Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths has written poems and composed photographs in response to the loss of her mother.

She has always been fascinated by the exchange between birth and death that characterizes their relationship.

“Illusion” is doing the same work of connecting the haunting memory and spirit of her mother to her own awareness, her own mortality, and her turn to live and fill the space vacated by her mother.

I typically do not quote poets speaking of their work in this column, but I found this gem by Griffiths from an interview that seems a fit introduction to this poem: “With the death of my mother, the woman (myself) can’t go back out of the world until she mothers herself. I must go forward to my own beginning and to consider my own death.”

Illusion
By Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Waiting inside of the night,
I could make out the mound
& my mother's eyes, the blank embrace
of innocence when she returned
from the other side of the light
where everything wept
as it was loved & forgotten.
It's your turn, it's always
your turn,
the night says.


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 Rachel Eliza Griffiths, “Illusion” from Seeing The Body (W.W. Norton & Company, 2020.) Quote from “Anatomy of Grief: A Conversation with Rachel Eliza Griffiths” By Sarah Herrington, LA Review of Books, October 13, 2020. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/anatomy-of-grief-a-conversation-with-rachel-eliza-griffiths/. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

“Bird Dog” by Paula Gray.

UKIAH, Calif. — The Mendocino College Art Gallery is proud to announce a faculty art exhibition, opening on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

There will be a reception for the exhibition on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays noon to 3 p.m., Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m., and by appointment.

Ukiah Symphony ticket holders will have early access to the show on Oct. 1 and 2. To purchase Ukiah Symphony tickets, visit www.ukiahsymphony.org.

The exhibition highlights the diverse creative talents of instructors who contribute to the high quality of art education at Mendocino College.

A dynamic selection of work includes sculpture, ceramics, painting, drawing, mixed-media, photography and woodworking.

Eighteen faculty members, representing the college’s four campuses and the Krenov fine woodworking school are participating in this exhibit.

For more information visit www.mendocino.edu/events or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“Hindsight” by Jonathan Palmer.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

There is a posture that poets sometimes take, that of the prophet speaking predictions into the world, or simply proclaiming what is happening in the moment.

More often than not, the role is reluctantly embraced, for who wants to speak of calamity in the face of calamity?

Joan Naviyuk Kane’s poem “Fieldwork” assumes a knowing that carries the authority of ancestral memory. It becomes urgent in this calamitous moment, a moment of drought and heat that is familiar to us these days.

If there is hope, it lies in the expectation of movement: “as we move, / moon into moon.” The reluctant prophetess, too, wants to survive.

Fieldwork
By Joan Naviyuk Kane

Another day of heat-
strangers continue to wobble
across the horizon, bringing drought
when instead we should have deluge.

I steep snow-lichen in water I
drew from a lake
which has since gone dry.

At sea few understood me,
as though I induced a sickness
that deafened, then healed.

As before, I predict lies,
to be pushed from the boat
time and time again.

Nevertheless, I expect
to get by while their widowers·
seek refuge with their provident

families; perhaps a storm will pile fish
at their doors when the red tide rises,
perhaps they will not follow as we move,

moon into moon, under another sky.


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. Joan Naviyuk Kane, “Fieldwork” from Dark Traffic (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Last month, Nexstar Media Group announced that it was taking a 75% ownership interest in The CW Network.

Nexstar claims that, together with its partner stations, it is the nation’s largest local television broadcasting company.

This could be good news for The CW because it is apparently the lowest-rated broadcast network when compared to the big four of FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC. The network has been tagged as appealing only to the younger demographic.

Trade publications like “Variety” reported last month that the Nexstar president stated the average viewer of The CW is 58 years old. Hardly anyone could believe this until Nielsen data backed it up.

How to explain the interest of older viewers to tune into youth-oriented programming like “Riverdale” and “All American?” A plausible answer may be that the younger crowd are watching on platforms other than traditional television.

Now that the fall season is upon us and major networks are launching new series in September, we can take a closer look at The CW’s new slate of programs, all of which will premiere in the early days of October.

One of its most successful franchises, “Supernatural” ran for more than a dozen years. Now along comes “The Winchesters,” a wild-west origin story to this big hit.

Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles, “Supernatural”), “The Winchesters” is the epic, untold love story of how John Winchester (Drake Rodger) met Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly).

Putting it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world, when John returns home from the war in Vietnam, an enigmatic happenstance sparks a new mission to trace his father’s past.

In his journey, John crosses paths with 19-year-old demon hunter Mary, who is also searching for answers after the vanishing of her father. Together, they join forces with young hunters-in-training to unearth concealed truths about both their families.

The action-packed “Professionals” follows Vincent Corbo (Tom Welling), a top-tier security operative who is paid to protect the interests of wealthy clients by any means necessary, whether legal or not.

After a next generation medical data satellite explodes on launch, Corbo is hired by the rocket’s designer, billionaire futurist Peter Swann (Brendan Fraser), who suspects sabotage.

Complicating Corbo’s gig is his former courtesan and now Swann’s betrothed, medical visionary Dr. Grace Davila (Elena Anaya), who is racing to help avert a global calamity.

As Corbo and his team of veteran security pros investigate the rocket disaster, they expose a poisonous scheme of Swann’s corporate foes, corrupt government officials, and a shadowy crime syndicate, all working to take control of Swann’s empire.

Worse, Corbo must also contend with Swann’s overindulged, mischievous teen daughter (Jazzara Jaslyn) and a rogue Europol agent (Ken Duken), who is hellbent on busting him for past sins.

Set in the late 1800s, “Walker Independence” is an origin story for the current hit series “Walker.” The new program follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered while on their journey out West.

After crossing paths with Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), a curious Apache tracker, Abby arrives in the town of Independence, Texas, where she encounters assorted free-spirited residents running from their pasts and pursuing new dreams.

Quirky burlesque dancer Kate Carver (Katie Findlay) has perhaps too keen an interest in Abby’s origins, and Kai (Lawrence Kao), a soulful Chinese immigrant runs a local restaurant and offers Abby friendship without an agenda.

Abby literally runs into Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr), a slippery rogue, thief and con artist with a dented heart of gold who quickly eyes Abby as a mark, until she turns the tables on him.

In seeking justice for her husband, Abby encounters noble deputy sheriff Augustus (Philemon Chambers), and his new boss, Sheriff Tom Davidson (Greg Hovanessian), who she has reason to believe is a very bad man.

Abby and Hoyt soon find themselves precariously aligned, both seeking to discover the truth about the identity of the person who killed Abby’s husband, and vowing to save the frontier boomtown of Independence.

“Family Law” centers around Abigail Bianchi (Jewel Slaite), a high-paid personal injury attorney who’s good at blaming others, particularly when it comes to her own problems.

After Abigail’s husband boots her from the family home because of alcoholism, she goes on a bender, shows up drunk in court and retches on a client. Suspended and fined, she can only practice law if she secures a senior lawyer willing to mentor her for a one-year probationary period.

One man inclined or foolhardy enough to take that risk is Harry Svensson (Victor Garber), the top practitioner of a family law practice, just so happens to be Abigail’s estranged father.

Conflicts arise with half siblings in the firm and a stepmother from Harry’s third marriage. An odd dynamic takes shape at Abigail’s new workplace, but the greatest challenge is working under the thumb of the man she’s spent a lifetime resenting.

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

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Rehearsals are going strong for the smash comedy, “Mother May I,” written and directed by local playwright Marcello Bice.

The show, which includes dinner, wine and dessert, will run Sept. 23, 24 and 25, and the curtain opens at 6 p.m.

Lake Family Resource Center is hosting this fundraising event to support the local Meals on Wheels Program.

Senior Services Director Denise Johnson, who also serves as an executive producer, is excited about launching more theater on the stage at the senior center.

Starring in the play is Ukiah resident Laurie Strantz, a veteran actress from the Middletown Repertory Theater, who has delighted many audiences by starring in local shows like “Crimes of the Heart,” “Noises Off,” “Beyond Therapy” and Cobb Mountain Elementary School's “Peter Pan.”

Ms. Strantz will be playing the lead role of Dottie, the ghost of a mother who cannot help but meddle in the love life of her daughter, Sarah, played by Bre'ana, also a resident of Ukiah and veteran actress for Middletown Repertory Theater.

Her love interest, Jack, is played by local police officer Juan Altamirano.

Joining the cast in the other starring role of Madam Vajra, is Lake County Theater Co.'s own Laura Barnes who will play a psychic medium hired by Sarah on Mother's Day to perform an exorcism.

Barnes brings to the production an extensive and impressive 15 year theatrical background in many successful local productions from the LCTC, including the recent Shakespeare at the Lake.

One of the many highlights of this type of “immersive theater,” as Director Bice calls it, is an ensemble who will be performing comic improvisation as waiters and waitresses in an imaginary restaurant.

“The last time we created a restaurant,” said Bice, “people called for reservations months after the show closed to go to this place that never existed!”

Bice is a graduate of UCLA's prestigious School of Theatre, Film and Television, and is known locally for his unusual avant-garde theatrical productions. His new film company Savant Garde Inc. is working in association with Lake FRC to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

“Mother May 1?” is the winner of a playwrights' festival and was performed originally to standing ovations at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa.

“When I won, I was excited, but I wasn't allowed to cast the play or be at any rehearsals,” said Bice. “I'm grateful to the executive director, Lisa Morrow, and everyone at Lake Family Resource Center for letting me be part of that creative process."

The ensemble cast has been rehearsing comic improvisational skills each week and is enthusiastic about exploring their new skills in the upcoming performances.

The supporting cast will be Cindy Jasser, Lillie Bower, Richard Crow, Margie Loesch, and Amirah Jasser.

“I just think the community needs this right now, and I'm so excited to see all this talent come together for such a good cause,” said production coordinator Alicia Adams.

Tickets are $50 each. Purchase them here.




‘SAMARITAN’ ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

You’ve seen men wearing a T-shirt or ball cap that says “Old Guys Rule” and yet, none of them hardly ever has the physical prowess of Liam Neeson, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone.

“Old Guys Rule” might as well be the title of Stallone’s aging superhero film “Samaritan” in which his character of Joe Smith may not exactly measure up to the standard of someone who helps a stranger, or at least not without some prodding.

Does it seem like a stretch for septuagenarian Stallone to be playing an aging vigilante who can easily toss a grown man across a room? Who has time to think about this when the action gets fast-paced?

Though it seems incredible that a man of Stallone’s age could be convincing in the way that superheroes half as old so easily pummel adversaries into a pile of human debris. Yet, he’s not gone flabby, and maybe that’s because his day job as a garbage man requires heavy lifting.

The introduction of Amazon Prime’s “Samaritan” has a lot of quick cuts of animation inspired by a graphic novel. The setting is Granite City, a dystopian hellscape that’s moving inevitably toward out-of-control chaos and looting.

Twenty-five years earlier, twin brothers Samaritan and Nemesis were so freakishly strong that the residents of Granite City grew to fear them and retaliated by trying to burn them alive by setting their house on fire.

The twins were unscathed, but their parents did not survive. At this point, Samaritan grew to fight as a protector of the innocent, while Nemesis, consumed by revenge, wanted the world to suffer.

Nemesis forged a powerful weapon in a hammer that he poured all his hate and rage into. His armament was like Thor’s, but his purpose was malicious. This was the only weapon that could destroy his sworn enemy, Samaritan.

Eventually, the brothers engaged in mortal combat at a warehouse that was consumed by a raging fire, and it was presumed that both of them perished, or at least, that’s the story for the citizens of Granite City.

Local journalist and bookshop owner Albert Castler (Martin Starr) has written a book about Samaritan that delves into conspiracy theories and speculation that the freakishly strong Samaritan is still alive.

A true believer of Samaritan’s earthly existence is 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton), who suspects that his mysterious and withdrawn neighbor Mr. Smith is actually the legend hiding in plain sight.

Living in a tenement with his single mom Tiffany (Dascha Polanco), Sam is frequently bullied by local thugs led by the heavily tattooed Reza (Moises Arias) who goes so far that Mr. Smith intervenes, causing the kid to believe that he’s found Samaritan.

Meanwhile, a psychotic gang leader named Cyrus (Pilou Asbaek), a worshiper of supervillain Nemesis, decides to incite a street rebellion of rioting and arson to entice intervention from Samaritan.

Coming as no surprise to anyone, the reclusive Mr. Smith is inexorably drawn to the fight, though getting to that point requires a test of his patience with the inquisitive Sam who goes so far as invading his apartment in search of clues.

Because this kind of film calls for escapist fare, the climactic showdown between Samaritan and the wannabe Nemesis seems much like a live-action replay of the introductory graphic novel animation.

Even though a streaming service like Amazon Prime may have a decent budget, “Samaritan” is nevertheless a B-movie that may be forgettable the next day but in the moment of its urban chaos and violence offers entertainment value for action fans.

WEIRD DIVERSION ON THE SUBWAY SYSTEM

This column is about entertainment, and diversion can be found in places other than film and television. Who knew that riding the New York subway system, as I did on a recent trip, would offer amusement with its travel etiquette?

Handy guidelines appear on certain trains with an electronic reader. “Stay off the tracks” should be obvious to anyone. That’s a no-brainer. A better warning is not to stand too close to the platform.

The “Keep your hands and other parts to yourself” makes one wonder about lechers riding the rails. Avoid anyone wearing a trench coat during warm weather, or someone looking slightly crazed.

“Go before you go” is wise because even if you found a public bathroom in a subway station, the best warning would be “Enter at your own risk.”

“Don’t sell stuff without a permit” is widely ignored. Someone is bound to be selling packaged cookies or candy, or useless items like an 8-track player or VHS movies.

The one guideline of “Don’t smoke or set anything on fire” does have me worried. The ban on smoking is understandable, but has there been a rash of arsonist acts that should give one pause?

The subway is a great way to get to a Mets or Yankees game, but the best advice is to be alert and aware of your surroundings and don’t travel in the middle of the night.

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

Upcoming Calendar

27Sep
09.27.2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Clearlake Planning Commission 
28Sep
09.28.2022 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Levee and flood risk workshop
29Sep
09.29.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
29Sep
09.29.2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan update meeting
1Oct
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
1Oct
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
1Oct
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show

Mini Calendar

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