Saturday, 04 February 2023

Arts & Life



LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Soper Reese Theater, Sierra Club Lake Group and Middletown Art Center invite the public to a special screening and conversation with filmmaker Luke Grisworld-Tergis about his award winning documentary film, “Pleistocene Park.”

The screening will take place on Sunday, Jan 29, at 2:30 p.m. at the Soper Reese Theatre.

Get tickets in advance at Soperreesetheatre.com, free/by donation, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Griswold-Tregis, an award-winning filmmaker and graduate from Lower Lake High School, studied cultural anthropology and ethnographic film at University of California, Santa Cruz.

“Pleistocene Park,” recently released, has already won prestigious awards at numerous film festivals.

Luke Grisworld-Tergis. Courtesy photo.


“Pleistocene Park” tells the story of “a Russian Geophysicist Sergey Zimov and his son Nikita – part genius, part madman — a vanished ice age ecosystem, a climatic timebomb, and a crazy plan to save the world.”

In the movie the men call their project Pleistocene Park and its goal is to restore the Ice Age "mammoth steppe" ecosystem and avoid a catastrophic feedback loop leading to runaway global warming.

This daring and controversial experiment elicits many questions which Griswold will discuss with us Jan 29. He also presents the theory in his Tedx Talk, “Can Wooly Mammoths Save the World.”

In Griswold-Tregis’s own words: “My approach, in making this film, is to follow the characters as they navigate this controversy. They face nearly insurmountable odds. Their physical/logistical/financial struggles to create Pleistocene Park are matched by their scientific struggles to demonstrate that the theory works as advertised. As heroes, Sergey and Nikita are complicated and fallible. This is what makes it a good story. This film isn’t advocacy promoting Pleistocene Park. It will treat the main characters empathically, while critically engaging their claims. Whether they are successful or not, the quixotic attempt is still heroic.”

As audience member Kevin White said after viewing the film: "I love this film! It has folly, it has beauty, defeat, perseverance, despair, and success–like life."

We hope this will be the first in a series “Creative Thinkers of Lake County, CA” highlighting home-grown artists, scientists, engineers, educators and innovators who will share their work and accomplishments with the community to inspire others.



‘PLANE’ RATED R

The dog days of January often prove to be the dumping ground for new films, but the death-defying thrills in “Plane” serve as a reminder that Gerard Butler’s action hero could be the saving grace for a rousing B-grade delight.

Working for a third-rate commercial airline, Butler’s Captain Brodie Torrance is stuck with a New Year’s Eve flight from Singapore to Tokyo with barely more than a dozen passengers.

The most unwilling passenger is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), a convicted murderer being transported by an armed FBI agent for extradition back to the United States.

More than anything, the widowed Brodie is eager to join his teenage daughter for the holiday, while his young co-pilot Samuel (Yoson An) is a family man just as anxious to get home.

The rest of the crew, except for flight attendant Bonnie (Daniella Pineda), and the passengers barely register notice. But then, there is the requisite jerk traveler who mostly complains over trifling matters.

Extremely turbulent skies and a lightning strike disable the airliner in the area of the Jolo island cluster of the Philippines, which is treacherous terrain ruled by a rogue militia of violent separatists.

After miraculously landing the plane in a deserted jungle and saving everyone who managed to keep their seatbelts firmly attached, Torrance quickly learns that surviving the landing was just the beginning of their ordeal.

The only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis, as the villainous militia leader Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor) and his thugs kidnap the rest of the crew and passengers.

Back in New York, while airline execs dither over the public relations fallout of losing a plane, corporate troubleshooter Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn) organizes a group of mercenaries for a rescue mission.

Time is of the essence, and thus Brodie and Louis resort to guerilla warfare of their own and serious gunplay is inevitable. The best action sequence, though, is tense hand-to-hand combat when Brodie is ambushed by a guerilla.

The virtue of “Plane” is that it revels in its B-grade action thrills, fully knowing that with Gerard Butler at the helm it delivers the goods for its intended audience. What more could you ask for during the dreary month of January?

‘ALERT: MISSING PERSONS UNIT’ AND ‘ANIMAL CONTROL’ ON FOX

For the new procedural drama “Alert: Missing Persons Unit,” the title says it all. Set in the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit, each episode features a heart-pounding, life-or-death search for, you guessed it, a missing person.

Each episode’s search runs alongside police officers Jason Grant (Scott Caan) and his ex-wife Nikki Batista (Dania Ramirez) in their series-long quest to find out the truth about their long-lost son.

Six years ago, while working overseas, Jason received a call that every parent fears. His son Keith (Graham Verchere) had gone missing. From that moment forward, the lives of Jason, Nikki and their daughter Sydney (Fivel Stewart) were turned upside down.

Throughout the search to find Keith, Jason and Nikki’s marriage deteriorated and they grew apart. Jason moved into private security, while Nikki was promoted with the Philly P.D. to head of the Missing Persons Unit (MPU).

At the MPU, Nikki has been able to do for others what she wasn’t able to do for herself, namely bring a loved one back home. She leads a team of skilled officers, including her current love interest Mike (Ryan Broussard), whom she met when he was assigned to oversee the search for Keith.

Another MPU member is Kemi (Adeola Role), who is proficient in many languages, highly discerning of visual clues, and uses her know-how as a shaman to take a holistic approach to her job.

Forensic anthropologist C (guest star Petey Gibson) is a master of reconstructing the faces of those who have disappeared. The MPU team works to find the missing, abducted or kidnapped, and help reunite them with their loved ones.

When Jason receives a possible proof-of-life photo that Keith is very much alive, he and Nikki will reunite personally and professionally to continue the fight for their son.

Arriving on Thursday, February 16, workplace comedy “Animal Control” stars Joel McHale (“Community”) as Frank, an opinionated, eccentric Animal Control officer who may not have gone to college but is still the most well-read person in the room.

A former cop, Frank tried to expose corruption in his department, but his efforts got him fired, which may explain why he’s so cynical and curmudgeonly. He has almost superhuman ability to understand animals, but humans not so much.

Frank is assigned a new partner, Fred “Shred” Taylor (Michael Rowland), an optimistic rookie Animal Control officer. They both report to their sweet-natured and endearingly awkward boss Emily Price (Vella Lovell).

Amit Patel (Ravi Patel) and Victoria Sands (Grace Palmer) are also partners, though they could not be more opposite. Templeton Dudge (Gerry Dee), an Animal Control officer from a neighboring precinct, has a real chip on his shoulder.

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

Frankie J, Spencer Brewer, Barney McClure, Elena Casanova, Charlie Seltzer, Elizabeth MacDougall and Ed Reinhart. Courtesy photo.

UKIAH, Calif. — On Jan. 21 and 22, the 30th Professional Pianist Concert will once again hit the stage with two exciting concerts featuring eleven different pianists at the Mendocino College Center Theatre in Ukiah.

Performers letting the keys fly this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Barney McClure, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Ben Rueb and Charlie Seltzer.

The musical styles range from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime. Each performance will be completely different.

This utterly fun and stimulating series features the finest regional pianists on stage in a living room environment.

Throughout the performance they trade stories and melodies with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations.

The event is an annual sellout because of the diversity and quality of music in a multitude of styles, and the humor that takes place throughout the evening.

“Lost and Found,” a special assemblage sculpture show featuring artists Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel, will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend.

Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m., will feature Spencer Brewer, Wendy DeWitt, Chris James, Frankie J, Elizabeth MacDougall and Barney McClure.

Sunday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m. will include Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Ed Reinhart, Ben Rueb and Charlie Seltzer.

No two concerts are the same, so if you love piano and piano music, please consider enjoying more than one performance!

The concerts benefit the Ukiah Community Concert Association, Mendocino College Recording Arts Club and the Allegro Scholarship Program.

Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and online at www.UkiahConcerts.org.

Tickets are $25 general admission and $30 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call 707-463-2738.

Sponsors are Fowler Auto Center, Sparetime Supply, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Ukiah Community Concerts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. Wine & refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association.

The Mendocino College Center Theatre is at 1000 Hensley Creek Rd in Ukiah. There will be autographed CDs, music and books by the artists for sale in the lobby.

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

00:20 ALARM 2301050001
Occurred on Lakeport Bl. Disposition: CHECKS OK.

11:01 FOUND PROPERTY 2301050065
Occurred at Lakeport Police Department on S Main. RP FOUND A WALLET AND WOULD LIKE TO TURN IT IN. Disposition: REPORT TAKEN.

11:19 PROBLEM WITH A SUBJECT 2301050069
Occurred at Lake County Tribal Health on Bevins Ct. PER EMP KNOWN FEMALE SUBJECT IS ON SCENE YELLING AND SCREAMING POSSIBLY ON HNS. Disposition: ARREST MADE.

11:41 VEHICLE CODE/OTHER OFFENSES 2301050071
Occurred at N MAIN/10TH. WHITE TOYOTA ABANDONED ON THE ROADWAY AND STRIPPED. Disposition: WARNING.

14:23 WIRELESS 911 HANG UP 2301050086
Occurred at Lake County Tribal Health on Bevins Ct. TXF TO CDF FOR FIRE. Disposition: GENERAL SERVICES RENDERED.

15:20 SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES 2301050092
Occurred at Anchorage Inn on N Main. RP CONCERNED ABOUT FRIEND AND HER CHILDREN WHO ARE STAYING WITH KNOWN MALE, BELIEVES THEY ARE NOT IN A SAFE PLACE. Disposition: GENERAL SERVICES RENDERED.

16:13 PROBLEM WITH A SUBJECT 2301050100
Occurred at Kmart on S Main. RP WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK TO AN OFFICER REGARDING A VEHICLE THAT DID A BURNOUT IN THE PARKING LOT. Disposition: GONE ON ARRIVAL.

18:00 EXTRA PATROL 2301050114
Occurred on Lakeshore Bl. SOMEONE KEEPS OPENING GATES ON PROPERTY. Disposition: GENERAL SERVICES RENDERED.

20:31 TRAFFIC ACCIDENT NON INJURY 2301050127
Occurred at Drinx on S Main. MALE SUBJ CRASHED INTO A PARKED VEH AND IS NOW HIDING ON FOOT BHD LAKEPORT FURNITURE..RESP DESC: WMA TALL/300 POUNDS. LSW A HAT. BLUE WHITE AND GRAY FLANNEL SHIRT. Disposition: ARREST MADE.

20:39 PROBLEM WITH A SUBJECT 2301050128
Occurred at Forbes Apartments on S Forbes. KNOWN MALE IS SCREAMING VERY LOUD AND IS TEARING UP HIS APARTMENT. RP IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE RESP BEING VIOLENT AND STATES 2 OFFICERS WILL BE NEEDED. Disposition: WARNING.

23:00 FOLLOW UP 2301050132
Officer initiated activity at Drinx, S Main, Lakeport. Disposition: REPORT TAKEN.

Barbara Clark and John Tomlinson in a production of “Romantic Fools” 10 years ago. Photo by Craig Eve.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — This Valentine's Day there is something romantic happening.

Here's the story: about 10 years ago, a young theater couple decided to put on a play together.

That play is “Romantic Fools” by Rich Orloff.

It is about a couple that searches for love, finds each other and settles in together to get married. It was the actors' exact story, except for, at the time, the marriage.

Now, 10 years later, the couple, Barbara Clark and John Tomlinson, are married for three years now.

“Romantic Fools” was the first play presented by their shared production company, New Vintage Productions.

With 10 years of perspective to reflect upon, they are ready to bring the show back.

“It's a fun, funny show, with a little bit of romance in time for Valentine's Day,” Tomlinson said.

The story focuses on Lori (Barbara Clark) and Andrew (John Tomlinson), two singles who relate the struggles of single life through a series of scenes.

Each is able to take on different characters in the vignettes that show blind dates, and even imagined dates, until the two finally meet at the end of the first act.

The second act has scenes of the two figuring each other out and how to make it work.

“When we first did this, in many ways we were just like Andrew and Lori when they first met. Now we feel like we have lived their lives and get to do the play again,” said Clark.

The production also marks the directing debut of Tiffany Harz for New Vintage Productions. She has been involved with the company before with “A Night at the Speakeasy.”

Audiences may also recognize her from her appearances on stage with Shakespeare at the Lake, a Lake County Theatre Co. and Mendocino College co-production.

Harz said, “I am very excited about this play! It has been such a pleasure to work with John and Barbara; they are such talented and funny actors. I cannot wait for an audience to enjoy it as much as I have.”

The play has mature themes, and is recommended for adult audiences. Still, the production team believes it is tastefully done.

“I mean it's not obscene, however it does discuss things that happen between men and women, and, well … what do you discuss between men and women?” Clark commented jokingly.

When asked what it would be like to bring back this show, Tomlinson said, “We are super excited. We've grown so much as actors, and so much as people, that it's really exciting to get to reflect on a piece that we did when we were so youthful and hopeful. And we're trying to recapture some of that now, and we hope you'll come check it out.”

“Romantic Fools” by Rich Orloff will be performed Feb. 10 to 12 at the Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum, and Feb. 17 to 19 at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport.

Fridays and Saturdays shows are at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

For more information call John Tomlinson at 707-355-2211.



In the Paramount Pictures production notes for “Babylon,” this epic film is described as a tale of outsized and outrageous excesses that traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of “unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.”

This description of the period in 1920s Los Angeles is on the mark as well as oddly candid for the usual adulatory promotion that oozes out from a studio’s publicity machine. In fact, absorb the idea of rampant decadence and depravity as a warning.

From the beginning moments when an elephant defecates on a worker transporting the animal to the debauched party set for that evening at the mansion of a Hollywood mogul, you should know it’s not the only grotesquerie that awaits.

The party scene introduces the primary characters whose lives will intersect in different ways as the silent film era transitions to the talkies. The top star is dashing Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), who evokes the likes of Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert and Rudolph Valentino.

Jack arrives at the party with his soon to be ex-wife Ina (Olivia Wilde) and partakes in so much alcohol that he needs a ride home from Manny Torres (Diego Calva), a wide-eyed dreamer desperate for a spot in the film industry.

As a Mexican-American outsider, Manny needs all the help he can get for a break, but a series of circumstances will find him reaching the upper levels of studio management.

Another partygoer is Margot Robbie’s free-spirited Nellie LaRoy whose rise to stardom will be marred by her gambling addiction and inability to maintain a sense of dignity and poise in certain social situations.

Interesting minor characters include Jean Smart’s gossip columnist Elinor St. John, Tobey Maguire’s creepy gangster and Eric Roberts as Nellie’s dodgy money-grubbing father who fights rattlesnakes.

Writer and director Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) spent years researching the darker side of the story of the shift from silent film to the talkies, and what he delivers in his film causes one to wonder what was his target audience.

“Babylon” revels in the depraved, hedonistic folly of the movie business in a way that will disturb many. The opinion of the critics as well as the audience seems to be split, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes.

In my view, “Babylon” is a three-hour-plus slog that is such a struggle to endure that if it had an intermission the temptation would have been to leave and cut my losses.

EPIX REBRANDING AS MGM+

The premium and commercial-free linear and streaming service EPIX is rebranding as MGM+ with a launch on January 15th timed with the Season Three premiere of the acclaimed series “Godfather of Harlem.”

MGM has always been an archetypal brand in the world of cinema, and Michael Wright, head of MGM+ stated that the streaming service is a place for viewers to “find television that reflects and celebrates the legacy of the iconic MGM brand.”

Simply stated, “MGM is television for movie lovers,” according to the streaming service’s desire to trade on its legendary brand to deliver “cinematic programming with sophisticated storytelling.” Current EPIX subscribers will be transferred to this new platform.

One of the first programs to air on February 5th is the new true crime four-part docuseries that pulls back the curtain on America’s most infamous jewel thief Jack Roland Murphy in the provocatively titled “Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus, and Mayhem in the USA.”

In October 2019, the New York Times published an article celebrating the 150th anniversary of New York’s American Museum of Natural History. One of the most momentous events to take place on site was an epic jewel heist.

This was the biggest caper in American history, mastered by a band of “surfer dudes” from Miami in 1964. The key to the operation was Jack Roland Murphy, otherwise known as Murf the Surf, whose name was propelled into pop culture after the heist.

The heist created a notoriety that would stretch far beyond the caper. What followed Murf’s meteoric rise is a spiraling tale of unspeakable crime, murder, deception and mayhem which, to this day, remains shrouded in mystery.

The documentary series explores the tumultuous life of the man behind the legendary nickname. Featuring exclusive access to Murphy himself prior to his death in 2020, the series addresses the blurred line between fact and fiction, faith and delusion, sanity and madness.

The six-episode series thriller “A Spy Among Friends,” based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre, dramatizes the true story of two British spies and lifelong friends, Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby.

Intelligence officer Philby became the most notorious British defector and Soviet double agent in history. His deeply personal betrayal, uncovered at the height of the Cold War, resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence.

Although a premiere date for “A Spy Among Friends” has not yet been set, it’s good to know that the cast features Emmy-winning actors Damian Lewis (“Billions”) and Guy Pearce (“Mare of Easttown”).

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

Upcoming Calendar

7Feb
02.07.2023 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Area Agency on Aging
8Feb
02.08.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
100+ Women Strong in Lake County
9Feb
02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
11Feb
11Feb
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
12Feb
02.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
14Feb
02.14.2023
Valentine's Day
16Feb
02.16.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
18Feb
20Feb
02.20.2023
Presidents' Day

Mini Calendar

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