Wednesday, 05 August 2020

Arts & Life

Laura Kennedy with the armature for her owl at Trailside Park in Middletown, California. Photo courtesy of Middletown Art Center.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – EcoArts Sculpture Walk is happening a little differently this year due to COVID-19.

But, thanks to an award from the National Endowment for the Arts for “LOCUS, A Sense of Place,” work is currently being co-created and installed at the park.

This Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18, from 8 to 11a.m., the public is invited to join Laura Kennedy to co-create an owl and learn some of Laura’s sculpture making techniques.

“My hope is to educate and inspire people about the rich web of life in action that we witness here in Lake County through this piece,” said Kennedy. “I chose the owl as my subject for EcoArts this year, to call some attention to the night creatures that are key contributors to ecosystems, as well as to ecosystem recovery.”

Kennedy came to Lake County in 2010, left for a few years and returned the weekend the Valley fire ignited in September 2015.

She has been here since, for the most part, and is sinking her roots deeper. “The diverse natural world here in Lake County is my heart space,” she said.

Those interested in collaborating with Kennedy are encouraged to sign up in advance at to reserve a spot or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Registration helps MAC prepare and stay in touch for scheduling. The class is offered by donation, from $0 to $30.

Additional meetings will take place in the days to come. Please email MAC if you can’t make it this weekend but are interested in participating at another time in the coming week or two.

The goal of LOCUS is to revitalize public spaces damaged in the Valley fire through collaborative sculpture making.

Since May 2019, the Middletown Art Center a.k.a. EcoArts of Lake County, has initiated the making of several collaborative sculptures, led by artists, at Trailside Park and at Rabbit Hill.

Installations are made possible through partnerships with the Lake County Public Services Department and the Lake County Land Trust.

“Getting out into nature in public spaces and seeing some art is a great way to get some exercise, relief and enrichment in this time of Social Distancing,” said MAC Programs Director Lisa Kaplan. “We encourage you to join a workshop, and co-create with us, or come and enjoy the trails and artwork!”

To find out more about what’s happening at MAC and ways to support their efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County visit .

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

How much pain and anger can a good poet pack into just a few words?

A lot, in this fifteen-word haiku by Laura Foley from her 2019 collection of poems from Headmistress Press entitled “Why I Never Finished My Dissertation,” her seventh book.

Foley lives in Vermont.

Black Belt

Her husband in a coma,
she in the dojo,
learning to kill with her toes.

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 ©2019 by Laura Foley, “Black Belt,” from Why I Never Finished My Dissertation, (Headmistress Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Laura Foley 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.

Children collaborate on artwork while distancing during the Middletown Art Center’s June 2020 summer camp. Courtesy photo.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center invites children ages 5 to 15 to engage in Art for Art’s Sake summer camp.

This enriching and fun creative adventure begins July 13 and runs through July 24, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Instructors for this second session of camp at MAC are Jessie Beck, a first-grade teacher at Cobb Mountain Elementary, and dance teacher and artist Lauren Schneider, who has taught grades kindergarten through eighth in multiple subjects, art at Lower Lake High School and homeschool art classes at MAC.

Art for Art's Sake provides children with a foundation of familiarity and understanding of renowned artists and artworks.

“We're excited to explore a range of artists and artistic movements from Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse and Picasso, to O’Keeffe, Ringgold and others. We’ll be making art with a variety of media and materials,” said Schneider. “I always look forward to seeing children’s creative expressions and interpretations of artistic approaches in their own unique and individual voices, as well as in their shared collaborative projects.”

Beck and Schneider will be team-teaching MAC’s summer camp for the third time this year.

“Their collaboration and the excellent quality of the projects and activities they offer keeps getting better,” said MAC Programs Director Lisa Kaplan. “I love to drop in and see children and teachers so engaged in the artistic process!”

MAC will uphold all health and safety requirements including distancing and masks or bandanas. Campers are required to bring their own face covering, a water bottle and daily snack. Children will be provided a personal art supplies kit for use at camp.

Activities will take place in smaller groupings by age, in the studio and gallery, and each group will have at least one full-time assistant teacher.

“The shutdown has been rough on us all, and I miss interacting with children in person,” said Beck. "I am thrilled to be teaching at MAC and look forward to getting creative with new and returning campers!"

Learn more and sign your child up at . Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Some partial work-trade options are available.

In addition to summer camp, there is a lot happening at the Middletown Art Center.

The gallery is now open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also call 707-809-8118 in advance to schedule a weekday visit.

To support art lovers, local artists and the MAC, artwork from the current exhibit “Dreams” is available for purchase at 20 percent off until the show closes at the end of July. The exhibit can also be viewed in 3D online at thanks to Third Eye Visuals.

The Middletown Community Farmers Market and Makers Faire is happening on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m., with social distancing and masking observed.

Find out more about programs, opportunities and ways to support the MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County at .

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Lakeport Auto Movies will be among hundreds of movie drive-ins featuring a virtual concert by country music superstar Blake Shelton on Saturday, July 25.

The concert is part of Encore Drive-In Nights, with shows to air at drive-in and outdoor theaters across the United States and Canada.

These all-new performances will be filmed exclusively for each one-night-only event, and include cinematic interviews and storytelling.

The concert experience will deliver a front-row look at the world’s most iconic recording artists to fans across North America.

The series kicks off on July 25 with an all-new performance featuring Blake Shelton, who will be joined by very special guests Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins.

Tickets for the show are on sale now at .

The Encore Drive-In Nights series is presented by leading event production company Encore Live.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-in theaters have proven to be a safe, creative way to deliver fans world-class entertainment thanks to their ability to engage and delight large groups of people in open-air layouts.

Fans will experience the Encore Drive-In Nights presents Blake Shelton with Very Special Guests Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins concert feature and additional Encore Drive-In Nights shows from the safety of their personal vehicles.

Drive-in theaters hosting the Encore Drive-In Nights will adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended guidelines as well as all state and local health mandates. Staff will wear personal protective equipment and enforce at least six feet of space between cars.

The series will also use contactless payment and ticketing systems and limit capacity in restrooms. Guidelines around concessions will be enforced to abide by individual state regulations.

For a full list of procedures that the Encore Drive-In Nights is employing to keep fans and staff safe, visit .

“This is such a great way to enjoy music with your family and friends and stay safe,” said Shelton. “I’m excited we’re getting the chance to perform a concert for fans and we’re going to go back and play old hits like “Austin,” newer songs like “God’s Country” and we might even introduce something brand new! So fill up those popcorn tubs and get ready for some country music!”

Encore Live launched the series in response to overwhelming fan enthusiasm surrounding its June 27 ‘‘Garth Brooks: A Drive-In Concert Experience’ production, which also was shown at the Lakeport drive-in.

“After the overwhelming response to Garth Brooks’ drive-in concert feature, we knew we had to launch Encore Drive-In Nights to provide music fans across the USA and Canada the chance to see their favorite artists in a cool new way,” said Encore Live Founder and CEO Walter Kinzie. “We can’t wait to bring music’s biggest stars to outdoor movie screens all across North America so that people can get back out there again and safely enjoy engaging in-person experiences.”

With drive-in theaters all across North America lined up to air the Encore Drive-In Nights, fans everywhere will have access to a completely unique concert film experience.

Additional Encore Drive-In Nights performances will be announced in the coming weeks. Information on upcoming acts and tickets can be found at .

Unlike traditional concert tickets that are bought for individual admission, each ticket for the Encore Drive-In Nights will admit one passenger car, truck or SUV. That means up to six family members or friends (as many as there are legal seatbelts) can enjoy these exciting experiences together for one low cost.


With feature-length film options rather limited at the moment, the Netflix original movie “Desperados,” desperately hoping to be a romantic comedy with women acting badly, was hopefully going to be worth a look.

If there’s a Stockholm syndrome for watching a movie where you feel like you have been taken hostage beholden to your captor, that might be the case if you keep vainly hoping the viewing experience of “Desperados” will somehow improve.

Well, it doesn’t, but why no improvement? A neurotic central character in Wesley (Nasim Padrad), an unemployed guidance counselor, has a knack for undermining herself at every turn, whether at a job interview that goes horribly wrong or a blind date.

Let’s move past the lewd humor during Wesley’s interview at a Catholic school with a benevolent nun solemnly listening to the applicant’s awkward blathering about sexual acts.

A blind date with Sean (Lamorne Morris) lasts only a matter of seconds as Wesley lacks any filter for her small talk. But this is not the last we’ll see of the charming Sean.

Upon leaving the restaurant, Wesley takes a sidewalk stumble, only to be assisted back on her feet by Jared (Robbie Arnell), a sports agent who becomes her next romantic interest.

Getting her act together this time, Wesley finds bliss in a relationship with Jared. All goes well until he takes off on a business trip to Mexico to help one of his clients.

When days pass without hearing from Jared, Wesley joins her best friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns) to send an appalling email to the boyfriend, and discover moments later he’s been in a coma.

The three amigos head south of the border to a resort hotel with a misguided mission to erase the email before Jared gets out of the hospital.

Not surprisingly, pointless hijinks ensue, with few hitting their mark. As a comedy, “Desperados” desperately fails at the task. Best to skip this one.


Should new offerings on streaming services prove to be wanting, more satisfying options for viewing pleasure may be found in the abundance of classic television programs that are now available.

The private detective series “Peter Gunn,” starring suave and nattily-dressed Craig Stevens in the titular role, began its three-season run in 1958, and now it is available on Amazon Prime Video.

With a musical score by Henry Mancini, “Peter Gunn” established a film noir atmosphere where the gumshoe worked mostly at nights and was most often found at Mother’s nightclub enjoying jazz music and the songs of vocalist Edie Hart (Lola Albright).

The mood is appropriately set with all episodes in glorious black and white, underscoring a fitting environment in which someone like Humphrey Bogart’s private eye Sam Spade operated in “The Maltese Falcon.”

This is not to compare Peter Gunn to Sam Spade, as these characters are vastly different. While Spade proved to a fast-talking antihero with a penchant for fast women, Gunn is cut from a different cloth.

Stevens’ Peter Gunn is a polished person with sensible manners who usually speaks without bravado or impertinence. His smooth manner is reflected in the way he goes about the business of representing his client.

Every episode appears to start with someone getting killed or maimed in brutal acts of violence. The musical score sets a foreboding tone of whatever criminal acts set the program in motion.

Invariably, Gunn will be found at Mother’s Jazz Club, where he’s friends with the proprietor (Hope Emerson) and much friendlier still with the singer Edie, who just happens to be his girlfriend.

The first episode, “The Kill,” involves crime boss George Fallon (Gavin MacLeod “The Love Boat”) muscling out his competition and setting his sights on extorting Mother’s nightclub for protection money.

When Mother’s is bombed by Fallon’s goons, Gunn does not take it kindly since the club also serves as his office where he fields calls from a client or his pal at the police department, Lt. Jacoby (Herschel Bernardi).

One could say that “Peter Gunn” follows the private sleuth formula that has worked over the years for many series. Gunn works alone with frequent assists from one source at the police department.

James Garner’s Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files,” Mike Conners’ Joe Mannix in “Mannix,” and Stacy Keach’s Mike Hammer in another eponymous series were also solo operators with their own go-to law enforcement contact.

In many episodes with Gunn spending so much time at Mother’s, a musical interlude leavens the rough-and-tumble criminal world with a pleasing jazz band set and Edie belting out a tune.

The cool factor was Peter Gunn’s ability to mingle with all sorts of people, from upper-crust clients to shady underworld types to the occasional beatnik uttering period dialogue.

“Peter Gunn” moves at a fast clip in its half-hour episodes. If only this stylish series had run more than three seasons, but at least there are 114 episodes to enjoy.

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

Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

A painting by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana, has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts a pair of canvasbacks, will be the official design for the 2020-2021 stamp.

Klinefelter previously won the California Duck Stamp Art Contest in 2009, as well as the California Upland Game Bird Stamp contests in 2019, 2018 and 2017.

The overall eye-appeal of Klinefelter’s painting immediately drew the judges’ attention. They noted the contrast between the background and the subjects, admiring the brightness of the birds that, when paired with the more muted colors of the scenery, created a composition that would “pop” on a stamp.

The judges’ highest praise, however, was for the anatomical accuracy of the canvasbacks, something Klinefelter found challenging to achieve.

“Personally, I find canvasbacks one of the harder species to paint due to the difference in their bill and head structure,” Klinefelter said.

He went on to say that while he has taken many photographs and painted multiple depictions of the species, he wanted to create a completely different scene for this painting.

Klinefelter imagined the birds being hit by the first light of the morning sun, illuminating their plumage and casting a vibrant reflection on the water.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Allen Copeland of Leesburg, Georgia, placed second, Rebekah Knight of Deepwater, Missouri, placed third and Dennis Arp of Culbertson, Nebraska, received honorable mention.

Traditionally, the top four paintings are displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival in Sacramento, but the festival was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license.

However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at .

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

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