"I'm a risk taker. That's why I score like crazy."
"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
Paul B. Goode / StanfordLive
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs "Story/Time."
"Story/Time #40" already happened. The next time Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs "Story/Time," it will be different in ways we cannot predict. Virginia Bock was at Stanford to see "Story/Time #40," which was impressive. Read her review.
San Francisco Playhouse
Jessica Palopoli / San Francisco Playhouse
Carl Lumbly as Leo Price, left, and Cathleen Riddley as Mrs. Jessalyn Price in "Tree," at San Francisco Playhouse.
"Tree," by Julie Hébert, is a powerfully staged and performed exploration of the meaning of family, at San Francisco playhouse. The show runs January 24 through March 7, 2015. Call 415-677-9596 or visit www.sfplayhouse.org. Read Kevin Kelly's review.
Cirque du Soleil
Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca | Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil
Mini Lili shows up with a smile on her face in "Kurios."
"Kurios Cabinet of Curiosities," the latest show from Cirque du Soleil to arrive in San Francisco, is an absolute feast for the eyes and a kicking-off place for the imagination. Kevin Kelly reviews. Update: The show has since moved on to Seattle, Washington, through March 22, 2015. Keep track at www.cirquedusoleil.com.
First Step of 12 Dept.
Kelsey McNeal / ABC
Don't let the smile fool you, kiddies! The character Kyle MacLachlan, left, plays on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is crazy on a stick, full-blown sociopathic psychosis and then some. Great performance by MacLachlan. That's Chloe Bennet as Skye he is imploring. Bennet is a series regular, MacLachlan is not, but he's so great in the role that we just had to mention him.
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is terrific fun, despite our initial rejection of this show, which brought Agent Phil Coulson back to life after he was killed in "The Avengers." Now, our founder, John Orr, stands before us, cup of coffee in hand, and proclaims, "My name is John. I am a fan of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'" Read John's column, then send him money.
Music and movies
Courtesy of Symphony Silicon Valley
Maestro Ludwig Wicki conducts the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland, during a performance of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Symphony San Jose will perform the Trilogy April 16-19, one of only two North American performances, the other slated for Lincoln Center in New York. Call 408-286-2600, extension 23; or visit www.lotrssv.org A sale date for single-screening tickets will be announced later.
Having a Ball Dept.
Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, left, and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, in a scene from Season 5 of "The Walking Dead."
"The Walking Dead" begins Season 5 tonight, and we'll be watching. Why do we like this gore fest? It has something to do with excellent writing, acting and direction. Read what John Orr has to say about it.
Caught it on Netflix Dept.
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Katheryn Winnick and Alan Arkin in "Stand Up Guys."
"Stand Up Guys" is a gem of a gritty crime comedy that really shines because of the performances of Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Alan Arkin is fun to watch, too, and there are other good performances, but Pacino and Walken make this one special. Read John Orr's review.
Tower of Power
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Singer Ray Greene gets up close and personal with the audience during the Tower of Power at Yoshi's Oakland on January 14, 2015.
Tower of Power rocked Yoshi's Oakland with ten sold-out shows recently. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there for the tenth of ten, and reports back on a great show. Read his review.
Tower of Power has been around for more than 45 years, and is still one of the funkiest, hottest bands in the biz, with that amazing horn line and the amazing rhythm section. They'll be at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Saturday. Tony Lacy-Thompson talked with tenor sax player Emilio Castillo. Read the interview.
For ears and eyes
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".