Archive for March, 2011

Legacy of Light shines at the SJ Rep

(l to r) Émilie du Châtelet (Rachel Harker) spends time with her lover, Saint-Lambert (Miles Gaston Villanueva)

Legacy of Light contains great characters, new ideas, and multiple themes and plots.  It presents both comedy and tragedy, fictional and non-fictional characters, and keeps you enthralled even during science lectures which actually teach you something.  Moving from France in the 1700s to present day New Jersey, there is a great deal going on during the play, yet it is never complicated or distracting.

(l to r) Millie (Kathryn Tkel) woos Peter (Mike Ryan) and Olivia (Carrie Paff) into choosing her as their surrogate.

This amazing, original story is as fresh and new as the ever present apples in the production.  It was refreshing to see something so completely modern even in scenes that took place 250 years ago.  It’s also a story about both science and love.  So many opposite subjects are tackled here and yet playwright Karen Zacarías successfully ties them all together.  It is absolutely worthy of being awarded “Best New American Play” by the American Theatre Critics Association.

Just some of the questions this play brings up:

What makes a mother?  Do you have to give birth to be a mother, and if you do give birth does that make you a mother?  What if you’re not sure you really want the child you asked a surrogate to carry for you? What if you know you will die in childbirth and thus deprive the world of all the amazing scientific ideas in your head?  Which will make you immortal: your children or your ideas?

Émilie du Châtelet (Rachel Harker) looks on as Voltaire (Robert Yacko) and Saint-Lambert (Miles Gaston Villanueva) duel over her.

There is also a lot of science in this story, and much of it is taught very clearly to the audience. We learned about E=mv², E=mc², the birth of planets, and dark matter.  Well, we learn that we don’t know anything about dark matter at all, but still. I thought the female scientists were very inspiring, especially with all the obstacles they faced as women:  Émilie du Châtelet was not allowed to publish under her own name, but modern day women still have very little chance of winning a Nobel Prize in science.

Millie (Kathryn Tkel) is comforted by Olivia (Carrie Paff)

The six actors in the play are all amazing, and most of them played two characters each.  I was particularly impressed with Kathryn Tkel, who was in the SJ Rep’s Secret Order. I think she does an outstanding job playing young Millie the surrogate mother, as well as a young girl in 18th Century France, and it appears her acting skills have grown considerably this year.  Rachel Harker was marvelous in last month’s The Dresser, and she is marvelous again here as Émilie. And I thought Carrie Paff was most excellent as the awkward scientist Olivia who doubts her mothering capabilities.

My guest and I left the theater with a terrific feeling of having just seen something new, original and fresh.  It was engaging, funny, emotional, and inspirational and we even learned a lot!  I can’t recommend this show enough.

Legacy of Light
March 24 – April 17, 2011
by Karen Zacarias
directed by Kirsten Brandt

Elizabeth Taylor Film Festival at Stanford Theatre

Stanford Theatre presents select films featuring Elizabeth Taylor April 1 through April 18, 2011.

Wikipedia: Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011), often referred to as Liz Taylor, was an English-born American actress. She gained early fame as a child actress and was later recognized not only as a talented and award-winning film star, but also for her glamorous lifestyle and her extraordinary beauty, as most evident in her unusual and striking violet eyes.

Elizabeth Taylor films at Stanford Theatre:

National Velvet
Lassie Come Home
Little Women
Father of the Bride
Father’s Little Dividend
The Last Time I Saw Paris
A Date with Judy
A Place in the Sun
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Stanford Theatre
221 University Ave, Palo Alto

April 1 – 18, 2011
Show Times
Tickets, Location, and Parking

(650) 324-3700

Bakesale and Kanikapila for Japan

This Saturday, Japantown’s Roy’s Station Coffee and Teas will host a fundraiser to benefit victims of the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. First, they are joining a national Bakesale for Japan effort. Volunteers will bake their favorite treats and snacks to sell, with proceeds going to Peace Winds Japan. 100% of donations are promised to go to “ground relief efforts” in Japan. The same organization putting on the bakesale previously arranged a Bakesale for Haiti that raised over $23,000 for relief efforts there. With 20 locations signed up, Bakesale for Japan promises to be an even bigger success than the Bakesale for Haiti.

Second, in the afternoon, Japantown ukuleleists will present a kanikapila or ukulele jam session from 3 to 6 pm. A ukulele from Ukulele Source will be raffled as part of the event. Kanikapila proceeds will benefit the Japanese Red Cross. The last ukulele event I went to in J-town was a great informal event and a fantastic way to get to know a musical style you don’t hear every day.

  • What: Bakesale and Kanikapila for Japan relief
  • When: Saturday, April 2, Bakesale 10 am – 2 pm, Kanikapila 3 pm – 6 pm
  • Where: Roy’s Station, 197 Jackson Street, San Jose

Fan Appreciation Tailgate Party 2011

The Giants are not the only Bay Area team with a superb pitching staff; there is that “other” team over in the East Bay. The Oakland A’s have a very talented and young rotation in Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden along with All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

Offensive additions Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham should improve the A’s overall production (third worst offense in 2010). In addition, watch for Kurt Suzuki and Mark Ellis to improve on their 2010 statistics.

Learn more about the A’s this Tuesday March 29, 2011 at the free Fan Appreciation Tailgate Party.

The tailgate takes place in the Oakland Coliseum parking lot A beginning at 4:00 pm and runs until 6:30 pm prior to the exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants. The tailgate is free to the public, and does not require a game ticket. Parking is also free.

The tailgate features player and coaching staff Q&As, autograph sessions, memorabilia displays (including World Series trophies) and more.

Event highlights include:

Q & A sessions
Autograph sessions
Photos with World Series Trophies and former players Joe Rudi and Tony Phillips
Memorabilia sale
Interactive games
A’s Mathletics program sign-up booth A’s 2011 Kids Club sign-up booth

After the free Fan Appreciation Tailgate event, the Oakland A’s take on the San Francisco Giants at 7:05 pm. Specially priced game tickets starting at $5 (subject to availability).

Fan Appreciation Tailgate
Oakland Coliseum – Parking Lot A
7000 Coliseum Way, 94621

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
4:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Tailgate party and parking: Free
Game ticket information

Two Fantastic Shows: Separate Tables and Fiddler on the Roof!

The downside to Cinequest is that the dramatic productions for the month get less attention than they deserve.   It’s time to take care of that problem today.  There are two fantastic shows out right now, and one of them is ending this weekend!

[Edit to add: Look below for special deal at Fiddler on the Roof for final performance, Sunday March 20!]

Separate Tables, at Hillbarn Theatre

Hillbarn Theater, one of my favorites, is currently presenting Separate Tables, and getting rave reviews. This is the one show we had to miss due to the film festival, but it sounds like a great production for true fans of theater, and lovers of British comedy.  Hillbarn often brings originality as well as quality to its shows, and Stark Insider says that Hillbarn Director Hunt Burdick stands “this piece on its head by heightening the action so that it played as over-the-top British humor instead of high drama.”   The Mercury News says that “Hillbarn takes a rather somber existential play and gives it a spritely and campy staging.”  They compare it to “marrying Agatha Christie to Monty Python.”  That sounds like a must-see show!  As always, the set design is also raved about – and if you’ve ever been to Hillbarn you know they always manage to do outstanding things with their oddly shaped stage. This is one show I am truly sorry to have missed, but you don’t have to! It plays through March 27.

Hillbarn Theatre
1285 East Hillsdale Blvd.
Foster City, CA


The legendary John Preece as "Tevye"

The other fabulous show ends on Sunday!  Broadway San Jose is presenting an amazing production of Fiddler on the Roof.  This was my first time seeing the show and I was absolutely charmed.  I found the story of Tevye and his family very comforting, even as Tevye struggles against change in tradition.  Living in a very tight knit Jewish community, Tevye has five daughters, three whom are of marrying age.  But instead of using a traditional matchmaker or following their father’s advice, each daughter has their own idea about who they should marry.  It’s a story that could easily make Tevye out to be a bad guy, but instead every decision is made with the utmost love and respect for his family.  Even when the third daughter makes a decision that Tevye just cannot accept, and though Tevye himself makes a decision none of us today would accept, we still sympathize with this man who has just been pushed a little too far by all the changes in his family, his community, and his world.

The stage is decorated in a very warm palette which is soothing to the soul, and the songs and music are beautiful and familiar even to those who have never seen the show (like me!).   We are very lucky to see John Preece in this production; he has played in Fiddler over 3100 times, and over 1500 as Tevye!  And his comfortableness in the role shows.

If you are looking for something to do this rainy weekend, I do suggest you make a trip to the Center for Performing Arts to see this show.  I feel very lucky to have been given the chance, and now I understand why all my friends were so excited for me.  Next up is renting the film!  But YOU should go see it live.

Special note from Broadway San Jose for final performance, tonight! March 20!  Happy Purim everyone! We’ve got a special rush ticket for the closing performance of Fiddler on the Roof to celebrate! For the 6pm performance tonight get $20 best available seat when you buy in person at the box office at the Center for Performing Arts!”

Broadway San Jose
Center for the Performing Arts
West San Carlos and Almaden Boulevard, San Jose

Tevye explains his "dream" to his wife

Three Bluesy choices tonight

Tonight’s a night you’re not going to get to see all there is to see in downtown San Jose. One choice you’ve got is to see blues big name Charlie Musselwhite at the Fairmont hotel. The show runs from 8 to 10 pm, and its part of San Jose Jazz’s first-ever Winter Fest.  They’re also presenting the much-lauded Alfredo Rodiriguez trio in an earlier show (4-6 pm) at the same venue.

For a more local experience, there’s the Blue to the Roots art and music show in a south-of-680 gallery (or warehouse?). The art show features over a dozen local artists, including my Northside neighbor Katrina Loera.

Finally, there’s Rusty Zinn at the Poor House Bistro. Zinn is a bay area blues musician who’s more recently turned to a roots-reggae sound. He’s been recording in Jamaica with reggae greats, and now he’s bringing his new sound back to the bay area.

Dishcrawl San Jose: Exotic San Pedro Square

UPDATED! – See the final list below!
Want the scoop on next week’s San Jose Dishcrawl?

On March 23rd food lovers will gather once again to roam about downtown tasting food with exotic twists.

For just $26 (or $27 for ‘latebirds’) you will get to try delicious food from:

Tikka Bytes Food Truck – known for their authentic Indian street food dishes like pani purr.
— I saw them at Edgewood Eats the other day but only glanced at their menu since I knew they’d be at Dishcrawl. I can’t wait to try their food, it looked and smelled so good.
Tikka Bytes Web // Facebook // @TikkaBytesTruck

Satori Tea – Who knew there was a tea bar in San Pedro square? It is totally hidden. Looking forward to trying something new. I’m not a big tea drinker but that’s only because I don’t know what I’d like! Anyone else feel the same way? This is yet another great reason for an event like Dishcrawl.
Satori Tea: Web // Facebook // @SatoriTea

Morocco’s Restaurant – fresh culinary delights of Moroccan cuisine.
Morocco’s Restataurant: Web // Facebook // @Moroccos – Gourmet marshmallows! They come in six flavors: Strawberry Raspberry, Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Chocolate. I’m crossing my fingers that we get to try the pineapple one. Someone from LP will be handing out fluffy delicious marshmallows to the Dishcrawl crowd.
LilPuffs: Web // Facebook // @Lil_Puffs

** Announcing one more stop: La Pinata! **

La Pinata Restaurant – Great portions of tasty mexican dishes. Also they serve only 100% blue agave tequilas and have a TON to choose from. They’re known for their Tequila Bars! I’ve been there a few times (the one in Alameda as well as San Pedro Square) and I have to say, their margaritas are tasty! A fave of mine – the Desert Rose.
La Pinata: Web // Facebook // @LasPinata

If you were at one of the previous Dishcrawls the crowd started at one of location. Food and/or drinks are served as the crowd mingles with each other. The owners of the establishment (or chefs) talk to the crowd about the culture of the food. It’s a really great experience for people who want to learn just a little bit more about different cuisines (or uniquely crafted food.) After the first location, it’s time to move on to the next!

There’s a twist to next week’s Dishcrawl that will change it up a bit.

“We’re making one big change this month.” says Dishcrawl Founder Tracy Lee. “Our last two Dishcrawls have been massive, but this time Dishcrawlers can expect more intimate groups for a more relaxed time. Besides that, folks can expect just as great of a time and the same fabulous food experience!”

So there you go San Jose – what are you waiting for? Go get your tickets now before it’s too late!

What: Dishcrawl San Jose: Discovering San Pedro Square’s Exotic Food Side
When: March 23rd, 7pm-9:45pm
Where: Misc locations, San Pedro Square area

Dishcrawl: Web // Facebook // @Dishcrawl // Tickets

SJ Eats: A Moveable Feast

Get your appetites ready because it’s time to FEAST.

What: SJ Eats: A Moveable Feast
When: Saturday, April 2nd
Where: Fallon House Parking Lot, Almaden Ave. and Saint John St.
When: Lunch 11:30a to 3:30p, Dinner 5p-9p
Free admission

Follow SJ Eats on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information.

Here are two tips from someone who has gone to a few Off the Grids and Edgewood Eats; bring plenty of cash and hungry friends. When you get to the location, scope out the eats and have your friends stand in different lines. Buy something you’ve never had before, gather with your friends and share!

Then go back for seconds.

They’re planning for a mix of 20 trucks and carts; 10 during lunch/10 during dinner.
Here is a list of some of the trucks/carts involved:
Sam’s ChowderMobile
Chairman Bao
Kara’s Cupcakes
Bill’s Beer Steamed Hot Dog Cart
Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

By the way, the second SJ MADE Vendor Fair is happening the same day as SJ Eats. Support your local artists and vendors! (SJ MADE is from 12pm to 8pm, San Pedro Square.)

*Correction: SJ Made and SJ Eats are two separate events; they’re just working together to make the day for both a great success! Updated the schedule and added newly confirmed trucks.

Cinequest Encores Today

Very briefly, Cinequest is wrapping up today with a program of encores—award winners and contenders for the audience award that make a kind of “best of” for the festival:

Screen 7

11:15am – 1:06pm
SHORTS PROGRAM 4: ANIMATION (Added Screening By Popular Demand)

2:00pm – 3:44pm
SHORTS PROGRAM 7: COMEDY FAVORITES (Added Screening By Popular Demand)

4:45pm – 6:19pm
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME (Global Vision Award Winner)

7:15pm – 8:12pm
A PERFECT SOLDIER (Audience Award Contender)

9:15pm – 10:37pm

Screen 8

11:00am – Noon

1:00pm – 2:24pm
VILLAGE WITHOUT WOMEN (Audience Award Contender)

3:15pm – 4:15pm

5:15pm – 6:35pm
MAKE A MOVIE LIKE SPIKE (New Visions Award Winner)

7:30pm – 9:25pm

Screen 9

11:30am – 1:14pm
LIMBO (Audience Award Contender)

2:15pm – 3:39pm
FALLING OVERNIGHT (Special Jury Award)

4:30pm – 6:00pm
THE LIVERPOOOL GOALIE (Audience Award Contender)

6:45pm – 8:25pm
THE HAPPY HOUSEWIFE (Audience Award Contender)

9:00pm – 11:00pm
MOZART’S SISTER (Best Feature Film)

Screen 10

11:45am – 12:45pm
DREAMING NICARAGUA (Audience Award Contender)

1:45pm – 3:00pm
DYING TO DO LETTERMAN (Best Documentary Film)

4:00pm – 5:45pm
80 DAYS (Audience Award Contender)

6:45pm – 8:15pm
ROSA MORENA (Best First Feature Film)

9:00pm – 10:28pm
MIDNIGHT SON (Audience Award Contender)

All films are at the Camera 12 Theaters (thanks Steve). More details about these films are available at the Cinequest web site.

Spring Forward 2011

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday morning March 13 at 2:00 am.

Year Spring Forward Fall Back
2011 March 13 November 6
2012 March 11 November 4
2013 March 10 November 3
2014 March 9 November 2
2015 March 8 November 1
2016 March 13 November 6
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