Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Arts & Life

LAKEPORT – This Friday, Bert Atwood will share stories from his new beautiful "coffee table" book, “My Father Was a Crop Duster,” at Watershed Books in Lakeport.

Meet Bert and hear the stories beginning at 3:30 p.m.

This informative book provides a glimpse into the founding and success of California's premiere 20th century crop dusting company, begun by Bert's parents.

Atwood's book contains vast personal insights, many interviews and several hundred photos.

Watershed Books is located at 305 N. Main St., Lakeport, telephone 263-5787.


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's favorite piano man, David Neft, will be performing around Lake County in March and April.

The following gigs are among his planned appearances.

  • March 27: The 2008 return of Neft to Saw Shop Bistro, Main Street, Kelseyville, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For reservations call 278-0129.

  • March 30: David performs as attendees arrive at the “Stars of Lake County” event, Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, Kelseyville.

  • March 31: David appears with drummer Steve DuBois at the Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, Main St., Upper Lake, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations call 275-2233.

  • April 2: Hidden Valley Lake Ladies Luncheon Club Annual Fashion Show, noon.

  • April 11: The New Riviera Hills Restaurant and Lounge, Fairway Drive off Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Call 277-7575 for reservations.

  • April 13: The New Riviera Hills Restaurant and Lounge.

  • April 24: Saw Shop Bistro, Main Street, Kelseyville. For reservations call 278-0129.

  • April 27 – Hidden Valley Lake Association Annual Concert, noon to 3 p.m. at the “quad,” Blues band Bill Noteman and the Rockets. This will mark the return of Neft playing with the Rockets since Bill Noteman’s major surgery in early January.

For more information call Neft at 987-3630 for information and late additions to his busy gig schedule.


The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality. Andre Comte-Sponville. Viking. $19.95.

Red Letter Christians: A Citizen's Guide to Faith and Politics. Tony Campolo. Regal. $19.99.

The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America. Jim Wallis. HarperOne. $25.95.

Atheist Andre, meet red letter Christians Jim and Tony.

The French philosopher, professor of emeritus at the Sorbonne, and a former Catholic, argues that unbelievers don't need to give up traditional values they may have learned in a religious setting. "This does not prove, however, that these values need God in order to subsist. On the contrary, everything tends to prove that we need them-an ethics, a sense of communion and fidelity-in order to subsist in a way we find humanly acceptable."

He argues that while civil society is possible without God, it is not possible without the values religion has been mainly responsible for teaching and preserving.

Evangelicals Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo urge Christians back to civility, care for the wide community and faithfulness to the words and teachings of Jesus, so often printed in red in the New Testament.

Wallis said in an interview “religion does not have a monopoly on morality. I say that every time I speak. Yet, religion, to be faithful and true to itself, must have a vibrant social conscience. And when it does, it moves things forward in dramatic ways. Every major social reform movement in American history was fueled, driven in part not in whole, but in part by religion and faith. I was asked the other day, How can secular progressives partner with religion progressives, given our differences? And I said, that's up to you, more than to us. I've partnered with secular progressives for years.”

Campolo, a professor emeritus of sociology, wrote: “The message in those red letters is radical, to say the least. If you don't believe me, just read Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7. In the red letters of this sermon, Jesus calls us to an 'upside-down Kingdom,' far away from the dominant values of the modern American consciousness. For instance, Jesus tells us that we cannot be sucked into a system that seeks life's meaning and satisfaction in materialism and self-gratification while still claiming to serve God. Furthermore, He challenges many of the social policies that too many Evangelicals fail to question. Consider the fact that He calls us to be merciful (see Matt. 5:7) which has strong implications for how we should think about capital punishment and since Jesus also tells us to love our enemies, we probably shouldn't consider it an option (see Matt. 5:44). These words should cause us to examine our attitudes about war, as well. Most important, when we reflect on all Jesus had to say about caring for the poor and oppressed, committing ourselves to His red-letter message just might drive us to see what we can do politically to help those he called, 'the least of these' (see Matt. 25:31-46).

“It seemed to us newly named Red Letter Christians at one of our early meetings that Evangelicals often evade what Jesus said in those red letters in the Bible, and that this evasion lends some credence to Mahatma Gandhi's claim that everybody in the world knows what Jesus taught except for Christians!”

At the least, these readings can lead to tolerance, even to the Zen Buddhist concept of Beginner's Mind, free of preconceptions, expectations, judgments and prejudices.

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


LAKE COUNTY – During April, “Youth Writes” will offer Lake County students, ages 8-18, a cluster of public events at which to perform the best of their poetry.


“Youth Writes” has partnered with local businesses to provide six performance sites throughout the county.

These sites are: Holy Joe’s Coffee Shop in Upper Lake (Friday, April 4 at 4 p.m.), Café Victoria in Lakeport (Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m.), Giovanni’s Coffee and Tea in Loch Lomand (Saturday, April 12 at 1 p.m.), Tuscan Village in Lower Lake (Saturday, April 19 at noon), Wild About Books in Clearlake (Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m.), Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center in Middletown (Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m.).


Poets should sign in 10 to 30 minutes prior to events. They need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian or bring a signed permission slip. Permission slips are available on-line at www.lakecountyartscouncil.com.

PERFORMANCE TIPS: Choose your strongest pieces to perform in public. Always speak slowly and don’t be afraid to pause. Practice out loud and for friends and family. Memorize your poems to maximize your impact.

Selected poets will be invited to read at the Art and Nature Show at Rodman Slough Preserve, Nice-Lucerne Cutoff at 11 a.m. on May 3.

For questions about “Youth Writes” contact Lorna Sue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



LAKEPORT – Lake County's new Poet Laureate Mary McMillan will hold her first event, a celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Irish writers and International Women's History Month, Sunday, March 16, at the Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery.

The event will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.

McMillan said there will be readings of Irish prose and poetry, with an emphasis on work by Irish women.

She is being assisted by immediate past Poet Laureate Sandra Wade and Cherie Holden of Watershed Books.

The public is invited to bring favorite Irish poems to read, especially those by women, with a maximum length of about three minutes per reading.

There also will be a selection of poems available to read.



Though inspired by the true story of an infamous 1971 bank robbery that took place on London’s Baker Street, “The Bank Job” is a highly-charged heist thriller that is not hobbled, at least creatively, by a surfeit of public knowledge of the real crimes.

In the matter of the real bank job, frenzied press reporting quickly came to an end when the British government issued a news blackout. Then as now, speculation is entirely appropriate, given the swirl of corruption, murder and sex scandals that potentially engulfed a large number of players. The intrigue is ripe and fascinating, because the concealed truth is plausibly explosive.

The story offers a field day for inventive writers, and Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, a top British writing team, are little known for their big screen scripts on the American continent, with the exception of “Flushed Away” and “Across the Universe.”

However, their flair for naturalistic dialogue reveals itself in “The Bank Job,” considering that the plot revolves around a rather motley crew of petty criminals who are cleverly seduced into staging a daring robbery than far exceeds the group’s normal ambitions. The ringleader of the so-called “walkie-talkie robbery” gang is used car dealer and part-time hustler Terry Leather (Jason Statham), who at the film’s opening is neck-deep in trouble with some nasty loan sharks.

Wisely having avoided the big league scams, Terry nonetheless falls for the ostensible foolproof offer from old flame Martine (Saffron Burrows), a beautiful model from the old neighborhood who ran into serious trouble when returning to England with a suitcase full of blow.

Martine convinces Terry that the opportunity of a lifetime resides in the underground vault of a Lloyds Bank in central London, where a roomful of safe deposit boxes is certain to yield millions in cash and jewelry. But what Terry and his hapless crew don’t realize is that the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets.

Owing her liberty to an MI5 operative, Martine is doing the bidding of agent Tim Everett (Richard Lintern), who is after the contents of one safe deposit box owned by West Indies black power militant Michael X (Peter De Jersey), a vicious slumlord and drug trafficker immune to government prosecution as long as he retains possession of incriminating photos of a member of the royal family.

Once in control of the blackmail goods, the government would be able to shut down the brutal firebrand’s sleazy operation. Terry’s crew, which includes aspiring photographer Kevin (Stephen Campbell Moore) and part-time porn actor Dave Shilling (Daniel Mays), proves to be almost as competent as they are intrepid in carrying out a mission of tunneling under a Chinese take-out joint to reach the bank’s vault.

With a lookout posted on a roof overlooking the bank, the robbers communicate by walkie-talkies, and soon their chatter, often humorous and suggesting marginal ineptitude, is overheard by a ham radio operator who alerts the police.

An element of suspense is introduced by the frantic efforts of the police to locate the crime scene. And though the robbers are successful in their efforts, there’s a palpable feeling they might have been better off if they had been apprehended. As it turns out, some very nasty people become compromised by the loot that includes incriminating documents and diaries.

Soho porn king Lew Vogel (David Suchet) is extremely agitated at the discovery that his ledger of payoffs to corrupt police and government officials is among the stolen items. Assisted by crooked cops on his payroll, Vogel proves far more adept than the authorities at tracking down the criminals.

This turns out to be a painfully ugly scene, as Vogel mercilessly tortures one of the crew in a very disturbing, extremely violent fashion. Since the highest echelons of the British government are touched by the robbery, the stakes become increasingly complicated, with Terry desperate to find the way out, if only because he doesn’t want to lose his wife Wendy (Keeley Hawes) and his two young daughters.

“The Bank Job” is full of subplots, though they are mostly centered on sleaze, corruption, scandal, duplicity, double-dealing, murder and even mayhem. Exciting and suspenseful, this caper fits in nicely with other classic British heist films.

That Jason Statham got his start with director Guy Ritchie in notable British crime stories “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” is good enough reason that he’s the mastermind in “The Bank Job.”

For those who enjoy this type of crime story, “The Bank Job” does a bang-up job of delivering a ton of thrills.


Since the movie of the week features London, it’s only fitting to pick the DVD release of “Outlaw,” starring Sean Bean as a former paratrooper who returns from a tour of duty in Iraq to the present day lawless streets of London.

The hero is appalled by what he sees in his homeland, and therefore assembles a group of like-minded souls who settle upon a form of vigilante justice.

“Hitman” is also being released for home entertainment. Timothy Olyphant is a soulless assassin known only as Agent 47. So devoid of emotion, he makes no move on Olga Kurylenko.

It makes no sense at all, because the pretty Olga is set to be a Bond Girl in the next James Bond adventure coming our way in November. Most likely, Olga is showing more flesh here than she ever will as 007’s plaything.

The “Hitman” DVD has an alternate ending, but I doubt it involves Agent 47 and the mysterious Russian girl settling for domesticity.

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


Upcoming Calendar

05.21.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
05.22.2024 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake Leadership Forum
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
05.26.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Daze
Memorial Day
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
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

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.