Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Chalk Art Festival in Luna Park

lunapark-chalk-art-festivalOn Saturday, September 20 Backesto Park comes alive with the 7th annual Luna Park Chalk Art Festival.  The festival is an all-volunteer run event created to provide a family-friendly, accessible venue to showcase the talents of local artists and students, foster awareness of the critical need for arts in schools and organizations serving youth, and to raise funds for providing grants and scholarships to meet that need.

No longer a tiny neighborhood event, the festival has grown, bringing in talented performers and musicians, vendors and food trucks, including some of my favorites, Hill Country BBQ and Waffle Amore! The dancers from  Movimiento Cosmico Indigenous Dance will be there too with their stunning ceremonial dances.

Check out the Flickr feed for the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival for more photos and follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter too.

If you’d like to participate as an artist or support the festival as a volunteer or sponsor , registration for all artists, artist/vendors, schools, and nonprofits is located here.

Time for Business: Power Hour

Power HourSan Jose businesses, looking for a way to save energy and money? Want some free advice for managing your business? PG&E is hosting Time for Business Power Hour at The San Jose Woman’s Club, Thursday August 28, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 4 PM.

You’ll have  an opportunity to:

  • Create a free energy plan, with a  energy assessment and a customized action plan for how to save both money and energy
  • Talk one-on-one with your PG&E representative about customized ways to help you save
  • Learn key business strategies from local experts on digital marketing, personal branding and small business financing.
  • Enjoy snacks and refreshments from popular local businesses
  • Get connected with other professionals, networking with business leaders

speakers

Register here.

When: Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Open House) 
Speaker sessions will  repeat and start at: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. 

Location: San Jose Women’s Club
75 South 11th Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Get Directions

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.

Veggielution Farm Stand


Interested in locally grown produce? Check out Veggielution Farm Stand located at Emma Prusch Park, 647 S. King Rd in San Jose.

Veggielution claims their produce will always be sold at prices set lower than market rate for organic fruits and vegetables.

Summer Vegetables including:

  • Italian and Thai Basil
  • Green Beans
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet and Blue Corn
  • Slicing and Lemon Cucumber
  • Asian and Italian Eggplant
  • Muskmelon
  • Okra
  • Sweet and Hot Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Year-round Vegetables including:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Collard Greens
  • Curly and Dino Kale
  • Garlic
  • Onion and Scallions
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Napa Cabbage

Veggielution is a small nonprofit farm operating for the community. To help sustain the farm they have a Farm Box program. Each week you go to a “market-style” pick-up at the Farm Stand where you will find bins labeled and filled with each type of vegetable. There are also pickup locations Tuesdays at Williams Street Park / Olinder School and The Studio Climbing Gym.

For more information about the Farm Stand and Farm Box program (408) 634-3276.


Veggielution Farm Stand
647 South King Road
San Jose, 95116
(408) 634-3276

The Tech Challenge 2014 – Harnessing the Wind

 

Hundreds of teams of students from grades 5-6 and 9-12 put their original innovations the test today, the first day of competition at The Tech Challenge 2014 presented by Cisco, the Bay Area’s largest youth design-challenge competition. The “Bad News Bears” team  of five from St. Martin of Tours first place for “Best Overall Solution” and emphasized perseverance and thinking big as keys to success, “No matter how big the challenge, if you work hard, anything is possible,” said Connor Hearney, 11. Teammate Michael Woo, 11, echoed the same sentiment, “Every problem has a solution.”

The two-day event concludes Sunday, April 13 when students in grades 7-8 take the stage and present their creative devices.

One of The Tech’s deepest beliefs is that everyone is born to be a problem solver,” said Museum President Tim Ritchie. “The Tech Challenge gives participants an opportunity to experience and show how innovative they can be.

Every year, the annual team design-challenge presents participants with a hands-on project geared to solving a real-world problem. This year’s challenge, Harnessing the Wind, saw students use the power of wind to move water to the people who need it most. Participants revealed their entrepreneurial spirits and tried their hand at utilizing the wind as a plausible solution to lowering the total energy consumption in the moving and processing of water.

The Tech Challenge, a signature program of The Tech, provides months of team learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and reinforces 21st-century skills of creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance, and learning from failure.

The ingenuity and commitment exemplified by students at The Tech Challenge is extraordinary,” said Jessica Graham, Cisco’s Community Relations Manager. “Our Cisco volunteers here today welcome the opportunity to inspire the next generation of innovators.

In all, 1,200 students stepped up to the challenge to use the renewable energy source for this year’s competition now in its 27th year. Teams competed for several titles ranging from “Most Sustainable” to “Best Engineering Design” to “Best Prototyping.” Every participant also received a medal, T-shirt, water bottle, and team photo for their hard work, ingenuity and dedication.

For decades, The Tech Challenge has allowed some 13,500 young girls and boys throughout California and other regions to hone their creativity and innovation on a variety of scenarios including building devices to explore Mars craters, fight wildfires, rescue earthquake victims, collect samples in the rainforest, and last year to deploy instruments to an asteroid.

The top award – “Best Overall Solution” – was awarded to three teams in each of the 5th-6th and 9th-12th grade divisions. Best Overall Solution encompasses device performance, engineering and design, style and presentation, and the scientific process. AND THE 2014 WINNERS ARE…

5th-6th grade Division

1st Place

  • Bad News Bears
  • Team # 133
  •  St. Martin of Tours

2nd Place

  • FOuR the WINdz 
  • Team # 15
  •  John Sinnott Elementary School

3rd Place

  • iSolve
  • Team # 372
  • Carden Day School of San Jose, Hyde Middle School, and Kennedy Middle school in Cupertino

9th-12th grade Division

1st Place

  • H2I – Happy to Innovate
  • Team # 72
  •  Fremont Home School Team

2nd Place

  • The Airbenders
  • Team # 322
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula

3rd Place

  • MEKTech
  • Team # 0
  • Head-Royce School

Other teams took home prizes for their achievement in Engineering Design, Spirit, Device Performance, Sportsmanship and Best Use of Cardboard and Duct Tape. View the complete list of winners.

For more information on The Tech Challenge, visit: thetechchallenge.thetech.org/

 

2014 The Tech Challenge sponsors

Presenting

  • Cisco Systems, Inc.

Innovator

  •  Aruba Networks
  •  SAP 

Founding

  • EMC2
  • Intel
  •  Motorola Solutions Foundation 

Principal

  • Fairchild Semiconductor
  • Lockheed Martin
  • TE Connectivity

 

About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum—located in the Capital of Silicon Valley —is a non-profit, experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned program to honor technology benefiting humanity, The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, The Tech endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.

 

 

Free fundraising show in memory of Ryan Viri

Ryan Viri worked at Johnny V’s downtown, where he protected patrons and tried to keep everyone safe while they spent time downtown listening to music.  On the morning of February 12, 2014, he was fatally stabbed after work by someone he had previously thrown out of the bar and on whom he had called the San Jose Police.  Crye Wulf BPM is putting on a free show at Johnny V’s to help raise money for Ryan’s funeral and medical expenses.  The show is February 20, at Johnny V’s, and it’s for ages 21 and over.  Funds will come from the bar profits, and a donation jar will also be available.

If you can’t make that show, or the music isn’t your type of thing, you can still donate to the cause at GoFundMe.

Metblogs sends its condolences to the family of Ryan Viri.  My son was friends with Ryan, and he and many others have been crushed by the loss of a good person with a big heart.  Let’s hope the mayor can get this type of crime under control, as the loss of life in San Jose recently has been far too tremendous.

DONATE HERE
February 20, 2014
Johnny V’s
31 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose
Doors open at 9pm

 

 

The Realities of California’s Drought In Santa Clara County

calero creek fish loss

We’ve all heard the stories and seen the photos on the news about just how bad the drought is in California and other states. But today, as I left my neighborhood of green lawns and gardens and drove out into the country I noticed new evidence that took my breath away. Along one of my favorite riding trails runs Calero creek, an area full of wildlife. Fish, crayfish, birds and of course raccoons, skunks, opossum and the occasional bobcat rely on the daily releases from the reservoir to keep the creek flowing. So do the farmers and homes who use wells and creeks for watering their livestock.

As of yesterday the creek is no longer flowing. The banks are dry, and although there are some areas that still hold a small amount of water, those will dry up soon too.

In a 100 yard section of creek bed I saw scores of fish dead or dying. The remaining pools of water are getting smaller and the wildlife trapped in them will die as well.

Unless we get significant rain, there will be few or no releases of water from the reservoir in the near future and the death toll in the creek is heartbreaking.

According to a resource at the Santa Clara Water District offices, all of the reservoirs that use imported water (pumped in from the California Aquaduct for example) are significantly reducing or completely stopping outflow to the creeks. This includes Calero, and Almaden reservoirs.

According to the water district staff person I spoke with, the California department of fish and wildlife (CDFW) is working with the Water District and tough calls have to be made.

The CDFW has closed several streams to fishing until they determine water flows are adequate. You can find a partial list here. Other streams deemed not as important because there aren’t steelhead present, are simply being “turned off”.

What can you do?
It’s time to take our heads out of the sand folks. Take a look at this photo of what is left of the wildlife in Calero creek and ask yourself if you really need to keep your grass green or take a 15 minute shower. Start thinking about how you can conserve.

The  Santa Clara Valley Water District is asking for a 10% reduction in water use. To meet the reduction goal, the water district will double rebates paid to people who conserve water, promote water conservation laws in cities and use technology to convert the county’s wastewater into drinkable water within five years. But that’s in 5 years. We must conserve now.

Learn more about the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

And while you’re at it. Pray for rain!

 

Lake Cunningham Skatepark – Top 10 Skateparks in the World!

Wanna know something cool? San Jose is home to one of the largest skateparks in the United States.

Wanna know something else that’s cool? A Red Bull UK blog post identified the Lake Cunningham Regional Skatepark as one of the 10 best in the world.

You should check out the competition. San Jose is in good company.

You can read all about it in a blog entry called  Girls, Girls, Girls: Juliet’s Top 10 Skateparks in the World on the Red Bull UK blog.

For more information about Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park, visit the official website.

Visit the official community activist website supporting the skate park at SJActionSports.com.

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

(408) 794-SKATe (7528)

Missing [NOW FOUND] since May 21 on way to Santa Cruz

NEWS ALERT:  

 

David McAllister

UPDATE:

Happily, as is the case with most missing 21 year old men, David is now home with his mother safe and sound, having merely suffered from a huge lapse in judgement (a common affliction with 21 year old boys).  His mother Debbie thanks everyone in the community from the bottom of her heart for reaching out to her with thoughts, prayers, and offers of help.  We at Metblogs are quite relieved to know this is no longer a missing persons case, and would like to remind all young men and women out there that being an adult sometimes means you still need to check in with your parents.

——————————————————————————-

David Logan McAllister was last seen on Monday, May 21st at 5pm in Santa Clara, heading over to Santa Cruz to an unspecified beach. He called another friend at 9:42pm to say he was driving over to Santa Cruz.  He drives a black 2007 Ford Fusion, license plate [redacted].  Verizon is reporting no outbound calls or texts from his phone since May 21, however someone accessed the web on his iPhone May 24  at 1:37am

I have known David’s mother for most of my life, and have known David to be an outstanding young man who loves his family, and enjoys telling stories of the time he spends with his grandmother. I find it highly unlikely that he has left on his own without contacting anyone.

If you are in the Santa Cruz area or anywhere in between SC and San Jose, please be on the look out for his abandoned black Ford Fusion or David himself.  Missing Person reports have been filed with the SJPD and SCPD, but missing 21 year old males do not have highest priority.  We need the public to help find him.  Detective Alfonso Rodriguez [redacted] has now been assigned to the case. Please call if you have any information.

 

David is 6 feet tall, and 185 pounds, Dark Brown Hair, Blue eyes. He drives a black 2007 Ford Fusion, license plate [redacted]. I have never seen him without a smile and a helping hand for anyone who needs it.

 

 

David McAllister and his mother, Debbie

Not your typical candidate for judge

One of the great things about living in a downtown neighborhood like the Northside is that you meet all kinds of people, like my friend and neighbor Alexis Cerul, who’s running for Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge. The first thing I have to tell you is that Alex is not a judicial candidate out of Central Casting.

What Alex is best known for in the Northside is his garage. What looks like a two-story cottage behind his 19th century Victorian house is actually a garage to house his vintage Mustang and his enormous collection of found and collected items, sorted into hundreds of 1-gallon coffee cans, each labelled with an enigmatic tag. He built the garage mostly himself, using new and found materials like 100-year-old siding from a demolished Victorian house.

During one of his many home improvement projects he had an idea for a way to protect electrical wiring from nails through walls, for which he received US Patent US6779232.

When a friend of ours, who is a tireless neighborhood volunteer and advocate, came back from a trip to Italy raving about the beach experience there, Alex organized a group of neighbors to build a replica beach cabana for him. It’s now standing in our friend’s back yard holding his garden tools.

But Alex isn’t just a can-do guy who wants to be a judge — my lawyer friends (okay, one of them is his wife) tell me he’s entirely qualified for the position. His experience isn’t as a trial attorney, but working at the courthouse, doing the research work that helps the judges decide complex legal questions. Whenever I’ve asked him questions about legal matters in the news he’s always had a ready and understandable answer. He’s received endorsements from 9 sitting and retired superior court judges, more than a dozen working attorneys, and numerous civic leaders, elected officials, and community organizations.

I hope you’ll keep Alexis Cerul in mind when you cast your ballot for judge, either on the vote-by-mail ballot you’ve probably already received or at the polls on June 5.

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