"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
Sarah Moser as Eurydice, Wes Gabrillo as Orpheus, and Scott Solomon as Father, from left, in "Eurydice," produced by Palo Alto Players, running January 16 through February 1, 2015, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, California. Call 650-329-0891 or visit www.PAplayers.org.
"Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl is onstage at Palo Alto Players, and it's weird and wonderful and highly recommended. It's all about love and how, sometimes, it's The River of Forgetfulness that saves us. John Orr reviews.
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hllbarn Theatre
Ross Neuenfeldt as Mozart, conducting one of his operas, in "Amadeus," staged by Hillbarn Theatre. The Peter Shaffer play runs January 22 through February 8, 2015.
"Amadeus," by Peter Shaffer, is a great play and a big undertaking for any theater company. Hillbarn Theatre is staging this story of Salieri's envy and Mozart's genius with three excellent principal actors. John Orr reviews.
Jeanne Tanner / Courtesy of Rubicon Theatre Company
Christopher Tocco, left, and Thomas Frey in a 2014 Rubicon Theatre Company production of "2 Pianos 4 Hands. Frey is directing the TheatreWorks' production of "2 Pianos 4 Hands," playing January 14 through February 15, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tocco is in the TheatreWorks show.
"2 Pianos 4 Hands" is a play that uses musicianship and humor to explore the world of competitive piano playing, and the sometimes traumatic process of learning to play the piano. John Orr talks with Tom Frey, who has performed in the play more than 800 times, and who is directing two other pianists in it for TheatreWorks' production, which has already been extended. Read on.
kevinberne.com / 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. Extended through January 11, 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.
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.
Cirque du Soleil
Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca | 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.
First Step of 12 Dept.
Kelsey McNeal / ABC
Don't let the smile fool you, kiddies! The character Kyle MacLachlan, left, plays on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is crazy on a stick, full-blown sociopathic psychosis and then some. Great performance by MacLachlan. That's Chloe Bennet as Skye he is imploring. Bennet is a series regular, MacLachlan is not, but he's so great in the role that we just had to mention him.
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is terrific fun, despite our initial rejection of this show, which brought Agent Phil Coulson back to life after he was killed in "The Avengers." Now, our founder, John Orr, stands before us, cup of coffee in hand, and proclaims, "My name is John. I am a fan of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'" Read John's column, then send him money.
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.
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.
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.
Tower of Power
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Singer Ray Greene gets up close and personal with the audience during the Tower of Power at Yoshi's Oakland on January 14, 2015.
Tower of Power rocked Yoshi's Oakland with ten sold-out shows recently. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there for the tenth of ten, and reports back on a great show. Read his review.
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.
Jason Flynn photo
Amy LaCour is to sing at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View on Saturday, January 17, 2015.
Amy laCour has impressed with a beautiful, expressive voice with marvelous phrasing, and with her unusual collaboration with a cellist. "Who knew?" she asks, and all we can do is shake our head in admiration. Paul Freeman talked with her. Read the story.
Pooneh Ghana photo
Musician Jackie Venson is scheduled to perform at Red Rock Coffee House in Mountain View on January 10, 2015.
Jackie Venson spent a lot of years learning theory and rehearsing on piano, then took up a guitar and became a very talented blues singer. Paul Freeman writes about this up-and-comer.
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Chris Cain, on Gibson 335, leads his band at Little Lou's BBQ in Campbell, California, on Monday, December 8, 2014. In the band, from left, are sax player Mark Whitney, Greg Rahn on keys, Steve Evans on bass, and Mick Mestek on drums.
Chris Cain shows up once at month at Little Lou's BBQ in Campbell, California, and that's an amazing thing; the cat is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, and there is no cover charge. Have a brain? Do what Tony Lacy-Thompson did, and go see him. Read Tony's review of the experience.
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 www.paloaltojcc.org/sandoval. 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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".