Finding a New Earth

Wednesday, May 11, Stephen Kane, Ph.D., will discuss Finding a New Earth: Exoplanets and the Habitable Zone, an illustrated, non-technical lecture in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College.

A key to finding a new Earth will be to identify rocky planets that occupy the Habitable Zone of their stars.

Dr. Kane has been researching planets around other stars for more than 20 years and has discovered and characterized hundreds of exoplanets.

Dr. Kane is professor of astrophysics at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He is also the chairman of the Kepler Mission Habitable Zone Working Group and the director of the SFSU Planetary Research Laboratory.

The lecture is free, but there is a charge of $3 for parking on campus and exact change is appreciated.

Smithwick Theater at Foothill College
12345 S El Monte Ave, Los Altos, 94022
May 11, 2016
7:00 p.m.

Admission: Free
Parking $3.00


A Streetcar Named Desire – Opera Style!

Opera San José resident artist Matthew Hanscom as “Stanley” and guest artists Ariana Strahl as “Blanche” and Stacey Tappan as “Stella”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

Opera San José resident artist Matthew Hanscom as “Stanley” and guest artists Ariana Strahl as “Blanche” and Stacey Tappan as “Stella”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

Opera San Jose has really been outdoing itself this year, as it does every year.  February’s Carmen was outstanding, and now they have taken a dip in the theatre-pond, bringing us Mr. Tennessee Williams. Did you know A Streetcar Named Desire was also an opera by André Previn? Well there was no way I was going to miss this. I was so excited to see this show, in a completely different way than I usually am.

As soon as you step into the California Theatre you can see this opera is going to be different. The curtain was already up and there were actors already on stage sitting on chairs! And not a velvet gown in sight. These were manly men, shirtless and dirty, drinking from bottles as they lounged in the chairs waiting for us to sit. Also, the orchestra was behind the stage. All of this was so different from anything I’d seen at the opera before, I was bouncing in my chair waiting for it to begin.

Opera San José resident artists Matthew Hanscom as “Stanley” and Kirk Dougherty at “Mitch”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

Opera San José resident artists Matthew Hanscom as “Stanley” and Kirk Dougherty at “Mitch”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

Now I’ll be honest. It had to grow on me. When Ariana Strahl as Blanche DuBois strolls onstage and starts singing my mind had a terribly difficult time connecting what I was seeing to what I was hearing.  My heart fell just a tiny bit as I realized I might not enjoy it as much as I had anticipated. But the music was outstanding, it has the feel of a 1950s film score.  And of course the story of Blanche, and Stanley, and STELLAAAAAAAAA is fantastic no matter what, so I sat and tried to enjoy the show as much as I could.

Fear not, it was already growing on me before the first intermission (there are two).  And it wasn’t long before I realized Streetcar is actually your typical opera story: the male is somewhat of a… trying to come up with a family friendly adjective here… jerk.  Yeah, let’s call him that.  So your main male character is a big, fat, jerk, and the main female that the story revolves around is basically a whore.  Sigh.  And because Streetcar is no Comedy, we know what’s going to happen to the “whore” in the end.

If you’ve never seen or read Streetcar in any version before, note that this is not a show for young children. There is talk of homosexuality, suicide, “loose women”, domestic violence and a choreographed rape.  The setting is a tough time in a tough neighborhood where men earn the money and the women do what they’re told. But it is also an amazing, touching story, and the entire production is done extremely well.

Stacey Tappan is a luscious Stella, Matthew Hanscom is as manly a Stanley as you can get, and I adored Kirk Dougherty as Mitch. But another standout for me was Cabiria Jacobsen as Eunice. She has a smaller role, but it was a great one.

Opera San José resident artist Kirk Dougherty as “Mitch” and guest artist Ariana Strahl as “Blanche”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

Opera San José resident artist Kirk Dougherty as “Mitch” and guest artist Ariana Strahl as “Blanche”. Photo credit Pat Kirk.

The finale of the show at opening night got the standing ovation that it deserved.  From the catchy, more “modern” music, to the 1950s era costumes, to our amazing resident opera singers, and even the sparse, perfect staging, this is an outstanding production. It did grow on me, and then it bloomed, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see the show. I think the show might be a very good introduction to opera newbies, but the music and voices are the usual perfection to please long-time opera fans as well. Perhaps even some English majors can get their noses out of their books and get out for a night to see a story really brought to life.

I’m so glad the show is going to be playing all the way through May 1. It is a great show to end the season with, while we look forward to next year which will include:

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Rossini’s The Barber of Seville
Puts & Campbell’s Silent Night
Puccini’s La bohème

Don’t miss this amazing modern opera at the California Theatre.

A Streetcar Named Desire
Opera San Jose
playing through May 1
Tickets

 


Jazz on the Wharf

Santa Cruz WharfSunday, April 24, 2016 enjoy jazz on the century old half-mile Santa Cruz Wharf. This free family-friendly event starts at 11:00 a.m. on the Wharf Stage.

The wharf has shopping, dining and recreation.

For adults, a variety of wines will be available for sale, proceeds benefit the Friends of Parks and Recreation.

Parking is available on the Santa Cruz Wharf — parking rates

Jazz on the Wharf
21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 95060
(831) 420-5273

04/24/2016 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission: Free


Northern California Regional Botball Tournament

botballMiddle and high school aged students in the Bay Area pit their home-made autonomous robots (no remote controls allowed) against each other in the Northern California BotBall tournament Saturday, April 16, 2016. Students use science, engineering, technology, math, and writing skills to design, build, program and document robots in a hands-on project.

The robot’s actions are based on information from the sensors, combined with the computer program (C, C++, and Java) written by the students in advance. Botball robots are completely autonomous and rely on this computer programming to start, stop, and maneuver on the game board.

The free to watch tournament begins 10:00 am and is held at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field.

Tournament Event Schedule:
• 8:00 am- Registration / Open Practice
• 10:00 am – Seeding Rounds Begin
• 1:00 pm – Lunch Break
• 5:30 pm – Awards Presentation Begins

Northern California Botball Tournament 2016
NASA Ames Research Center
N152 Conference Building, Moffett Field

Saturday, April 16, 2016
10:00 am
Admission: Free

Getting there — Go on the US 101 freeway to the Moffett Field exit, then:
Show your drivers license to the guard at the gate, and say you are attending the Botball Tournament in the NASA Conference Center, N152.
You can get a map at the visitor’s control, or just drive straight, down Clark Rd to just before the Shuttle model, turn right on Wescoat Rd, then in a couple blocks, turn right on McCord Ave, and in one block, stay right at the ‘Y’ (note sign to N152) to Dailey Rd for another block and you’ll see N152 on the right. The parking is on the left, across the street.

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Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day

freecone
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 is Free Cone Day at participating Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops in the Bay Area.
Since 1979, it’s Ben & Jerry’s way to celebrate and say thanks to their fans for another year of support.

115 East San Carlos
San Jose, 95112
408-275-8827
Free cone: Noon – 8:00 pm

Find a participating Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop here.

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How Things in the Universe Came About

Universe1
Wednesday, April 6, Tom Abel, Ph.D., will discuss How Things in the Universe Came About & How They Ended Up Within Us, an illustrated, non-technical free lecture in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

Dr. Abel will cover the early stages of the universe, using the latest computer animations of how the first stars formed and died, and how stars built up the first galaxies.

Galaxies started to assemble just one hundred million years after the Big Bang, and they are still growing now. Computer simulations of these events provide insights into the early history of the cosmos.

From Dr. Abel ’s Stanford bio:

Career History

• M.A. 1998, Univ. of Regensburg
• Ph.D. 2000, Ludwig Maxemillian University Munich
• Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics and Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, MA 1999-2001
• Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK 2001
• Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University 2002-2004
• Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University 2004
• Associate Professor, Stanford University Physics Department, SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) National Accelerator Laboratory, and KIPAC (Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology), 9/2004-present.
• Director, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, 6/2015-present (Acting Director 8/2013-6/2015)
• Division Director, Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Division, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2/2015-present

The lecture is free, but there is a charge of $3 for parking on campus and exact change is appreciated.

Smithwick Theater at Foothill College

12345 S El Monte Ave, Los Altos, 94022

April 6, 2016
7:00 p.m.

Admission: Free
Parking $3.00

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Saratoga Blossom Festival

Saratoga Blossom Festival
This Saturday, March 19, 2016 the Saratoga Historical Foundation presents the Blossom Festival featuring music of the 30’s – 40’s, antique cars, vintage motors, craftspeople, art, poetry, along with crafts and activities for kids.
The event is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
There will be food trucks for those who get the munchies.

Saratoga Blossom Festival 2016
20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road
Saratoga, 9507
408.867.4311

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Spring Forward

dst16

Spring forward this Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Clocks are set forward one hour at 2:00 a.m. Many people set their clocks Saturday before bed.
Check if you need to reset the computer, microwave, phone, digital camera and other devices.
Daylight Saving Time begins 2:00 a.m. on the Second Sunday in March
and lasts until 2:00 a.m. on the First Sunday of November.

Pacific Daylight Time is 7 hours behind of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Offset: UTC  -7 hours

Year Spring Forward Fall Back
2016 March 13 November 6
2017 March 12 November 5
2018 March 11 November 4
2019 March 10 November 3
2020 March 8 November 1
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Free Pancakes at IHOP

ihop-naitonal-pancake-dayThis Tuesday (March 8, 2016) participating IHOP restaurants will celebrate National Pancake Day with a free short stack of pancakes. You will be asked to consider leaving a donation ($5.00) for local charities.

Find your IHOP here.

IHOP: “There is a limit of one free short stack per guest. The offer is valid at participating restaurants for dine-in only while supplies last and is not valid with any other offer, special coupon or discount. “

IHOP National Pancake Day
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
7 AM to 7 PM

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The Latest from New Horizons at Pluto

New Horizons spacecraftWednesday, March 2, 2016, at 7:00 pm, Dr. Jeff Moore (Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center) will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on: Report from the Planetary Frontier: The Latest from New Horizons at Pluto in the Smithwick Theater at Foothill College.

On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft flew above the surface of Pluto and sent back images of the planet and its largest moon Charon.

Dr. Moore will show the latest photos and fill us in on the current thinking among the New Horizons team members about Pluto and its five moons.

The lecture is free, but there is a charge of $3 for parking on campus and exact change is appreciated.

Smithwick Theater at Foothill College
12345 S El Monte Ave, Los Altos, 94022

Admission: Free
Parking $3.00

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LEGO Fun for Kids

legoKids supply the creativity. Library supplies the LEGO of all sizes, this Monday (2/22/2016) from 4:00 pm at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 1st floor Children’s Room.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 E. San Fernando St. San Jose, 95112

408-808-2000

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Lunar New Year Celebration at SJ Museum of Art

Lunar2016Saturday (February 13, 2016) from 11 AM to 5 PM is a free Lunar New Year Celebration at the San Jose Museum of Art.
Therebwill be live performances and hands-on art-making activities.

11 am to 4:30 pm: Artmaking:
– Shadow Puppets
– Not-so-Traditional Landscapes
– Zodiac Stickers
– Paper-Folding Coy Fish
11:30 am to 12:15 pm Megumi, Storyteller
12 to 4 pm Public Drop-In Tours
1:45 to 2:30 pm Megumi, Storyteller
3:30 to 4:30 pm Rising Phoenix Lion Dance

Free, reservations are highly recommended.

San Jose Museum of Art
110 S Market St, San Jose, 95110
(408) 271-6840

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Veterans Day

Flag_USA
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” – Abraham Lincoln

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Einstein’s Blunder Undone: The Runaway Universe

Albert_EinsteinHarvard University astronomer Robert Kirshner, Ph.D., will
discuss Einstein’s Blunder Undone: The Runaway Universe, an illustrated, non-technical lecture Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College. Admission is free; however, seating is first come, first served.

Einstein invented a new theory of gravity called “General Relativity” and applied it to the study of the universe as a whole. He introduced the Cosmological Constant, a factor that would guarantee the entire universe itself was static—neither expanding nor collapsing. Astronomers showed the universe was not static at all, but expanding, and Einstein banished his constant, even calling it his greatest blunder.

Dr. Kirshner will show the methods used to discover the cosmic acceleration and present the evidence that we live in a universe that is only 4 percent matter like the atoms of the periodic table, with the balance divided between dark energy, speeding up the universe, and equally mysterious dark matter, drawing things together.

Dr. Kirshner has been a leader in the use of supernova explosions to chart the expansion history (including the acceleration) of the universe. He is the author of The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe.

Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the theatre. Visitors must purchase a parking permit for $3 from dispensers in student parking lots. Dispensers accept credit/debit cards, as well as one-dollar bills. Campus Map (PDF).

Smithwick Theatre
Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, 94022
(650) 949-7888

November 11, 2015
7:00 p.m.

Admission: free
Parking: $3.00

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2015 Heroes 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run

heroesOn Saturday, November 7, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Valley Medical Center Foundation will be out again for a family-friendly 2015 Heroes 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run at the Cupertino Civic Center.

Prizes are given for the best kid’s costumes and best family costumes (Dress as your favorite hero/super hero, optional).

Deputy Jeremy Jones: “I have been with the County Sheriff’s Office for over five years. A few years ago, I responded to a call that involved a mother and small child. The mother was suffering from a mental illness while caring for her nine-month-old son. Due to her illness, her son was lacking proper care and was admitted to Valley Medical Center. I was the Deputy to chaperone the child while in the hospital. As hours passed, I held this little boy and became emotionally attached. I spoke with the staff at Valley Medical and learned that they are one of the largest pediatric centers in California and was in dire need of improving their kid-friendly atmosphere. I visited the center and met children who had sustained injuries that no child should ever have to endure. No matter their circumstances, each child smiled as I walked around to each of them asking who their hero was. One child responded that cops and firefighters were because they kept him safe…and they drive cool cars. I realized at that moment that the children were the true heroes. This experience has left a lasting impression on my life and a passion to help children. Shared experiences like these are the reason the Heroes Run was created.”

Register here

Registration Types:

5K Run/Walk (all ages)
Sales End Nov 4, 2015
Price $30.00
Fee $2.64

Fun Run (ONLY for children Ages 2-7)
Sales End Nov 4, 2015
Price $15.00
Fee $1.82

Heroes 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run
Cupertino Civic Center

Saturday, November 7, 2015
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (7:30 AM Race Day Packet Pick Up Opens)

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