Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Best Valentine of all time

Honey and Holly

So you’re looking for someone who will love you forever and ever, never withhold their affections, and ask for nothing in return?

Head over to the Humane Society Silicon Valley this weekend.  All bonded pairs are priced 2 for 1 through Sunday. 

Take Honey and Holly, above.  They love to play together and will occupy each other for hours, and they will love you forever if you can give them a good home.  But they aren’t the only pups looking for a forever Valentine!

Foster dog showcase tomorrow 12-2! Through February 16th all adoptions are 2-for-1 fee so you get twice the love!

Prefer online dates with purrr-fect profiles? Check out these available singles, ready to warm your lap immediately!

Humane Society Silicon Valley
901 Ames Ave, Milpitas, CA 95035
Phone:(408) 262-2133
Hours:  10:30 am – 8:00 pm

“Like” their Facebook page to get regular adoption updates and deals.

 

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Free admission to the Santa Cruz Museum on the the first Friday of every month!

Museum exhibits focus on the natural history of the Santa Cruz region and the Monterey Bay.

Wildlife & Habitats — On display… Owls, Hawks, a Golden Eagle, Reptiles, Amphibians, Foxes, Coyotes, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Jack Rabbits, Brush Rabbits, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret,
California Quail, Hummingbirds Song Birds, Nests, Calls, Squirrels, Raccoons, Skunks
Monarchs and Banana Slugs

The Garden Learning Center provides examples of sustainable garden techniques and was designed to promote water and soil conservation, increase ecological diversity, and keep harmful chemicals out of our watershed. Interpretive panels throughout the garden illustrate concepts in sustainable gardening, and introduce visitors to common native plants suitable for planting in our region.

Geology of Santa Cruz — The Museum features fossilized bones of whales, dolphins and an entire sea cow skeleton – related to several species of manatee and dugong gliding through different waters today.

Learn about Monterey Bay Marine Life in the touch pool, featuring live local intertidal plants and animals. Adjacent to the touch pool you’ll find examples of shells found on regional beaches. Examples of typical marine and shore birds are also displayed.

Parking is available on Pilkington Avenue or in surrounding streets. From April-September you must get a free parking permit from inside the Museum to park on the museum-side of Pilkington Ave. Public transit, Santa Cruz Metro.

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Friday, February 7, 2014
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Free admission also on:  03/07, 04/04, 05/02, 06/06

Evergreen Tree Tour

Our City Forest’s guides lead you on a free tour to discover fascinating evergreen trees at the San Jose State University main campus. From familiar Bay Area trees to the rarest oddities.

Tours are Saturdays January 25, February 1 and 8 at 2:00 PM.

Meet at 9th Street Plaza, near the Art Building. RSVP by emailing  treetours@ourcityforest.org or by calling 408-998-7337 x 108.

Dress appropriately for the weather, tours are rain or shine.
Limited free parking available on South 10th Street. VTA (bus routes 63, 64, 72, 73, and 81; light rail lines 901 and 902).

Our City Forest mission statement: The mission of Our City Forest is to cultivate a green and healthy San Jose metropolis by engaging community members in the appreciation, protection, growth and maintenance of our urban ecosystem, especially our urban forest.

Our City Forest is a 501(c)3 organization.

San Jose State University
January 25, 2014
February 1 and 8, 2014
2:00 PM
Admission: Free ($5.00 donations suggested)
Remember to RSVP 408-998-7337 x 108

Legendary Bounty Hunter Appears at the Tech

Boba Fett

Boba Fett image courtesy Lucas Films

Jabba the Hut sent his best to capture Han Solo, and we all knew that Boba Fett was a force to be reckoned with. Now joining the Tech for the final months of the exhibit, fans finally get to see Boba Fett up close and personal in the Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit through to March 23, 2014.

In case you haven’t been to the exhibit yet, it’s well worth the trip, even if you’re a Star Wars noob. There are hands-on labs where you can engineer  Droids™ and defy gravity. You can even drive an actual hovercraft!

Of course if you’re a hard-core fan there is plenty to see too, starting with a full size replica of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,  costumes for Mace Windu, Princess Leia, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Stormtroopers, and Lightsabers belonging to Luke, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul and Count Dooku. Of course Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO make an appearance as well. This is a 10,000 Sq foot exhibit with over 80 authentic costumes, props and models from all 6 of the star Wars films. Plan to spend some quality time reliving your favorite scenes. Get your tix here.

Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination, presented by Bose Corporation®, was developed by Boston’s Museum of Science in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd. and the exhibition makes use of an extensive archive collection on loan from the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

 

 

Bay Area Pet Expo 2014

The Bay Area Pet Expo at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds is Saturday January 11, 2014. Admission is free (Parking $8.00) and pets are welcome — all pets must be on a fixed lead or in a carrier with proof of age-appropriate vaccinations.
The Expo features pet-friendly exhibitors and rescue groups, pet care tips, along with live demonstrations in agility, obedience training, and more.
Fun includes the pet fashion show, costume contest, and the pet/owner look-alike contest.
In addition, low-cost immunizations and pets will be available for adoption.
Free nail trims, discounted vaccinations, microchipping and heartworm & flea preventatives.

You will be required to sign a pet waiver at the entrance or you may fill your pet waiver form out in advance here.

The Expo is indoors.

Bay Area Pet Expo
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
44 Tully Road, San Jose 95111

Saturday January 11, 2014
10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: Free
Parking: $8.00

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II is an orchestra-and-film concert this weekend (December 28-29, 2013). Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner along with others are projected on the screen while their original scores are played live by Symphony Silicon Valley.

Symphony Silicon Valley
Center for the Performing Arts
255 S Almaden Blvd, San Jose, CA ‎

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 at 2:30pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 at 2:30pm

Tickets here

Little Women brings Big Surprises and Holiday Joy

(l-r) Arielle Fishman, Emily Koch, Sharon Rietkerk, and Julia Belanoff star as the March sisters - Amy, Jo, Meg, and Beth. Photo credit: Mark Kitaoka

Little Women the musical, produced by TheatreWorks, is quite simply one of the best shows I’ve seen this year (and this year has been full of some fantastic shows).  One of the best (and rare) parts of reviewing theater is coming across an unexpected gem, and Saturday evening’s Opening Night was the Hope Diamond.

“Little Women”, by Louisa May Alcott, is the story of four sisters who vow to stick together forever when they are young in the 1860s.  Father is off in the war, and while the family is short on money, they have an abundance of love.  Jo March, the second sister, narrates the story and has ambitions of being a writer.  For many young girls who read the book, Jo is the favorite as she insists on living life according to her own terms and not 19th century society’s.

(l-r) Jo (Emily Koch) and Professor Bhaer (Christopher Vettel) imagine a scene from Jo's novel, portrayed by Justin Buchs, Sharon Rietkerk, and Elizabeth Palmer. Photo credit: Mark Kitaoka

I loved the book when I was young, but even so I never imagined a Jo as charismatic and exuberant as the one Emily Koch brings to the stage.  Her joy in narrating her stories to the audience is palpable, and her physical acting makes it clear this character is made for pants, not long and stuffy skirts.  I cannot state enough how much every single actor in this show is perfection, and yet Ms. Koch raises it to a level even beyond that.  Jo is the girl we want to be, and later the woman we look up to as a role model.

I was not so sure how well it would work turning Little Women into a musical, but this show is so perfect, and the actors are such incredible singers, that it becomes one of those shows you don’t even realize is a musical.  The songs fit so well they are just part of the story and the experience.

And what a story for the young women of today, or any day.  This is not merely a story of a girl who refused to put aside her wants and needs in life so she could be someone’s wife, but neither is it a story against marriage.  It is a story of deciding what you want from life and accepting nothing else – and sometimes that means changing your mind.  Sometimes it means getting married.  The right choice is the choice that a woman makes for her own self.  And every character in this story does just that.

It’s a joyful story and a heartwarming one, but of course it also has a couple incredibly sad scenes that left everyone in my row wiping their eyes, and the theater was full of sniffling and shaking shoulders when Marmee sings “Days of Plenty”.

Laurie (Matt Dengler) kisses Jo (Emily Koch). Photo credit: Mark Kitaoka

I had had a very long day holiday decorating with my family, and neither my daughter nor myself were keen on driving to Palo Alto to see a show, but never have we felt more grateful that we had done so.  We were enthralled from the first moment, mesmerized by the balletic beauty of Meg (Sharon Reitkerk), the sweetness of Beth (Julia Belanoff), the spoiled petulance of Amy (Arielle Fishman), and the utter joyfulness of Jo.  We never for a moment wanted to close our eyes or miss one moment.  This show is for everyone, including kids perhaps as young as ten (they should be old enough to deal with a very sad death), and it is a perfect show for the holidays and a cold winter night.  My highest praise, from one who sees a lot of shows:  I would see this show again. And again and again.

Little Women the Musical
TheatreWorks
Extended through January 4
Lucie Stern Theatre
1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
Holiday Tea Luncheon at the Garden Court Hotel
with matinee this Saturday, December 14

 

The Snow Queen warms winter hearts at The SJ Rep

 

Jane Pfitsch, Rhett George, Lee Ann Payne, Tim Homsley, Eryn Murmam and Jason Hite. Photo by Ana Zavala.

When San Jose Rep artistic director Rick Lombardo and associate artistic director Kirsten Brandt were planning for this year’s winter show, they soon realized they had already produced most of the popular seasonal shows (some of them to death).  In order to bring something new to the stage, they went above and beyond: they created their own show, and a musical to boot.

The Snow Queen is a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.  It follows the fateful travels of young Gerda (Eryn Murman) as she seeks the realm of the Snow Queen (Jane Pfitsch) to rescue her kidnapped friend Kai (Tim Homsley).  Along the way, Gerda comes across many different obstacles in her path, in the form of groups of criminals and magical creatures who want to keep her for themselves.  My daughter described it as having a Wizard of Oz feel.

After partnering with friend Haddon Kime, Lombardo and Brandt were able to turn this into an original pop rock musical, and set the scene in a steampunk world of interesting, quirky characters.  Everyone sings, and almost everyone plays an instrument. It’s a musical, magical show that is perfect for Winter.  With themes focusing on love, friendship and family, it is also a perfect holiday show.  When the show finished on Opening Night most of the audience gave a standing ovation, and everyone was excitedly talking about the show on their way out. It appeared to be loved and adored by all.

There were many stand outs in the show.  I would have loved to see Rhett George have a bigger part (or appear in future shows!) as his rich voice brings the troll to life and his narration sets the tone for the story to come.  Tim Homsley, who I thought was terribly miscast in last season’s The Minister’s Wife, brings his acting skills to play in this show. Starting out as a fun loving boy, he makes a startling transformation to the hypnotized mathematician under the spell of the Snow Queen.

Pictured: Full cast of San Jose Rep’s The Snow Queen. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Cindy Im makes the most charismatic rose you will ever see on stage, and her steampunk flower friends Janice Engelgau (Tiger Lily), and Summer C. Latimer (Hyacinth) were fun and sexy and great singers.  More special attention goes to Jason Hite (Daisy) who also plays Old Crow.

Costume designer Frances Nelson McSherry not only created some terrifically fun steampunk costumes for all, but she made the decision to leave bare the amazing upper arms of Jane Pfitsch’s Snow Queen.  Seriously, those arms were scene stealers. (more…)

Holiday Train 2013


This weekend (December 7 & 8) the Caltrain Holiday Train, a special non-passenger train decorated with more than 60,000 lights, will be making stops at nine different Peninsula Caltrain stations; four on Saturday four other stations on Sunday, and begins at the San Francisco station on both days.

This free, family event gives you a chance to sing along with live holiday music (various chorus and bands) and the kids get a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus along with other holiday favorites; they will get off the train to greet children. Performances at each station begin about 30 minutes before the train’s arrival.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a new 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.

Visitors are invited to visit the stations and view the Holiday Train show but are not permitted to board or ride on the train.

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. The Holiday Train show will be on the stage car in the middle of the train.

Saturday, December 7 –
San Francisco: 4:00 pm
Burlingame: 5:15 pm
Redwood City: 6:15 pm
Palo Alto (California Ave.): 6:50 pm
Santa Clara: 8:10 pm

Sunday, December 8 –
San Francisco: 4:00 pm
Millbrae: 5:15 pm
San Mateo: 6:20 pm
Menlo Park: 7:45 pm
Sunnyvale: 8:40 pm

This year give the Gift of Theatre

I hope you all aren’t really braving the crowds on this Black Friday, but if so I also hope you’re enjoying the holiday hustle and bustle and excitement.  I’m an internet shopper myself, and won’t visit the mall at any time of year unless forced.  But whether you shop with the masses or shop from your couch, sometimes figuring out WHAT you’re going to buy is the hardest part. Especially when it comes to that someone who has everything.

So why not give the gift of Theatre this year?  Most theaters have tickets on sale now not just for their holiday shows but for the next show in line as well.  Hillbarn Theatre is showing Mame in December, and Grapes of Wrath in January. The Palo Alto Players are selling tickets for all their upcoming shows: The Heiress, Young Frankenstein and The Farnsworth InventionTheatreWorks opens Little Women the Musical in next week. Opera San Jose is gearing up for Madame Butterfly in February and EVERY opera buff will want to attend that show. And of course Ballet San Jose has The Nutcracker.  Tickets to any of these shows would make an amazing and original gift, or you can just plan to take the family as part of the holiday season enjoyment.

At the moment though, there is one show that I am looking forward to the most, and that is The Snow Queen at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.  Here is why:  We have only seen two shows of the 2013-2014 SJ Rep season and I am already blown away.  One Night with Janis was an amazing look at the queen herself and all her inspirations, and the show moved on to Broadway after leaving its extended run in San Jose.  Then they showed Next Fall which was just about the best show I have seen in the Bay Area in the last five years.  It combined issues of religion, age difference in relationships, dealing with death and impending death, and also several issues of gay relationships, and it did all this without preaching that any side is right or wrong – but overall it was a story about any relationship and every relationship.  And it was played by a group of some of the best actors we have available in the Bay Area.  This was two in a row of not just good theatre, but GREAT theatre.  And now we have The Snow Queen.

“With steam punk flair, an alternative rock score and girl heroine, this is not going to be your average Holiday Musical,” states the SJ Rep, and the early audience reviews of the previews are gushing:   “Fantastic.. One of the BEST plays ever.. LOVED every minute” says Joani Krieger Mitchell.  “Absolutely FANTASTIC! Not to be missed. All you fans of English pantomime will rejoice,” from Sally Bookman.  Click here to see a preview of The Snow Queen.

And if you buy your ticket today (Black Friday) you can get 42% savings off regular ticket with promo code “FRIDAY2013″.

I am looking forward to writing a review for the show next week, and I hope you all will join me there.  Something amazing is happening at the SJ Rep this year, and I cannot wait to see what the season brings us.  Happy Holidays!

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