"Crimson Shore" is a highly satisfying addition to the long list of Agent Pendergast thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and sees the unusual hero and his ward dealing with the locals, including monsters, in Massachusets. Read John Orr's review.
"The Martian," by Andy Weir, is one of our favorite reads in a long time. An astronaut is injured and stranded on Mars, with no working communications and not enough food to last the years it would take a rescue mission to come get him. A very impressive, fascinating book. Read John Orr's review.
See more reviews and interviews in Books.
THEATER & DANCE
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Eighty Eight Entertainment photo
A scene from "Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin" at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. The show is running January 13 through February 14, 2016.
"Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin" proves to be an excellent, very rewarding show, a complete entertainment that relates the life of one of the greatest songwriters ever. John Orr reviews.
City Lights Theater Company
Susan Mah / City Lights Theater
Melissa Weinstein, left, and Akemi Okamura in "Tigers Be Still" at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose, running January 21 through February 21, 2016.
"Tigers Be Still" is an endearing delight at City Lights, where a fine cast brings Kim Rosenstock's jokes and wisdom to life in a story about climbing out of bed. Read John Orr's review.
Mark & Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
An outstanding cast for "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," on stage at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, January 21 through February 7, 2016. From left in back are Catrina Manahan as Marcy Park, Samantha Rose Cardenas as Olive Ostrovsky, Joey McDaniel as William Barfée, Tracy Chiappone as Rona Lisa Perretti, Steve Repetti as Douglas Panch, Lawrence-Michael C. Arias as Mitch Mahoney and Justin Travis Buchs as Leaf Coneybear. In front are Jeffrey Brian Adams as Chip Tolentino, left, and Courtney Hatcher as Logainne SchwartzandGrubenniere.
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is one of our favorite plays, and for good reasons. Done well, it is hilarious, entertaining and touching. Hillbarn Theatre does fine job with it, featuring an excellent cast. John Orr reviews.
Ray Renati / The Pear
Michael Wayne Rice as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., left, and Nathalie Autumn Bennett as Camae in "The Mountaintop," at The Pear Theatre in Mountain View, January 14-31, 2016.
"The Mountaintop," by Katori Hall, is pure, meaningful brilliance, and it is getting a moving staging at Pear Theatre. John Orr was there on opening night, and urges y'all to go see it. Read his review.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Ian Leonard struts his stuff as King Leontes in the ShakesBEERience production of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," on January 11, 2016, at Café Stritch in San Jose.
"The Winter's Tale," by William Shakespeare, got the ShakesBEERience treatment at Café Stritch. Verily, Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to see it. Read his review.
Review: Raphael's Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn'
Galleria Borghese, Rome
Raphael's "Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn" is on view at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco, through April 10, 2016.
Raphael's "Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn" is on view at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, during its first visit to the United States in its 500 years. It is magnificent. Anna Koster reviews the exhibit, which is on view through April 10, 2016.
Having a Ball Dept.
An amicus curiae script posits a way that Glenn Rhee could be brought back to the show, honor and fans satisfied. Read it.
Gene Page / AMC
Michael Traynor as Nicholas, left, and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee in Episode 3 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
"The Walking Dead" may have wandered into Dumbass Land on October 25, 2015, with Episode 3 of Season 6, when Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun, may have been eaten by walkers. If so, says John Orr, it would be a big mistake. The show needs Glenn, and certain other characters. Read on.
Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier in gallery art for Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
Melissa McBride is so great at Carol Peletier, and so beloved by fans, that she's kinda got to be guaranteed to last with the show as long as it exists. Or so thinks John Orr, who got to talk with McBride by phone a couple of times in September. He didn't ask much about Season 6, which starts on Sunday, October 11, 2015, because he knew she wouldn't say much anyway, and because he prefers to find out as it unfolds over the season. Instead, he gets to sing her praises and hear her thoughts about Carol. Read on.
West Bay Opera
Otak Jump / West Bay Opera
Christine Capsuto as Gilda, left,and Krassen Karagiozov as Rigoletto in Verdi's "Rigoletto," staged by West Bay Opera, October 16, 18, 24 and 25, 2015.
"Rigoletto," by Giuseppi Verdi, gets a rich, colorful and powerful production by West Bay Opera in Palo Alto. John Orr was there on opening night as the company opened its 60th season, and reviews.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Leon Russell at the keyboard for a show on August 17, 2015, at Yoshi's Oakland.
Leon Russell brought a lot of great music and great stories to Yoshi's Oakland, and Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to experience it. Read his 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 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".