Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Arts & Life


Not likely to escape any sentient being’s notice is that 2024 is a presidential election year, and PBS’ “American Masters” continues its quest to examine influencers and disruptors of American political thought with “Thought Leaders,” its strand of programming focused on changemakers.

The “Thought Leaders” series returns with two new documentaries on Daniel Patrick Moynihan and William F. Buckley, Jr., two political titans who helped shape the current landscape of American democracy.

Narrated by Academy Award nominee Jeffrey Wright, “Moynihan” is the first-ever feature-length documentary to follow the life of former U.S. Senator and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

An interesting connection, of sorts, between Moynihan and William F. Buckley, Jr., is that Moynihan, who had already served in the Nixon administration and then as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was elected to the Senate in 1976 as a Democrat, beating Buckley’s brother James, the incumbent.

James L. Buckley had the distinction of being elected to the Senate representing the state of New York, running as the nominee of the Conservative Party of New York State, beating appointed Republican incumbent Charles Goodell and Democratic congressman Richard Ottinger.

An interesting fact about the 1970 election was that Charles Goodell had been appointed to the Senate by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to fill the vacancy created by the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Senator Goodell’s son is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Moynihan had a distinguished career of serving as an Assistant Secretary of Labor under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, devoting much of his time to the War on Poverty.

In a bipartisan spirit, Moynihan served as an Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in Richard Nixon’s first term, and after leaving the administration, he later accepted an appointment to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Moynihan authored the controversial report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” commonly known as “The Moynihan Report,” a document intended for Lyndon B. Johnson and his appointees that outlined Moynihan’s perspective on the forces that impact Black families in America.

“Moynihan” includes interviews with President Biden; New York Senator Charles Schumer; Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate to U.S. House of Representative from the District of Columbia; the late Henry Kissinger; and controversial author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

“The Incomparable Mr. Buckley” follows the personal and political journey of conservative writer, strategist, candidate and provocateur William F. Buckley, Jr., one of the architects of the modern conservative movement.

Born in 1925, Buckley joined the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed in the United States. After the war, he studied at Yale University, and after graduation penned “God and Man at Yale,” a book critical of his alma mater.

A short stint with the Central Intelligence Agency had Buckley, fluent in Spanish, stationed in Mexico City, where his boss was E. Howard Hunt, later known for his role as a central figure in the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.

A prolific author of books that could fill a library, Buckley did not focus on politics and history alone. He penned at least a dozen novels in a series that featured the exploits of fictitious CIA officer Blackford Oakes.

Aside from being a nationally syndicated columnist, Buckley may be best known as the founder and editor of “National Review” and host of the public affairs program “Firing Line” for over thirty years.

Rising to prominence as a public intellectual of the conservative movement, Buckley influenced a generation of politicians, including Senator Barry Goldwater’s presidential run in 1964 and the campaigns of Ronald Reagan.

More than just a political influencer, Buckley helped launch the conservative “Young Americans for Freedom” political activist group, which became involved in his brother’s run for the Senate.

Most notably, Buckley tossed his hat into the political ring with a quixotic run for Mayor of New York City in 1965 as the candidate of the Conservative Party. When asked what he would do if he won, Buckley replied, “Demand a recount.”

“The Incomparable Mr. Buckley” includes interviews with his only son, Christopher Buckley; Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of “National Review;” Jeff Greenfield, journalist and “Firing Line” moderator; Sam Tanenhaus, former editor of “The New York Times Book Review;” and Jay Nordlinger, Buckley’s biographer.

“Moynihan” premieres on Friday, March 29th, and “The Incomparable Mr. Buckley” on Friday, April 5th.


TCM announces that the festival’s closing night screening of “Spaceballs” will be presented by writer and director Mel Brooks, a genius in the comedy genre if there was ever one.

Famed director Steven Spielberg will have a Q&A with UCLA Film School’s Howard Suber ahead of the director’s cut screening of Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” a classic science fiction adventure.

Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (”Private Benjamin” and “Father of the Bride”) will introduce the world premiere restoration of one of her favorite movies, Alfred Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest,” completed by Warner Brothers and The Film Foundation.

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

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Award-winning New York City jazz pianist/accordionist Ben Rosenblum and his sextet, the Nebula Project, will perform an intimate concert at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport on Wednesday, April 10.

The show will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for general reserved and $30 for premium reserved.

The internationally-touring multi-instrumentalist has been described as “mature beyond his years,” (Sea of Tranquility), an “impressive talent” (All About Jazz), who “caresses [the music] with the reverence it merits” (Downbeat Magazine).

Drawing from an eclectic repertoire which includes selections from the jazz and popular music traditions, as well as global music influences from South America, Eastern Europe, Ireland and the Caribbean, Rosenblum combines his modern, melodic sensibility with his broad knowledge of a variety of musical lineages from the past one hundred years.

The band never repeats the same program twice in a row - every evening is a unique experience shaped by the audience and the setting.

Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project is celebrating their February 2023 release, “A Thousand Pebbles.”

Since the Nebula Project's first album release in 2020, “Kites and Strings,” The Nebula Project was voted runner-up for Best New Artist in JazzTimes' 2020 Readers' Poll, and the album received positive reviews from over twenty publications, including All About Jazz, NYC Jazz Record, JazzTimes, JazzLife (Japan) and more.

Recently, the group was featured in an article in Downbeat Magazine’s May 2023 issue. This unique sextet project features prominent global music influences, as well as the incorporation of the accordion into the jazz format.

More information on the concert can be found here.

The Soper Reese Theatre is located at 275 S. Main St., Lakeport, telephone 707-263-0577 and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Journey to the world of Portuguese Fado as interpreted by Ramana Vieira, a northern California native of Portuguese descent.

Vieira will perform at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23.

Tickets can be purchased at the theater’s website.

Vieira’s parents immigrated to the United States from Portugal, where her grandfather was a well-known musician and composer from Madeira Island.

Her work captures traditional Fado and influences from the Portuguese diaspora in a musical tapestry that ranges from the whispering, haunting ballads of Fado, to American classics and jazzy blues.

She also is a proficient pianist and a gifted songwriter having penned and composed her own original Fados, of which several have been nominated at the International Portuguese Music Awards.

The Soper Reese Theatre is located at 275 S. Main St. in Lakeport, telephone 707-263-0577.


Ric Burns, the younger brother of noted documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (“The Civil War”), toils in the same genre with historical documentaries that have featured Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams.

To date, his masterpiece is likely the eight-part series “New York: A Documentary Film,” a chronicle of the city’s history from the time that it was first settled by the Dutch in the early 17th century.

While the first episodes were broadcast in November 1999, and the eighth episode in September 2003, there was apparently a plan for a ninth episode which has not yet come to fruition, and the PBS website yields no information.

Beginning this month, Ric Burns’ “DANTE: Inferno to Paradise” is a two-part, four-hour documentary chronicling the life, work and legacy of the great 14th century Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri, and his epic masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy.”

“Dante knew he was writing something very different and very special. And ‘The Divine Comedy’ is one of these books that are made every once-in-a-while in human history,” says Oxford scholar Elena Lombardi, in an interview for the film.

This two-part film makes Dante’s incomparable achievement come alive for a worldwide English-speaking audience, exploring his hypnotically beautiful 14,233-line poem, in which crucial issues of politics, power, corruption, sin, violence, virtue, beauty, humility and compassion mingle and converge.

PBS would have you know that this film addresses universal human questions at once “timeless and urgently relevant to our own time: questions of morality and truth, life and death, the love of family and children, the love of country, the belief in something larger than oneself, the love of God.”

The sweep of this epic, unprecedented film has been seven years in the making, utilizing an extraordinary group of scholars and actors from the United States, Italy, France, and Britain.

The actors likely unknown to us include Antonio Fazzini in the role of Dante, Fattori Fraser as Dante’s wife Beatrice, Dikran Tulaine as Virgil, and Alan Cox as Boccaccio. What is important is that this project was conceived by Italian scholar Riccardo Bruscagli along with Ric Burns.

The film undertakes a gripping odyssey into the depths of Dante’s turbulent life, the faction-torn times he lived in, and the great poem he left behind. Along the way, the film juxtaposes stunning cinematography from across Italy.

Most dazzling is the array of paintings, drawings, manuscripts, maps, and frescos, many filmed on location and in the original spots in Florence, the Vatican and elsewhere. This really whets the appetite for a vacation in the nation that is shaped like a boot.

Woven throughout, forming the film’s narrative and emotional core, are dramatic re-enactments filmed for the production in locations from Florence to Carrara and Ravenna and beyond, in scenes drawn from “The Divine Comedy” and the “Vita Nova,” the masterwork of Dante’s early career.

Part One of the film, “Inferno,” chronicles the historical background of medieval Florence from 1216 to Dante’s birth in 1265, and recounts the dramatic details of Dante’s childhood, education, and early political career, culminating in his exile in 1302.

Dante’s decision to begin “The Divine Comedy” in 1306, plunging thereafter, with Dante and his readers, into the underworld of the poem itself where, guided by the Roman poet, Virgil, Dante will meet a vast cohort of historical and mythological figures.

Guided through the Nine Circles of Hell, Dante eventually arrives at the center where Lucifer resides. After escaping Hell, Dante and Virgil will go to Purgatory and then Dante makes his way to Heaven.

You could skip the film and go straight to the 2010 video game, “Dante’s Inferno,” where Dante is imagined as a Templar knight from The Crusades and guided by the spirit of Virgil to fight through the nine circles to rescue his wife Beatrice from the clutches of Satan.

Part Two, “Resurrection,” explores Dante’s experience in exile, and his completion of the last two parts of “The Divine Comedy,” shortly before his death in Ravenna in 1321.

Interweaving scenes are drawn from Dante’s life in exile with passages pulled from Dante’s journey up the mountain of Purgatory and then up through the incandescent celestial spheres of paradise.

Part Two finishes with an account of the final years of Dante’s life, ending with his death in exile, and goes on to explore the literary and cultural afterlife and impact of Dante’s masterpiece from the time of his death down to the present.

A fair question is posed by Riccardo Bruscagli in the film, when he asks “Why should we care about Dante Alighieri?” Well, because “Dante addresses the core of our humanity. Dante had the ambition of embracing everything – of embracing the sense of us being humans on this planet.”

To satisfy your intellectual curiosity and thirst for culture while waiting for more pedestrian fare in the next action or comedy film, watching “Dante: Inferno to Paradise” on PBS just might be the ticket.

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

A mallard at Yolo Wildlife Area. CDFW Photo by Travis VanZant.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, invites artists to submit their original artwork to the 2024-2025 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

Submissions will be accepted May 6 through June 14.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2024-2025 hunting season is the mallard.

One of the most abundant ducks in the world, and the most abundant duck in North America, these familiar foragers can be seen in practically any environment with fresh water.

The males are easily recognized by their iridescent green head and yellow bill, while both males and females have a patch of bright blue on their wings.

They are swift and agile in the air, cruising at speeds of around 50 miles per hour and having the ability to take off almost vertically from water.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2024-2025 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions are traditionally showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show, which is scheduled to take place in July.

The contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older as of March 20, 2024. Entrants need not reside in California. Current and former CDFW employees are ineligible. All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design.

Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible for entry and will be disqualified.

The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

Entries will be judged in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, as well as honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license.

Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamp in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license).

However, CDFW still produces the stamp, which can be requested by interested individuals at https://wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) has announced the 2024 Congressional Art Competition for all high school students in California’s Fourth Congressional District.

“The Congressional Art Competition is one of my favorite programs of the year because it highlights the excellent artistic talents of students from across our district,” said Thompson. “I look forward to seeing all of the incredible submissions this year and I encourage all high school students to submit their artwork before the deadline.”

The winning artwork from our district will be displayed in the United States Capitol for one year alongside the winning pieces of artwork from other Congressional Districts. In addition, the grand prize winner from our district will be flown with a guest to Washington, D.C. to attend an awards ceremony. The day of the ceremony will be announced soon.

Yolo County’s Katherine Dowling of Davis Senior High School won last year’s competition for her piece “Theater” which is composed of acrylic paint on a canvas board.” Katherine’s work is currently displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

Artwork must be submitted by April 15 to one of Rep. Thompson’s district offices:

• 2721 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa, CA 94558.
• 2300 County Center Drive, Suite A100, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.
• 622 Main Street, Suite 106, Woodland, CA 95695.

The submitted artwork will be judged by a panel of local artists and art experts with the winner announced after the deadline.

The guidelines for the Congressional Art Competition include the following:

• Artwork must be two-dimensional.
• Each piece can be no larger than 26” x 26” x 4” (26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep), including the frame.
• Framed artwork cannot weigh more than 15 pounds.

Acceptable mediums for artwork are as follows:

• Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
• Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
• Collages: must be two-dimensional.
• Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints.
• Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
• Computer generated art.
• Photographs.

Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. Copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement), that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted.

The winning piece must be available to be mailed to Washington D.C. in the original medium (that is, not a scanned reproduction of a painting or drawing).

Students and teachers interested in the Congressional Art Competition may contact any of my district offices for further guidance and instruction.

Thompson represents California’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Lake, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Upcoming Calendar

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

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



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