Monday, 26 February 2024

Arts & Life

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Local author, Jordan O’Halloran, will begin teaching weekly writing workshops at the Main Street Gallery in Lakeport.

Beginning Saturday, May 28, her writing workshops will be offered to the public every week on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. $10 per class. Registration is not required.

This workshop will aim to make writing accessible and fun! Suitable for all ages, this writing class will help participants learn writing aspects such as: putting your story into pages, the basics of constructing a story and just making writing fun.

All are welcome to this inclusive, supportive, positivity only group. Learn about the excitement of writing in a safe, artistic environment.

O'Halloran is a self-published writer located in Kelseyville Riviera. Her first book, “Clean Up on Aisle Three,” tells the story of teenager Lucy McBride.

When getting ready for work one morning, Lucy finds her boss, Raymond, dead on aisle three. Lucy is ready to leave Arizona after graduation, but with Raymond's murder, she's stuck between being there for family or finding her own happiness.

This book has amassed a great deal of success and O’Halloran would love to share her love of writing with the community.

“I am teaching a writing workshop to bring my love of words and storytelling to Lake County,” said O’Halloran. She was inspired to teach after writing her book and being approached by locals who would tell her they have always wanted to write. She wants to bring her own joy of writing to the people and help them see that their stories are important.

Learn more about the Main Street Gallery at

Georgina Marie Guardado is Lake County Arts Council literary coordinator.


The consequences of the Vietnam War remain arguable and controversial. Nearly 50 years after the infamous fall of Saigon, one can easily debate why victory proved unattainable or how we ended up in an unfortunate quagmire.

Was it the failure of political leadership? After all, Vietnam figured mightily in Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to seek reelection for the presidency in 1968. Was it the struggle of fighting an enemy that uses guerrilla tactics and the dense jungle for cover?

Airing on public television stations across the country in time for Memorial Day, “The Misty Experiment: The Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail” tells the largely unknown story of U.S. Air Force pilots volunteering for a treacherous secret mission.

By 1967, American forces in Vietnam had entered a stage of expanded air and ground battles throughout Southeast Asia during a time of increased southward flow of weapons and supplies from North Vietnam.

Convoys of trucks carrying Chinese and Russian supplied weapons traveled on newly carved or expanded roads through the jungles of Cambodia and Laos, known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Traditional intelligence flights, the Air Force’s Forward Air Controllers, were hobbled by slow aircraft that made them easy targets. It became clear the U.S. needed to fly closer and faster to gain the advantage.

Quietly, an elite squadron of combat-seasoned pilots was recruited, supported by on-the-ground intelligence and ancillary personnel. Referred to by their radio call sign, the so-called “Mistys” would spend months flying into danger.

The select pilots knew they had a 30 percent chance of being shot down, killed or taken as prisoners of war. The latter possibility was not a good one, as the horrors of internment were well-known. The late Sen. John McCain was a poster boy for POW torture.

“The Misty Experiment” chronicles how judgments by American military leaders resulted in not being allowed to hit ports where supplies to North Vietnam were coming in. The decisions were made to keep Chinese forces from moving into the battle.

As supply routes were left open for North Vietnam to exploit, the U.S. government became convinced a new approach was necessary. Air Force commanders designed an experimental method that needed pilots with steely nerves.

As seen in the film, Misty pilot Don Sheppard, who flew 58 missions and later became Major General, says when the nation was not willing to bomb the harbors, “we were the ones who had to pick them off, truck by truck.”

The pilots “were a bunch of guys who would do anything to accomplish the mission we were given … an impossible mission to stop the flow of arms and material coming south,” Sheppard says.

Unlike today’s automated drones and satellites that pinpoint target areas, the Mistys relied on human observational skills to root out enemy movements.

The pilots developed “Misty eyes” in the ability to spot signs of enemy troops such as dust accumulations on tree leaves indicating nearby movements, tell-tale splash patterns on creek beds pointing to truck traffic, or too-perfect canopies that suggested man-made camouflage.

The Mistys flew hours-long daily missions, putting their bodies through extreme physical stress from G-forces during quick evasive maneuvers, while also taxing their eyes and brains to identify and remember enemy locations.

Upon their daily returns, and often finding their planes riddled with battle damage, the pilots would debrief for hours with intelligence officials to create detailed maps with the crucial information they recounted.

“There was an atmosphere of innovation,” says Misty Intelligence Officer Roger Van Dyken in the film. “One flight reconnaissance fed into the next. The next day’s group of pilots tested the theories from the day before. There was constant pressure.”

The missions began showing results after just a few weeks, and the thrill of flying risky sorties proved undeniable to the plots. The physical and mental strains of flying F100s caused the Mistys to be limited to 100 missions in 120 days.

“There were a few of us thought ‘gee, this is so much fun. How can I can back to South Vietnam? This is where the action is,” says Misty pilot and military history author Dick Rutan, who appears in the film and was himself shot down and then rescued.

Of the 157 Misty pilots who served, 34 were shot down; eight were killed and four became prisoners of war. About half of the men who served are living; many are in their late 70s and 80s.

The discipline required for these missions translated into other successes after leaving the missions. Two pilots became Air Force Chiefs of Staff; two more became astronauts. Many became industry CEOs. One Misty alumnus received the Medal of Honor for his service.

Those interested in history and military history buffs, in particular, are bound to find “The Misty Experiment: The Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail” a fascinating look at the bravery of men called to duty in a war that divided the nation.

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

‘MEMORY’ Rated R

There is no quit when it comes to Liam Neeson taking the leading role in action thrillers, and “Memory” proves to be no exception when calling for the seemingly ageless actor to display the requisite physical toughness.

However, the stereotype of Neeson the action figure that has gained traction since his role of revenge hero in the first “Taken” film is upended this time in the part of Alex Lewis, a professional hitman afflicted with incipient dementia.

Not straying too far from his screen persona of righteous avenger, Neeson’s character is a bad guy with scruples, which means he has no compunction about killing sex traffickers or sleazy businessmen but draws the line on the more vulnerable.

Our first glimpse at Alex’s trade and his diminished mental capacity is a gruesome hit in a Mexican hospital, followed by his predicament of remembering where he put his car keys for a quick getaway.

As an assassin working both sides of the Texas/Mexico border, Alex’s fading memory is cause for retirement but he’s persuaded to take one last job because, even though unstated, he’s still got “a particular set of skills.”

Unable to resist the insistence of his Mexico City contact offering a large wad of cash for another job, Alex is instructed to kill two people in El Paso, which happens to be his home turf.

The first job is to eliminate wealthy businessman Ellis van Camp (Scot Williams) and retrieve the flash drive stored in his safe. Pulling off this part of the assignment is easily accomplished.

Upon discovering that the second victim is 13-year-old Beatriz (Mia Sanchez), who had been pimped out by her father (Antonio Jaramillo) to the entitled son of a prominent developer, Alex won’t kill a child.

Meanwhile, undercover FBI agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pierce) is hell-bent on stopping the sexual abuse of children, along with his partner Linda Amistead (Taj Atwal) and Mexican cop Hugo Marquez (Harold Torres).

Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci), the well-known real estate mogul, along with her depraved son Randy (Josh Taylor), runs a sordid criminal enterprise of drugs and underage sex trafficking.

Connected with corrupt officials, the villainous Sealman has wide berth in El Paso for her nefarious endeavors, such that local detective Danny Mora (Ray Stevenson) rebuffs FBI agent Serra’s dogged pursuit of justice.

For his part, Alex is not deterred from going after Sealman even if she’s protected by lawmen and a feckless district attorney thwarts the determination of the FBI agents to bring down Sealman’s sex ring.

There may be a turf war between the El Paso authorities and the feds, but Alex goes about the business of dispatching the thugs not so easily apprehended by Serra’s crew even when his memory starts to falter.

An interesting twist is that Serra is so focused on cracking Sealman’s sex ring that he ends up in the tight spot of aligning with Alex in the takedown of sleazebags.

Arguably, “Memory” is the type of action thriller that might have been more suitable for a streaming service or straight-to-video, notwithstanding it’s better than Neeson’s recent “Blacklight.”

Nevertheless, “Memory” is a serviceable B-movie that delivers the action goods craved by Liam Neeson fans, even if it offers temporary enjoyment before eventually dropping into a memory hole.


Proving that action films don’t have to be homegrown, “Indemnity,” set for release on May 10th, is South Africa’s most ambitious thrill ride packed with stylishly choreographed fights, car crashes, explosions and daring fire rescues.

Traumatized Cape Town ex-fireman Theo Abrams (Jarrid Geduld) wakes up next to his wife’s corpse, with no recollection of what transpired and all evidence pointing to him as the killer.

Labeled the prime suspect, Theo quickly finds himself hunted by sinister forces and a ruthless deputy chief of police and embarks on a breakneck mission to uncover the truth behind his wife’s death.

As the former firefighter struggles to survive, connections are revealed between his past, the mysterious death of his spouse, and a government conspiracy with terrifying implications.

A newcomer to the genre, lead actor Jarrid Geduld spent three months with stunt masters and performed all his own stunts, including a record-breaking hanging suspension stunt performed outside a 21st floor window.

In 1969, the Norwegian government announced their discovery of one of the world’s largest oil fields in the neighboring North Sea, which launched a prosperous period of offshore drilling.

The disaster in “The Burning Sea” comes fifty years later, when a crack opens on the ocean floor causing a rig to collapse and it becomes clear there would be environmental consequences for these actions.

When a team of researchers, including submarine operator Sofia (Kristine Kujath Thorp), rushes in to search for the missing and assess the damage, they discover this is just the start of a possible apocalyptic catastrophe.

As rigs are evacuated, Sofia’s loving companion Stian (Henrik Bjelland) becomes trapped in the depths of the sea, and she must attempt one last life-saving measure by diving in for a rescue.

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

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Poets often have the insight to see, in a sin­gle detail or fea­ture, a com­plex uni­verse of mean­ing. Melis­sa John­son, in ​“Mama’s Hair,” fix­ates on an ordi­nary detail of our lives — the hair that we car­ry around as exten­sions of our skins — to tell a ten­der and painful sto­ry about the rela­tion­ship between a moth­er and a daugh­ter.

Con­tained in this small pock­et of verse are moments of care, regret, guilt, humor, ten­der­ness, ill­ness and hurt that are all trig­gered by a med­i­ta­tion on hair.

Mama’s Hair
By Melissa Johnson

Heavy, slick-straight, black as coal,
Mama’s hair could be pulled
over the headrest as she drove,
gathered and stroked in the back seat.

When she cut it, I thought
it was my fault, maybe she told me so.
Every year she went shorter.
It never passed her nape again.

The last time she reached out to me,
she mimed clipping my curls with scissored
fingers, her mouth determined
as I leaned to lift her back to bed.

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 Melissa Johnson, “Mama’s Hair” from Cancer Voodoo (Diode Editions 2021.) First Published in Nelle, Issue Two, 2019. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Though born and raised in Jamaica, Stacy Ann Chin has lived in the United States for many years, long enough to have become naturalized to the seasonal patterns of the temperate climates of the northeast.

In “First Green” she uses words to paint a surrealist study of the changing season. Her images present like the speckling of a painting, each new image morphing into another fresh and distinctive image, ending with the promise of warmer days.

No doubt, Chin’s body still hungers for her warmer beginnings.

First Green
By Stacy Ann Chin

Earmark me images
speckles pretty
with the tears of a child

open windows and summer
ominous air-marked with the first green

over-turned poems
mouths tinkling humor

pages rustling
sensible shoes

they unwind me
orange and gray laces

you/me entwined/separate
ice cream hinting the weather

may soon be

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 Staceyann Chin, “First Green” from Crossfire (Haymarket Books, 2019.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — While the COVID pandemic has many members of the community feeling uncertain and unsafe gathering in public just yet, Lake County’s Poet Laureate Georgina Marie Guardado, who was appointed at the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, wanted to begin offering poetry in-person in a small, relaxed way.

During the pandemic local resident, massage therapist, sound healer and yoga instructor Laurel Lind also started her new business, Studio 127, in downtown Lakeport, located at 127 N. Main St.

Lind specializes in the sacred art of self-care. She offers a place undisturbed by the rush and flurry of each day, a place to recharge and re-energize, and a haven for relaxation, as well as rejuvenation. To walk through the doors of her business is to embark on a journey of stillness and radiance.

While she offers sound healing, yoga, and more in a large, quiet space with hardwood floors and a silver ceiling, in the front of her business is a magical shop with loose leaf tea, crystals, candles, clothing, mystical wares, and organic products for skin, face, and body care.

Guardado, an advocate and practitioner of self-care regimes, such as breath work, mindfulness, massage, and yoga, partnered with Lind to create the monthly Tea & Poetry offering at Studio 127, which began in February 2022.

The next Tea & Poetry will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Tea & Poetry is open to everyone, whether you’re new to poetry or an experienced writer, a fan of reading poetry, or a complete beginner to any creative writing.

Participants are invited to bring a meaningful item to add to an altar and/or a favorite poem to share, and pen and paper to free-write from prompts offered to the group. Participants will choose a loose-leaf tea from the studio’s varied selection to enjoy while reading and writing.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or to RSVP. A suggested donation of $10 is requested however no one is turned away due to lack of funds. Seating is limited to eight spaces.

Visit Studio 127 online at and Guardado’s website at

Upcoming Calendar

03.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Special Olympics Polar Plunge
03.03.2024 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Pianists Benefit Concert
St. Patrick's Day
Easter Sunday
Easter Monday
Tax Day

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