Oh, the mountains of awesome that abound in this region. September is like the new December for me. The announcement of seasons and festivals and fun are better than any presents under a tree or vacation days off work. Here’s a list of just a few of my favorite events already on to my calendar for the coming months. In chronological order…here are the Princess’ Art Picks for Fall and Beyond!
Hoot and Howl – Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
September 7th, 2013
The 3rd annual fundraiser for an AMAZING zoo that not only preserves/encourages whimisical, joyful, creative, artistic PLAY for kids (and adults) but also has a significant global impact in the areas of conservation, is a party that simply put, CAN NOT BE MISSED. The budget might be a stretch for some, but at $150 per ticket you literally have the PERFECT night benefitting the perfect cause. Surrounded by a mature and relaxed 21+ crowd, special animal encounters, 7 food stations from PSRT, all the alcohol you can responsibly drink (including a sake bar at the top of the Redwood Lookout where you can slide down after partaking of the libation) a DJ (who is regionally recognized and also happens to be a zookeeper by day) tons of dance space, games, roller coaster rides, a performance by Street Drum Corps, and SO many cool surprises, it’s just….A feast for body, mind and soul! You even have the opportunity to buy art painted BY Happy Hollow Zoo animals! I really just can’t say enough about this event having been the last two years. Such a memorable night of the arts for animals! You will fall in love with an organization and a group of people who really are sublime as well as ridiculously fun!
Drunken City – Renegade Theatre Experiment
September 7th-28th, 2013
Almost every season there is one show in the Renegade season that upon reading the description I think, “oh, that could be really good or that could be really not.” More often that not, it really IS good, they impress me constantly and always generate conversation no matter how I ultimately feel about the play. It’s that “experimental” quality, that risk, that makes Renegade who they are and gets me pumped for their shows. Drunken City follows basically a pub crawl of brides-to-be and as the drinks flow and the lips get loose, secrets that could have consequences “spew” forth. Juicy, no? Yeah….just like a night of drinking with the girls, this could be a great play…or end up in the toilet… I can’t wait to see what we end up with!
Truly original plots are harder and harder to come by these days it seems and so when I see something like Animals Out Of Paper, I make sure to make a note of it. City Lights has a tradition of selecting a great variety of shows for their seasons, always including a couple of classics (usually done in a new way) as well as newer works and really unique/rarely done works. I’m also kind of a word geek and when the descriptive prose has me from the start, again, it’s a play that will standout “on paper” before I ever see it on the stage. Tell me you aren’t in love with this?:
“A piece of paper, once folded, is never the same again; it has a memory,” says world-renowned origami artist Ilana Andrews.“ Eventually it probably feels like too many things have happened to it. It’s all twisted in something so far from what it used to be. After all, folds leave scars.” When Andrews opens her studio to a teenage prodigy and his school teacher, she discovers that life and love can’t be arranged neatly in this drama about finding the perfect fold.”
If the play is written and performed even a fraction as well as this paragraph, it has all the potential of being one of my favorites this year.
Out of this World – Mission Chamber Orchestra
September 21st, 2013
When Science, nature and music collide it’s hardly ever a disappointment for me. Mission Chamber Orchestra bring the star gazers and the music lovers together in their Out of this World concert which features Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, Nancy Bloomer Deussen’s, The Transit of Venus (a world premiere) and other celestial type works by Beethoven, Henri Duparc and Michael Daugherty. If you haven’t caught this orchestra yet (and even if you have) this is a great start to your Fall Arts Season for sure!
Macario – Teatro Vision
October 10th-20th, 2013
Teatro Vision, one of my absolute FAVORITE theater groups, is back after a hiatus and the excitement building around their World Premiere of the stage adaptation of the B. Traven (Treasure of the Sierra Madre) novel Macario is electric. This is going to be a cultural feast for the eyes and ears as well as an important piece on so many levels. If you aren’t familiar with the work, think A Mexican Christmas Carol meets Day of the Dead, meets Social and Food Justice Education. This is a community event that will become an annual tradition and it’s about time. The Traven family and the Mexican Consulate have put their official stamps of approval on this project which has been a decade long dream for Teatro. It’s hard to explain what a huge significance this piece is and will be for years to come. Don’t be scared if you don’t speak Spanish, (PLEASE) the English super titles, some of the BEST actors around, and lots of music and dance in this show are going to engage and mesmerize the most diverse of audiences. Treat yourself to Macario! introduce your self to the possibilities.
Zombie Prom – Sunnyvale Community Players
November 1st -24th, 2013
I’m sorry, what part of ZOMBIE PROM didn’t you understand? It’s a musical. About Zombies. And a prom. That’s kind of all you need to know. Moving on. Next.
A King’s Legacy – The Pear Avenue Theatre
November 1st- 24th, 20013
A World Premiere, written by a great local playwright, in an intimate 40 seat theater is enough to sell me most days of the week, but add in the extra incentive of learning some History too? Bonus. I can honestly say I know NOTHING about King James I. Aside from his name. So I know when I leave A King’s Legacy, if nothing else I will have learned something. Art entertains, but it also teaches much of the time and so when I get the opportunity to do both, it’s a good and worthwhile day.
Evita – Broadway San Jose
November 19th-24th, 2013
Before I learned that singing was really not my strong suit, I dreamed of playing Evita. Maybe it was because she was so powerful, standing there on her balcony in front of all her adoring “people”, or maybe it was because I just liked all her costume changes, or maybe it was because the musical storytelling is so epic in the show, but of all the shows in Broadway San Jose’s Season, Evita is the one I’m most thrilled about. High energy dance numbers, powerful harmonies, tearful ballads, possibly hot Argentines, this show has it all and I can’t wait to finally see a full, budgeted, professional production of the show. I’ll be practicing my Evitaesque balcony crowd gesturing until the 19th, you know, just in case they need a last-minute substitute to play Ms. Peron.
The Elves and the Shoemaker – Tabard Theatre Company
November 19th- December 15th, 2013
The very first Hot Dog Suppertime Show I was in at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre was The Elves and the Shoemaker. I was a customer named MEG. I had two lines in a single scene. I wore a lovely peasant dress that I STILL remember down to the stitching accents and apron. So, this show holds a special place in my heart as it marked a right of passage into a life that would take me many places and teach me immeasurable lessons. Tabard has put a twist on the show adding in original music and if it’s as endearing as their most recent multi-generational shows, I wager it will be a perfect family treat for the holidays.
November – Dragon Productions Theatre
November 22nd-December 15th, 2013
I’m an absolute whore for David Mamet. Pardon my French, but I love his writing style, his weird, off, dirty, very adult, sharp wit and when Mamet is done well, it’s everything I freaking LOVE about theater. It’s a high I have for days after. Even without being politically savvy (at all) I know I’m in for a rollercoaster when I read the descriptor: “A lesbian, a turkey lobbyist, and a Native American walk into the White House…” Sold. Done. Sign me up motherfucker.
My senior thesis for English in College was based on how Henry James the novelist, wanted DESPARATELY to be a playwright and essentially failed miserably at his every attempt to do so. While his prose were so beautiful and descriptive, his dialogue was sparse and less refined. He focused so much on setting the mood and the internal thoughts of his characters that it somehow didn’t hold the interest of an audience when it was translated to the stage. The other part of the thesis was the speculation that his language, being so visual, might have served him quite well as a screenwriter had he been born later. I’ve read just about everything by James, and Washington Square which is the source material for The Heiress was a good book. Will it be a good play? His characters are rich and Palo Alto Players should be a great match for the content of this play. With the visuals we use to set the scene in modern theater today, I’m looking forward to seeing if we are finally able to posthumously give James, what he wanted so badly during his lifetime.
Rovshan Mamedkuliev Concert – South Bay Guitar Society
February 8th, 2014
Once again the South Bay Guitar Society has stacked their season with some amazing artists. While I’m no expert at all on Music of any kind, I do know what I like and a night of acoustic guitar is wonderful therapy for life. Quite often a SBGS concert results in time travel as well as a global escapade for my wandering mind. It’s a transcendent experience. Hard to choose a single concert, but Rovshan’s skill demonstrated in the video on the SBGS website intrigued me perhaps just slightly more than some of the other guitarists. But really, I can’t imagine not having a great time at any one of these evenings.
Cinequest 24 Film Festival – Cinequest
March 3rd-16th, 2014
There are tremendous films made every day that will NEVER make it to a big screen. While this is a sad, sad thought, the silver lining is Cinequest brings many films to the big screen every year that you may not ever see anywhere else. That makes Cinequest special, the films they choose special, and it makes YOU special. Just by attending the festival you are a patron and a VIP. The art of applauding after a film is a dying art but not at Cinequest, where it’s second nature to share your enjoyment with the artists that are often in the room by putting your hands together. At Cinequest the collective experience of seeing these films, some where YOU are the very FIRST audience to ever receive it, is an honor and a much-anticipated tradition. Don’t mourn the films that are birthed and then fade, celebrate the opportunity to see some cinematic gems shine amongst some of the most supportive, appreciative and enthusiastic groups of people you may ever find yourself a part of.
The World Of Bugs – San Jose Wind Symphony
March 9th, 2014
There is only a title for this concert, no program or description at this time that I can find. And, I gotta say, I’m loving such a creative and slightly bizarre theme. One of the things I find so charming and refreshing about the San Jose Wind Symphony is their dedication to fun. There is not a hint of pretension in their presentation. Aside from being such a tight, talented and professional group musically, they all seem to genuinely emanate a love for performing and a great sense of humor while they play. Enquiring minds want to know how they tie in BUGS to this concert. Hurry up March.
Game On – San Jose Repertory Theater
March 27th-April 19th, 2014
Another great concept on paper that strikes a local chord and oozes entertainment potential. Combining Fantasy Baseball with fundraising for Green Projects and setting it at a Los Altos cocktail party sounds like excellent, on the edge of your seat kind of material. The Rep has demonstrated skill in executing compelling comedies with a suspenseful and socially conscious twist, so I’m hopeful this will be no exception. I’m feeling a home run, but only time will tell!
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – South Bay Musical Theatre
May 24th-June 14th, 2014
One of my favorite films ever made into an award-winning musical? Why, yes. Brilliant! South Bay Musical Theatre is taking on some ambitious projects this season and this show is certainly no piece of cake, but I rather think this might be a PERFECT balance of challenge and wheelhouse type awesomeness for a group that continues to grow and surprise me with their local talent pool and willingness to go big!
Crazy for You – West Valley Light Opera
June 28th- July 26th, 2014
If it’s a nice simple, cheesy, old-fashioned, Gershwin musical you are looking for you can’t do much better than the classic Crazy for You. You know the music and there’s a love story, and this show isn’t done as often as so many other “inferior” shows. There are some production numbers that are going to be a nice opportunity for WVLO to show off their stuff. Call me crazy, but this is one to watch for.
Taming of the Shrew – Shady Shakespeare
June 13th-29th 2014
Coming off of a fantastic first year of Free Shakespeare at Willow Street Frank Bramhall Park in San Jose, Shady Shakespeare (who has performed and continues to do so at Sanborn County Park in Saratoga) has not yet even officially announced that they will return in 2014 with my all time favorite Shakespeare play, The Taming of the Shrew. Theater in the fresh air, under the stars appeals to me always, add in a fabulous group performing, the excellent price tag and The Bard’s finest comedy, and I have my flagship SUMMER event lined up already.