Archive for May, 2011

Naglee Park Open Studios this Saturday

If you’re looking for a little more sedate art and culture experience than Friday night’s SubZERO festival this weekend, there’s more to see on Sunday at the Naglee Park Open Studios event. More than two dozen artists from this downtown neighborhood will be showing their work, mostly in their own studios, and giving you a glance at how they do their thing. Of course, taking home a work of art is also an option.

The range of art to be shown includes everything from watercolors and oils to jewelry, leatherwork, fabric dolls, quilts, ceramics, photography and even woven baskets. The tour area is roughly 7 blocks north-south and 6 blocks east-west, so it would make a great day of walking around one of San Jose’s beautiful older neighborhoods, even if you aren’t there to make a purchase.

The event runs from 11 am to 5 pm on June 5th. Programs and maps can be picked up at House of Bagels or the Garage (both at the corner of S. 11th and San Carlos) on the morning of the tour. You can then follow your whim to visit the artists who interest you. There’s no charge to visit the studios.

(Edit: The event is on Sunday, not Saturday)

Image: Amsterdam Bakery Window, a watercolor by Margaret Washington. Used by permission.

Music in the Park this week

Greg Kihn

Greg Kihn Band opens the 2011 Music in the Park series this week.

San Jose’s annual free music series Music in the Park begins its 2011 program this Thursday. Local retro-rock favorite Greg Kihn Band headlines, and KFOX contest winners The Houserockers open this week.

The remainder of the 2011 series has also been announced:

  • June 9: The Original Stone City Band (funk/R&B) with So Timeless
  • June 16: Freddie McGregor (reggae) with Tchiya Amet
  • June 23: White Album Ensemble (Beatles tribute)
  • June 30: Natural Vibrations(Hawaiian reggae/rock/soul) with The Bangerz
  • July 7: Led Zepagain (Led Zepplin tribute)
  • July 14: headliner TBA
  • July 21: The English Beat(ska/new wave)
  • July 28: Cracker(alt rock) with opener TBA
  • August 4: Dredg(alt rock) with The Holdup and Trophy Fire
  • August 11: Marcia Griffiths(reggae) with Reggae Angels
  • August 18: Sergent Garcia(world) with Los Hot Boxers.
  • August 25: Pete Escovedo Orchestra (latin jazz) with The Mystique Band

It looks like the MitP programmers have taken a turn towards including more mainstream rock acts this year, with Kihn and the two classic-rock cover acts in the lineup. I can see why they are interested in presenting bands that appeal to widely diverse age groups. The programs in recent years have brought in huge crowds of mostly young people, which may have turned off many older potential concert-goers (and wine-and-beer-buyers) from considering Music in the Park for an afternoon’s entertainment.

On the other hand, plenty of local bands have a retro sound (think Mumlers and Roosevelt Radio just to name a couple of bands I’ve mentioned before on Metblogs) that should appeal to a lot of Beatles and Led Zep fans. If the idea behind getting cover bands on the program is to appeal to a group of fans who love those ’60’s acts and aren’t adventurous about seeking out new music, then at least opening acts could have been booked to get some new local music in front of that audience. I’ll still enjoy those shows, but I’m disappointed the program doesn’t do more to support the local music scene.

All shows begin at 5:30 pm on Thursday afternoons, and are held at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose.

San Ramon Art & Wind Festival 2011

The San Ramon Art & Wind Festival this Sunday and Monday May 29 & 30, 2011 in San Ramon’s Central Park from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days.

The Wind part of the festival is kite flying demonstrations throughout both days by professionals from all over the country and Weifang, China the home of the Weifang International Kite Museum and Kite Festival

The Art part of the festival features a wide range of artwork including paintings, sculpture, woodwork, toys, and jewelry, hand painted clothing, stained glass, music, photography and more.

The festival includes entertainment on three stages and two large kids’ activity areas with rides, slides, face painting, a rock-climbing wall, hamster balls, and fun crafts for the kids to make.

This year 26 food booths operated by local non-profits that raise much needed funds for their organizations and projects in the area. Goodies include gyros, peach cobbler, barbecued pork sandwiches, Caesar salad, tri- tip sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, nachos and more.

San Ramon Central Park

Sunday and Monday May 29 – 30, 2011
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Admission: Free

Parking: There are two main parking lots that provide easy access to the festival.
The dirt lot is located on the corner of Camino Ramon and Bollinger Canyon.
The Iron Horse Middle School parking lot is located at the intersection of Alcosta and Woodland.  Parking at each of these lots is $5.00.

Festival Map (PDF)

Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival 2011

The 32nd Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival (May 28 – 29, 2011) is a free family-friendly event that features everything mushroom.

Visit the Mushroom Growing Exhibit and see the mushroom growth process in its various stages, learn about compost, and talk with growers.

Enjoy mushroom soup made from local fresh mushrooms. The recipe is free with each bowl.

Take home fresh, just-picked shuttled from the grower, locally grown mushrooms for sale near the inflatable mushroom including Portabella, Crimini and white mushrooms.

The two-day festival includes live stage entertainment, arts and crafts, gourmet offerings, mushroom education, strolling musicians, street performers, and a kids activities area including a petting zoo and pony rides.

Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center
17000 Monterey Road
Morgan Hill, 95037

Saturday, May 28, 2011
10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Sunday, May 29, 2011
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission: Free

Free parking for the festival is located throughout downtown Morgan Hill
and at the 3rd Street Festival entrance at the Park & Ride lot on Butterfield
Blvd between Dunne & Main Avenue. Entrance to the festival from this
parking lot is located at the train crossing in MunchkinLand.

Live Oak High School is offering parking for a donation of $5 at the dirt lot
located on Church and Depot Street across the street from the main
entrance to the festival.

Both lots provide handicap parking.

Los Tiburones de San José

The players will pack up and leave for their off-season homes.

Have a relaxing summer watching baseball and Formula 1.

Before you know it, fall is here.

Players return and rejoin the community.

There will be new faces as the team tries to improve, again.

We start all over again like the time before and the time before that and the time before…

Someone has a case of the Mondays…

Last night, Mauricio and I went to check out Incendies at the Aquarius in Palo Alto.

We stopped by Pampas first to grab a few drinks and a snack.  I got the Gaucho which was Ypióca Crystal Cachaça, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Mango, and Lime.  It was pretty refreshing.  It got me wondering what  Ypióca Crystal Cachaça was and so I looked it up when I got home.  It’s spirit distilled from sugar cane aged for 1 year in Brazilian freijo wood barrels.  Pretty interesting. It went well with the Canton ginger liquor, which I love.  Mauricio got the Cosmo del Diablo. I think the drink fits him perfectly!  Haha…inside joke from a Words with Friends game.  The drink was 42 Below Vodka Infused with 3 Chiles, Pineapple, and Passion Fruit.  If you like drinks with a bit of a bite or a kick to it, you’ll like this drink. In fact, I think I liked his drink a bit more.

We also shared the ceviche, which was pretty light and refreshing.  It made me think of the ceviche at Casa De Cobre since it was probably one of the best ceviche’s I’ve had in the bay area.

Afterwards, we grabbed some pizza at Patxi’s which is right across the street from the theatre.  We did ordered a combo pizza with half half of the Favorite which came with pepperoni, mushrooms and black olives and the Special which has sausage, mushrooms and black olives. We had nearly half the pizza left, but it was because the pizza is pretty big and filling.  It was really good though. They also have Hogaarden on tap, which is always a bonus in my book.

A few blocks away at the Aquarius, we saw Incendies, which had won a few awards and screened at various film festivals across the world. I love these older theaters. They just have a nostalgia about them that has me a bit sad because I know after awhile, the big commercial movie theaters will eat them all up until there are none.  Anyways, the film was rather heavy and serious so I almost feel awkward for wedging it in a post about pizza and a dive bar.

The film is about two twins whose mother’s death leads them to start to unravel bits and pieces of her life that let them to travel to parts of Lebanon and Palestine.  The imagery and method of story telling was beautiful and while I found a bit of the overall plot to be somewhat over the top with the twists and turns and even contrite and predictable, I still enjoyed it. I really don’t know why any mother would subject their children to learn what the two twins in this film learned, but I guess it made for a sad story to tell.

The film despite being a film of a series of sad and unfortunate events wasn’t with out uplifting moments.  While I felt it could have been developed a bit more, the strength of Nawal Marwan (the mom) character through all of her adversities was courageous. The conviction and love that she had for her husband and three children was very admirable.  It was also interesting to see the impact of the Muslim-Christian strife in the middle east. We take a lot for granted here in the United States. We live a very peaceful life here compared to so many other countries which are plagued with political conflict and wars.

Another side note about the film. They used a lot of Radiohead in the sountrack, which I felt was really fitting.

After such a heavy film, we tried to find something open that late on a Monday night.  We checked out The Wine Room in Palo Alto where we had a glass of wine and ended up talking for a bit.  Pretty cozy place to sit and talk.  There was a couple nestled in one of the corner couches, hope we didn’t kill their romantic time by kicking it in the back there with them.

Looking for something else to do after the Wine Bar, we headed back to Campbell and ended up at the Cardiff Lounge, which was nice because I ran into an old friend there who I was able to catch up with which was rather nice.  Polished off a few more drinks before heading home.   I think Mauricio and I did pretty good for ourselves.  Three bars, a restaurant and a movie.  Not bad, for a Monday night.

Pho – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

After being overseas for quite some time, Henry had a few cravings for things that he couldn’t really get over in the Philippines.  So, when we got back to San Jose, he really wanted to find some really good Pho.  After talking to a few of my friends, we decided to check out Pho Y #1.

We both ended up getting the #1 Pho.  There are numbers that correspond to the different types of meats and things in the pho. #1 was their basic Pho.

Pho Y

The only difference between my order and Henry’s order was that he got the Large size Pho bowl and I got the regular and he also got a side of rare steak with his.

Pho Y.

The one thing I love about the bay area in general is the diversity of people here.  Because of this diversity, we are exposed to so many great cuisines from all over the world.  We are pretty fortunate, especially with a huge Vietnamese population in San Jose to have access to great Pho restaurants.

Overall, I really liked this restaurant. The only thing is they only have pho, so if you want some side dishes and rice dishes maybe try their other location which has a few other items on the menu.  I will definitely be back here since I really thought their broth was really good.

The address to the original restaurant with Pho only:
1660 E Capitol Expy
San Jose, CA 95121

The other location with other items:

2050 Concourse Dr
San Jose, CA 95131

I love Apple!

You can not believe how excited I am right now and how much more I love Apple.  I’m normally not one to become a fan of any particular brands or companies, but I can not get over how much Apple backs their products up with great customer service.

A few days ago, my iPad’s screen cracked.  I’m not even sure how it happened, but when I pulled it out of my purse (it’s in a targus case) it had a crack on the side of the screen.  You can not believe how sad I was when I saw the cracked screen.  I spent a whole day waiting in line for that iPad and have loved it since day one, so when I saw the cracked screen I nearly started crying.

I wasn’t sure what I could do at that point. I have dropped my iPhone a few times and have had the screen repaired, so I figured that the iPad could possibly be repaired as well.

I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at the Valley Fair Apple store and after a long night at work, I went home, showered really quick and then headed to the store.  Who knew they were open so early at 9am for appointments? The mall itself is almost eerie that early in the morning with all the stores closed and so few people walking around, but sure enough, when you reached the Apple store, the security guy at the door asked if I had an appointment and when I did, they let me in.

I checked in with a girl named Nicki and then she had me go to the Genius Bar where Toni helped me with my iPad.  She told me that unfortunately the iPad screens can’t be replaced easily, but they could swap it out for a certain price.  This was pretty disheartening, especially after I had just bought my iPad a few months ago and I just had spent a lot of money on my Macbook Pro.

Luckily, she said that she would see what she could do and then went in the back.  A short while later, she came out and told me that she could swap it out for free as a one time type of thing. I couldn’t believe it! Apple is so awesome! They have definitely made a fan out of me for life.

Now, my only question is anyone out there have tips on how to keep my iPad from possibly getting damaged again? Anyone out there find any great iPad 2 cases or solutions to keep their iPad safe?

Free Thursday Movies on the Square 2011

Free Movies on the Square Thursday evenings in Redwood City – May 19 through October 6.

Come early for the best seats (a limited number of chairs and tables are available). Bring your blankets; bring food and/or drinks (no glass). In addition, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance to get take out from.

Redwood City Courthouse Square
2200 Broadway Street, Redwood City, 94063


Movies May 19 – October 6:

The King’s Speech (R)
May 19 – sundown (approx. 8:30pm)

Inception (PG-13)
May 26 – sundown (approx. 8:30pm)

Hitch (PG-13)
June 2 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

Empire Records (PG-13)
June 9 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

Bye Bye Birdie (G)
June 16 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

Jurassic Park (PG-13)
June 23 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

The Green Hornet (PG-13)
June 30 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

How To Train Your Dragon (PG)
July 7 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

True Grit – 2010 (PG-13)
July 14 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

Ice Age (PG)
July 21 – sundown (approx. 8:45pm)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (PG-13)
July 28 – sundown (approx. 8:30pm)

Megamind (PG)
August 4 – sundown (approx. 8:15pm)

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (PG)
August 11 – sundown (approx. 8:15pm)

Toy Story 3 (G)
August 18 – sundown (approx. 8:15pm)

Mary Poppins (G)
August 25 – sundown (approx. 8:00pm)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)
September 1 – sundown (approx. 8:00pm)

Sherlock Holmes (PG)
September 8 – sundown (approx. 7:45pm)

Date Night (PG-13)
September 15 – sundown (approx. 7:30pm)

Dirty Dancing (PG-13)
September 22 – sundown (approx. 7:15pm)

The Sound of Music (not rated)
September 29 – sundown (approx. 7:15pm)

Despicable Me (PG)
October 6 – sundown (approx. 7:00pm)

Life is a Cabaret, or is it?


Paul Araquistain thrills as the flamboyant Emcee.

I just attended my third show at Sunnyvale Community Players, which once again did not disappoint. This is closing weekend of the final show of their 41st season, Cabaret, which takes place in 1930’s Berlin shortly after WWI and in the midst of the Nazi Regime. As the Director and Choreographer, Lee Ann Payne alludes to in her Director’s Note, most of the characters of Cabaret could never conceive of anything horrible going on around them, as they live in blissful oblivion, going to party after party. And Lee Ann brings up a powerful question, “what would you do?”

As the lights come up, we are welcomed by a very charismatic, Emcee, Paul Araquistain, who introduces us to the Kit Kat Klub.  “Leave your troubles outside… We have no troubles here! Here life is beautiful… The girls are beautiful…”

When I first laid eyes on the Kit Kat Girls, I was in complete dismay. I expected “beautiful girls” like the Emcee said. These were girls with straggly hair, glossed over eyes, torn fishnets, and bodies of every shape and size. However after I got over my initial shock, I found this ensemble quite humorous and entertaining.

These girls were amazing. I have to give all of them props, because they kicked serious butt as the singing and dancing girls of The Kit Kat Klub: Michelle Beyda-Scott, Denise Lum, Veronika Olah, Melissa Palmieri, Kaeli Quick, Lea Simon, and my personal favorites for never breaking their wonderful, over-the-top characters: Valerie Valenzuela and Cheryl Ringman. Also memorable were the ensemble of shirtless men.

Enter Sally Bowles, (Emily Bliss). Sally is a careless, carefree cabaret singer who as per usual forces herself into the life of another naive man, an American writer, Cliff, (Sven Schultz), who let’s her talk him into letting her stay with him. Sally distracts Cliff from his writing with wild parties and the likes, but Cliff doesn’t seem to mind. Emily and Sven are wonderful as this unlikely couple whose happy times turn dark.

The kind, but stern Fraulein Schneider (Linda Piccone) owns the boarding house where Cliff and the sassy, seductive woman of the night, Fraulein Kost (Cindy Powell) rent rooms. Matt Tipton does a masterful job portraying Herr Schultz, the innocent and meager Fruit Shop owner who falls in love with Fraulein Schneider. I can’t get over how cute Matt’s characterizations are as this sweet and caring man, not to mention impressive, considering Matt is about thirty years younger than the character!

Also dark is the fate of Schultz and Schneider’s pending nuptials. Schultz, who is a Jew, has the attitude that all will be well, but Schneider does not see it that way. She thinks that because of the Nazis, she will lose everything if she marries a Jew. Fear gets in the way of her happiness.

Fear also gets in the way of Sally’s happiness. She seems to know herself too well from her past entanglements and ruins her relationship with Cliff. Cliff returns to America where he finally begins to write his book, based on the good and bad times he experienced in Germany.

I feel that the ending of both relationships could have been more emotion evoking, since the story has the capacity to really make you feel for these characters, especially the emotional intensity of Sally’s destiny and past. However, that was the only thing lacking in this magical production of Cabaret.

I can’t help but think about Director Lee Ann Payne’s question: “what would you do?” Although in modern day America, we are not going through something as horrible as the Nazi Regime, we do have our fair share of political problems. Do we each have our own versions of the Kit Kat Klub? Ways of escaping; like television, movies, or Facebook? Do we get involved to make a change; do we use positive thinking to affirm that the world is at peace and getting better every day? Or do we live in blissful oblivion like the patrons of the Kit Kat Klub? Is life really a Cabaret?

Cabaret through May 15th at Sunnyvale Community Players

Box Office

Emily Bliss shines as the reckless Sally Bowles

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