Saturday, 18 January 2020

Arts & Life

Good Measure includes, back row, left to right, Richard Vassilaros, Doug Harris and Bill Bordisso; front row, Ingrid Larson and Sissa Harris. Courtesy photo.

UPPER LAKE, Calif. – The annual winter concert series at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake opens its 2020 season on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m. in Riffe’s Meeting House next to the Hotel with a lively and harmonious group of local musicians called “Good Measure.”

“We really enjoy these informal house concerts,” said Tallman owner Bernie Butcher. “It’s a relaxing Sunday afternoon with some of the finest musicians in the area. The January show should be particularly fun with this highly talented and entertaining quintet of well-known local musicians.”

Good Measure makes its own style of acoustic music, which is influenced by folk, pop, rock & roll, jazz, Cajun, country and bluegrass. They blend three- and four-part harmonies accompanied by a wide variety of instruments.

Sissa Harris comes from a classical background whereas husband Doug is a product of the 60’s folk tradition. Doug and Sissa travel regularly in Scotland, visiting small town pubs where they appreciate and perform Scottish folk music. They enhance Good Measure with their vocals and fine artistry on the guitar, mandala, harmonica, melodica and ukulele.

Ingrid Larsen delights audiences with her sweet and captivating voice. Bill Bordisso’s instruments are sometimes the (undeserved, he says) brunt of jokes, but he spins mighty tunes enlivening the group with his accordion, banjo, saxophone and dobro. Richard Vassilaros grounds the band with his fine bass guitar.

Coffee and cookies are served as part of the $25 + tax price of admission. Tickets are available at and further information can be obtained at the Tallman Hotel, 707-275-2244, Extension 0). The hotel is also offering a 10-percent discount on hotel bookings that weekend for people purchasing tickets to the concert.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

There’s a very fine book, “Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems,” published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, Connecticut, and I’ve found a number of poems for this column there.

Here’s another, this one by Ellen Bass, who lives in California, and whose most recent book of poetry is “Like a Beggar.”

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you down like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

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 ©2002 by Ellen Bass, "The Thing Is," from Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, (Grayson Books, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Ellen Bass and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2020 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.

Students engage in constructive critique of work during college classes at the Middletown Art Center in Middletown, California. Photo by Middletown Art Center staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – As part of Woodland Community College course offerings, Middletown Art Center proudly hosts affordable and accessible high-quality college-level art courses in its studio.

This 2020 spring semester ART 9A, Painting, is being offered.

The class will be instructed by Lisa Kaplan, an accomplished artist with more than 35 years of teaching experience.

Classes will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7:50 p.m., Jan. 14 through May 14. This is a 3.0 credit units course transferable to CSU/UC.

ART 9A will cover painting in a variety of media and explore still life, landscape and environments, the human form and abstraction.

There will be opportunities to meet and learn from several guest painters who will share their techniques.

In addition to studio work, participants will analyze and study the work of masters both historic and contemporary and engage in constructive critique and analysis of their own, and their classmates' work using the principles of art and design. The MAC gallery is also an excellent space to view and respond to art.

“I took Drawing and Composition (Art-4B), with Lisa Kaplan in the Fall and I will be taking this Painting class too,” said student Shashi Tusken. “Lisa is a very inspirational teacher and guide. The class not only improved my drawing skills, but it has helped me to see the world around me in a different way. I now feel compelled to draw everyday and I love the results of my drawing. I am enjoying art, my own, and others’, on a daily basis. Art is now flowing through me.”

Registration is primarily accomplished online at The course code is ART-9A-K7770.

MAC is hosting registration support this Friday, Jan. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the MAC Studio. All are welcome.

There is also a Super Saturday Registration event on Jan. 11 at Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The campus is located at 15880 Dam Road Extension, Clearlake.

The cost is $138 per class per semester plus $10 health fee. For students taking just this class, please complete part one of the application and call 707-995-7908 to waive the transcript and orientation requirements. Financial aid applications are also available as part of the registration process.

“This is an opportunity to develop skills with color theory and painting in most media that are part the foundation for any career in the arts or applied arts, including web and graphic design, fashion design, film, architecture and so much more,” explained Kaplan.

For content questions contact MAC at 707-809-8118, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For registration support contact the College Registrar at 707-995-7908.

Middletown Art Center is located at 21456 State Highway 175 at the junction of Highway 29 in the heart of Middletown. Visit or “Like” Middletown Art Center on Facebook to stay up-to-date with what’s happening at MAC. Be a part of the growing arts scene in South Lake County by becoming a MAC member, or by attending one of the many arts and cultural events or classes at MAC.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus is inviting women who love to sing to attend a sing-along party and experience the fun of singing a cappella, four-part harmony.

The party will kick off at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at their rehearsal space, 1125 Martin St., Lakeport. Refreshments to follow.

This is a free event.

Guests are encouraged to sing but are also welcome to just listen.

You do not need to be able to read music and the chorus can help you find a part that fits your voice range.

If you would like more information about the Mendo-Lake Singers, visit or follow Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus on Facebook.


When it comes to creating crime dramas for television, the undisputed champion is now, and probably for the foreseeable future, Dick Wolf, who has made a cottage industry of the “Law & Order” franchise.

The opening blurb for every episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is the disclaimer: “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Notwithstanding this claim, heinous crime true stories likely provide inspiration for any series.

The relevance of fiction applies heavily to the premise of the new FOX crime drama “Deputy” in that there is supposedly a 150-year-old arcane county charter provision for the succession of a duly elected Sheriff who dies during the term of his office.

Apparently harkening back to the Wild West days, the longest-serving member of the mounted posse gets elevated to the position of Sheriff until the next election. This is where cowboy hat and boots-wearing Sergeant Bill Hollister (Stephen Dorff) comes into the picture.

The opening sequence establishes Hollister as an old school maverick law enforcement officer in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who doesn’t mind kicking down doors in the pursuit of justice.

At a review panel, led by Undersheriff Jerry London (Mark Moses), the Sergeant is dressed down for being recalcitrant, insubordinate and having a disregard for the chain of command.

Winding up his defense, Hollister informs the panel that if the Sheriff “wants his star, he knows where to find me.” A short time later, after Hollister is involved in a deputy-involved shooting during a hot pursuit, high-ranking officials show up at the crime scene.

Hollister’s first instinct is that he’s somehow in trouble with the brass, only to find out the Sheriff died of a heart attack and now he has to be sworn in as the acting Sheriff due to the county charter.

Dumbfounded, Hollister can only say “you’ve got to be kidding me,” and Undersheriff London is quick to say “I wish we were.” By now, it’s obvious there’ll be tension between the new Sheriff and the suits on the tenth floor of the Hall of Justice.

Here’s the thing about fiction coming into play for “Deputy.” The arcane charter provision does not exist. Hate to break this news, but the county charter empowers the Board of Supervisors to fill the vacancy until an election can be held.

Does this imaginary foundation for the story matter at all for viewers? Not likely, but it would seem more believable for a rural area of just about any state in the Mountain Time Zone.

But here we are in modern day Los Angeles, and Sheriff Hollister is now in charge, even though he appears unwilling to conform to what’s expected of the leader of one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies.

To his surprise, Hollister has to accept the fact that he has a driver and personal bodyguard in the diminutive Deputy Brianna Bishop (Bex Taylor-Klaus) who will crimp his style as the lone cowboy accustomed to chasing bad guys in his Ford Bronco or on a horse.

Clashing with the Undersheriff comes with the job, but Hollister also has to contend with his trauma surgeon wife Dr. Paula Reyes (Yara Martinez), who deals with her husband often at the hospital, making him wait his turn to stitch up his latest wounds.

One of the few friends Hollister has in the department is Detective Cade Ward (Brian Van Holt), a Marine veteran with PTSD who grew up in a foster home, and now with his wife is looking to become a foster parent to children of a criminal he killed in the line of duty.

The first episode is titled “Graduation Day,” allowing Hollister to preside at the swearing-in ceremony of new recruits, one of whom is the son of his former partner who died on the job.

Notably, Hollister is the godfather of the new deputy, Joseph Harris (Shane Paul McGhie), and he’s soon confronted by the mother who pleads for the Sheriff to fire her son because she fears for his safety, thus setting up another storyline that plays out in unexpected ways.

Stating the obvious, the blunt-talking Hollister makes a point of saying he’s not a politician. But given his defiance of the establishment and ideas on policing, one has to wonder if he’ll eventually stand for election.

Interestingly, the first episode has Hollister diving into a contentious political agenda on a controversial issue that shows no sign of abating in the current climate.

Many viewers just want an hour’s worth of entertaining escapism and would probably agree with legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn who said, “Messages should be delivered by Western Union.”

“Deputy” intertwines the personal stories of key players along with plenty of action from a Sheriff unwilling to sit behind a desk.

The longevity of this series may rise or fall on how much to invest in Stephen Dorff’s maverick who admittedly cuts a charismatic figure with his irrepressible swagger.

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

Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, won the 2019-2020 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest with this painting of a ruffed grouse. This is the third time in a row that he has won the contest. Courtesy image.

A painting of a ruffed grouse has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2019-2020 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest.

The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana.

Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the annual contest determined the official design for this year's California Upland Game Bird Stamp.

Klinefelter also captured the top spots in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contests, as well as the 2009-10 California Duck Stamp Contest.

Artists submitted an original depiction of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). These medium-bodied forest dwellers are the only member of the genus Bonasa, and have a range extending across North America. In California, they inhabit riparian and conifer forests in the northwestern portion of the state.

Ruffed grouse have intricately barred or variegated plumage in shades of brown and gray, depending on environmental variables, with a conspicuous neck "ruff" and dark tail banding which they use to attract mates.

Their most notable courtship ritual, however, is their "drum display" – a low-frequency booming sound created by beating their wings against their bodies.

Contest entries were judged recently by a panel of experts selected for their knowledge in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The judges praised the composition and fine detail of the painting, specifically noting the accuracy of the feathers. They cited the excellent coloration with "good barring on the belly and speckle on the back" that blends nicely with the autumnal aspen forest in the background.

The panel also appreciated the in-flight depiction which allowed a full display of the grouse's intricate plumage, something Klinefelter found challenging yet rewarding.

"Ruffed grouse are agile fliers and I thought painting them in flight would make a good picture," he said. "The plumage blends well with the background – they have cryptic coloration."

He went on to say that while he has only seen ruffed grouse in captivity, he enjoyed imagining them in their native California habitat.

Broderick Crawford of Clayton, Georgia, placed second. Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minnesota, placed third. Buck Spencer of Junction City, Oregon, received honorable mention.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California.

The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW's Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request.

Monies generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, and outreach and education.

CDFW annually sells about 170,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 17,000 stamps.

Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting

An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.

Upcoming Calendar

01.18.2020 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Redbud Audubon field trip
01.18.2020 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Women’s march
01.19.2020 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Concerts with Conversation: Good Measure
Tallman Hotel
01.20.2020 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
4th Annual Celebration of Martin Luther King Day
01.20.2020 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration
01.21.2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Coffee with our Congressman
01.21.2020 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Master Gardeners fruit tree workshop
01.21.2020 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Town hall

Mini Calendar



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