Tuesday, 06 June 2023

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

I must admit that I leave “In Patient” still wondering, “Is she alright?”

I suspect that Erin Evans knows this, and what she wants to say is that this moment of humor, a distraction from the thing that is feared — a husband checking his wife’s heartbeat with a stethoscope — may, in the end, be far less important than the quirky observation.

Perhaps he is listening for the sound of a child’s pulse, perhaps he’s testing a new stethoscope, perhaps they are just playing “doctor,” perhaps, perhaps.

In Patient
By Erin Evans

My husband holds the cold stethoscope to my chest—
his brown eyes averted, he listens carefully,
like someone taking directions on the phone
on how to save another life.

My heart is a room full of dispatchers
waiting for those strange-hour, desperate calls,
trained to keep you on the line while help arrives.

But what he says, smiling up at me,
after he’s listened awhile is,
“I think I can hear the ocean.”

And I know he must be right—

that what he hears is some small part
of the 95% of water on earth
yet to be explored,
that there is still no word for life
that doesn’t sound like the hush of the ocean.

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 ©2022 by Erin Evans, “In Patient” from Nimrod International Journal. Volume 65. Number 2, Spring/Summer, 2022. 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.

Tennessee Hill’s South emerges in her poem as a character, a personage that haunts and possesses her with beauty and a certain disquiet.

Her poem, “Crater Heart,” moves from fragmentary image to simile to metaphor in a seemingly disjointed fashion, that in the end, becomes a composition of arresting beauty: “I have stuffed the South’s nightlights/ in my mouth.”

Perhaps this is how she wants us to read her poem of elegant strangeness.

Crater Heart
By Tennessee Hill

Such strangeness these days.

Morning rising over my head
like the quilt sewn of old t-shirts
or saltwater waves
licking our sun-bleached dock.

Then—you absorbing moment, you
harvest queen—the sky is surprised
by evening’s orchard.

I have stuffed the South’s nightlights
in my mouth. Gala of fireflies.

How clumsy I feel in front of God.

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 ©2022 by Tennessee Hill, “Crater Heart” from The Adroit Journal Issue, Forty-One. 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.

Dr. Camm Linden. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Lake County Community and Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Camm Linden, will perform at the beginning of Lake County Symphony’s Fall concert this Sunday, as was traditional for the youth orchestra in the past.

The musicians will play several lively and well-known pieces, all arranged by Richard Meyer and all guaranteed to get toes tapping.

The Lake County Community and Youth Orchestra starts its performance with “Can-Can” by Jacques Offenbach, from the 1858 comic opera “Orpheus in the Underworld.”

Originally known as the “Infernal Gallop” it gained popularity when both the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere in Paris selected it as the music for their famous Can-Can dance.

The second piece is “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” in which Carmen sings about “love being a rebellious bird that cannot be tamed.” It is perhaps the most famous aria from the 1875 opera.

The melody is based on the song “El Arreglito,” written by Spanish musician Sebastian Yradier.

Bizet thought he was borrowing from an old folk song, but upon learning the tune had been written just 10 years prior, he immediately acknowledged Yradier as the source in his manuscripts.

The last selection is “Radetzky’s March” by Johann Strauss, Sr. in honor of a heroic Austrian field marshal named Joseph Radetzky von Ratetz. It was first performed in 1848 by an Austrian Army band for a group of Austrian officers.

Apparently, it was an instant hit. The officers were so taken by the joyful and festive mood of the music they began clapping and stomping their feet to the rhythm.

It is an audience tradition that continues to this day.


The Hallmark Channel may not be alone in the holiday spirit but even network television can’t compete with as many Christmas-themed specials.

However, CBS makes an effort with its own foray into the jolly season.

Airing on Nov. 29, “Reindeer in Here,” a one-hour animated holiday special, is based on the award-winning Christmas book and plush set created by acclaimed author Adam Reed and written for the screen by Greg Erb and Jason Oremland.

This is the heartwarming story of how Blizz, a young reindeer living at the North Pole who has an unusual trait — one antler that is significantly smaller than the other — and his unique group of friends band together to save the future of Christmas.

Blizz just wants to show Santa that his original inventions can make Christmas even better. Theo, a lonely 10-year-old boy, is the new kid in town who longs to make friends.

When a mysterious villain swipes the magical snow globe that holds the wishes of every child in the world, these two unlikely heroes become Santa’s only hope to save Christmas.

Blizz and Theo can’t save Christmas all on their own, so they enlist the help of their trustworthy friends, including Candy, the oversharing Snowgirl; Pinky, the only entirely pink reindeer at the North Pole; and the dimwitted mohawked polar bear Hawk.

Joining the group to help out is the big-toothed nervous-Nelly reindeer Bucky, and the adorable and hilarious Smiley the elf who has served as Santa’s harried Head of Holiday Operations for the past 500 years.

Amanda Kloots (“The Talk” co-host) stars in and executive produces “Fit for Christmas,” the tale of Audrey, an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana.

Audrey begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious business owner (Paul Greene), complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property. “Fit for Christmas” airs on December 4th.

Mark Amato, who has created a dozen holiday-themed films, including last season’s CBS original movie “A Christmas Proposal,” as well as “A Kiss Before Christmas,” is the writer of “Most Love Christmas,” the holiday special to air on Dec. 11.

A renowned romance novelist (Liza Lapira of “The Equalizer”) famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls.

Stuck in this village, the novelist unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush (Nathan Witte) and a reporter (Neal Bledsoe) determined to interview her to save his dying magazine.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow executive produces and writes the title song for “When Christmas Was Young,” a Nashville music-themed movie from a script by bestselling novelist Robert Tate Miller (“Hope at Christmas”).

The story follows a headstrong music manager (actor/musician Tyler Hilton) in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client, who finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter (Karen David).

While the singer may have abandoned dreams of making it big, Hilton’s music manager attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. “When Christmas Was Young” debuts on Dec. 18.



UPtv, the television home for uplifting entertainment, may be outdoing everyone else in the holiday cheer department, with 17 original movies celebrating the Christmas spirit.

Let’s take a look at a few of the offerings. On Dec. 3, “Christmas on the Slopes” is the story of a celebrity chef (Soma Chhaya) taking her first real Christmas vacation and ends up wandering into the kitchen of a luxury resort.

The handsome but grouchy head chef (Olivier Renaud) mistakes her for the sous chef, and their chemistry sparks a holiday romance. But will everything blow up when the head chef learns the truth about her?

“Santa’s Got Style,” debuting on Dec. 11, finds department store executive Madison (Kathryn Davis) charged with coming up with a fresh idea for the holiday season. She decides that instead of a classic Santa, this year they would hire a young Santa with fashionable style.

But when she has difficulty finding the perfect model, her longtime best friend Ethan (Franco Lo Presti), who has been in love with her for years, throws on a beard and disguises himself as the Santa of her dreams.

The weekend before Christmas delivers “Sappy Holiday,” with Vanessa Sears’ Joy stranded in a small town after her car breaks down. She meets the charming James (Jon McLaren), a local trying to save his family’s maple farm.

Christmas weekend brings a double bill for Saturday and Sunday, with “The Snowball Effect” being the tale of rival meteorologists (Anjali Khurana and Landon Moss) tracking a huge snowstorm in the town of Mistletoe and having to work together to get home in time for Christmas.

Christmas Day brings “Christmas in Wolf Creek” where a runaway reindeer threatens the annual Christmas play and a struggling couple (Nola Martin and Tim Rozon) must work together to save Christmas for the town and each other.

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


Sixty years have passed since Marilyn Monroe was discovered dead in her Brentwood home from an apparent barbiturate overdose. However, conspiracy theories abound to this day on the nature of her passing.

Interest in one of the most iconic Hollywood stars remains unabated. A special-edition collector’s DVD set, “Blonde: The Marilyn Stories” is set for release on December 6th.

This new, comprehensive compilation helps to answer some of the many questions that continue to linger about the extraordinary life of one of the world’s most-famed sex symbols, depicting various aspects of a complicated life cut tragically short.

Included in the DVD are two docudrama films featuring outstanding portrayals of Marilyn, “Blonde” (2001), a two-part, fictionalized biopic; and “Marilyn and Me” (1991), a dramatic feature.

Part of the package includes the first-ever exploitative biography “Goodbye, Norma Jean” (1976), originally deemed a questionable release due to its salacious nature.

Bonus material in the DVD includes two documentaries, “Marilyn” (1986), a short film with Mike Wallace, and “The Legend of Marilyn Monroe” (1967), narrated by John Huston and featuring Lauren Bacall, along with footage of Marilyn’s first-ever television appearance.

Born Norma Jeane Mortensen on June 1, 1926, the star known as Marilyn Monroe lived a brief but remarkable life of 36 years. Much has been written by many who never knew Norma Jeane, who fought hard for the fame and success that led to her being crushed beneath the weight of it all.

Marilyn was a true artist, but her on-screen appearances are in stark contrast to the love issues, exploitation, abuse of power and drug addiction she faced in her private life.

Following 30 movies, three marriages, a first-edition “Playboy” cover shot and singing to an American president, Marilyn is unfortunately remembered more for her iconic images and controversial alliances than for her extraordinary acting and singing talents.

While waiting for the DVD release of “Blonde: The Marilyn Stories,” Netflix offers “Blonde” starring Ana de Armas in the titular role of a film based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

Watching the Netflix film which blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves may prove to be a real slog. Rotten Tomatoes does no favors with its low ratings.

A graphic abortion scene is a bit much to stomach, and so is the rape by a Hollywood mogul. Even a sexual encounter with President Kennedy borders on the pornographic.

The saving grace to “Blonde” is Ana de Armas’s extraordinary transformation into the naive troubled actress navigating the treacherous world of the film industry and assorted degradations.

Putting aside failed marriages to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and author Arthur Miller as well as liaisons with political figures, the best way to remember Marilyn would be to enjoy films like “The Seven Year Itch,” “Some Like it Hot” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”


Forget about Thanksgiving, the Christmas holiday spirit gets started on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries before anyone even has had a chance to fully digest the traditional turkey dinner.

Hallmark has a cottage industry of Christmas films in the pipeline. Taylor Cole and Benjamin Ayres star in “Long Lost Christmas,” an original movie that is part of the network’s annual “Miracles of Christmas” programming event.

This Christmas, Cole’s Hayley plans to surprise her mother Patricia (Jaqueline Ann Steuart) with the perfect holiday present — the extended family she knows her mom yearns for.

Having discovered the existence of her mother’s long-lost brother, Hayley travels to a small town outside of Denver to chase a lead on a man named Gordon (Grant Vlahovic) who might be her uncle.

Delighted by the town’s holiday spirit, Hayley becomes equally charmed meeting Gordon’s daughter and property manager Jake (Benjamin Ayres). As she tries to discover whether Gordon is actually her uncle, Hayley begins to fall in love with the idea of an extended family.

But Hayley starts to have second thoughts when she learns the circumstances surrounding the siblings’ separation and decides to abandon her mission. For his part, Gordon is happy to finally have a lead on finding Patricia.

Bruce Campbell (“Ash vs Evil Dead”), who fought zombies in the movies, seems like an improbable choice in a starring role in the Hallmark Channel original movie “My Southern Family Christmas.”

Under the guise of a journalist writing a story about a tight-knit community that makes Christmas special, Jaicy Elliot’s Campbell has a chance to get to know her biological father Everett (Bruce Campbell) for the first time, without him knowing who she really is.

As she spends time with him and his family, Campbell realizes that families are messy, wonderful things. In the end, she must decide if she’s going to keep her identity a secret or reveal the truth to her father — a decision that will change their family Christmas forever.

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

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Lake County Symphony performs music by Wolfgang Mozart, among others, in the 2022 “Amadeus in Autumn” Fall Concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at Lakeport’s Soper Reese Theatre.

Other featured composers in this concert are Camille Saint-Saens, Jean Sibelius, Christoph Gluck and Felix Mendelssohn.

The concert begins with a performance by the newly combined Community and Youth Orchestra playing several energetic and recognizable pieces that are guaranteed to create some noise from the audience.

After things quiet down, Conductor John Parkinson starts off the main concert with “March Militaire Francaise” from the Algerian Suite, Op. 60 by Saint-Saens. (1835-1921).

A French composer, pianist, organist, and conductor of the Romantic period, Saint-Saens was a child prodigy who was giving concerts by age 10. Saint-Saens composed more than 300 works that included operas, symphonies, oratorios, cantatas, and piano concertos. He also witnessed the beginnings of 20th-century music and was the first musician to compose for the cinema.

Saint-Saens visited Algeria for the first time in 1875 and developed a life-long love of the country. He wrote his “Suite Algerienne” in 1880. This work was written in four movements; the last movement became very popular on its own, and is the movement featured in this concert.

“Finlandia,” by Sibelius (1865-1957) comes next in the concert lineup.

Sibelius was a Finnish composer who is widely regarded as his country’s greatest composer. His rousing and turbulent piece is often credited with having helped Finland develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

“Finlandia” premiered in July 1900 in Helsinki and had to be performed under alternate names at various musical concerts to avoid Russian censorship. Titles under which the piece masqueraded were numerous and often confusing.

Next is “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” by Gluck (1714-1787) which is from the second scene of Gluck’s opera, “Orfeus and Euridice,” the most popular of his works. Patricia Jekel, principal flute player for the Lake County Symphony, is the soloist. This piece has been called “pastoral” and “tranquil,” which some find surprising in an opera about Orpheus’ journey to Hades, the realm of the dead, in search of his departed wife.

The first half of the concert ends with “The Hebrides Overture” by Mendelssohn, (1809-1847). Although called an overture, the work is conceived in Romantic-era fashion as a stand-alone piece. Mendelssohn was the offspring of a wealthy German family and was considered a prodigy on the same level as Mozart. He wrote this piece after experiencing a strong emotional reaction while visiting the Scottish islands at age 20, during his “grand tour” of Europe.

In a letter to his sister, he shared the first few measures of the piece with her. He wrote, “In order to make you understand how extraordinarily the Hebrides affected me, I send you the following, which came into my head there.”

Following intermission, the Symphony performs two pieces by Mozart, (1756-1791) one of the most prolific and influential composers of the late Baroque-early Classical period. Kelsey Wiley, principal horn player (first chair) of the Lake County Symphony, is the featured soloist in Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat major.

The final piece in the concert is Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 “Haffner.” He created this piece in response to a request from his father for a new symphony to honor Sigmund Haffner, a family friend who was being elevated to nobility. But he felt rushed (his life was hectic at the time) and thought the piece wasn’t up to his usual standards.

So, when Mozart reviewed the score a while later, he was amazed at its quality. He decided to convert it into a symphony. First performed in Vienna in 1783, it was well received and financially successful.

Tickets for the 2 p.m. concert are $25 for general seating and $30 for premium and are available for purchase on the Soper Reese website.

LCSA members receive a $5 discount. Please arrive 30 minutes early when buying tickets at the door for the regular 2 p.m. concert.

The 11 a.m. dress rehearsal performance costs $5 for adults and is free for those for those under 18. Please arrive extra early to ensure a seat.

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

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