Tuesday, 06 June 2023

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Allison C. Rollins manages, in this striking poem, to contain the anxiety of those facing sightlessness, and the urgency they feel to try to preserve in memory, that which is fleeting.

For her, the poem is a solace, for when spoken, it prolongs sight even for blind poets like Jorge Luis Borges.

If we think of sight as more than just physical, we may get a glimpse of what Rollins may be saying in “The Library of Babel,” about one of the peculiar purposes of art.

The Library of Babel
By Allison C. Rollins
for Jorge Luis Borges

While there is still some light
on the page, I am writing now
a history of snow, of everything
that has been and will be thought.
When a blind poet says I need you
to be my eyes, they are asking to see
through your mouth.

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 ©2019 by Alison C. Rollins, “The Library of Babel” from Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019.) 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.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Joy Harjo’s ode to family, to ancestry, and to the woman’s body, truly makes sense if we understand that for Harjo, there is no line separating the natural world and her human body — that for her the evolutionary impulse is one of the imagination: “I was a thought, a dream, a fish a wing.”

In “Granddaughters,” she celebrates the body and the dynamic force of nature.

By Joy Harjo

I was a thought, a dream, a fish, a wing
And then a human being
When I emerged from my mother's river
On my father's boat of potent fever
I carried a sack of dreams from a starlit dwelling
To be opened when I begin bleeding
There's a red dress, deerskin moccasins
The taste of berries made of promises
While the memories shift in their skins
At every moon, to do their ripening

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 ©2019 by Joy Harjo, “Granddaughters” from An American Sunrise (W.W. Norton & Company, 2019.) 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.

UKIAH, Calif. — The Ukiah Symphony, in collaboration with the Mendocino College Choir and guest soloists, presents its Holiday Celebration Concert on Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Center Theater on the Mendocino College Campus in Ukiah.

The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Sextet in E-flat Major” featuring soloists John Lounsbery and Randy Masselink, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s work “Hiob” (Job) featuring vocal soloists, and G.F. Handel’s (arranged by W. A. Mozart) piece “Hallelujah!” from “Messiah.”

Concert goers will also hear Margaret Bonds’ “The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata” with the Mendocino College Choir and vocal soloists Aléxa Anderson, Melinda Martinez Becker, Sidney Ragland and Bradley Kynard.

Margaret Bonds was one of the first African-American female composers to gain recognition in the United States and “The Ballad of the Brown King” is one of many collaborative projects she completed with Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.

Phillip Lenberg is conductor of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra and Janice Hawthorne Timm is Director for the Mendocino College Choirs.

An hour before each concert, visitors can attend a pre-concert talk. Following Saturday’s evening program, attendees can sip Gowan’s cider and enjoy treats at an after hours reception.

Visit https://www.ukiahsymphony.org to purchase tickets and find more information.

The Ukiah Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra located in the city of Ukiah, composed of musicians from Ukiah and the surrounding communities.

Founded in 1979, they have been providing continuous, regular seasons of orchestra music for Ukiah and the surrounding communities for more than 40 years.


One look at Peter Billingsley as the now adult Ralphie Parker and he’s immediately recognizable as the kid wanting a Red Ryder BB gun in 1983’s “A Christmas Story.”

Streaming on HBO MAX, “A Christmas Story Christmas” is a sequel nearly forty years later, and Billingsley’s Ralphie has nearly the same hairstyle and horn-rimmed glasses. Based on imagery alone, this holiday film is definitely steeped in nostalgia.

A wall calendar informs that the setting is December 1973, and Ralphie has taken a year off to pen his first novel, a complex science-fiction tome that’s been rejected by almost every major publisher in Chicago.

Married to the supportive Sandy (Erinn Hayes), Ralphie is the father to two young children, Mark (River Drosche) and Julie (Julianna Layne), both of whom are excited for a Christmas filled with gifts and holiday joy.

Family plans for celebrating Christmas at home in Chicago get derailed when Ralphie gets a phone call about the passing of his father and the need to return to his hometown of Hohman, Indiana to help his mom (Julie Hagerty).

With the Old Man gone, the task of delivering a traditional Christmas falls upon Ralphie, who is also assigned the job of writing his father’s obituary, which is initially hindered by writer’s block.

Ralphie reconnects with some of his old childhood pals, notably Schwartz (R.D. Robb) and Flick (Scott Schwartz), the latter having inherited Flick’s Tavern, where Schwartz runs a tab with seemingly no plans to settle his account.

Now that these old chums are in their Forties, would one of them be so foolish as to take up a “triple dog dare” challenge? In the original, Flick got his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole. The challenge this time turns out to be even more daunting.

An old nemesis turns up in Scut Farkas (Zack Ward), and some things never change with bullies terrorizing the neighborhood on a snowmobile. New adventures include a snowball fight staged like a Western shootout.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than a visit to Higbee’s department store with its dazzling displays and a Santa Claus in a scene reminiscent of the one where kids are dispatched down a chute after making their wishes.

Will “A Christmas Story Christmas” turn out to be a cherished Yuletide classic like its 1983 predecessor? After all, it’s a sweet-natured, family-friendly film but probably not as memorable. That could change if it ends up as a holiday staple on cable television.

A case can be made for “A Christmas Story Christmas,” giving a nod to sentimentality but coming up with new gags and silly moments, deserving to be in an annual rotation of holiday movies to be savored.


The Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York is a community that might be ripe for gentrification, but that may not seem to be the case in the new CBS series “East New York,” at least when one of the storylines has a rookie cop volunteering to live in a risky housing project.

This new CBS police procedural may bring to mind the network’s long-running series “Blue Bloods,” with Tom Selleck as the New York Police Commissioner, and ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” which included Jimmy Smits, who’s now in the role of Chief John Suarez.

That the working-class neighborhood in “East New York” has a crime problem is evident on Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood’s (Amanda Warren) first day in her new job as commander of the NYPD’s 74th Precinct.

Witnessing a deadly attempted carjacking of a service van, Haywood takes off on a foot chase of a masked robber who has killed a German tourist and a security guard.

What looks like the beginning of a traditional police drama is a case of first impression being somewhat deceptive. Haywood’s notion of policing bumps up against the conventional approach of other cop shows.

It’s worth noting that in a precinct where even many of the officers are a diverse bunch, Haywood is perceived by some to be nothing more than a “diversity hire” to run a station where many residents are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale.

On one of her first items of business, Haywood wants officers to deal less with traffic ticket quotas and strike a balance in policing a community where many appear to distrust law enforcement.

Haywood also wants some officers to live in public housing to connect with the neighborhood, and white Officer Brandy Quinlan (Olivia Luccardi) volunteers for an assignment that proves to be very challenging.

Standout performances come from Richard Kind’s Captain Yenko, Haywood’s eager assistant, and the effective detective team of Tommy Killian (Kevin Rankin) and Crystal Morales (Elizabeth Rodriguez).

Veteran cop Marvin Sandeford (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) is a great mentor to his rookie partner Andre Bentley (Lavel Schley), while the brilliant Jimmy Smits’ Chief is underused.

It will be interesting to see if “East New York” catches on with a CBS audience accustomed to conventional police dramas.

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


The foodie culture has been satirized in many ways for its pretentious stylish presentation of fine dining, from the artistry of the food on the plates to the modern chic of the restaurant itself.

“The Menu” is taking the concept of haute cuisine to an insane level over the period of a five course (or it is six or more?), where the farm-to-table meal looks more like modern art than an edible experience.

The setting is a temple of exquisite gastronomy called Hawthorn, where the wealthy, celebrities and affected fools fork over $1,250 per patron to savor the changing menu of Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) who runs the joint like a cult leader.

Save for one person, nobody has arrived at the island restaurant not on purpose. The arrogant Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) considers himself an aficionado of the culinary arts but he’s more the buffoon.

Tyler’s date is Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), a last-minute substitute for this excursion. From the start, she’s skeptical about the whole evening, and it turns out for very good reason.

As an unnamed movie star, John Leguizamo finds his acting career is fading and hopes instead to host a travel food show, and his assistant Felicity (Aimee Carrero) is desperate to quit and get away from him.

A trio of obnoxious tech guys (Arturo Castro, Rob Yang and Mark St. Cyr) work for Doug Varick, owner of the Hawthorn, which gives them an added sense of dubious privilege.

Lillian Bloom (Janet McTeer), an arrogant food critic with an overly inflated ego, has a history with Chef Slowik, and she’s joined by her editor (Paul Adelstein), a spineless yes man.

Reed Birney and Judith Light play a wealthy older couple who have been regulars at Hawthorn but over the course of the meal unsettling secrets are revealed about the husband.

Chef Slowik may be at the top of his game, but he’s come to loathe his elite customers, and himself, for being corrupted by them, and his disgust and contempt are a toxic brew for an evening that turns deadly.

The actors are the best thing on “The Menu” as they deal with the shocking surprises that put them on edge. Oddly interesting, the whole affair is a mysterious thriller mixed
with satire and strong violence.


Fans of Dolly Parton are almost certain to love NBC’s most highly anticipated television event of the holiday season in the new original movie “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas.”

The moniker GOAT usually applies to a sports superstar, someone like Tom Brady, but you could say the same goes for Dolly as the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter with a multitude of awards and number one songs on the Billboard country charts.

Don’t worry about missing the premiere on the network because Dolly’s special will stream on Peacock, and apparently there will be an encore on NBC on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.

While there are numerous songs that capture the spirit of Christmas and the importance of gathering with family during the holidays, Dolly gets to shine with her iconic songs “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You.”

There are a few things to be learned during this two-hour film. Such as, Jimmy Fallon may host his own eponymous late night talk show on NBC, but who knew that he was also a singer?

In a duet with Dolly for the song “It’s Almost Too Early for Christmas,” Fallon wears a black leather sequined jacket as the pair dance with backup singers in a scene that looks like a 1950’s diner.

Keep in mind that “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas,” which has opening scenes at Dollywood, is a movie musical about the making of a network TV special, with all of the frenetic backstage angst of a dress rehearsal.

Speaking of production anguish, Tom Everett Scott’s show producer Sam Haskell frets that they are behind schedule for their live performance, and things only gets worse when the choreographer leaves for a job with the Radio City Rockettes.

Throughout the movie’s production numbers and rehearsal chaos, Dolly finds herself taking a private journey into her past, guided by the mysterious appearances of her personal Wise Mountain Men.

Through the sparkle of magic dust, Willie Nelson tells Dolly to think of him as a wise old mountain man full of wisdom. Her response is to tell him that he is “full of it.”

When Dolly says that Willie Nelson taught her to remember that we’ll always be the kids we once were at Christmas, Billy Ray Cyrus shares his wisdom that who you are with in the present is what really makes it Christmas.

When the time comes for the special to air, a renewed and inspired Dolly goes rogue and shows the world that the real magic of Christmas lies in the hearts of the children and that Christmas is about the people we share it with.

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

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Lake County Symphony Association recently announced the fall season for its Community & Youth Orchestra.

Weekly rehearsals began in September and take place on Sundays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Soper-Reese Theatre.

The Lake County Community & Youth Orchestra, or LCCYO, is a multi-generational performance-based group for musicians from middle school age to adults.

All players from Lake County and the surrounding areas with intermediate to advanced musical instrument experience are invited to join the orchestra.

In addition to being a group with experienced players, this is the perfect opportunity for young musicians just starting out, players wanting to improve their skills on a second instrument, or adults looking to re-familiarize themselves with an instrument they may not have played for years.

The LCCYO is currently recruiting for all orchestral instruments and calling for string players (violin, viola, cello, double bass), wind players (brass and woodwinds), and rhythm section/ percussionists (drums, timpani, piano, bass).

This Lake County-based group is open to musicians from the surrounding counties as well. Ridesharing is available and highly recommended for those traveling to rehearsals and performances from outside the county.

Whether you are a seasoned musician or have not performed with a group for a while, all are welcome to come explore music in a safe and supportive environment.

The LCCYO performs at least four times a year. In addition to an exclusive LCCYO spring concert, the group opens for the Lake County Symphony at their November “Classics” concert, the December “Christmas Celebration” and the ever-popular “Pops” concert in May.

This season, the Lake County Community & Youth Orchestra is directed by Dr. Camm Linden who is semi-retired from the film industry after working as a freelance composer/arranger and rehearsal conductor for various movie sound stages.

She plays multiple instruments in the Lake County Symphony; Linden played a Haydn piano concerto last season, sits regularly in the trumpet section, and has also been seen playing horn and percussion.

For more information about the community orchestra, please visit www.lccyo.org.

Upcoming Calendar

06.07.2023 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Clearlake City Council special meeting
06.07.2023 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
East Region Town Hall
06.08.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
06.09.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Crafters group
06.10.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Crafters group
06.10.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
06.10.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
Lakeport Senior Center
Flag Day

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.

lakeconews.com uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.

// Infolinks