The Book of Life

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.



Internet Movie Database



Berkeley Rep
Kathleen Turner / Berkeley Rep
Kathleen Turner is delightful as the title character in "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins," a one-woman show about journalist and satirist Molly Ivins. The show runs at Berkeley Rep November 21, 2014, through January 4, 2015.
"Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins" at Berkeley Rep, with Kathleen Turner in the title role, kicks ass and tickles tears of joy and sadness. Excellent show. Read John Orr's review.
Kathleen Turner
Mark Garvin / Berkeley Rep
Kathleen Turner in "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins."
Kathleen Turner — that is, Kathleen the Great — is at Berkeley Rep with a one-woman show, "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins." She talked with John Orr about doing the show about the great columnist, who was a friend of hers. Read the story.
Party People / Berkeley Rep
J. Bernard Calloway as Blue, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp as Helita (background), and Kelly C. Wright as Amira, from left, in "Party People," about the Black Panthers and Young Lords. It's at Berkeley Rep, October 17 through November 16, 2014. Extended through November 30, 2014.
"Party People" at Berkeley Rep is intense and in-your-face at Berkeley Rep, a stunning, music-filled look at the legacy of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. Petra Brady reviews. Extended through November 30, 2014.

Cirque du Soleil
Mini Lili
Martin Girard / | 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.

Kelley, Booker, Eshoo
Drew Altizer / TheatreWorks
TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley, left, and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, right, listen as U.S. Senator Cory Booker speaks at TheatreWorks 45th Anniversary celebration, November 9, 2014, at the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood Shores.
TheatreWorks 45th Anniversary Celebration was held November 8, 2014, at the swanky Sofitel in Redwood Shores, and a lot of money was raised for the troupe's excellent educational programs, not to mention its busy production schedule. Founder Robert Kelley and Stanford President Emeritus Donald Kelley were honored, and a one-act version of the most popular show in TheatreWorks history, Paul Gordon's beautiful "Emma," was performed. John Orr was there, and writes about it.

Kevin Berne / A.C.T.
Seana McKenna stars as Mary, mother of Jesus, in Colm Tóibín’s solo play, "Testament," playing at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater through November 23, 2014.
"Testament" is about the ultimate mother's lament, a story of Mary, mother of Jesus. Staged by American Conservatory Theater, Colm Tóibín's play is at the Geary Theater, and Kevin Kelly reviews.

Berkeley Playhouse
gibboney, Raphael
Ben Krantz Studio / Berkeley Playhouse
Mary Gibboney as Mrs. Brill, left, and and Billy Raphael as Robertson Ay lament the lot of the working class in Berkeley Playhouse’s production of "Mary Poppins."
"Mary Poppins" is quite charming, in the most delightful ways, as produced by Berkeley Playhouse. Directed by Kimberly Dooley, there is no dawdling in this show, which makes it a lot more fun than many stage productions of this magical tale of family love. The show opened on October 30 and runs through December 7, 2014. Read John Orr's review.

Menlowe Ballet
Dennis Nahat
John Gerbetz / Menlowe Ballet
Dennis Nahat at the rehearsal of his "In Concert" with Menlowe Ballet dancers.
Menlowe Ballet, founded in Menlo Park by Artistic Director Michael Lowe, is making an effort to make dance as much a part of the community as sports. Virginia Bock dropped in at a rehearsal for the company's upcoming "Legend" program, which dances at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center on November 8, 9 and 15, 2014. Read her story.

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.
Stand Up Men
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.

Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval
Courtesy of Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval, 10-time Grammy Award winner, is to perform with his quintet at at Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on October 30, 2014. Call 650-223-8664 or visit He spoke with Steven Ackley for Regarding Arts.
Arturo Sandoval got a job driving his own car in Cuba, just so he could meet the great Dizzy Gillespie. Now Sandoval is a great one, too. He's coming to the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall on October 30, 2014. Steven Ackley spoke with him. Read the story.

Imelda May
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Imelda May on Thursday, October 9, 2014, at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
Imelda May brings passion and plenty of it, in her live shows. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews her show at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Tower of Power
Tower of Power
Courtesy of Tower of Power
Tower of Power in concert, in an undated photograph. In front is vocalist Ray Greene. The horn line includes, from left, Adolfo Acosta, Sal Cracchiolo, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Tom Polizer and Emilo Castillo. On the riser, from left, are Dave Garibaldi, Rocco Prestia, Jerry Cortez and Roger Smith.
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 Triviana Arts & Entertainment, 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.
Johnny Swim. I heard this duo perform "Home" on "A Prairie Home Companion" and was knocked out.
"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.
"Deportee." The Kingston Trio version, posted July 14, 2012, in honor of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. Thank you, Mr. Guthrie.
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."
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.
Boxing Gandhis: "If You Love Me (Why Am I Dyin')" Hip, funky and hot in every way.
John Lee Sanders: Fabulous musician. Give a listen to "Midnight in New Orleans".


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