Archive for November, 2012

Great new sandwich shop on The Alameda

Ike's Love and Sandwiches

I was away from my office at lunchtime the other day, so I decided do something different for lunch. I wanted to see if anything new had moved in to the old Mission City Coffee location, and if not I thought I’d get some tacos at the Chalateco Mexican/Salvadoran place near there. What I found instead was a great new sandwich shop.

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches is part of a small local chain, and located on The Alameda at Chapman Ct in Santa Clara (the shop opened last month, and the Ike’s web page still doesn’t list it as a location). It’s right near where El Camino splits off from The Alameda and The Alameda becomes a tiny little spur leading to the “SCU” Safeway.

Everything about the place shows incredible enthusiasm. The walls are painted in bright “flower-power” colors and decorated with retro school lunch boxes from the 1970’s and ’80’s. There’s loud music playing and the place is crowded with customers, mostly college-age, even when I was there at 1 pm on a rainy day. The clerks are incredibly friendly and helpful, not just trying to get through their shifts so they can spend their paychecks on beer and textbooks.

The sandwiches are mostly named for local celebrities and landmarks. The “Andrew Luck” is halal chicken, bacon, garlic & herb sauce, and cheddar cheese, for example, and the “Steve Jobs” is breaded egglplant, ranch dressing, green pesto, and provolone. There’s a huge selection of vegetarian sandwiches. All sandwiches are served hot (unless you want it cold).

I got the “Patrick Marleau”. Roast beef, bacon, jack cheese, horseradish sauce, and sriracha. I thought about asking for it with no sriracha to get something less risky, but then figured, they must have tried it and think it’s good, so why not go for it? It was the right decision. The horseradish dominates the flavor of the sauce, but the sriracha adds just a note of something different to a classic combination.

Try this place now, and go early or late, because once the whole town catches on to it, it’s going to be one of those places where the line runs out the door.

And a rollicking good time was had by all…

Cast 1: Soprano Cecilia Violetta López as Roselinde and tenor MIchael Dailey as Alfred. Photo by Pat Kirk

I have now attended close to a dozen different shows at Opera San Jose, and I can honestly say that Strauss’s Die Fledermaus was like no other I have ever seen.  If you are looking to attend your first opera, or even if you would like to introduce opera to your teenager (that’s right!) then this is the opera for you… and yet it is still perfect and worthy for the seasoned attendee.

 

Die Fledermaus is about one man seeking hilarious revenge for an embarrassing practical joke from the past, and in the process there are endless mistaken identities which will leave you in sidesplitting stitches.  There is no love story in this opera, requited or otherwise; nothing particularly deep in the plot; neither is there a tragic death or a particularly happy ending.  More than half the songs are about drinking, and the second act revolves around a party of debauchery which may (or may not) include beautiful dancers skinny-dipping in a pool.

 

The songs are in German, and as usual are translated on a screen over the stage.  But there was something quite surprising in this show that I had never seen before:  a good deal of the story was spoken in English!  This was less like an opera and more like musical theater – and it was lovely.

 

Cast 1: Soprano Elisabeth Russ as Adele, soprano Cecilia Violetta López as Roselinde, tenor Alexander Boyer as von Eisenstein. Photo by Pat Kirk.

I had been disappointed that I could not make it to opening night, however last night was an unexpected treat as I got to see Cast 1 who were absolutely delightful and just as talented as any Cast A I’ve seen.  It was refreshing to see some new faces and there were no disappointments.  Soprano Elizabeth Russ was delicious as the petulant chambermaid Adele; soprano Cecilia Violetta Lopez was virtually unrecognizable to me from her role as Leila in The Pearl Fishers, and I still adored her immensely.  The familiar faces of tenor Alexander Boyer (Eisenstein) and tenor Michael Dailey (Alfred) were welcome and played their comedic roles beautifully.  Special mention goes to bass-baritone Isaiah Musik-Ayala as Frank the prison warden – who I just LOVED, and also Kelly Houston who plays a hilarious Frosch.  Some of these performers were newer to me than others, ALL of them I hope to see more often.

Wait, did I forget to mention baritone Jo Vincent Parks, as Dr. Falk (Die Fledermaus!)?  He has a small part for the title character, however he too was perfect.

Marc Jacobs makes his Opera San Jose debut as stage director, and this is a perfect show for his background in musical theater.  I hope we see more from him at OSJ.

 

Cast 1: Baritone Isaiah Musik-Ayala as Frank. Photo by Pat Kirk.

And as often happens at Opera San Jose, there was another star, and that was the set design.  It does not surprise me to find out that Charlie Smith also designed the Pearl Fisher’s sets, and I’m excited to see what he does for the upcoming double-bill of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi.  It is too bad there are no available photos to show you the complete beauty of the designs.  Acts one and two were set in a sweeping, gorgeous, art deco residence with subtle hints of the jail term awaiting Eisenstin… indeed, it transformed seamlessly into the jail itself in Act three.  As well there was an amazing newspaper print curtain with “articles” pertaining to the characters in the story.

This was not the usual opera I attend at Opera San Jose.  There were not so many ball gowns and sparkling jewelry in the audience that I usually see, perhaps because it was not opening night, perhaps because this show is just not as “stuffy” as some others (which I recommend no matter the stuffiness!!).  There was raucous laughter heard throughout the show, as if we were all drunk with the comedy we were watching.  “That was the most fun I’ve had at the opera ever!” stated my guest, Danielle Roberts.  And indeed, she is quite right.  This opera plays through November 25, and I can recommend without any reservation whatsoever that you should see it – and take your teenagers too.

 

Die Fledermaus
Opera San Jose
Through November 25
California Theatre
San Jose, CA

 

Stephen Elliott at SJSU this week – You’re invited!

The Adderall Diaries

It appears we’re a little short on posts here at Metblogs, but never fear, I’m here to bring some excitement to your lives.  Er, I’m here to tell you about someone who will bring you some excitement to your lives…  Anyway…

Author/Director Stephen Elliott will be at San Jose State University tonight for a book reading and Q&A, and tomorrow will be screening his new film (about the porn industry – oh yeah, I have your attention now!) at the university on Wednesday evening.

Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books including the memoir The Adderall Diaries, which was named best book of the year in Time Out New York, and a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2009; the novel Happy Baby; and the erotica collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up. In January 2009 he founded The Rumpus, now the most popular online-only literary magazine. In 2011, he directed his first feature film, About Cherry.

Co-sponsored by The Rumpus and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

November 13, 7pm: Reading and Book Signing, MLK Library Room 225/229
November 14, 8pm: Screening of About Cherry, SJSU, Sweeney Hall Room 100

Photo by Katherine Emery

Note: About Cherry is Rated R. It contains nudity, drug use, and adult situations which may make some viewers uncomfortable. A preview may be seen here.

The screening on November 14 will be immediately followed by a panel discussion featuring writer/director Stephen Elliott, Dr. Tanya Bakhru (Women’s Studies), and Professor Harry Mathias (TV, Radio, Film & Theater).

I was able to speak with him for an hour this afternoon and found him utterly charming, intelligent, and quietly charismatic.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to not only see a great new film (starring James Franco and Heather Graham) but to speak to a fascinating, multi-talented creator of art.

Time to Fall Back 2012

Profile of Time - Salvador Dali

Profile of Time - Salvador Dali

This weekend we turn our clocks back an hour as we return to Standard Time, Sunday morning November 4 at 2:00 am.

Does this mean we get to spend an extra hour at our favorite bar? No, bars actually stop serving alcohol at 1:59 am, one minute before the clocks are set back one hour.

This is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

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2012 November 4
2013 March 10 November 3
2014 March 9 November 2
2015 March 8 November 1
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