Thursday, 18 July 2024

Arts & Life

Bob Culbertson, master of the Chapman Stick, will perform this Friday in a Concert with Conversation at the Tallman Hotel. Courtesy photo.



UPPER LAKE – This Friday, Feb. 27, music fans will have the opportunity to hear a unique stringed instrument called the Chapman Stick as played by one of its true masters.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the audience will meet acclaimed Lake County musician Bob Culbertson together with cellist Clovice Lewis at a reception in the lobby of the beautifully restored and historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake.

Blue Wing Saloon Chef Mark Linback will be serving hearty hors d’oeuvres paired with Ceago wines poured by Barney Fetzer.

The evening continues in the warm setting of Riffe’s Meeting House next door with an intimate concert and dialog with the artists.

Tickets at $40 can be obtained by calling the Tallman Hotel at 275-2244. Ten percent of the proceeds of the Tallman series are donated to the Soper-Reese Theatre Fund.

With well over 100,000 albums sold, and many students to his credit, Bob Culbertson has become one of the most influential touch soloists in the world today. An early adapter of the Chapman Stick, Bob is famous not only for his technique on the instrument but for his compositional talent. Inventor Emmett Chapman calls Bob Culbertson “the Segovia of the Stick.”

Together with Chapman, Bob created an acoustic version of the originally electrified instrument and he has recently released a CD called AcouStick.

The audience on Friday night will enjoy the smooth blend of this instrument with the cello accompaniment of Lake County Symphony member Clovice Lewis.

Bob tours extensively worldwide and has released seven CDs. His appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall prompted this reaction from Carnegie music director Mary Leb: “Bob Culbertson is a virtuoso of his craft. His concert was absolutely beautiful and entertaining. He will be back.”

The Tallman Concerts with Conversation series continues on the last Friday of each month from January through May.




Cellist Clovice Lewis also will perform at the Friday concert. Courtesy photo.



LOWER LAKE – The comedy “Gramercy Ghost” did not open on opening night.

Some folks blamed it on the fact that it was Friday the 13th. Some folks said that the “ghost” just took the night off.

The truth is that Lake County Theatre Co.'s opening weekend was doing battle with a surprise snow storm from Mother Nature and, on opening night on Feb. 13, Mother Nature won.

In the midst of the rain, snow and sleet, many diehard theatergoers appeared at the the Weaver Auditorium in the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum only to find that four members of the cast were stuck behind the accident that had happened on the icy surface of Highway 29 near Kelseyville.

This unavoidable “no show” was a first for all of the members of the Lake County Theatre Co. cast, an experience they hope to never repeat again.

When some of the Friday night patrons reappeared the following Saturday or Sunday, their Friday tickets were honored and a good time was had by all. Some folks were turned away, however, due to an overflow crowd.

For this reason, Lake County Theatre Co. wants to make sure that everyone knows that "Gramercy Ghost" has one more weekend to run and that all tickets will be honored. Just try to come as early as possible.

If folks prefer a refund, they can get that from Catfish Books, but everyone else will be welcomed next weekend with open arms.

In fairness, those with reserved tickets for the dates in question, Feb.20 and 21 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2 p.m., will be given their reserved seats. Others will be given the best seats available.

The bottom line on this story is that "Gramercy Ghost" is a great comedy performed by a very talented cast. Even Mother Nature liked it, once she got there. Come see it next weekend!

Tickets are available at Catfish Books (263-4454) in Lakeport, The Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum (995-3565) in Lower Lake and Shannon Ridge Wine Tasting Room (998-9656) in Clearlake Oaks. Any more questions? Call 279-2595.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – Was it the local mechanic? The sweater designer? The janitor, or is it the comedienne?

The Live Oak Senior Center will host “Love Writes a Deadly Verse,” a Valentine's Day murder mystery dinner, this Saturday.

Treat someone special to a fun night.

The social hours takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meal will feature pork tenderloin with sauce amore.

The cost is $20 per person. John Zimmerman will provide special music for the occasion.

The Live Oak Senior Center is located on The Plaza in Clearlake Oaks.

For reservations call 998-9563.


Clive Owen stars in the action-packed thriller, "The International." Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.




Very topical in its focus on shenanigans in the international banking community, “The International” is an intense, gripping thriller that captures the audience’s attention mainly for its exciting action, while secondarily touching upon the general angst over the current sad state of global economic affairs.

Even though the bad guys are a bunch of slick, evil bankers worth rooting against, the film is less concerned with making any societal or political points than delivering a reckless, impetuous high-stakes chase across the globe in pursuit of relentless thrills. Despite its bland, nondescript title, “The International” is anything but dull.

As the film opens, Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen), formerly of Scotland Yard, is observing a colleague’s rendezvous with a bank insider in Berlin, just before things go horribly wrong. The fellow agent is victimized by foul play, while the insider is later discovered to have died in a mysterious auto accident.

The scruffy Salinger, looking like he needs a stiff drink and three days' rest, is hot on the trail of duplicitous happenings within an international banking concern going by the initials IBBC. It’s not a coincidence that the IBBC can be mistaken for BCCI, which one may recall was the largest corporate scandal of the early 1990s.

The real-life BCCI scandal involved an operation that engaged in pervasive money laundering, with a brisk sideline business in arms trafficking, mercenary armies, intelligence activities and support for terrorist organizations. BCCI was a full service bank that included murder and mayhem in addition to simple bank deposits.

Whereas BCCI was founded in Pakistan, the fictional IBBC operates from sleek headquarters in Luxembourg. Other than the geographical differences, IBBC is indistinguishable from BCCI, since the Euro swells running the banking empire are a bunch of scumbags.

Salinger is hell-bent on taking down these bad guys, particularly Jonas Skarssen (Ulrich Thomsen), the head of the IBBC conglomerate, and Wilhelm Wexler (Armin Mueller-Stahl), the old school confidant who was a former Stasi agent in East Germany.

Though typically a loner, Salinger is joined on his quest by Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), a Manhattan assistant district attorney who is equally driven to bring down the criminal enterprise.

Their first mission together involves a trip to Milan, where an assassination plot is carried out against a prominent figure, which goes to show how deep the tentacles of the IBBC are able to reach. This is a bank that has its own hired gun, in this case a shadowy presence known only as the Consultant (Brian F. O’Byrne), a physically unremarkable loner who remains inconspicuous but extremely deadly.

The fast pace of the action takes Salinger and Whitman on a whirlwind tour of the world, with probably the most intense action set-piece in recent memory taking place in New York City’s iconic Guggenheim Museum.

Bullets collide with the art world when Salinger follows the mysterious assassin Consultant to the famous art museum, and teams of gunslingers show up to take out both the Interpol agent and the assassin, thereby neatly disposing of the IBBC’s potential headaches.

The ambush turns the museum into a shooting gallery, artfully staged because the Guggenheim is a circular building with one long continuous ramp, lending itself to the crossfire of the most explosive gun battle likely ever filmed within a confined space.

Directed by Tom Tykwer (“Run, Lola, Run”), “The International” seems inspired by vintage Cold War spy stories, a mix of James Bond adventurism and the modern sensibility of Jason Bourne’s penchant for intense chases.

The latter inspiration is on full view with a trip to Istanbul, where Salinger shadows IBBC honcho Skarssen’s shady dealings with arms dealers and assorted pond scum. Similar to the most recent “Bourne” film, there’s a nice chase scene on the roof tops in the Turkish capital, where Salinger has an ultimate showdown with his nemesis, though there’s a nifty surprise twist.

One of the fun things about “The International” is its keen ability to tap into our deepest suspicions about the whole panoply of villains. Indeed, the European bankers, appropriately oily and nattily attired, are deliciously sinister, morally bankrupt and just plain evil. The bank’s clients are a cornucopia of easily identified trash, including African warlords, Chinese arms merchants, Middle East terrorists, and venal, corrupt power brokers. We can’t help but have a rooting interest in the soulful Salinger’s quest to take them all down.

Intrigue, violence and revenge combine for one fantastic thriller. “The International” rates very highly, along with “Taken,” for the recent crop of exciting action pictures.


Loosely based on British writer Toby Young’s autobiographical account of writing for a prominent American magazine, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” tells the story of the outrageous rollercoaster of a career path Young carved out for himself.

Simon Pegg, the zany British actor in “Shaun of the Dead,” plays the main character of Sidney Young, a disillusioned intellectual who both adores and despises the world of celebrity, fame and glamor. Hired by an upscale magazine after catching the attention of Jeff Bridges (playing the editor), Young leaves his job at a British magazine.

The editor warns Young that he must impress the pants off those around him in order to be successful, but instead the British iconoclast constantly annoys everyone until a rising starlet (Megan Fox) develops affection for him and might be the only thing that could save his disastrous career.

“How to Lose Friends” is at its best when sticking to comedy, but is not so great when pushing romance. The DVD extras are just routine interviews and commentary.

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



Clive Owen and Naomi Watts team up to fight the bad guys of the IBBC in "The International." Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.




Pianist Knut Erik Jensen put on a performance of Norwegian composers at Galilee Lutheran Church on Saturday, February 7, 2009. Courtesy photo.




KELSEYVILLE – Lake County residents of Norwegian descent helped to create a near-capacity crowd on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Kelseyville's Galilee Lutheran Church to hear youthful pianist Knut Erik Jensen play the music of his country.

Jensen's masterful playing of Clear Lake Performing Arts' Yamaha grand piano evoked the magic and majesty of Scandinavia, as well as the skills of some of Norway's leading composers.

Sporting the long blonde hair of his Viking ancestors, Jensen managed to blend an oral history of his homeland with the music of its masters, starting with its premier composer Edvard Grieg who, Jensen explained, not only won worldwide acclaim for his musical abilities, but also managed to help establish a national identity for Norway, which had long been a province of Denmark.

Part of that identity was Grieg's rediscovery of ancient Norwegian peasant dances – entitled his “Opus 72” – which Jensen used as his opener.

This was Jensen's second appearance in Lake County. Two years ago his concert was underwritten by the Sons of Norway, and consisted of an all-Grieg repertoire.

This year's appearance was sponsored jointly by Clear Lake Performing Arts and the Sons of Norway, and the program was expanded to include lesser-known but more contemporary composers. One of these – whose “Nordic Suite, Opus 18” and “Fairyland, Opus 16” – were second on the program and written by Alf Hurum who wound up as founder and leader of the Honolulu Symphony.

Another popular Norwegian composer, Christian Sinding, was greatly influenced by the French impressionists, which was demonstrated by Jensen's playing of his “Rustles of Spring” creating visions of trickling water rolling onward toward a thundering cataract which ended with matching applause from the audience.

David Monrad Johansen, who died in 1974, tried to use his music to recreate the Viking Glory Days of Norway and Jensen chose his “Two Portraits from the Middle Age, Opus 8,” to illustrate the point.

The first half of the concert ended with Harald Saeverud's “Rondo Amoroso, Opus 14, No. 7” and the thunderous, militaristic “Ballad of Revolt,” the composer's rage against his nation's occupation in World War II by Nazi Germany.

Following intermission Jensen played a total of 16 of the numbers from Geirr Tveitt's “50 Folk Tunes from Hardanger.” Tveitt had made it his life's mission to find, restore and record the folk music of the Hardanger Fjord district in which he lived, and succeeded in compiling more than a thousand.

Unfortunately he stored them in his barn, which caught fire and burned all of the musical manuscripts. Subjects included romance, weddings, the forces of nature and – on three different pieces – a salute to one of Norway's most prized accomplishments – the brewing of good beer. Jensen sailed through more than a half hour of these tunes all without benefit of written music.

Standing applause brought Jensen back to the piano for an encore, a lilting and melodious interpretation of Greig's “Wedding Day at Troldhavgen.”

Following the concert attendees joined Jensen in a reception at the adjoining Galilee annex where they were greeted by Carl and Mary Beth Ingvoldstad in full Norwegian regalia. They came originally from the Gudbransdalen area of Norway and are active in the Sons of Norway.


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07.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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