Saturday, 11 July 2020

Arts & Life

Children collaborate on artwork while distancing during the Middletown Art Center’s June 2020 summer camp. Courtesy photo.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center invites children ages 5 to 15 to engage in Art for Art’s Sake summer camp.

This enriching and fun creative adventure begins July 13 and runs through July 24, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Instructors for this second session of camp at MAC are Jessie Beck, a first-grade teacher at Cobb Mountain Elementary, and dance teacher and artist Lauren Schneider, who has taught grades kindergarten through eighth in multiple subjects, art at Lower Lake High School and homeschool art classes at MAC.

Art for Art's Sake provides children with a foundation of familiarity and understanding of renowned artists and artworks.

“We're excited to explore a range of artists and artistic movements from Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse and Picasso, to O’Keeffe, Ringgold and others. We’ll be making art with a variety of media and materials,” said Schneider. “I always look forward to seeing children’s creative expressions and interpretations of artistic approaches in their own unique and individual voices, as well as in their shared collaborative projects.”

Beck and Schneider will be team-teaching MAC’s summer camp for the third time this year.

“Their collaboration and the excellent quality of the projects and activities they offer keeps getting better,” said MAC Programs Director Lisa Kaplan. “I love to drop in and see children and teachers so engaged in the artistic process!”

MAC will uphold all health and safety requirements including distancing and masks or bandanas. Campers are required to bring their own face covering, a water bottle and daily snack. Children will be provided a personal art supplies kit for use at camp.

Activities will take place in smaller groupings by age, in the studio and gallery, and each group will have at least one full-time assistant teacher.

“The shutdown has been rough on us all, and I miss interacting with children in person,” said Beck. "I am thrilled to be teaching at MAC and look forward to getting creative with new and returning campers!"

Learn more and sign your child up at www.middletownartcenter.org/camp . Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Some partial work-trade options are available.

In addition to summer camp, there is a lot happening at the Middletown Art Center.

The gallery is now open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also call 707-809-8118 in advance to schedule a weekday visit.

To support art lovers, local artists and the MAC, artwork from the current exhibit “Dreams” is available for purchase at 20 percent off until the show closes at the end of July. The exhibit can also be viewed in 3D online at https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=pMxYvxv5tAZ thanks to Third Eye Visuals.

The Middletown Community Farmers Market and Makers Faire is happening on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m., with social distancing and masking observed.

Find out more about 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 .

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

I was once on Deer Isle, Maine, on the Fourth of July, and attended their own town parade.

Deer Isle isn’t big enough to mount a very long parade, so they ran it past us twice, first down to the water, and then back up. And we applauded as much with our second viewing as we did with the first.

July 4th parades are a wonderful institution. And here’s a parade for you, by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, who lives in southwest Colorado.

Her newest book, “Hush,” has just been published by Middle Creek Press.

In the Fourth of July Parade

Right down the middle of main street
the woman with the long red braids
and fairy wings strapped to her back
rode a unicycle more than two times
taller than she was—rode it with balance
and grace, her arms stretched out,
as if swimming through gravity,
as if embracing space—her smile an invitation
to join in her bliss. How simple it is, really,
to make of ourselves a gate that swings open
to the joy that is. How simple, like tossing
candy in a parade, to share the key to the gate.

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 Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, “In the Fourth of July Parade,” (2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. 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.

Now and then, I get a complaint from one of our readers saying that what we publish isn’t poetry because it doesn’t rhyme.

Actually, we’ve published quite a lot of poetry with rhymes—end-rhymes, half-rhymes, internal rhymes, and now and then a sonnet, if that sonnet is a fine poem, too.

And here’s one of those by Rhina P. Espaillat, a New Englander, from her book “And After All,” published by Able Muse Press.

Butchering

My mother’s mother, toughened by the farm,
hardened by infants’ burials, used a knife
and swung an axe as if her woman’s arm
wielded a man’s hard will. Inured to life
and death alike, “What ails you now?” she’d say
ungently to the sick. She fed them, too,
roughly but well, and took the blood away—
and washed the dead, if there was that to do.
She told us children how the cows could sense
when their own calves were marked for butchering,
and how they lowed, their wordless eloquence
impossible to still with anything—
sweet clover, or her unremitting care.
She told it simply, but she faltered there.


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 Rhina P. Espaillat, "Butchering," from And After All, (Able Muse Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Rhina P. Espaillat 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.

Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

A painting by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts a pair of canvasbacks, will be the official design for the 2020-2021 stamp.

Klinefelter previously won the California Duck Stamp Art Contest in 2009, as well as the California Upland Game Bird Stamp contests in 2019, 2018 and 2017.

The overall eye-appeal of Klinefelter’s painting immediately drew the judges’ attention. They noted the contrast between the background and the subjects, admiring the brightness of the birds that, when paired with the more muted colors of the scenery, created a composition that would “pop” on a stamp.

The judges’ highest praise, however, was for the anatomical accuracy of the canvasbacks, something Klinefelter found challenging to achieve.

“Personally, I find canvasbacks one of the harder species to paint due to the difference in their bill and head structure,” Klinefelter said.

He went on to say that while he has taken many photographs and painted multiple depictions of the species, he wanted to create a completely different scene for this painting.

Klinefelter imagined the birds being hit by the first light of the morning sun, illuminating their plumage and casting a vibrant reflection on the water.

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

Allen Copeland of Leesburg, Georgia, placed second, Rebekah Knight of Deepwater, Missouri, placed third and Dennis Arp of Culbertson, Nebraska, received honorable mention.

Traditionally, the top four paintings are displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival in Sacramento, but the festival was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally 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 throughout 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 at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps .

THE NBC TV FALL SEASON

True for all major networks this fall season, the NBC network faces challenges for a schedule that could be affected by the pandemic. Especially worrisome just might be the Sunday night lineup.

Programming for primetime Sunday relies on the NFL adhering to its announced program of pro football matchups for the network’s Sunday Night Football, which is preceded by Football Night in America’s highlights of the daytime games.

With the Raiders in the new Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium and the Rams and Chargers at the new Los Angeles SoFi Stadium, the team owners and the league are banking on a season to showcase the state-of-the-art facilities.

Dick Wolf’s franchise “Chicago” series takes up all of Wednesday night, and new for this fall is a spinoff from his “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” That would be “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” starring Christopher Meloni reprising his “SVU” detective Elliot Stabler.

Nearly a decade ago, Detective Stabler was written out of “SVU,” but now he’s back in a special unit of the NYPD leading a battle against organized crime after a devastating personal loss. What tragedy may have befallen Stabler is apparently not known at this time.

The network is touting the fact that Stabler must not only adapt to changes in the criminal justice system, but leading a task force to take down powerful criminal syndicates is a path to absolution and rebuilding his life.

On “Special Victims Unit,” Meloni’s Stabler was partnered with Mariska Hargitay’s detective Olivia Benson, where they had great chemistry as a team. Chances are good for potential crossovers of the two “Law & Order” shows to reunite them.

Ted Danson’s run on “The Good Place” has come to an end, freeing him up to take the lead in “Mr. Mayor,” which looks to be a midseason comedy series. His role is described as a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons.

After winning the election, the mayor has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his staff, and connect with his teenage daughter. The last wealthy guy elected mayor of Los Angeles was Richard Riordan, but this is not his story.




‘MY SPY’ RATED PG-13 ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

An early casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic, “My Spy” had the misfortune of a planned theatrical release in mid-March just when movie theaters had to shut down. It’s now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Nothing is terribly spectacular about the premise of a hulking former wrestler paired up with a precocious child, as this has been done before with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena and other beefy characters.

Now it’s the turn of the heavily tattooed Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), a retired WWE wrestler, former mixed martial artist and bodybuilder. His brawn serves him well as hardened CIA agent JJ.

The film is front-loaded with a heavy action scene in an abandoned Chernobyl site where JJ poses as an arms dealer negotiating with a renegade Russian general and a bunch of terrorists seeking a nuclear device.

All hell breaks loose as JJ goes full cowboy to wipe out all the bad guys and escape with the plutonium. The only problem is that he fails at his primary mission of finding out the plans of the terrorists.

Back at the CIA headquarters in Langley, JJ gets dressed down by his boss David Kim (Ken Jeong) for botching the mission and for lacking covert spy skills which require subtlety, finesse and emotional intelligence.

His last chance at being an agent is a seemingly lightweight surveillance assignment in Chicago to monitor a widowed single mom Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley), an ER nurse who lives with her 9-year-old daughter Sophie (Chloe Coleman).

An even worse part of the task is being teamed up with goofy CIA tech analyst Bobbi (Kristen Schaal), who desperately wants JJ to teach her the finer points of being a field agent.

The mission’s purpose is to catch Kate’s nefarious brother-in-law (Greg Bryk), an international terrorist who may come looking for something left behind by Kate’s deceased husband.

After planting high-tech cameras in the apartment of their targets, JJ and Bobbi are rudely surprised to be discovered by Sophie, who proceeds to blackmail JJ to being her new best friend and to teach her about spycraft.

Reluctantly, JJ takes Sophie ice skating, buys her ice cream, shows up at her school’s Special Friends Day and manages to teach a few bullies some important lessons.

The best part of the tutelage is when Sophie becomes adept at beating a polygraph test, outsmarting her tutor in a training move, and spouting off pithy statements with the panache of James Bond.

“My Spy” is so predictable that only a person who has not watched a movie in the past two or three decades might be surprised by the outcome. But what the heck, it’s a slight comedic diversion that is still watchable.

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

THE ABC TV FALL SEASON

The one caveat to apply to any preview information about the fall season on any major network is simply that everything is subject to change or delay even though production of television shows is resuming with new guidelines and protocols being followed.

Notwithstanding possibilities to move forward shooting new episodes, networks are not able to identify firm dates for premieres, but let’s hope that returning series and new shows get back on track before we run out of streaming options.

The ABC network is initially launching three new series, including a drama from productive writer and producer David E. Kelley (most recently, HBO’s “Big Little Lies”), a new sitcom and the revival of a game show.

Visionary storyteller Kelley comes up with “Big Sky,” a thriller in which private detectives decide to partner with a former police officer to pursue a serial kidnapper.

The detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) 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 highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, a race against the clock ensues to stop the killer before another woman is taken. Until then, the highways of Montana are not safe.

Reaching back to more than five decades ago, ABC is reviving the classic “Supermarket Sweep” game show that first aired on the network in 1965, only to be rebooted years later on Lifetime and PAX TV.

The fast-paced series follows three teams of two as they battle it out using their grocery shopping skills and knowledge of merchandise to win big prizes. Always looking for bargains, this writer would probably not do well in this type of contest.

Arriving during the midseason, “Call Your Mother” is a comedy that follows an empty-nester mother (Kyra Sedgwick) who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away.

Mom decides her place is with family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her children realize they might actually need her more than they thought. Guess the kids will be calling their mother in this aptly-titled series.





‘THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME’ ON NETFLIX

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the critic reviews of “The Last Days of American Crime,” a Netflix original TV movie, are so negative that it rates a 0 percent score and fares little better with a 25 percent rating with audience reviews.

Something this potentially awful almost begs for a look, if only to discover whether a contrarian position should be considered or merited to spark a conversation about the banality of an exercise in futuristic crimefighting.

The basic premise of “The Last Days of American Crime,” as implied in the titular conceit, is that criminal behavior would be eliminated by an Orwellian exercise of mind control in a system called the American Peace Initiative, or API for those who love acronyms.

The government is on the verge of launching the API system that will impede one’s desire to commit a crime. Countdown clocks to liftoff are everywhere, as if everyone is anxiously awaiting the strike of midnight for a Happy New Year.

That the end is near for criminal enterprise has turned the urban core into a hellish landscape of street violence, looting, dumpsters on fire, and topless women dancing on top of cars.

Graham Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) is seeking revenge for the death of his brother in prison. At a bar, he gets seduced by femme fatale Shelby (Anna Brewster) for a quickie in a restroom.

Shelby is engaged to Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt), the son of the local crime lord (Patrick Bergen). An unhinged sociopath, Cash wants to enlist Bricke’s help for one last big heist before the API launch.

The target is $1 billion stored in a vault near the Canadian border. The heist game plan is explained in the simplest of terms as, “Take the money. Drive to Canada. Die rich.” What brilliant mind could outline such a bold scheme?

Before the actual heist occurs, there are many action scenes so inane as to dull the brain to a state of abject indifference or disbelief. One criminal gets tortured while bound to a chair in a trailer that is set on fire, and he still manages to escape.

A well-planned heist can be fascinating to watch, but when that time rolls around it turns out to be about as thrilling as waiting in line for a dinner reservation.

“The Last Days of American Crime” could have developed a compelling heist amidst chaotic dehumanizing turmoil but instead the result is mostly bereft of a coherent story, rational dialogue and consequential character development.

Wasting two-and-a-half hours watching this dystopian nightmare of violence and mayhem so lamely delivered it may cause one to contemplate a chip implant that wards off making bad decisions on entertainment choices.

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

Upcoming Calendar

11Jul
07.11.2020 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
13Jul
07.13.2020 11:00 am - 11:30 am
South Lake County warning siren testing
14Jul
07.14.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
15Jul
07.15.2020
Tax Day
16Jul
07.16.2020 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lucerne Town Hall
18Jul
07.18.2020 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
21Jul
07.21.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
23Jul
07.23.2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
25Jul
07.25.2020 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
28Jul
07.28.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market

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