Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Arts & Life

LAKE COUNTY – Youth Writes, a program that encourages young people to write and perform their own original poetry, is seeking a liaison to help grow the program.

Lorna Sue Sides has been the primary force behind Youth Writes, the vision of which is to encourage and facilitate Lake County students, age 8-18, to write and share their writings with others by providing instruction and forums.

In both April 2007 and April 2008, Youth Writes provided venues in several locations in Lake County for students to perform their original poetry. In May 2007 and May 2008 Youth Writes participants performed their original poetry to audiences during the Art and Nature Show at Rodman Slough Preserve.

The shows delighted the audiences and provided opportunities for students from different areas of Lake County to network with each other, to share their poetry, and to perform in front of an audience.

Sides currently is working with Shelby Posada of the Lake County Arts Council to discuss ways that the organizations can assist each other.

So far, Sides has done most of the work on each of these projects. However, she said in order to reach all of the county's students who would be interested in participating in these events.

So Sides is reaching out to others in Lake County to assist her in fulfilling the Youth Writes vision.

In particular, she is looking for a liaison to encourage student participation through the schools and the county library system. The liaison also will arrange monthly writing and performance workshops, and warm-up venues each April; facilitate student involvement in Youth Writes Poetry Showcase and the Youth Writes Web site; be accessible to students; post fliers and distribute materials; and maintain communications with Youth Writes by phone, email and by attending organizational meetings when possible.

She also is proposing to hold a series of Youth Writes organizational meetings, which will discuss the program's goals for 2008-09. Those include:

  • Recruiting a Youth Writes liaison.

  • 2009 Poetry Showcase with warm-up venues throughout Lake County.

  • Develop Youth Writes Writing Workshops throughout Lake County.

  • Develop a Youth Writes Web site for student to post their writing, to network, and to learn of local performance and instructional opportunities.

  • Quarterly Youth Edition of Creative Expressions

If you are interested in attending the organizational meetings, or have suggestions for dates, times and places for these meetings, call Sides at 274-9254 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


KELSEYVILLE – Lake County diamonds can be found in a few places here, but concert goers discovered a hidden gem in local pianist Carolyn Hawley in a concert sponsored by Clear Lake Performing Arts Oct. 19.

Her nearly flawless performance in the intimate confines of Galilee Lutheran Church gave the small but enthusiastic audience a chance to get up close enough to see and admire her exquisite fingering.

She opened her program with Ludwig von Beethoven's monumental Sonata, Op. 53, delicately delivering its initial stately and sonorous measures before graduating to the signature thunderous chords for which this composer is noted.

After getting this thorough opening workout, Clear Lake Performing Arts' grand piano faced more of the same from Hawley's second selection, the Toccata by Russian composer Aram Katchaturian, followed by even more of the same from another contemporary Russian Sergei Prokofief, whose Prelude, Op. 12 gave Hawley yet another chance to demonstrate her complete control over both herself and her instrument.

A surprise addition to the program was a dazzling display of piano artistry on Brazilian composer Hector Villa Lobos" "Pulcinella."

Following the traditional intermission with cookies and juice provided by the CLPA Auxiliary Hawley returned to the keyboard to render just a few of the hundred-plus pieces she has composed herself, opening with her "Nature Suite" in four brief movements invoking the natural beauty of Lake County and its wildlife. "Flamenco" was a fairly traditional approach to that popular style, but a second piece – “Palmas” – employed intricate Latin rhythms.

"Three Lullabies" – the fifth number of her self-composed selections – reverted to a more melodious styling, after which she inserted a more foreboding sound with "Two Night Pieces."

Her finale was a jazz sonatina consisting of three light-hearted odes to drinking which did indeed draw musical pictures of "one too many" and a "Night on the Town" with the latter invoking a party in full swing at the Fairmont or the Top of the Mark in San Francisco.

Hawley is a graduate with an MA in music from Oakland's prestigious Mills College and spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area before retiring in Lake County

The next CLPA concert will take place on Sunday, Nov. 16, when the Lake County Symphony, under the direction of John Parkinson, helps to celebrate the organization's 30th anniversary in a concert at Clear Lake High School in Lakeport.

Additional information may be found at the CLPA Web site, at, or by calling 279-0877.


Triskela appeared on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, at the Soper-Reese Community Theater in Lakeport. Courtesy photo.


LAKEPORT – The Soper-Reese Community Theater was the setting for a dazzling show Saturday night put on by the Bay Area harp trio Triskela.

The three women – Diana Stork, Portia Diwa and Shawna Spiteri – combine fantastic musical skills on not just harps but flutes, tin whistles and bodhran (an Irish drum), along with their own fine voices. Spiteri does much of the singing, using her full, lush voice to perfectly match the harpsong.

During the performance they were accompanied on a few of the songs by Bert Hutt, the Soper-Reese's artistic director, who sang and played the bodhran.

Spiteri, the group's gregarious emcee, introduced most of the songs and noted that they had last performed in Lake County 10 years ago, when they appeared in Lower Lake.

She voiced appreciation for the Soper-Reese as a venue. It was Triskela's first performance there, and my first time hearing a concern in the theater, which has been a community labor of love for many years.

At once both spacious and intimate, the Soper-Reese was a great setting for the harp trio and their music, with its delicate, intimate qualities.

The women write and perform many of their own songs, and they started off the evening with a medley that included Stork's composition, the brisk and sparkling “Wedding Bells.”

Stork said the song, which appears on their “Voice of Tara” CD (which I purchased in the lobby following the performance), will be used in an upcoming documentary called “Reclaiming the Blade” about the art of swordfighting. The film will feature narration by John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, as well as an appearance by actor Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the films.

All three women are Tolkien fans, so Tolkien-inspired songs appeared throughout the evening, including another of Stork's songs, “Aragorn's Dark Horse.” It instrumentalizes the part of the Tolkien trilogy where Aragorn, Gimli and the elf Legolas are pursuing Saruman's forces to free the hobbits Merry and Pippin.

Each of the harps in the song represents a difference character; Diwa's rapid fingerwork symbolized Legolas, while Stork played for Aragon and Spiteri for Gimli. The song emphasized the different sounds of the harps, whose voices became characters with different tones and tempos that separated and danced before weaving together.

The three women then played their harps individually so the audience could hear the instruments' particular voices. All three were exquisite; I found my ear particularly fond of Diwa's Hummingbird harp.

One of my favorite songs of the evening and on the CD, “Voice of Tara,” is Spiteri's composition, is the lush “For the Ladies,” an uplifting and splendid song. They also performed “Distant Star,” a song Stork wrote for Diwa who, like Spiteri, was one of her harp students.

In addition to their own work and traditional Irish, Scottish and English songs, the group also are students of other harp traditions. On Saturday they played some very upbeat and exotic Venezuelan harp music. In South America, Spiteri explained, the harp is an instrument played commonly by men, whereas in other parts of the world the instrument's main players are women.

One song that wasn't their own, the Black brothers' “The Willow Tree,” was performed by the trio for the first time in public on Saturday. They had performed at an event with the Blacks and, after hearing the song, decided they wanted to perform the haunting work themselves.

Celtic music is known for its heartbreaking stories and melancholy tunes, a few of which were among the performances. They included the haunting “Eleanor Plunkett,” the tale of an Irishwoman is the last member of her family, most of whom were wiped out under the British oppression.

They also took the traditional Irish tune “An Buachaillin Ban” translated from Irish Gaelic, it means “The Sheperdess” and turned it into a Tolkien-inspired lament for the dying rowan trees in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Still, Spiteri said not all Celtic songs are tragic love songs ending in death, failed crops or the cow getting loose. Such was the case in the upbeat “Star of the County Down,” where the young man wins the young lass who becomes, at a look, the object of his heart. The trio's repertoire also featured some catchy Irish jigs and waltzes.

Watching the three women at the instruments reminded me of watching weavers at loom, as the threads of melody wrapped in and out and around each other.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was the performance of the 14th century medieval pilgrim's song, “Stella Splendens,” (“Brilliant Star”) sung in Latin – another of my favorite things. Diwa played a smaller medieval harp, whose bright, sharp sound was accompanied by Spiteri's singing,

The concert finished with one of my favorite songs of the evening, “Great Ocean,” another of Stork's compositions, a song marked by a hypnotic, wave-like melody which the trio used as their encore performance.

Afterward the musicians welcomed audience members to come up and see their harps and even play them. I couldn't help but take the chance to get closer to the harps, which outside of their musical beauty are handcrafted works of art. The harp I got to see up close had carved Celtic knotwork down its delicate sides.

Diwa patiently explained the Celtic harp and its colored strings – reds are the “C” – and asked if I wanted to try it. She pulled up a stool, and had me sit down and lean the harp against my right shoulder.

I've never played a harp before, but the instrument isn't just beautiful – it's generous. Any note you pluck sounds lovely. Diwa agreed that the harp is a very satisfying instrument to play.

Triskela will next be appearing on Tuesday at the World Festival of Harps in Lancaster, the 19th Annual Festival of Harps at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco and the Nov. 8 Festival of Harps and Dance at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park.

For more on Triskela, including CD ordering and upcoming concert information, visit their Web site at or their MySpace page,

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bottle Rock leader Mike Wilhelm. Photo courtesy of Bernard Butcher.

SAN FRANCISCO – Lake County’s own Bottle Rock Blues and Rhythm Band will play at AT&T Park for this year’s San Francisco Halloween Celebration on Oct. 31. The celebration runs from 4 p.m. until late. Admission is free.

The celebration, which gets national media coverage, has been held in Castro Street in past years but due to ever-larger crowds has been moved to AT&T Park’s Parking Lot A.

The opening segment features ‘60s musicians and is produced by Summer of Love Productions’ Ron Frazier in the name of AIDS awareness. Anyone can be a victim of this deadly disease. Stopping the spread of AIDS begins with being tested.

The music starts at 4 p.m. with Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Cathy Richardson. Big Brother was Janis Joplin’s band back in the ‘60s. The tribute to Jimi Hendrix featuring Ralph Woodson starts at 5:30 p.m. Bottle Rock plays at 6:30 p.m.

The recently formed band’s music is described by leader Mike Wilhelm as “Smokin’ R & B!” Bottle Rock also sprinkles in some ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s rock and roll. Many will remember their well-received sets at this year’s Lake County Fair.

The band features the superb voice and percussion stylings of Neon Napalm, ‘60s legend Wilhelm on vocal and guitar, Stephan Holland on lead guitar and vocal, Bill McMenomy on bass and vocal with Mark Phillips on drums.

Napalm, a card-carrying member of the Cherokee Nation, was formerly the lead singer of the well-known Native American band Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers. The rest of the band members are all veterans of well-known San Francisco Bay Area groups.






CLEARLAKE – Wild About Books is planning one fabulous afternoon with two great authors on Saturday, Nov. 8.

Lake County Poet Laureate Mary McMillan and RV Schmidt will read their latest works beginning at 2 p.m

McMillan's latest collection of poetry, “This Wanting, has been in the making for sometime and includes recovery, spirituality and feminism. McMillan is a shining light for the creative word in our county and her book “This Wanting” is a great example of the kaleidoscope of talent she has in writing.

Schmidt will read from his latest work, “Single Tree.”

Clive Matson, author of “Let the Crazy Child Write,” says Schmidt “is a born storyteller of the outdoors, wild animals, road trips, heartwarming coincidences and salt-of-the-earth relationships, all set in layer upon layer of natural western beauty, carefully observed and beautifully described.”

“At root is deep wisdom evolved from our rough and penchant frontier ethos plus Schmidt's boundless acceptance of life. All you need is a quiet evening, a comfortable chair, and a fire in the hearth. Hard to come by nowadays, but 'Single Tree' will create that wool blanket and those warm crackling logs in your heart."

Join Wild About Books in welcoming these two great authors. Listen to them read their stories and poems in their own words, a treat for the mind and soul. A book signing will follow.

For an updated list of times and dates for upcoming events, stop by Wild About Books or call 994-WILD (9453).

Wild About Books is located at 14290 Olympic Drive in Clearlake, next door to Lisa's clothing store.


LAKE COUNTY – Esoterica, a program featuring world, new age and sacred music, will present a special program on Friday, Oct. 31 at 11 p.m. on KPFZ 88.1 FM.

The program is a radio play based upon actual Wiccan ceremonies.

Wicca is religion which is nature-based, generally believing in the feminine Goddess in Her many aspects as well as a male God.

Wiccans celebrate a solar "sabbat" eight times a year with Samhain (sow-en) or Halloween being the old Celtic New Year. They do not worship the devil or Satan, but celebrate the joys in life recognizing the changing seasons and our own life journey.

Samhain is the last of the three harvest festivals preceded by Lammas on Aug. 1 and the Autumn Equinox. It is a time of reflection on our lives, what we've accomplished during the year and what is left undone. It is also a time to honor the ancestors who have gone on before us.

The radio play will include many of these principles. The stories of Persephone and Hades and the aspect of the Goddess Hecate are the principal archetypes. Your are invited to look at your shadow side with the hosts.

The play will also include Celtic- and Renaissance-influenced music from Blackmore's Night, Celtic Woman, Loreena McKennett and Reclaiming among others. The players are Andy and Annie Weiss, Jeff Hayes, Stazi Adair, Sandra Wade and Rhyschenda Owens.

The program rebroadcasts on Thursday at 11 a.m.

For information call KPFZ at 263-3640.


Upcoming Calendar

06.01.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.04.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.05.2024 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Vision of Hope Village market
06.08.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.11.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
Flag Day
06.15.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Father's Day
06.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



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