Archive for the ‘Bay Area’ Category

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day 2015

icecream
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from Noon to 8:00 pm is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s.

Participating Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops in the Bay Area are opening their doors from noon to 8 pm to serve up a free scoop of any flavor of your choice.

Since 1979, it’s Ben & Jerry’s way to celebrate and say thanks to their fans for another year of support.

Participating locations:

SAN JOSE
115 East San Carlos
San Jose

BERKELEY – CENTER STREET
2130 Center Street
Suite 102
Berkeley

ARGONAUT
475 Jefferson Street
San Francisco

MACY’S
170 O’Farrell St.
Macy’s Department Store
San Francisco

JACK LONDON SQUARE
505 Embarcadero West
Oakland

HAIGHT ASHBURY
1480 Haight Street
San Francisco

FISHERMAN’S WHARF
Pier 41
Pier 41, c/o Chatzka’s Inc. The Box
San Francisco

Holiday Train 2014

HolidayTrainThis weekend (December 6 & 7) the Caltrain Holiday Train, a special non-passenger train decorated with more than 70,000 lights, will be making stops at eight different Peninsula Caltrain stations; four on Saturday four other stations on Sunday, and begins at the San Francisco station on both days. The public is not permitted to board or ride on the train. However, people can come out and see the train at the stations where it stops and enjoy the show put on by holiday characters.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy or book to drop into toy barrels at the stations for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army’s holiday toy drive.

Always stand well back from the train and behind the yellow line on the platform. Hold onto children’s hands while waiting on the platform.

Saturday, December 6

San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Burlingame 5:15 p.m.
Redwood City 6:15 p.m.
Mountain View 6:55 p.m.
Santa Clara 8:10 p.m.

Sunday, December 7

San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Millbrae 5:15 p.m.
San Mateo 6:20 p.m.
Menlo Park 7:45 p.m.
Sunnyvale 8:40 p.m.

Voyageur du Temps – Los Altos

Salmon Tartine

Salmon Tartine

There are some places you visit and you just know it’s going to be good! From the exterior Voyageur du Temps is unassuming, but once you step in the door you’re greeted with sleek cases full of jewel like pastries, classic tartines and a floor to ceiling window looking into the immaculate pastry kitchen.
All of the baked goods, from baguettes and croissants to tarts and pastries are made behind that glass wall, and it’s fun to sit and watch the chefs practicing their craft.
Voyageur du Temps is built in what was once a train station, the exterior is a long horizontal craftsman style. Inside however it has a sleek modern feel that feels very Japanese in style. That figures as the owner, Rie Rubin is originally from Japan and brought two French-trained chefs over from Tokyo to open the restaurant.
The cafe serves breakfast until 11 AM. Look for the french toast, eggs and the “Bacon Epi” a baguette with the bacon baked in, or opt for the “Tokyo Breakfast” Thick toasted bread served with butter and jam and a cup of rich drip coffee from Seattle’s Cafee Vita.

The croissants are the best I’ve had outside of San Francisco’s Tartine, who–for me at least– set the bar on French pastry in the bay area. Look for their signature “V” cubes. I got mine filled with dark chocolate and cherries. Delicious and unique.
The Tartines and salads are served all day. Some complain they are expensive and the portions small, but you have to remember that in Japan and France they aren’t gluttons like we are here in the US. Portions are exactly right and each tartine is prepared fresh and individually, not laying around in a cooler somewhere waiting to be served. The attention to quality and detail shows everywhere here.

The patio has  seating nestled in the trees and I can imagine myself spending quite some time there over a cup of café aulait and a croissant.

Visit Voyageur du Temps–288 1ST St., Los Altos; 650-383-5800 open Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Closed Mondays.

THE GREAT PRETENDER a Must-See at TheatreWorks

 

Great Pretender4_KevinBerne

Children’s TV host Mr. Felt (Steve Brady) performs with his puppets Carol the Pony and Francis

TheatreWorks is presenting another amazing show as the opener of their 45th season.  This is the world premiere of The Great Pretender, by David West Read, and I have no doubt this original show will be playing many theaters in the future.

Mr. Felt is the host of a televised puppet show for children.  He works with a puppet child named Francis, a puppet pony named Carol and a couple other friends.  In the opening we get to see them put on their puppet show of craft making, which goes on just long enough to make me wonder if the entire play was going to be a child’s puppet show… but soon enough the theme music fades out and we head a few months into the future.  Mr. Felt’s wife, the puppeteer for Francis, has passed away, and someone new is needed to replace her.  We soon meet Carol, the puppeteer for Carol the Pony (and the most terrible human on the planet), another puppeteer Tom, and newbie Jodi, who grew up with the show and wants more than anything to be a part of it.

Mr. Felt (Steve Brady) watches skeptically while Jodi (Sarah Moser) tells Tom (Michael Storm) and Carol (Suzanne Grodner) about the pants she made herself

Mr. Felt (Steve Brady) watches skeptically while Jodi (Sarah Moser) tells Tom (Michael Storm) and Carol (Suzanne Grodner) about the pants she made herself

My friend and I were excited to see this show because PUPPETS, and also the line “Contains Mature Language”, and how can you miss with that combo?? But PEOPLE.  This show made me almost cry.  Well, perhaps I did actually cry a little, or maybe there was just a lot of pollen in the theater.  I certainly wasn’t the only one in the theater with sniffles.  The Great Pretender isn’t just a puppet show, it is about Life, and Death, and Friendships, and realizing who your Family is when you have no one.  It also made me laugh hysterically.  It touched me on so many levels, in a way that many other shows have not.  But what did I expect? This is TheatreWorks, and they have consistently presented the best of the best for the last year I have attended.

The production is not actually for children as there are mature language and situations, and also, the character of Carol should not be anywhere near children, haha.  But teens would be fine, and other than that, everyone should go see this amazing show immediately.  I don’t think we have seen the last of David West Read, and The Great Pretender is absolutely headed for the big time.

The Great Pretender
Through August 3, 2014
TheatreWorks
At Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto

 

Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers at the Tech

Startup Weekend

Ohh, maker and startup fans and anyone with a great idea should show up this weekend at the Tech Museum of Innovation! On July 11-13 they’re hosting an awesome event called “Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers at the Tech” This will be a creative event where individuals who want to get started founding and launching a successful venture will have an opportunity to make it a reality.

Friday evening participants will present their pitches for a hardware startup. On Saturday they’ll form teams and alliances to make their dream come true and the Tech and it’s partners will be providing equipment like 3-D printers and laser cutters to make it happen.

Silicon valley tech leaders will judge the entries and give the teams feedback and conclude with a grand showcase of the week’s work on Sunday evening.

Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers, supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, is dedicated to helping individuals build their networks, learn new skills, and launch a startup while creating a product, prototype, and presentation. Startup Weekend has events in more than 100 countries and 580 cities worldwide.

 

WHAT: Startup Weekend: Bay Area Makers. An intense event where teams create an innovative product over the weekend and launch a real startup.

WHEN: Startup Showcase: Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 5 p.m.

Full event: July 11, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to July 13, 2014 at 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Tech, 201 S. Market St. San Jose, CA

Local Theaters you should give a try

No, the death of the San Jose Repertory Theatre does not mean an absence of theatre in San Jose.  Not only are there more theaters than I can keep up with, they all produce spectacular shows that will amaze you.  In fact, looking at this list you almost wonder how the SJ Rep will be missed (it will).  Take a good look at what is in store for the summer, get some tickets for your family, and maybe even see if your employer might be willing to give a donation to the theatre of your choice.

And if you have any tickets to a canceled SJ Repertory show, almost all of these theaters have expressed an offer to trade your ticket for one of theirs.  If you see something you’d like to attend below, give their office a call and ask.  The theatre world is a community, and they consider their audiences part of the family.

Here, in alphabetical order, are some theaters you should be giving a shot this summer.  This list is by no means complete.  There truly is an endless opportunity for theatre in the South Bay.

 

Broadway San Jose

Broadway San Jose

Broadway San Jose brings traveling Broadway shows to the area, and they are some of the best musicals you will see in town.  They are always AMAZING.  Jersey Boys begins July 15th, and in August get ready for Wicked!  Obviously you need to get those tickets ASAP.

 

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CMT-SJ

Children’s Musical Theatre

CMT has a full summer schedule, and never be fooled into thinking this is a “kid” theater.  These are professional productions all the way.  In line this summer are Oklahoma!, Side Show, and Disney’s Jungle Book.  Personally, I think Side Show sounds really interesting and might try to get to it myself.

 

 

 

 

CLTC

City Lights Theater Company

CLTC is playing The Language Archive through June 29, and on July 24 get ready for Monty Python’s Spamalot!!

CLTC is a great theater with an abundance of talent.  I know I mentioned the lack of A/C when I was last there, but I have never been uncomfortable there any other time.  Definitely give them a chance, I know you won’t be disappointed!  Again, this is a rare theatre that runs in the black, and it should continue to be supported.

 

 

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Dragon

Dragon Productions Theatre Company

Tomorrow is the last night to see Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, and then Take Me Out begins in July.  They recently opened in their brand new theater, which is much larger than their old space and very comfortable.  Redwood City is not far, and this theater is worth the short trip.

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At Hillbarn

Hillbarn Theatre

Hillbarn has long been one of my favorite local theaters, even though I have not reviewed there in awhile.  It is in Foster City, but it’s always easy to get there for evening shows because the drive from San Jose has little traffic!  Their musicals are simply the best.  They are on break for the summer, though they do have SummerStage for kids, and on August 28 they return with Funny Girl the musical!!  Let me also state that this theatre has some of the nicest people in the industry working there.

 

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Opera SJ

Opera San Jose

This is the company that taught me opera is fun.  Yes, it is FUN.  And I never would have dreamed the line of friends I have who want to join me at the opera.  My vacation forced me to miss their closing show this year, but I can’t wait until September 6 when Verdi’s Rigoletto begins!  San Jose is truly lucky to have such a treasure trove of talent at Opera SJ, from their performers to their set designers.  I’ll not stop urging you to try the opera until I know for a fact that every single one of you has attended at least one show!

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PA Players

Palo Alto Players

I just started attending their performances this year, and they have been some of the most enjoyable shows I have seen, full of some of the best talent.  The Farnsworth Invention is playing now through June 29, and it has already received notice from Aaron Sorkin, the playwright himself.  The PA Players are worth the cost of a subscription.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pear

The Pear Avenue Theatre 

Pear Avenue is one of the tiniest theaters I have ever been in, but they show that size does not matter.  Their production of Death of a Salesman was by far one of the best shows I have been to.  On June 20 they begin Pygmalion, and after next season they will be in a brand new theater that will give them even more room.  I am truly excited for them.

 

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Renegade

Renegade Theatre Experiment

A theatre more people should know and be talking about.  On summer break right now, DO NOT MISS the September World Premiere of Perishable, Keep Refrigerated, written by Redwood City’s own Max Tachis and directed by my favorite theater director Kathleen Normington.  There is one thing you can always count on: when you see a show directed by Kathleen, you will be thinking about it and talking about it for weeks after.

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The Stage

San Jose Stage Company

Currently on The Stage is Bonnie & Clyde, and you can’t get much better than that.  Wait, yes you can because it’s a MUSICAL!!  Through July 27.

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South Bay Musical Theatre

I have never been to this theatre, but perhaps we should all check it out!   Tonight is their last show for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and September 27 they return with Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.

 

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TheatreWorks

TheatreWorks

Another theater I just started this year, they blew me away with their holiday production of Little Women the musical.  I have seen the most consistently professional and talented performances from this company, and they are currently my number one favorite theatre.  Now playing through June 29, Sondheim’s Marry Me a Little.  Without even seeing it I can tell you it’s a can’t-miss!  And then they immediately begin their next season on July 9 with The Great Pretender.  Always worth a trip to Palo Alto!

 

City Lights inadvertently presents allegory for the closing of The Rep

Resten (Ben Ortega) and Alta (Deb Anderson) share a moment in City Lights Theater Company's production of "The Language Archive" by Julia Cho. Photo by Mike Ko / www.siliconvalleydesigns.com

Theater audiences all over the Bay Area went to see fantastic, thoughtful, hysterical, amazing shows and musicals last weekend.  We came home looking forward to seeing the next shows, or acting or producing the next shows, and many of us contemplated our reviews of the weekend.  And then we sat down Monday to do our work.

And at 10:30am we received the press release in our In-Box:

San Jose, CA. June 11, 2014 – San Jose Repertory Theatre announced today that it has ceased operation as of Monday, June 9, 2014. 

This news came as a shock to most, even those of us who had heard whisperings and warnings, I mean it’s THE SAN  JOSE REP, it’s been downtown for over thirty years, well longer than I would bet most of the valley’s employees have lived here.  In Silicon Valley years, The Rep has been here FOREVER.

It was a heart break for me.  I have years of history with The Rep.  I have sat in almost every seat of their audience, I have played in the pit, I have introduced films and interviewed filmmakers and actors on the stage.  I have brought dozens of dates to see shows and had a close group of friends I loved to share tickets with.  I introduced my own children to theater at The Rep, and as adults I am proud to know that they attend theater on their own now, without being dragged by their mother. I have many memories of drunken shenanigans in and around the theater.  The Rep did not always produce my favorite shows, but they were always my favorite theater.

But I had a review to write, one that was very difficult to write for many reasons.  I had heard great things about City Lights Theatre’s production of The Language Archive and had really looked forward to seeing it.  But due to a scheduled vacation, I had to see the Sunday matinee when our temps were in the 90s and the theater had no air conditioning.  It was difficult to connect to the actors because the theater was so uncomfortable.  I was able to pay attention to the show, but in a distracted way, and I could not drum up any excitement except for getting back to my air conditioned car.  This is a terrible scenario in which to review a show fairly.  So I found myself in the position of feeling sort of mediocre about the show, but knowing it was likely only due to one very hot day since my fellow reviewers loved it, and feeling my normal pressure to want to get people to the theater no matter what, now with the added pressure of knowing the biggest theater in town just went bankrupt.

At the same time, feeling like I was in mourning for a lost friend, and trying not to feel anger towards a very wealthy valley who I felt had let the Arts down.

The Language Archive, playing at City Lights through January 29, IS a great show.  It’s about language and relationships and the care needed to keep them alive.  I sat here thinking tonight how the character of Mary treasures her ages old sourdough starter.  She told of how she had to feed it, pay attention to it, never forget about it or take it for granted, so that more warm, nourishing bread could be made from it, and it would never die.  The show is about George, a linguist who documents dying languages.  As stated in the show, any language needs more than one person speaking it in order to survive; if no one cares for them, the languages die.  George’s marriage to Mary needed the attention that the sourdough starter received.  When George could no longer speak the language that Mary needed to hear, the marriage died.

And sitting here thinking about that show I realized this is very much an allegory for the demise of The San Jose Rep, isn’t it.  No theater can survive on ticket sales alone, many don’t realize this.  Theaters require entire communities to not just attend, but to donate.  The San Jose Rep had an operating budget of $5 million.  I don’t have $5 million.  You likely don’t either.  But when you think of all the businesses in San Jose, all the wealthy businesses (who do indeed contribute money to our community), and the wealthy CEOs who live here (and also donate to the community)… Five million dollars seems like it could easily have been covered between allllll the businesses who reside here, don’t you think?  San Jose simply cannot keep crying that no one knows who we are, where we are, that we are not a neighborhood in San Francisco, if we cannot even keep our own local Repertory Theater open.  And like it or not, theater and the Arts really does fall on local businesses to survive, whether we’re talking about San Francisco or New York or a tiny middle America town. Or San Jose.

But the blame cannot just be put on our local businesses.  Theater is a very complicated business, full of catch-22s and the need for good shows that cost money that doesn’t come without big shows that cost money.  Karen D’Souza has written an excellent article for the Mercury News which points to several of the various factors that went into the closing, and wonders if perhaps San Jose isn’t just due for a different sort of Arts environment.  I would never oppose different, as long as the Arts do not die altogether.

But San Jose does have many, many smaller theaters that many locals haven’t even heard of.  City Lights is a great little theater and it somehow operates in the black.  Hopefully that’s not just due to their lack of an air conditioning bill, LOL (I JOKE! I JOKE!).   And they are one of many theaters that not only put on outstanding productions on a regular basis but are accepting tickets to The Rep’s canceled shows for their own shows.  Theater is a community, and they support each other like a family no matter what.  We should try to support them back.  Like sourdough starter, the Arts require all of us to feed it, pay attention to it, never forget about it or take it for granted, so that it will never die.

Tinkerers and Crafters-Get to Maker Faire Sunday!

Maker Faire is back at the San Mateo Event Center May 17, 18 and well worth taking some time away from watching the grass grow in the back yard!

What is Maker Faire you ask? It’s actually hard to fully describe it. Sure, there are tons of do-it-yourself robot competitions, workshops and kits and 3-d printers galore, but this isn’t strictly a faire for geeks and techies. Basically it’s a place for all ages, kids and adults to go and learn about everything from crafting and up-cycling, creating art from recycled materials and a lot of ingenuity and electronics of all kinds. Where else can you learn to make a tub of grass play music?

I spent the better part of the day there on Saturday and I saw:

  • A dramatic dragon sculpture you can ride
  • A fire breathing Pegasus on wheels
  • A race of up-cycled kids toy cars
  • Crafting from making tie-dyed t-shirts to jewelry, scrapbooking,  knitting and tapigami.
  • Robot wars
  • A number of flying drones, one even had a facial recognition scanner (scary!)
  • Do it yourself kits to build computers, robots and 3-d printers
  • Kids creating their own rockets, computers and making music
  • Kids and adults alike playing like kids in a candy store.

There is so much to do here plan to spend some time. Many of the exhibits are hands on. You can really play with the toys and learn.

Getting there
I highly recommend taking Caltrain to the Hillsdale station. From there it’s a short walk to Maker Faire. If you absolutely must drive I saw lots of parking at the Caltrain lot, but anywhere else within a mile of the event is nearly impossible and the traffic was quite heavy coming in.

Tickets
Ticket prices vary, check Eventbrite for buying online. I also recommend getting your tickets in advance. You can then easily scan your phone at the entrance and skip the lines.

 

When and where?
Maker Faire is at the San Mateo Event Center Saturday May 17 10AM-8 PM and Sunday 10AM-6PM.

Maker Faire is brought to you by Maker Media.  Maker Media publishes MAKE magazine, produces Maker Faire, and offers DIY electronics, tools, kits, and books through its online and pop-up Maker Shed stores.

 

BLM Mustang Auction and Tack Sale May 3

Sorrel Mustang

“The Bureau of Land Management protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. The BLM manages these living symbols of the Western spirit as part of its multiple-use mission under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act .”

One of the BLM’s key responsibilities under the 1971 law is to determine the “appropriate management level” (AML) of wild horses and burros on the public rangelands. These animals have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, about 31,000 wild horses and burros roam BLM-managed lands in 10 Western states, a population that exceeds by about 3,500 the number that can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.

To help restore the balance, the BLM gathers some wild horses and burros and offers them for adoption or sale to those individuals and groups willing and able to provide humane, long-term care.

On May 3rd, 2014 you can see some of these wild horses up for adoption, and maybe even take one home from the Santa Clara County Horsemen’s Association. 20350 McKean Road, San Jose, Ca. 95120. The SCCHA Juniors will be holding a flea market sale on the same day, in case you need some new tack for that adopted horse!

If you can’t make it to the adoption at the SCCHA, you can see a list of adoption events here, or visit  the Litchfield or Ridgecrest Corrals Monday through Friday during business hours.   It’s a good idea to download and fill out your adoption application prior to arrival.  You can also fill out the adoption form at the SCCHA adoption event.

IMPORTANT NOTE:   Adoptions are open from 8 am to 5 pm on the day of the adoption.   For all adoptions, after the silent bidding has concluded, any remaining animals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paul Lazarus, Director: SLINGSHOT Documentary at Cinequest

Paul Lazarus, Director of SLINGSHOT

Silicon Valley may know Dean Kamen as the inventor of the Segway. But he is an amazing inventor and trying to use his genius to help solve the world’s clean water problem.  We don’t worry much about water here other than our perpetual drought, but we have it good in the USA – our water is clean for the most part.  50 percent of all human illness is the result of water borne pathogens.  Dean Kamen has invented an energy efficient vapor-compression distiller that can turn any unfit source of water into potable, safe water.  Paul Lazarus directed this important documentary.

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of SLINGSHOT, from concept to financing.

We have been working on this movie for seven years.  When inventor, Dean Kamentold me about his work on providing the world with clean, safe water, I thought it was potentially the most important challenge he’d ever tackled and I suggested we make a movie about it.  We have covered the development of the machine at Dean’s research company, in Ghana, Paraguay and all across the United States.

2Q: Cinequest is hosting the World Premiere of SLINGSHOT.  Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

After all this time, it’s a little frightening to bring the film before the public.  We want so badly for the film to succeed and help tell the story of this lifesaving technology and help spread this amazing technology all over the planet.  It feels like so much is at stake.   But, as Dean Kamen says, the safest place for a ship is in the harbor, it just doesn’t do any good there.   We hope that the movie both inspires and entertains the people that see it.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making SLINGSHOT?

Best was going to Ghana two times and meeting incredible people like Lydia Odum, the headmistress of a small school 90-minutes north of Accra.    And the kids, who always seemed happy to see us. Worst was trying to raise the money to make the film.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

Too often, especially with issue documentaries, you leave the theater feeling helpless and hopeless.  We believe that people who take the time to see SlingShot will leave the theater hopeful, energized and feeling like they might be able to make a difference.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Best Picture Oscar for SLINGSHOT.  Give us your acceptance speech.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who helped create this film.   I hope in some small way it will make you think about the world’s safe water crisis.  I want to quote a man who has devoted over 15 years of his life trying to create a machine that can turn any form of bad, unclean water into safe, pure water:  ”We could empty half of all beds in all the hospitals in the world by just giving people clean water.”

See SLINGSHOT at Cinequest!
“Like” them on Facebook!
Follow them on Twitter!

Dean Kamen, Inventor

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