Sunday, 25 September 2022

Arts & Life

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Marianne Chan, in her riddle of a poem, “Momotaro in the Philippines,” reminds us of how the world contracts by migration, by communication technology, and by trade, and how every culture finds a way to make sense of the cultures that somehow find their way into their worlds.

Momotaro is best known as the boy hero birthed from the seed of a peach in Japanese folklore.

For Filipino-American poet, Chan, peaches evoke alienness: Europe, cans, boy-heroes, Japan, and America — peaches are part of the global world of trade.

Her “peach girl” becomes a counter-hero. She is not “a warrior, no hero.” She loves and she stingily consumes delicious peaches for her survival. I find her defiant self-awareness strangely comforting.

Momotaro in the Philippines
By Marianne Chan

Here, peaches come from boxes
that smell like Europe, from cans
made of a tin-coated steel.
I lie with the peaches soaking in
saccharine darkness until freed.
I don't recognize the children
who run toward me. Their faces
like the feathers on the feet
of birds. Their slippers repeating that
melancholic drone. “Wake up,” they say.
“Wake up.” And as I rise from
the dreamy fluid-oh, the America,
which preserves me -I press
my sticky forehead on your sun-­
freckled hand. I love you, am sorry,
am not a warrior, no hero. I
fight for nothing, am stingy. I ate
all the peaches from the can
from the box from which I came.


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 Marianne Chan, “Momotaro in the Philippines” from All Heathens (Sarabande Books, 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.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Lake County Symphony Orchestra is returning to live performances after a two-year gap, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 Mother's Day Pops Concert will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport.

This year’s concert features a “Salute to Broadway.”

Audience members will hear many familiar tunes from hit Broadway shows including “The King and I,” “The Sound of Music” and “Guys and Dolls.”

Additionally, they will be treated to the vocal stylings of local veteran jazz singer, Paula Samonte. The prolific and popular vocalist will be performing three numbers arranged for orchestra by LCSA's conductor, John Parkinson.

Concertmaster Andi Skelton has been hard at work for several months ordering music and preparing music books for a full orchestra.

Due to COVID safety concerns, wind instruments were not included during virtual performances filmed in the Soper Reese Theatre during the last two years.

This resumption of live concerts will kick off with the debut of the newly formed Lake County Community & Youth Orchestra.

Under the baton of director Sue Condit, this open-enrollment musical group is composed of community members — ages from middle-school and up — who are eager to share what they have studied together since mid-February.

Tickets for the concert are $25 for general seating and $30 for premium seating, now available for purchase on the Soper Reese website. There is a $5 discount for LCSA members.

Tickets are also available at the Soper Reese box office the day of the concert. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the show when buying tickets at the door.

The 11 a.m. dress rehearsal is discounted and makes it more affordable for nearly everyone to attend. It costs nothing for those under age 18 and is just $5 for the older crowd. Because seating for the dress rehearsal may be limited, people are urged to arrive extra early to ensure a seat.

Due to COVID, the Soper Reese is proceeding with caution; proof of vaccination and masks are required, and seating may be limited to 50% depending on the number of cases in Lake County at the time of the concert.

Read the entire COVID policy on the theater’s website for details about exceptions to vaccinations.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Here in the Midwest, on the cusps of spring, on days when I won­der when win­ter will tru­ly end, I wel­come this deft­ly shaped reminder by David Bak­er of the sea­son that has just passed.

He dra­ma­tizes beau­ti­ful­ly the com­ing of win­ter and the way it takes hold of us. Baker’s title ​“Quick­er” sug­gests move­ment and not sta­sis, some­thing hope­ful, even, in the promise that comes with the chang­ing seasons.

Quicker
By David Baker

the season quicker now
the darkening—

no longer the leaves
fluttering down

but the whole shadowed earth
reaching up, taking hold


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 David Baker, “Quicker” from The Southern Review, 58:1, Winter 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.



‘THE ENDGAME’ ON NBC

A new crime drama series on NBC, “The Endgame” is basically a psychological thriller involving two female adversaries on opposite sides of the law in a cat-and-mouse game playing out during a number of coordinated bank heists throughout New York City.

On the wrong end is Elena Federova (Morena Baccarin), recently captured international arms dealer and brilliant criminal mastermind. Her antagonist is Val Turner (Ryan Michelle Bathe), the principled, relentless and outsider FBI agent determined to foil any criminal plots.

Flashbacks abound to sketch details of both women’s backgrounds. Noticed as a child in war-torn Ukraine, Federova proves smarter and more cunning than those who wish her harm.

Driven by a desire to avenge her mother’s death, Turner is coping with the fact her moral rectitude required her to turn in her fellow agent husband Owen (Kamal Bolden) for taking bribes.

Depending upon one’s viewpoint within the agency, Turner is either viewed with suspicion by her superiors wondering if she is complicit in her husband’s alleged crimes or merely ostracized by fellow agents for breaking a code of loyalty.

In the first episode, Federova is brought by federal agents to a secure location at Fort Totten in Queens, New York, for an interrogation by high-level cabinet members of the U.S. government that ends up swirling around layers of obfuscation and deceit.

As Turner once had an encounter with Federova on a mission in Africa, only the outcast FBI agent has any real chance of breaking through the mystery shrouding the motives of the Ukrainian crime boss.

The smug Federova, often smirking her disdain for her captors, is tight-lipped about the series of well-orchestrated bank robberies taking place around the city but is more than eager to drop veiled threats against high-powered officials concealing their corrupt misdeeds.

On the inside of the FBI, Turner’s only ally is her partner Agent Flowers (Jordan Johnson-Hinds) who cautions her to avoid needless confrontations with their boss Patrick Doak (Noah Bean), who does not appreciate Turner’s insightful approach to dealing with Federova.

“The Endgame” might be a sexier version of the long-running “The Blacklist,” another NBC series with a strong resemblance to the concept of a sharp criminal mastermind focused on dealing with only one FBI agent.

In brief, Morena Baccarin, dressed glamorously in her imprisonment as if headed to a gala event, is, well, a whole lot more erotic than any of the criminals in that other series.

The question that only the viewer may answer is whether the battle of wits in the chess game between the two female adversaries holds enough suspense to hang for every chapter in this saga.

The jury remains out after the first couple of episodes as to what exactly is the endgame of the cat-and-mouse diversion and if we have the patience to find out.

THRILLERS AND CRIME DRAMA MOVIES ON LIFETIME

The month of April brings more crime drama and thriller movies to the Lifetime channel. “Fatal Fandom” finds pop star Eden Chase (Chaley Rose) enlisting the help of bodyguard Jackson Reed (Pete Ploszek) when she’s almost kidnapped by a crazed fan.

The handsome, brooding bodyguard moves into Eden’s home to become her full-time security. Soon, Eden realizes that Jackson has an unhealthy attachment to her as he turns out to be a predator harboring a dark secret from the past.

In “She Went Missing,” when investigative reporter Maya (Corbin Reid) learns that her childhood best friend has gone missing, she decides to cover the story herself.

But just as Maya’s return to her hometown unearths memories and rekindles past relationships, it also brings out a stalker. As her investigation deepens, the danger strikes closer and closer to home.

Will Maya uncover the truth about her friend’s disappearance? Or will Maya herself wind up being the next tragic news story? “She Went Missing” is apparently in the wheelhouse of Lifetime’s penchant for crime dramas.

Single lawyer Chastity Jeffries (Michelle Williams) meets Xavier Collins (Antonio Cupo), who appears to be everything she is looking for in a partner — handsome, smart and a lawyer as well – in “Wrath: A Seven Deadly Sins Story.”

As his affection turns to obsession, Chastity realizes she has been swept up by Xavier’s passion and abandoned her principles. Xavier’s jealousy and wrath lead to suspicious actions and dangerous threats.

Chastity confides in her mother Sarah (Tina Knowles-Lawson) and turns to her former childhood boyfriend Roger Thompkins (Romeo Miller) for help. In the end, Chastity will have to fight to save herself.

“The Walls Are Watching” may be prophetic for the actions of unemployed Theodore (Branscombe Richmond), who after losing his wife and son begs the bank to give him one more chance to keep his custom-built house.

Despite his pleading, the bank forecloses and auctions off his home to newlyweds Erica (Lana McKissack) and Mitch Brody (Brandon Ford Green). But before they can live happily ever after, Theodore unleashes a cat-and-mouse game of terror on the couple when they refuse to leave the home.

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

Indian Paintbrush and Meadowlark by Meyo Marrufo.


MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Art Center invites the public to attend “Stories Our Ancestors Told Us” on Friday, April 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Zoom.

Tribal storytellers Anthony Steele, Kyle Bill, Corine Pearce and Eric Wilder will share traditional stories from tribal communities of this region from the lake to the sea.

The event is part of Middletown Art Center’s WEAVING — Weaving Baskets, Weaving Bridges project.

“These stories are our oral traditions. They impart the wisdom of our ancestors and are infused with their spirit and our memories of them,” said Rose Steele, cultural educator from Elem. “The stories speak of our core value and responsibility to live in harmony with the land. They teach us how to respect the land, animals, plants, and people of the mountains and water bodies that comprise this region. We invite you to join us and listen with your mind, body, spirit and open heart.”

WEAVING – Weaving Baskets, Weaving Bridges was co-designed by Indigenous cultural educators and MAC staff to provide a forum for sharing the traditions and history that have shaped Lake County and the region. The year-long project features cultural arts workshops and presentations and will culminate in an exhibit of contemporary Indigenous art at the MAC Gallery this July, in tandem with Pomo heritage basket exhibits at Lake County’s three Historical Museums.

Register for Zoom access to this special event at www.middletownartcenter.org/weaving. Pre-registration is required to ensure that the Zoom room can accommodate all virtual attendees. It’s by donation or free. All donations support the project and documentation.

WEAVING is supported in part by an Impact Grant award from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more about the California Arts Council at arts.ca.gov.

To find out more about the WEAVING project and view recordings of past events visit www.middletownartcenter.org/weaving.

Discover what’s happening at MAC and ways to get involved, support, and join the MAC in weaving the arts into the fabric of life in Lake County ​at ​www.middletownartcenter.org.​



‘THE LOST CITY’ RATED PG-13

That so few comedies make it to theaters anymore allows “The Lost City” to be a welcome relief during an inexplicable drought of good humor and goofy antics mixed in with adventure.

Thematically, this action-adventure comedy teaming Sandra Bullock as a romance novelist and Channing Tatum as the cover model for her books is reminiscent in several ways of 1984’s “Romancing the Stone” with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in almost similar situations.

One significant difference from the 1984 film is that Douglas’ character was a mercenary rogue and irreverent soldier of fortune who fit the Indiana Jones profile, while Tatum’s role is neither reckless nor particularly adventurous, at least at the outset.

Bullock’s Loretta Sage has lost the spirit that drives her to churn out her popular romance novels after the death of her archaeologist husband, and so she reluctantly agrees to a book tour for her newest release of “The Lost City of D.”

Loretta’s publicist Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) pushes for her appearance at a marketing event with male model Alan (Channing Tatum), looking very much like Fabio with his long-haired wig for a pose as the hero on her book cover.

Disinterested in promoting her latest book, Loretta is even less enthralled with the rather dim Alan and probably for the reason that the audience at the marketing event seems only interested in having Alan remove his shirt as if he were a Chippendale dancer.

Shortly after the promotion, Loretta is abducted by lunatic billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who explains his given name is supposedly gender-neutral, on the belief that her novel’s titular city contains clues that would unlock the whereabouts of a legendary treasure.

Of course, the lost city is hidden in the jungle of a remote island in the Atlantic, and Alan takes off in search of the missing Loretta, mistakenly believing that his cover model as the heroic Dash in the novel actually makes him one.

Brad Pitt’s Jack Trainer, an adventurer much like Indiana Jones or Michael Douglas’s soldier of fortune, steps in for the rescue mission. Escaping the grip of Fairfax’s henchmen, Loretta and Alan end up on the run in the jungle.

Meanwhile, Beth is so frantic to find Loretta that her excursion turns into an entire subplot full of pitfalls in foreign lands, eventually hooking up with randy bush pilot Oscar (Oscar Nunez) and his goat to reach the remote tropical island.

While Loretta spends most of the film running around the jungle in a sequined jumpsuit and high heels, Alan is more often partially disrobed and at one point totally naked as Loretta suffers the humorous indignity of removing leeches from his backside.

That freedom from captivity doesn’t last long for the odd couple allows Fairfax more screen time to indulge his wildly psychopathic madness to an extent we may well forget that Daniel Radcliffe was once the titular character of the “Harry Potter” films.

There are plenty of delightfully crowd-pleasing aspects to “The Lost City,” from the chemistry between Bullock and Tatum to the physical comedy such as when Alan runs Loretta through the jungle in a wheelbarrow while she’s strapped to a chair.

Regardless of any minor faults, “The Lost City” is about as good of a screwball comedy as one can get in a modern-day Hollywood that has lost much of its sense of humor whether out of knee jerk obedience to political correctness or an absence of comedic writing talent.

TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL UPDATE

Getting closer to the start of the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 21, additional films along with personal appearances by the stars have been announced.

For the opening night celebration of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” actors Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore will now join director Steven Spielberg. Thomas played Elliott, the young boy who befriends the friendly alien and Barrymore had the role of his sister Gertie.

“A League of Their Own,” the baseball classic, celebrates its 30th anniversary with stars Lori Petty, Anne Ramsay, Ann Cusack, Megan Cavanagh and Jon Lovitz in attendance. The only thing that would make it better would be to have Geena Davis and Tom Hanks joining the group.

Singer-dancer-choreographer Paula Abdul will part of the festivities for the screening of the 70th anniversary of “Singin’ in the Rain.” Abdul’s mentor and friend Gene Kelly inspired her to become a dancer.

“Diner,” which was released 40 years ago and featured many actors seen early in their careers, will now have stars Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Steve Guttenberg and Tim Daly joining the screening.

Writer-director-actor Warren Beatty will be present for the comedy “Heaven Can Wait.” Jane Seymour will celebrate the screening of the romantic fantasy “Somewhere in Time,” and Pam Grier will be on hand for the iconic blaxploitation film “Coffy.”

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

Upcoming Calendar

27Sep
09.27.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
27Sep
09.27.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
28Sep
09.28.2022 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Levee and flood risk workshop
29Sep
09.29.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
1Oct
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
1Oct
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
1Oct
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show

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