Steve Mannshardt is a theater professional and a world traveler who some years ago visited Nepal, and decided to do something to help that rather poor, mountain-dwelling nation. So, he and a couple of other fellas run WorldWide Education Partnerships for Nepal, which provides educational resources for the people of Nepal. The organization has done a lot to help schools and students and sherpas, because one the things Mr. Mannshardt does on his frequent trips to Nepal is bring along some hiking boots for the sherpas. Mr. Mannshardt was preparing for just such a trip on April 25, 2015, when a terrible earthquake killed thousands in Nepal and left thousands of others homeless. Mr. Mannshardt, not sure if he would be able to get to Kathmandu, got on an airplane anyway, and plans to write about his travels and what's going on in Nepal when he has time. Read what he has to say.
Want to help financially? Visit www.nepal.wwep.org, where there is a "Donate" button.
"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
Palo Alto Players
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Addams Family ancestors give heed to Uncle Fester's words in "The Addams Family." From left are Yuliya Eydelnant, Jomar Martinez, Jennifer Gorgulho, Joey McDaniel as Uncle Fester, Michael Saenz, Jessica Ellithorpe, Danielle Mendoza, and Jennifer Young.
"The Addams Family" at Palo Alto Players proves a terrific show, thanks to an excellent cast and creative team that overcomes some weak material to make a laugh-heavy crowd pleaser. Fun! John Orr reviews.
kevinberne.com / Berkeley Rep
Cheryl Lynn Bruce as Shelah, left, and Sullivan Jones as The Angel in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s "Head of Passes," playing April 10–May 24, 2015 at Berkeley Rep.
"Head of Passes," by Tarell Alvin McCraney, is getting a powerful staging at Berkeley Rep. Petra Brady reviews.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Kevin Condardo, left, script in hand, as Richard the Third, and Josh Marx, center, further back, script in hand, as Richmond, in the ShakesBEERience production of "Richard III" at Cafe Stritch in San Jose on Monday, April 20, 2015.
ShakesBEERience has a fine tradition: Every time a character dies, the audience has to take a drink. In "Richard III," verily, there be much drinkin' goin' on. Tony Lacy-Thompson attended the production, and had a fine time. Read all about it.
Palo Alto Players
John Orr / Regarding Arts
Ron Gasparinetti pops out of the crypt he designed for "The Addams Family," which opens in a cemetery, at Palo Alto Players, partway through set construction on Thursday, April 16, 2015.
Ron Gasparinetti started in theater as an actor, but for him, the real magic happens backstage, and now he is a busy set designer and production manager. He designed the set for "The Addams Family," which opens on Saturday at Palo Alto Players. John Orr talked with Gasparinetti. Read the story.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Molly Andrews and David M. Lutken dance in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's regional premiere of "Fire on the Mountain," playing April 1-26, 2015 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"Fire on the Mountain," now on stage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, thanks to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, has a heart-rending but ultimately hopeful true tale to tell, in book and lyrics, about Appalachian coal miners. Three Regarding Arts writers (at least) have seen it, and all recommend it to you. John Orr interviewed co-scriptwriter and director Randal Myler for The Daily News, and that story can be read here. Joanne Engelhardt gave it a glowing review for Regarding Arts, and that story can be read here. Tony Lacy-Thompson also reviewed for Regarding Arts, and that review can be read here.
Sunnyvale Community Players
Chris Berger / Sunnyvale Community Players
Keith Pennings as Durdles, Walter M. Mayes as Chairman, and Sam Saunders as Deputy, from left in the middle, surrounded by the ensemble of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" as staged by Sunnyvale Community Players. The show runs April 4 through April 26, 2015.
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is a great musical that is just buckets of fun. Sunnyvale Community Players is staging it with a fine cast, and while there are problems with the sound and the orchestra, it's still worth seeing. John Orr reviews.
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".