Archive for the ‘South Bay’ Category

Bald Heads in the Audience.

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I had been feeling envious of those who were able to attend Macworld until I read the post by Jess. She was a little disappointed by the crowd. Old folks in their late 30′s listening to old people music. Talk about being out of place, I would have been mingling with people my son’s age.

Old as I am, I was still pleased to receive an iPod 30GB for Christmas. With my feeble non-geek mind I somehow managed to get the newfangled gizmo loaded up with tunes from local San Jose and San Francisco bands of the 60s like The Chocolate Watchband, Janis Joplin (Big Brother), Jefferson Airplane, The Doobie Brothers, Moby Grape, Grateful Dead, Country Joe & the Fish, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In the1960s the San Francisco Bay Area music scene was an electric, wondrous and psychedelic experience. Jess–you would have loved it too.

The first time I heard “Tower of Power” preform it was in a bowling alley in Fremont.
Now they will be at The Fillmore–Saturday, January 20. Beware, for there will be a lot of bald heads in the audience.

SJ Ballet – Nutcracker

Went to the San Jose Ballet’s Nutcracker on the 22nd of December (sorry for late post). There are some uniquely Silicon Valley touches. Steve Wozniak of early Apple fame is the chestnut vendor in the opening scene, and has been for years. People find it totally OK to arrive in t-shirt and jeans. I can imagine them at home, standing in front of their closet: “I know, I’ll wear my t-shirt and pair of jeans to a ballet.”

Photo: Courtesy of San Jose Ballet. Le Mai Lihn as the Nut Prince.

The dancers were amazing- one of the first time that Clara/Maria was believable as a girl- and the children in the audience were amazingly well behaved, which I credit to the set designers, costumers, and artistic director- Nahat. The principals were all great- and I liked the historical, literal interpretation from Hoffman (for more info see past jump). Go SJ-Ballet, fine performance! The hall is modern and practical by SF standards- but far more intimate than what I would have experienced in SF. I’m not usually a fan of ballet, but I was impressed with the aesthetics & athleticism.
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NYE live music options here & around the world

Every year, I always feel some sort of nagging “I shoulda, coulda, woulda ” when it comes to New Years Eve. Unlike those quieter manufactured religious holidays, NYE is sorta a huge amateur night and mess, one that is celebrated all over.

There are giant pricetags put on often ordinary looking shows and then there are some magical bills that actually do seem worthwhile…

I never seem to know for sure where to head to, so I end up seeing the Supersuckers at Slims or something…( well not this year, cuz they are in Utah…)

I know that because I spent way too much time this past month compiling a list of all the huge mega concerts & even many lil pub & vfw hall shows I could find…

Not just in the Bay Area mind you, but from Amsterdam to Auckland, Tokyo to Tucson…

and I figgered I should post it here before it becomes horribly out of date within the next few dozen hours…

So if yer looking on info on where the party is at when they drop the big ball…

read on after the jump…
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Crystal Springs at the DMV

At the Redwood City DMV I noticed this cool painting of Crystal Springs Reservoir and the Crystal Springs Dam. It reminded me of post office WPA art, but without the workers and socialist realist style. The other side of the painting has another stained glass panel. It was startlingly cool for something you’d see up on the wall in the Department of Motor Vehicles, usually a haven for tattered, dorky posters about public safety.

A few years ago I came across the trailhead at Crystal Springs Reservoir for the Sawyer Camp Trail completely by accident while I was lost on the way somewhere, driving around aimlessly. (In my family, getting lost is known as “exploring”.) I highly recommend it as a biking or hiking trail, or as somewhere cool to stop and gawk if you’re going down Highway 280. You can read a bunch of historical information markers about the dam, built in 1890, survivor of many strong earthquakes despite being about 100 yards from the San Andreas Fault.

Might be True

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If what I overheard from the backseat of my taxi is correct–Bill Clinton will be at the Crowne Plaza CabaƱa Palo Alto tomorrow. Dec. 10th.

Hiking Dangers, South Bay

Quote from SF Gate article on the couple who lasted 5 days out in the Santa Cruz Mountains:

“I will never make fun of the French again,” said Paladin, referring to Arnaud’s French heritage. “Arnaud was a lot tougher than I thought; he walked out of there in shorts.”

Wow, that’s quite a promise! Funny quote aside, the thing that got me about the article is that the Castle Rock area- Montebello Ridge, Skyline, Stevens Creek Reservoir, Fremont-Older Park, and other great open spaces and parks- were my playground and escape route growing up.
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Way, way out there

fremont_map.jpgIf you’ve been following the A’s stadium story, you know they plan to move to a new “Cisco Field” in Fremont, miles from any BART or train stop (see map at right). Though several significant obstacles remain — such as the little matter of the land development company that controls the swath of land not yet signing off on the plan — the A’s already have several web pages full of drawings posted.

Yesterday the Mercury News’s Scott Herhold performed a simple experiment: just try to get there. His findings after the jump.
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Small but dynamic public libraries

The Redwood City Main Library children’s room renovation looks great. I got a sneak preview today, and can’t wait to go to the grand opening Saturday morning. It’s not the authors, or the Reptile Lady, or the musicians. It’s that while I was sneaking through the yellow “Caution” tape it was clear there are a lot of new books on the shelves.

It’s funny, I didn’t realize how central the library is to my living in this town. But it’s really the heart of the city. It’s right in the center of downtown. It has free wireless. My kid is happy there. Whenever I’m there, I run into someone I know. One of the best perks of hanging out in the children’s room is just chatting with other parents and with kids who are book-loving kindred spirits. We get to know each other a little better, so crucial to community.

The library is the heart of the city because it’s a public, free, non-commercialized space, used by a very broad spectrum of people who live here.

And because of the Bay Area’s history, we have tiny downtowns every couple of miles, all with their own libraries, all a bit different and serving different populations. The ones I know best are Redwood City, which is homey and friendly, right on the train line and in the downtown; Menlo Park, which is heavily used by kids, since it’s also on the train line and it’s part of the city’s central park next to a duck pond, the police station, and Burgess Pool; and Los Altos, which has a much more upscale feel, not really a place people walk to, but a friendly library with a tiny “cafe” and the best spot for lying on cushions and beanbags, 70s hippie style, and reading for hours.

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The surburban splendors of a random party-crashing

pirate house!

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Just up the street from me, about 6 blocks away, there’s a house with the most extreme giant halloween decorations ever. Instead of trick or treating at their door, it was clear we were supposed to walk up the driveway into their back yard which was an enormous pirate-themed haunted house AND a party, with dry ice and a fire pit, bowls of candy, snacks, booze, bewildered people standing around, people who were clearly friends of the party-throwers. Party complete with sobbing children scared witless yet still greedy and curious enough to keep going into these strange people’s house past the glowing-skull-decorated rabbit hutches, animatronic zombies, and mysterious grownups covered in fake blood who jump out at you. Spiderwebs. Strings of tiny lights. Candles in paper bags, like Christmas luminarias. Those giant inflatable things. They had everything. They even had a Rodent of Unusual Size.

I really loved the idea of pushing the idea of suburban trick-or-treating way past where it usually goes – throwing a party and putting on a show for random people in your neighborhood, for all ages. To some people it’s a holiday about shallow display of costume, unhealthy greed & consumption. To me it has this beautiful aspect of performativity and the celebration of generosity, public trust, and abundance. Anyway, I’d heard that “those people up on Myrtle” threw some great block parties in the summer. Our little group of trick or treaters was lucky to stumble across the madness.

So, thanks to Sue for a cool experience! I got in her face, demanding her name, screeching, “Who ARE you people?!” Can I put my kid to bed, sneak out of the house, and go back to their party. Does it sound like I’m totally making it up?

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Whirlpool Weekend

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I picked up a taxi fare, a young man who had recently relocated here from the Midwest.  He had landed a job with a major accounting firm, and he met a girl who is employed by Google. He said that life was good, but his income was still limited. He needed a suggestion for a weekend date that would be unique, yet wasn’t too costly. I told him that for the price of a DVD, gas, and a few meals I had an idea that he might like…
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