Cy Ashley Webb photo
tNY Press, whose small poster is shown here, claims to provide storytelling for the modern brain.
The Bay Area Books Festival kicked off its inaugural event June 6, 7, 2015 in Berkeley, and Cy Ashley Webb was there. Read her report.
"Arkady's Goal" is another brilliantly told story about the sad lives of children and families in Stalinist Russia, but has a glimmering light of hope about it. Eugene Yelchin wrote and illustrated the beautiful, meaningful book. John Orr reviews.
With book of three, so ends this trilogy
"The Book of Life" is the highly satisfying end of Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, and makes John Orr hope that she is planning to write more stories about the witch Diana Bishop and the vampire Matthew Clairmont. The entire trilogy is fascinating it is a thinking person's magical vampire romance. Read the review of "The Book of Life."
in the Stone Age
"The Spirit and the Skull" is a fascinating stand-alone from one of our favorite writers, J.M. Hayes, about an indian spirit man who has murders to solve. And who finds himself traveling, in spirit dreams, 15,000 years into the future. Read John Orr's review.
Sequel to "Brilliance"
is, in fact, brilliant
"A Better World" is a terrific science-fiction thriller, with plenty to say about a schism that may already be happening in our own time and society. Plus, it's a fun read. See John Orr's review.
See more reviews and interviews in Books.
THEATER & DANCE
Pear Avenue Theatre
Ray Renati / Pear Avenue Theatre
Monica Ammerman, Diane Tasca, Robert Sean Campbell, Betsy Kruse Craig and Dan Kapler, from left, in Pear Avenue Theatre's production of Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia," running June 19 through July 12, 2015. Call 650-254-1148 or visit www.thepear.org.
"Arcadia" at The Pear Avenue Theatre could have used a few more previews before opening night, but we are confident the excellent cast has it well polished by now. John Orr reviews.
A Theatre Near U
Gordon Craig / A Theatre Near U
Will Kast as Wiggy and Jackson Wylder as Tom surrounded by the cast of "'Twas Brillig," presented by A Theatre Near U, June 12-27, 2015.
"'Twas Brillig" is a fun and meaningful production by A Theatre Near U, a San Francisco Peninsula-based stage and film academy, that takes some of Lewis Carroll's ideas and twists and bends them to a modern age. John Orr reviews.
San Jose Stage Company
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage
Johnny Moreno as Gomez, left, and Allison F. Rich as Morticia, in "The Addams Family" at San Jose Stage, June 3 through July 26, 2015.
"The Addams Family," based on the great Charles Addams cartoons, makes for a suprisingly fun musical, as produced by San Jose Stage Company. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews.
David Henry Hwang's 'Chinglish'
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Joyce F. Liu as Xi Yan, Dianna Hua Chung as Bartender, Chris Mahle as Daniel Cavanaugh, Isabel Anne To as Bartender, from left, in David Henry Hwang's "Chinglish," running June 13-28, 2015, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
"Chinglish" is a funny and thought-provoking play by the great David Henry Hwang. John Orr talked with Mr. Hwang in 2012 about the play, when it was being produced at Berkeley Rep. Now, Palo Alto Players is staging the play, and we are re-running that interview with Mr. Hwang to help readers understand why it's important. This link has photos and production info for the Palo Alto Players show. This link goes to the original 2012 story.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Sarah Overman as Julia, Aldo Billingslea as Maurice and Rebecca Dines as Jane enjoy a moment of truth in "Fallen Angels." The TheatreWorks production of the Noël Coward play runs June 3-28, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"Fallen Angels" by Noël Coward is getting an amazing production at TheatreWorks Silicn Valley that is surprising in its hilarity, with great Coward wit, of course, but also amazing physical comedy from an A-list cast. Read John Orr's review.
Broadway By The Bay
Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin / Broadway By The Bay
Get him to the church on time! In Broadway By The Bay's "My Fair Lady" are, from left, ensemble members Jesse Cortez and Joseph Hudelson, plus Samantha Williams as Eliza Doolittle and Gary Stanford Jr. as Alfred P. Doolittle. The show runs June 5-21, 2015, at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California.
"My Fair Lady" may be 60 years old, but the old gal gets trotted out in her finery by an enthusiastic cast at Broadway By The Bay. They could have danced all night; be sure to get them to the church on time. John Orr reviews.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Alessandra Mello / mellopix.com / Berkeley Rep
At Berkeley Rep, Ron Campbell as Alfie, Dan Donohue as Francis Henshall, and Danny Scheie as Gareth in Richard Bean’s "One Man, Two Guvnors," a hilarious mash-up of comedy, British pantomime, and music-hall revues. The show runs through June 28, 2015.
"One Man, Two Guvnors" makes for a hilarious, thoroughly fun time in the theater. We know this because Tony Lacy-Thompson went to see it, and reports back here.
Reboot Theatre Company
Barbara Klingberg / Reboot Theatre
A dream coming true: Jasmine Joshua tries on her John Adams costume, made by Barbara Klingberg, for the Reboot Theatre production of "1776," with an all-female cast. The show runs June 25-28, 2015, at Seattle Musical Theatre at Magnuson Park.
Jasmine Joshua has wanted to perform in the musical "1776" pretty much since she first saw it. Trouble is, no roles for a woman singer with a powerful stage presence who is more character actor than ingenue. But then she got the idea, how about an all-woman cast? And that's what she and a big crew are doing up in Seattle right now, getting ready for "1776" like we've never seen it before, with an all-female cast. John Orr talked with Joshua. Read the story.
Robin Trower may be 70 years old, but he's still a master of the Stratocaster and blew the doors off The Catalyst in Santa Cruz last week. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there, and reviews the great show.
Asleep at the Wheel
Wyatt McSpadden photo
Ray Benson, center on the couch, and Asleep at the Wheel.
Ray Benson's been rockin' that Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel for more than 40 years. Tony Lacy-Thompson interviewed him. Read the story.
Mark Whitney and The Merchants of Groove
Natasha Cardenas photo
Smith Dobson, Daniel Robbins and Bob Blankenship, from left, at the Mark Whitney and The Merchants of Groove show, Thursday, May 7, 2015, at Cafe Stritch in San Jose, California.
Mark Whitney and The Merchants of Groove checked in at Cafe Stritch for a fine show on May 7, 2015. Steve Ackley and Natasha Cardenas were there to report on the gig. Read the story, see the photos and videos.
Wishbone Ash at The Catalyst
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Wishbone Ash founding member Andy Powell sustains a note on his Gibson Flying V at The Catalyst on Wednesday, April 14, 2015. In back is drummer Joe Crabtree.
Wishbone Ash had a stellar career going in the 1970s, especially with the album "Argus." Tony Lacy-Thompson got to have some memories revived and got to see and hear great musicianship when the band played The Catalyst in Santa Cruz on April 14, 2015. Read Tony's review.
Mark Whitney's '50 Years' CD parties
Rebecka Hawkins photo
Mark Whitney is to perform with an all-star line-up at Café Stritch in San Jose on May 7, and Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz on May 9, 2015.
'50 Years' began as a labor of love, an album made for Mark Whitney's parents on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. Fifteen years later, he decided to release it, and put on a couple of shows with the great musicians who played on the CD. The shows are at Café Stritch in San Jose on May 7, and Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz on May 9, 2015. Author and musician Steven Ackley writes about it.
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".