Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Arts & Life

From left, Danielle Bettencourt, Jamie Dawson, Kayla Myrick and Polly Johns are the Lower Lake High School winners of the PTSA Reflections art contest held recently. Photo courtesy of Roberta Lyons.

LOWER LAKE – The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at Lower Lake High School held a successful “Reflections,” Art Contest recently, with one of the participants, Kayla Myrick, chosen to move on to the State level in the essay category of the contest.

The theme of the contest, presented by the National Parent Teachers Association (PTA) for 2007-08 was: “I Can Make a Difference By.”

Kayla’s winning essay focused on her teachers at Lower Lake High School, how they have influenced her, and made her want to “make a difference,” as they have made a difference in her life.

The Reflections Program is structured for PTAs and PTSAs to recognize students at the local, council, district, state and national levels.

Entries are first judged on the local level, where selected works are chosen to represent the PTSA at the next level. Once entries reach the state level, the state PTA may submit entries on a national level.

The areas of art include: literature, musical composition, photography, visual arts, dance choreography, and film/video production.

Local winners included: LLHS student, Jamie Dawson who took first place in photography with her photo: “Hands Across the World.” Danielle Bettencourt took second place with “When Dreamers Become Champions,” a picture of the LLHS Varsity football players after making the play-offs for the first time in 10 years. Danielle also received third place for her photo: “Makers of Legends.”

Kayla Myrick received first place in the Literature category for: “I Can Make A Difference by Teaching.” Danielle Bettencourt received second and third for: “I Can’t Be Like That,” and “My Return.”

In Visual Arts, first place went to Polly Johns for a pen and colored pencil work entitled: “Peace for Change.”

Local businesses donated prizes to the local winners. Many thanks to these businesses for rewarding the participants in the contest: Wild About Books, Rite Aid, Kevin Ness Jewelers and Toni’s Baking Emporium, Clearlake; Happy Garden Restaurant, Clearlake Oaks; and Radio Shack, Clearlake. PTSA student member, Kate Lyons, chaired the contest.

PTA believes that all children deserve a quality art education and encourages students to pursue artistic expression through participation in its annual Reflections Program. The program offers students the opportunity to create works of art for fun and recognition and involves students from preschool through grade 12.

For more information about the LLHS PTSA, contact Roberta Lyons at (707) 994-2024. The organization is looking for new members and volunteers. It is offering a $200 scholarship to a college bound senior this year and is promoting the escrip fundraiser to fund the scholarship and other activities to benefit Lower Lake High School.

To learn more about escrip, go to If you want to participate in the program by registering your grocery card or Visa, type in the LLHS PTSA group ID number: 6530904 for an easy and safe way to contribute to your child’s education at Lower Lake High School.

The PTSA is also sponsoring an open mike creative reading night at Lower Lake High School on Wednesday, March 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the new library.


LAKE COUNTY – Dante DeAmicis's latest feature, “In the Library,” will be on Mediacom TV8 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 and Tuesday, Feb. 12.


"In the Library" is a local interview program with a twist.

Guests will be: Steve Elias of KPFZ, our very own listener-supported radio station, soon to be on the air; Carolyn Hawley, concert pianist and composer, artist and writer; Ruth Altman, talking about murals and other forms of community art; and Dennis Chrisp, singer/song writer.


The program has a great balance between information and entertainment. Watch it if you can.


LAKEPORT A reception will be held in honor of Rachael Weiss on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Main Street Gallery in Lakeport.

Rachael has been selected to represent Lake County in the State Finals of the Annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. During the reception she will perform two of the classic poems that she has chosen to memorize for the state competition.

The reception is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


Rachael is an independent study high school student in Middletown. She writes poetry and prose and can be seen at open mics around the county reciting her own material or her favorite classics. She is a confident young lady who feels comfortable in the spotlight. Her range encompasses both humorous and dramatic material.


Poetry Out Loud is a collaborative project of National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. It seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry-recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth.


Poetry Out Loud provides standards based curriculum materials for use in high school classrooms. There is no cost to the schools to participate and all materials are provided free of charge. Any education professionals wanting more information about the program are encouraged to attend this event. Materials will be available at the reception or can be downloaded from


Poetry Out Loud in Lake County is supported by and funded through the California Arts Council and Lake County Arts Council.



We’re still coping with the post-holiday movie blues, where new films just aren’t that good, and now Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon. That can only mean more formulaic romantic comedies are on the way, and “Over Her Dead Body” is the latest entrant from the date movie factory.

There’s some mildly good news to this situation. If you survived 27 Dresses, chances are you will find Over Her Dead Body more bearable, if only because the romance sparks a few good laughs.

Eva Longoria Parker, famed for her role in Desperate Housewives, is required to do little more than act like an annoying shrew in the role of Kate, the future bride killed on her wedding day by a falling ice sculpture of an angel without wings.

Over Her Dead Body opens as Kate obsesses over every small detail during the chaotic wedding preparations before her accidental death. Her Bridezilla-like attempt to make everything perfect is driving everyone crazy.

The mystery of the pending marriage is that Kate’s fiancé is the placid Henry (Paul Rudd), an easy-going veterinarian who seems ill-matched to such a control freak. In any event, Henry is so traumatized by the loss of his future bride that the story jumps to a year later when Henry is unable to move on with his life. His reclusive state elicits concern from his vivacious sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane), who determines that he needs permission from the dearly departed Kate to start life anew.

At Chloe’s urging, though skeptical about psychic powers, Henry reluctantly agrees to meet Ashley (Lake Bell), a medium who happens to also run a catering company with her gay best friend Dan (Jason Biggs). The initial reading doesn’t go well, and while remaining more skeptical than ever, Henry is intrigued by Ashley, perhaps because she’s pretty and refuses payment, though not necessarily in that order.

Meanwhile, Chloe does not give up on her brother, deciding that a little harmless subterfuge may be the best approach. She steals Kate’s diary so that Ashley could have some inside information that might convince Henry that her psychic powers deserve a second chance. Ashley, of course, uses the diary’s tidbits to pretend that she’s channeling Kate’s spirit.

The ruse works better than expected, and yet unintended consequences abruptly follow. Kate’s ghost materializes but only to be seen by Ashley. Revealing that she’s not changed in the afterlife, she’s disgruntled and possessive, unable to let go of Henry. Not surprisingly, Kate is upset that Ashley has designs on her former fiancé, and as a result, the ectoplasmic shrew goes on the warpath against her romantic nemesis.

What’s a disturbed ghost to do? The only option is to turn Ashley’s life into a living hell by using her ghostly powers to torment and humiliate. Relentless efforts to sabotage the budding romance between Ashley and Henry are intended to evoke the spirit of screwball romantic comedy, and there are moments when this is executed to humorous satisfaction.

Over Her Dead Body makes a far better showcase for the talents of Paul Rudd and Lake Bell than it does for the titular star. Eva Longoria Parker seems ill-suited for romantic comedy, as her nasty shrewish behavior is more fitting for her TV character. It was also disconcerting to see that her skin color was a strangely orange-brown hue, an unnatural look for a ghostly apparition.

Displaying his customarily dry sarcasm, Rudd comes off the best with snappy patter and wry, humorous observations. In addition to her beauty, Lake Bell’s bubbly, cheerful spirit brings welcome relief.


It seems only fitting that at a time of year when there are more movies than usual geared to a female audience, Sony Pictures decides to release The Jane Austen Book Club for home entertainment.

Based on the Karen J. Fowler best-selling novel, the movie focuses on an eclectic group of Austen aficionados who search for answers within six classic novels.

Kathy Bates has survived six divorces; Emily Blunt’s school teacher is crushed by her husband’s insensitivity; Maria Bello sticks to dog breeding; Amy Brenneman is horrified by her husband’s infidelity; Maggie Grace struggles with sexual identity. Hugh Dancy is the lone male in the book club. Together, they discuss the English writer’s beloved novels in search of answers for the mysteries of love.

The Jane Austen Book Club DVD, in addition to the customary documentary features, includes seven deleted scenes.

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


Lucerne resident Frank Vastano performing at Cafe Victoria Feb. 2. Photo by Joanne Bateni.


LAKEPORT – There were 11 performers including host Phil Mathewson at Café Victoria on a rainy first Saturday afternoon.

Everyone had a chance to perform once within the two-hour time frame.

Local poets Lorna Sue Sides, Lourdes and John W. recited some of their original works. Local magician Phillip Martin mystified everyone with his magic, running the gamut from card tricks to spoon bending.

Guitar player Frank Vastano played a baby snare drum to accompany Phil Mathewson on a couple of Mathewson’s tunes and then sang and played his guitar to his own original songs.

Allen Markowski came over from Clearlake to sing his song “25 Years Ago” and told the group about his Internet sharing project involving the next level of the Internet.

Karen Priest sang her political commentary song, “Who Knows What the Mole Knows?” although she wasn’t familiar with the borrowed guitar. She promises to bring her own next month.

Dick Flowers read a tribute to one of his recently deceased friends which was quite moving.

Newbie Mike Teagan played his guitar and sang a few original tunes.

Last, but not least, Scotty McNeil, a well-known figure around Lake County and owner of the now defunct Alpine Café in Lucerne, told some jokes and played his own modified version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on the house piano.

Classical music at the open mic, what will be next? Thanks to everyone who came for supporting our new “originals only” format. This means we can’t allow copyrighted material unless you have permission from the copyright holder. If you don’t have original music to perform you can borrow some from the other performers at no charge.

Allen Markowski’s new Web site for local song writers and artists – – is a place to meet local artists and share ideas. Check it out and see you next month.


UPPER LAKE – On Feb. 7, the Blue Wing Saloon and Café, located next door to the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, will launch a new series of monthly “Meet the Winemaker” evenings.

These events extend the Blue Wing’s focus on offering its patrons the best wines produced in Lake County.

The Winemaker Evenings will be held on the first Thursday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The evenings will allow restaurant patrons to taste a wide variety of wines and meet some of the most notable winemakers in the area.

The saloon kitchen staff will work closely with the winemakers each evening to produce special dishes that properly compliment the wines being featured.

Following is the schedule for the first five months of the series. The saloon will continue to offer a full range of wines from each featured winemaker for the rest of the month.

– Thursday, Feb. 7: Winemaker Matt Hughes of Zoom Wines will kick off the series. Zoom is a Lake County Zinfandel specialist whose wines have been big sellers at the Saloon since its opening in June 2005. Matt is also winemaker for the Blue Wing Sauvignon Blanc (Bennett Vineyards) and Blue Wing Syrah (Obsidian Ridge Vineyards) as well as the popular Blue Wing house Chardonnay and Cabernet. He is currently chairman of the Lake County Winery Association.

– Thursday, March 6: Ceago Vinegarden winemaker Javier Tapia and owner Jim Fetzer will pour their biodynamically grown Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The beautiful lakeside Ceago facility and tasting room is located on Highway 20 between the towns of Nice and Lucerne.

– Thursday, April 3: Eden Crest Vineyards owners and winemakers TJ and Tammy Mickel will pour their handcrafted Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. With production facilities in Kelseyville, this family winery produces less than 1,000 cases a year, but their attention to detail is rewarded with a truly wonderful product marketed at a reasonable price.

– Thursday, May 1: Shannon Ridge winemakers Marco DiGuilio and Mike Wood together with owner Clay Shannon will present a selection of wines, most made from grapes grown on the high elevation Shannon Ridge property above Clear Lake. The quaint Shannon Ridge tasting room managed by Joey Luiz is located in a converted one-room schoolhouse in Clearlake Oaks. Wood also will pour his own Shed Horn wines.

– Thursday, June 5: Naughty Boy Vineyards winemaker Greg Graziano and owners Jim and MJ Scott will pour the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines made from grapes grown on the Scotts’ six-acre vineyard in Potter Valley. The 2004 Naughty Boy Pinot Noir was recently ranked by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 100 best wines on the West Coast.

Re-established in the Lake County town of Upper Lake in June 2005 by owners Lynne and Bernie Butcher, Blue Wing Saloon and Cafe stands in the same location as its namesake, first opened in the 1880s. The saloon remained a popular watering hole until the onset of prohibition in 1920.

In the tradition of the original saloon, the Blue Wing proudly offers customers fine food, local microbrews and wines at affordable prices.

Information on the adjacent Tallman Hotel can be found at Blue Wing Saloon and Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake,


Upcoming Calendar

06.13.2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Middletown Area Town Hall
Flag Day
06.14.2024 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Clearlake Summer Concert Series
06.14.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Middletown Days team roping
06.14.2024 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Kelseyville High School commencement ceremony
Senior Days
06.15.2024 8:00 am - 06.16.2024 1:00 am
Middletown Days
06.15.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Father's Day
06.16.2024 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Middletown Days

Mini Calendar



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