Friday, 17 May 2024

Arts & Life

Cynthia Rose sings with the Funky Dozen at Coyote Sonoma in Healdsburg. She is shown with Sunny Cordell on saxophone and Gary Miller, who plays trumpet. She will be featured at the Lake County Symphony annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Symphony.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Lake County Symphony’s popular annual Christmas Concert coming up on Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Soper Reese Theatre, will include a “very merry” program of holiday favorites to delight the audience.

John Parkinson, symphony conductor and musical director, plans a selection of festive traditional holiday orchestral music, along with entertainment by several outstanding local vocalists.

He fully expects all audience members to be a part of the carol sing-along and to lend their voices to the “Hallelujah Chorus,” as in past concerts.

“Hallelujah” is the memorable finale to Handel’s “Messiah,” and has been a special and treasured part of the Christmas Concert for years.

The Lake County Community and Youth Orchestra conducted by Camm Linden, will begin the concert, with a selection from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet Suite called “Mother Ginger” along with some other audience-pleasing holiday motifs.

There will be two vocalists for this concert, and both are singers with the popular local band, the Funky Dozen. Cynthia Rose will be singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” Christmas Time is Here,” and “The Christmas Song.” Anthony Neves, will sing “White Christmas,” and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.”

Tickets for the concert are available online in advance from the Soper Reese Theatre website or by phone at 707-263-0577.

General admission is $25; premium seating is $30 for the 2 p.m. performance, with LCSA members receiving a $5 discount.

Everyone is urged to order their tickets early; the Christmas Concert is usually a packed house.

The full-dress open rehearsal performance begins at 11 a.m. with discounted tickets for $5 and free admission for everyone under the age of 18.





UPPER LAKE, Calif. — The great jazz trio of Robert Kennedy on the Hammond organ, Nancy Wright on sax and Scott Foster on guitar kick off the 17th season of informal Concerts with Conversation in the Meeting House next to the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake on Sunday, Dec. 10, starting at 3 p.m.

The opening trio has made beautiful music separately and together for many years in the Bay Area.

Robert Kennedy is an accomplished pianist and accordionist but is best known as a Hammond organ virtuoso. He played piano in the Stanford Jazz Band and has lived and worked in the SF Bay Area since 1988. He has recorded two CDs on the Hammond organ and played with the SF Jazz Monday Night Band and at all the major Bay Area jazz venues.

Sax mistress Nancy Wright needs no introduction to Lake County music fans as she’s performed here at the Blue Wing Blues Festival, the Soper-Reese Theatre and a variety of other venues. She has recorded and performed in the U.S. and abroad with artists including John Lee Hooker, B. B. King, Elvin Bishop, Joe Louis Walker, and Commander Cody and she now has her own “Rhythm and Roots” Band.

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Scott Foster is an active performer as leader of his own trio and quartet and as a sideman with many local groups.

Tickets for the opening concert in the series can be purchased at Eventbrite.com or by calling the Tallman Hotel at 707-275-2244, Extension 0.

Here is a summary of the wide variety of music and conversation in store in the upcoming Tallman series:

Sunday, Jan. 21: This will be a rousing afternoon of music with the dynamic pianist Steve Lucky and the vibrant guitarist, vocalist and entertainer Carmen Getit. It will be a lively mix of jump blues, swing, jazz and rare gems from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.

Sunday, Feb. 18: The Joe and Hattie Craven Show. Enjoy a performance of rearranged pop songs for the folk tradition with stunning vocalist Hattie Craven supported by her father, award winning multi-instrumentalist story-teller and musical educator Joe Craven.

Sunday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day: Celtic harp songs and stories with Patrick BallC. Now residing in Ireland, Patrick is famous for rekindling the fire and wonder of Irish storytelling while playing his ancient, brass-strung traditional Irish harp.

Sunday, April 21 (outside in the garden): The “Joni Mitchell Situation.” Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kate Foley-Beining performs the ballads, art songs and jazz of Joni Mitchell backed by guitarist Christian Foley-Beining, bassist Tom Shader, drummer Kendrick Freeman and special guest, the unparalleled Paul McCandless on sax. Weather permitting, this final show of the season will be outside in the garden.

Coffee and cookies are served to guests at all of these shows and the Tallman is offering a 10% discount on hotel bookings that weekend for people purchasing concert tickets.





‘SLY’ RATED R

Baring his soul to a certain extent on the Netflix film “Sly,” the titular character burst onto the scene of public awareness in a film that has come to be a symbol of willingness to go the distance even if the outcome does not turn in the protagonist’s favor.

The film, of course, is Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky,” the genesis of which has the makings of a fantasy story that seems to be rooted in fiction. By all accounts, Stallone forged his own path by writing the script which he insisted would not be sold unless he starred in the film.

Up to that point in his career, Stallone mostly had bit parts, usually being cast as a thug. A brief film clip from “Bananas” shows him mugging an old lady on a subway train as Woody Allen’s terrified passenger nervously sits nearby.

At the beginning of the documentary “Sly,” the actor’s opening line is “It’s really easy to become complacent.” Maybe that’s on his mind because the film’s beginning shows him packing up his Los Angeles mansion for a move to the East Coast.

By any measure, Stallone is anything but complacent, as others like director John Herzfeld and his former rival and friend Arnold Schwarzenegger attest. The Terminator himself recognizes Stallone’s astute creation of three franchises, namely “Rocky,” “Rambo” and “The Expendables.”

As for the move east, it seems to be more like a return to Stallone’s roots, as the actor was born in the summer of 1946 and lived in the tough neighborhood of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, a place that once lived up to its name but now has become gentrified.

Stallone’s hardscrabble childhood found him often truant and involved in fights. He attended more than a dozen schools. But a Harvard professor who was in the audience for a school play told Stallone he should think of acting as a career, and that moment became an epiphany for his life’s trajectory.

Escaping a dismal home life, Stallone spent a lot of time sneaking into movie theaters, from which he became self-taught on writing scripts. He also saw Steve Reeves in “Hercules” as the perfect male role model.

For a documentary on his life, Stallone talks not that much about his childhood or family life, even though it is apparent that he came from a broken home and let it be known that his father was physically abusive to him and his brother Frank.

While married three times with five children, there is not much said about his immediate family ties, though clips with his son Sage, who played his offspring in “Rocky V,” are illuminating. Sadly, Sage died at the age of 36 from a coronary disease.

Turning down an offer of $265,000 for his original “Rocky” script, which was a fortune for a struggling actor at the time, was the best gamble ever made.

If you wonder about the success of his franchise films, Stallone makes the interesting point that he believes in sequels because “quite often the story can’t be told in two hours.” Well, “Sly” is less than two hours but it tells a lot.




‘GENIE’ ON PEACOCK

As one holiday seemingly bleeds into another, the spirit of Christmas always arrives even before the turkey is carved on Thanksgiving Day. Right now, holiday cheer is needed more than ever.

Christmas programs are already on the air. Hallmark Channel, as usual, jump starts the season with its “Countdown to Christmas” slew of movies that launched back in late October.

Christmas also comes early on Peacock with the November 22nd streaming launch of holiday fairytale comedy “Genie,” from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard Curtis, who has the “Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “Notting Hill” films to his credit.

Melissa McCarthy stars as Flora, a genie trapped for more than 2,000 years inside an antique jewelry box because of one teeny-tiny little misunderstanding with a sorcerer back in 77 B.C.

After millennia of being summoned to grant wishes of gold doubloons and hot babes for greedy men, Flora is accidentally called to service by Bernard Bottle (Paapa Kwayke Essiedu), whose life is unraveling around him.

Bernard’s been so busy working that he has lost sight of his marriage to his wife Julie (Denee Benton) and the childhood of his young daughter Eve (Jordyn Mcintosh). When Bernard misses Eve’s birthday 12 days before Christmas because of work, Julie decides it’s time for a trial separation.

Even worse, Bernard gets fired by his tyrannical boss (Alan Cumming). Alone in his New York apartment, a despondent Bernard dusts off a jewelry box in their home and unintentionally releases the one entity who just might be able to help him get his family back.

Is this a longshot for Bernard, as Christmas approaches? Maybe. Possibly. But in the process, Flora and Bernard will discover that love, and an unexpected friendship, can unleash a special holiday magic all its own. Does “Genie” end up back in the box?

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



‘SALTBURN’ RATED R

Shades of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Brideshead Revisited” inform the dynamic at play in the psychological thriller “Saltburn,” written and directed by Emerald Fennell, who garnered much attention with the same duties for “Promising Young Woman.”

As with the films of a similar bent, “Saltburn” leans into the class divide where a character on a lower rung, fueled most likely by sociopathic tendencies, seeks to ingratiate himself with the upper class.

Set in 2006, scholarship student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) arrives as a freshman at Oxford University. His humble origins set him apart from aristocratic students entitled by a sense of noblesse oblige.

Oliver’s initial friendship with a nerdy math major is quickly discarded when he sets his sights on tall, handsome Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), the big man on campus who looks like a male model at a fashion show.

Finagling his way into Felix’s inner circle, the needy Oliver, who is actually rather creepy, proves to be manipulative by fabricating a story of lower-class upbringing by parents that are portrayed as addicts.

For reasons that are elusive and unfathomable, Felix takes a shine to Oliver, letting him into the sanctum of entitled Oxford students that you must wonder how they have time to study given nightly forays to the local pub.

When summer rolls around, Felix invites Oliver to be his guest at their palatial home Saltburn, a massive estate that is so gorgeous that it must have once been the residence of royalty.

The Catton family proves to be eccentric. The patriarch is the oblivious Sir James Catton (Richard E. Grant), while the mother Elspeth (Rosamund Pike) is hilariously clueless and good for some choice one-liners.

Felix’s unstable sister Venetia (Alison Oliver) is a train-wreck and Carey Mulligan’s Pamela is a houseguest who has overstayed her welcome. American cousin Farleigh (Archie Madekwe) is suspicious of Oliver’s intentions, and with good reason.

Creepy weird stuff starts happening at the Saltburn estate, gradually becoming more bizarre with strange things involving bodily fluids and graphic shocking events. “Saltburn” is unsettling and disturbing. Take it in at your own risk.



‘MR. MONK’S LAST CASE: A MONK MOVIE’

Fans of Tony Shalhoub’s Adrian Monk, a detective formerly with the San Francisco Police Department, should rejoice in his return in a feature-length movie fourteen years later after the eight-season run of “Monk” on the USA Network.

Peacock brings Monk back in a post-pandemic world in “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie.” To understand his character, it is important to note that the “Monk” series was about a former police detective coping with the aftermath of his wife’s death in a mysterious car bombing.

During the run of the series, Monk suffered an extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder that caused him to lose his job and being unable to leave his house for years. With some help, he returned to living, of sorts, working as a private eye and consultant to the police department.

In the later years of the series, Traylor Howard’s Natalie Teeger was Monk’s assistant, helping him to fitfully overcome some of his eccentricities. In the movie, she’s in the same role, observing that Monk has a fear of “germs, needles, birds, then heights.”

Actually, there’s a whole lot more that induces Monk’s obsessive concerns. At an opening crime scene, Monk worries about whether he turned off the stove and then speaks of the stove as “one of the longest relationships of my life and certainly one of the happiest.”

Peter Falk as a detective in “Columbo” was an eccentric character with a shambling manner, but he never came close to the obsessions that plagued Monk. And yet, Monk’s anxieties are part of the fun of his character who seems oblivious to his grating idiosyncrasies.

Being a germaphobe can be debilitating in his line of work, but his compulsive behavior is well-suited to grasping the finer details of a crime scene and engaging in painstaking problem-solving.

Monk’s last case turns out to be the tragic death of Griffin (Austin Scott), the fiancé of his stepdaughter Molly (Caitlin McGee), in a bungee jumping accident that may be something more sinister.

In fact, Griffin’s an investigate journalist who’s digging around the shady dealings of Rick Eden (James Purefoy), a well-connected billionaire entrepreneur who has unscrupulous thugs on payroll acting like contract killers.

Of course, Monk has to overcome his wide range of phobias to solve a very personal case involving Molly, a journalist getting ready for a lifetime of happiness in her upcoming nuptials.

Several regulars from the series return, including Melora Hardin as the ghost of Trudy Monk; Ted Levine as former Homicide Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, who worked with Monk; and Hector Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell, Monk’s psychiatrist.

A mere passing acquaintance with Shalhoub’s Adrian Monk is all one needs to enjoy a lovable character with a range of obsessions that are endearingly amusing. “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie” proves that a nearly a decade-and-a-half absence of Monk’s story has not diminished its appeal.

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




“NAPOLEON” RATED R

Military commander and then Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most notable persons of world history, arguably ranking with some of history’s utmost despots in the universe of notoriety.

This is not to say that the French tyrant was as inveterately evil as say Hitler or Stalin, both of whom were responsible for mass murder on an unimaginable scale. Undeniably though, Napoleon’s authoritarian rule would hardly count as benevolent.

The casualties of the Napoleonic wars almost pale in comparison to other tyrannical atrocities, which the end credits of “Napoleon” attempt to tally. Still, his jingoism resulted in the deaths of millions of his own countrymen.

Nevertheless, the Corsican-born Napoleon was a man of short stature which gave rise to the folklore that his lack of height was compensated for by a quest for power and conquest. The idea springs forth that a “Napoleon Complex” was his driving force.

As a subject matter for cinema, Napoleon first gained prominence in Abel Gance’s 1927 silent film epic “Napoleon,” running more than five hours and covering his early life and military career. Intended to be the first of six films, the director couldn’t raise the funds to make the other five.

For a comedic approach, time travel in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” featured a scene of Napoleon going bowling in the 20th Century as the film’s titular characters played by Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were meeting important historical figures so they could pass their history class.

Ridley Scott, who has directed his share of historical dramas, knows that the prominent military commander and political leader remains a fascinating historical figure that Abel Gance once thought was deserving of extravagant scrutiny.

Scott’s “Napoleon” runs slightly more than two-and-a-half hours and delivers a condensed biographical effort that is epic in sweep only insofar as the battle sequences are executed with well-deserved grandeur.

As a figure from the French Revolutionary period, Napoleon is first seen at the beheading of Marie Antoinette, a brief preface that is quickly followed by his impressive battlefield victory at the Siege of Toulon, which is rendered as one of the film’s stunning highlights.

Victory at Toulon brings a heroic sheen to the General deemed to be a strategic genius, and this garners the attention of Josephine (Vanessa Kirby) whose meeting with Napoleon leads to a romantic passion that is the stuff of legend.

You might say that the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine is the emotional core of Ridley Scott’s film. From the battlefield, the General wrote passionate letters, but when they were together the passion seemed more muted except for the occasional food fight at the dinner table or hurried copulation.

Yet, during battle in Egypt, word came to Napoleon that gossip back home was about Josephine’s philandering, and the General quickly departed the battlefield, or so it is told in the film, to confront his unfaithful spouse.

The marital passion dims over time as Napoleon’s mother and others in his court grow concerned that Josephine has not produced an heir. Divorce follows and Napoleon remarries so that his new wife will deliver a baby boy, and yet he still carries a torch for Josephine.

More interesting than domestic life is what awaits on the battlefield, particularly the strategic genius behind the decisive Battle of Austerlitz where cannon fire plunges enemy troops to their deaths in the frigid waters of a frozen lake.

Historical figures with whom Napoleon interacts include the smug Russian Tsar Alexander (Edouard Philipponnat) and the Duke of Wellington (Rupert Everett), the latter turning out to be most pivotal though his presence here is limited.

Fortunately, more fabled battles are brilliantly realized, though not in Napoleon’s favor. The failed 1812 invasion of Russia ends up with the emperor in brief exile to Elba, returning to fight again in the ill-fated Battle of Waterloo, which results in his final days in exile in Saint Helena.

Few places in America have as much history, outside of several major East Coast cities, as New Orleans with its founding by the French in 1718 through a period of Spanish control, then briefly back to French rule before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

To this day, the French influence remains pervasive in the Crescent City, the nickname for New Orleans for its curved shape along the Mississippi River, because Napoleon made the deal to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States.

A visit to New Orleans should include a stop at the legendary Napoleon House in the French Quarter. Now a place for drinking and dining, the building was a residence in the early 19th century that was offered as a refuge for Napoleon after his exile that he never got to enjoy.

Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” is not the last we shall hear about the Emperor since Steven Spielberg is apparently working to bring Stanley Kubrick’s lost biopic of Napoleon Bonaparte to a limited series on HBO. This endeavor could be worth the wait.

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

Megan Moore, “Silhouette Constructions,” collaged etching, photopolymer and relief prints.

UKIAH, Calif. — The Mendocino College Gallery is presenting “First Person: Explorations in Printmaking,” curated by Jazzminh Moore, through Feb. 5.

With an exciting mix of 11 local, national, and international artists, “Explorations” speaks to both the content and processes by which these diverse artists come to make their work.

The general theme “human perspectives on nature” acts as a broad container within which artists push the boundaries of printmaking, exploring process, scale, color, text, texture, materials and beyond.

The work from the 11 invited artists includes:

• Eileen Macdonald, head of Printmaking at CSU Chico, started treating paper in the same way that she would treat a copper etching plate during the mezzotint or etching process. Her works combine printmaking with paper cuts and pin pricked paper.

• Ulrike Theusner’s etchings and monotypes depict humans “trying to control the beast, the wilderness, the natural being of animals – but they can’t.” Theusner, originally from East Berlin/Weimar, currently has a solo exhibition at Galerie EIGEN + ART in Leipzig, Germany.

• Eunkang Koh, head of Printmaking at University of Nevada, Reno, often depicts half-animal and half-human figures. These hybrid creatures represent a portrait of us as social animals and the society that we live in.

• Ben Beres, professor of printmaking at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and one-third of the well-established collaborative trio SuttenBeresCuller, explores text and process in his hand-marbled, high-key color monotypes.

• Solange Roberdeau, 2023 Mendocino Arts Champion and new adjunct faculty in printmaking at Mendocino College, includes natural phenomena to make the work – for instance by applying ink to sheets of paper and leaving them out in the rain or allowing the wind to create patterns in suminagashi prints.

“Explorations” also features a selection of student work from Solange Roberdeau’s Introduction to Printmaking class here at Mendocino College.

The college offers an associate’s degree in art with a focus in printmaking and recently added a new 46-inch by 96-inch Takach etching press to its Ukiah campus.

Mendocino College Art Gallery is located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays, noon to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays, 3 to 6 p.m.; and Thursdays, noon to 3 p.m., and by appointment.

To view more from Mendocino College Art Gallery, including the new Visiting Artist Lecture Series, visit https://www.mendocino.edu/academics/programs/arts/art-gallery.

Upcoming Calendar

18May
05.18.2024 7:30 am - 1:00 pm
Inaugural veterans charity run
18May
05.18.2024 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Sheriff’s Activity League benefit breakfast
18May
05.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
18May
05.18.2024 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Land Trust benefit
21May
05.21.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
22May
05.22.2024 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake Leadership Forum
25May
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
27May
05.27.2024
Memorial Day
28May
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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