Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Arts & Life

 

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II Big rocking at the Library Park Gazebo Friday night. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 

LAKEPORT The opening night of the 19th annual Summer Concerts in the Park series played out under warm but breezy skies Friday.


The audience, estimated at 1,200 welcomed, KNTI DJ Eric Patrick as the master of the stage for the two-hour concert by the Hopland based band, II Big.

 

 

The five-member band had a bit of a slow start as wind gusts caused excessive noise across the singers' microphones. They also had problems with feedback for the first few tunes but once the bugs were worked out the band sounded great. II Big played a 80-20 split of original numbers with a few rock and roll favorites thrown in.


Their newest CD, "Face In The Glass," hits the stores next week.

 

 

Intermission was, as always, a crowd favorite as Eric Patrick awarded sponsor-donated prizes in response to requests for "Dumb Stuff" from the audience.


The second show in the 10-week series will feature Chicken and The Defenders starting a 6:30 p.m. June 22.

 

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A concert goer won a prize for having a tattoo of an American flag. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 


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I was going to write about the Quibley Brothers' "Go Weird," one of those great albums you never heard of. But, I'll write about this one instead.


You may have heard of it or, at least, of it's starting point.


Back in 1995, good ol' Atlantic Records released the stateside version of "Starways To Heaven," a product of 12 demented Australians and their groups. It contained versions of Robert Plant's freak out, "Stairways To Heaven," by the Australian Doors Project, the early and the late Beatles (Down Under chapters), the Rock Lobsters, two opera singers, Elvis (Ned Pepper) and la creme de la creme, a shout out by the venerable Rolf Harris and his digereedo or wobbleboard.


"There's an old Australian stockman ... er ... rock band ..."


I got mine at a defunct junk shop on Clear Lake's Lake Shore Drive (no, not that Lake Shore Drive) for a couple of quid and you can get yours, as it is currently out of print, on amazon.com for a measly $18. The original Aussie release, has 22 takes on "the lady who's sure ..."


Overkill? You be the judge. That one runs about $45 but could be worth it, judging from the domestic offering.


Play this at your next party.


Leonard Teale offers up the spoken word version and if you have never actually heard the words what the hell is a "spring clean for the may queen" anyway? well, you should, at least ... once.


These takes all come from the Australian TV show, "The Money Or The Gun," which featured a different reading on the "lady who's sure all that glitters is gold" at the conclusion of each broadcast.


Andrew Denton's liner notes are also not to be missed.


"Some of the rejections make a veritable Who's Who of rock 'n' roll," he writes. "Shane McGowan of the Pogues couldn't remember his name ... Peter Gabriel gave up after almost a year of trying to teach it to the hill tribes of Southern Yemen and Midnight Oil refused to sing 'Stairway' because they felt it represented US interests in the Caribbean."


Oh, and "Bruce Springsteen somehow made it longer."


But, "if you listen very hard, when all is one and one is all."


You get "a rock that doesn't roll."


"And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune, then the piper will lead us to reason" or maybe just to Rolf Harris tying down the May Queen ..."all together now!"


E-mail Gary Peterson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Musician Patty Griffin will perform at Mendocino College on July 22. Courtesy photo.

 


UKIAH – dig! music in association with Mendocino College ComEx proudly presents Patty Griffin on July 22.


The concert begins at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at the Mendocino College Center Theater for a very special, intimate evening with Patty and her band.

 

 

Patty was voted No. 19 of the best living songwriters by Paste magazine. Amped magazine calls Patty “one of the most important singer, songwriters of our time!”

 

 

Since the release of her new album, Children Running Through (ATO) in February, Patty has performed on David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Ellen DeGeneres show.

 

 

Her first visit to Mendocino County is part of a three-date stop in California that includes the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts (Santa Rosa) and the Mountain Winery (Saratoga).

 

 

The new album debuted at No. 34 on the Billboard charts and continues the remarkable, creative evolution that’s quietly established Patty Griffin as a vital and singular musical force. Her seamless songcraft is supported by spare, spacious arrangements and production by Griffin along with Mike McCarthy (Spoon) that emphasize her effortlessly eloquent lyrics, her subtly indelible melodies and her sublimely expressive voice.

 

 

The artful instrumental settings are perfectly suited to the soul glory of “Heavenly Day,” the wistful melancholy of “You’ll Remember,” the haunting intimacy of “Railroad Wings,” the vivid storytelling of “Trapeze” (with Emmylou Harris), the rocking “No Bad News,” the steely determination of “I Don’t Ever Give Up” and the healing gospel of “Up to the Mountain” (recently performed by Kelly Clarkson and recorded by Soloman Burke).

 

 

"I just wanted to write from the heart and let it be," Griffin said of the new album. Some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard is when you catch somebody singing to themselves. I wanted to make music that had that feeling."

 

 

That sort of heartfelt forthrightness has won Griffin a fiercely loyal fan base that's continued to expand. Among her higher-profile admirers are the Dixie Chicks, who recorded much-loved versions of the Griffin compositions "Top of the World," "Truth No. 2" and "Let Him Fly"; and Emmylou Harris, a longtime supporter who's covered several Griffin songs.

 

 

A Maine native, Patty grew up the youngest of seven siblings, listening to her mother sing hymns, country songs and made-up ditties. She began singing during childhood, and wrote poems and songs as a teenager, but was too shy to perform in public.


Later she moved to the Boston area, where she waited tables and worked as a telephone switchboard operator at Harvard University. It wasn't until her guitar teacher coaxed her into joining him on stage in a tiny Cambridge club that Griffin began performing her songs in public.

 

 

On the strength of a set of acoustic demo recordings, Griffin won a deal with A&M Records. The label agreed to release the stripped down original demos and the result was her 1996 debut release, Living With Ghosts, which won wide spread critical acclaim and the beginnings of a passionate and devoted fan following.

 

 

In 2000, after the rocking album, Flaming Red, Griffin found a more hospitable home when fan Dave Matthews signed her to his new artist-friendly ATO Records. With the change in labels, Griffin was determined to scale her music back down to its essence, a direction that was reflected on 2002’s sparse, mostly acoustic 1000 Kisses, which earned a Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary Folk album category. It was followed in 2003 by the live CD/DVD set A Kiss in Time.

 

 

Impossible Dream, released in 2004, was Griffin’s most ambitious and accomplished effort yet, encompassing a broad range of musical influences while boasting some of her most emotionally complex songwriting to date. It also netted a second Grammy nomination for Griffin.

 

 

As her own releases have continued to win consistent critical attention and a steadily expanding audience, Griffin has simultaneously become a popular source of material for other artists. In addition to the ones mentioned above, Griffin's songwriting has been embraced by a diverse assortment of performers, including Martina McBride, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Reba McEntire and Maura O'Connell, all of whom have recorded her songs. Also inspired by her work, filmmaker Cameron Crowe personally selected her to appear in his 2005 feature film "Elizabethtown."

 

 

In addition to raising her public profile, having her songs covered by other artists has allowed Griffin the luxury of making music on her own terms.

 

 

Children Running Through was recorded in the artist’s adopted hometown of Austin, Texas, in a makeshift studio set up in a rented house across the street from her home. In addition to Griffin on vocals and guitar, the sessions featured a sterling assortment of Austin, Nashville and New York players, including long-time Griffin collaborator, Doug Lancio on guitar, legendary Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, and a nine-person string section conducted and arranged by multi-instrumentalist John Mark Painter.

 

 

“To see and hear Patty Griffin in Ukiah, at a venue this size, will be a very special evening, say Michael and Denise of dig! music.”

 

 

Opening for Patty Griffin is singer-songwriter Scott Miller, whose music spans rock, Americana, folk rock and country rock.

 

 

Tickets are available in Ukiah at dig! music and Mendocino Book Co., in Willits at Leaves of Grass, in Fort Bragg at Tangents, in Boonville at All That Good Stuff and in Lakeport at Watershed Books. Tickets are $45 general admission.

 

 

For more information and for credit card purchases, call dig! music at (707) 463-8444.


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NANCY DREW (Rated PG)


But for the Warner Brothers studio putting a timeless literary teen heroine on the big screen, “Nancy Drew” is the kind of production that would more appropriately be running on the Disney Channel or the family hour of a major network.


Though made contemporary for the cinema, the Nancy Drew character emerges from a venerable franchise of books authored under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene, and in the translation to the screen this teen sleuth is realized by Emma Roberts, who fittingly enough has made her mark in the Nickelodeon hit comedy series “Unfabulous.”


For the uninitiated, it should be noted that Emma has a famous aunt by the name of Julia Roberts, and clearly this winsome teenager has inherited some charismatic genes.


Even if it has a strong TV sensibility, “Nancy Drew” has plenty to recommend itself, going beyond its obvious adolescent audience appeal. The film is righteous in its celebration of old-fashioned virtues, namely because Nancy Drew the resourceful teen detective is smart and sensible. She's the very antithesis of Paris Hilton and all the other dimwitted young celebrities who so unfortunately dominate the pop culture with their lack of grace and charm, to say nothing of the complete absence of redeeming qualities.


In what is an almost radical notion, the young amateur sleuth has a mind of her own and a passion for helping people and solving mysteries, all the while remaining true to an honorable code of conduct. Nancy will need all of her virtues when she gets uprooted from her friendly hometown of River Heights, located somewhere in “flyover country.”


After solving one more murder case that baffled local law enforcement, Nancy finds out that her lawyer dad Carson Drew (Tate Donovan) is moving them to Los Angeles for an extended stay. Since Nancy is allowed to pick their temporary residence, they settle on the decaying Draycott Mansion, rumored to be haunted because famous actress Dehlia Draycott (Laura Harring, seen in flashbacks) died there under mysterious circumstances.


Though having promised to give up her detective work and to settle into normal teen living, Nancy is unable to resist a mystery, especially since the house comes equipped with secret passageways and a strange caretaker named Mr. Leshing (Marshall Bell) who has the odd habit of materializing unexpectedly.


Nancy’s biggest challenge is fitting in with new classmates at Hollywood High School, where her unique personal style, which includes wearing retro clothing and penny loafers, sets her apart from her self-absorbed, fast-living peers.


She clashes with fashionistas Inga (Daniella Monet) and Trish (Kelly Vitz), who actually look more like streetwalkers. Excelling in all her academic work and even in an exercise for making sandcastles, Nancy comes off as a female version of Alex Keaton (another TV reference), demonstrating her smarts without fearing rebuke from her contemporaries. That she won’t bend to the will of others makes her so admirable and appealing.


The young sleuth’s tenacious behavior draws admiration from the wisecracking Corky (Josh Flitter), her unlikely new best friend. Though he is considerably younger, Corky has a crush on Nancy, which creates some amusing tension when her longtime confidant and quasi-boyfriend Ned (Max Thierot) shows up on a visit so that he can deliver Nancy’s beloved button-cute roadster, a vintage Nash Metropolitan convertible.


While concealing activities from her father, Nancy’s sleuthing activities pick up steam as she pieces together some important facts that unknown people want to keep concealed. The trail leads to struggling single mother Jane Brighton (Rachel Leigh Cook), menacing thugs who chase Nancy through Chinatown, and the high-powered Draycott estate attorney (Barry Bostwick).


One of the odd things about “Nancy Drew” is that the flashbacks to Dehlia Draycott’s salad days in the film business have the look of the bygone Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s, and yet this was an actress who had her fame in the 1960s and 1970s before dying at a relatively young age circa 1981. Then again, Nancy herself has a personal style more suggestive of the 1950s.


Maybe the real mystery is that “Nancy Drew” is in search of its era, but that will be of little concern for the family audience that should find enjoyment and pleasure in watching a spunky teen saving the day and tidying up a whole bunch of loose ends by doing what she does best.


Tim Riley writes film reviews for Lake County News.


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For devotees of true-life crime, there is a non-fiction account of the George Edalji case published by Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie, “Conan Doyle and the Parson’s Son: The George Edalji Case.”


Researched and written by Gordon Weaver, is the only nonfictional account of the George Edalji miscarriage of justice case.


This book goes behind the scenes to explore the complex issues that surround the harassment of the Edalji family and the conviction and trial of George Edalji.


The wealth of Home Office documentation held at the UK’s National Archives provides additional dimensions to what in fact was the case that changed the face of English law.


It's an invaluable read for students of many subjects, for lovers of mystery and for those who believe that fact can be stranger than fiction. For a synopsis visit the www.theplebeian.net.


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II Big will open the Summer Concerts in the Park this Friday. Courtesy photo.

 


LAKEPORT – This Friday the Summer Concerts in the Park 2007 season begins, with a lineup of 10 great concerts planned for the coming months.


Leading off the summer performances is the band II Big with its class rock sound.


II Big has opened for such classic music acts as Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Loverboy, Grand Funk Railroad, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Walsh, REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, The Jeff Healey Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Styx.


The group has a new CD, Face in the Glass, coming out later this summer. They'll be featured performers at the Boonville Fair's Rodeo Dance on Sept. 15, and have shows planned for Konocti Harbor later in the summer.


Members are Aubrey Hansen, guitar and vocals; Tom Hansen, keyboards/vocals; Vince Knight, rhythm guitar/vocals; Roger Vance, bass; and Ken Ingels on drums.


The Summer Concerts in the Park are held in Lakeport's Library Park every Friday evening. The show begins at 6:30 p.m.


For more information about the Summer Concerts in the Park, call KXBX, 263-6113.


For more about the band, contact Ken Ingels in care of Russian River Records, 468-0280; or visit their Web site, www.riverrox.com/rec_artists/2big/2big.html.


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Upcoming Calendar

25Nov
11.25.2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Library hosts ‘Zoom with the Director’ 
25Nov
11.25.2020 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Drive-up flu vaccine event
26Nov
11.26.2020
Thanksgiving Day
27Nov
28Nov
11.28.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
1Dec
12.01.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mendocino College Symposium
5Dec
12.05.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Gallery Open Reception: Home
Middletown Art Center
12Dec
12.12.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
19Dec
12.19.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
24Dec
12.24.2020
Christmas Eve

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