Saturday, 29 January 2022

Arts & Life

The Dispersion of Africans and African Culture Throughout the World: Essays on the African Diaspora

Editor: Dr. Lois Moore, University of San Francisco

Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press


Dr. Lois Moore of the University of San Francisco edited this remarkable compilation of scholarly essays on the history and cultures of African descent people around the world. The aim is to educate scholars and contribute to international and multicultural scholarship on African Descent people. Broad in scope, the nine-chapter text identifies and discusses the decimation of Rwanda; exodus of Ethiopian Jews; experiences of African slaves in Portugal, Ecuador, Belize, the Danish West Indies, Mexico, and the Georgia Sea Islands; and the legacy of the slave trade on the Americas, Canada and the Black Church in the United States.


The editor writes that nowhere in history were people as widely dispersed throughout the world as those of African ancestry. Africans abandoned their homeland for numerous reasons, forced out by drought and famine; migrated due to persecution; taken as slaves; or left as explorers, soldiers, or skilled workers. Ultimately, they all faced loss, oppression, discrimination, polarization, poverty, disease and often death.


The text discusses how without their homelands and families, and facing major barriers, people of African origin were adaptive. To the degree possible, they retained their own languages, music, dance, traditions, and spirituality. These resourceful and persistent survivors successfully adjusted to new environments, governments, rituals, and systems.


European colonialism and economic imbalance are key themes in the text. Senator Aloysie Inyumba of Rwanda opines in the foreword that Africa’s current social and economic problems are linked to historic foreign interference, meddling, and disruption of sovereignty.


Various chapters detail the way Colonialism stratified groups according to political, economic and social power. It institutionalized humiliation, distrust, fear, ethnic hierarchy, and racism. Identity politics began when rape, intermarriage, and polygamy produced a diversity of skin tones. Even African descendants learned to define themselves in new ways.


The text explores the abuse of both natural and human resources as it relates to the African Diaspora. Colonialists exploited natural resources, like the forests of Belize in South America, and developed capitalist economies requiring increased human labor. Racist ideology was used to justify exploitation of African slaves. Myths were perpetuated that Africans were stronger than indigenous people, better suited to the climate, and more resistant to diseases like malaria.


What Africans were not, was passive. According to the chapter, “Belize: From Colonial Territory to Independent Nation,” Africans resisted slavery, clinging to their culture and tribal traditions. They demonstrated great resilience, fortitude, and thrust for freedom.


Research in “Esmeraldas of Ecuador,” tells of slaves treated worse than animals in the Spanish colonies of South America and the Caribbean. “Esmeraldas were able to maintain the thriving spirit of resistance and rebellion characteristic of the African people. Subsequently, kidnapped Africans, escaped slaves, free blacks, and indigenous people formed liberated and self-ruled communities.”


I teach multicultural community and international relations to graduate business students. My course is enriched by students from around the globe. During the class, students research cultures other than their own to build stakeholder relationships and plan strategic communications.


As future world leaders, it is essential that students learn to understand and respect diversity. One need only look at current world affairs to know the devastating consequences of social division and disruption of national autonomies.


Not only is this book immensely valuable to sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and researchers, but also to readers who find cultural and ethnic history fascinating. These marvelous essays demonstrate the importance of persistence, creativity, individualism, and pride in unique heritages. As we share a common humanity, we also share an anthropologic birthplace, Africa.


For more information, see the publisher's Web site at www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=7223&pc=9.


Susanne N. La Faver holds a master's degree in public administration and is an adjunct professor with Golden Gate University. She lives in Hidden Valley Lake.


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The CBS Television network has long been considered the geriatric channel for entertainment and news. That image is a tough one to shed, even if Dan Rather has been dispatched to a cable network unknown to the mass culture and Bob Barker, closing in on his centenarian birthday, gave up his hosting job on “The Price is Right.”


Not so long ago, CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler told a gathering of TV critics that her network “really looked for projects that were different, that were a little bit daring.” This, of course, explains the choice of Drew Carey to take over Bob Barker’s duties, considering that he’s about a half-century younger.


The idea for something daring at the Eye network is the eclectic mix of shows featuring vampires, geeks, unaccompanied minors, and Cuban-American rum and sugar cane moguls.


To no one’s surprise, another installment of “Survivor” arrives in late September. “Survivor: China” features a group of 16 Americans who will begin the series amid the bustle of downtown Shanghai before moving to a mountain retreat for a Buddhist ceremony where they will be instructed to leave all their worldly possessions behind. Then they will be placed in a factory as product testers to see if anyone survives. Now that would be a “reality” program, but I just made it up.


“Survivor: China” puts the willing participants on two separate islands on Zhein Lake. Divided into two tribes, the castaways are marooned with only the clothes on their backs and a copy of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” for tribe motivation and assistance throughout the game.


Once again, each tribe is afforded the opportunity to obtain a Hidden Immunity Idol. The oldest person in the group is a Virginia chicken farmer, while the youngest is a student and athlete from Chicago. Among the contestants are a grave digger and a surfing instructor, but I would choose the hiking guide to be in my tribe, unless of course there’s a need to bury some bodies.


In their infinite wisdom, the network honchos decided that kids as young as 8 years old could make for good reality TV in their own “Survivor” game. The result is “Kid Nation,” which looks like it could easily spin into the dangerous territory of “Lord of the Flies” anarchy. There’s already been controversy about this program in terms of evasion of child labor laws in New Mexico, where the town of Bonanza City is promoted as a ghost town.


The premise of “Kid Nation” is that 40 kids will have 40 days to build a new world. With ages ranging from 8 to 15, these kids will spend more than a month without their parents or modern comforts, cooking their own meals, running a saloon that serves root beer and creating a local government. This show seems to have “problematic” written all over it. All I know is that I have trouble getting my own kids to just take out the trash, so how will “Kid Nation” function without some tremendous meltdown?


Catching up to modern times, a new dramatic series could be labeled the Hispanic “Dynasty,” given the rivalries and power struggles for a large Cuban-American family running a successful South Florida rum and sugar business in “Cane.”


The family patriarch Pancho (Hector Elizondo) is trying to decide whether to cash out of the sugar business, a position supported by his impulsive natural son Frank (Nestor Carbonell). Meanwhile, adopted son Alex (Jimmy Smits) sees value in holding onto the sugar fields.


Frank’s focus is on chasing women, while Alex is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Isabel (Paola Turbay) and they have three children determined to forge their own paths outside the family. Alex and Frank have a younger sibling (Eddie Matos) who prefers to stand in the sidelines while his brothers wrestle for control of the empire.


Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin plays a vampire in the new drama “Moonlight,” in the role of Mick St. John, an immortal private investigator from Los Angeles who defies the traditional blood-sucking norms of his vampire tendencies by using his wit and powerful supernatural abilities to help the living.


Yes, he’s charismatic and handsome, and for some reason he doesn’t view humans as his personal blood bank. After saving a young girl’s life years ago, he wants to be a better vampire. I am wondering when he will turn up as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s show, discussing his conflicted feelings, especially after he develops a bond with Beth Turner (Sophia Myles), a beautiful, ambitious Internet investigative reporter. Falling in love and fighting his adversaries among the undead are daunting tasks for this gallant vampire.


Based on the hit BBC show “Viva Blackpool,” the new Americanized drama “Viva Laughlin” is a mystery drama with music about an eternal optimist and freewheeling businessman whose sole ambition is to run a casino in Laughlin, Nev.


Fittingly, the gambling entrepreneur Ripley Holden is played by British actor Lloyd Owen. Ripley is the ultimate gambler with an infectious personality who is on the brink of success just as soon as he opens his casino that’s nowhere near completion.


When his financing falls through, he turns to his enemy, the dashing, sarcastic, wealthy casino owner Nicky Fontana (Hugh Jackman, in a recurring role) for help. On top of money woes, Ripley becomes embroiled in a murder investigation after the body of his ex-partner is found at his club. Adversity doesn’t slow down Ripley, who is caught up in the intoxicating glow of Laughlin.


Though CBS appears to be running the table with drama shows, there is at least one new comedy on the schedule, which appropriate enough leads into “Two and a Half Men” on Tuesday nights.


Don’t mistake “The Big Bang Theory” for a boring physics lesson, even though the primary players are geeks who are brilliant physicists, the kind who unwind after a hard day by playing Klingon Boggle.


Roommates sharing an apartment, Leonard and Sheldon (Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, respectively) are the scientists who understand how the universe works, but are naturally clueless when it comes to interacting with average people.


Life begins to change when a free-spirited beauty named Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves in next door. What else do you need to know about this show? I think we can see what’s coming.



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


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LAKEPORT – The first in a series of Musical Breaks scheduled for Café Victoria on Main and Third Street in Lakeport got off to good start with Phil Mathewson & Friends putting on a variety show on Aug. 18.


This group of friends featured Clay Adams on guitar, dobro and harmonica, Jim Waters on keyboard and Zane Lorne on keyboard and harmonica. Also performing were "Karaoke Sue" Ricci without her karaoke machine and Lorna Sue Sides, local poet and founder of the "Poetry & Music Interlude" which is coming on the last Sunday of August to Café Victoria.


Mathewson performed his own Lake County songs including "Lake County, CA" and "Lakeport Polka" plus other originals: "Avocados," "Whirlwind" and "Gotta Get Used to It."


Clay Adams sang bluegrass songs including "Highway 61," "Blackwater," "Wreck of Old 97" and "I Pity the Poor Immigrant," a Bob Dylan tune, while playing one of his guitars and his harmonica. He also did a bluesy tune by Robert Johnson on his harmonica called "Come into My Kitchen."


Zane Lorne, also of karaoke fame, dusted off her portable keyboard to play "A Love Affair to Remember" from that famous old movie and her jazzed up version of "You Turned the Tables on Me."


She also played her brand new birthday harmonica, which she has only been playing for a week, along with the recorded music of "I Did It My Way."


Jim Waters, an accomplished jazz keyboard player, put the resident piano at the café to good use with "Cast Your Cares to the Wind" and the "Swinging Shepard Blues." He also did some Steely Dan and Boss Skaggs tunes.


These acts were interspersed with Lorna Sue Sides' original poetry. When she did "Modesto in July" you could feel the steamy heat that is associated with the valley. "I'll Take My Summer Evenings Unconventional" also had a lot of imagery. In keeping with all the jazzy music of the day she finished up with "Swinging" which had a great jazzy beat.


Since Zane has just celebrated a birthday (we won't say which one), Sue Ricci sang the only song she knows without her karaoke machine, "Happy Birthday." The café provided a muffin, candle and a birthday hat for the occasion.


Mathewson finished up the session with a farewell song, “We Are on Our Way Back Home" while Zane Lorne did a encore on her harmonica of " I Did It My Way."


Thanks to all the friends who came to the event and thanks to Café Victoria for making this venue available for local talent.


Phil & Friends will be appearing next at "Art in the Park" on Sept. 1 in the gazebo in Library Park.


Next week's Cafe Victoria show is the Ritchie Roberts Band featuring Little Deer. You don't want to miss this one on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. Call 263-1210 to get on Victoria's entertainment calendar and do come by and listen to great local music. These events are free and since the free concerts in the park are over for the year you can still enjoy good music nearby that fits everybody's budget.

 

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Lake County resident Dave Hooper was the featured performer at Tuscan Village's Aug. 24 concert. Photo by Joanne Bateni.



LOWER LAKE Everyone arrived at 5:30 p.m. for the concert on Aug. 24 but, due to the heat, Dave Hooper decided to start at 6:30 p.m.


So the resourceful patrons walked up the path to the Terrill Cellars Winery and enjoyed a sampling of the locally made wines. Two reds; a Cab and a Syrah, were offered, in addition to a Chardonnay and a Blush. After enjoying the wine, everyone marched back to the vineyard where Dave was tuning up.


Dave is a prolific songwriter with many CDs to his credit and he had all of them available for sale. He is also a fiction writer who has just completed a novel about Santa Catalina Island in the 60s and is currently in search of a publisher.


He sang mostly his original tunes which were well known to his fans who often sang the lyrics along with Dave.


Dave spends his winters in Austin, Texas, and mentioned that a springtime in Texas is like a summer in Lake County. He sang a few songs about Texas and California from two of his CDs.


A fan requested "Ring of Fire," a Johnny Cash tune written by June Carter, which Dave performed quite well. Then he sang an old Elvis song which never became a big hit, "I Got a Mess of Blues" which sounded almost as good as the King.


Dave Hooper is from Lake County and plays at various venues around the Lake so if you missed this performance or want to see him again just keep looking and you'll find him playing in a pub somewhere.


Next Friday, Aug. 31, the duo from Hidden Valley, Connie Miller and Bill Barrows, will be doing vocal harmonies along with Bill's guitar strumming. Come early for wine tasting.


David Neft encores with his keyboard on Sept. 14 in case you missed his first concert or want to see him again. Dave has a loyal following so this may be a crowded event.


Call 2 Goombas at 994-DELI (3354) for more details or to get on their calendar.


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For its fall schedule, the FOX network is going for a heavy slate of new dramas. Coincidentally, this seems merely symbolic for the manner in which top executive Kevin Reilly, new president of FOX Entertainment, came on board to his post.


Not long ago he left a similar position at NBC, where his departure was written up in the usual euphemisms, such as “I want to spend more time with my family” or “This is a chance to explore other opportunities.” Well, opportunity came knocking quickly when he was hired by FOX.


Speaking to a gathering of TV critics, Reilly appeared ecstatic for his new assignment, calling FOX “a restless company” where you never “rest on your laurels,” because the network is “entrepreneurial.”


It’s too early to tell what kind of mark Reilly will leave on the network, but his track record speaks well for the future. Meanwhile, let’s hope he likes drama shows, because the network is loaded with new ones.


But first, we should look at the lone new comedy series, considering that it looks like a real winner.


A great cast with seasoned comedy veterans should make “Back to You” an obvious choice for the fall. Kelsey Grammer stars as egotistical TV anchorman Chuck Darling, returning to his former Pittsburgh station after a fall from grace.


A self-centered womanizer, Chuck thought he could make the big time when he left Steeltown. After an embarrassing on-air tirade causes his career to tank, Chuck returns to his old station, where he is reunited with his newscast partner Kelly Carr (Patricia Heaton).


Another familiar face is Fred Willard as Marsh McGinley, the affable, endlessly inappropriate sports anchor. What’s a newsroom without a perky, sexy, somewhat inept weather anchor? That role is filled by Ayda Field as Montana Diaz Herrera.


Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans remains a city battling an upsurge of crime and violence while the police force is understaffed. Truth be told, the Crescent City had these problems even before the natural disaster. Still, it is very topical that a police drama is set and filmed in New Orleans.


“K-Ville” stars Anthony Anderson as Marlin Boulet, a brash, wry, in-your-face veteran of the NOPD’s Felony Action Squad, the specialized unit that targets the most wanted criminals. Boulet’s new partner, Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser), was a soldier in Afghanistan before joining the force. He’s tough and committed, but if he’s less than comfortable with Boulet’s methods, it’s because he’s harboring a dark secret. Through its hardboiled crime stories, “K-Ville” takes viewers from the Victorian mansions of the Garden District to the rubble of the Lower 9th Ward.


From the creative minds behind the series “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” comes “Nashville,” a high-stakes drama which plays out like a documentary soap opera in the music scene of “the biggest small town in America.” The show focuses on the dreamers and dream-makers in the music industry, as well as those trying to make their mark on Nashville’s big business and high society.


“Nashville” stars a diverse and vibrant group of real-life young people trying to achieve success. Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of legendary NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, pursues a dream of becoming the next great country singer. Rachel’s best friend, Sarah Gunsolus, is determined to use Nashville’s social scene to help her get connected to the music scene.


He’s not another vampire detective, but he is immortal. We speak of John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a New York homicide detective unlike any other in the series “New Amsterdam.”


Back in 1642, as a Dutch solider in the colony of New Amsterdam, John stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American girl during a massacre of her indigenous tribe. The girl in turn rescued Amsterdam, weaving an ancient spell that conferred immortality on him. The catch is that he won’t age until he finds his one true love. Amsterdam has found immortality to be a mixed blessing over the course of more than three centuries.


Having witnessed its entire history from a colonial outpost, John Amsterdam is the living embodiment of New York City. He’s also one of the NYPD’s best homicide detectives, sparring with his vibrant partner Eva Marquez (Zuleikha Robinson) as they solve difficult murder cases.


But when Amsterdam suffers and then recovers from what appears to be a massive heart attack while chasing a suspect, he realizes that the prophecy may have come true. His soulmate must have been nearby. Life would be less complicated if he was just another restless vampire.


An unscripted series, “Kitchen Nightmares” may as well be a drama, as it stars Gordon Ramsay, the volatile master chef of “Hell’s Kitchen,” a culinary boot camp known for slicing and dicing its contestants.


Ramsay is taking off his apron and stepping out of his own kitchen to rescue restaurant owners in crisis. Chef Ramsay hits the road, exposing restaurants that are barely staying afloat. Whether it’s due to lazy chefs, temperamental wait staff or unsanitary kitchens, the owners of these restaurants are losing business.


Each week, the chef will try to turn one uninviting, deserted eatery into the hippest, most-sought-after venue in town. With his reputation on the line, Ramsay wastes no time in getting down to business, and he will certainly remain prone to the explosive outbursts and spectacular confrontations familiar to fans of “Hell’s Kitchen.”


Not that you need any reminding, but election year is just around the corner. Of course, one of the best things to ring in a new year will be the return of “24” next January. Without the inconvenience of a full-blown campaign, FOX has already elected Tony Award-winning actress Cherry Jones to serve as President Allison Taylor for Season Seven.

 

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


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Michael John Poirier has been singing publicly since age 14. Courtesy photo.



LAKEPORT – Christian recording artist Michael John Poirier will present a concert at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Lakeport at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.

The concert is open to all ages and is a great opportunity for families to enjoy an uplifting evening together of songs and stories for the soul.

Singing publicly since the age of 14, Poirier pursued a career in pop music for several years before God's gentle nudging to return to prayer became a burning desire to put his “gut” prayers to music.

Poirier has spent the past 20 years spreading the message of God's infinite love and timeless mercy, recording 13 CDs and offering church missions and concerts.

His latest CD, Be With Us Today, was released in January 2006 and was recently honored with a Unity Award as Devotional Album of the Year.

“Michael’s natural sense of melody and his insightful, thought-provoking words shine through here, touching the heart and raising the spirit,” said Be With Us Today Project Manager Ron Rendek of World Library Publications.

A free will offering in support of Poirier’s mission will be taken in lieu of admission. CDs will be available for sale after the concert.

St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church is located at 801 N. Main St. in Lakeport, on Clear Lake right off State Highway 29.

For more information about the concert, contact the parish office, 707-263-4401, or Linda Hedstrom, 707-263-3684.

To learn more about Michael John Poirier and his ministry, Holy Family Apostolate, visit www.holyfamilynow.com.

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Upcoming Calendar

29Jan
01.29.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele
31Jan
01.31.2022 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
1Feb
02.01.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
2Feb
02.02.2022 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
History Roundtable
3Feb
02.03.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
5Feb
02.05.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele
5Feb
02.05.2022 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake County Poetry Out Loud competition
5Feb
02.05.2022 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Wrangler Round-Up Dinner and Dance
7Feb
02.07.2022 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting

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