Wednesday, 05 August 2020

Arts & Life

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Lake County Symphony Association has announced the cancellation of this year’s Mother’s Day Concert.

LCSA President Ed Bublitz said the action was necessary in order to comply with current health regulations in California.

The Soper Reese Theatre has recently canceled several events for the same reason.

Letters will be sent to LCSA members and others who purchased tickets to inform them about replacement options for the canceled concert, including a direct refund.

Remaining concerts scheduled for this year – August Baroque Concert, November Fall Concert and December Holiday Concert – are expected to take place as usual.

Planning for the LCSA Home Wine and Beer Makers’ Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 20, at Library Park in Lakeport, is currently underway.

“This is our biggest yearly fundraiser for the Lake County Symphony, and we are hopeful things will be more back to normal by June,” said Bublitz.

Home wine and beer makers, crafters and food vendors are needed and are urged to contact Bublitz at 707-413-3798 to reserve a booth.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

Lest we forget our vegetables, here's a poem by James Bertolino about one of our dearest and healthiest ones.

The poet lives in Bellingham, Washington, and this is from his book, “Every Wound Has A Rhythm,” from World Enough Writers, Kingston, Washington.


The carrot says
don’t be confused

by appearances.
My lacy green

friendship with air
gives me the confidence

to make demands
of dirt. Consider me

a prospector probing
with my own gold.

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 ©2012 by James Bertolino, "Carrot," from Every Wound Has A Rhythm, (World Enough Writers, 2012). Poem reprinted by permission of James Bertolino 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.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is pleased to announce the seventh annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest.

This year’s theme, “Be a Habitat Hero,” encourages students to think about what they can do in their own communities to protect against the spread of invasive species.

“Everyone can be a habitat hero by taking small steps to stop invasive species. Helpful steps include choosing native plants for landscaping, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings and taking precautions to clean, drain and dry gear after recreating in waterbodies,” said Elizabeth Brusati, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Invasive Species Program.

The contest is offered by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of California Invasive Species Action Week, June 6 to 14.

There are three age divisions for youths in grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. All types of media are welcome and encouraged, including (but not limited to) drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos and public service announcements. Entries should reflect the 2020 theme: “Be a Habitat Hero.”

The top three winners in each division will receive awards and have their entries displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week webpage.

The deadline for art contest entries is May 1. Completed entries and entry forms should be sent to CDFW Invasive Species Program, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090.

The entry form and entries may also be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The goal of California Invasive Species Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

Action Week activities will include presentations on aquatic and terrestrial invasives, guided outings to observe and assess infested areas, invasive species removal efforts, habitat restoration projects and the announcement of the winners of the youth contest.

Opportunities for youths and adults to participate or volunteer will be available across the state through participating agencies, organizations and volunteer groups, with information and details to be provided on the Action Week webpage.

Visit CDFW online for details about the 2020 contest and information on how to participate in Action Week.

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California. The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur and prevent the spread of those species that have established.

‘THE HUNT’ Rated R

The premise of “The Hunt,” which has champagne-sipping liberal elites hunting “deplorables” for sport, garnered such a great deal of controversy last summer in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso that Universal shelved the film’s release until now.

It is curious that in a presidential election year that exposes the left-right political divide between blue-state and red-state partisans should even be considered no less controversial at this very moment in time.

The one thing that might dampen any meaningful discussion about “The Hunt” would be our fixation on the coronavirus’ threat to our collective well-being. We’re in panic mode over a real menace and too busy trying to find a store with toilet paper on the shelves.

The “deplorables” in question turn out to be about a dozen citizens mostly from flyover-country who are drugged and dumped in a field near a crate filled with an assortment of weapons.

Despite the available arms, the majority of the hunted are quickly terminated by guns and arrows from a hilltop bunker as well as landmines and Viet Cong-style lethal spike traps.

A couple of them manage to escape from what is known in conspiracy theory circles as Manorgate, only to end up seeking refuge in what for all appearances is a mom-and-pop convenience store and gas station in rural Arkansas.

The ordinary-looking senior citizen proprietors turn out to be hunters as well, killing the survivors with shotguns while imparting the final words that “for the record, climate change is real.”

Unfortunately for the hunters, they didn’t count on a bleach blonde car rental clerk from Mississippi to be a cunning, lethal adversary. That would be Crystal (Betty Gilpin), a proficient Army veteran of the Afghanistan war.

In rather short order, Crystal proves to be a lot smarter than the elitists who seriously underestimate her combat skills, as she knows the fine art of evasion on the battlefield and the ability to dispatch enemies with hard-nosed competence.

For Crystal, the mission is to find the mastermind behind the jet-setting crowd’s fantasy of moral authority, and that turns out to be the well-heeled Athena (Hilary Swank), a corporate globalist with a warped sense of supremacy.

“The Hunt” is fraught with gruesome violence, but the real kicker is the climactic hand-to-hand smackdown between Crystal and Athena at the latter’s hideaway with plenty of broken glass and furniture.


With the dreaded coronavirus spreading and the assembly of crowds discouraged or outright banned, major film studios are delaying so many releases that it appears viewing choices at theaters are dwindling down to independent films.

The situation is not any better with TV networks and cable channels now halting or delaying production. For now, Netflix is a decent option for home entertainment and “Spenser Confidential” is worth a look for a bit of fun during a gloomy time.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Spenser, a former Boston police officer that is first seen on his last day of a five-year stint in Walpole prison for beating up police captain John Boylan (Michael Gaston), a crooked cop and wife-beater to boot.

After being picked up by his old friend Henry (Alan Arkin), Spenser is eager to get out of Boston by moving to Arizona, but first he wants to get his trucking license. To no one’s surprise, Spenser is unable to escape Beantown and the bunch of dirty cops that want his scalp.

Another good reason to skip down is that his on-again, off-again crazy girlfriend Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger) may or may not want him back in her life, but she hurls so many funny insults his way that one can’t be sure how this relationship will play out.

Captain Boylan gets murdered by a gang of machete-wielding thugs, and while Spenser would be the prime suspect, the blame falls on one of his old colleagues, a good guy and family man who’s found dead of an apparent suicide with a stash of drugs in his car.

Despite the fact he’s an ex-con, Spenser operates from a moral code that eludes many of the officers he once worked with, and with a decent cop falsely accused, he decides to investigate the case that the Boston police seem disinterested in solving.

Joining Spenser as his sidekick is wannabe MMA fighter Hawk (Winston Duke), a hulking figure who knows how to fight, but Spenser is the one ending up a punching bag when dealing with rogue cops and Irish mobsters, leading Hawk to observe “Man, you get beat up a lot.”

Before too long, Spenser is on the trail of a South Boston thug named Tracksuit Charlie (James DuMont) who was doing dirty work for Captain Boylan and is working with mobsters on a crooked land development deal involving an abandoned dog-racing track.

Proving to be one of the good guys, Spenser’s quest to root out police corruption and take down gangsters turns “Spenser Confidential” into an entertaining, watchable crime procedural that seems destined for sequels.

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


The redemptive power of sports has played out in many ways in the course of cinematic history. No matter the sport, there’s always something uplifting about an underdog team that finds a way to win a championship.

Based on the true story of one of the greatest moments in sports history, “Miracle,” starring Kurt Russell as Team USA coach Herb Brooks, recounted the inspiring feat of mostly amateur players on the USA Hockey team defeating the seemingly invincible Soviet Union squad.

More to the point of “The Way Back,” about a losing high school basketball team, the “Hoosiers” story of a small-town Indiana team making an improbable run at a state high school championship that taps into the spirit of redemption ranks high on the list of great sports movies.

Whether “The Way Back” could be deemed to reach an exalted rank in the pantheon of underdog amateur sporting accomplishments may be an unsettled issue, but it does connect with a sports fan’s inclination to be moved by the salvation of woeful competitors.

And while watching the trailer gives off the idea that the experience of this film is focused solely on a motley crew of Catholic teenagers at the Bishop Hayes High School, the truth of the matter is something almost entirely different.

This is where Ben Affleck’s alcoholic Jack Cunningham comes into the picture. About a quarter-century earlier, Cunningham was the big basketball star on the high school team, leading it to a championship. A banner with his name hangs in the gymnasium’s rafters.

The players on the Bishop Hayes team, if not truly terrible, have certainly not been properly trained or coached to be competitive. After the coach has a heart attack, math teacher Dan (Al Madrigal) tries to hold the team together as the assistant coach.

The priest running the school reaches out to Cunningham to be the new coach, telling him that “You’re the first person I thought of.” More likely, he had nowhere else to turn, and he may have reconsidered if he had any idea about his star player’s troubled life.

By day, Cunningham is a construction worker, now separated from his wife Angela (Janina Gavankar), for reasons not immediately known if you overlook the fact that he can’t even take a shower without drinking several cans of beer.

What’s more, his daily routine also consists of pouring booze into a thermos for nips while on the job, followed by hanging out after work in a dive bar that ends the night most of the time with him being carried home by one of the patrons.

Eventually, the fact that Cunningham is a tortured soul becomes apparent from a tragedy that caused a huge rift in his marriage and an addiction to alcohol that takes him on an emotional rollercoaster ride of futility.

Tension is not only found in Cunningham’s relationship with his estranged spouse. A family Thanksgiving reunion turns uncivil as Cunningham squabbles with his sister Beth (Michaela Watkins) about his lack of interest in anything that can’t be poured into a glass.

After an initial rebuff of his alma mater’s entreaties to take over the team, Cunningham commits one could say, for the most part, to taking on the unenviable task of molding his players to function as real teammates.

One of his first orders of business is to bench the showboating Marcus (Melvin Gregg), who favors taking the 3-point shots instead of passing to a teammate open for a greater certainty of actually scoring.

Gruff, profane and pushing his kids to the limit, Cunningham instills a cohesive discipline on his modest talent pool, goading them to a truly competitive spirit that results in an appealing underdog story that gains traction with a string of victories.

If you guessed that the Bishop Hayes team would qualify for the playoffs only to find themselves against a team that had crushed them at the beginning of the season, you’ve already seen this part of the movie in countless other underdog stories.

“The Way Back” is much more than the predictable showdown with a fearsome rival that has much greater physical talent. Cunningham’s molding of his motley crew turns them into a viable squad that just might believe in their own abilities.

While the team becomes a winner, Cunningham’s inner demons are not so easily relegated to the past, and conflict with the school leadership over his inability to give up a fondness for adult beverages puts his own redemption into jeopardy.

Fittingly enough, Gavin O’Connor, the director, was the perfect fit for “The Way Back,” as he knows how to deliver a compelling story that overlaps between life and sports. That his behind-the-camera work delivered the acclaimed hit “Miracle” says it all.

Of course, with Ben Affleck’s Jack Cunningham, much like Kurt Russell’s coach Herb Brooks in “Miracle,” being the central focus of “The Way Back,” a robust and convincing performance from the star makes all the difference.

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

The Santa Rosa Symphony Chamber Players. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – For the third in the Soper Reese Theatre’s Contemporary Chamber Music series, the Santa Rosa Symphony Chamber Players will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 28.

This trio of musicians from the Santa Rosa Symphony will explore the rich sonorities of flute, viola and piano, with a program that includes works by Bloch, Durufle, Han, Marinu, Devienne and others. Kathleen Lane Reynolds is on flute; Alex Volonts, viola; and Kymry Esainko, piano.

Tickets are now on sale. The cost is $20 adults. It’s free for ages 18 and under. Open seating.

For tickets go to or to The Travel Center, 825 S. Main, Lakeport, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The performance is sponsored by Kirsten Olson and Carol and Steve Schepper.

For more information call 707-263-0577.

Upcoming Calendar

08.06.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
08.06.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
08.06.2020 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thompson virtual town hall
08.07.2020 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Farmer’s Market and Makers Faire
08.08.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
08.11.2020 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
08.11.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection
08.12.2020 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lake County Democratic Party
08.13.2020 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lakeport Police medication collection

Mini Calendar



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