Archive for April, 2012

“Idol’s” DeAndre at Eastridge Mall

DeAndre Brackensick will make an appearance at Eastridge Mall on Sunday, April 29th. He will be there from noon to 3pm.

DeAndre will talk with his fans. (Around 1:10 pm) Also, there will be a free raffle for the opportunity to have a photo taken with him.

American Idol Live – the tour will be at the HP Pavilion San Jose on July 22.

Library on a stick

I just spotted this in front of a home on the 500 block of Arleta Avenue in the Burbank neighborhood of central San Jose. Inside were a couple of dozen books available for borrowing — mostly children’s books and thrillers. What a fantastic idea.

It turns out this Little Free Library is part of a national movement; but so far it is the only Little Free Library in the south bay to register on the national website.

I’d love to see more of these pop up around town.

Of Mice and Men: Heartbreaking production should not be missed

AJ Meijer as "Lennie" and Jos Viramontes as "George" in OF MICE AND MEN at TheatreWorks. Photo credit: Mark Kitaoka

















TheatreWorks productions are new to Metblogs, but this won’t be the last time we review one of their outstanding productions.  I was lucky enough to be invited to review their current show, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and was thoroughly impressed.


AJ Meijer as "Lennie," Jos Viramontes as "George," and Lena Hart as "Curley's wife" in OF MICE AND MEN at TheatreWorks. Photo credit: Tracy Martin

I was especially excited to see Of Mice and Men, as it’s one of my favorite stories by Steinbeck.  It is the emotional tale of George, a migrant farmworker, and his hardworking but mentally challenged buddy Lenny, who just likes to rub his fingers against soft things:  a swatch of luxurious velvet, a woman’s silky hair, a dead mouse he found on the side of the road…


George and Lenny are on a journey to their next job in Soledad, and when they meet the resident group of farm workers and their dogs, everyone’s lives are about to change.  This is not a happy story, but it is a most emotional, sympathetic and thought provoking tale about love and companionship, with both animals and humans, and what it means to actually be in charge of your partner’s care.  As far as I can remember the play is pretty faithful to Steinbeck’s story, which is very short, and if you have not read the book before I highly recommend it.


Gary Martinez as "Candy" and AJ Meijer as "Lennie" in OF MICE AND MEN at TheatreWorks. Photo credit: Tracy Martin

I had never seen the show performed live before but I was sure it was going to be an amazing production and I was right.  TheatreWorks raises it to an even higher level with their talented cast.   Charles Branklyn brings a truthful cantankerousness to the marginalized Crooks, who, as a black man, must live in the barn away from the other workers.  Gary S. Martinez is an amazingly sympathetic Candy, who is aware that his end of days is coming, but not soon enough.  And the two stars of the show are more than capable of carrying the entire production.  Jos Viramontes is the ever faithful George, who takes seriously the responsibility of caring for his friend Lenny, played by AJ Meijer.  Lenny is an extremely important character to cast, as it must be made clear to the audience both his weaknesses and his utmost strength, and those who play the part often (and should) get a lot of attention.  But George is also not a simple character to play, and Viramontes makes it clear his love for his friend so that George’s decision at the end of the play is understandable and accepted by the audience.  Viramontes and Meijer are both spectacular.


The show plays through April 29 and is well worth the price of the tickets (ranging from $19 – $69).  It is not a show fit for younger children, but is a great one for teens.  I have a feeling this show is going to garner a lot of nominations at the end of the year, and likely many wins as well.  I wholeheartedly recommend you see this production.  I absolutely look forward to many more shows from TheatreWorks in the future.


Of Mice and Men
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
650 463-1960

New Farmer’s Market at San Pedro Square

San Pedro Square Market launched a new weekly farmer’s market this morning. I was able to be there and I was pretty impressed. They had a strong selection of vendors, including produce, ready-to-eat foods, and a few crafts booths. The organic farm choices were strong, although the lack of “not-so-organic” choices seems likely to keep prices up and make this a market for the more well-off. (Hint: if reasonable prices for just-picked fresh veggies is more important to you than strict organic processes, check out Japantown’s farmers market every Sunday morning).

The San Pedro Square Market Farmer’s Market will be held every Saturday morning, year-round, from 10 am to 2 pm. It’s located on St. John Street, between San Pedro and Almaden Ave.

San Pedro Square Market’s second building, the Lusardi building, was also open, although the retail space is only partially occupied. There were a couple of craft and clothing spaces. Aptos’s excellent California native nursery, Native Revival, has a booth. An every-day produce market called Veggie Box had opened.

There’s also a bar in the new space. This one has a clean, sharp-edged looked, a complete counter-point to the San Pedro Market Bar in the first building.

DeAndre San Jose’s American Idol

I stopped in at Dick’s Bakery because I just needed a square of Burnt Almond cake.

While there I noticed a now familiar face. Posted on the glass refrigerator door above the sign reading, ‘Please Do Not Slam Door! I Am 53 Years Young” was a picture of American Idol contestant DeAndre.

The picture reading: Good Luck DeAndre!

Don’t forget to watch and vote for DeAndre
On American Idol !
Wednesday at 8pm

Phillip Phillips is my favorite, but it will be hard not to cast my vote for our local Oak Grove High School student.

Organic sounds from Brian Ho

I’ve been enjoying local organist Brian Ho’s new album, Organic, since I got ‘hold of it at the CD release party last week.

The show, at the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby lounge, was standing room only. Of course Ho showed off his chops on his signature Hammond organ, but every player got a solo turn and every instrument got a workout. Guitarist Calvin Keys probably has the most polished sound in the band, but drummer Lorca Hart and saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan also could blaze out a solo or join with the band in a smooth groove.

The album itself has much of the same material as the live performance. Most of the tunes are up-tempo, and organ solos are well-balanced by showpieces for the other instruments. The material shows off the organ’s ability to switch seamlessly from buzzing along in a background bass line to taking the center stage and carrying the main melody.

Of the original compositions on the record, I think “Reversi” and “Beat Street” are the strongest. “Beat Street” has a jumpy syncopated rhythm that will get you bopping. “Reversi” starts out slower, but quickly builds up a tempo and a groove that could go on all night. Of the cover material, I really enjoy the arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Song for my Father”, where all four instruments blend into a seamless whole with a sweet sound.

Organic is available from iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.

Photo courtesy of Brian Ho

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