Archive for March, 2010

San Jose: Hey Big Spender


Excluding the price of housing how much do you spend daily? Most Americans spend 23 percent of their daily allowance shopping, 14.5 percent on gas and auto expenses, 17.5 percent on food and drink, 7 percent on travel and leisure, 17 percent on house-related expenses and 21 percent on health and family.

The residents of Austin, Texas spend an average of $67,076 a year. Scottsdale, Arizona comes in a close second at $64,687, and San Jose comes in third by spending $59,022 a year. I was surprised to find that San Francisco ranked 19th – spending only $45,291.

Shirley Bassey  (sound) – Big Spender

San Jose history photography contest

Roofline of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin (1937)

If you’re a photographer and interested in San Jose history, this is for you. The San Jose Historic Landmark Commission is holding a photography contest for Historic Preservation Month (May). Only a few details have been announced: its not clear whether the photos are going to be judged solely on artistic grounds, or what other criteria come into play; there are “cash awards”, but they don’t say the amount; and so on. The main prize for the winners is to see your photos presented on monitors around City Hall.

Despite the minimal details available, if you have some good photos of historical San Jose buildings, and you’re willing to take a chance, this could be a fun contest to join. You might even want to send in a photo of a historic building that’s no longer with us (but maybe use the Houghton-Donner house instead of Coconut Willie’s)

The entry deadline is May 1. See the contest website for more details and entry instructions.

(thanks to Eric at NNASJ for this story)

Delmas Ave. church fire photos

Church fire

These are a few photos of the wreckage of the historic church building that burned down near downtown San Jose two nights ago. According to the Mercury News article on the fire, the church was originally (1903 – 1943) the Evangelical Lutheran Bethel Church, and later occupied by three different Baptist denominations.

While I was there another man came to take some photos. He told me he’d been a congregation member when this church was known as one of the first Baptist churches in San Jose, and he’d been married in the church.

Like the Houghton-Donner house that burned down a couple of years ago, the building was slated for renovation and conservation. If the money had materialized, it would have been moved to San Jose History Park to join other historic buildings chronicling the history of our city. But nobody was motivated to keep the place secure, and homeless people were known to camp in the building. Probably their cooking fire saved some developer from the expense of moving the building.

If you don’t want to see more of this kind of demolition by neglect, consider contacting your city councilmember and letting them know you support new laws to keep abandoned buildings secure and protected from fires.

Renovations in progress at Coconut Willie’s

At work at Willie's

Nearly two years after a fire gutted the place, it looks like work has begun to renovate the former Coconut Willie’s bar at the Corner of San Carlos and Lincoln.

Target is going bananas…

… and apples and pineapples and …

Coming soon

One day last week the sticker of fresh fruits caught my eye as I walked into Target (in the Coleman Center). What was this? Target is going to have fresh goodies soon. June 2nd to be exact.

OK, cool.

Fresh Groceries June 2ndApparently, Target Corp is adding fresh fruits, veggies and meats to 350 of it’s stores and the Target on Coleman is one of them. So what does this mean for us? Personally, it might mean a quick bag of tomatoes, or a few extra chicken wings for  party here and there while I’m there to pick up some shampoo. I personally don’t think it’ll change my normal grocery shopping habits. What about you?

I know that there are many people who are very loyal to Trader Joe’s and the fact that fresh groceries at Target isn’t going to take them away. I don’t think TJ’s has anything to worry about; they’ve got a strong fan base.

Speaking of grocery habits, where do you live vs where you shop for groceries? I’m near the airport and my bf and I prefer to travel to the Rivermark Plaza Safeway on Montague Expy for our normal groceries. We’ll only shop TJ’s here and there for some special items and we have only been in the Safeway downtown to make sure they did catering (as they are nearby for an event I have coming up.) The downtown one seems it would be the ‘best bet’ for us, but frankly it just seemed too small and then there’s always the issue of parking.

But back to Target – good for them and good for us. When we need those extra limes for our beer, we won’t have to go elsewhere to get ’em.

“Let The Eagle Fly”


There are three more chances to see “Let The Eagle Fly

Thursday March 25 at 8:00pm

Sunday March 28 at 2:00pm

Final Performance – César Chávez Day
Wednesday March 31 at 7pm

Location: San Jose City College Theatre
2100 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128

Happy 50th Birthday Tim!

I have been working as the Summer Camp Registrar for the Diabetes Society on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen. A few days ago, someone came back to my cubie to say that a woman was at the reception desk wanting to register some kids for camp. When I walked up, Donna Miller introduced herself and handed me two camp registration forms plus an envelope full of checks. She explained that in her family the birthday boy collects donation checks instead of presents. It was Tim Miller’s 50th Birthday recently and he wanted his gift to go to the Diabetes Society. The envelope contained eight checks totaling $575! What a generous and charming way to celebrate a big birthday!

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Photos Copyright 2010 Katy Dickinson

OMIGOD You guys! Elle Woods has brought her case to San Jose!

Elle Woods and Bruiser

And she has won!  Broadway San Jose has brought Legally Blonde the Musical to the Center for Performing Arts and it is an outstanding show.  Opening to a packed house on Tuesday evening the audience was laughing, cheering, clapping and (happy) crying throughout the evening.

I am not usually thrilled when musicals are adapted from films, but Legally Blonde is perfectly suited for such a thing.  It’s a delightful, uplifting story with a change in tone at the halfway mark, plenty of quirky characters, and a happy ending.  The musical sticks with the storyline from the film, only making minor changes to make pop culture references more current.  There is also the addition of a Greek chorus – Elle’s sorority sisters, of course!

The story of Elle Woods and her move from Malibu to Harvard, though sometimes described as “bubblegum,” is actually inspiring and empowering to both females and males, young and old.  If you have never seen the film you need to understand that it is not about a bubble-headed blonde with a love for pink Gucci and aspirations to be a senator’s wife.  Okay, Elle does start out as this person, but she figures out before intermission that taking advantage of her brain is a better idea.  I love how the story shows that valuing the superficial is not important, however putting your best face forward is.  Elle learns that chasing love should not be the priority, but the story acknowledges the need for having love in one’s life.  Above all, girls are encouraged to support each other and use their brains, and to be the very best they can be.

Paulette and the UPS Guy with Rufus

Aside from the fantastic story, the musical is insanely well done.  Gorgeous backdrops are switched out super fast, the choreography perfectly conveys personalities and mood changes, and the costumes are well thought out and show Elle’s character development.  The audience is hooked from the catchy opening song (which you will be singing for days after), and the attention is held by the very talented cast and a few scene stealers.  The UPS Man and his accompanying porn-like soundtrack are played to perfection, and lesbian classmate Enid received loud shouts of approval with every line.

The real scene stealers come to Broadway San Jose straight from animal shelters.  The adorable dogs who play Rufus and Bruiser are all rescue animals that are trained for the stage.  They are used minimally in the show but have a magnificent presence every time they run across the stage.  Any time those adorable dogs were on stage all eyes were on them.

At Harvard Law

Broadway San Jose is turning into an arts powerhouse , but unfortunately Legally Blonde is only running through March 21.  You should NOT miss it.  Everyone at Tuesday’s show left the CPA with huge smiles and ready to take on the world.  “When I was young, Elle Woods taught me that a girl can be pretty AND smart,” said the gorgeous Stanford graduate who attended with me, “and now I really want a sparkly pink Harvard shirt.”

If you have pre-teen or teenage girls in your family, take them with you to this show.  Take the boys and men in your life too, and get ready for an exceptionally fun evening.  Even those of us who have seen Elle Woods on screen many times before will feel renewed and inspired after seeing this musical.

San Jose: Free Ride Home after St. Patrick’s Day Binge

You and Your Tipsy Friend


If you can’t find a cab when you need one tonight, AAA is to the rescue.

AAA is offering a free five-mile tow home (make sure your bar of choice is within 5-miles from home) for you, or your tipsy friend.

Obviously a tow truck will not hold all your friends, so keep it to two.

Call the AAA operator @ 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and say, “I need a Tipsy Tow”.

Note: You or your tipsy friend need not be a AAA member!

Where: The San Jose Bay Area

When: St.Patrick’s Day – March 17th

6 PM to 6 AM on the morning of the 18th.

San Jose: Great American Litter Pick Up


The “Great American Litter Pick Up” is this Saturday March 20, 2010

Registration 8 AM-8:30
Clean-up 8:30 – 11:30
FREE – celebration lunch for volunteers, 12 noon – 1 PM

Volunteers: bring your own pick-up stick & gloves
All youth under 18 need supervision & transportation to get to clean up sites.

For registration information see “don’t let LITTER trash your community!

For more information or to sign up call: (408) 277-3208
Para información sobre este día de limpieza comunitaria, llame al (408) 277-3208.
Muoná bietá tin töcù banè g tiená g Vietä veà viecä donï racù vötù böaø baiõ , xin goiï soá (408) 277-3208.

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