Archive for the ‘South Bay’ Category

It’s time to prepare for 2017-2018 Opera San Jose!

Opera San Jose has been busy preparing for its new season, and it’s time for us to start marking our calendars.  Opening night is September 9, and the first show is Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Thinking himself worldly and experienced, Don Alfonso decides to relieve his young friends, Ferrando and Gugliemo, of their faith in sexual fidelity. He challenges them to a bet, promising that within 24 hours their fiancées will prove unfaithful. Outraged, they accept, but find the challenge too painfully revealing and too difficult to withstand. Dressed in clown’s clothes, these young men break their own hearts and the hearts of their fiancées. A comedy that is a tragedy underneath is the perfect stuff for the uncanny genius of Mozart, so clearly revealed in this dazzling score.

There will be only six performances of this amazing show at the California Theatre, so check your calendar and buy your tickets now! Prices range from $10 for students, ages 25 and younger with a current student ID, and $56 to $176 for adults. Box office phone: 408-437-4450 or go to

Can’t make the show? Check out the preview!
Così fan tutte Preview: August 29, 2017 from 12 – 1 p.m., California Theatre, 345 S. First Street in  downtown San José; Free vocal preview with members of the cast. For information, call 408-437-4450.

For opera beginners (and pros!) there’s never a need to feel like a novice:
Introduction to Opera
: General Director Larry Hancock will present a free 45-minute talk to ticket holders about the opera at the California Theatre before each performance of Così fan tutte. The talk begins at 6:30pm prior to evening performances and at 1:30pm prior to Sunday matinees. No reservations required.  

Così fan tutte
Opera San Jose
September 9 thru September 24
California Theatre
345 S. First Street, San Jose

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.

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.


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.


Come spend una noche caliente in Palo Alto: In the Heights

I have never seen a show by the Palo Alto Players before, but if their current production of the Tony winning In the Heights is any indication of the quality expected, I will be making a lot of trips to Palo Alto in the future.

This was my first time seeing a production of In the Heights, and I’m glad I did.  Set in three steaming hot days framing the Fourth of July in Washington Heights, it’s the musical story of a neighborhood of people who work, play and love together, as well as just trying to get through life.  Finally a stroke of good luck hits one of the neighbors and it may change the lives of several people.  But then a tragedy also strikes, one much more far reaching.  What do all these changes mean?  We find out who will stay, who will leave, who will love together and who will wait things out.  It’s quite an emotional, uplifting, and thoughtful show about diversity and how it can be used in both positive and negative ways.

Directed by Alex Perez, the show is populated by a cast of young but very experienced and talented actors.  I don’t know why I was so blown away every time a new character started singing, but every voice was truly spectacular and more than worthy of a big production. These young “kids” are professionals in every sense of the word.

It is so difficult to single anyone out in this show (and yet I cannot name you all, please forgive me!).  Rudy Fuentes (Usnavi) brings the most charisma as the affable bodega owner who is in love with Vanessa.  Jia Taylor (Vanessa) has legs a mile long and brings a sweet humanity to a character who could come off as a brat.  Alexa Ortega (Nina) had the clearest and most powerful voice bundled in quite a tiny little package.  Even one of the smallest parts, “Piragua Guy”, will bring you to tears when Mark Alabanza starts singing.  And of course, this show would not be the same without the amazing Linda Piccone as Abuela.  Special notice: Sean Gilvary plays a smaller part of “Graffiti Pete” but he often steals the scene. I have seen this actor in several shows now and am starting to become very impressed with his work.  Keep your eyes on this one.

The set design was just as impressive, one of the largest I’ve seen on a stage this size.  There are several levels and dimensions to the realistic Washington Heights neighborhood and the lighting helps bring these steaming hot three days and nights to life.  The ONLY flaw in this show is the very large blind spot if sitting on the right side of the theatre (facing the stage).  The beauty shop is completely invisible although you can still hear the conversations inside.  I do not recommend getting a seat in this area unless there is a discounted price, but I will clarify that the rest of the show is still visible and you will still enjoy yourself.  Otherwise, every seat in this theatre is a good one, and everything was crystal clear even from the back of the theatre.

Go see this amazingly fun musical, fit for the entire family, and I will look forward to doing more reviews for the Palo Alto Players in the future.

In the Heights
Through September 29
Palo Alto Players
Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto

Amazing cast of In the Heights

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.

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)


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).


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


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


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

Event info: (408) 846-0460


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

Newpark Mall Food Truck Event

Two Fridays ago, I ended up swinging by Newpark Mall after hearing about the Street Eats event there with dinner service from 4:30pm -9:00pm.  I met up with Jonny, who I met through my various food truck adventures there.

The vendors that were there were there in attendance listed in no particular order:

When I got there, we made our way to check out Grillstars since I’ve never had them and Jonny told me they were really good, so we got in the line.  While in line, I ran into another food truck fanatic, Bill (@foodtrucknerd) who was nice enough to let me try his fried pickle from GrillStars.

Food Truck Buddy

Bill, one of my food truck buddies who I see all the time at events.

After placing our orders, we made our way to Mobowl to say hi to the guys there.  They’re always so cool and friendly, I always have to say hi to them just because they’re so nice all the time.  Who doesn’t like being around nice people?  I didn’t eat them today because we had eaten at their truck earlier in the week, but I always love supporting them.

Anyways, the GrillStars truck was pretty crowded especially since I think they’re one of the newest trucks on the scene, but the line seemed to go pretty fast. It was also pretty cute because it seemed to be family owned or run because there was a cute little girl helping the woman take orders at the front.

GrillStars truck...

The GrillStars truck

Jonny ended up ordering the BBQ chicken since the ribs were out by the time we got there and I ended up trying their BBQ Nachos.

I was pretty excited to get my order because the nachos were so big!  There would be no way I could finish that thing by myself, so I was glad I had Jonny there to help me. I was trying to hold the nacho plate up to my head to show how big it was…

Me and GrillStars Nachos

Me and GrillStars Nachos

Here’s some pictures of our food.  The chicken was good and the nachos were really good.

GrillStars Food Truck

Nachos and BBQ Chicken

I did want to try some cupcakes though.  So, we checked out the That’s Sweet Dessert truck.  There were so many options, Jonny and I decided to try a few of them.  We got the Salted Caramel, the Vanilla Strawberry and the Maple Bacon.  I liked the Salted Caramel and the cupcake consistency was good to where it wasn’t too sweet, but just sweet enough.  I ended up getting the Maple Bacon for a friend of mine who lives bacon/pork, but he said it was good as well.

How sweet

Maple Bacon Cupcake and Salted Caramel

Overall, not a bad event. It was crowded enough where all of the trucks were getting fairly good business, but not so crowded where the lines were overwhelming. We never waited more than 5-10 minutes to get our food at any of the trucks.  I definitely want to try to check them out in the future.  Not sure when the next event is, but if any of you guys find out, let me know.

Update: Info for the event and future times:

The NewPark Streets is every 2nd & 4th Friday. July,
however is a little different because of our Summerfest on the
9th&10th. Please check our website or Facebook/Twitter for the
latest updates on NewPark Streets. The next offical NewPark Street
Eats will be July 22nd.

Life is a Cabaret, or is it?


Paul Araquistain thrills as the flamboyant Emcee.

I just attended my third show at Sunnyvale Community Players, which once again did not disappoint. This is closing weekend of the final show of their 41st season, Cabaret, which takes place in 1930’s Berlin shortly after WWI and in the midst of the Nazi Regime. As the Director and Choreographer, Lee Ann Payne alludes to in her Director’s Note, most of the characters of Cabaret could never conceive of anything horrible going on around them, as they live in blissful oblivion, going to party after party. And Lee Ann brings up a powerful question, “what would you do?”

As the lights come up, we are welcomed by a very charismatic, Emcee, Paul Araquistain, who introduces us to the Kit Kat Klub.  “Leave your troubles outside… We have no troubles here! Here life is beautiful… The girls are beautiful…”

When I first laid eyes on the Kit Kat Girls, I was in complete dismay. I expected “beautiful girls” like the Emcee said. These were girls with straggly hair, glossed over eyes, torn fishnets, and bodies of every shape and size. However after I got over my initial shock, I found this ensemble quite humorous and entertaining.

These girls were amazing. I have to give all of them props, because they kicked serious butt as the singing and dancing girls of The Kit Kat Klub: Michelle Beyda-Scott, Denise Lum, Veronika Olah, Melissa Palmieri, Kaeli Quick, Lea Simon, and my personal favorites for never breaking their wonderful, over-the-top characters: Valerie Valenzuela and Cheryl Ringman. Also memorable were the ensemble of shirtless men.

Enter Sally Bowles, (Emily Bliss). Sally is a careless, carefree cabaret singer who as per usual forces herself into the life of another naive man, an American writer, Cliff, (Sven Schultz), who let’s her talk him into letting her stay with him. Sally distracts Cliff from his writing with wild parties and the likes, but Cliff doesn’t seem to mind. Emily and Sven are wonderful as this unlikely couple whose happy times turn dark.

The kind, but stern Fraulein Schneider (Linda Piccone) owns the boarding house where Cliff and the sassy, seductive woman of the night, Fraulein Kost (Cindy Powell) rent rooms. Matt Tipton does a masterful job portraying Herr Schultz, the innocent and meager Fruit Shop owner who falls in love with Fraulein Schneider. I can’t get over how cute Matt’s characterizations are as this sweet and caring man, not to mention impressive, considering Matt is about thirty years younger than the character!

Also dark is the fate of Schultz and Schneider’s pending nuptials. Schultz, who is a Jew, has the attitude that all will be well, but Schneider does not see it that way. She thinks that because of the Nazis, she will lose everything if she marries a Jew. Fear gets in the way of her happiness.

Fear also gets in the way of Sally’s happiness. She seems to know herself too well from her past entanglements and ruins her relationship with Cliff. Cliff returns to America where he finally begins to write his book, based on the good and bad times he experienced in Germany.

I feel that the ending of both relationships could have been more emotion evoking, since the story has the capacity to really make you feel for these characters, especially the emotional intensity of Sally’s destiny and past. However, that was the only thing lacking in this magical production of Cabaret.

I can’t help but think about Director Lee Ann Payne’s question: “what would you do?” Although in modern day America, we are not going through something as horrible as the Nazi Regime, we do have our fair share of political problems. Do we each have our own versions of the Kit Kat Klub? Ways of escaping; like television, movies, or Facebook? Do we get involved to make a change; do we use positive thinking to affirm that the world is at peace and getting better every day? Or do we live in blissful oblivion like the patrons of the Kit Kat Klub? Is life really a Cabaret?

Cabaret through May 15th at Sunnyvale Community Players

Box Office

Emily Bliss shines as the reckless Sally Bowles

Rebecca Coupe Franks with two local dates this week

Rebecca Coupe Franks

Rebecca Coupe Franks is a talented trumpet player from California who has paid her dues in New York. She has worked with her friend and mentor, the late Joe Henderson, as well as Javon Jackson, Ben Riley, Herb Ellis, and Bill Cosby.  Her 2004 recording, “Exhibition: Tribute to Joe Henderson,” is a showcase of ten original tunes she penned in remembrance of saxophonist Henderson’s spirit, personality, and music.  Her trumpet style can most be likened to that of Chet Baker, as she plays with a relatively sparse, relaxed style, and she favors playing in the middle and lower registers of her instrument. Her compostions have earned her the title of beng a leading innovator in jazz, from winning acclaim in the John Lennon International Song Writing Contest, to writing music for popular televiosn shows such as “Melrose Place” and “Law and Order.” She is currently working on a project recording all-new material she has written for her R & B/Funk band, Coupe & Her Groovemobile, and we will hear some fresh, exciting music from these talented musicians.


MARCH 11th
775 Cochrane Road
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Rebecca COUPE FRANKS Quartet
featuring: RCF Trumpet/Composition
Jon Dryden on Piano, Nat Johnson on Bass and David Morwood on Drums.

MARCH 12th
Rebecca COUPE FRANKS Quartet
featuring: RCF Trumpet/Composition
Jon Dryden on Piano, Nat Johnson on Bass and David Morwood on Drums.

South Bay Blog Roundup #3

In the few months since the previous South Bay Blog Roundup, there have been some substantial changes in the local blogoverse. The biggest additions are a couple of a very professional-looking newcomers delivering hyperlocal news to Campbell. I’m also adding links to two excellent blogs that I only recently discovered, although they’ve both been around since mid-2009 covering Menlo Park and El Camino Real.

In other news, we bid goodbye to Silicon Valley Moms Blog as it was absorbed by the Technorati blog empire, and saw Watchdog Silicon Valley rebrand itself as The Daily Fetch.

As always, if you can point us to any local blogs we’ve missed, please leave a comment.

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