Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Arts & Life


A light-hearted romantic comedy on Hulu focuses on class and cultural differences in the charmingly amusing “The Valet,” a remake of sorts of a little-seen French film on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Eugenio Derbez’s Antonio, a socially awkward Mexican-American sporting a bad haircut, parks cars at an upscale Beverly Hills restaurant catering to people driving expensive foreign cars.

Living in a small apartment shared with his spirited mother (Carmen Salinas) and teenage son Marco (Joshua Vasquez), Antonio would like to reunite with his ex-wife (Marisol Nichols) but she’s moved on with a high-flying realtor who advertises on billboards.

Riding his bike leads Antonio to inadvertently end up in the middle of a paparazzi photo of actress Olivia Allan (Samara Weaving) and her married lover Vincent Royce (Max Greenfield), a developer whose vast wealth is tied to the family fortune of wife Kathryn (Betsy Brandt).

To avoid a scandal that could derail Olivia’s career (her big picture is set for a debut) and cause the odious Vincent to lose it all in a divorce, a scheme is concocted whereby Antonio is recruited to pose as Olivia’s new beau for enough money to pay off his ex-wife’s college loan.

That Antonio attends red-carpet celebrity events with Olivia is enough to puzzle his family and cause his co-workers to marvel at a working-class valet dating a pretty blonde half his age.

Scenes where the mismatched couple pretend to have a relationship are not as relevant as the situation in which the lonely Olivia hangs out and finds acceptance with Antonio’s circle of extended family and friends.

A lot of the film’s humor comes from Antonio’s mother having an affair with her Korean landlord Mr. Kim (Ji Yong Lee) who doesn’t speak a word of English and neither does she. They both rely on offspring for translation.

“The Valet” suffers a bit from too many plot threads that seem extraneous. Overall, the fish-out-of-water story allows the film’s eponymous character to be endearing, and the culture clash exposes the absurdity of a shallow celebrity lifestyle.


The CW Network, typically geared to the younger demographic, plans to launch the usual mix of programs, with an added initiative of joining forces with the Surgeon General to tackle the number issue of mental health facing America’s youth.

“As The CW looks towards the future, we are evolving and adapting to become more than just a network. We are a brand that drives our passionate and dedicated audiences to engage directly with our programming across all platforms, both linear and digital,” said Mark Pedowitz.

These words sound nicely scripted by a publicity agent for Mr. Pedowitz, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CW Network, but I am not really sure what they mean as far as how the network operates.

Nevertheless, new drama series this fall include a prequel to “Supernatural” with “The Winchesters,” the epic, untold love story of how John Winchester (Drake Rodger) met Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) and put it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world.

When John returns home from fighting in Vietnam, a mysterious encounter sparks a new mission to trace his father’s past. In his journey, he crosses paths with demon hunter Mary, who is also searching for answers after the disappearance of her own father.

The two join forces with young hunter-in-training Latika (Nida Khurshid) and easygoing hunter Carlos (Jonathan Fleites) to uncover the hidden truths about both their families.

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

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

As Corbo and his team of security pros investigate the rocket disaster, they expose a lethal conspiracy of Swann’s corporate rivals, corrupt government officials, and a shadowy crime syndicate, all working to destroy Swann and take control of his tech empire.

Set in the late 1800s, “Walker Independence,” an origin story for hit series “Walker,” follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent and tough-minded Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West.

Arriving in the town of Independence, Texas, Abby encounters diverse and eclectic residents running from their pasts, chasing their dreams, and keeping their own secrets.

“Family Law” centers around Abigail Bianchi (Jewel Staite), a high-paid personal injury lawyer who’s good at blaming others. After being kicked out of her family home because of her drinking, Abby goes on a bender, shows up drunk in court and vomits on a client.

She’s suspended and can only practice law again if she finds a senior lawyer willing to take her on and mentor her for a one-year probationary period. The only one agreeable to take the risk is her estranged father Harry Svensson (Victor Garber), who runs the top family law practice.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Of course, the “elderly couple” in Adrienne Christian’s witty and tenderly observed poem “Portrait of Pink, or Blush,” likely, if they are like me, do not imagine themselves to be “elderly,” but what they will appreciate is the sensuality of Christian’s observation.

The delicate sentiment in the poem lies in the suggestion that it is Christian who may be the blushing voyeur at the end of the day, and that, of course, is lovely and generous.

Portrait of Pink, or Blush
By Adrienne Christian

when today at a bistro
an elderly couple in jeans, leather
bomber jackets, and heeled boots
stepped down from their stools
to stand and go home—

him behind her,
his bomber jacket zipper
a spine at her back,
him wrapping on her scarf

the heart-shaped cookie she nibbled
the shape of her mouth,
that cookie, puffy,
with still-soft icing white and rose—

I learned
the anthropology of blush

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 Adrienne Christian, “Portrait of Pink, or Blush” from All the Songs We Sing, Edited by Lenard D. Moore (Blair/Carolina Wren Press, 2020.) 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.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — In 2021, Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie Guardado 2020-2024 was selected as one of 23 poets laureate across the United States to receive a Poets Laureate Fellowship with the Academy of American Poets.

The academy was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

The fellowship entailed a financial award sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Poets Laureate in their work, as well as support public poetry programs in their respective communities.

Over the last year, Guardado has installed poetry boxes and little free poetry libraries in select locations countywide, accessible to the general public.

To commemorate the end of her project year and celebrate the literary arts in Lake County, Guardado is hosting a poetry tour of free poetry workshops and readings around the county.

All are welcome to attend and all levels of writers are welcome, including beginners.

Events are free to attend and no advance registration is required.

Participants attending any of the writing workshops are encouraged to bring pen, paper and water to keep hydrated on hotter days.

Participants attending poetry readings are invited to bring original work to share.

The Poetry Tour schedule is as follows:

• Friday, June 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum, poetry workshop.
• Sunday, June 12, 7 to 8 p.m.: Clear Lake Campgrounds, Sunset poetry reading and open mic.
• Monday, June 13, 5 to 7 p.m.: Main Street Gallery, Lakeport, poetry workshop.
• Thursday, June 16, 5 to 7 p.m.: Main Street Gallery, Lakeport, poetry reading and open mic.
• Sunday, June 26, 2 to 4 p.m.: Middletown Art Center, poetry reading and open mic.
• Friday, July 8, 4 to 6 p.m.: Tallman Hotel, Riffe's Meeting House, Upper Lake, poetry workshop.
• Saturday, July 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Middletown Library, poetry workshop and reading.
• Sunday, July 10, 2 to 4 p.m.: Clear Lake Campgrounds, poetry workshop.

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

To learn more about her fellowship project including a map of all poetry displays, visit her website at https://www.georginamariepoet.com/fellowship.

Juneteenth at MAC 2021, photo by MAC staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — Join the Middletown Art Center for its second annual Juneteenth celebration featuring live music, local artists, delicious food and beverages on Sunday, June 19, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Celebrate emancipation, freedom, and triumph, through the power of the arts with yet another amazing night of live music and dance, outdoors at the MAC.

It’s a great way to celebrate with your favorite dad too, as Father’s Day and Juneteenth fall on the same day this year.

The evening’s lineup features acclaimed musicians, most of whom live currently in Lake County.

Singer-songwriter Gloria Scott, who reached the Top 20 on numerous charts, will lead vocals. She’ll introduce a song from her new album as well as songs from her past work, and R&B classics.

Scott will be backed by a group of stellar musicians including bassist/guitarist Robert Watson who played guitar for James Brown in 2006 and in the James Brown Band later, as well as for Joss Stone and Tupac Shakur; drummer Billy Johnson played with Santana and Spice Girls among others; multi-talented musician and one-man-band Howard Dockens will play guitar; and funk, R&B and eclectic jazz musician Lynn Bryant will be on keyboards.

Tickets are available at the door and online for $15. Kids under 14 are free. High school age youth $5. Fathers get their first beverage free with children in attendance or a photo with kids that can be pinned to the wall at MAC or digitally shared with a “check-in” to MAC on Facebook.

Dinner from Goddess of the Mountain will be available for purchase and include organic chicken or veggie kabobs with sides of red beans and rice, cornbread, collard greens, red cabbage slaw and Southern style watermelon/tomato salad ($25), or a rice and protein bowl with red cabbage slaw or tomato and watermelon salad ($15). Dessert and beverages will be available for purchase separately.

Learn more and preorder your dinner and/or tickets and skip a line at www.middletownartcenter.org/events.

Juneteenth — also called “Freedom Day” — commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It has been celebrated by communities across the US since the late 1800s. June 19 — “Juneteenth,” was declared a federal holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden, and is rightfully celebrated as our country’s second independence day.

Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincon in 1862, enforcement relied on traveling Union soldiers visiting plantations and heralding the news of freedom which was a slow process.

The westernmost confederate territory of Galveston Texas, which included 250,000 still enslaved people, was the last to receive the news. Freedom — and enforcement — finally reached the people of the last town in the region, and in the United States, on June 19, 1865.

This Juneteenth, come to MAC for an energized and engaging soulful evening of rhythm and blues, funk and community celebration.

Doors open at 7 p.m. with a dance playlist. Gloria Scott will sing inspirational gospel in an intimate performance at about 7:30 p.m. The band joins her around 8 p.m.

The MAC is located at 21456 State Highway 175 at the corner of Highway 29 in Middletown.

Learn more about MAC, and join them in weaving the arts into the fabric of life in Lake County at www.middletownartcenter.org or call 707-809-8118.

A winning strategy for a television network is to assert a ratings victory for the 2021-2022 season even if at the time of such declaration the season hadn’t reached the finish line.

CBS is claiming to be the number one network for the past 14 straight seasons, winning 19 of the past 20 seasons. Airing the Super Bowl and the NFL’s AFC Championship game this year proved to be a ratings boost.

“CBS had another incredible season. In addition to repeating as America’s most-watched network, we launched several breakout hits, not to mention winning and improving many time periods across our schedule,” said Kelly Kahl, the network’s president of Entertainment.

Thursday night’s time slot of 8 to 9 p.m. will be branded as the “power hour” for comedy with the return of “Young Sheldon” and breakout hit “Ghosts.” When does “Young Sheldon” become “Old Sheldon?” Just asking, because at some point the kid has to become Jim Parsons.

The “power hour” will be followed by witty new drama “So Help Me Todd,” starring Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin as razor-sharp, meticulous attorney Margaret Wright and Todd, her talented but scruffy, aimless son whom she hires as her law firm’s in-house investigator.

As the black sheep of the well-heeled Wright family, Todd is a laid-back, quick-thinking, excellent former private detective who fell on hard times after his flexible interpretation of the law got his license revoked.

Margaret’s penchant for strict adherence to the law is at complete odds with Todd’s scrappy methods of finding his way through sticky situations by the seat of his wrinkled pants.

However, Todd proves his crafty ability to sleuth out information with his charm and wide-ranging tech savvy. As a result, Margaret asks her son to join her firm, and Todd agrees since it means getting his license reinstated.

Will mother and son working together mend their fragile dysfunctional relationship? Will they accept others for who they are? Tune in to “So Help Me Todd” on Thursday nights to find out.

Considering what happens too frequently in California, “Fire Country” will be a topical new drama series, starring Max Thieriot as Bode Donovan, a young convict seeking redemption and a shortened prison sentence by joining a prison release firefighting program.

In Northern California, Bode and other inmates are partnered with elite firefighters to extinguish massive, unpredictable wildfires across the region. It’s a high-risk assignment.

The heat is turned up when Bode is assigned to the program in his rural hometown, where he was once an all-American son until his troubles began. Now he’s back with a criminal rap sheet and the audacity to believe in a chance for redemption with Cal Fire.

“Fire Country,” inspired by series star Max Thieriot’s experiences growing up in Northern California fire county, will air on Friday nights.

From executive producers of “NYPD Blue,” new drama “East New York” stars Amanda Warren as Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood, the newly promoted boss of the 74th Precinct in East New York, a working-class neighborhood on the edge of Brooklyn in the midst of social upheaval.

With family ties to the area, Haywood is determined to deploy creative methods to protect her beloved community with the help of her officers and detectives.

But first, she has the daunting task of getting them on board, as some are skeptical of her promotion, and others resist changes she is desperate to make.

Her team includes her mentor, shrewd veteran two-star Chief John Suarez (Jimmy Smits); Marvin Sandeford (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), a highly respected training officer and expert on the neighborhood; Tommy Killian (Kevin Rankin), a detective with some old-school approaches to policing.

Captain Stan Yenko (Richard Kind) is Haywood’s gregarious and efficient right hand. Also on board is Crystal Morales (Elizabeth Rodriguez), an intuitive detective, and Andre Bentley (Lavel Schley), a trainee from an upper middle-class background.

Ambitious patrol officer Brandy Quinlan (Olivia Luccardi) is the sole volunteer to live in a local housing project as part of Haywood’s plan to bridge the gap between police and community.

Deputy Inspector Haywood has a vision that she and the squad of the 74th Precinct will not only serve their community – they’ll also become part of it. “East New York” will air on Sunday nights.

The long-running scripted series “The Love Boat” that aired on the ABC network was arguably a cultural phenomenon, and now it’s the inspiration for new reality romance adventure “The Real Love Boat” scheduled to air on Wednesday nights.

“The Real Love Boat” brings singles together to travel the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship while looking for love. Destination dates, challenges and surprise singles will test the couples’ compatibility and chemistry.

Indispensable crew members, including “captain” and “cruise director,” selected from actual Princess Cruises staff, will play pivotal roles in the matchmaking and navigation of the romantic waters ahead.

After almost a month at sea, only one winning couple will make it to the final port and take home a cash prize plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip courtesy of Princess Cruises.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

There is a clever impli­ca­tion to the title of Lau­ren Win­ches­ter​’s poem ​“Eat­ing the Glac­i­er.”

The poet is seduced by the thought of eat­ing some­thing as ancient as glac­i­er ice which can be, I am told, thou­sands of years old.

This is a work of hum­bling envi­ron­men­tal­ism, the desire to achieve a cer­tain immor­tal­i­ty by con­nect­ing to the ele­ments: ​“I gaze at the ice, thirsty for its light,” she says.

But the most human, trag­ic-com­ic, moment fol­lows, when ​“the ice turns its back” or her hubris.

Eat­ing the Glac­i­er
By Lau­ren Win­ches­ter​

The guide chips off a piece
to taste. The water in me
is the body of the glacier.
When I breathe with my lungs,
I breathe with the glacier's
lungs. Breathing—though made
from all our kind's rough materials
(marrow and membrane, fluid
and flesh)—I am fathomless.
I gaze at the ice, thirsty for its light,
and the ice turns its back
on my looking.

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 Lauren Winchester, “Eating the Glacier” from Cream City Review, 45.1 Spring/Summer 2021. 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.

Upcoming Calendar

03.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Special Olympics Polar Plunge
03.03.2024 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Pianists Benefit Concert
St. Patrick's Day
Easter Sunday
Easter Monday
Tax Day

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