"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.
THEATER & DANCE
Los Altos Stage Company
Joyce Goldschmid / Los Altos Stage Company
Christina Bolognini as Antonia, Andy Serrano as Padre, and Stephanie Crowley as Housekeeper, from left, sing "I'm Only Thinking of Him" in "Man of La Mancha," produced by Los Altos Stage Company at the Bus Barn Theatre, November 19 through December 19, 2015. Visit www.losaltosstage.org or call 650-941-0551.
"Man of La Mancha" is one of the greatest musicals of all time, chock-a-block with great tunes, from the title song to "The Impossible Dream" to "Dulcinea," and the show is getting a fine production in the tiny Bus Barn Theatre, for Los Altos Stage Company. Read John Orr's review.
Palo Alto Players
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Act One of the Palo Alto Players production of "Clybourne Park," at the Lucie Stern Theatre, Novermber 6-22, 2015. From left are Casey Robbins, Betsy Kruse Craig, Kelly Rinehart, Todd Wright, Michael Rhone, Damaris Divito and Fred Pitts.
"Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris is a brilliant and award-winning black comedy about race and society, and Palo Alto Players has an astounding production of it up at the Lucie Stern Theatre. But not for long. Short run, so get thee to a ticketry! Need convincing? Read John Orr's review.
Broadway By The Bay
Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin / Broadway By The Bay
Daniel Cameron as Fred C. Graham/Petruchio, left, and ensemble members Cindy Head, Mike Meadors, John Rinaldi, Terrence Lee Saffold, Andrew Kracht, Sean Okuniewicz, and Kyle Arrouzet in Broadway By The Bay's production of "Kiss Me, Kate," playing November 6 through November 22, 2015, at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California. Call 650-579-5565 or visit http://broadwaybythebay.org.
"Kiss Me, Kate" won the first Tony Award for best musical, a long time ago. 1949, to be exact. So, yes, it's kind of dated, but still a lot of fun, with Amie Shapiro and other fine singers leading an excellent cast through those lovely Cole Porter tunes at Broadway By The Bay. John Orr reviews.
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Nicole Martin as Gwendolyn, Stephanie Crowley as Cecily, and C. Conrad Cady as Felix, from left, in Hillbarn Theatre's production of "The Odd Couple," playing October 15 through November 1, 2015.
"The Odd Couple," one of the most loved of Neil Simon's comedies, is getting a fine production at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there on opening night and reviews.
San Jose Stage Company
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage Company
David Arrow as Robert F. Kennedy in the one-man show, "RFK,' at San Jose Stage Company, September 30 - October 25, 2015. Call 408-283-7142 or visit www.thestage.org.
"RFK" is a taut political thriller and a fascinating one-man show about Robert F. Kennedy, charismatic and astute brother and attorney general to President John F. Kennedy. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews the production at San Jose Stage Company.
The Marsh San Francisco
Leland Auslender photo
Ann Randolph returns to The Marsh San Francisco with her solo show, "Loveland," featuring a new interaction workshop on Good Grief following each performance, and a new talk, performance, and interactive workshop, "Inapproptiate in All the Right Ways." Visit www.themarsh.org or call 1-415-282-3055.
"Loveland," written and performed by Ann Randolph, is funny, touching and meaningful at The Marsh in San Francisco. Cy Ashley Webb reviews.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Lucas Imboden is one of the audience members who got up and performed Shakespeare Karaoke at the "ShakesBEERience: Your Way" benefit on September 22, 2015, at Café Stritch.
"ShakesBEERience: Your Way" on September 22, 2015, raised some money to keep this nutty and fun project going, wherein actors in casual clothes, scripts in hand, perform Shakespeare at Café Stritch in San Jose. ComedySportz was on hand, and audience members also got up to perform "Shakespeare Karoake." Tony Lacy-Thompson tried Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy, and also took notes, so he could write about the event. Read on, McDuff!
Susan Mah Photography / City Lights
Adam Magill as one of four Mr. Hydes, left front, threatens Max Tachis as Gabriel Utterson in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," running September 17 through October 18, 2015, at City Lights in San Jose. Visit cltc.org or call 408-295-4200. In back are Joseph Hidde (mostly hidden behind Magill) and Caitlyn Slavich as orderlies.
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Jeffrey Hatcher, is getting an excellent, electrifying production at City Lights in San Jose, with a powerful cast directed by Mark Anderson Phillips. Read John Orr's review.
Mark Anderson Phillips
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Mark Anderson Phillips as Fred, left, gets an earful from Tory Ross as Saunders in "Fallen Angels." The TheatreWorks production of the Noël Coward play ran June 3-28, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Mark Anderson Phillips has enjoyed a great career as an actor, and has, in turn, been enjoyed by thousands of theater fans. These days, in addition to acting, he is bringing his skill to directing as well, such as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." John Orr talked with Anderson Phillips. Read about Mark Anderson Phillips.
Having a Ball Dept.
An amicus curiae script posits a way that Glenn Rhee could be brought back to the show, honor and fans satisfied. Read it.
Gene Page / AMC
Michael Traynor as Nicholas, left, and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee in Episode 3 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
"The Walking Dead" may have wandered into Dumbass Land on October 25, 2015, with Episode 3 of Season 6, when Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun, may have been eaten by walkers. If so, says John Orr, it would be a big mistake. The show needs Glenn, and certain other characters. Read on.
Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier in gallery art for Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
Melissa McBride is so great at Carol Peletier, and so beloved by fans, that she's kinda got to be guaranteed to last with the show as long as it exists. Or so thinks John Orr, who got to talk with McBride by phone a couple of times in September. He didn't ask much about Season 6, which starts on Sunday, October 11, 2015, because he knew she wouldn't say much anyway, and because he prefers to find out as it unfolds over the season. Instead, he gets to sing her praises and hear her thoughts about Carol. Read on.
West Bay Opera
Otak Jump / West Bay Opera
Christine Capsuto as Gilda, left,and Krassen Karagiozov as Rigoletto in Verdi's "Rigoletto," staged by West Bay Opera, October 16, 18, 24 and 25, 2015.
"Rigoletto," by Giuseppi Verdi, gets a rich, colorful and powerful production by West Bay Opera in Palo Alto. John Orr was there on opening night as the company opened its 60th season, and reviews.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Leon Russell at the keyboard for a show on August 17, 2015, at Yoshi's Oakland.
Leon Russell brought a lot of great music and great stories to Yoshi's Oakland, and Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to experience it. Read his review.
For ears and eyes
Kate Davis covers Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" with Post Modern Jazz, and wow! How do we love it? Let us count the ways! Oh, nevermind, we can't count that high. Just go watch and listen to the video on YouTube.
Puddles the Pity Clown performs an amazing cover of Lorde's "Royals." Yes, it's a weird act, but ya know, whatever works. This guy's done plenty of interesting work as an entertainer, including under his real name, Mike Geier. Check out his fabulous video.
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. Find out more about 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.
Van Morrison: "Real Real Gone."
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".