Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Arts & Life

The Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus invites women who like to sing to join them for their holiday show.

No experience is necessary.

Rehearsals are held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday at 1125 Martin St., Lakeport.

The holiday show will be on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Martin Street location.

Mendo-Lake Singers is a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, the world’s largest women’s barbershop and a cappella singing organization.

For more information or to hire the Mendo-Lake Singers to sing at a holiday event, contact Director Pam Klier, 707-400-8380, or President Donna Bowen, 707-350-0644.

“Pomo Dancer” by Eric Wilder.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Art Center will host a design workshop with Pomo Culture bearer and artist, Eric Wilder, on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 1 to 5 p.m.

This free workshop is part of the Water Basket project’s education series and is designed to support native people in bringing expressions of their innate cultural heritage into public space and non-native people in learning more about Pomo cultural heritage.

Water Basket honors the first people, their culture, and the rich legacy of Pomo basketry that is unique to this region and renowned worldwide.

“We use basket designs to weave a foundation to teach our history to our children so that they know who they are and where they come from,” said Wilder. “At the basket design class I will help participants clarify what kind of story they are wanting to share to teach people about this area. Perhaps it will be a story of protection or one of nurturing?”

Wilder will lead participants in creating designs for 360-degree murals for the two water tanks on Rabbit Hill. The tanks can be seen from a distance of over a mile and from above.

Like the designs woven into Pomo baskets, design proposals should reflect the area’s history, people, and ecology utilizing geometric and organic shapes that are symbolic of the land, plants, and animals native to this region.

By sharing a process he uses in his own work, Wilder will guide participants in articulating the concepts or stories they wish to communicate and selecting the pattern design elements they want to incorporate.

He will address aesthetic considerations including legibility and scale particular to this project. Individual, collaborative, and intercultural or multi-generational proposals for the water baskets are encouraged.

Wilder is from the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. He is a freelance artist with a rich background in graphic design, and animation and illustration from the gaming industry.

He has served in his tribe’s government and carries traditions and wisdom of his tribe and family that have been passed down for generations.

Wilder is passionate about storytelling and designing cultural resources that are accessible to his people, especially younger generations, to preserve cultural knowledge and traditions.

Sign up for this enriching, informative and supportive workshop this Saturday, and learn more about the call for work and Water Basket project at www.middletownartcenter.org/waterbasket.

Water Basket is a collaboration between Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Pomo artists, Callayomi County Water District and the Middletown Art Center. It’s funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding from the Middletown Rancheria, the water district and public support.

Middletown Art Center is a Lake County nonprofit dedicated to engaging the public in art making, art education and art appreciation. Through exhibitions, performances, workshops and community events, the center provides a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, striving to create an inclusive and accessible space for all.

To learn more and donate to support Water Basket and other MAC programs visit www.middletownartcenter.org or call 707-809-8118. The MAC is located at 21456 State Highway 175 in Middletown.



‘THE BURIAL’ RATED R ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Based on a true story, Amazon Prime’s legal drama “The Burial” is likely as any fact-based movie to take liberties with real events, but the outcome is thoroughly enjoyable even if one is familiar or not with the 1999 New Yorker article of the same name about a flamboyant Florida trial attorney.

The colorful person at the center of the story is Willie E. Gray, a personal injury lawyer who rose to legal prominence from his upbringing as a sharecropper’s son. From a rags-to-riches lifestyle, Willie acquired the nickname “The Giant Killer” for slaying rapacious corporations.

Despite being sharply-dressed and sporting a diamond-covered Rolex watch and gold-framed spectacles, Willie has the persuasive courtroom demeanor of a mix of Southern Baptist preacher and circus showman that appeals to ordinary folk.

That Willie (Jamie Foxx) has become so famous and wealthy in victorious courtroom battles has even led to an interview on Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” highlighting his excessive high life, including the pair of shiny Rolls-Royces owned by him and his wife Gloria (Amanda Warren).

Who better to portray this legal giant, who lives in a 50-room Florida mansion and owns a private airliner named “Wings of Justice,” than the talented Jamie Foxx whose charisma and dramatic chops could not have been better utilized to shine in the lap of luxury and the theatrics of courtroom drama?

Meanwhile, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Tommy Lee Jones’ Jeremiah “Jerry” O’Keefe is celebrating his 75th birthday with his wife Annette (Pamela Reed) and thinking about how to leave behind a legacy for his 13 children.

His funeral home business at a few locations around the state has come under pressure from state insurance regulators, and the stress causes Jerry to engage his lifelong friend and attorney Mike Allred (Alan Ruck) to look into selling some of his parlors to a Canadian conglomerate.

The Loewen Group, headed by unscrupulous Canadian billionaire Ray Loewen (Bill Camp), is gobbling up so many burial homes all across Canada and the United States that you wonder if antitrust statutes are being violated.

On board Loewen’s expensive yacht, Jerry reaches a deal that should extricate him from his financial troubles, but the dodgy death industry mogul slow walks, signing the contract and making the payment the Mississippi businessman so desperately needs.

While his attorney Allred is an old school Southern patrician, Jerry is encouraged by young Black associate lawyer Hal Dockins (Mamoudou Athie), to consider a different legal tack by hiring the flashy Florida litigator who has never handled contract law.

The factor of race comes into play because Jerry’s team files a civil lawsuit in Hinds County where the jury pool will undoubtedly consist predominantly of African-Americans and the judge assigned the case is likely to also be Black.

The strategy of the lead plaintiff attorney being a person of color becomes even more crucial when allegations are leveled at the Canadian-owned funeral homes for taking advantage of low-income, mostly Black customers into purchasing overpriced burial services.

The Loewen Group counters by hiring as lead counsel Mame Downes (Jurnee Smollett), a driven, beautiful Black woman with a razor-sharp mind and a pleasing yet perceptive courtroom demeanor that proves at the outset to be more than equal to Willie’s power of persuasion.

In what can only be a strategic blunder, Jerry ends up on the witness stand only to be eviscerated on cross-examination. At this point, Willie and his cadre of Black colleagues are pushed aside for Allred to act as chief counsel.

A few twists and turns in the trial eventually unveil a disturbing reminder that ancient ties in the Deep South prove duly problematic in a climate where racial sensitivities can be truly nettlesome.

In a surprise to no one, Willie gets back in the legal saddle just as things are heating up. He pushes the envelope when manipulating the jury’s antipathy to an unsympathetic defendant by exposing his unsavory practices in the funeral industry and ostentatious wealth gained on the backs of the unfortunate.

Notwithstanding courtroom scenes that occasionally feel not wholly authentic, “The Burial” is a rousing crowd-pleaser that is endlessly entertaining for a dramatized real-life landmark case that resulted in a half-billion dollars judgment for the plaintiff.

Even Johnnie Cochran, for all his theatrics in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, seems inferior to the talents of Willie Gary. The only reason to mention this is when Willie and Mame meet at a hotel bar the TV screen is noticeable for a shot of Cochran in the middle of defending the ex-football player.

The major surprise behind “The Burial” is how it took almost a quarter-century for this compelling story to come to the screen. Apparently, the project bounced around various studios over the intervening years. Fortunately, we now have a film that is most definitely worth watching.

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



‘OLD DADS’ RATED R ON NETFLIX

If you have ever watched stand-up comedian Bill Burr on any of his comedy specials found on streaming services, you have a good idea of how his angry-man persona delivering the zingers that upset the easily offended remains his schtick in “Old Dads” now running on Netflix.

Middle-aged and married to a much younger wife Leah (Katie Aselton), Burr’s Jack Kelly is a father to a preschool son at an elite school run by the unbearable Dr. Lois Schmieckel-Turner (Rachael Harris). Confrontation with the principal’s political correctness is inevitable.

Jack ends up in hot water when he takes crass umbrage to the principal berating him for being two minutes late to pick up his son. A torment of verbal abuse puts him in the uncomfortable spot of having to make amends, lest his child fails to get a coveted recommendation to a private grade school.

Meanwhile, Jack and his two partners, Connor (Bobby Cannavale) and Mike (Bokeem Woodbine), sell their sportswear company and stay on as employees answering to insufferable millennial CEO Aspen Bell (Miles Robbins) who views the trio as unhip dinosaurs.

Divorced with sons in college, Mike thinks his life is unraveling when his much-younger girlfriend Britney (Reign Edwards) gets pregnant. Desperately trying to be young and hip, Connor deals with a nightmarishly bratty preschool son and overbearing wife Cara (Jackie Thon).

As family and business woes pile up, the trio decides to go on a road trip to Vegas but only make it so far as Palm Desert, where hijinks ensue while partying with strippers and engaging in general misbehavior.

Much of what happens involves the three buddies acting out their amusing man-child aggressions, ranting about parking spaces, scooters hogging the road, and PC culture. It’s mostly Jack, though, with comical anger management issues.

Granted, the three old guys yell and loudly curse to such an extent that some may find the comedy to be exceedingly vulgar and ill-mannered. The gauge of willingness to enjoy “Old Dads” will be familiarity as well as delight in Bill Burr’s outrageous, overblown biting humor.



‘GOOD COP, BAD COP’ ON ID TV

A staple of police shows is often the “good cop, bad cop” routine to interrogate suspects. For the six-episode series on ID TV, “Good Cop, Bad Cop” takes on a completely different connotation.

Retired detective Garry McFadden, a highly decorated veteran of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, worked over 800 homicide cases and never lost a homicide case during a trial.

With his stellar career in police work, McFadden is a perfect choice to host a series that recounts the pursuits of detectives to solve a complicated murder investigation with a startling twist: the perpetrator is a fellow member of law enforcement.

The synopses for episodes that start on Sunday, Nov. 12, are intriguing. In “Hunting Ground,” San Diego is in a state of panic after discovering the body of Cara Knott tossed over a highway bridge.

With dead-end leads and the city demanding answers, police must work quickly while leaving no stone unturned to bring this monster to justice.

A city’s worst fear comes to fruition when the body of University of Toledo sorority sister turns up riddled with bullets on campus in the “Handcuffs” episode. The investigation’s findings shock the community and test the public’s faith in law enforcement.

“Did You Kill Your Wife” episode finds state troopers arriving at the scene of a woman shot to death in her bed. They rule it suicide, but a tenacious detective reopens the case decades later. Modern forensics, a double life and new witnesses turn the facts of the case on its head.

When police in Jacksonville, Florida discover Sami Safar’s corpse, they have no idea of the scale of criminality they stumbled upon in the “Blind Spot” episode. The murder of a hardworking Syrian immigrant unravels a web of theft and violence spanning years.

In “Ticking time Bomb,” a woman’s corpse is found in flames outside of Atlanta. Police use surveillance footage to witness the victim’s last moment, including getting into the car that would take her to her death and ultimately lead police to her killer.

The last episode lands on Sunday, December 17th, with “Hunting the Hunter.” Calls flood into the Silverton PD dispatch about a man shooting Rashawn Berry in broad daylight and fleeing the scene.

A key piece of surveillance footage on the killer’s escape route shows that a broken heart could be at the center of this violent act.

Featuring interviews with those closely connected to the case and expert insight from the host, who solved hundreds of cases in his career, “Good Cop, Bad Cop” stories reveal just how difficult and dangerous it is when the killer is on the inside.

Staged and covered-up crime scenes make the investigations all the more complex. But these dedicated detectives are committed to capturing the criminals and bringing them to justice, no matter the cost or badge they wear.

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



LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — While volunteers are busy installing a new studio transmitter link for improved broadcasting capability, long-time programmer and local musician Herb Gura has been busy behind the scenes producing another standout show with singer, songwriter and political satirist, Roy Zimmerman.

“SING. LAUGH. HOPE” is the title of the concert.

“It’s an annual event and fundraiser for the station,” said Gura. “Roy is a longtime friend of community radio. We appreciate his support and the messaging inherent in his brand of humor. We sing, laugh and hope right along with him. It’s always a fun time and the venue is a favorite. We’re glad to be returning to the School House Museum.”

Roy Zimmerman is an American satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist who tours the country delighting audiences with his witty, humorous and intelligent style of songs that shine a light on subjects some may consider tableside taboo — like politics and religion.

But the moment he takes the stage his audiences welcome him with applause, followed by rousing laughter throughout the show.

“I love doing these concerts for my friends at KPFZ because I love community radio,” Zimmerman said.

Folk and Beyond radio programmer Dwain Goforth added, “Roy Zimmerman is this generation’s Tom Lehrer. Whatever your political persuasion — if you appreciate the comedic aspects of politics — you’ll love Roy’s unique ability to jab at the ironic nature of it all. He never disappoints.”

“We’ve seen Roy perform many times,” added Linda Lake, a former radio programmer and wife of the late Ron Green. “For a good laugh and a really good time, I highly recommend his concert.”

Tickets for the concert are on sale at Catfish Coffee in Clearlake and Watershed Books in Lakeport or by calling 707-263-3640. Some tickets will be available at the door.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the School House Museum 16435 Main St. in Lower Lake.

The concert is a benefit for Lake County Community Radio, Inc., the only commercial free nonprofit community radio station serving Lake County — in good times and in crisis — throughout the year.

Halloween is not just for kids dressing up and knocking on doors for candy. This is the time for anyone willing to enjoy the scary thrills of series and movies on television and streaming services.

The Turner Classic Movie channel has been showing an abundance of Creepy Cinema for the whole month, but it is Halloween day when all the chills and frights are going to be released for a 48-hour Terror-thon – 31 films with the most fear-inducing stories.

The early 1930s was indeed a golden age of great horror and monster movies. Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle struck gold for his struggling studio by adapting classic Victorian novels into cheaply made, but enormously popular horror films.

One of the first and best was the original “Frankenstein” (1931). Colin Clive plays Dr. Henry Frankenstein, the mad scientist obsessed with bringing people back from the dead.

Frankenstein manages to assemble a being made entirely of human body parts who then comes to life as a homicidal maniac set on killing his creator. The ensuing sequences are as terrifying today as they were over 90 years ago.

Boris Karloff gives one of the most chilling performances in all of film as the monster, a role he would recreate in two equally frightening sequels, “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and “House of Frankenstein” 1944.

Mel Brooks’ 1974 “Young Frankenstein” is a classic in the genre, even though it is a comedy, and it would be nice to find it on a streaming service. Peter Boyle could not be any better as the tap-dancing monster.

Gene Wilder’s Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a treat as the American grandson of the infamous scientist ending up in Transylvania, where he discovers the process to reanimate a dead body that goes all kind of wrong.

As its title suggests, Tod Browning’s “Freaks” (1932) is like nothing else you’ve ever seen. This peculiar film tells the story of a group of sideshow performers in a seedy carnival.

Olga Baclanova plays a scheming trapeze artist set on stealing a small inheritance from one of the little people performers, played by Harry Earles of the famous Dancing Dolls.

Drawing on his own experience as a carny and circus performer, Browning made the wise, though risky decision of casting the film with real sideshow performers; people
with real physical disabilities, including conjoined twins and amputees.

The aptly-named “Freaks” is a bizarre and gritty film with the kind of stark realism that is highly unlikely to be made by any major studio in today’s world. Imagine the controversy it would generate.

Fans of the anthology series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk will find four intriguing episodes of “American Horror Stories” third season having premiered on Hulu on October 26 that is being promoted as a Halloween extravaganza.

While some of the stories tie back to the main series, others provide distinct horror tales by interconnecting storylines from earlier seasons. Watching the horror anthology series FX’s “American Horror Story Four-Episode Huluween Event” on Hulu should do the trick.

On Hulu and Disney+, “Goosebumps” is a horror comedy series developed by Nicholas Stoller and Rob Letterman based on the popular book of the same name by R.L. Stine. The series stars Justin Long and Rachael Harris.

In the “Goosebumps” series, a group of high school students embark on a journey to investigate the tragic death of a teenager named Harold Biddle. While unearthing dark secrets surrounding the mystery, they unwittingly unleash supernatural forces on their town.

Notwithstanding their personal issues and rivalries, the teenagers must all work together to finish what they started. In doing so, they begin to learn more about their families’ secrets, which eventually leads to the answers to their questions.

AMC Networks’ annual “FearFest” is whipping up scares that started the beginning of the month, and every week AMC+ and Shudder have rolled out a new horror movie which began with the fan favorite “V/H/S” franchise.

“V/H/S/85,” the next installment in the infamous found footage anthology series, is an ominous mixtape blending never-before-seen snuff footage with nightmarish newscasts and home video to create a surreal mashup of the forgotten Eighties.

In the Shudder Original “The Puppetman,” a convicted killer on death row maintains his innocence saying it was an evil force controlling his body as he slaughtered his victims.

The killer’s daughter begins to suspect that there may be some truth to her father’s claim when those around begin to die in brutal ways. All hope rests on her shoulders to break The Puppetman’s curse.

The night before Halloween brings “Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor,” wherein a group of cold case investigators stay at the Carmichael Manor, the site of the unsolved murder of the Carmichael family in the Eighties.

After four nights, the group was never heard from again. What is discovered in their footage is even more disturbing than anything found on the Hell House tapes. It seems Shudder lives up to its name for the frights of its Halloween films.

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

Upcoming Calendar

16Apr
04.16.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
17Apr
04.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
18Apr
04.18.2024 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Earth Day celebration
20Apr
04.20.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Earth Day Celebration
Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center
20Apr
04.20.2024 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Boatique Wines Stand-up Comedy Night
25Apr
04.25.2024 1:30 pm - 7:30 pm
FireScape Mendocino workshop
27Apr
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Northshore Ready Fest
27Apr
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
27Apr
04.27.2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Inaugural Team Trivia Challenge

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