Saturday, 15 May 2021

Arts & Life

Rebecca Roudman and the members of “Dirty Cello.” Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Soper Reese Theatre presents Dirty Cello in virtual concert on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m.

This four-member Bay Area band is perfect for starting up a funky, sexy, electric Valentine's Day party in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Vivacious Rebecca Roudman plays the cello like it was a lead guitar and she sings like a rock star with attitude.

Her group has played all over the world putting a highly danceable and original spin on blues and bluegrass, playing everything from Purple Haze to the Orange Blossom Special.

The concert will be shown on Zoom and registration details are at the theatre's web site, www.soperreesetheatre.com.

For questions please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Here’s a lovely poem about snow falling on San Antonio by Mo H. Saidi, an obstetrician and writer who, in addition to his medical training, has a Master’s degree in English and Literature from Harvard.

Editor’s Note: This column is a reprint from the American Life in Poetry archive as we bid farewell to Ted Kooser, and work to finalize the new website and forthcoming columns curated by Kwame Dawes.

The Night of the Snowfall

Snow falls gently in the Hill Country
covering the meadows and the valleys.
The sluggish streaks of smoke climb quietly
from the roofs but fail to reach the lazy clouds.

On Alamo Plaza in the heart of the night
and under the flood of lights, the flakes float
like frozen moths and glow like fireflies.
They drop on the blades of dormant grass.

They alight on the cobblestones and live awhile
in silence, they dissolve before dawn.
The wet limestone walls of the mission
glow proudly after the night of snowfall.

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 ©2010 by Mo H. Saidi from his most recent book of poems, The Color of Faith, Pecan Grove Press, 2010. Poem reprinted by permission of Mo H. Saidi and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

This week’s column is by Ladan Osman, who is originally from Somalia but who now lives in Chicago. I like “Tonight” for the way it looks with clear eyes at one of the rough edges of American life, then greets us with a hopeful wave.

Editor’s Note: This column (336) is a reprint from the American Life in Poetry archive as we bid farewell to Ted Kooser, and work to finalize the new website and forthcoming columns curated by Kwame Dawes.

Tonight

Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt.

There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics.

There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.

There is only the smell of sour breath. Sweat on the collar of my shirt.
A water bottle rolling under a car.
Me in my too-small pajama pants stacking juice jugs on neighbors’ juice jugs.

I look to see if there is someone drinking on their balcony.

I tell myself I will wave.

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 ©2010 by Ladan Osman, and reprinted by permission of the poet. Introduction copyright @2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Theatre Co. announced open auditions for its next play, “A Virtual Whodunnit.”

This will be an online production that will be rehearsed and performed completely via Zoom.

Preston Sterling is hosting a Zoom meeting with his children, third wife and closest staff to celebrate his birthday.

The bitter old billionaire is bullying everyone once again and threatening to change his will when he is electrocuted through his phone.

Enter Sloan, Rockford Sloan, homicide detective. Through a series of Zoom conferences, Sloan questions the usual suspects, all of whom had a motive. When every suspect has motive and opportunity, it’s up to our brave detective and the audience to find the killer.

Auditions will be held via Zoom Feb. 18 and 20, with callbacks on Feb. 22.

Visit www.lctc.us for sides, character information and to schedule an audition.

Please note that due to software requirements, actors must have access to a laptop or desktop computer. Unfortunately, tablets and chromebooks do not support the necessary software.



‘AL DAVIS VS. THE NFL’ ON ESPN

No matter where the NFL’s Raiders end up playing, whether Los Angeles, Las Vegas or someday in London or Mexico City (who knows?), the Oakland Raiders still hold a special place in the hearts of many football fans in Northern California, home of their origins.

Sports fans of all stripes are likely familiar with ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. One of the greatest rivalries in the history of the National Football League has nothing to do with teams, and ESPN is there to capture the story for posterity.

The real clash of the titans was the conflict between former Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, a battle so intense that the ESPN press release refers to it as “a three-decade-long Shakespearean feud.”

Appropriately, the newest ESPN Films “30 for 30” documentary is titled “Al Davis vs. the NFL,” which airs on ESPN and will be available on ESPN+ immediately after its debut on February 4th.

Considering that both Al Davis and Pete Rozelle have passed away, the film takes a fresh, alternative approach by allowing their spirits to tell their own story by using innovative technology, commonly known as “deepfake,” to narrate in first-person.

Better still are the video clips of both men talking most often to the press, whether it’s the Raiders owner either celebrating Super Bowl victories or airing his grievances or the NFL commissioner commenting on the legal battles.

The film traces the relationship from their early clashes in the American Football League and National Football League wars of the 1960s, prior to their merger, through their tacit reconciliation upon Rozelle’s retirement in 1989.

The nettlesome thorn that aggravated Rozelle was the antitrust lawsuit that Davis filed against the NFL in 1980 when the Raiders owner wanted to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles, in pursuit of a state-of-the-art stadium, but the league would not approve.

Clips of the legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell record his observation that Al Davis, willing to do anything to beat an opponent, would “fight like Roberto Duran in his prime.”

Of course, the outlaw image was part of the Raiders mystique back in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the nasty on-field rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers in a decade where they would meet several times in the playoffs.

The Raiders lived by the Davis motto of “Just Win, Baby” and “Will to Win.” Davis noted that the adage in professional football is to “take what they give you” but that his team would “go the other way and take what we want.”

Recalling the glorious 1976 season which led to the Raiders winning their first Super Bowl, Davis praised George Atkinson and Jack Tatum who “wrecked fear in the hearts of everyone who has ever played this game in the secondary.”

Steelers head coach Chuck Noll had choice words for Atkinson’s clotheslining of Lynn Swann, claiming that “You have a criminal element in every society and apparently we have it in the National Football League too.” And let’s not forget that Jack Tatum earned the moniker “Assassin.”

Lawsuits didn’t just involve the league. Atkinson filed a $2 million slander suit in San Francisco federal court against the Steelers and Coach Noll. Atkinson is quoted lobbing accusations on Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene for kicking and spitting on players.

Likely more apropos the feud between Davis and Rozelle was Howard Cosell’s reflection on the parallel in literature of the obsession from Herman Melville’s classic “Moby Dick,” with Captain Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the White Whale.

If Davis is the White Whale, he eventually eluded the Captain because he relocated the team to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but had to wait almost forty years to get his dream stadium in Sin City.

One has to wonder what Rozelle, if he were alive today, would think about Las Vegas hosting the fabled franchise after all the legal hassles in the relocation to the entertainment capital of the world.

The film quotes Rozelle saying that his differences with Davis “developed over business matters not personal,” and that he always “considered Al like a charming rogue,” who had “gone outlaw.”

The most joyous moments for Al Davis were likely the three times that Pete Rozelle had the uncomfortable job of handing the Super Bowl trophy to the Raiders owner, especially when the team became the first wild card to go all the way.

Raider Nation will never be quite the same in Vegas. The team’s state-of-the-art stadium has everything except the atmosphere of the renegade aura of Oakland, exemplified best by the Black Hole and the tailgate parties. The good old days will be missed.

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



‘WALKER’ ON THE CW

The CW network, skewing to a younger demographic than CBS, has decided that it would be a good idea to reboot “Walker, Texas Ranger” of Chuck Norris fame into simply “Walker” with Jared Padalecki, who is unlikely to remind anybody of the original lawman.

With his chiseled looks and scruffy face, only the cowboy hat and the shiny badge worn by this new Cordell Walker would suggest that someone who looks more like a Calvin Klein jeans model would actually be the tough guy Texas Ranger of yore.

Judging from the first episode, the new Walker is less about action than dealing with family drama, but that has much to do with the initial storyline of the lawman grieving over the violent death of his wife Emily (Genevieve Padalecki).

Walker’s coping mechanism with sorrow sent him away on an undercover mission for nearly a year, during which time his teenage kids Stella (Violet Brinson) and August (Kale Culley) were left behind in the care of grandparents Bonham (Mitch Pileggi) and Abeline Walker (Molly Hagan).

To say that Walker’s children were resentful of their father’s prolonged absence would be an understatement, but that’s why this new series, at least from the outset, spends time on resolving family issues that even draw Walker’s brother (Keegan Allen) into the picture.

Meanwhile, the workplace changes in a few dramatic ways for Walker when he learns that his old Ranger partner Larry James (Coby Bell) is now a captain and his new boss, while he acquires a female partner in Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan).

“Walker” makes a few nods to political correctness that probably never would have happened in the original. For one, having a Latina Texas Ranger for a partner is definitely a departure on both gender and ethnic grounds, and Ranger Ramirez makes for a resilient colleague.

On more familiar ground in terms of what would be expected in the old days, Walker proves so aggressive when a punk suspect takes a swing at him that his partner steps in so he won’t cross the line into unnecessary brutality.

One has to wonder how Walker’s penchant for bending the rules is going to play out over time with a partner who represents a generational difference more tuned into restraint and going by the book.

During the network’s virtual press tour, the best question posed to showrunner Anne Fricke was why this series would use the name Walker as opposed to something brand new that doesn’t recall the memory of Chuck Norris.

We already know that the latest Cordell Walker is no longer the Texas Ranger skilled in the martial arts. Fricke noted that “Walker” is about “the life of this character and the family and friends around him.”

Using the name “Walker” allows this new series, as Fricke observed, “to keep the familiarity” that comes from inheriting a legacy while also forging a path that aside from classic Stetson hats and the Texas twang feels so divergent from the original.

This revamped version of “Walker” may find itself on solid footing since the network reports that the series debut rustled up the largest audience for a new series premiere on The CW in the last five years.



‘SILENCE & DARKNESS’ NOT RATED

An unnerving family dynamic emerges in the idyllic Vermont countryside where an ostensibly loving father cares for two daughters with different disabilities that don’t impede their living relatively normal lives.

Beth (Joan Glackin) is deaf, while Anna (Mina Walker) is blind. The inseparable girls communicate with sign language conducted by touch, and they dance, cook and even prep for a talent show as a guitar-playing duo.

Their father (Jordan Lage) is a doctor practicing in a small town, who has a fetish for dental hygiene and flossing that becomes creepy when it affects his strange affair with a married woman (Ariel Zevon).

We don’t know much about the devoted sisters other than the symbiotic nature of their reliance on each other, melded together to act as one whole human being. But we do realize they have their own coded messages they tap on each other’s arms and hands.

Acting in a seemingly sterile, clerical manner, the father monitors and records their behavior on cassette tapes as if parenting has become a clinical experiment of child psychology. Or is this something more sinister?

The happy equilibrium of the household starts to crack on the day that their neighbor Mrs. Bishop (Sandra Gartner) pounds hysterically on their front door, claiming her dog has found a human bone in the woods near the house.

Father dismisses the frenzied rant, letting his daughters know that he thinks “Mrs. Bishop may be off her meds.” This leads the girls to ask about their mother’s death, which causes the father to react violently.

From this point forward, a sense of dread creeps into the picture, and life becomes more uncomfortable for the girls as they realize something is not right. “Silence & Darkness” takes a turn to eerie menace.

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

Upcoming Calendar

15May
05.15.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
15May
05.15.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
American Legion Post flag retirement ceremony
15May
16May
05.16.2021 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Fair cleanup event
16May
05.16.2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Konocti Fire Lookout volunteer meeting
17May
05.17.2021
Tax Day
18May
05.18.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
18May
05.18.2021 11:00 am - 3:30 pm
Lakeport Community Blood Drive
22May
05.22.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
25May
05.25.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market

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