Wednesday, 05 August 2020

Arts & Life



NORTH COAST, Calif. – Dance! Dance! Dance! Film!

Mendocino College choreography students turned the shelter in place order into an opportunity to create dance on film.

With the Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival 2020 canceled, the nine student choreographers decided to transfer their new choreographic works to film for the first virtual Mendocino College Spring Dance on Film Festival.

Eryn Schon-Brunner, dance instructor and producer of the dance performances at Mendocino College, said she is “delighted by the creativity that has emerged from the challenges that social distancing policies have imposed on the dancers. The students’ fearless flexibility and willingness to explore a new choreographic modality has produced exciting and fresh new dances (on film).”

As of May 8, new works by choreographers Clara Carstensen, Yves Charles, Margarita Diaz, Traci Hunt, Kai Krasts, Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry, Hannah Nicole, Jonah O’Conner, and Megan Youell can be virtually viewed at https://www.mendocino.edu/dance .

In “LIMIT(LESS),” by Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry, explores and penetrates the invisible barriers that we face. Her work challenges how the body perceives, interacts, and transforms these realities into movement.

“LIMIT(LESS) is a creative response to the cancellation of the Mendocino College Spring Dance festival 2020, where I was going to present a different work, called ‘Death Flesh,’” said Irizarry.

The Mendocino College Dance on Film Festival is just one section of the virtual artwork that can be viewed in the Spring Student Art Show Virtual Art Gallery.

Thanks to ceramics instructor Doug Browe and graphic designer Tony Novelli, who coordinated this virtual show, many different Mendocino College art forms will be shared, such as paintings and drawings, ceramics, culinary arts, theater, music, and creative writings.

“The Other” by Traci Hunt is an “exploration of similarity and likeness in humans; a search to find out what we hold at our core that connects us all.”

Traci Hunt elaborated, “This piece came about organically, and the shift to video definitely changed the course of the piece and its theme. Nevertheless, the evolution of the piece was fun to watch, and moving it to a video format allowed me as a choreographer to push the boundaries of what can be said through movement with the theme of likeness in mind.”

Traditionally, Dance Club scholarships are given out at the Spring Dance Festival, when the hard work and artistry of the dancers is publicly acknowledged.

A huge congratulations goes out to Clara Carstensen, who will receive the Inspiring Dancers Scholarship, and to Megan Youell, who will receive the Kayla Grace Chesser Dance Scholarship.

Both Mendocino College Repertory Dance Co. dancers have excelled in their art by inspiring those around them and generously sharing their art form through performance and choreographing.

Don't miss out on the wide variety of virtual art that Mendocino college has to offer. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Most of the school-age athletes I know or have known would have been embarrassed to show any vulnerability, and this fine poem by Al Ortolani, from his chapbook Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street, published by Rattle, really catches what I felt like, trying to do my best at what I was never any good at, even on my best day.

Game Prayer

Maybe it’s the way boys
look at each other before the last game,
their eyes wet and glimmering with rain.

Maybe it’s that I catch them
in these shy moments of waiting,
turning the world like a pigskin,

flipping it nonchalantly, low spiral
drilling the air. Maybe it’s this
moment before the splash of lights

before the game prayer
before you run from the door.
If so, forgive me

for seeing you so vulnerable,
in that quiet moment
before the helmets.


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 Al Ortolani, "Game Prayer," from Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street, (Rattle, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Al Ortolani 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.

NORTH COAST, Calif. – The show must go on!

The Mendocino College art community has taken the challenge presented by the current shelter in place and will continue its 30-year tradition of Spring Student Art Shows by featuring it virtually.

The show can be viewed by visiting here.

This team effort of the college’s graphic designer, publicity team, art gallery, and all academic departments, heralds in a new concept and a new era for the Mendocino College Art Gallery.

In the past, the show was mounted and shown in the Mendocino College Art Gallery for the last six weeks of each academic year.

Now the show can live on in its virtual home for as long as people want to visit and view it.

Another truly revolutionary aspect is now, for the first time, all creative pursuits can be showcased for everyone to view at the same time.

The usual show staples include 2d arts (painting, drawing, photography, and digital printed artworks) and 3D arts (sculpture, ceramics and pottery, and digital 3D printing).

This year, with this new virtual show concept, additional arts will be included, such as culinary arts, theater, dance, music and creative writings.

The Spring Student Art Show is Mendocino College Art Gallery’s largest and most popular show.

The students, their families, the college and community always look forward to seeing the creativity that thrives in Mendocino College students. Now it will be even easier and more fully representative of all student’s creative pursuits than ever before.

The show will be continually expanding over the next two weeks.

Many items in the virtual show are for sale and can be purchased by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All proceeds go directly to student artists.

For more information please contact the Mendocino College Art Gallery at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NORTH COAST, Calif. – Organizers of the event are thrilled to announce that after a week of relishing in the dozens of musical submissions, they have decided to rename their festival “MendoLake MusicFest” in the spirit of inclusion and recognition of the community shared between residents of Mendocino and Lake counties.

“Ultimately, our community is made better through song, and organizers are excited to showcase the musicians of Lake County and share in the experience with its citizens,” organizers said in a Sunday announcement.

The MendoLake MusicFest is hosting a free, “live-streamed” concert event, featuring and celebrating local musicians and performers on Sunday, May 24.

They are currently seeking video submissions of some of your best work – recorded from a previous live performance or something recorded virtually – to share with the community.

Organizers will select exemplary performance footage submissions and stitch them into a cohesive performance video.

The goal is to produce an hour to an hour and a half event, showcasing musicians from all age groups and genres of music.

Please include the following when you email your submission:

– Performer/group/band name;
– Song selection;
– Video of a previously recorded performance or a virtually compiled performance created while maintaining social distancing practices;
– Name(s) of the performer(s);
– A short biography on your band / what you want the audience to know (about the band or the song);
– Contact information.

Email your submission information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Friday, May 15.

Due to the number of submissions, do not expect a receipt response for your submission. You will be notified if you are selected or if they need more information from you.

If you or someone you know has a song to sing, share your melody with Mendocino County for this year’s Mendo Musicfest.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the event organizers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

‘EXTRACTION’ ON NETFLIX

With movie theaters remaining closed for the time being, the desire to watch a new film, instead of binge-watching a TV series, leaves one with few options outside the streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

For its part, Netflix is ready to fill the vacuum with original movies and with established commodities. Case in point is the recent Mark Wahlberg film “Spenser Confidential” that allowed the Boston native to star in an action film set in his hometown.

Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor of flowing locks in the role of Thor, is no less a fierce warrior in Netflix’s “Extraction,” wherein his character of Tyler Rake is a fearless black market mercenary with a penchant for violence that suits his character.

To make no mistake that “Extraction” is a feature-length film rather than a television movie-of-the-week, the MPAA has properly attached the R rating for “strong bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.” Our viewing of it is a virtual experience of mayhem.

Directing this effort for cinematic bedlam is former stuntman and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, who also served as a second unit director on “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

With a background tuned to the need to deliver action thrills, often of the death-defying nature, Hargrave goes about the business of directing a serviceable thriller that spares no kinetic energy to deliver the goods.

We may be getting ahead of the story, but the Hargrave style is realized in an 11-minute-long sequence designed to look like one seamless shot that would include several car chases, pile-ups, hand-to-hand combat, running through tenements, and leaping and falling off roofs.

The film opens with Tyler, caked with blood, pinned down on a bridge under heavy fire and apparently hemmed in by a dwindling opportunity for an exit. This scene is merely a prologue to the ultimate climactic action sequence.

Backing up from the opening by a couple of days, Tyler is camping in the Australian wilderness with a couple of buddies. Moments later he takes a flying leap off a cliff into a lake below, remaining submerged in the water where he seems to be pondering his fate.

The answer comes soon enough when arms dealer Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) arrives at his ramshackle cabin in the middle of nowhere. She has a past with Tyler but we’re not quite sure what it is. Could it be more than a platonic history with a fellow mercenary?

Given his living quarters, Tyler looks like a guy who needs a payday. His reckless nature has no problem taking an extremely risky job offer from Nik to venture into hostile territory to rescue the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord imprisoned in Mumbai.

The adolescent Ovi (Rudkraksh Jaiswal) is snatched by thugs of his father’s Bangladeshi rival, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), a callous villain that has no qualms about having a kid tossed off a roof or commanding a henchman to cut off two of his own fingers.

Let’s be clear about the fact that Ovi’s father (Pankaj Tripathi) is no prince either. He tasks his own henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda) to retrieve the boy, noting that failure would result in the death of Saju’s family.

While Tyler succeeds in rescuing Ovi in the early going with his one-man raid on a hideaway where he kills the numerous captors by a variety of brutal means, including a gruesome use of a garden rake.

The rescue was the so-called easy part. Getting out of Dhaka proves far more challenging since the well-connected Amir, untouchable to his foes, has the local police and military in his back pocket.

A corrupt high-level military officer exercises his authority to close down the city for a manhunt similar to how a NYPD officer shutdown all routes in and out of Manhattan in “21 Bridges.”

A major break in the action occurs when Ovi and Tyler take refuge at the home of Gaspar (David Harbour), a fellow mercenary and old friend who may not be very helpful when he counsels Tyler to give up the impossible mission.

The only escape route for Ovi and Tyler is a treacherous crossing on a long bridge, and the climactic action, with a surfeit of gunfire and explosions, ends up where we first got a glimpse in the prologue.

Despite its breathtaking, action-packed set-pieces that are spectacularly staged, “Extraction” is the type of generic thriller that would have once featured a younger Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone, most likely to the same effect as what Chris Hemsworth brings to the screen.

This is not to say that action junkies, who have to wait another year for the fourth chapter of “John Wick,” won’t enjoy “Extraction” in the absence of alternatives. It’s just that one’s expectation shouldn’t get too worked up too high.

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

“Mail Order Bride,” mixed media painting by Alana Clearlake.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center announces a three-part digital marketing workshop “Tools for Visibility in the Age of Social Distancing” geared to professional artists.

It’s happening this Saturday, May 2, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and the next two Saturdays, May 9 and 16.

This course is designed to help artists explore a range of new digital tools to inventory their work and collections and to establish an online presence.

“It will help you to market and manage your art career more easily and professionally, and provide an online showcase for potential buyers, collectors and galleries to see your work more easily,” explained Workshop Leader and Curator Nicola Chipps. “We will also be talking about the COVID-19 Crisis and resources within the arts community that can provide a forum for discussion, as well as relief programs”.

This is the first of a professional development series the MAC plans to offer artists.

The workshop consists of three sessions: “Explore: Intro to Artwork Archive,” “Build: Your Online Catalogue” and “Connect: Tell Your Story.”

The format will be with a live instructor on the Zoom platform, which allows for interactive questions and answers. A laptop or computer is required. All sessions will be recorded so you can review the material if you miss one.

The fee is $60 for MAC members and $75 for non-members.

Please preregister online at MiddletownArtCenter.org/classes. Partial work-trade options are available. Technical support will be offered 30 minutes before class by appointment. Enquire via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The MAC has been offering children’s, and Woodland Community College art classes online since the shelter in place began.

Find out more about how MAC is adapting to the current evolving situation 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 .

Upcoming Calendar

6Aug
08.06.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
6Aug
08.06.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
6Aug
08.06.2020 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thompson virtual town hall
7Aug
08.07.2020 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Farmer’s Market and Makers Faire
8Aug
08.08.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
11Aug
08.11.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
11Aug
08.11.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
12Aug
08.12.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lake County Democratic Party
13Aug
08.13.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection

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