Archive for July, 2012

Treasure hunter’s weekend

This weekend may give Bay Area, and especially downtown San Jose “treasure hunters” more than they can handle.

It’s the weekend of the annual Northside Flea Market, held at Backesto Park on Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. The flea market raises funds for the Northside Neighborhood Association’s activities throughout the year.

Saturday is also the day of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin’s annual rummage sale. The rummage sale runs from 9 am to 2 pm. The church is on Fourth Street between Jackson and Taylor.

And, of course, it’s the first weekend of August. That means that the monthly De Anza College flea market will be held on Saturday between 8 am and 4 pm.

And Sunday will be the Alameda Point Antiques Faire on Alameda Island on the tarmac of the old naval air base. The Antiques Faire runs from 6 am to 3 pm, with entry prices falling as the day goes on (and the best treasures are claimed).

Good hunting!

One Man LOTR – Through this Sunday only

"One ring to bind them!" Charles Ross in One-Man Lord of the Rings™

If you’ve ever enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film, or watched any of them, or read the books – hopefully all of them – get yourself over to the SJ Repertory ASAP before you miss Charles Ross‘s current show.  Yes, in one hour Ross re-enacts the entire trilogy including opening credits, theme music, and hobbits.

You may remember Ross from last summer when he visited San Jose with his One Man Star Wars show.  I believe I compared it to “when your 8 year old nephew is on a sugar high and decides to act out a film (or 3) for you“.  This summer, once again, the theater was packed with excited audience members of all ages bouncing in their seats and clapping gleefully as they experienced the entire LOTR trilogy in one hour.  My guest is a fan of the films and she thoroughly enjoyed herself.  Any show that leaves you with a huge smile on your face is a good one, I say.

Ross takes a quick water break between each of the 3 film re-enactments, and he questioned the audience regarding how many were actually familiar with the films, and cracked some jokes wondering why anyone would attend the show who had not seen the films.  He makes a valid point because honestly there are two kinds of people in San Jose this weekend: those who have seen the LOTR films and MUST GO SEE THIS SHOW, and those who have not seen the films and should probably not see the show.  There is no in between.

I enjoyed his Star Wars show more, but only because I am more familiar with that trilogy.  I also think that the characters in Star Wars are much easier to differentiate when someone is acting them out: Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader are all very distinct characters in voice and movement.  With LOTR it was a little harder to know what was going on… unless you are quite familiar with the films.  Gandalf and the Gollum are easy to pick out in Ross’s frenetic show, but a hobbit is a hobbit, and I really couldn’t figure much else out.  On the other hand, my guest said she loved his depiction of Legolas (a character I never picked out in the show) so I still think it comes down to whether you’re a fan or not.

But like I said, there is no in between.  If you are a fan of the films you simply MUST see the show, and you will have a fantastic time.  If you’ve seen one or two films and/or read any of the books, you should still see the show and you will still love it.  …if you’ve done neither, you’re just going to watch Charles Ross have a schizophrenic attack on stage for an hour.  However if you fall in that category and your kids want you to take them… Do it.  It’s an hour of hysterical fun for which your kids (or spouse) will love you.

One-Man Lord of the Rings ™
July 24 – 29, 2012
San Jose Repertory Theatre
written and performed by Charles Ross

KraftBrew: Successful suds on Post Street

Yesterday’s KraftBrew Beer Fest at Post Street was a fantastic way to taste some new beers and hear some local bands. The event featured 9 booths serving beers from what seemed like dozens of breweries. The beers included American craft brews and traditional beers from Belgium and Germany. The American offerings were mostly from California, but included a few choices from Oregon, Utah, and points farther afield.

The venue on Post Street and Lightston Alley was perfectly sized for the crowd, mostly eliminating the long lines that were a problem at the prior location at the San Jose Woman’s Club, but still keeping the servers busy pouring out their brews. And the event was a bargain, with entry priced at only $5, which included a take-home commemorative tasting glass.

The standout beers for me started with the Rhinoceros Rye Wine from Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara. It’s a unique creation using rye malt in a barleywine-strength concoction with a clean flavor that’s not a dry as most rye brews. Another discovery for me was Liefmans’ Godenband, a Flanders oud bruin, meaning another high-strength, malty brew, but in this case with very little hops and a strong carmel sweetness.

The music was also great, but somewhat under-appreciated by the crowd. Local ska band Monkey played to a modest crowd, but created enough energy of their own to get their fans jumping. Ben Henderson and Good Hustle did pull in a sizable crowd, and performed a fine set to justify it. The most disappointing reaction was for Will Sprott (of the Mumlers), who lead a simple 3-piece group through a set of country-angst-tinged tunes (somewhat in the mode of Wilco) that deserved a larger audience than they got.

Congratulations to the Naglee Park Garage for organizing the event, and to the other local bars and restaurants and the brewers who supported it. I’ll definitely look forward to this event again next year.

Cavalia trots, gallops and jumps into San Jose

Riders and their horses in CAVALIA; Photo credit: Lynne Glazer

Cavalia is a new show to San Jose, but it has been touring North America and Europe since 2003.  Normand Latourelle, a co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, is the visionary and creator behind Cavalia, and it shows in the beauty and emotion that comes through in the performances of the human acrobats and their horse friends.

Before I saw the show I expected it to be filled with great music and gorgeous backdrops, amazing acrobats and aerialists, and, of course, a lot of horses doing tricks.  I expected Cirque du Soleil with horses doing the performing.

I was totally and completely wrong.

A rider and an aerialist in CAVALIA; Photo Credit: Frédéric Chéhu

Cavalia‘s goal is to give a tribute to horses and celebrate the relationship that humans and horses share.  And so most of the 49 horses are on stage simply being horses.  The stage is over 200 feet wide and the width of a football field, and covered with 2500 tons of dirt and sand, allowing the horses to gallop full speed across and around the stage.  Some were ridden by human partners, some had human partners doing jumps from their backs, but many simply walked around, played, or just galloped around the stage.  There were a very few horses which did jumps, and several who did some intricate step work, but overall there were absolutely no horse tricks (and certainly no horse acrobats!).  The horses were simply being horses, and while the humans did tricks around them, all eyes were on the beautiful animals.

What Cavalia gives us instead of the amazing acrobatic feats of Cirque du Soleil shows is something which you have to see to understand: it gives us the beauty of the horse.  Eleven different breeds from France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, the US and the Netherlands, the 49 stallions and geldings are some of the most beautiful horses you’ve ever seen, and they are on stage for less than 6 minutes each.  The opening prologue focused on the two youngest horses, Idalgo and Geronimo, simply walking around the stage unaccompanied, playing with little toys, with the vocals of Marie-Eve Bedard in the background.  Often there would be groups of acrobats on stage with the horses, and though the men sometimes failed to stick the landings of their jumps, it didn’t matter because… HORSE!  Of course there are still the colorful and beautifully lit backdrops you associate with a Cirque show, and the tremendous live music you expect.  All in all it is a thing of absolute beauty that you just don’t see anywhere else.

Tickets range from $44.50 to $139.50 (+fees), however if money is an issue be assured that every seat appears to have a great view.  If money is no object, there are package deals which include things such as a cocktail/dinner reception and a tour of the stables.  The show is suitable for children and adults of all ages, and something that any horse or animal lover should not miss.

A rider and her horses in CAVALIA; Photo credit: Lynne Glazer

WHAT:  Cavalia
WHEN:  Premieres July 18, 2012
WHERE:  Under the White Big Top, at the intersection of Hwy 101 and 87 East on the 101 Tech campus site, across Hwy 101 from the San Jose Airport.
TICKETS:  Available at www.cavalia.net or by calling 1-866-999-8111. $44.50 to $139.50+
applicable fees. Special pricing and packages also available for groups, children (2-12),
juniors (13-17) and seniors (65+).
INFO: www.cavalia.net

 

Director Todd Solondz at Camera 3, July 21!

DARK HORSE at Camera 3

Todd Solondz

THIS SATURDAY! Legendary independent filmmaker Todd Solondz, the acclaimed director of dark comedies such as WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE and HAPPINESS will be at Camera 3 for a Q&A session, following a screening of his new movie DARK HORSE.  The movie will be at 3pm, the Q&A is at 4:30. Tickets are matinee price–$7!

DARK HORSE
Cast: Justin Bartha, Christopher Walken, Selma Blair, Zachary Booth, Mia Farrow, Jordan Gelber and Donna Murphy
Synopsis: Abe is a schlubby 30-something loser who still lives with his parents, half-heartedly working in his father’s office and spending all his time buying Thundercats toys on eBay. Perversely, however, Abe is not without confidence and when he meets heavily-medicated depressive Miranda –- who has also just moved back in with her parents — he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit and proposes on their first date. “Solondz brilliantly — triumphantly — transforms what might have been an exercise in easy satirical cruelty into a tremendously moving argument for the necessity of compassion.”–New York Times

Running Time: 84 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

One more act to book at SJ Jazz Summer Fest — Maybe it’s you?

San Jose Jazz still has one more act to book for the upcoming Summer Fest. They need an opener for Monophonics and Morris Day and the Time, playing on the main stage on Friday night, August 10, and they’re holding a contest on Facebook to find that band.

They’re looking for a “Neo Soul, Soul (not hip hop), Rhythm & Blues, Funk, and/or New Orleans Rhythm & Blues” act, with six or fewer members, and able to provide their own transportation to the event. The winning band will be chosen by public votes on the San Jose Jazz Facebook page. The winners will play a 45 minute set, and be paid $500 for their trouble. Applicants should submit an audition video (either YouTube or Vimeo) to the San Jose Jazz Facebook page by July 23.

To vote on your favorite band, you need to “Like” San Jose Jazz on Facebook, then visit their page to see the entries. Voting will be open from July 23 to 27.

“Bill W. and Dr. Bob” present an amazing history lesson

Bill Wilson (Ray Chambers) and Dr. Bob Smith (Robert Sicular) meet and talk for the first time in what is now known as the first A.A. meeting. Photo: Kevin Berne

The San Jose Repertory Theatre made an interesting choice for their closing show of the season, in choosing a show about the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I was not sure this was a well thought out decision, honestly, but to my very happy surprise, opening night played to a packed house.  I hear they’ve sold out a couple shows in their run and may even sell out this weekend, and that makes me even more happy (and more surprised!!).

You have only through this weekend to catch up on a show that seemed to have quite an impact on the audience I shared it with.

“My name is Bill W.” I believe was the opening line.

“Hi, Bill W.” replied the audience, in mass.  I was quite surprised, and realized that much of the packed theater must have some experience with AA.

“My name is Dr. Bob,” said the next spotlighted actor.

“Hi, Dr. Bob,” the audience said, surprising me AGAIN.  I looked at my guest.  She smiled back at me with a sparkle in her eye, having also been surprised twice in two minutes.  It seemed the entire theatre was in on this story, leaving out the few people in attendance that night who had no experience with AA and/or AlAnon.  This is in no way a bad thing, more like a sign that I was completely wrong in worrying that SJ Rep Artistic Director Rick Lombardo had had a lapse in judgement in choosing the final show of the season.

Was it a perfect show, even though it got a resounding standing ovation after opening night?  I’m not sure.  Let’s pick it apart a bit.

The set was the STAR as far as I was concerned.  I heard several audience members remarking about the amazing wall of  alcohol bottles that made up the background for the entire show.  It was absolutely striking, and caught attention immediately upon entering the theater.  My estimate was close to one thousand (around 750) empty bottles on shelves that surrounded the entire set, and were lit up to varying degrees for different scenes.  The set was the most important part of this show, as there was always, ALWAYS, a wall of temptation in the background of every scene.  It was the deepest part of the show, from what I could deconstruct, as whether the characters were in a bar, a hotel, their own homes, a hospital, the street, or an AA meeting, there were always these empty bottles in the background.  There is some genius in such a simple set design.

As far as acting went: superb as always, across the board.  The most remarks from audience members went to Robert Sicular, as Dr. Bob. Portraying the founding medical side of AA, he played the part of an alcoholic who had already lived with the disease for several decades.  Ray Chambers can also not be ignored, as the “civilian” co-founder of AA who recovered first, and was the driving force behind the formation of AA.  And right along with these fine actors were Kandis Chappell (as Anne Smith) and Carrie Paff (as Lois Wilson), the wives who helped found AlAnon.

I have no experience with AA or AlAnon, other than what I’ve seen in TV and movies.  However, there were some early scenes in the play which were a bit uncomfortable to watch in their familiarity.  The entire show was played to perfection from everyone involved.

My only criticism is regarding the story itself.  A great play usually has several layers of meaning.  This show was a pretty strict reenactment of how Alcoholics Anonymous was formed.  It was a very interesting show, and less preachy than I expected (although I thought the second half was a bit more so, and my guest thought it crossed a line), but there was no other layer of meaning beyond the history and story that it told.  I have come to expect more from the shows that I see at the SJ Rep.  So while I greatly appreciated the history lesson I received (enough so that I went home and researched more about these men), I wish the show itself could have had a deeper meaning.

All in all, this criticism may not have any weight, as the show has been selling out, and the opening night audience (well versed in the AA world) appreciated the show more than of which I was capable.  My deficiencies in experience should not discount the value of this show.

If you have any experience with AA, AlAnon, or anyone who might give you reason to become involved in either of these upstanding organizations, I highly recommend you try to see this show before it closes on Sunday.  Having no other criticism than a lack of a deeper meaning, I believe this was quite a history lesson, and I’m more in awe of Rick Lombardo than usual at his knowledge of what his audience would like to see.

Kudos to you, Mr. Lombardo.

Bill W. and Dr. Bob
San Jose Repertory Theatre
June 21 – July 15, 2012
By Samuel Shem & Janet Surrey
directed by Richard Seer

Tony Hawk and the Birdhouse Left Coast Tour 2012

Want to see past, present and future skating legends in action? Lake Cunningham Regional Skatepark will be hosting Tony Hawk and members of the Birdhouse team this Sunday, July 15. Demonstration from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. The event is free but the standard Lake Cunningham parking fee of $10 applies.

See skating demonstrations by Tony Hawk, Kevin Staab and Willy Santos, members of the Birdhouse team, including Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, Shawn Hale, Clint Walker, David Loy, Shaun Gregoire, Clive Dixon, Michael Davis and Elliot Sloan.

Also, a halfpipe event will also feature guest appearances by Mitchie Brusco, Neal Hendrix, and Lincoln Ueda.

Lake Cunningham Skatepark
2305 S. White Road
San Jose, California 95148

Sunday, July 15. 2:00pm to 3:30pm.
The event is free but the Lake Cunningham Regional Park parking fee of $10 applies.

Happy 85th Birthday 7 ELEVEN

7-Eleven has more than 46,000 stores operating in 16 countries.

The company got its start in 1927 in Dallas Texas when Joe Thompson (an employee of Southland Ice Company) began selling milk, eggs and bread from an ice house.

To make a long story short the company was saved from bankruptcy in the 80s by a Japanese company.

The 7.11 oz. Slurpee drinks is FREE today July 11th – 11am to 7pm

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4th of July Fireworks & Festivities 2012

America’s birthday, time to celebrate with parades, barbecues, picnics, festivals, and fireworks!

Events are free; however, at some locations there will be food for purchase, some activities may have a fee, and there may be parking fees. Events with an admission fee are not listed here. Events, locations, schedules are subject to change.

Here are some places to view fireworks and/or enjoy a day of celebrations:

San Jose

The Rose, White and Blue Parade and Festival. An old-fashioned family-style parade winds through the Rose Garden neighborhood ending on The Alameda. The parade features live bands, dance groups, homemade floats, and kids on bikes, antique cars, and more. Following the parade attendees will enjoy an Arts & Music Festival with live music, classic car show, arts and crafts, and more.. Following the parade attendees will enjoy the picnic on The Alameda featuring food and drink from local restaurants for purchase.

Event info (PDF)

San Jose Giants Fireworks Extravaganza at Municipal Stadium. The Giants hosts the Modesto Nuts at 6:30pm (with tickets as low as $10) but more importantly from anywhere near the stadium you can watch the post-game fireworks show for free. Fireworks at approx. 9:30 pm.

Event info

Santa Clara

Picnic and Fireworks Extravaganza

Central Park, 909 Kiely Boulevard

Pancake Breakfast (8:00 am -10:00 am $6.00), followed by games and entertainment throughout the day at the Pavilion along with (for a fee) a carnival area, face painting, and swimming at the International Swim Center. Bring a picnic lunch or purchase foods at the event ($1.00 to $6.00).

Flag Dedication Ceremony at noon, followed by live music until 5:00 pm.

Great America (entrance fee) hosts fireworks shows every Saturday night in July and August. No fireworks July 4th.

Event info

Los Gatos

4th of July Celebration

Civic Center, 110 E. Main Street

Los Gatos Celebrates July 4 for the entire family, all day 11:00 am – 4:30 pm. Beginning in the morning games and activities at the Civic Center. BBQ, picnic lunches and cold drinks available for purchase at the food court.

Event info (PDF)

Cupertino

Children’s Parade and Patriotic Community Sing-Along

Daytime Program at Quinlan Community Center and Memorial Park

7:00 am – 11:00 am: De Anza Optimist Pancake Breakfast (Quinlan Community Center’s Cupertino Room) – for purchase

9:30 am: Flag Raising (at the Veteran’s Memorial)

10:00 – 10:30 am: Children’s Parade starting at the Memorial Park ball field and proceeding to the Memorial Park Amphitheater

10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Concert in the Park

Families and kids are invited to Blackberry Farm (21979 San Fernando Avenue) for a free day of swimming live music and free BBQ.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Free Swimming

Noon -2:00 pm: BBQ Lunch ($5)

Noon – 3:00 pm: Live music by The Dave Crimmen Band Classic 50’s Rock & Roll

5:00 pm: Park Closes

Free Fireworks Show – 6:45 pm to 10:00 pm

The fireworks show with music and games at three different viewing locations —

* Creekside Park – Miller Ave. and Calle De Barcelona (handicap parking available)
* Hyde Middle School – 19325 Bollinger Road (bwtn Hyde and Miller)
* Sedgwick Elementary School- 19200 Phil Lane at Tantau Ave.

6:45 – 9:15 pm: Music and games at all three locations. 9:30 pm: Fireworks.

Fireworks set off at Cupertino High School (no viewing area at the high school).

Saratoga

Costumed Old-Fashioned 4th of July from 9:30 am (to 11:00 am) at Kevin Moran Park (12415 Scully Ave)

Activties:

Color Guard presenting the flag

McCartysville Volunteer Band playing patriotic tunes, including Sousa marches

Actors in costume as American historical characters

Youth chorus and sing-alongs of patriotic tunes

Children’s/Family parade

Free popsicles for all and flags for children

Santa Cruz

“Independence Day 1912 Celebration” at Wilder Ranch State Park (1401 Coast Road)

Travel back in time a hundred years at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz County on July 4, 2012 to experience an old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration 1912 style with a family parade at noon, flag raising ceremony, draft horse rides, living history demonstrations and more.

Wilder Ranch State Park is located 2 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. The event is free; the day use parking fee applies per car.

Morgan Hill

Parade & Fireworks

Morgan Hill Community Park, 100 Edes Steet

The Morgan Hill July 4th Parade downtown preceded by the Liberty Car Cruise. Decorated vintage and collector cars. At 10:00 am the Parade begins including marching bands and floats

9:00 am: Pre-parade Entertainment

9:30 am: Liberty Parade Cruise

10:00 am: Parade (Downtown streets including Monterey Street & Peak Avenue)

11:30 am: Vintage Farm Engines & Liberty Car Show

In the evening at the Morgan Hill Community Park from 6:00 pm is pre-fireworks entertainment with the fireworks scheduled for approximately 9:30 pm.

Event info

Gilroy

Annual 4th of July Fireworks Display at Gilroy High School on Tenth Street beginning around 9:15 pm.

Event info: (408) 846-0460

Fremont

4th of July Parade – Centerville District

The Fremont 4th of July parade rotates between six of the districts of Fremont each year. This year, 2012 parade route: Centerville District – The parade route starts at State Street and Capitol Avenue (10:00 am), then on to Paseo Padre Parkway, Walnut Avenue, Liberty Street, and ends on Beacon Avenue at the corner of State Street

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