Thursday, 18 July 2024

Arts & Life

LOWER LAKE – Lake County Theater Co. (LCTC) will bring laughs and romance to the wonderful Weaver Auditorium beginning on Feb. 13.

What? Friday the 13th? Yup! This lucky date will initiate the two week run of John C. Holm's “Gramercy Ghost”! Perfect!

The Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum in Lower Lake is the home of the amazing Weaver Auditorium.

The theater is morethan 130 years old and undoubtedly could tell some pretty good ghost stories, all by itself. What better place and date for LCTC to perform its own ghost story?

In “Gramercy Ghost,” a young woman of “proper upbringing” inherits a handsome ghost who develops some rather “improper” feelings about her. Put this together with a hilarious stuffed shirt and a romantically inclined reporter and our sweet heroine has a triple threat on her hands.

Rod Rehe, Laura Fichtel, John Tomlinson and Blue Pabst co-star in this adult comedy where only you and the friendly ghost may understand the real meaning of “romance.”

“Gramercy Ghost” is scheduled for Feb. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m., and Feb.15 and 22 at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $14 for reserved and $12 for general seating, $2 less in each category for seniors, students and LCTC members.

Reserved and general tickets are available at Catfish books in Lakeport (263-4454) and Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce in Clearlake (994-3600). General seating tickets are available at Shannon Ridge Tasting Room in Clearlake Oaks (998-9656).





UPPER LAKE – Lake County’s Tallman Hotel will present its third season of monthly “Concerts with Conversation” beginning Jan. 30 and extending through May 29.

Ten percent of all proceeds from the concerts will benefit the Soper-Reese Community Theatre Fund, which is in the process of converting the old single-screen movie theater in Lakeport into a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

The Tallman series brings some of Northern California’s finest musical talent to this delightful and intimate venue.

Beginning at 6 p.m. each evening, guests will enjoy a reception with the musicians in the parlor of this 1890s hotel, recently listed on the California Register of Historic Resources.

The reception features hearty hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Mark Linback and paired with wines from a different Lake County producer each month.

The reception is followed by an informal concert and dialogue with the musicians in the charming Riffe’s Meeting House next door to the Hotel.

The 2009 season kicks off on Friday, Jan. 30, with pianist and entertainer Spencer Brewer.

For more than three decades, Brewer has been a composer-pianist-producer with 18 solo and duet albums to his credit. His latest CD, called “Cinematic,” was just released this fall to rave national reviews.

Brewer is an active promoter of Mendocino County music events including Ukiah’s Sundays in the Park, the Acoustic Café and the annual Professional Pianists Concert at Mendocino College.

Winemaker Matt Hughes will pour his Zoom and Blue Wing Wines.

The remainder of the 2008 season features the following eclectic group of accomplished musicians:



Bob Culbertson will perform on the Chapman Stick at the Feb. 27, 2009, event. Courtesy photo.


Friday, February 27 – Lakeport’s Bob Culbertson is one of the world’s masters of the Chapman Stick. An early adapter of this unique stringed instrument, Culbertson is notable not only for his many recorded albums, but also for his extensive teaching and touring. Together with inventor Emmett Chapman, Culbertson created an acoustic version of the instrument featured on his new CD “AcouStick.” Barney Fetzer will pour wines from Ceago Vinegarden.

Friday, March 27 – An evening with the Lake Wind Ensemble. Featuring Beth Aiken on oboe, Ann Hubbard on bassoon and Nick Biondo on clarinet, this accomplished trio has long been featured as part of the Lake County and Ukiah Symphonies. A unique blend of talent, the ensemble will present a wide variety of classical and original pieces. Pam Prisco will pour Steele Wines.

Friday, April 24 – An upbeat evening with the “Queen of Boogie Woogie,” Wendy DeWitt. DeWitt spreads the gospel of Chicago-based blues piano and boogie woogie to enthusiastic audiences around the world. In addition to her solo appearances, DeWitt has played alongside such blues greats as Otis Rush, Steve Freund, Charlie Musselwhite and Jimmy Thackery. Joey Luiz will pour wines from Shannon Ridge Vineyards.




Alex de Grassi will return to the concert series on May 29, 2009. Courtesy photo.



Friday, May 29 – Back by popular demand, steel-string guitar soloist Alex de Grassi has helped define the contemporary fingerstyle movement. His evocative compositions with jazz, folk and classical influences are the perfect musical vehicles for his lyrical and virtuosic guitar work. This promises to be a great finish to the 2009 Tallman series. Valerie Ramirez will pour Wildhurst Wines.

Tickets to any or all of these events can be obtained by calling the Tallman Hotel reception desk at 707-275-2244. The cost for each reception and concert is $40, or $160 for the entire five concert series.

The Hotel also has a special package of hotel room plus two reception and concert tickets for $235.

Further information can be obtained by calling the Hotel or checking the Hotel Web site at


CLEARLAKE – We all eat – and we pretty much do it three times a day (or more). But how conscious are most of us about the important choices we make with every meal and snack? What do we know about what happens as a direct result of what we put in our mouths?

Second Sunday Cinema's free film for February, “Eating,” (third edition) provides plenty of food for thought as it shows us the results of our dietary choices – specifically, eating meat – on our health, on the health of the planet and on the animals we consume.

Who knew? Who knew that eating a meat-based diet is a major factor in causing heart disease? Or cancer? Who knew that eating meat is a major factor in causing bone loss (osteoporosis)?

Who knew that eating meat is a major cause of the loss of zillions of acres of rain forest in the amazon as the trees are cut down to open space for growing corn and soybeans to feed cattle, pigs and chickens?

And who knew that methane-emitting farm animals are a major cause of global warming? This fascinating, impactful documentary explains it all for you.

As a very special treat, Lori Patotzka, vegetarian chef extraordinaire, will demonstrate that eating a plant-based diet is anything but boring. She'll show the group how to make a chicken-free “chicken salad,” a tasty red pepper/walnut spread, and will share samples of her moist, delicious sweet bread.

A review of “Eating” from the American Library Association states, This is “a compelling and often shocking look at the standard American diet. Asserts that following federal nutrition guidelines can kill you.”

As always, this documentary is presented for free.

The venue is the Clearlake United Methodist Church at 14521 Pearl Ave. near Mullen in downtown Clearlake.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for snacks and socializing. Patotzka's demonstration will begin at 6 p.m. and will be followed immediately by the film, which is 88 minutes long.

For more information call 279-2957.


LAKEPORT – On Friday, Feb. 6, Watershed Books will host Willits author and dedicated veterinarian, Charlie Freed, who will read from his book, “Vet Tails.”

“Vet Tails” takes the reader on a journey into Dr. Freed's country veterinary practice.

If you love animals, if you're considering becoming a veterinarian or if you have had a memorable experience with a pet, you'll find chatting and reading about Charlie Freed's work informing and enjoyable.

Freed will be at Watershed Books from 3:15 p.m. until 5 p.m. Feb. 6. Afterward, attend First Friday Fling at next door's Main Street Gallery.

For more information call the bookstore at 263-5787 or visit

Watershed Books is located at 305 N. Main St., Lakeport.


Inkheart traces a family's magical journey. Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema.




For a fantasy adventure film, based on the best-selling book by Cornelia Funke, “Inkheart” sends out a most curious message about the danger of reading books aloud to children.

As it happens, if a person happens to be a “Silvertongue,” he or she possesses the powerful ability to bring characters of literature to life when reading aloud. This, of course, can be a scary thing, particularly when reading to a small child.

Even with its PG rating, “Inkheart” may be too dark at times for the younger children who may not fully grasp the fictional nature of unsavory characters brought to life.

The decidedly mixed-blessing of being a “Silvertongue” plagues bookbinder Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser), who discovers his unique talent when reading to his young child.

Fast forward about a decade, and Mo and his 12-year-old daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) are driving through Europe in a VW camper in search of books. For Mo, the search is focused on an elusive copy of “Inkheart,” a book that is filled with illustrations of medieval castles and strange creatures. It so happens that when fictional characters are set loose on the real world, the book claims a real person to disappear into its pages.

The exchange of literary characters for the living explains why Mo’s wife and Meggie’s mother, Resa (Sienna Guillory), has been MIA for roughly nine years. In her place, Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), possessed of a carnival worker’s talent to juggle fire, has been roaming the countryside with his pet weasel.

Through the years that Mo has been hunting for a copy of “Inkheart,” Dustfinger has never been far behind. The fire juggler believes that Mo can read him back home to his family if Mo finds the book. On the other hand, Mo is terrified he may lose another loved one to its pages.

Meanwhile, another escapee from the novel is Capricorn (Andy Serkis), suitably sinister as a character who didn’t have much going for himself in the fictional world, but has figured out how in the real world to amass a fortune and build an evil empire in a remote castle in the Alps.

Capricorn is eager to capture Mo to further his nefarious schemes, but first must send his thugs to locate him at the ornate Italian lakeside villa where Mo’s daffy aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren) lives a reclusive life amidst a huge collection of books.

The clash of the real world with the villains from the printed pages leads to interesting events.

Capricorn has several uses for Mo’s talents as a reader, none of them altruistic. First, he has Mo reading about the hidden treasures of “1,000 Arabian Nights,” and soon it is raining down gold, silver and jewels.

But, something unexpected usually happens, in this case a young boy named Farid (Rafi Gavron) shows up. At first terrified at being transported from an ancient desert cave, Farid soon decides the modern world is more to his liking.

The world of “Inkheart” is populated with an assortment of eccentric, oddball characters, thanks in part to a timid little man named Darius (John Thomson) who was used by Capricorn to conjure up some of the characters.

As a reader, the stuttering Darius was not very effective at speaking Capricorn’s cohorts out of the pages, as mostly evidenced by the lines of writing left scrawled on their faces as they were bounced through the pages. Still, this doesn’t explain Flatnose (Steve Speirs), with a snout five times bigger than Jimmy Durante’s.

With ambitions grander than that of a James Bond master criminal, Capricorn is emboldened when he learns that Meggie has inherited her father’s gift of a “Silvertongue.” So when Mo eludes his grasp, the villain decides to use her to summon up the terrifying force known as the Shadow. Expectedly, this sets up the climactic showdown that takes place in the mountaintop castle, but it is a less than fitting end to what had been an intriguing story about characters transporting to and from different realms.

Nevertheless, “Inkheart” is a fun fantasy adventure that has plenty of magical moments. The result is a pleasing family entertainment, though it may prove too scary for the impressionable very young kids.


I have always considered the early Woody Allen films, including “Take the Money and Run” and “Bananas,” among my all-time favorite comedies. Then he lost me through a series of semi-serious, or semi-humorous, efforts that never clicked.

In recent years, Woody has redeemed himself, and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is proof that his writing and directing ability still shines.

Using the vibrant energy of Barcelona, Spain, as his canvas, Allen paints a sexually-charged but hilarious portrait of love starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” tells the story of a pair of young American women vacationing together in Spain, where they both meet and fall for the same local bohemian painter. The situation becomes increasingly difficult when his tempestuous ex-wife (Cruz) makes her way back into his life.

It’s now being released on DVD, just as Penelope Cruz has been nominated for the Academy Award in the best actress in a supporting role category, following on the heels of the film’s taking of a Golden Globe Award for best comedy.

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



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