"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
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.
Mike Ko / siliconvalleydesigns.com
N. Louie as opera singer Song Liling in "M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang, as staged at City Lights in San Jose, March 19 through April 19, 2015.
"M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang is at City Lights in San Jose, in a fine staging with a solid cast. John Orr reviews.
kevinberne.com / Berkeley Rep
Lenne Klingaman as Mariane, Suzanne Warmanen as Dorine, and Christopher Carley as Valere, from left, in a revival of Molière’s "Tartuffe," a dark comedy about religious hypocrisy, at Berkeley Rep. The show runs March 13 through April 12, 2015. Call 1-510-647-2949 or visit berkeleyrep.org.
"Tartuffe" was a wild, satirical ride, back in Molière’s day, and Berkeley Rep is staging a version that still has plenty of sarcastic bite. Read Petra Brady's review.
Keith Sutter / Smuin Ballet
Eriin Yarbrough is lifted by Jonathan Powell, left, and Weston Krukow in Amy Seiwert's "Objects of Curiosity," part of Smuin Ballet's "Untamed" Dance Series in the 2014-2015 season. Yarbrough and Powell are engaged to be married in July 2015.
Erin Yarbrough is the beautiful and sexy Frankie of Michael Smuin's ballet "Frankie & Johnny," and she is dancing it as part of Smuin Ballet's "Unwrapped" season, which is underway. John Orr spoke with Ms. Yarbrough. Read on.
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Jason Bowen as Bernard, left, brings some surprising information to Adam Poss as Vijay in Rajiv Joseph's play "The Lake Effect," presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, California, March 4-29, 2015.
"The Lake Effect" by Rajiv Joseph proves a brilliant piece of work, receiving an excellent production directed by Giovanna Sardelli at TheatreWorks. John Orr says don't miss it. Read his review.
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Jason Bowen as Bernard, left encounters mourning siblings Nilanjana Bose as Priya and Adam Poss as Vijay in Rajiv Joseph's "The Lake Effect," produced by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, March 4-29, 2015.
"The Lake Effect" was a big hit when it premiered in Chicago in 2013; now it is getting its West Coast premiere at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. John Orr spoke by phone with director Giovanna Sardelli and playwright Rajiv Joseph. Read the story.
Broadway By The Bay
Mark and Tracy Photography / Broadway By The Bay
Eva Colliou as Little Cosette, one of two young actors who play the role in "Les Misérables" at Broadway By The Bay. The other, not seen here, is Allayna Slate.
"Les Misérables" is a hugely popular, successful show, and the production at Broadway By The Bay is staged with excellence, but John Orr still hated it. All the actors, design, orchestra, were great. It's a show itself Orr can't stand. Read his rant.
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.
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.
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.
Gregg Wright at Little Lou's
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Gregg Wright on guitar, Derek "D'Mar" Martin on drums and Roger Capps on bass at Little Lou's BBQ in Campbell, California, on March 9, 2015.
Little Lou's BBQ in Campbell, California, has become a favorite haunt for Tony Lacy-Thompson, because there is no cover on Monday nights, and the usual band on Monday's is the great Chris Cain. But on March 9, 2015, Tony walked in to find Chris was stuck in Florida on tour, and Gregg Wright was on the bandstand, and blowin' the doors off the joint. Read Tony's review of the evening.
West Bay Opera
Otak Jump / West Bay Opera
Nikki Einfeld as Konstanze, left, and Michael Desnoyers as Belmonte are in big trouble after Kevin Thompson as Osmin, right, catches them trying to escape in "The Abduction from the Seraglio" by Mozart, staged by West Bay Opera.
"The Abduction from the Seraglio," a brilliant work by the 25-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was beautifully staged by West Bay Opera in February. Read John Orr's 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 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".