Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Arts & Life

LAKE COUNTY – Andy Weiss, author of “Confessions from Panic City,” will be the guest on KPFZ, 88.1 FM, on Monday Dec. 15, at 2 p.m., on the Accent on Words show.


Weiss, a Lake County writer, published this book in 2006, but never before promoted it. He says he is willing to promote it now because he wants it to help people.


He will be discussing the subject of the book – what he learned during the 10 years he experienced panic attacks – as well as the genre of memoir and non-fiction writing in general.


The show's host is Lake County Poet Laureate Mary McMillan.


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LOWER LAKE – AnnDrewArt is hosting its second annual Italian Christmas Festival Dec. 12 and 13.


The free event will include a visit from Goomba Claus on Friday night, with musician Don Coffin providing the tunes. There will be a European market with craft vendors, hot mulled wine and cocoa.


Chef Tony will do a cooking demonstration at noon. Then at 2 p.m. you can learn to make a gift worthy of giving, even if you do not consider yourself to be “crafty.” Children’s workshops will be ongoing starting at noon.


Join them mid-afternoon to hear authentic Persian music from Hamed on the piano, have your photo taken with La Befana or Babbo Natale, take part in a cooking contest and the Italian version of “La Posada” to end this perfect day at 6 p.m.


Be sure and stop by Terrill Cellars and try out the new labels along with your old favorites.


AnnDrew Art at the Tuscan Village is located at 16175-B Main St., Lower Lake, telephone 995-5079 or 278-0312.


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LAKEPORT – Well, the ugly stepsisters are assembled, the wicked stepmother is putting the final touches on her wickedness and our sweet heroine is all aglow. Cinderella' is ready to hit the Soper-Reese this Friday night with gusto!


Mendocino College and the Soper-Reese Community Theater have joined forces (with a little help from their friends and Lake County Theatre Co.) to make a big splash for this holiday season!


This is a play that the kids will love but the adults will think it was written just for them. It has action, prat falls, handsome princes, beautiful girls ... and some characters you absolutely would not bring home to mother.


This production is what the Brits call a "British panto." I call it a musical comedy that will leave you laughing until New Year's.


It runs at the Soper-Reese at 7 p.m. Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14.


Tickets are $20 for reserved and $15 for general seating. They can be purchased in advance by calling the Soper-Reese at 263-0577 or visiting the box office at the Soper-Reese, 275 S. Main St. in Lakeport, on Thursdays.


General seating tickets are available at Catfish Books and Main Street Gallery in Lakeport, Wild About Books in Clearlake and Shannon Ridge Tasting Room in Clearlake Oaks.


Don't miss this show – it's a community gift of laughs and happy memories. Your pumpkin coach awaits!


For more information call 279-2595.


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AUSTRALIA (Rated PG-13)


Director and writer Baz Luhrmann has a reputation for bold, audacious work, where his dreams are realized in grand cinematic fashion. If anything, the lushly photographed musical “Moulin Rouge” was daring and visionary, even though it was the type of film that invited high praise or disdainful scorn.


His latest brilliant stroke of filmmaking genius may be less likely to stir divided passions. In a very conventional way, “Australia” is a grand epic which combines melodrama, adventure and romance against the backdrop of the early stages of World War II.


One of the film’s interesting conceits is that it is narrated by an 11-year-old boy named Nullah (Brandon Walters), a poster child for the racial conflicts in the Australian Outback. The engaging Nullah is a half-caste, or a half-Aboriginal, half-Caucasian child, who is victimized by the segregated society of Australia in the 1930s and 1940s. He understands his role as an outcast and becomes a central figure in the story that unfolds with the arrival of Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), a prim, uptight British socialite who has a stake in a cattle ranch.


Back in England, Sarah, lost in a superficial life, becomes convinced that her husband is cheating on her during his trip to Australia to sell Faraway Downs, their struggling cattle ranch. Dressed in her finest clothes, Sarah travels from London to the rugged wilderness of the Northern Territory to confront him. Instead, she encounters tragedy upon discovering that her husband had been murdered. This turn of events raises the stakes on what to do about the crumbling Faraway Downs, particularly when devious cattle baron King Carney (Byran Brown) is eager to snag the property.


Lady Sarah’s first take on Australia is formed by her meeting with the Drover (Hugh Jackman), the rough-hewn cattleman whose specialty is running herds of cattle across the unforgiving terrain of the Outback. The Drover becomes Sarah’s reluctant guide from the port city of Darwin back to the ranch. Their profound mutual dislike is tempered by another tragedy when Sarah suddenly finds herself caring for Nullah when he’s orphaned by the accidental death of his mother.


Now, mutual dislike between Sarah and the Drover may be a harsh assessment, but we all know how it will play out in the end, given that this movie has romance as a key element and that the two of them feature prominently in an embrace in the film’s advertising. Before we get to the romance, there’s the serious business of saving Faraway Downs from the evil King Carney and his scheming station manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham). To save the ranch, Sarah must join forces with the Drover and drive 1,500 head of cattle across Australia’s breathtaking yet brutal landscape.


During the cattle drive to Darwin, the movie takes on the feel of a Western, except Indian tribes don’t materialize out of nowhere. Instead, Nullah’s mystical grandfather King George (David Gulpilil) magically appears on the outskirts of the action, as if he were some sort of guardian angel. There is, however, an ambush from King Carney’s thugs, trying to fulfill a plot to hasten the demise of the Faraway Downs operation, which leads to a terrible stampede fraught with plenty of danger.


Then, as the misfit band of ranch hands led by Sarah and the Drover achieve success in their cattle drive, the action shifts in a completely different direction. The Western adventure gives way to a war movie, as the Japanese launch an aerial attack on Darwin, causing massive destruction and upheaval. Meanwhile, Nullah is snatched by the authorities and spirited away to Mission Island to live with other banished half-caste children. For good measure, racial politics is thrown into the mix.


Almost an endurance contest, “Australia” is a long movie by any classic standards. Evidently, Luhrmann put his heart and soul into this ambitious work, and though the results are somewhat mixed, there’s no doubt as to the rousing, passionate nature of this sweeping epic.


Full of beautiful imagery, “Australia” captures our attention with its glorious visual treats. But like most Luhrmann films, this one is an acquired taste, which works best if you allow yourself to be swept away by its mesmerizing pull. At the very least, Hugh Jackman delivers with his usual charm.


DVD RELEASE UPDATE


I am not that big on science fiction, and if I never see another “Star Trek” movie, that’s just fine.


On the other hand, I know I will be seeing the new version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. It’s simply a matter of showing up for work. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to take a look at the Special Edition release of the original 1951 classic story of hope and peace, which was widely acclaimed as one of the most influential and thought-provoking science-fiction films of all time.


Hey, it’s hard to imagine Keanu Reeves could be in the same movie. However, the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still” starred Oscar-winner Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie. And now, you can buy the original in Blu-ray or DVD, wherein you’ll find some special bonus materials like a “Making Of” featurette.


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


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CLEARLAKE – Second Sunday Cinema's last free film for 2008 is a wonderful and critically acclaimed drama, “The Visitor.”


The film will be shown Sunday, Dec. 14.


This year has been a challenging one, to say the least, capped by an election season that seemed like it would never end. We all deserve a break, even if only for one evening. And for the diehards, there's plenty of information in this film, along with the heart-opening entertainment.


Walter Vale is an aging professor of economics in Connecticut without a perceptible heartbeat. His one class is recycled from year to year, his wife is dead, and he no longer can feel his own pain or that of others. Until – he meets a young couple under surprising circumstances. Tarek is a drummer from Syria; his girlfriend Zainab from Senegal makes and sells earrings. They are both illegal immigrants.


The spark these two strike in Walter's life falls on damp but – oh miracle! – still flammable tinder. The story line can be seen as very familiar.


But the other miracle in this film is that the marvelously fine acting, directing, music and editing create a transcendent film that will stay with you for a long time. And you will be glad. There is one musical scene (a drumming group in Central Park) that is so joyous you will have to get up and move. So do it!


US Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE – abruptly and very realistically intrudes. What follows forces us to see “illegal immigrants” from an intimate and compassionate perspective. And ICE suddenly seems to be a chillingly accurate acronym. Yet “The Visitor” left SSC Coordinator Shannon Tolson feeling an engaged and reality-based joi de vivre that is still with her.


“The Visitor” will be screened, for free as always, at the Clearlake United Methodist Church at 14521 Pearl Ave. in Clearlake on Dec. 14.


Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for socializing and snack and seat-grabbing. The film starts at 6 p.m. They hope to see you there.


For more information, call 279-2957.


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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's piano man, David Neft, will keep busy during the holidays with a round of performances scheduled throughout Lake County and behind.


Below is a schedule of his planned gigs.


– Dec. 3: Bill Noteman and the Rockets are the “host band” at Sonoma County Blues Society’s Monthly Jam Session, 7:30 p.m. (call Neft for details, 987-3630).


– Dec. 6: Hidden Valley Lake Annual Christmas Tree Lighting with special musical surprises; Greenview Room area, 5 p.m. Call Connie at 987-3138 for information.


– Dec. 13: Tulip Hill Winery Holiday Open House, Highway 20 in Nice, noon to 6 p.m. Call 274-9373.

 

– Dec. 13: District 1 Supervisor Ed Robey's retirement party, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm, Weaver Auditorium, Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum, Main Street, Lower Lake.


– Dec. 14: Tulip Hill Winery Holiday Open House, Highway 20 in Nice, noon to 6 p.m. Call 274-9373.


– Dec. 31: Bill Noteman and the Rockets perform at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa's annual New Year’s Eve Gala. For information call (800) 660-LAKE.


Call Neft at 987-3630 for info and late changes or additions to his busy gig schedule.

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Upcoming Calendar

19Jun
06.19.2024
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
22Jun
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
22Jun
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
25Jun
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
29Jun
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
2Jul
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
4Jul
07.04.2024
Independence Day

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