Monday, 25 October 2021

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Kimiko Hahn’s father was born and raised in Wisconsin. A place that has now become part of his daughter’s imagination.

She herself is a woman of many arrivals and departures, and thus a woman fascinated by the complex meaning of “home”, as she shows here in this sonnet.

The life-cycle of the cicada offers a splendid opportunity for her to speak of childhood, maturation and change as part of the parent-child experience.

Reckless Sonnet No. 8
By Kimiko Hahn

My father, as a boy in Milwaukee, thought
the cicada’s cry was the whir from a live wire—
not from muscles on the sides of an insect
vibrating against an outer membrane. Strange though
that, because they have no ears, no one knows why
the males cry so doggedly into the gray air.
Not strange that the young live underground sucking sap
from tree roots
for seventeen years. A long, charmed childhood
not unlike one in a Great Lake town where at dusk
you’d pack up swimsuit, shake sand off your towel
and head back to lights in the two-family sat around the radio.
And parents argued over their son and daughter
until each left for good. To cry in the air.


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 ©2002 by Kimiko Hahn, "Reckless Sonnet No.8." from The Artist’s Daughter, (W.W Norton & Company, 2002). Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 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.

Gloria Scott on Juneteenth at the Middletown Art Center in Middletown, California. Photo by Michael Chandler.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Art Center presents the second in the “Sounds of Liberation” series with acclaimed singer/songwriter Gloria Scott on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. at MAC and online.

Scott, now living in Nice, will be hosted by Clovice Lewis, composer, musician, educator and social justice advocate from Upper Lake.

The evening's event is centered around a conversation about race and music and performance by Scott with an opportunity for audience questions and a wine reception.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

This Sounds of Liberation event will hold stories of Scott’s experiences as a musical artist, her professional work with Sly Stone and Ike and Tina Turner, her solo album produced by Barry White, and her artistic journey as a woman of color in a demanding industry during challenging times of social change and racial injustice.

For more information about Gloria Scott read the article “The soulful trip of Gloria Scott.”

Sounds of Liberation honors the black experience as told through musical genres that have contributed to, and influenced contemporary North American music and culture.

The primary goal of the project is to create environments that support public exploration of challenging questions about systemic racism in America through music and the personal experiences of Black musicians living in Lake County.

A collaboration between Clovice Lewis and The MAC, Sounds of Liberation was inspired by the “Community Call to Action: A loving response to systemic racism in America,” a self-organized local action group formed by the Unitarian Universalist Community of Lake County.

The MAC invites community members of all ages to join by improved Zoom broadcast or by limited seating in-person at the MAC gallery to hear Scott’s story and experience her powerful voice.

The project launched on Juneteenth at The MAC with a conversation between arts professional and social justice advocate Sabrina Klein Clement and Clovice Lewis.

Lewis now shifts to his role as interviewer. “There was so much discovery in our delightful sharing on Juneteenth,” said Lewis, “I can’t wait to do it again with the fabulous Gloria Scott.”

Additional Sounds of Liberation events will take place this fall in locations around the county and feature musician Victor Hall and recording artist Andre Williams among others.

Participants may purchase tickets to attend in-person, with COVID protocols in place, or RSVP for Zoom participation and receive a link. Tickets are available on a sliding scale at www.middletownartcenter.org/sounds-of-liberation.

Sounds of Liberation is made possible with community support and with support from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

The mission of The MAC is to provide art opportunities, art education, cultural enrichment, and ecological awareness, contributing to community well-being throughout Lake County and among our neighbors.

The MAC Gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment by phoning 707-809-8118.

Learn more about The MAC and ways that you can support their work weaving the arts into life in Lake County at www.middletownartcenter.org.



‘BECKETT’ ON NETFLIX


Political intrigue thrillers rooted in paranoia made their mark in the late Sixties and early Seventies with films like Costa-Gravas’ “Z;” Sydney Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor,” and Alan J. Pakula’s “The Parallax View.”

Netflix’s “Beckett” captures the paranoid action thriller where the protagonist is a Hitchcockian “wrong man” caught up in a case of intrigue and deception for which he’s as clueless as Cary Grant’s character in “North by Northwest.”

In the eponymous role of “Beckett,” John David Washington is an American tourist in Greece, joined by his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander) to explore the rural areas as political unrest in the capital caused them to take leave of Athens.

Driving late at night on backroads to a bed-and-breakfast, Beckett loses control of the vehicle, resulting in a deadly crash into an apparently abandoned house. April dies on the scene, while Beckett passes out after seeing what he believes is a woman and a young boy.

The thriller kicks into gear when Beckett after his hospital stay gets interrogated by a bearded cop. Deciding to revisit the scene of the crash, Beckett finds himself in the crosshairs of the same cop and a blonde woman. He escapes with a superficial gunshot wound.

Hence starts a furious run from his assailants who go to such great lengths to find Beckett that any of the locals that help him meet a terrible fate. In a strange land with a language barrier, Beckett must use his wits to get back to Athens for help from the American Embassy.

The journey is fraught with danger, but Beckett comes upon a pair of activists (Vicky Krieps and Daphne Alexander) headed to a rally in Athens. They believe that Beckett may have seen the kidnapped son of an opposition political leader and decide to help.

At under two hours “Beckett” may not seize the full spirit of a conspiracy thriller of the genre, and yet there is enough intrigue with corrupt government officials and an assassination plot to deliver satisfying enjoyment of the trickery that an everyman has to overcome.

PBS FALL PREVIEW

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has been a mainstay of notable documentaries that have aired on PBS, including “Baseball,” “The Civil War,” and “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.”

With his long-term commitment to PBS, it is not surprising that Burns would choose a subject for a biographical documentary who has been as controversial and widely acclaimed as legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

The four-part series “Muhammad Ali” is set to air in September, and at the PBS press tour Burns observed that “Muhammad comes to us first and foremost as the greatest athlete perhaps of all time, certainly of the 20th Century, and as the greatest boxer.”

“Muhammad Ali” draws from an extraordinary trove of archival footage and photographs, contemporary music, and the insights and memories of eyewitnesses – including family and friends, journalists, boxers and historians, among others – to create a sweeping portrait.

While largely celebrated today as an icon of American sport and culture, Muhammad was at one time reviled by many in society for his involvement in the Nation of Islam and refusal to be inducted into the Army during the Vietnam War.

The draft dodging resulted in five years of legal jeopardy and a three-and-a-half-year banishment from boxing, and yet Ali captivated so many with his combination of speed, agility and power in the ring.

“Muhammad Ali” also captures the three-time heavyweight boxing champion’s charm, wit and outspokenness outside of the boxing ring. From his boastful claim of being “The Greatest” to his steadfast Muslim faith, there is much to learn about the greatest boxer.

The American Film Institute designates Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” as the greatest film of all time, followed by “Casablanca,” “The Godfather” and “Gone with the Wind.”

What’s notable about “Citizen Kane,” a biographical story of fictional wealthy newspaper publisher and industrial magnate Charles Foster Kane, is that it is based on a composite of media moguls that included William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.

PBS’s “American Experience” will explore the story of America’s first media baron William Randolph Hearst in the cleverly-titled “Citizen Hearst,” an obvious nod to the Orson Welles masterpiece.

At an early age, Hearst forsake the family business to find the newspaper game irresistible, and by the 1930s he controlled the largest media empire in the country, using it to attain political power.

A man with prodigious appetites, including his extravagant San Simeon castle, Hearst infamously carried on a decades-long affair with actress Marion Davies while remaining married to Millicent Hearst, the mother of his five sons.

During the PBS press tour presentation, author and San Francisco historian Gary Kamiya observed that we “can’t separate our modern media and celebrity landscape from William Randolph Hearst. He created it in so many ways.”

“Citizen Hearst” explores how everything the media mogul said and did was larger than life, taking note of his unorthodox approach to business as well as his complicated private life. The two episodes air on Sept. 27 and 28.

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




‘THE PROTÉGÉ’ RATED R

Netflix’s “Gunpowder Milkshake” has as its protagonist a young woman who’s quite proficient as a professional contract killer.

Meanwhile, the same situation is at hand in “The Protégé,” a stylish action thriller with a deadly efficient female assassin.

In a 1991 prologue, we find a young Vietnamese girl hiding in a closet and holding a gun she used to kill the murderers of her parents. Rescued by legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson), the young girl is trained in the business.

Now an adult, Maggie Q’s Anna, teamed in an apprenticeship with her father figure Moody, becomes a skilled contract killer in her own right, all the while running her own London store selling rare books as her true passion.

With a nagging cough and a looming retirement seeming inevitable, Moody’s days as a wily assassin may be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, the enigmatic Michael Rembrandt (Michael Keaton) visits Anna’s bookstore, setting in motion an inevitable cat-and-mouse game.

While there’s an oddly flirtatious situation between Anna and the much older Rembrandt, the romantic friction only delays for the moment the fact that Rembrandt is an agent for a crime boss hiding out in Vietnam who presents a danger for Moody and Anna.

Not wanting to return to her homeland as the result of bad childhood memories, Anna must nevertheless seek out the mysterious crime lord while getting some help from a biker gang led by Robert Patrick’s Billy Boy, who would look more at home at a rally in Sturgis.

Anna goes from looking glamorous in a sleek red dress at a fancy restaurant dinner with Rembrandt to becoming a hostage being tortured by waterboarding by a bunch of thugs who ultimately prove no match for this assassin.

Directed by Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”), one can be forgiven for having the notion that “The Protégé” is like a test run for having Maggie Q in a future role of a female James Bond. She certainly demonstrates the chops for a tough secret agent.

An action picture offering gripping escapism, “The Protégé” is worth watching if for no better reason than enjoying Maggie Q’s fierce take on lethal vengeance which delivers an exciting excess of breakneck thrills.

‘9/11’ DOCUMENTARIES ON TV

Not surprisingly with the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on our mainland coming on September 11th, a variety of 9/11 documentaries are scheduled across various platforms.

At the end of August, National Geographic Channel will premiere the six-part documentary series “9/11: One Day in America” made in official collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

The series offers a comprehensive account of the day using archival footage – some never before seen – and new, original interviews with eyewitnesses who now have had almost two decades to reflect on the events they lived through.

The perspective of first responders and survivors includes the first FDNY chief to arrive at the World Trade Center and a firefighter who escaped the North Tower just before it collapsed. Paramedics recall their devastating encounters of searching for life in the rubble.

The History Channel plans an extensive observance of the 9/11 anniversary with a series of seven hours of documentary programming, beginning with “9/11: The Legacy,” a poignant sharing of stories from young adults who were children impacted by the terrorist attack.

“Rise and Fall: The World Trade Center” covers the first terrorist attack during the 1993 bombing and unpacks in vivid detail a timeline of how and why the building fell after commercial airliners flew into the towers on September 11.

Through personal narratives of family and friends, “9/11: Four Flights” tells the riveting and emotional human stories of those aboard each doomed jetliner. We probably recall the final heart-wrenching phone calls and harrowing yet heroic moments especially on the United 93 flight.

Featuring rare footage and audio, “9/11: I Was There” unveils an intimate portrayal of the events of September 11 captured by ordinary people who chose to pick up their video cameras that day.

A two-hour documentary, “9/11: I Was There” puts viewers in the shoes of New Yorkers and visitors alike to unfold the tragedy, the fear of what was next and the horrific aftermath to follow resulting in a raw and unfiltered telling of that fateful day.

Apple TV+ announced “9/11” Inside the President’s War Room” which tells the story of 9/11 through the eyes of President George W. Bush and his team of key decision makers who responded for the nation during the 12 hours after the strike on that horrific day.

The Apple TV+ documentary will feature never-before-heard testimony not only from President Bush, but from administration officials that include Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card, among others.

Anyone of a certain age to remember September 11, 2001 will be likely moved by the storytelling of a dark chapter in our history and yet be inspired by those who displayed feats of heroism and altruism in response.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Carolyn Forché’s ability to transport us to unusual places is a gift.

Here in her poem, “Clouds”, we learn of tart Russian Antinovka apples that become for her, personal symbols of the immigrant experience in America.

In this tender poem about memory and movement, she skillfully manages to collapse time as she reflects on the lives of her parents.

Clouds
By Carolyn Forché

A whip-poor-will brushed
her wing along the ground
a moment ago, fifty years
in the orchard where my father
kept pear and plum,
a decade of peach trees
and Antinovka’s apples
whose seeds come
from Russia by ship
under clouds islanding
a window very past
where also went
the soul of my mother
in a boat with blossoming
sails like apple petals
in wind fifty years at once.


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 Carolyn Forché, "Clouds" from In the Lateness of the World (Penguin Publishing Group, 2020.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 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.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

In this tiny conun­drum of a poem, Ross Gay, a poet who defi­ant­ly affirms the pos­si­bil­i­ties of hope and grat­i­tude, reminds us that the capac­i­ty to make a sound, to speak, to sing, is ful­ly con­nect­ed to the capac­i­ty to breathe, to live.

Gay​’s recent book of essays, “The Book of Delights,” is its own cat­a­logue of such hope.

ode to the flute
By Ross Gay
A man sings
by opening his
mouth a man
sings by opening
his lungs by
turning himself into air
a flute can
be made of a man
nothing is explained
a flute lays
on its side
and prays a wind
might enter it


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited submissions. 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 ©2015 by Ross Gay, “ode to the flute” from Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press 2015.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2021 by The Poetry Foundation.

Upcoming Calendar

26Oct
10.26.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Board of Supervisors
26Oct
10.26.2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
26Oct
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Retail Trends and Opportunities in Downtown
27Oct
10.27.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
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27Oct
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27Oct
10.27.2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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28Oct
10.28.2021 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
28Oct
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30Oct
10.30.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks
31Oct
10.31.2021
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