Autumn Lights Festival

Thursday, October 19 thru Saturday, October 21 is the 6th Anniversary Autumn Lights Festival at the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Lakeside Park. The event is from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Local artists create gigantic and small works of art using light. The event will blend larger-than-life art and lighting installations, live music, art, fire dancers, food and drink (food and drink available for purchase).

Advance Tickets suggested:

$20 advance/$25 event day for adults
$7 advance/$10 event day for youth (ages 6-17)
Children aged 5 and younger enter free

Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevue Ave
Oakland, 94610


Search for Life Beyond Earth


Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on: Will the 21st Century be the Time We Discover Life Beyond Earth? in the Smithwick Theater at Foothill College.

Dr. Tarter is a pioneer leading the effort to search for signals from civilizations among the stars. The 21st century will be the century of biology on our planet.  Dr. Tarter believes that this idea will be extended beyond the surface of our world and that we may soon have the first opportunity to study biology that developed on other worlds. The techniques we will need are different, depending on whether we are searching for microbes or mathematicians, but both are within reach.

Dr. Jill Tarter holds the Bernard Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute, serves on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, is President Emeritus of the Board of the California Academy of Sciences and continues to make groundbreaking contributions to the worlds of science, education, and the arts. Jodie Foster portrayed a fictionalized version of Dr. Tarter in the film Contact.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early to locate parking.

Parking lots 1 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 one-dollar bills and quarters; bring exact change.

Smithwick Theater, Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, 94022
(650) 949-7360

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
7:00 pm
Admission: Free
Parking: $3.00

Campus Map (PDF) — Smithwick Theater, 1000


Fear Overload Scream Park


Fear Overload Scream Park offers 2 haunted houses on select dates in San Leandro.
The 2 haunted houses include The Plastic Surgeon and Static Noise.
“The attractions are not recommended for children under the age of 12.”

The Plastic Surgeon
“The Plastic Surgeon was a bullied, neglected child tormented for having hideous facial deformities. Grown up, he became more than a man, he became a leviathan of pain, dabbling in the methods of bodily torture, mainly to the face. If he couldn’t have the face he wanted, no one could.”

Static Noise
“A little white noise is good to put you to sleep but static noise will probably just drag you to depths of the underworld. Inhabited by a ghastly girl, the warehouse full of useless TVs will come to life whenever flesh is in the vicinities. Beware the grasp of the girl who watched too much TV as a child and eventually died as a cause. Built to keep the spirit at bay, the girl inhabits any television set she can get her hands on in the warehouse but be warned, if you enter the house and stare too long at the set, you may find something reaching out for you. And it is not because of the 3D gimmicks.”

Admission varies: General Admission $25 – $30; Fast Pass Admission $32 – $40; VIP Admission $40 – $50; VIP Bundle Event Ticket $80. Online processing fee varies $2.25 – $5.00 per ticket.

Tickets available online here.

Fear Overload Scream Park
Bayfair Center (across from Century Theaters)
15555 E 14th Street
San Leandro, 94578
(510) 730-2221

Park at the Century Theaters Parking Lot and enter the mall. Next to the Davita Dialysis. Parking is free.

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Cupertino Carnival 2017


The Cupertino Carnival 2017, a three-day festival featuring live music, entertainment, real amusement rides, jump houses/inflatables, games, arts and crafts, a wide variety of food and more at St. Joseph of Cupertino School and Parish; from Friday, September 15 through Sunday, September 17.
Admission is free; however, there is a cost for rides, games and food. Note: three to four tickets are required for each ride.

Schedule (subject to change):

Friday, September 15 | from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Saturday, September 16
11:00 am 
Carnival Opens
11:00 am – 10:00 pm 
Amusement Rides, Arts & Crafts, Games, and Food Booths
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
Free Show 
Master Magician Phil Ackerly
(Main Stage)
1:00 pm – 9:30 pm 
Silent Auction 
(Parish Hall)
2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Free Show 
Martial Arts
(Main Stage)
3:00 pm – 4:15 pm
Free Show 
Happy Birds
(Main Stage)
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Free Attraction 
Hey Balloon Lady
(Main Tent)
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Free Show 
China Dance & Arts
(Main Stage)
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Free Concert 
Big Daddy Rockers
(Main Stage)
10:00 pm 
Carnival Closes

Sunday, September 17
10:30 am 
Carnival Opens
10:30 am – 4:30 pm 
Amusement Rides, Arts & Crafts, Games, and Food Booths
10:30 am – 2:00 pm 
Silent Auction 
(Parish Hall)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Free Show 
Master Magician Phil Ackerly
(Main Stage)
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm 
Free Show
East West Dance
(Main Stage)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Free Attraction 
Hey Balloon Lady
(Main Tent)
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free Concert 
Plastic Paddy Band
(Main Stage)
4:00 pm
General Raffle Drawings 
(Main Stage)
4:30 pm 
Carnival Closes

Cupertino Carnival 2017
St. Joseph of Cupertino
10120 N. De Anza Blvd
Cupertino, 95014

Free parking is available at Stevens Creek Blvd., beside the school ground and at Lazaneo Dr. beside Intero Realty. There will be a shuttle bus ferrying patrons between the Lazaneo Dr. parking lot and the carnival.

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Free Drive-In Movie Night in San Jose


Sunday, September 3, 2017 Capitol 6 Drive-In presents Customer Appreciation Night. Gates open at 6:00 pm, there will be activities/events and live music. Movies then start 8:00 pm. All free.

Scheduled movies include:
Despicable Me 2
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Pirates Of The Caribbean
Transformers
War Of The Planet Of The Apes

Capitol 6 Drive-In
3630 Hillcap Ave
San Jose, 95136

Sunday, September 3, 2017
Gates open 6:00 pm

Admission: Free

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Free Outdoor Movie Nights at Saint James Park 2017


Saturdays in August is Free Outdoor Movie Nights at Saint James Park.
Movies are free and begin at dusk; about an hour before the film will be fun and games for kids of all ages.  Also, costumes are encouraged – prizes to those who dress on theme.

Bring a blanket or low-chair to sit on.
You may bring your dog if Fido is “dog/people friendly”.
Bring food or purchase something from the food trucks.

August 5 – Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
August 12 – Cars
August 19 – Nacho Libre
August 26 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Saint James Park
2nd Street and St. James Street
San Jose, 95112

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Total/Partial Eclipse of the Sun

The eclipse is August 21, 2017 (see below for times).

A solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and us.  Those of us in California will see a partial eclipse.  If you wish to see a total eclipse, head on up to Salem, Oregon.

Never look directly at the sun without appropriate eye protection. One way to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing is with eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses are available from Amazon from about $8.00 to $18.00; also from Walmart online.

Partial eclipse in San Jose begins 9:01 am and ends 11:38 am with maximum 10:15 am.
Total eclipse in Salem, Oregon begins 9:05 am and ends 11:37 am with maximum 10:18 am.

Check out NASA’s Eyes Eclipse 2017 Web Application. “In this interactive, web-based 3D simulation, you can click anywhere on the Earth to preview your view of the August 21st, 2017 total eclipse.” On the right under Explore the 2017 Solar Eclipse click Launch Interactive.

Watch online with NASA’s Eclipse Live Streaming. <— !

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It’s time to prepare for 2017-2018 Opera San Jose!

Opera San Jose has been busy preparing for its new season, and it’s time for us to start marking our calendars.  Opening night is September 9, and the first show is Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Thinking himself worldly and experienced, Don Alfonso decides to relieve his young friends, Ferrando and Gugliemo, of their faith in sexual fidelity. He challenges them to a bet, promising that within 24 hours their fiancées will prove unfaithful. Outraged, they accept, but find the challenge too painfully revealing and too difficult to withstand. Dressed in clown’s clothes, these young men break their own hearts and the hearts of their fiancées. A comedy that is a tragedy underneath is the perfect stuff for the uncanny genius of Mozart, so clearly revealed in this dazzling score.

There will be only six performances of this amazing show at the California Theatre, so check your calendar and buy your tickets now! Prices range from $10 for students, ages 25 and younger with a current student ID, and $56 to $176 for adults. Box office phone: 408-437-4450 or go to operasj.org.

Can’t make the show? Check out the preview!
Così fan tutte Preview: August 29, 2017 from 12 – 1 p.m., California Theatre, 345 S. First Street in  downtown San José; Free vocal preview with members of the cast. For information, call 408-437-4450.

For opera beginners (and pros!) there’s never a need to feel like a novice:
Introduction to Opera
: General Director Larry Hancock will present a free 45-minute talk to ticket holders about the opera at the California Theatre before each performance of Così fan tutte. The talk begins at 6:30pm prior to evening performances and at 1:30pm prior to Sunday matinees. No reservations required.  

Così fan tutte
Opera San Jose
September 9 thru September 24
California Theatre
345 S. First Street, San Jose

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Palo Alto Players presents The Graduate

Benjamin (Max Tachis) and Mrs. Robinson (Betsy Kruse Craig).
Photo credit: Joyce Goldschmid

“One word, Benjamin. PLASTICS.”

Palo Alto Players is currently presenting The Graduate, one of my favorite novellas by Charles Webb. Even for those who have never read the 1963 book by Charles Webb, or seen the film starring Dustin Hoffman, Mrs. Robinson’s stocking-ed leg is still an iconic image. The question here is can it work as a stage production?

Max Tachis inhabits Benjamin Braddock on stage as perfectly as young Dustin Hoffman did on film. I have seen the very talented Tachis in many shows now, and he was a large reason why I agreed to come review the show. There was absolutely no disappointment.

Betsy Kruse Craig plays boozy Mrs. Robinson and is just as sexy as Anne Bancroft. Her lines are delivered in a perfectly dry and deadpan manner, and she smoothly brings Mrs. Robinson from the unsatisfied alcoholic wife who finds a bit of fun with young Benjamin, to a deeply unlikable, caustic and resentful mother who is likely more jealous than protective of her daughter.

Mrs. Robinson (Betsy Kruse Craig) and Benjamin (Max Tachis).
Photo credit: Joyce Goldschmid

Raegena Raymond-Brunker plays Mrs. Braddock and was one of my favorites on Opening Night. Her looks of utter confusion and shrieks of surprise and despair made me laugh hysterically. She is entertaining every moment she is on stage and had me giggling constantly.

My guest’s favorite actor was Mark Novak who plays Mr. Robinson. He puts his all into the part, and his visceral outrage toward Benjamin was such that I was praying he wasn’t going to have a very real heart attack on stage. Kudos to you, Mark Novak, and please take care of your blood pressure when yelling at Benjamin – we want you around for future shows!

Special notice needs to be made for Karen M. Sanders, who plays the be-tasseled stripper. Her twirling breasts were a hilarious surprise when they appeared on stage and I applaud her courage and most especially, her talents.

These were my favorite performances, but all involved are talented and entertaining. I enjoyed the show immensely, and director Jeannie K. Smith has done a fantastic job. The stage design is on the simple side with quite a few changes to take us from Benjamin’s childhood bedroom to a hotel to a stripper bar to the iconic church scene, and the costume design very subtly but clearly mimics the film.

Mr. Braddock (Shawn Bender) asks why Benjamin (Max Tachis) isn’t coming downstairs to show off the diving suit, his graduation present. Photo credit: Joyce Goldschmid

Now we go back to the question: does it work as a stage production? My problem is that I cannot definitively state that the entire essence of the novella comes through on stage, especially regarding the social commentary and satire. The production hits most of the highlights of the book and film, but I am so familiar with the work that I’m not clear if someone unfamiliar with it would enjoy it as much as I did. I can confidently state that if you are familiar with The Graduate (novella or film) that you will enjoy seeing your favorite characters brought to life again on stage by these talented actors. If you are not familiar with the work, I’m going to err on the positive side and say to give it a try – the very worst that will happen is you’ll spend a couple hours in a nicely air conditioned theater.

The Graduate
Palo Alto Players
Lucie Stern Theater
Through July 2, 2017

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Friday Night Bands on the Beach


This summer from June 16 through September 1, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk presents bands from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s to play free concerts on the beach Friday nights. There will be two shows nightly at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

Schedule:

June 16 — Eddie Money
June 23 — Brian Howe (Bad Company)
June 30 — Great White
July 7 —  Quiet Riot
July 14 — Blue Öyster Cult
July 21 — Eric Burdon and The Animals
July 28 — Los Lobos
Aug 4 —  Y & T
Aug 11 — Pablo Cruise
Aug 18 — Gin Blossoms
Aug 25 — Band To Be Announced
Sept 1 —  Papa Doo Run Run

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach Street
Santa Cruz, 95060

Fridays June 16 through September 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm

Important Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk information:
“Access to the prime seating area begins at 4pm; no blankets or chairs are permitted in the roped-off areas before 4pm. The line formed on the beach will be given first priority for access to prime seating area.

Please limit blanket size to 3×5 feet per person, about the size of a beach towel. Only low-back chairs are allowed; high-back chairs will be required to move to the back of the beach area. Please allow others space and a good view.

Smoking is not permitted on the beach or Boardwalk. Alcohol and glass are prohibited on the beach. Recording of concerts is not allowed.

Please keep walkways and stairs clear; dancing permitted in front of the stage only.

Accommodations for guests with disabilities at the Friday Night Concerts are provided on a “first-come, first-served” basis in two locations. One section is reserved for guests who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The other section is reserved for mobility-impaired guests plus one companion. If you require other special accommodations, please contact the Manager on Duty at least 48 hours in advance of the concert at (831) 423-5590. “

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20th Annual Bay Area Classic Yo Yo Contest

Over 100 of the top yo-yo competitors will compete in the 20th Annual Bay Area Classic Yo Yo Contest on Saturday, June 3, 2017, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The free to view Contest will be held at the Children’s Discovery Museum.

Contest Schedule:
9:00 AM – 12:30: Prelims
12:30 – 1:00 PM: Break / On Stage Demo’s
1:00 – 4:00 PM: Finals, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 1A (in this order)
4:00 – 5:00 PM: Awards

Bay Area Classic Yo-Yo Contest 2017
Children’s Discovery Museum
180 Woz Way
San Jose, 95110

Admission to the contest is free

Public parking ($5-$7) available in lots on Woz Way, Auzerais Street, and Almaden Boulevard. Additional downtown parking information.

Public Transit information.

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Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest 2017


The 33rd Annual Santa Cruz Longboard Union Longboard Invitational is this weekend, May 27-28, 2017.
Nearly 200 Longboarders take over Steamer Lane each Memorial Day weekend to compete in the longest-running longboard surf contest on the West Coast.

Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest
700 West Cliff Drive http://goo.gl/maps/UsYEDmCH6Nm
Santa Cruz, 95060

Approximate times:
Saturday (5/27) from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday (5/28) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Free to watch from the shore

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Wings of History Air Museum Free Open House

Free admission to the Wings of History Air Museum on Saturday, May 20 from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. See various airplanes (including antique, modern and Warbirds), antique cars, antique farm equipment, steam engines and hot air balloons.

Free airplane rides for kids 8 years to 17 years old. Limited space, pre-register here (2017-05-20 South County).

Wings of History Museum
12777 Murphy Avenue
San Martin, 95046
(408) 683-2290

Saturday, May 20, 2017
7:30 am to 3:30 pm (hot air balloons from 7:00 am)

Admission: Free

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Häagen-Dazs Free Cone Day 2017

Free Häagen-Dazs kid size scoop of your favorite flavor in either a cup, sugar cone, or cake cone on Tuesday, May 9 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm; limit one kid scoop per guest.

Participating Häagen-Dazs Shops:

Häagen-Dazs Shop
Valley Fair Mall
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 2458
Santa Clara, 95050-6709
(408) 260-8882

Häagen-Dazs Shop
San Francisco Premium Outlets
2774 Livermore Outlets Drive
Livermore, 94551
(925) 243-9908

Häagen-Dazs Shop
Stoneridge Mall
1144 Stoneridge Mall Rd
Pleasanton, 94588
(925) 468-0293

Häagen-Dazs Shop
Santa Rosa Plaza
1071 Santa Rosa Plaza
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 545-2722

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Jane’s Walk San Jose 2017

Walks are May 5-7 at various times.

“Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighborhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.”

Walks include:

Illuminating Downtown — May 5, 8:00 PM, 1.5 Hours
The walk includes interacting with illuminated artworks.
Meet at the east side of the parking lot under the 87 underpass along Santa Clara. The walk will begin at 8pm.

Capitancillos California Native Plant Demonstration Garden — May 6, 10:00 AM, 1.5 Hours
A .6 mile walk along Capitancillos Drive in South San Jose viewing a demonstration garden of mostly California native, chaparral plants.
Meet at 1448 Oak Canyon Place, San Jose
RSVP required at: https://170605_janeswalk.eventbrite.com

A beginner’s guide to downtown San Jose — May 6, 2:00 PM, 1 Hour
A walk that starts at the Diridon Station, past the Shark Tank, and through downtown, to check out restaurants, bars, and other interestingl places.
Meet outside the train station near the car turnaround.

I Wish Downtown San Jose Had…
May 6, 10:00 AM, 1 Hour
May 6, 4:00 PM, 1 Hour
May 7, 1:00 PM, 1 Hour
Walk around downtown and discuss the opportunities, potential and future of what you wish downtown had.
Meet at the base of the San Pedro Square sign.


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