Archive for August, 2011

Music in the Park in jeopardy?

Pato Banton at Music in the Park in 2010.

I’d heard rumors before that the San Jose Downtown Association was considering discontinuing Music in the Park after this season, and Josh Koehn’s recent articles in the Metro and on San Jose Inside have confirmed them. The problem seems to be that too many business owners (the members of the SJDA) feel like the event is creating too much negative publicity about downtown, and not generating enough knock-on business like restaurant visits. Recent Mercury-News articles implied a connection between Music in the Park and a knife fight at the San Carlos Street McDonald’s late on a Thursday night a few weeks ago. Commentors on Inside linked to YouTube videos of fights on VTA Light Rail following a Music in the Park concert this year.

And, as a Music in the Park fan for many years, I can say that in the past couple of years I do see more people at the event who seem to be as interested in showing off their hairstyle or clothes and trying to look tough than there were in earlier years.

But I don’t think the event has to be cancelled to fix this problem. It would only take a change in programming to get rid of the crowd who are making the event feel unsafe and not contributing to the downtown economy. The organizers just need to book more groups like Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose, San Jose Taiko, or the Santa Cruz based Brazilian dance group Samba Da. If they booked family-friendly groups like these for a substantial fraction of the dates each summer, the trouble-making crowd would lose interest, but there would still be fantastic entertainment to bring people downtown. There could still be a couple of more youth-friendly acts each year, like Neon Trees, Dredg, or the Wailing Souls, but if the bulk of the events were chosen to appeal to adults and families, the problem patrons would lose the habit of showing up “just for the scene.”

Unfortunately, I fear the real enemy is money. From what I’ve heard, Music in the Park is actually fantastically profitable for the Downtown Association. If Symphony Silicon Valley listeners don’t buy as much beer as Marcia Griffiths fans, the organizers are put in the tough spot of being asked to put on a show that might not make (as much) money, just to make sure the show can go on. But ending a 20 year tradition just because the crowds that spend the most on beer also create other costs would be a terrible decision.

Watson Park officially re-opened

After being closed for 7 years to clean up and contain contamination due to the site’s former use as a trash dump, Watson Park in San Jose’s Northside neighborhood was officially re-opened today. The Northside Neighborhood Association put on a fantastic opening ceremony to commemorate the event.

City Manager Debra Figone talked about her history growing up in the Northside, and her first job with the city, supervising kids in Parks & Rec programs at Watson Park. Other speakers included Councilman Sam Liccardo, City Public Works Manager Dave Sykes, and San Jose Parks Foundation Executive Director James Reber.

District 3 City Councilman Sam Liccardo presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Finally, the San Jose High Mariachi and Folklorico provided some tuneful and colorful entertainment.

And, even before the ceremony was over, the local kids were there to make sure the facilities were up to spec.

With new facilities including a pelletized-rubber artificial turf soccer field, dog park, basketball courts, and kids play areas, Watson is now one of the city’s premier parks. Future plans include bringing back garden plots to the park, and a link to the Coyote Creek bicycle trail.

I’m glad to see this neighborhood resource finally available again after a long effort to clean it up.

CUKUI & BISCUITS One Year Anniversary Block Party

There will be a pet friendly event in Japan Town tomorrow. Bring the family pet(s) they will enjoy all the fuss.

Live DJ Sets
Live Art Fusion
Dog Adoption
Dog Training Session ~ by Our Pack Rescue
Food – Beer – Wine
Dog Fashion Show

Rescue a dog or cat.

“Biscuits” told me that 13t St.Cat Rescue should be in attendance.

When: Saturday, August 27, 2011· 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Where: SJ Japan Town
Jackson Street between 5th & 6th Street
San Jose, CA

Note: All dogs must be leashed and under supervision at all times.
No pets in the food area.
Poop bags will be available ~ so please use them.
Water bowls will be out.

Biscuits site



Bay Area Native wins prestigious HUGO AWARD for Science Fiction

Christopher J. Garcia, Hugo Award Winner; Awesome photo taken by Andrew T Trembley

Born and raised in Santa Clara, Christopher Garcia attended Westwood Open, Buchser Jr. High and Santa Clara High School before moving to Boston to attend Emerson College.  Returning to the Bay Area after graduation, he’s become well known in many different social and professional circles around town.  Most everyone who has been to the Cinequest Film Festival has had contact with the outgoing Mr. Garcia.  If you have ever visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, you most likely have had a conversation with the bearded hunk of charisma.  And if you are anyone who is anyone in the Sci Fi industry, you’ve most likely met, shaken hands with or been interviewed by this amazing writer and human being.  Among various other successful projects, Chris has been writing and editing an amazing Sci Fi fanzine called The Drink Tank since 2005.  And after several nominations and losses, Mr. Christopher J. Garcia has just won the most prestigious award in Science Fiction:  The Hugo Award.

The Hugo Award

1. What is your earliest memory of the Sci Fi genre, and what first got you interested in it?

Wow, tough question. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t into SciFi and the like. My Dad had a bunch of paperbacks when I was a kid and I read them pretty early. He used to take me to conventions when I was a kid, and that introduced me to that world. I was really hooked as a life-long reader when I was in my early teens by the novels of Kurt Vonnegut and Phillip Jose Farmer.

2. When and how did you get involved in The Drink Tank?

The Drink Tank started partly because I had been working on another magazine that wasn’t going well and I was about to go to a convention called CorFlu which brought fanzine editors from around the world. I put out the first issue on January 31st, 2005 and have been going almost weekly ever since.

3. How did it feel the first time you were nominated for a Hugo Award?

I was stunned. I got a pair of eMails that said I’d been nominated and I was blown away. That time, I managed not to cry, but I think I did call everyone I knew that evening and did a bunch of ‘Woohoos!’

4. Your acceptance speech when you finally won, after having been nominated seven times, was very touching for those of us who know you.  Tell us how real the tears and emotion were.

They were 100% real. I had no idea what I was doing, really. Some portion of my Lizard Brain had taken over and I was more or less just reacting. I’d actually lost 9 Hugos, so it was a bit of a combination of relief and over-whelming joy and a bit of sadness that my Dad hadn’t made it to see it happen. It was a whirlwind and you can see in the video how many times the emotional wheel of my Brain turns.

The Drink Tank

5. You mentioned a few people in your acceptance speech.  Would you like to explain to us who those people are and why they are important to your success?

Well, Dad gave me life and introed me to SF and the like, and Mike Glicksohn was a Hugo-winning editor and writer who passed away this year. He is also my facial hair hero as his beard was full and awesome! Genevieve and Evelyn are my Ex and her daughter who have always been so very important to me. So much so that when Gen became my Ex I didn’t mind hanging out and babysitting Evelyn every day. The Lovely and Talented Linda is my Long-Suffering girlfriend. Taral Wayne is an artist best known for his Anthropomorphic works who also happens to be an amazing writer who has supplied more than 70 articles to The Drink Tank. Mo Starkey is another artist whose works for the covers of The Drink Tank, along with many more, earned her her first Hugo nomination this year.  Finally, My Mom is my Mom. She’s good people.

6. You actually produce quite a few eZines.  What are they called, what is each one for, and where can we find them?

They’re all on The Drink Tank and Claims Department are at while Exhibition Hall, my Steampunk zine, which I do with Ariane Wolfe and James Bacon is at Journey Planet, which is a UK-US-sometimes Australian co-production, is They’re all very different, but we love doing them. I used to be a part of the team that did Science Fiction San Francisco, though I left the team about a year ago. They’re still going strong at!

7. You now work at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  Tell us anything you like about your job there, and the museum itself.

I love my Job! I was never much of  tech geek, but when you grow up in the Silicon Valley and you love video games and the like, you pick things up. I’ve been a curator for more than a decade and it’s always a fun gig to study and present the materials of the information Age. Our current exhibit, Revolution, talks about the progress of computers and computing over the last 2000 years!

Current Film Project

8. The first time I ever met you was years ago when you had a short film showing at Cinequest.  You’ve been a well-known fixture there ever since, and have helped with other films.  Any future plans in the film industry?

I’m working on teaching myself the art of documentary short filmmaking. I love the short form and documentary is my preferred state. I’m working on a couple of things and I hope to have a short doc finished in the next month or two on the Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography by Earl Kemp.

9. Where are you going to keep your Hugo Award? 

On the table right in front of my TV so I can claim to be watching whatever’s on while I’m actually staring at the trophy!

10. You’ve found a time machine which can take you to any point in the future or past.  Where would you go and why?

I’d probably do one of two things: go back to Colonial Philly in 1776 and hang with that Ben Franklin guy ‘cause he seems like a dude who knew how to party, or go back to the screening room where the full version of Von Stroheim’s Greed was shown. No other film has so thoroughly intrigued me!

Nothing Bundt Cakes now in Willow Glen

When this cake store opened I threw caution to the wind (the diet) and bought a lovely little red velvet Bundtlet. After dinner my husband and I enjoyed it with fresh strawberries and cream.

Grand Opening is Wednesday, Aug. 24 ~ SJ Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting 11:30AM-12:30PM

Friday, Aug. 26 ~ 20% of proceeds goes to Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (fundraiser)

Saturday, Aug. 27 ~ 10AM Free cake for a year for first 50 customers with purchase. Please only one per family. Do I camp out?

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Willow Glen:

1702 Meridian Ave Suite B (next to Starbucks)
San Jose
Monday-Froday: 10AM-7P
Saturday: 10AM-6PM

Other Bay Area locations:

Los Gatos
421 N. Santa Cruz Avenue
Monday-Saturday: 9AM-7PM
Sunday: 10AM-5PM

939 W. El Camino Real
Monday-Saturday: 9AM-7PM
Sunday: 11AM-4PM

6601 Dublin Blvd. Suite N
Monday-Friday: 9AM-6PM
Saturday: 10AM-5PM
Sunday: 11AM-4PM

like them on facebook


Love theatre? Want to learn more about the shows you are seeing, and theatre in general?

Cy Coleman

The award-winning Hillbarn Theatre of Foster City is partnering with the Foster City Library for a series of talks about theatre. “Barn Talks” are hour long panel discussions that examine the creators and themes of America’s great stage works. Hillbarn Theatre’s Resident Musical Director Greg Sudmeier will moderate.

“Barn Talks” will focus on the life and career of Broadway composer Cy Coleman. This Tony winning composer wrote many smash Broadway musicals such as “Sweet Charity,” The Will Roger Follies,” “Little Me, ” and Hillbarn’s current hit “City of Angels.” Coleman also wrote such popular standards as “Witchcraft” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.”

A drawing for tickets to see “City of Angels” will also take place.

“Barn Talks” are free and open to all ages.

Monday, September 19th from 7 – 8 PM
Foster City Library – in the Port Room
1000 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA 94404.
Free parking is available.

For more information, visit Hillbarn Theatre, or call Cynthia Rider at the Foster City Library at 650.574.4842

The Happy Hound Birthday Party

The Happy Hound has been making us happy for 40 years. It is an easy place to stop in for a dog & fries or onion rings and a milkshake.

The party is today, August 21, from 12-noon to 3 p.m.

Look for mascot Mr. Hound. Will he be dancing to the live rock ‘n’ roll sounds of “Delux”?

‘Birthday Hot Dogs’ will be sold at the 1971 price of only 75 cents. Also, save room for a free piece of birthday cake!

15899 Los Gatos Blvd
Los Gatos, 95032
Phone Orders: 408-358-2444
Call Dan (owner) 408-356-8041

Mon-Thu 10:30 am – 9 pm
Fri-Sat 10:30 am – 9:30 pm
Sun 11 am – 9 pm />

Japantown ~ Island Summer Jam

Island Summer Jam – a benefit event for the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. 100% of the ticket sales will benefit LPCH.

This is an “ALCOHOL FREE” event.

Saturday, August 20th, 2011
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Akiyama Wellness Center
110 Jackson Street, between 3rd and 4th
San Jose, CA

Event Information: Hawaiian Island Entertainment

Tickets available at these fine locations:

$20. – Adults
$15. Kids & Seniors

***Island Sol Company, 225 Jackson Street
San Jose, CA 408.998.8600

***Phil’s Treasure Pot, 625 Oak Grove Ave #B
Menlo Park, CA 650.561.4296

***Aloha Kitchen Hawaiian BBQ, 1041 E. Capitol Expwy, Ste.30
San Jose, CA 408.360.8899

***L&L Hawaiian BBQ, 1380 W. Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 408.866.0982

***L&L Hawaiian BBQ, 273 W. Calaveras Blvd
Milpitas, CA 408.262.5880

***L&L Hawaiian BBQ, 1 Curtner Ave
San Jose, CA 408.288.9839

***L&L Hawaiian BBQ, 27328 Hesperian Blvd.,
Hayward CA 510.782.0880

***L&L Hawaiian BBQ, 3580 Homestead Rd.,
Santa Clara, CA 408.246.0896

Island Summer Jam ~ facebook

California Billiard Club: Gregory 9-Ball Open

I have had the opportunity to watch Jeff Gregory in action at California Billiard Club. Jeff is highly respected by his fellow pool players, and makes One Pocket and 9-Ball look effortless.

Jeff has recently undergone open heart surgery. He is now recovering, but he could use help with his medical bills.

Chris Swart, owner California Billiard Club, is hosting a 9-Ball tournament this weekend. $10 of each entry fee will go to the Jeff Gregory Heart Surgery Fund. Also, California Billiard Club will donate $5 for every entry received.

Even if you do not enter the tournament, come out – watch some expert pool and show your support with a donation.

If you can’t make it call California Billiard Club ask for Chris Swart for donation information.

California Billiard Club (on facebook)

August 20th and 21st, 2011
The tournament: Doors open at 11Am – Play Starts at Noon
881 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
Telephone: (650) 965-3100

Whole Foods Market – Back To School Dinner Menus

We want our children to do well in school and good nutrition is important. Start at home by including the kids in planing and preparing dinner.

For new quick and easy ideas stop by the Whole Foods Market on Blossom Hill Road today, August 19, at 6 PM for a class on Back To School Dinner Menus.

One Idea – Whole Foods Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Aduki Beans.

The healing power of the sweet potato

Whole Foods Market on Blossom Hill on Facebook.

Whole Kids Foundation

Whole Foods Market
Back To School Dinner Menus
August 19, 2011 at 6 PM
1146 Blossom Hill Rd. Map
San Jose, CA 95118
(408) 266-3700

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