Pluto on the Horizon

pluto-atmosphere
Wednesday, January 28, Mark Showalter, will discuss Pluto on the Horizon: Anticipating Our First Encounter with the Double Planet, an illustrated, non-technical lecture , in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

Four tiny moons have been discovered orbiting Pluto and its large moon Charon. Pluto itself has a thin atmosphere and shows signs of seasonal changes; also, evidence suggests that Charon may have volcanoes.

Dr. Showalter will describe how he discovered two of the moons of Pluto and will talk about how on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly past Pluto and provide our first close-up look.

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

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 one-dollar bills and quarters; bring exact change.

Smithwick Theater, Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
7:00 pm

Admission: Free
Parking: $3.00


Bay Area Pet Expo 2015

cats_dogs
The 5th Annual Bay Area Pet Expo at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds is Saturday January 17, 2015. Admission is free (Parking $8.00) and pets are welcome — all pets must be on a fixed lead or in a carrier with proof of appropriate vaccinations.
You will be required to sign a pet waiver at the entrance or you may fill your pet waiver form out in advance here (pdf).

Don’t have a pet? Well, pets are available for adoption (Rescue Groups and a Mega-Adoption Event).

The Expo features pet-friendly exhibitors, pet care tips, grooming, pet behavior & training, along with free nail trims, discounted vaccinations, microchipping, Heartworm and flea preventatives.

Bay Area Pet Expo

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
344 Tully Road, San Jose 95111
Saturday January 17, 2015

10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Admission: Free
Parking: $8.00

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Silicon Valley Auto Show

AutoShow2The exhibit includes Passenger Cars & Commercial Vehicles, Auto Body Builders, Two & Three Wheelers, Tires, Alternative Fuel & Fuel Systems, Batteries, Oil & Lubricants, Auto Components, Tools.

Location:
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
150 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, CA 95113

When:
Friday (1/9/15)
  until 10 pm
Saturday (1/10/15)
  10 am – 10 pm
Sunday (1/11/15)
  10 am – 6 pm

Admission:
Adults (13 & over) $11
Senior Citizens (62 & over) $8
Students (25 & under w/ID) $8
Military (With any DOD ID) $8
Children (7–12) $8
Children (6 & under) Free

Note: Family Day is Sunday, Jan. 11
All children 12 & under admitted 
Free with paying adult.

Parking:
  Information

  Onsite paid parking is also available at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center

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New Year

kittens
The San Jose Metblogs group wishing you and yours a safe and healthy 2015.

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Happy Holidays!

christmas
San Jose Metblogs wishing you a wonderful holiday season together with your family and friends as well as a happy New Year!

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Vote Sharks to the All-Star Game

nhlall_star
The NHL All-Star Game is January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.

The last time the Leaderboard was checked, Sharks Defensemen Brent Burns was ranked 79 followed by Marc-Edouard Vlasic 130, Joe Thornton 134, Joe Pavelski 140, Antti Niemi 152, Patrick Marleau 173, Tomas Hertl 257, Logan Couture 261, along with a few other Sharks.

Vote here

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Sharks Stadium Series Jersey

SharksStadiumSeriesSharksStadiumNorCal

The San Jose Sharks revealed their jersey for the upcoming NHL Stadium Series Feb. 21, 2015 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The game is between the Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings.

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Holiday Train 2014

HolidayTrainThis weekend (December 6 & 7) the Caltrain Holiday Train, a special non-passenger train decorated with more than 70,000 lights, will be making stops at eight different Peninsula Caltrain stations; four on Saturday four other stations on Sunday, and begins at the San Francisco station on both days. The public is not permitted to board or ride on the train. However, people can come out and see the train at the stations where it stops and enjoy the show put on by holiday characters.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy or book to drop into toy barrels at the stations for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army’s holiday toy drive.

Always stand well back from the train and behind the yellow line on the platform. Hold onto children’s hands while waiting on the platform.

Saturday, December 6

San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Burlingame 5:15 p.m.
Redwood City 6:15 p.m.
Mountain View 6:55 p.m.
Santa Clara 8:10 p.m.

Sunday, December 7

San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Millbrae 5:15 p.m.
San Mateo 6:20 p.m.
Menlo Park 7:45 p.m.
Sunnyvale 8:40 p.m.

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OMCA Free First Sunday

The Oakland Museum of California program Free First Sunday continues.

Admission is free the first Sunday of every month.

Exhibitions include:

Songs and Sorrows: Días de los Muertos 20th Anniversary
Through January 4, 2015

Highlighting contributions from pioneers of Días de los Muertos celebrations in the Bay Area and newer voices that continue to evolve this living tradition, the exhibition will include works from Jose Guadalupe Posada, Carmen Lomas Garza, Patssi Valdez, and Jesse Hernandez, among others.

Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California
Through April 12, 2015

Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California illuminates local histories and social forces that changed the face of art in—and beyond—the Golden State.

Sunshine and Superheroes: San Diego Comic-Con
Through May 31, 2015

Inspiration Points: Masterpieces of California Landscape
Through Sunday, January 4, 2015

OMCA opens the vaults to showcase the very best in California landscape art from the museum’s holdings, including works by Ansel Adams, Thomas Hill, David Hockney, Arthur Mathews, Richard Misrach, Albert Bierstadt, Imogen Cunningham, Eadweard Muybridge, Edward Weston, Chiura Obata, and more.

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street
Oakland 94607

510-318-8400
888-OAKMUSE (625-6873) – Toll-free

Wednesday – Thursday, 11 am – 5 pm
Friday, 11 am – 9 pm
Saturday–Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday

Admission rates –
-
$15 general
$10 seniors (ages 65+) and students, with current ID
$6 youth, ages 9 – 17
Free for children 8 and under and for OMCA Members.
Note: Admission is free the first Sunday of every month.

Enter the Museum parking garage entrance on Oak Street between 10th and 12th streets.
 Parking is $1/hour with Museum validation.
 Parking without validation is $2.50/hour.
 Take your ticket to the Ticketing booth on Level 2 for validation.

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Sporting Tweets

twitterIf you are a sports fan and on Twitter you may already follow these sports teams/networks/people. If not, consider following those of interest. List is not inclusive.

@annkillion — Ann Killion
Sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle

@susanslusser — Susan Slusser
SF Chronicle’s Oakland A’s beat writer

@JaneMLB — Jane Lee
Oakland A’s beat reporter for MLB.com

@KLongworthCSN — Kate Longworth
Comcast SportsNet reporter/anchor

@MBachCSN — Mindi Bach
Comcast SportsNet reporter/anchor

@AmyGGiants — Amy Gutierrez
Comcast SportsNet reporter – SF Giants

@ALawRadio — Amy Lawrence
Sports Radio Host on CBS Sports Radio

@MichelleSturino — Michelle Sturino
Sports Radio Host on NHL Network Radio (SiriusXM)

@DanRusanowsky — Dan Rusanowsky
Radio play-by-play broadcaster for the SJ Sharks

@BretHedican — Bret Hedican
Radio analyst for the SJ Sharks

@sharkvoice — Randy Hahn
TV play-by-play broadcaster for the SJ Sharks

@Bakes_Jamie13 — Jamie Baker
TV analyst for the SJ Sharks

@FlemmingDave — Dave Flemming
Sports broadcaster – SF Giants, ESPN

@warriorsvox — Tim Roye
Voice of the Golden State Warriors

@vincebaseball — Vince Cotroneo
Broadcaster – Oakland A’s

@brodiebrazilCSN — Brodie Brazil
Host of A’s, Sharks Pre & Postgame

@DamonBruce — Damon Bruce
Host on 95.7 The Game

@townsendradio — Chris Townsend
Host on 95.7 The Game

@baseballmarty — Marty Lurie
Talks baseball on KNBR

@timkawakami — Tim Kawakami
Mercury News sports columnist

@SanJoseSharks — San Jose Sharks
The official twitter of the #SJSharks

@SJEarthquakes — San Jose Earthquakes
Official account of San Jose’s Major League Soccer club

@Athletics — Oakland Athletics
The Official Twitter of the Oakland A’s

@SFGiants — San Francisco Giants
Official Twitter home of the #SFGiants

@warriors — Golden State Warriors
The Official Twitter of the Golden St. Warriors

@SacramentoKings — Sacramento Kings
The Official Twitter of the Sacramento Kings

@SJSUAthletics — Spartan Athletics
Official Twitter of San Jose State Athletics

@SCUBroncos  —  Santa Clara Broncos
The official Twitter Account of the Santa Clara Broncos

@CalFootball  —  Cal Football
Official Twitter Account for the University of California Football team

@GoStanford — Stanford Athletics
Official Twitter of Stanford Athletics

@StanfordFball — Stanford Football
The official Twitter home of Stanford Football

@957thegame — 95.7 The GAME
Sports radio

@KNBR — KNBR
Sports radio

@CSNAuthentic — Comcast SportsNet
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet California

@CBSSportsRadio — CBS Sports Radio
National sports coverage and programming

@SiriusXMNHL — NHL Network Radio
NHL sports radio


“ART” and friendship at City Lights Theater Company

Serge (Jeffrey Bracco) and Yvan (Max Tachis) checking out the all-white painting in "Art" by Yasmina Reza. Photo by Mike Ko / siliconvalleydesigns.com.

Serge (Jeffrey Bracco) and Yvan (Max Tachis) checking out the all-white painting in “Art” by Yasmina Reza. Photo by Mike Ko / siliconvalleydesigns.com.

ART is a Tony Award winning play (1998 Best Play) now showing at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose.  Directed by Veronica Drake and starring Kit Wilder, Jeffrey Bracco and (always my favorite) Max Tachis, it is both a very humorous and very French show.  Playwright Yasmina Reza is also known for the plays Conversations After a Burial, Winter Crossing, and God of Carnage, and to be honest, she is not my favorite playwright.  City Lights however has gathered a very talented cast and manages to pull off a show that had the entire audience laughing throughout.

Serge, Marc and Yvan have all been friends for many years until one day Serge buys a very expensive piece of art.  He is delighted with his purchase, and shows it proudly to Marc, who promptly calls it “Sh!t” and then loses his mind when he finds out that Serge has paid 200,000 francs.  Why is Marc so upset?  Because the painting is a 5′ x 4′ canvas that has been painted white.  All white.  And while you can see three very very light diagonal white lines and one white horizontal line on the white background, the painting is indeed, entirely white.

What follows is 90 minutes of Marc belittling and berating Serge, Serge feeling very hurt and offended by Marc’s opinions, and both of them having little patience for young Yvan who appears to take whichever side is easiest at the moment. They angrily debate whether the painting is actually entirely white, or whether there are shades of grey, yellow, or even red in it.  The arguments get more and more vehement, hurt and broken feelings rise to the surface, relationships within and without are questioned, and three friendships are soon on the rocks.

I have been awed by Max Tachis’ talent since I saw him starring in  Renegade Theatre‘s 9 Circles; he also voiced a character in The Smell of The Kill, and wrote the play Perishable, Keep Refrigerated which is still playing at Renegade Theatre Experiment (Hoover Theater) through September 27.  Nine Circles was a traumatic, cathartic performance, but here Tachis plays a more humorous role, and does it splendidly, with the most hilarious expressions and body language.  He is an amazing local talent we are all very lucky to have. Kit Wilder and Jeffrey Bracco inhabit their more serious roles very well also, playing well with the three very different character personalities.

This play is for anyone interested in how relationships form and unravel or how the ties that bind in friendships can also lead to great pain.  If you enjoy God of Carnage you will likely also love Art as they are very similar in tone, experience, and some themes.  It is a quick, fast paced show with no intermission, and the audience on opening night had an excellent time!

ART
Through October 19
City Lights Theater Company
529 South Second Street, San Jose

Serge (Jeffrey Bracco), Marc (Kit Wilder), and Yvan (Max Tachis) in City Lights Theater Company's production of Yasmina Reza's "Art," translated by Christopher Hampton. The show runs Sept. 18-Oct. 19 at 529 S. Second St. in San Jose. Details: cltc.org.

Serge (Jeffrey Bracco), Marc (Kit Wilder), and Yvan (Max Tachis); photos by Mike Ko/siliconvalleydesigns.com.

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Voyageur du Temps – Los Altos

Salmon Tartine

Salmon Tartine

There are some places you visit and you just know it’s going to be good! From the exterior Voyageur du Temps is unassuming, but once you step in the door you’re greeted with sleek cases full of jewel like pastries, classic tartines and a floor to ceiling window looking into the immaculate pastry kitchen.
All of the baked goods, from baguettes and croissants to tarts and pastries are made behind that glass wall, and it’s fun to sit and watch the chefs practicing their craft.
Voyageur du Temps is built in what was once a train station, the exterior is a long horizontal craftsman style. Inside however it has a sleek modern feel that feels very Japanese in style. That figures as the owner, Rie Rubin is originally from Japan and brought two French-trained chefs over from Tokyo to open the restaurant.
The cafe serves breakfast until 11 AM. Look for the french toast, eggs and the “Bacon Epi” a baguette with the bacon baked in, or opt for the “Tokyo Breakfast” Thick toasted bread served with butter and jam and a cup of rich drip coffee from Seattle’s Cafee Vita.

The croissants are the best I’ve had outside of San Francisco’s Tartine, who–for me at least– set the bar on French pastry in the bay area. Look for their signature “V” cubes. I got mine filled with dark chocolate and cherries. Delicious and unique.
The Tartines and salads are served all day. Some complain they are expensive and the portions small, but you have to remember that in Japan and France they aren’t gluttons like we are here in the US. Portions are exactly right and each tartine is prepared fresh and individually, not laying around in a cooler somewhere waiting to be served. The attention to quality and detail shows everywhere here.

The patio has  seating nestled in the trees and I can imagine myself spending quite some time there over a cup of café aulait and a croissant.

Visit Voyageur du Temps–288 1ST St., Los Altos; 650-383-5800 open Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Closed Mondays.


Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival

 scsff header2
Get ready for the first annual Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival (www.scsff.com), taking place at the Del Mar and Rio theatres in Santa Cruz Sept. 24-26, 2014. This will be Santa Cruz’s first-ever multi-evening celebration of the best in surf cinema.
There is a lineup of 19 films from all over the world, ranging from 3 to 90 minutes long, with a total of 6 different screenings.
The focus of the festival is on high-quality documentary storytelling, as well as beautiful cinematography. The result is a carefully curated roster of films that will appeal to surfers and non-surfers alike.
Feature films will include:
  • The world premiere of Oney Anwar: Chasing the Dream, the story of an aspiring pro surfer from a remote Indonesian village, with the film producer in attendance at the screening for Q&A;
  • OUT in the Line-up, a documentary that follows the founder of gaysurfers.net as he travels around the world surfing and exploring the covering up of homosexuality in surf culture, and includes interviews with well-known pro surfers who have come out of the closet. This film sold out at the San Francisco International LGBT Frameline Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival, and the San Diego Surf Film Festival;
  • Tierra de Patagones, a picaresque tale of two Argentinian brothers who drive and camp their way through Patagonia to experience the wild culture and find waves;
  • Beyond the Surface, a tale of a group of professional women longboarders who visit India and meet the first female Indian surfer. Director and professional surfer Crystal Thornburg-Homcy will be in attendance for a Q&A.
Tickets are on sale now at www.scsff.com/tickets and there’s an early bird (they’re calling it Dawn Patrol) ticket discount available until Sept. 10th.
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Rigoletto: an Amazing and Entertaining opener for Opera SJ

Resident baritone Matthew Hanscom as Rigoletto

 

I’ve been so excited to return to Opera San Jose and see their opening show, Verdi’s Rigoletto! And what a wonderful time we had!

Remember, I am the Opera Novice, and even after several years of attending Opera SJ I still have no technical knowledge, but guess what?  I still enjoy the heck out of the shows.  And that is because you don’t have to be an opera aficionado to love the experience.  My opera reviews are for the general public, with the hope that you will all give it a try one day and discover a new love as I have.

Since this is the beginning of the season, let’s get back to the basics. The first thing you have to do is get out your fancypants clothes and jewelry, because this is your excuse to pretend to be royalty.  Then you make reservations at your favorite downtown restaurant.  If you are going on Opening Night, reservations are very important, as everything is booked solid anywhere near the California Theatre.  Then you just relax, have a great time, and look forward to buying a freshly baked cookie during intermission.

Rigoletto is a great show for a beginner, with over the top tragedy, a tortured clown, vengeance upon vengeance and, of course, a deflowered virgin.  There is also at least one very familiar song.  It is great to have familiar music when you’re a beginner; it makes you feel more comfortable, and it’s always funny to realize a tune you know from childhood is actually from a famous opera.  As my guest said, “I had no idea those were the words to that tune!!” And then we sang it all the way back to the parking garage.

Rigoletto is sung in Italian, but there is a screen above the stage that shows the words in English, so you do not miss a thing.  The set design for the show was not as grand as I’ve seen, but worked well in taking the audience from Rigoletto’s residence, to the outside streets, to a home in the slums where a bit of coin can buy you any favor you wish.

The orchestra was perfection as always; I really feel I do them a disservice by not having grander words for their hard work, but they are amazing.  The performers were also astounding as usual, with special mention for all the hard work of Matthew Hanscom who plays Rigoletto and must sing almost constantly through all three acts. But very special mention goes to a new resident: Isabella Ivy makes her company debut as Gilda and we have a winner here.  When Isabella is on stage, all eyes are on her, and though there are several songs where many people are singing different parts, you will still watch and listen only to Isabella.  She has the voice, she has the power, and she has the talent.  She also sings while lying down at one point, something that even an opera novice can see must be an incredible feat.  I am absolutely delighted to see that Opera SJ has found such great new talent and look forward to her performances the rest of the season.

When looking to buy tickets for a show, remember that the California Theatre is very well designed, and there is no need to pay a lot of money for a front row seat.  Seats in the balcony are fantastic with a great view of the stage.  Attending Opera SJ gives you the opportunity to pretend to be super fancypants, but you can still do so on a budget.

Last, but never least, remember that opera is not a stuffy or boring torture to endure.  At its best there is a really entertaining story, over the top is even better, and Rigoletto fits the bill for a beginner.  Never be afraid to hate all the men, if all the men are playing villains (they often are). Never be afraid to laugh quietly if the dying heroine is taking a few minutes too long to die – or even shed a tear if it’s a truly tragic show.  Never believe that you aren’t meant to think and feel all these things.  What you are meant to do is enjoy yourself.

I have seen theater shows where the last line of the play absolutely destroys the entire experience for me.  For Rigoletto, as the clown wails one final lament I thought “Oh please oh please let this be the last line of the show!!!” and the curtain went down and I clapped my hands and cackled with joy as the audience gave a well-deserved standing ovation.  I absolutely loved this show.  Can you tell?

Rigoletto
Opera SJ
Through September 21
The California Theatre

Resident tenor Kirk Dougherty as the Duke of Mantua and resident soprano Isabella Ivy as Gilda. Photo by Pat Kirk.


Chalk Art Festival in Luna Park

lunapark-chalk-art-festivalOn Saturday, September 20 Backesto Park comes alive with the 7th annual Luna Park Chalk Art Festival.  The festival is an all-volunteer run event created to provide a family-friendly, accessible venue to showcase the talents of local artists and students, foster awareness of the critical need for arts in schools and organizations serving youth, and to raise funds for providing grants and scholarships to meet that need.

No longer a tiny neighborhood event, the festival has grown, bringing in talented performers and musicians, vendors and food trucks, including some of my favorites, Hill Country BBQ and Waffle Amore! The dancers from  Movimiento Cosmico Indigenous Dance will be there too with their stunning ceremonial dances.

Check out the Flickr feed for the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival for more photos and follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter too.

If you’d like to participate as an artist or support the festival as a volunteer or sponsor , registration for all artists, artist/vendors, schools, and nonprofits is located here.


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