom meeting with his children, third wife and closest staff to celebrate his birthday.

The bitter old billionaire is bullying everyone once again and threatening to change his will when he is electrocuted through his phone.

Enter Sloan, Rockford Sloan, homicide detective. Through a series of Zoom conferences, Sloan questions the usual suspects, all of whom had a motive. When every suspect has motive and opportunity, it’s up to our brave detective and the audience to find the killer.

Auditions will be held via Zoom Feb. 18 and 20, with callbacks on Feb. 22.

Visit www.lctc.us for sides, character information and to schedule an audition.

Please note that due to software requirements, actors must have access to a laptop or desktop computer. Unfortunately, tablets and chromebooks do not support the necessary software.



‘AL DAVIS VS. THE NFL’ ON ESPN

No matter where the NFL’s Raiders end up playing, whether Los Angeles, Las Vegas or someday in London or Mexico City (who knows?), the Oakland Raiders still hold a special place in the hearts of many football fans in Northern California, home of their origins.

Sports fans of all stripes are likely familiar with ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. One of the greatest rivalries in the history of the National Football League has nothing to do with teams, and ESPN is there to capture the story for posterity.

The real clash of the titans was the conflict between former Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, a battle so intense that the ESPN press release refers to it as “a three-decade-long Shakespearean feud.”

Appropriately, the newest ESPN Films “30 for 30” documentary is titled “Al Davis vs. the NFL,” which airs on ESPN and will be available on ESPN+ immediately after its debut on February 4th.

Considering that both Al Davis and Pete Rozelle have passed away, the film takes a fresh, alternative approach by allowing their spirits to tell their own story by using innovative technology, commonly known as “deepfake,” to narrate in first-person.

Better still are the video clips of both men talking most often to the press, whether it’s the Raiders owner either celebrating Super Bowl victories or airing his grievances or the NFL commissioner commenting on the legal battles.

The film traces the relationship from their early clashes in the American Football League and National Football League wars of the 1960s, prior to their merger, through their tacit reconciliation upon Rozelle’s retirement in 1989.

The nettlesome thorn that aggravated Rozelle was the antitrust lawsuit that Davis filed against the NFL in 1980 when the Raiders owner wanted to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles, in pursuit of a state-of-the-art stadium, but the league would not approve.

Clips of the legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell record his observation that Al Davis, willing to do anything to beat an opponent, would “fight like Roberto Duran in his prime.”

Of course, the outlaw image was part of the Raiders mystique back in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the nasty on-field rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers in a decade where they would meet several times in the playoffs.

The Raiders lived by the Davis motto of “Just Win, Baby” and “Will to Win.” Davis noted that the adage in professional football is to “take what they give you” but that his team would “go the other way and take what we want.”

Recalling the glorious 1976 season which led to the Raiders winning their first Super Bowl, Davis praised George Atkinson and Jack Tatum who “wrecked fear in the hearts of everyone who has ever played this game in the secondary.”

Steelers head coach Chuck Noll had choice words for Atkinson’s clotheslining of Lynn Swann, claiming that “You have a criminal element in every society and apparently we have it in the National Football League too.” And let’s not forget that Jack Tatum earned the moniker “Assassin.”

Lawsuits didn’t just involve the league. Atkinson filed a $2 million slander suit in San Francisco federal court against the Steelers and Coach Noll. Atkinson is quoted lobbing accusations on Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene for kicking and spitting on players.

Likely more apropos the feud between Davis and Rozelle was Howard Cosell’s reflection on the parallel in literature of the obsession from Herman Melville’s classic “Moby Dick,” with Captain Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the White Whale.

If Davis is the White Whale, he eventually eluded the Captain because he relocated the team to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but had to wait almost forty years to get his dream stadium in Sin City.

One has to wonder what Rozelle, if he were alive today, would think about Las Vegas hosting the fabled franchise after all the legal hassles in the relocation to the entertainment capital of the world.

The film quotes Rozelle saying that his differences with Davis “developed over business matters not personal,” and that he always “considered Al like a charming rogue,” who had “gone outlaw.”

The most joyous moments for Al Davis were likely the three times that Pete Rozelle had the uncomfortable job of handing the Super Bowl trophy to the Raiders owner, especially when the team became the first wild card to go all the way.

Raider Nation will never be quite the same in Vegas. The team’s state-of-the-art stadium has everything except the atmosphere of the renegade aura of Oakland, exemplified best by the Black Hole and the tailgate parties. The good old days will be missed.

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

Rebecca Roudman and the members of “Dirty Cello.” Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Soper Reese Theatre presents Dirty Cello in virtual concert on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m.

This four-member Bay Area band is perfect for starting up a funky, sexy, electric Valentine's Day party in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Vivacious Rebecca Roudman plays the cello like it was a lead guitar and she sings like a rock star with attitude.

Her group has played all over the world putting a highly danceable and original spin on blues and bluegrass, playing everything from Purple Haze to the Orange Blossom Special.

The concert will be shown on Zoom and registration details are at the theatre's web site, www.soperreesetheatre.com.

For questions please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Here’s a lovely poem about snow falling on San Antonio by Mo H. Saidi, an obstetrician and writer who, in addition to his medical training, has a Master’s degree in English and Literature from Harvard.

Editor’s Note: This column is a reprint from the American Life in Poetry archive as we bid farewell to Ted Kooser, and work to finalize the new website and forthcoming columns curated by Kwame Dawes.

The Night of the Snowfall

Snow falls gently in the Hill Country
covering the meadows and the valleys.
The sluggish streaks of smoke climb quietly
from the roofs but fail to reach the lazy clouds.

On Alamo Plaza in the heart of the night
and under the flood of lights, the flakes float
like frozen moths and glow like fireflies.
They drop on the blades of dormant grass.

They alight on the cobblestones and live awhile
in silence, they dissolve before dawn.
The wet limestone walls of the mission
glow proudly after the night of snowfall.

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 ©2010 by Mo H. Saidi from his most recent book of poems, The Color of Faith, Pecan Grove Press, 2010. Poem reprinted by permission of Mo H. Saidi and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2021 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.

This week’s column is by Ladan Osman, who is originally from Somalia but who now lives in Chicago. I like “Tonight” for the way it looks with clear eyes at one of the rough edges of American life, then greets us with a hopeful wave.

Editor’s Note: This column (336) is a reprint from the American Life in Poetry archive as we bid farewell to Ted Kooser, and work to finalize the new website and forthcoming columns curated by Kwame Dawes.

Tonight

Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt.

There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics.

There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.

There is only the smell of sour breath. Sweat on the collar of my shirt.
A water bottle rolling under a car.
Me in my too-small pajama pants stacking juice jugs on neighbors’ juice jugs.

I look to see if there is someone drinking on their balcony.

I tell myself I will wave.

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 ©2010 by Ladan Osman, and reprinted by permission of the poet. Introduction copyright @2021 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.

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