"Crimson Shore" is a highly satisfying addition to the long list of Agent Pendergast thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and sees the unusual hero and his ward dealing with the locals, including monsters, in Massachusets. Read John Orr's review.

"The Martian," by Andy Weir, is one of our favorite reads in a long time. An astronaut is injured and stranded on Mars, with no working communications and not enough food to last the years it would take a rescue mission to come get him. A very impressive, fascinating book. Read John Orr's review.

See more reviews and interviews in Books.





TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Kuykendall, Cunningham, Sullivan, Campbell
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Michael Gene Sullivan as Parsi, center, and his elephant give a lift to, from left, Jason Kuykendall as Phileas Fogg, Tristan Cunningham as Passepartout, and Ron Campbell as Sir Francis in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's production of "Around the World in 80 Days." The hilarious holiday adventure adapted by Mark Brown from the novel by Jules Verne plays at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto through December 31, 2017.
"Around the World in 80 Days" is a joy at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, directed by the great Robert Kelley and featuring a fabulous cast that is delightfully funny. Read John Orr's review.

City Lights Theater Company
Flagg, Lewis, Ryan
Steve DiBartolomeo / City Lights Theater Company
Keenan Flagg, James Lewis and Jeremy Ryan, from left, in "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley," by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, running November 16 through December 17, 2017, at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose
"Miss Bennet" Christmas at Pemberley" by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon is a delightfully charming romantic comedy, and John Orr says hurry to get your tickets! Some shows are already sold out. Read his review.

Broadway San Jose
Bockel, Brewer
Matthew Murphy / Broadway San Jose
Sarah Bockel as Carole King, left, and Andrew Brewer as Gerry Goffin in "Beautiful — The Carole King Musical." The show is at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, November 14-19, 2017.
"Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" rolled in to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to review.

Foothill Theatre
Seton Chiang
David Allen / Foothill Theatre
Seton Chiang as Bishop Peter Prang, left, speaks on the radio to endorse a presidential candidate, as the Jessup family and friends listen in "It Can't Happen Here," presented by Foothill Theatre Arts at the Lohman Theatre, November 2-19, 2017.
"It Can't Happen Here" is a new play by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen, based on the 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis. It's scary stuff, positing a racist blowhard who is elected president. Foothill College is staging an imperfect but still scary and worthwhile production. John Orr reviews.

Palo Alto Players
Farbstein, Goel, Hutton, Mignano
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Corrie Farbstein takes flight as Peter Pan, with Amay Goel as John, Billy Hutton as Michael, and Brittney Mignano as Wendy, from left, in "Peter Pan." Palo Alto Players is staging the musical at Lucie Stern Theatre, November 3-19, 2017.
"Peter Pan" is getting a fun production with a great performer in the title role at Pslo Alto Players. Really, says John Orr, don't miss seeing Corrie Farbstein. Read his review.

Pear Theatre
Rajagopal, Musgrave, Talbot
Michael Craig / Pear Theatre
Mohana Rajagopal as Katherine Stockmann, John Musgrave as Morten Kiil, and Ron Talbot as Dr. Thomas Stockmann, from left, in "An Enemy of the People" at The Pear Theatre, October 20 through November 12, 2017.
"An Enemy of the People" was first staged in 1882, but it feels like Henrik Ibsen was writing for our time. The Pear Theatre stages the classic tale of civic greed and foolish people. John Orr reviews.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Dela Cruz, Sajous
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Katherine Dela Cruz as Queen Tuya's assistant, left, holds baby Ramses as Christina Sajous as Queen Tuya introduces her son to Moses, the new addition to their family, in "The Prince of Egypt," staged by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley.
"The Prince of Egypt" gets its world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and it's a big production with fabulous dancing and a few too many dullish songs. John Orr reviews.

Hillbarn Theatre
Gerber, Neuenfeldt, Seperi, Rhodes, Strawn
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Damien Seperi as Charlie, center, is adopted by Ross Neuenfeldt as Ellard, Lauren Rhodes as Catherine Simms and Laurie Strawn as Betty Meeks in "The Foreigner," running at Hillbarn Theatre, October 5 through October 22, 2017. Gary Gerber as Sgt. "Froggy" LeSueur is in the background.
"The Foreigner," by Larry Shue, is getting a fine production at Hillbarn Theatre, with an excellent cast. John Orr reviews.

Palo Alto Players
Ryan, Kenrick
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Jeremy Ryan as Sam Phillips, left, and Nick Kenrick as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet" as staged by Palo Alto Players.
"Million Dollar Quartet" is a stunning amount of fun in the Palo Alto Players production, with real musicians who are excellent actors portraying Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley in this rock tribute to Sam Phillips and Sun Studios. Get there quick! It closes on Oct. 1. Read John Orr's review.

The Pear Theatre
April Culver
Michael Craig / Pear Theatre
April Culver, as Mrs. Givings, wants to know what's going on in the next room, in Sarah Ruhl's "In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play," at The Pear Theatre, September 8 through October 1, 2017.
"In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play," by Sarah Ruhl, is getting a fine and nuanced production at The Pear in Mountain View, September 8 through October 1, 2017. John Orr reviews.

Foothill Music Theatre
Dragon, Kenrick
David Allen / Foothill Music Theatre
The Dragon (voiced by Jennifer Martinelli) meets Nick Kenrick as Donkey in "Shrek The Musical," presented by Foothill Music Theatre.
"Shrek The Musical" at Foothill Music Theatre is tons of fun, interrupted occasionally by two or three too many slow ballads. But it is HUGE fun, with a HUGE and talented cast, and fabulous sets and costumes. Really, go see it! You'll have fun, says John Orr, who reviews.

Pear Theatre
Adams, Hammond
Pear Theatre
Amelia Adams as the Duchess, left, and Kevin Hammond as The Duke in “What You Will,” running June 23 through July 16, 2017, at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View.
"What You Will," a crazy quilt of lines ripped out of Shakespeare's plays and resewn into something new, is a blast and a half. Like theater? Go see this play. It's a delight. John Orr reviews.

ComedySportz World Championships
PJ Heller photograph
A promotional photo for the ComedySportz World Championships, to be held in San Jose, June 28 through July 1, 2017.
ComedySportz World Championships kicks off on Wednesday in San Jose, and promises to be a riot of laughs. Tony Lacy-Thompson previews.

Palo Alto Players
Tachis, Kruse Craig
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Max Tachis as Benjamin, left, does his graduate work in Mrs. Robinsonology with Betsy Kruse Craig as Mrs Robinson in "The Graduate" at Palo Alto Players, running June 16 through July 2, 2017.
"The Graduate" is a welcome surprise at Palo Alto Players, where the opening night audience rocked with laughter and stood in ovation for an excellent cast. John Orr reviews.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Hershey Felder
Hershey Felder Presents
Hershey Felder at the piano for "Hershey Felder, Beethoven," a newly revised work by the talented playwright and performer. The show is running June 7 through July 9, 2017, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"Hershey Felder, Beethoven" is a great treat for lovers of music and of theater. Felder does a magnificent job of bringing the greatest composer of all time into flesh and bone and heart. John Orr reviews.

Broadway By The Bay
Nord, Mayberry, Rollines-Mullens, Jackson, Aceves, Scott, LaSalle, Coker, Wells
Mark and Tracy Photography / Broadway By The Bay
Montel Anthony Nord, Cadarious Mayberry, Anthony Rollins-Mullens, Anthone Jackson and Chris Aceves from left in back and Majesty Scott, Janelle LaSalle, Jessica Coker and Cheyenne Wells in "Smokey Joe’s Café" as staged by Broadway By The Bay at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, June 2 through June 18, 2017.
"Smokey Joe’s Café" is getting a great production at Broadway By The Bay, with an excellent cast and band, and clever direction. See John Orr's review.

City Lights Theater Company
Gandolfi, Bogovitch, Brownstone
Steve DiBartolomeo / City Lights Theater Company
Erik Gandolfi as Don, Lillian Bogovitch as Alice, and Kristin Brownstone as Catherine, from left, in City Lights Theater Company's production of "Rapture, Blister, Burn," running May 18 through June 18, 2017. This is an early photo; in the actual play, the book case is well populated with books and family gew-gaws.
"Rapture, Blister, Burn," the witty, wise and perceptive play by Gina Gionfriddo, is getting a very effective production at City Lights in San Jose. A fine cast, an excellent set and a very good time in the theater. John Orr reviews.

Dawn L. Troupe
Dawn Troupe
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Dawn L. Troupe as Deloris Van Cartier, pretending to be Sr. Mary Clarence, right, gets a load of the singing of the nuns as City of Angels Church in Hillbarn Theatre’s production of "Sister Act," May 4 through May 28, 2017.
Dawn L. Troupe has blessed many a Bay Area stage with her talented presence, and now she has answered the call to play the lead in "Sister Act" at Hillbarn Theater. She talked with John Orr. Read the story.

West Bay Opera
Green, Gustafson
Otak Jump / West Bay Opera
Heather Green as Salome dances for David Gustafson as the excited King Herod, under the eyes of Katherine Naegele as a lady in waiting, left, and Michelle Rice as Herodias. The West Bay Opera production is to be performed May 26 and 28, and June 3 and 4, 2017, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
"Salome" by Richard Strauss, based on a play by Oscar Wilde, is only for the opera company that is stout of heart and overflowing with talent. Such as West Bay Opera, which is staging a stunning production, through June 4, 2017. Don't miss it. John Orr reviews.

Review: 'Over the Top: Math Bass & the Imperial Court SF'
Math Bass
Anna Koster photo
Math Bass, center, speaks with a journalist before the exhibition opens to the public. Her apple sculpture "Elizabeth" (ceramic with lacquer and wood, 22 x 22 x 22 inches) and untitled ladder (wood, 67 x 36 x 18 inches) are in the foreground. Both were created in 2017 for this exhibition. Portraits of monarchs from the Imperial Court SF's 62-year history hang on the wall. A selection of Empresses' and Emperors' banners hang above.
"Over the Top: Math Bass & the Imperial Court SF" is a fascinating story that blends modern works by Math Bass with historical artifacts from a 62-year-old LGBTQ society in San Francisco. Anna Koster has seen the show and reports. See her review.


For ears and eyes

Judy Garland was an amazing talent, unmatched in many ways. Want the proof? Lend eyes and ears to her singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in a poor quality recording from the ancient days of TV. Fabulous.
Some guys singing "Bad Romance." It's so much fun.
Molly Bell is amazing. We have a profile of her here in Regarding Arts, but here's a favorite video of her performing in Divas for Life.
Lake Street Dive is a band formed by Rachael Price, who is a wonderful vocalist. I love this tune, which I heard on A Prairie Home Companion. Then I found this video.
"Laundry Room." Another from The Avett Brothers. Here is another tune that delves deep into emotion and yearning.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Fabulous band performs in 2004 to honor George Harrison upon his posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne, Steve Ferrone, Dhani Harrison and Prince. Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers does the early solo stuff. Prince shows up and takes over.
Tim O'Brien: "Hey, Joe," at Celtic Connections 2009, Glasgow Scotland.
Trucks & Tedeschi Band: "Midnight in Harlem," at the 2010 Guitar Festival.
Asylum Street Spankers: "Monkey Rag," and "If You Want Me to Love You."
OK Go: "This Too Shall Pass." Incredible Rube Goldberg machine video.
Willie Dixon: "I'm Nervous." Funny and charming video of the great songwriter, singer and bassist.
John Lee Sanders: Fabulous musician. Give a listen to "Midnight in New Orleans".
"Let's Go Get Stoned" is the first thing the friend of a friend said when he got off the plane from Vietnam in 1967 or so. It's also the title of this fab song by Ray Charles.


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