Sunday, 01 August 2021

Arts & Life

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, or MCWC, has posted the program for MCWC 2021, its 32nd Conference, which like last year’s event will be held online via Zoom from Aug. 5 to 7.

This year’s conference faculty will include keynote speaker Wendy C. Ortiz, workshop leaders Lillian Li, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Saretta Morgan, Chris Dennis, Alex Sanchez, Suzanne Rivecca, Krys Malcolm Belc and Sam Krowchenko, and literary agents Elise Capron and Tricia Skinner, along with other special guests, writers, and publishing experts.

View the complete schedule by visiting http://mcwc.org .

Registration for MCWC 2021 is now open for submissions. Writers of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to register by visiting http://mcwc.org/. The deadline to register is June 30. Registration is open to all and requires no application or writing sample.

Tuition is $475 for the three-day conference, which includes morning writing workshops limited to 10 students, afternoon seminars on the craft of writing and the writers’ life, open mics, pitch panels, and blind critique panels, opportunities for one-on-one consultations with literary agents and authors, and evening readings by faculty.

“MCWC is pleased to offer a world-class literary event at its thirty-second Conference, featuring a faculty of today’s best and brightest writers,” Executive Director Lisa Locascio said. “Seasoned writers and those new to the craft alike are encouraged to join us at our annual gathering, where they can meet fellow writers and gain valuable feedback on their writing.”

The conference encourages local writers to register for MCWC 2021, and to join upcoming seminars offered on Zoom: “Speculative Poetry Workshop” with poet Rachelle Cruz on May 22, “Caretaking and Creative Practice: Writing Into Real Life” with memoirist Sarah McColl on June 5, and “In Praise of Terrible Ideas: Revision Strategies for Prose” with novelist Rachel Yoder on June 19.

All seminars are held on Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. Tuition is $20 per seminar or $50 for all three. Recordings of previously offered seminars can also be purchased at the MCWC website.

“We hope local writers will join us for these exciting seminars, which offer us new ways to connect with our community, and that the experience of the seminars will inspire them to join us at our Conference this August,” said Locascio.

To register for the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference registration, visit www.mcwc.org. Questions can be directed to Executive Director Lisa Locascio at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

I have a memory of Lucille Clifton responding to a young poet who asked her how she managed to be a productive publishing poet despite having to raise six children, by saying, “I wrote shorter poems.”

Of Clifton’s many brilliant truths, this stays with me. And this pithy elegy, “5/23/67 R.I.P.”, selected by Aracelis Girmay in a remarkable new gathering of Clifton’s poetry, would have been written when her children were young, and when America was burning with uprisings, and when Langston Hughes died.

She accepted the heavy mandate passed on to her by Langston Hughes, to “remember now like/ it was,” and we are the better for it.

5/23/67
R.I.P.

By Lucille Clifton

The house that is on fire
pieces all across the sky
make the moon look like
a yellow man in a veil

watching the troubled people
running and crying
Oh who gone remember now like
it was,
Langston gone.


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 Lucille Clifton, "5/23/67 R.I.P." from How to Carry Water; Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton, (BOA, 2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Permissions Company, LLC 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.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Lake County Symphony Association recently received a generous grant from the Lake County Wine Alliance in the amount of $3,000.

Proceeds from this grant help support string classes and Youth Orchestra instruction, offered through the LCSA.

String classes include instruction in violin, viola and cello, and provide lessons for beginners on up.

Instructors lend support and instruction during the Youth Orchestra rehearsals and concerts.

The Lake County Wine Alliance is a nonprofit organization that holds an annual wine and art auction to raise funds for the arts, health and the community.

The auction is held in September. The net proceeds from this event are divided among agencies representing these three targeted areas.

The gallery at Middletown Art Center in Middletown, California. Courtesy photo.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — Join artists exhibiting in the current show at Middletown Art Center for “Apart and Connected, Conversations with Artists” on Saturday, May 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Zoom.

Hear from the artists about their work in the stunning Apart and Connected exhibit. It’s on view until June 20. There will be time for public participation and questions and answers.

Conversations will be facilitated by Curatorial Team members Nicola Chipps, a former Art and Design Consultant at ​Ærena​ Galleries in the Napa Valley, and Lisa Kaplan, Artist, Art Educator and current Executive Director at MAC.

"We are thrilled to offer the public an additional in depth view of the Apart and Connected exhibit through intimate conversations with exhibiting artists” said Chipps. “We’ll speak to longtime MAC artists as well as several artists new to MAC. The talk will include a virtual tour of the gallery and views of work as stills. We’ll speak with each artist for about 5 minutes, and have time for conversation between the artists and the public.”

Lake County Poet Laureate 2020-2022 Georgina Marie will be reading from prose written in response to the exhibit from her April Writers Workshop Ekphrasis. ​"The Apart and Connected exhibit is a moving, visceral collection of vibrant art from all sorts of mediums including paint, raw earth, epoxy, and botanical inks. The works express the isolation, distance, pain, and perseverance of the human spirit both during the time of the pandemic and through other experiences. They demonstrate the excellence that can come from a time of intensity and quietude.”

To join the virtual reception visit www.middletownartcenter.org where you will find a link to register for the Zoom event which is free to the public.

The MAC Gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment by calling 707-809-8118. Social distancing and masking are always observed.

MAC programming is ramping up as we return to normalcy. Find out more about events, programs, opportunities, and ways to support and celebrate the MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County ​at ​www.middletownartcenter.org .​



‘TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE’ Rated R

Tom Clancy fans probably don’t need the on-screen general trivia note to tell them that the film “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” bears no resemblance to the plot of the novel except that the lead character named John Clark was a Navy SEAL.

In fact, the book was the explosive origin story of action hero John Clark. In the film, the character is John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) until the middle of the end credits reveal his new identity as the ghost he’s expected to become.

Performing heroic acts in war-torn Syria, Senior Chief John Kelly and a small crew rescue a CIA operative taken hostage by ex-Russian military forces. After an ugly firefight, the Americans barely escape only to return home to more danger.

Three months later, in apparent retaliation for the mission, members of Kelly’s unit end up dead mob-style or by a hit-and-run. Kelly’s pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) is murdered during a home invasion.

Despite being shot multiple times, Kelly manages to kill all but one of the Russian assassins before being rushed to the hospital, and you know revenge is on his mind.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s commanding officer Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) meets with CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) and Defense Secretary Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) to plot response options.

Not waiting for direction, Kelly goes rogue and takes matters into his own hands to track down the Russian diplomat who gave cover to the murderers. An explosive scene takes place at Dulles Airport that strains plausibility, but so do other actions.

Sent to prison for assaulting the Russian official, Kelly bargains his way out by knowing that the surviving assassin is hiding out in Russia. He then joins Greer and Ritter on a top-secret mission.

Their plane trip to Russia gets shot down and plummets into the Bering Sea, in what is perhaps the film’s thrilling action sequence that tests the survival skills of the SEALs.

Before long, the plot veers off into a vast international conspiracy theory orchestrated by powerful political figures. Don’t know that we can or should sort it out, but that’s where we stand.

The mid-credits offer the almost certain prospect of a sequel in the works, and if not, the audience has been left hanging. Whatever the case may be, one may hope the next installment would have more depth for its characters and a more coherent plot and storyline.



‘LOUDERMILK’ ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

The Audience Network was a pay television channel that was owned by AT&T and delivered a mix of original and acquired series, specials and feature films and existed for the approximate length of one presidential election cycle.

The comedy series “Loudermilk,” that premiered on Audience Network back in October 2017 with a run of two seasons before the third season had to find a new home, was watched by as many viewers who could fit into a phone booth.

All three seasons are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and the half-hour episodes are worth watching if you enjoyed Ron Livingston’s nonchalance in striking back at the soul-crushing absurdity of the corporate structure in “Office Space.”

As the titular character, Livingston’s Sam Loudermilk takes indifference and emotional detachment to a new level as a former music journalist and author who is a recovering alcoholic and now spends his time in Seattle as a substance abuse counselor.

Warm and fuzzy is not how anyone would describe Loudermilk (almost everyone calls him by his last name). He’s often a grumpy misanthrope whose words are so unfiltered you’d think he has Tourette’s Syndrome.

Loudermilk brings tough love to his therapy sessions with a collection of colorful characters, including the dimwitted Mugsy (Brian Regan) and a bookie (Jackie Flynn) who manages to get most of the group in debt to a mob boss.

The group meets at a local church, where Father Michael (Eric Keenleyside), often at odds with Loudermilk’s cavalier ways, threatens to boot him out of the meeting hall unless he starts counseling messed up stripper Claire (Anja Savcic).

What’s more, Claire becomes a roommate at Loudermilk’s apartment that he already shares with his best friend and sponsor Ben (Will Sasso), who happens to harbor secrets and is perhaps the only person able to abide Loudermilk for more than ten minutes.

A new neighbor next door is Allison (Laura Mennell) for whom Loudermilk is smitten and yet incapable of carrying more than a brief conversation before undermining whatever charm he may have displayed momentarily.

True to his sardonic nature and antisocial behavior, Loudermilk sporadically launches into rants, whether berating a barista for her affectation of a haughty accent or randomly chastising a smoker waiting for a bus.

The titular character has his own demons and finds his situations often descending into absurdity.

“Loudermilk” is a smart, clever comedy with crude humor and sometimes on the dark side, but it would be good to check out while it remains on the Amazon Prime Video platform.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

June Jordan died in 2002, an American child of Jamaican immigrants whose remarkable poetry is collected in The Essential June Jordan, a new collection published by Copper Canyon Press.

This eloquent fist of a poem reminds us of what remains at stake in this longstanding and necessary conversation that America continues to have with itself.

Democracy Poem #1
By June Jordan

Tell them that I stood
in line
and I waited
and I waited
like everybody
else

But I never got
called
And I keep that scrap
of paper
in my pocket

just in case

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 June Jordan, “Democracy Poem #1” from The Essential June Jordan, (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Poem reprinted by permission of The June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust 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.

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