Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Arts & Life

Matt Rothstein and The Rothstein Experiment will entertain at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, December 7, 2019. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, the Rothstein Experiment opens the Christmas season at the Soper Reese Theatre with a unique concert encompassing the sentimental, sacred and serious.

The Rothstein Experiment invites you to put on your ugliest Christmas sweater and join them for an intimate evening of stories and songs, many personal and original. It’s fun for the whole family.

Ensemble leaders Matt and Jill Rothstein are accomplished musicians, arrangers and composers. Both were raised in Lake County and the pair have been leading musical ensembles for nearly a decade.

Jill Rothstein. Courtesy photo.

Matt Rothstein was recognized by DownBeat Magazine and the Grammy Foundation as a prodigious talent while in high school. Jill Rothstein began composing music at the tender age of eight and was the 2007 award winner for music theory and composition at Azusa Pacific University.

The group is comprised of Jill Rothstein, vocals, compositions, set design; Matt Rothstein, vocals, saxophone, arrangements; Tom Aiken, piano, keyboard, melodica; Jacob Turner, guitar; Steve Baird, vocals, bass, sousaphone; and Alex Aspinall, percussion.

Tom Aiken. Courtesy photo.

Tickets are now on sale at $15 for adults; $10 for children between 12 and 18; and free for under 12. Seating is open.

The Soper Reese Theatre is located at 275 S. Main St., Lakeport. Tickets are available online at; or at The Travel Center, 825 S. Main, Lakeport, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information call 707-263-0577.

Jacob Turner. Courtesy photo.


We’re no longer in the era of “Perry Mason” even though it remains a pleasure to catch episodes of Raymond Burr in the titular role of the Los Angeles criminal defense attorney working for the accused both inside and outside the courtroom.

One of the longest-running legal drama series, “Perry Mason” had to be appointment viewing during the golden age of television when only a handful channels were available, unlike today’s surfeit of options.

In today’s climate, there is absolutely no good reason to calendar your favorite network programs for a set time on a weekly basis.

Streaming is so common that you can pick up a show like “Bluff City Law” to watch weeks or even months after the season premiere.

The question to ask is whether the return of Jimmy Smits to the courtroom is worth the effort. Granted, he has the chops for this type of role. After all, Smits was Victor Sifuentes, an attorney involved in plenty of hot-topic issues in the long-running “L.A. Law” series.

In “Bluff City Law,” Smits’ Elijah Strait is a prominent attorney heading up a Memphis law firm that for the most part represents the little guy fighting the system or some faceless corporate entity willfully engaged in bad behavior.

For some odd reason, some of the best legal dramas involve a bunch of lawyers that aren’t particularly likable. I’m thinking of how much I enjoyed the long run of “Suits” on the USA cable network.

Honestly, a show like “Suits” worked even though most of the lawyers were either devious, duplicitous, bad-tempered, egotistical, emotionally distant, abusive to clerks or terribly flawed in too many ways to count.

Elijah Strait has his own set of problems, namely that he’s estranged from his lawyer-daughter Sydney Strait (Caitlin McGee) who once worked in the family firm but left to work for what a plaintiff lawyer would call the “dark side.”

A tough corporate attorney, Sydney demonstrates in the series’ early stages that she’s fearless in the courtroom and shows no compunction about going for the jugular to crush a hapless victim hoping for a payday from a company with deep pockets.

The fight for social justice is apparently not exactly on Sydney’s agenda, but she does take great offense that her father was a serial philanderer, an unfortunate circumstance that caused her to take her talents elsewhere.

After barely speaking to her father for years, Sydney is suddenly thrust back into the family fold when her mother, who also worked at the firm, passes away unexpectedly.

The funeral brings father and daughter face-to-face after years of estrangement, and Elijah begs Sydney to return to fight for what’s right and to “change the world.” What’s left unsaid is giving up the big bucks of corporate work for the satisfaction of sticking up for principles.

During the summer TV press tour, executive producer Dean Georgaris intimated the series would strike a balance between legal cases and personal issues, but then added the first big case would be inspired by Monsanto’s legal troubles.

Once Sydney, despite the lingering resentment and distrust of her father, takes the plunge back into the family business, she proves that her killer instinct is very much in play going up against a corporate malefactor.

Fireworks fly in the courtroom, and Sydney crosses the line when she challenges what appear to be biased rulings issued by the judge and ends up held in contempt of court and forced into a timeout in a jail cell.

The case involves a manufacturer of an agricultural product that has caused one man to have terminal cancer. Now she’s fighting for the little guy in a death match contest with corporate titans.

It won’t take too much brainpower to figure out the end game of this courtroom battle. The fun part is watching the Strait family team maneuvering through the procedural aspects of the law.

In the end, that’s exactly what “Bluff City Law” has to offer, namely a procedural legal drama with few surprises. I prefer a show like “Suits” where it was often a puzzle as how the sharp lawyers would get out of legal jams.

What “Bluff City Law” has going for it is the steady hand of Jimmy Smits at the helm. But is it enough to carry the series for the long run, let alone even one season? I am thinking the odds are not in the show’s favor.

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

“Living Art Nouveau, the Life and Art of Clotilde Druault Marchand, 1878-1930.” Courtesy image.

UPPER LAKE, Calif. – Lake County Wine Studio is hosting a book signing at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, with Dr. Paul Marchand of Lakeport.

The book, “Living Art Nouveau, the Life and Art of Clotilde Druault Marchand, 1878-1930,” is a celebration of the life and art of Clotilde, Dr. Marchand’s grandmother, who lived during the time of the Belle Epoque, or “beautiful time.

The visual arts, painting and sculpture were only part of her story. She was also a musician, playing the mandolin when it was considered a classical instrument, playing with a symphony orchestra, as did her husband (Jules) Henri Marchand, a noted sculptor.

She was a wife, mother and an immigrant. She was in the first class in which women were allowed to study fine arts in the most prestigious art school in all of France, the Ecole de Beaux Arts de Paris. This placed her among the artistic giants of the era.

This was a time when art was no longer strictly representational. New arts no longer were needed to document reality. This was the birthplace of modern art. To be alive and in Paris at that time must have been extraordinary.

Understanding Art Nouveau and the title "Living Art Nouveau" requires a brief introduction to the Belle Epoque.

To really understand the changes in Paris of the latter half of the 19th century, a couple of important points must be understood.

The term Belle Epoque is often used to describe this period. Depending on who you read, this period is marked by the end of the Paris Commune (1871) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).

Other writers speak of Paris in the decade of 1890 to 1900 (certainly the height of the spirit of the time). Further confusion is the (less common) extension of this period to include the period between World War One and World War Two. Most people usually refer to the earlier time (1871 to 1914).

The Belle Epoque certainly was not universally beautiful for all people, but the economic rise of Western Europe, especially Paris, made it the epicenter of innovation.

After defeat in the Franco Prussian war in 1871, France – especially Paris – literally rose from ashes to become the intellectual, cultural, artistic and even fashion capital of the Western world.

The reasons were in part because of new technology. Advances in metallurgy meant steel strong enough to build massive structures such as the Eiffel Tower in 1887.

The economic power of the second industrial revolution provided Western Europe with a new upper middle class that was able to enjoy luxuries like newly invented electric lighting – in public streets and public buildings. Paris rightly became the “City of Light.”

Relative peace in Western Europe was contrasted with colonial conquests overseas; but the economic advantage of colonialism meant even more economic development. Mass transit transformed Paris into one of the most cosmopolitan cities in history. Because of the influence (in part) of the Paris Commune, relations among the church, state, and traditional authoritarian social values, became the focal point of intellectual discussion – setting a tone of rebellion.

The world of the liberal arts, from philosophy to fashion, flourished. This was a time when music, literature, architecture, poetry, sculpture and decorative arts were the order of the day. Consumerism was unashamed, with the advent of department stores from Printemps (1865) to Galaries Lafayette (1912) delighting the newly formed leisure class.

To be fashionable was to be refined. To be refined was to be educated and articulate, definitely not about frivolous diversions, and progressive. It was a time dominated by optimism and freedom from the constraints of previous social bias. Professional sporting events were begun, women's activism, including women entering the workforce, became much more common. The corset was shed in favor of the “femme sportive.” Photography had evolved enough to document newsworthy events in unblinking, if unforgiving, detail.

Clotilde Druault Marchand thrived because of talent and industry, but also the time in which she lived (1878 to 1930). Clues to the type of world she lived in are found in her work.

Join the Wine Studio in Upper Lake this Saturday afternoon to learn more and to see images of her works.

The Lake County Wine Studio is located at 9505 Main St., Upper Lake.

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

I highly recommend a new anthology called Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, edited by James Crews and published by Green Writers Press in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Here's just one of the many fine poems, this one by Jeffrey Harrison, whose poetry we've published here before.

His most recent book is “Into Daylight” (Tupelo Press), in which this poem was originally published, and he makes his home in Massachusetts.

A Drink of Water

When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;

And when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it's the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don't tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,

because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,

which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time . . .
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.

American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by Jeffrey Harrison, "A Drink of Water," from Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness & Connection, ed., James Crews, (Green Writers Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Jeffrey Harrison and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

“All That Is Now: The Fourth Fire Anniversary Show” at the Middletown Art Center in Middletown, California. In the foreground is Rolf Kriken’s Futility of War. Photo by MAC staff.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – The Middletown Art Center is pleased to feature the Shannon Ridge Family of Wines for Palette to Palate, an intimate pairing of wine and art, on Friday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The guest is Joy Merrilees, director of winemaking and production for Shannon Ridge.

The featured exhibit at MAC is “All That Is Now: The Fourth Fire Anniversary Show.” This is also a closing reception for the exhibit, which concludes Nov. 17.

The evening celebrates the art of wine making through Shannon Ridge’s lush fruit forward wines and the work of local artists created in response to the experience of fire – from red and white wines, to charred wood, bronzes, ceramics, paintings, photography, or benches and tables crafted from trees felled by fire.

“The creative impulse in any medium is essential to life, to resilience, and to thriving”, said Artist and MAC Director Lisa Kaplan. “The ‘All That Is Now’ exhibit is poignant and powerful, and the addition of Herb Lingl’s aerial photos provide a much needed perspective, especially after the Kincade fire.”

Merrilees is a Lake County native who brings a wealth of experience to her position at Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery.

She has a bachelor of science degree in plant science and landscape design from Humboldt State University and continued her winemaking education at Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand, and the extension program at the University of California, Davis.

Her winemaking experience includes both domestic and international winemaking and production including Steele Wines, where she was assistant winemaker, and J. Christopher Wines in Oregon.

Overseas, she has worked at Margaret River Vintners in Western Australia and Isabel Vineyard Wines, Valli Vineyards, VinPro Limited and Morworth Estate Winery, all of which are in New Zealand.

Merrilees is passionate about the wine industry in Lake County. Learn more about Shannon Ridge Family of Wines at:

Admission is $10 for the tastings with additional glasses of wine available for purchase. Light refreshments will be available as well non-alcoholic alternative beverages. The tasting is complementary for MAC Members.
Palette to Palate helps support the Middletown Art Center’s breadth of programming. The MAC is a vibrant cultural hub and non-profit dedicated to weaving the arts into the fabric of Lake County communities. Consider becoming an annual member with special VIP discounts while helping to sustain local arts and culture and art education. Donations to the MAC are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

MAC is located at 21456 Highway 175 at the junction of Highway 29 in the heart of Middletown. Gallery hours are Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or by appointment by calling 707-809-8118.

Visit to learn more about exhibitions, classes, events, volunteer opportunities and membership.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Theatre Co. is hosting open auditions for its next play, “Alice in Pantoland.”

Auditions will be held Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Kelseyville United Methodist Church, 3810 Main St.

Everyone age 10 to adult is encouraged to audition.

Performances of “Alice in Pantoland” will take place at the Upper Lake Middle School Theatre Feb. 28 to March 8.

Panto is a form of interactive theater, certain to give the whole family a rollicking good time.

“Panto takes a new look at old favorites with interaction between the performers and audience. Boo for the villians and cheer for the heroes of our story. This is a family friendly performance and fun for all ages,” said Director Dennis Fay.

Join Alice and her friends in a quest to find out what is happening in Pantoland.

The jam for the Queen’s tea-time tarts has gone missing. Who has stolen the jam? Will they find the culprit? Will the queen have jam for her tarts at tea-time?

All of your favorite characters are here in this wonderfully colorful and imaginative panto.

The Lake County Theatre Co. seeks actors, singers and dancers ages 10 and up for this original twist on “Alice in Wonderland that is sure to delight kids and adults alike.”

For more information, please call Director Dennis Fay at 707-278-9628.

Upcoming Calendar

11.20.2019 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Special Clearlake City Council meeting
Clearlake City Hall
11.20.2019 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
First 5 Lake Commission
Lake County Office of Education
11.20.2019 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Spirit of the Season registration
11.20.2019 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Western Region Town Hall
11.20.2019 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rock of Faith Church Bible study
11.21.2019 6:30 pm
Lake County Progressives
Round Table Pizza
11.21.2019 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Lucerne Area Town Hall
Lucerne Alpine Senior Center
11.21.2019 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Redbud Audubon meeting
Taylor Observatory

Mini Calendar



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