King Arthur visits City Lights Theater in SPAMALOT

 

Monty Python's Spamalot

City Lights Theater Company has gone ambitious this summer as it presents the comedy extravaganza Monty Python’s Spamalot!  This is one of my favorite shows because it’s just so irreverent and complete fun.  There is nothing serious in this show, there are no deep hidden meanings, and there is so much going on at any and all times that glitches are guaranteed to happen every single night… and it is always fun and hilarious to see how these professional performers manage to overcome the unexpected.  When you are in need of a show that is strictly fun entertainment in its purest form, Spamalot is the one to see.

The show recreates many scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with a lot of Broadway mixed in.  You will see killer rabbits, and cows tossed from the ramparts, the Black Knight receives a flesh wound or four, and included in the show is the one thing the film is missing: a plethora of dancing girls.  The story is of King Arthur’s search for a team of worthy knights who will help him on his quest to find the Holy Grail.  On the way they must all avoid the plague, find a nice shrubbery for the Knights Who Say Ni, and rescue a Damsel in Distress Prince Herbert.  Watching the film first is not necessary, so if you have been deprived of the Monty Python movie experience, rest assured you will still have a rollicking great time (and then go rent the film for gosh sakes, why haven’t you seen it yet??).

Almost all the actors play multiple parts, requiring many costume changes, and there is constant choreography and singing.  There is a lot of acting and singing talent required to put this show on, and stage and set work behind the scenes that is unimaginably difficult.  City Lights does a tremendous job with their smaller theater and budget, so that you don’t miss a thing and an amazing time is had by all.  Kudos to director Jeffrey Bracco for pulling off this amazing feat so well, and to Jennifer Gorgulho for managing to choreograph an incredible number of constantly moving people.

Spamalot is running through August 31, but shows have already started to sell out, so get your tickets now before you miss it.  And before you get to the theater, stop off at Psycho Donuts for their special Spam Wellington Donut, a savory creation filled with layers of Spam and mushroom duxelle.  This surprisingly delicious treat was served at the Opening Night Gala along with mead from Alderin’s Meadery and catered food from Cafe Stritch A big thanks to all these companies for supporting City Lights Theater Company and local theater!

 

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Through August 31
City Lights Theater Company
529 South Second Street, San Jose

Main Stage Ticket Pricing:
Adult: $30
Student: $17
Educator: $17
Senior: $25


THE GREAT PRETENDER a Must-See at TheatreWorks

 

Great Pretender4_KevinBerne

TheatreWorks is presenting another amazing show as the opener of their 45th season.  This is the world premiere of The Great Pretender, by David West Read, and I have no doubt this original show will be playing many theaters in the future.

Mr. Felt is the host of a televised puppet show for children.  He works with a puppet child named Francis, a puppet pony named Carol and a couple other friends.  In the opening we get to see them put on their puppet show of craft making, which goes on just long enough to make me wonder if the entire play was going to be a child’s puppet show… but soon enough the theme music fades out and we head a few months into the future.  Mr. Felt’s wife, the puppeteer for Francis, has passed away, and someone new is needed to replace her.  We soon meet Carol, the puppeteer for Carol the Pony (and the most terrible human on the planet), another puppeteer Tom, and newbie Jodi, who grew up with the show and wants more than anything to be a part of it.

Mr. Felt (Steve Brady) watches skeptically while Jodi (Sarah Moser) tells Tom (Michael Storm) and Carol (Suzanne Grodner) about the pants she made herself

My friend and I were excited to see this show because PUPPETS, and also the line “Contains Mature Language”, and how can you miss with that combo?? But PEOPLE.  This show made me almost cry.  Well, perhaps I did actually cry a little, or maybe there was just a lot of pollen in the theater.  I certainly wasn’t the only one in the theater with sniffles.  The Great Pretender isn’t just a puppet show, it is about Life, and Death, and Friendships, and realizing who your Family is when you have no one.  It also made me laugh hysterically.  It touched me on so many levels, in a way that many other shows have not.  But what did I expect? This is TheatreWorks, and they have consistently presented the best of the best for the last year I have attended.

The production is not actually for children as there are mature language and situations, and also, the character of Carol should not be anywhere near children, haha.  But teens would be fine, and other than that, everyone should go see this amazing show immediately.  I don’t think we have seen the last of David West Read, and The Great Pretender is absolutely headed for the big time.

The Great Pretender
Through August 3, 2014
TheatreWorks
At Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto

 


Six A’s & Two Giants in All-Star Game

The 85th MLB All-Star Game from Target Field in Minneapolis is Tuesday, July 15 on FOX TV and ESPN Radio at 4:30 p.m.

Oakland Athletics:

  • Josh Donaldson 3B
  • Sean Doolittle LHP
  • Scott Kazmir LHP
  • Derek Norris C
  • Brandon Moss 1B
  • Yoenis Céspedes OF


San Francisco Giants:

  • Madison Bumgarner LHP
  • Hunter Pence OF

Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Céspedes will participate in the 2014 Home Run Derby.
A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego will pitch to Céspedes.

Céspedes is the 2013 Home Run Derby champion.

The 2014 Home Run Derby is Monday, July 14 on ESPN TV and ESPN Radio at 5:00 p.m.


Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers at the Tech

Startup Weekend

Ohh, maker and startup fans and anyone with a great idea should show up this weekend at the Tech Museum of Innovation! On July 11-13 they’re hosting an awesome event called “Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers at the Tech” This will be a creative event where individuals who want to get started founding and launching a successful venture will have an opportunity to make it a reality.

Friday evening participants will present their pitches for a hardware startup. On Saturday they’ll form teams and alliances to make their dream come true and the Tech and it’s partners will be providing equipment like 3-D printers and laser cutters to make it happen.

Silicon valley tech leaders will judge the entries and give the teams feedback and conclude with a grand showcase of the week’s work on Sunday evening.

Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers, supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, is dedicated to helping individuals build their networks, learn new skills, and launch a startup while creating a product, prototype, and presentation. Startup Weekend has events in more than 100 countries and 580 cities worldwide.

 

WHAT: Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers. An intense event where teams create an innovative product over the weekend and launch a real startup.

WHEN: Startup Showcase: Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 5 p.m.

Full event: July 11, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to July 13, 2014 at 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Tech, 201 S. Market St. San Jose, CA


Did Somebody Say #Bacon Festival AND Fireworks?

Bacon Festival

What’s not to love about a bacon festival with fireworks too? July 4th and 5th is the second annual Movable Feast Bacon Festival on the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. They’ve expanded to two full days of food, entertainment, music and SJStreet Mart vendors with everything from henna tattoos and organic indigo to jewelry, clothing and more.

The food
Throughout the day there will be a load of food trucks including the famous Bacon Bacon and Baconbot trucks. Even if bacon isn’t your favorite thing there are plenty of other options from Grilled Cheese bandits, Madd Mex Cantina, Tastee Bytes, Chromatic Coffee, Treatbot and Fairycakes. Here’s the list of food vendors.

Entertainment
Kick up your heels to Yeshua and the Hi-Tones, Anya and the Getdown, The People and The Honey Wilders and watch the Pro Wrestling Revolution at several times both days. Silly Ricky the stilt juggler will be there as well as Brian the Bubble guy to entertain the kids. This is definitely a family friendly event.

Fireworks will start at 9:30 on July 4th courtesy of the San Jose Rotary Club

Here’s the full schedule and be sure to get tickets in advance at a discounted price. (Kids tickets are free online)

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The Photography of Modernist Cuisine with Nathan Myhrvold


It’s not a surprise that techies and geeks love our food, and the science behind food, the how and why and what if of cooking.

It is a bit of a surprise to find someone who has a gift for cooking and photography with a master’s degree in economics, as well as master’s degrees in geophysics and space physics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UCLA. Oh, and not only did he do post-doctoral work with Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University researching cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space-time, and quantum theories of gravitation, he served as the chief technology officer for Bill Gates at Microsoft. (This guy’s the geek of geeks).

Meet Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science. Later he founded The Cooking Lab and published a mammoth 5 volume 2,438 page set of photos and recipes and thoughts on the science of cooking called “Modernist Cuisine” that will knock your socks off. In it you’ll find stunning photography and scientific explanations of the cooking process, techniques and methods to achieve Modernist Cuisine.

But that’s not exactly what this post is about. This is about the show up right now at The Tech Museum of Innovation called The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. This morning I was lucky enough to join Tim Ritchie, president of The Tech Museum of Innovation and Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen (an avid foodie herself) and Nathan Myhrvold who spoke about his work and that passion for understanding food in ways we don’t normally see it.

The exhibit is over 75 large scale images that show us microscopic views of crystals of citric acid and what he calls “exploded parts diagrams” of a mushroom and swiss hamburger that took over 30 hours to prepare and takes after a drawing style popular in technical manuals and also favored by Leonardo Da Vinci.

As you go through the exhibit take time to read the descriptions which share the science but also the methods he use to achieve the shots. What appears to be a simple image on a steak is actually a composed panorama of 1,000 images stitched together to make every single millimeter sharp and clear. Another dish which seems to leap off the wall is uses a technique called “Focus stacking” where software is used to create highly dimensional photos with virtually no depth of field so every element is sharply defined and crisp.

All of the photos in this exhibit give you a new way to look at food. Whether familiar objects like a planted garden or cutaways of common household appliances, constructed images or micro views you’d never see on your own. It’s food porn at it’s finest.

This exhibit is open at The Tech from June 25 to Sept 1 and there are two special “After Hours” events planned. After Hours is the monthly evening event where adults 21 and older enjoy science, technology, entertainment, and cocktails together with their friends, and this summer there will be some special menus and themes designed to coincide with the new exhibit.

Get your tickets here:
July After Hours - Independence Day – Spirit of America
Thursday, July 3, 2014
7 p.m. – midnight

$10 / $5 for members
Buy tickets
August After Hours - Hawaiian Night Luau
Thursday, August 7, 2014
7 p.m. – midnight

$10 / $5 for members
Buy tickets

By the way, look for Modernist Cuisine recipes and videos on the website, you can get an interactive eBook in the Modernist Cuisine at Home App from the iTunes store for free in the Lite Version or buy the full version and learn about the techniques and methods of Modernist Cuisine demonstrated. Learn how to cook salmon sous vide in your kitchen sink!

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Foodie Alert- San Jose DishCrawl


If you don’t know about Dishcrawl yet listen up. The idea is simple, find great food and create a convivial atmosphere for foodies to explore local cuisine, meet the chefs and mingle with other foodies. If you’re looking for local food culture, to meet other people interested in food, or to find the best local restaurants, DishCrawl is for you!
DishCrawl San Jose is kicking off the summer tonight (Tuesday June 17) in partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association to offer the “Best of San Jose” Dishcrawl series which will take  you on a culinary journey to three of downtown San Jose’s top spots for food and nightlife. If you can’t make it to tonight’s kick-off, don’t worry, they’ll be crawling at the same 3 delicious spots every Tuesday until the end of August.

In typical Dishcrawl style, not all of the restaurants are announced in advance. We know we’ll be going to Fahrenheit Restaurant and Lounge where guests will be treated to an amazing trio of skirt steak, brussels sprout salad and their famous deviled egg. Fahrenheit combines a farm to table cuisine and some of the freshest produce, meats, seafood from the local organic farms with an amazing lounge setting.

The second stop will be Mezcal. Awarded as 2009′s Downtown’s Best New Restaurant, Chef Octavio Gomez ensures patrons will be ecstatic when they try their mini sea bass ceviche tostada, handmade corn quesadilla, or famous mole negro, a well-kept family recipe. This Oaxacan cuisine will make your taste buds scream for more.

The third and final stop will feature Loft Bar & Bistro where guests will try their, tender boneless teriyaki beef short rib, panko crusted chicken breast and white chocolate crème brulee. Loft combines their great American cuisine menu with their amazing rooftop patio and casual atmosphere.In addition to this inaugural event on Tuesday June 17th which will kick-off the San Jose Downtown Association’s, Dine Downtown Restaurant Week, DishCrawls will be hosting “crawls” on the dates listed below.

   Tuesday, June 24th

Tuesday, July 29th

Tuesday, July 1st

   Tuesday, August 5th

 Tuesday, July 8th

     Tuesday, August 12th

   Tuesday, July 15th

     Tuesday, August 19th

    Tuesday, July 22nd

     Tuesday, August 26th

Reservations are limited, but still being accepted dishcrawl.com/bestofsj

For more information about upcoming Dishcrawls visitdishcrawl.com/sanjose, check us out at facebook.com/dishcrawlSanJose or follow @Dishcrawlsj.

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Local Theaters you should give a try

No, the death of the San Jose Repertory Theatre does not mean an absence of theatre in San Jose.  Not only are there more theaters than I can keep up with, they all produce spectacular shows that will amaze you.  In fact, looking at this list you almost wonder how the SJ Rep will be missed (it will).  Take a good look at what is in store for the summer, get some tickets for your family, and maybe even see if your employer might be willing to give a donation to the theatre of your choice.

And if you have any tickets to a canceled SJ Repertory show, almost all of these theaters have expressed an offer to trade your ticket for one of theirs.  If you see something you’d like to attend below, give their office a call and ask.  The theatre world is a community, and they consider their audiences part of the family.

Here, in alphabetical order, are some theaters you should be giving a shot this summer.  This list is by no means complete.  There truly is an endless opportunity for theatre in the South Bay.

 

Broadway San Jose

Broadway San Jose brings traveling Broadway shows to the area, and they are some of the best musicals you will see in town.  They are always AMAZING.  Jersey Boys begins July 15th, and in August get ready for Wicked!  Obviously you need to get those tickets ASAP.

 

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Children’s Musical Theatre

CMT has a full summer schedule, and never be fooled into thinking this is a “kid” theater.  These are professional productions all the way.  In line this summer are Oklahoma!, Side Show, and Disney’s Jungle Book.  Personally, I think Side Show sounds really interesting and might try to get to it myself.

 

 

 

 

City Lights Theater Company

CLTC is playing The Language Archive through June 29, and on July 24 get ready for Monty Python’s Spamalot!!

CLTC is a great theater with an abundance of talent.  I know I mentioned the lack of A/C when I was last there, but I have never been uncomfortable there any other time.  Definitely give them a chance, I know you won’t be disappointed!  Again, this is a rare theatre that runs in the black, and it should continue to be supported.

 

 

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Dragon Productions Theatre Company

Tomorrow is the last night to see Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, and then Take Me Out begins in July.  They recently opened in their brand new theater, which is much larger than their old space and very comfortable.  Redwood City is not far, and this theater is worth the short trip.

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Hillbarn Theatre

Hillbarn has long been one of my favorite local theaters, even though I have not reviewed there in awhile.  It is in Foster City, but it’s always easy to get there for evening shows because the drive from San Jose has little traffic!  Their musicals are simply the best.  They are on break for the summer, though they do have SummerStage for kids, and on August 28 they return with Funny Girl the musical!!  Let me also state that this theatre has some of the nicest people in the industry working there.

 

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Opera San Jose

This is the company that taught me opera is fun.  Yes, it is FUN.  And I never would have dreamed the line of friends I have who want to join me at the opera.  My vacation forced me to miss their closing show this year, but I can’t wait until September 6 when Verdi’s Rigoletto begins!  San Jose is truly lucky to have such a treasure trove of talent at Opera SJ, from their performers to their set designers.  I’ll not stop urging you to try the opera until I know for a fact that every single one of you has attended at least one show!

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Palo Alto Players

I just started attending their performances this year, and they have been some of the most enjoyable shows I have seen, full of some of the best talent.  The Farnsworth Invention is playing now through June 29, and it has already received notice from Aaron Sorkin, the playwright himself.  The PA Players are worth the cost of a subscription.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pear Avenue Theatre 

Pear Avenue is one of the tiniest theaters I have ever been in, but they show that size does not matter.  Their production of Death of a Salesman was by far one of the best shows I have been to.  On June 20 they begin Pygmalion, and after next season they will be in a brand new theater that will give them even more room.  I am truly excited for them.

 

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Renegade Theatre Experiment

A theatre more people should know and be talking about.  On summer break right now, DO NOT MISS the September World Premiere of Perishable, Keep Refrigerated, written by Redwood City’s own Max Tachis and directed by my favorite theater director Kathleen Normington.  There is one thing you can always count on: when you see a show directed by Kathleen, you will be thinking about it and talking about it for weeks after.

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San Jose Stage Company

Currently on The Stage is Bonnie & Clyde, and you can’t get much better than that.  Wait, yes you can because it’s a MUSICAL!!  Through July 27.

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South Bay Musical Theatre

I have never been to this theatre, but perhaps we should all check it out!   Tonight is their last show for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and September 27 they return with Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.

 

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TheatreWorks

Another theater I just started this year, they blew me away with their holiday production of Little Women the musical.  I have seen the most consistently professional and talented performances from this company, and they are currently my number one favorite theatre.  Now playing through June 29, Sondheim’s Marry Me a Little.  Without even seeing it I can tell you it’s a can’t-miss!  And then they immediately begin their next season on July 9 with The Great Pretender.  Always worth a trip to Palo Alto!

 

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City Lights inadvertently presents allegory for the closing of The Rep

Theater audiences all over the Bay Area went to see fantastic, thoughtful, hysterical, amazing shows and musicals last weekend.  We came home looking forward to seeing the next shows, or acting or producing the next shows, and many of us contemplated our reviews of the weekend.  And then we sat down Monday to do our work.

And at 10:30am we received the press release in our In-Box:

San Jose, CA. June 11, 2014 – San Jose Repertory Theatre announced today that it has ceased operation as of Monday, June 9, 2014. 

This news came as a shock to most, even those of us who had heard whisperings and warnings, I mean it’s THE SAN  JOSE REP, it’s been downtown for over thirty years, well longer than I would bet most of the valley’s employees have lived here.  In Silicon Valley years, The Rep has been here FOREVER.

It was a heart break for me.  I have years of history with The Rep.  I have sat in almost every seat of their audience, I have played in the pit, I have introduced films and interviewed filmmakers and actors on the stage.  I have brought dozens of dates to see shows and had a close group of friends I loved to share tickets with.  I introduced my own children to theater at The Rep, and as adults I am proud to know that they attend theater on their own now, without being dragged by their mother. I have many memories of drunken shenanigans in and around the theater.  The Rep did not always produce my favorite shows, but they were always my favorite theater.

But I had a review to write, one that was very difficult to write for many reasons.  I had heard great things about City Lights Theatre’s production of The Language Archive and had really looked forward to seeing it.  But due to a scheduled vacation, I had to see the Sunday matinee when our temps were in the 90s and the theater had no air conditioning.  It was difficult to connect to the actors because the theater was so uncomfortable.  I was able to pay attention to the show, but in a distracted way, and I could not drum up any excitement except for getting back to my air conditioned car.  This is a terrible scenario in which to review a show fairly.  So I found myself in the position of feeling sort of mediocre about the show, but knowing it was likely only due to one very hot day since my fellow reviewers loved it, and feeling my normal pressure to want to get people to the theater no matter what, now with the added pressure of knowing the biggest theater in town just went bankrupt.

At the same time, feeling like I was in mourning for a lost friend, and trying not to feel anger towards a very wealthy valley who I felt had let the Arts down.

The Language Archive, playing at City Lights through January 29, IS a great show.  It’s about language and relationships and the care needed to keep them alive.  I sat here thinking tonight how the character of Mary treasures her ages old sourdough starter.  She told of how she had to feed it, pay attention to it, never forget about it or take it for granted, so that more warm, nourishing bread could be made from it, and it would never die.  The show is about George, a linguist who documents dying languages.  As stated in the show, any language needs more than one person speaking it in order to survive; if no one cares for them, the languages die.  George’s marriage to Mary needed the attention that the sourdough starter received.  When George could no longer speak the language that Mary needed to hear, the marriage died.

And sitting here thinking about that show I realized this is very much an allegory for the demise of The San Jose Rep, isn’t it.  No theater can survive on ticket sales alone, many don’t realize this.  Theaters require entire communities to not just attend, but to donate.  The San Jose Rep had an operating budget of $5 million.  I don’t have $5 million.  You likely don’t either.  But when you think of all the businesses in San Jose, all the wealthy businesses (who do indeed contribute money to our community), and the wealthy CEOs who live here (and also donate to the community)… Five million dollars seems like it could easily have been covered between allllll the businesses who reside here, don’t you think?  San Jose simply cannot keep crying that no one knows who we are, where we are, that we are not a neighborhood in San Francisco, if we cannot even keep our own local Repertory Theater open.  And like it or not, theater and the Arts really does fall on local businesses to survive, whether we’re talking about San Francisco or New York or a tiny middle America town. Or San Jose.

But the blame cannot just be put on our local businesses.  Theater is a very complicated business, full of catch-22s and the need for good shows that cost money that doesn’t come without big shows that cost money.  Karen D’Souza has written an excellent article for the Mercury News which points to several of the various factors that went into the closing, and wonders if perhaps San Jose isn’t just due for a different sort of Arts environment.  I would never oppose different, as long as the Arts do not die altogether.

But San Jose does have many, many smaller theaters that many locals haven’t even heard of.  City Lights is a great little theater and it somehow operates in the black.  Hopefully that’s not just due to their lack of an air conditioning bill, LOL (I JOKE! I JOKE!).   And they are one of many theaters that not only put on outstanding productions on a regular basis but are accepting tickets to The Rep’s canceled shows for their own shows.  Theater is a community, and they support each other like a family no matter what.  We should try to support them back.  Like sourdough starter, the Arts require all of us to feed it, pay attention to it, never forget about it or take it for granted, so that it will never die.


Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest

Longboarders from across California take over Steamer Lane each Memorial Day weekend, as nearly 200 contestants compete for top honors in divisions from youngsters to surfing legends 70 years of age and over.

The competition May 24-25 begins at 7 a.m. Saturday with heats running through 5 p.m.

Spectators are invited to watch the surfing and enjoy commentary, music, refreshments, T-shirts and raffle drawings.  The awards ceremony follows the last heat Sunday. You need not be present to win at the raffle, but you must be able to pick up your prizes in Santa Cruz. Raffle drawings go on throughout the weekend.

The Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest is the longest-running longboard surf contest on the West Coast.

Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest
West Cliff Drive & Pelton Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Saturday, May 24, 2014 | 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 25, 2014 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free to watch from the shore

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Monster Black Holes

Astronomer Chung-Pei Ma, PhD, of UC Berkeley, will discuss Monster Black Holes: What Lurks at the Centers of Galaxies, a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture, Wednesday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. The public is invited. Seating is first come, first served.

Black holes can grow to monstrous size, swallowing the mass of millions or billions of suns. Dr. Ma will describe recent discoveries of record-breaking black holes, each with a mass of 10 billion times the mass of the Sun. New evidence shows that these objects could be the dormant remnants of powerful “quasars” that existed in the young universe.

A cosmologist and astrophysicist, Dr. Ma’s research interests include the origin and large-scale structure of the universe, the formation and development of galaxies, and the growth of giant black holes. Her specialty areas include: theoretical cosmology; dark matter and energy; galaxy and structure formation; black holes; gravitational lensing; cosmic microwave background.


Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the Smithwick Theater. 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) 949-7888

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
7:00 pm

Admission: free
Parking: $3.00

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Tinkerers and Crafters-Get to Maker Faire Sunday!

Maker Faire is back at the San Mateo Event Center May 17, 18 and well worth taking some time away from watching the grass grow in the back yard!

What is Maker Faire you ask? It’s actually hard to fully describe it. Sure, there are tons of do-it-yourself robot competitions, workshops and kits and 3-d printers galore, but this isn’t strictly a faire for geeks and techies. Basically it’s a place for all ages, kids and adults to go and learn about everything from crafting and up-cycling, creating art from recycled materials and a lot of ingenuity and electronics of all kinds. Where else can you learn to make a tub of grass play music?

I spent the better part of the day there on Saturday and I saw:

  • A dramatic dragon sculpture you can ride
  • A fire breathing Pegasus on wheels
  • A race of up-cycled kids toy cars
  • Crafting from making tie-dyed t-shirts to jewelry, scrapbooking,  knitting and tapigami.
  • Robot wars
  • A number of flying drones, one even had a facial recognition scanner (scary!)
  • Do it yourself kits to build computers, robots and 3-d printers
  • Kids creating their own rockets, computers and making music
  • Kids and adults alike playing like kids in a candy store.

There is so much to do here plan to spend some time. Many of the exhibits are hands on. You can really play with the toys and learn.

Getting there
I highly recommend taking Caltrain to the Hillsdale station. From there it’s a short walk to Maker Faire. If you absolutely must drive I saw lots of parking at the Caltrain lot, but anywhere else within a mile of the event is nearly impossible and the traffic was quite heavy coming in.

Tickets
Ticket prices vary, check Eventbrite for buying online. I also recommend getting your tickets in advance. You can then easily scan your phone at the entrance and skip the lines.

 

When and where?
Maker Faire is at the San Mateo Event Center Saturday May 17 10AM-8 PM and Sunday 10AM-6PM.

Maker Faire is brought to you by Maker Media.  Maker Media publishes MAKE magazine, produces Maker Faire, and offers DIY electronics, tools, kits, and books through its online and pop-up Maker Shed stores.

 

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Sunshine and Superheroes

Sunshine and Superheroes, Opens Saturday, May 23, explores the cultural impact of the nation’s largest comics convention, Comic-Con. The exhibition examines themes of gender in comics and changes in comic culture over the years.

The presentation includes vintage comic books, Comic-Con paraphernalia, superhero outfits, along with original student-produced videos and an interactive photo booth with costumes for visitors to try on.

Sunshine and Superheroes: San Diego Comic-Con
May 23, 2014 through May 31, 2015

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 –
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$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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Kristi Yamaguchi’s Reading Adventures


Kristi Yamaguchi’s second annual Reading Adventures at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo on Saturday May 17, 2014.

Joining Ms. Yamaguchi to read their favorite childhood books are celebrity authors and athletes including Bob Barner and Dave Keane.

Check out the zoo’s animal education exhibits and take part in the many literacy-themed stations.

Schedule —
11:00      Kristi Yamaguchi welcome & reading (book signing to follow)
12:00      Dave Keane illustration & reading presentation (book signing to follow)
12:45      Conservation Ambassadors Animal Show
1:30        San Francisco 49er’s Will Tukuafu
2:00        Bob Barner – Music and drawing presentation (book signing to follow)
3:00        entertainment – Disney Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
1300 Senter Road
San Jose 95112
(408) 794-6400

Saturday, May 17, 2014
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

General Admission (ages 2 – 69) — $12.95
General Admission for 70 years+ — $9.95
General Admission (ages 0 – 1) — FREE

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REBOOT:Music Live at The Tech

REBOOTElectronic music fans are going to flock to the Tech next weekend for live performances from world class musicians staged amid the largest exhibition of interactive, collaborative digital music installations ever created.

Unleash your inner musician and immerse yourself in a new world of musical performances led by revolutionaries who are redefining the intersection of humans and machines.

Panel Discussion with the Artists moderated by ANI 

Interact and make your own music with:

  • 14 installations by renowned artists that allow you to collaborate and explore the boundaries of music making.
  • Red Hot and Sympathetic Resonance, two large-scale, electro-acoustic experiences bring a technological twist to familiar acoustic instruments.
  • The multi-player ConnecTable invites spontaneous jam sessions with friends and strangers alike – no rehearsal necessary!
  • The Space Palette puts futuristic soundscapes at participants’ fingertips – literally.
  • Stepping Tones’ immersive projection mapped environment lets participants create and visualize beats by hand.
  • The Laser Harp Alembic surrounds visitors with an orchestra of sounds, each just a pluck of the air away.

$15 Limited Presale Tickets HERE

RSVP to the Facebook Event HERE

Saturday, May 10th
7pm-1am
at The Tech Museum of Innovation
201 South Market St, San Jose

 

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Visit: thetech.org

Like: facebook.com/TheTechMuseum

Follow: twitter.com/TheTechMuseum

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