ART AND LIT

Lake County Music Guide – 01.31.23

Dang, it’s cold! Each of the five or six times I’ve stepped outside today to stretch my legs, I was reminded of a quote from Tom Waits in his song, “Emotional Weather Report,” where he said, “…It’s cold out there – colder than a ticket taker’s smile at the Ivar Theater on a Saturday night”… Many of you who made a point of avoiding Los Angeles your whole lives probably missed the gag. The Ivar Theater was, for most of its existence, a burlesque joint in Hollywood. Put in perspective, that’s pretty dang cold! I guess this morning’s 28 degrees would be a close second…, who knows? Maybe this week’s music guide will bring all of you a little warmth. Here’s the schedule for the week of 1/30 through 2/6…

Lake County Music Guide – 01.24.23

I’m really stoked, Dudes, for two reasons! The Soper-Reese Theater in Lakeport and Konocti Harbor Resort have, for more than 25 years, been the premier concert settings in Lake County. Both have brought in some pretty impressive musical entertainment; Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunne, Joe Louis Walker, Lyle Lovett, Barry Melton – just to name a few. Sadly, in 2009 the Konocti Harbor temporarily ended all operations, leaving the Soper Reese as the main concert hall in the county for the next ten years. When the COVID pandemic reared its ugly head in 2020, forcing mandatory business shutdowns, the theater also closed its doors. Until then, the SRT was home to The Lake County Symphony, a number of musical, educational and cultural events, classic movies, and a venue for important fundraising events.

Lake County Music Guide – 1.17.23

Sunday marks the first day of The Year of the Rabbit, a symbol promising us prosperity, longevity, mercy, elegance, beauty and peace. So, as the Tiger slinks off into a 12-year period of “hibernation,” we’ll all have a lot to look forward to – provided the rabbit doesn’t hippity-hop away too soon… Here’s the live music guide for the week of 1/17 through 1/23…

Lake County Music Guide – 1.10.23

The actor who rode rodeo style atop a nuclear bomb dropped from a B-52, yee hawin’ all the way in the Stanley Kubrick serio-comic masterpiece, “Dr Strangelove”, went by the stage name Slim Pickens. One only has to read this week’s live music guide to see why this scene even crossed my mind – slim pickin’s, indeed… But maybe we can consider that what this brings us is quality, not quantity. Well, maybe… Here’s the “Slim Pickens” inspired Live Music Guide plus sage advice for the week of 1/9 through 1/16…

Lake County Music Guide – 1.5.23

One of my favorite bands from the late ‘60s/ early ‘70s was The Flying Burrito Brothers, presumably the forerunners of the popular Country-Rock music genre of that time that included bands like The Eagles, Pure Prairie League, Poco, New Riders of the Purple Sage, plus a cast of others. Of course, the critics would state that the FBBs were a jumble of Country, Blues, Soul, R&B, pre-Cowpunk and Rock, but overall not easy to pigeonhole. Regardless, I liked their contributions to modern Rock Music. I bring them up because they had one song in particular that contained the lyrics, “Days are getting longer, nights are getting colder.” Either this line was prophetic or else it was simply that the writer woke up one day much like I did this morning and realized it was freezing. Which defies logic! Ever since the 21st of December the days each get longer by 2 minutes, which means sunset will be 28 minutes later today than it was on that day. Either I’m being unrealistically optimistic or realistically pessimistic, but I like to think that longer days means warmth, sunshine, tanning butter and beach bunnies. I guess I should stop complaining and just put another blanket on the bed… Here’s the live music schedule for the week of 1/3 to 1/9.

Holiday Reading from The Bloom: A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Over the years, our family has enjoyed some Christmas reading. We’ve read through The Little Match Girl, The Elves and the Shoemaker, A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle, and many other great stories. But one of our favorites is poet Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which we read every Christmas Eve. It’s a beautiful story that shares Christmas memories from over one hundred years ago. If you’re looking for an enjoyable short read, here’s a link to a public domain version:http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0701261h.html

Lake County Music Guide – 12.20.22

The good news: it’s gonna be a pretty busy week in terms of holidays and observances, where Hannukkah started two days ago on Sunday, Winter Solstice happens on Wednesday, Christmas is on Sunday and the doubleheader of Kwanzaa and Boxing Day occurs on Monday. The bad news: because Christmas eve is on Saturday and Christmas Day is on Sunday, many places will be closed for these observances. But despite those days being sans live music, there’s at least one joint each day from Tuesday through Saturday to go out and get your live music fix. WOOHOO!!! Here’s the schedule, plus an updated NYE rundown for the week of 12/20 through 12/26.

Lake County Music Guide – 12.13.22

“Eenie weenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak!” Anybody out there remember where this famous quote came from? Here’s a hint… Boris Badenov referred to this dynamic duo as “Moose ‘n’ Squirrel.” Okay, times up! It’s a line from the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which aired from 1959 through 1964. Like most kids, I would watch cartoons, but this was pretty much the only one I really liked because it was silly in a Three Stooges sort of way – full of puns, sarcasm, self-referential dialog, and other socially unacceptable wordplays, especially so for impressionable children like I was. I would watch the show with friends, laughing hysterically – but they didn’t really get it. I could relate to the patience and empathy of Rocket J Squirrel, marveled at the perseverance of Bullwinkle J Moose, who never stopped trying despite his constant failures, and sneered at the comic depiction of Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader. This, to me, was cartooning at its comic best. Okay, maybe I’m entering into my second childhood, but I hope you don’t mind me including references to the show throughout this music schedule. Here’s the live music guide for the week of 12/13 through 12/19…

Backstage Lake County: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Last Spring I attended a Middletown Middle School performance of the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet directed by Joleen Jessen. I knew several of the students, and there were some hilarious standout performances.  It was very entertaining.  What struck me the most, however, was not the performances, but the stats that Jessen, the 7th-grade Language Arts and Drama teacher, gave out prior to the start of the show. Last year, out of 22 participants, 50% had all A’s (Principal’s List), over 50% had participated in both spring sports (softball or track) and the play, 9 had been chosen by their teachers as Students of the Quarter, 2 had Fs in English but by the time of the performance had brought their grades up to Bs, 2 created the Daily Bulletin for school every day, 100% had zero disciplinary incidents, 3 were bilingual, and 1 student had a major truancy problem and had completely turned that around by the time the play happened.  And, spoiler alert, this past quarter she was on the Honor Roll and has a big role in this play as well!  That is quite a testament to the power of the arts on learning outcomes.

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