Wednesday, 04 October 2023

Arts & Life

LAKEPORT – Persistence paid off Tuesday, both for Lakeport Cinema 5 manager Justin Hamaker and the Lake County residents who've been asking him to run Michael Moore's “Sicko.”

The documentary compares the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and relates HMO horror stories.

Fans who had made the request by phone and on the theater's Web site received this message Tuesday afternoon from Hamaker: “I have good news for all of you who requested we play Sicko! It will be opening this Friday, Aug. 3, for a one week-engagement.

“The only way we could accommodate Sicko was to bring it in for a single matinée showing each day at 12:15. I realize this may not be an ideal time for all of you, but the only other alternative was to not play it at all,” Hamaker reported.

He added, “I would like to ask each of you to spread the word so we can maximize attendance each day. With your help we can send a message to Michael Moore and Lionsgate that even small communities like Lakeport are interested in documentaries and other small films.”

The requests and the booking are a sequel to Lake County's booking of “Fahrenheit 911,” which also took a campaign of requests to bring it to Lakeport.

On July 22, the fans received this message from Hamaker: “You are receiving this message because you requested Sicko through our web site. We realize you are still waiting for us to bring Sicko to Lakeport. I can assure you we are trying to find a weekend to bring it in. However, we are in the midst of a summer season which has more releases than we can keep up with. Just this weekend we had to pass on Hairspray which made an estimated $27.8 million nationwide. Unfortunately the situation won't improve soon as there are about 12 new major releases in the next four weeks.

"With Sicko the problem is complicated by a continued lackluster performance in theaters,” Hamaker reported. “This weekend Sicko opened in 361 new theaters but still only made an estimated $1.9 million nationwide – which is down 27 percent from the previous weekend despite playing in almost 50-percent more theaters. In fact, we opened Sicko at our sister theater in Paradise and had less than 100 people total for Friday and Saturday.

“At this point, the most likely scenario for us playing Sicko is to bring it in for one week when it can share a screen with another movie – meaning Sicko would have just two to three showings per day. Unfortunately, being in a small market and only having five screens greatly limits our ability to play special interest films like Sicko – especially when the filmmaker and studio choose a limited release at a time of year when the market is overwhelmed with major blockbuster pictures.”

Variety's Alissa Simon wrote Sicko is “an affecting and entertaining dissection of theAmerican health care industry, showing how it benefits the few at the expense of the many. Pic's tone alternates between comedy, poignancy and outrage as it compares the U.S system of care to other countries.”

The Internet Movie Database,, reported that as of July 22 Sicko had grossed $19 million.


LOWER LAKE The Tuscan Village's Friday Night Concert Series has talented local musicians scheduled to perform in the coming weeks.

Travis Austin, a local classical guitarist, will be perform this Friday, Aug. 3. Phil Mathewson, local singer and songwriter, performs Aug. 10.

Performances run from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission to the concerts is free.

2 Goombas deli serves dinner or bring your own picnic for the concert in the vineyard. Wine tasting is available at the winery.

The Tuscan Village is located on Main Street in historic Lower Lake right near the post office. Call 2 Goombas Deli, 994-3354, for more information.


LOWER LAKE – The Tuscan Village Friday Night Concert series in Lower Lake featured Dennis Purcell, local folk singer, performing a variety of music for the capacity crowd on July 27.

His performance ran the gamut from old American folk songs to Broadway tunes, like Summertime, which had the audience singing along.

His rendition of obscure Bob Dylan songs went over very well as did the Beatles tunes, which were well-remembered by the mostly baby-boomer crowd. Even the children seemed entranced.

Since the seating consists of picnic tables, it is limited and getting there early is a must.

The Aug. 3 concert will feature Travis Austin, local classical guitarist. The Aug. 10 concert will showcase Phil Mathewson, local song writer-musician and his friends. You never know who will be playing with Phil when he invites local musicians from the audience onto the stage. The concert runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Tuscan Village is located on Main Street in historic Lower Lake right near the post office. Call 2 Goombas Deli, 994-3354, for more information.


LAKEPORT Locals and visitors alike can look forward to warm temperatures and two hours of blues and rock music this afternoon at Lakeport's Library Park.

Featured at this evening's installment of the Summer Concerts in the park are Levi Lloyd and The 501 Band.

KNTI's Eric Patrick and friends head the list of sponsors for the 19th year of the free concerts.

Bring your bag of silly items for the mid-show giveaway of treats and goodies provided by local businesses.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.


LAKEPORT – Local author Marilyn Andersen Brown will sign copies of her book, Route 66 to Mojave, this Friday at Watershed Books.

The book signing will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Route 66 to Mojave is a nonfiction story about an Oklahoma family and their struggles during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression era.

Having suffered and survived the ravages of tuberculosis, Oklahoma natives Ed and Lillie Brown are determined to raise their family. Leaving friends and family and everything familiar behind, they pack up their children and belongings and make the long journey on Route 66 to Mojave, California.

Soon after they leave for California, World War II begins. The children don't concern themselves with hard times and Ed and Lillie's young son, Charles, and his friends have one adventure after another.

Route 66 to Mojave delivers an unvarnished look at life during the Depression and World War II. The Brown family's triumphs and heartaches create a timeless story, brimming with human emotion.

Author Marilyn Brown lives on a ranch near Kelseyville with her husband, Charlie, who is one of the main characters of this story.

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



Fans of “The Simpsons,” arguably the most popular animated show in the history of television, may be asking the question: “What took so long?”

After 18 years on the FOX network, with enough episodes that would require nearly a week to watch in an around-the-clock marathon, “The Simpsons” is so ingrained in pop culture that it’s hard to imagine anyone not familiar with the Simpson family, Homer and Bart, Marge and Lisa, and even baby Maggie. You could have watched only a couple of episodes years ago or perhaps caught all 400 and counting, and still there is something delightfully, amusingly familiar about “The Simpsons Movie,” a full-length feature that is at once in the typical comfort zone and also a bit daring.

Other TV cartoon shows arrived on the big screen in a more hurried fashion. “South Park” comes to mind, but it seemed in a rush to be more crass, rude and offensive, and so the movie title was fittingly “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.” Aside from some crude language and one amusing bit of cartoon nudity, “The Simpsons Movie” dares to be irreverent in a sensible way that keeps the film in a more family-friendly mode, albeit one that skews in favor of adult appreciation of its offbeat humor. With slightly judicious editing, “The Simpsons” is merely a DVD release away from running as the movie of the week on a TV network.

More by happenstance than choice, I have been out of touch with “The Simpsons” for many years. Complacency may have set in because this is a program that seems destined to remain on the air forever, and so I have taken it for granted. Nevertheless, even the most casual viewer has every reason to rejoice in the sheer fun of this smartly satirical romp through the Simpsons universe, because it all boils down to a few simple truths about the Simpson family.

Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta), a simple boob with low expectations in life, is easily sidetracked by donuts and a visit to Moe’s Tavern. His wife Marge (Julie Kavner) is relentlessly upbeat and supportive of the family. Mischievous son Bart (Nancy Cartwright) engages in high-energy escapades, while daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith), a model of good conduct and book smarts, finds it difficult to fit in with this dysfunctional clan. Baby Maggie has no words of complaint, but may be wiser than anyone else.

The movie opens with the Simpson family attending an “Itchy and Scratchy” movie at the local cinema, which prompts Homer to loudly wonder why anyone would pay good money to see something in a theater that they could easily see at home for free. This is the kind of irreverent jab at its own movie that makes “The Simpsons” a satirical treat. And the pointed humor doesn’t stop there. The filmmakers take a few swipes at the FOX network for assertive self-promotion, and throw in a few pokes at the Disney kingdom as well.

Even though it is Homer Simpson’s epic stupidity that is the brunt of most jokes, there are numerous targets for parody, such as the religious fervor of Ned Flanders, the trendy environmental movement that relies on rock bands and obtuse government bureaucrats. The latter target is very much in play when Homer’s witless plan to dispose of a silo full of pig excrement causes a monumental toxic disaster at Springfield Lake, which draws the unwanted attention of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks).

That EPA chief Cargill is an overzealous fool comes into play when he convinces U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger (Harry Shearer) to allow a quarantine of Springfield by a diabolically ingenious plan to cover the entire community with an unbreakable glass dome. A vengeful mob descends on the Simpson household, and the family makes a narrow if wildly improbable escape that has them relocating to Alaska.

Homer is anxious to start life anew out in the wilderness, but when word arrives that the government will take drastic action against Springfield, everyone but Homer wants to return home. As is usually the case, Homer comes to his senses at the last possible moment in order to do the right thing.

Running at a length approximately four times that of one TV episode, “The Simpsons Movie” deftly keeps its gags, jokes and wacky ideas moving at full steam from start to finish, thus putting together its irreverent and satirical humor in a coherent frame. The laughs are as consistent as Homer’s innate foolishness, and the energy level is higher than any mischief that Bart could cook up. Despite Homer’s musings, this is one TV-inspired movie well worth the price of admission.

Tim Riley writes film reviews for Lake County News.



Upcoming Calendar

10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
10.05.2023 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Clearlake City Council
10.06.2023 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
David Arkenstone & Friends in concert
10.07.2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship Breast Cancer Run & Walk
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Falling Leaves Quilt Show
10.08.2023 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Falling Leaves Quilt Show
Columbus Day
10.12.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

Mini Calendar



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