"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.





Dawn L. Troupe
Dawn Troupe
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Dawn L. Troupe as Deloris Van Cartier, pretending to be Sr. Mary Clarence, right, gets a load of the singing of the nuns as City of Angels Church in Hillbarn Theatre’s production of "Sister Act," May 4 through May 28, 2017.
Dawn L. Troupe has blessed many a Bay Area stage with her talented presence, and now she has answered the call to play the lead in "Sister Act" at Hillbarn Theater. She talked with John Orr. Read the story.

Hillbarn Theatre
Wells Viloria, Troupe
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Beth Ann Wells Viloria as Mother Superior, left, talks to Dawn L. Troupe as Deloris Van Cartier about staying in the convent in Hillbarn Theatre’s production of "Sister Act," playing May 4 through May 28, 2017.
"Sister Act," always a popular musical comedy, gets a terrific cast at Hillbarn Theatre. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews.

Palo Alto Players
Mahle, Monagle, McDaniel, Frampton, Kenrick
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Chris Mahle as Sir Bedevere, Michael Monagle as King Arthur, Joey McDaniel as Patsy, Josiah Frampton as Sir Robin and Nick Kenrick as Sir Galahad in "Monty Python's Spamalot," at Palo Alto Players, April 28 through May 14, 2017.
"Monty Python's Spamalot" is so hilarious that even with a few production problems, it's a blast at Palo Alto Players, thanks to a great cast and fabulous script. John Orr reviews.

Reber, Kopp, Pinto
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
James Reber, Lee Kopp and Keith Pinto, from left, as "The Rude Mechanicals" of Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," as performed by ShakesBEERience at Café Stritch in San Jose on Monday, April 17, 2017. Lolling about on the floor are Gendell Hing-Hernandez as Pyramus and Skylar Collins as Thisbe.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is usually performed, ya know, with costumes and scenery. At ShakesBEERience in San Jose, they don't bother with that. But they have beer. Lots of beer. And a talented cast. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews.

Kit Wilder
Kit Wilder
Courtesy of Kit Wilder
Kit Wilder directs a show at City Lights, circa 2015. His adaptation of "Frankenstein" opens March 25, 2017, and runs through April 23, 2017, at City Lights in San Jose.
Kit Wilder, playwright, director, actor — all things theater — talks with John Orr about adapting Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" for the stage. In previews tonight, it opens on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at City Light in San Jose. Read the story.

Review: 'Over the Top: Math Bass & the Imperial Court SF'
Math Bass
Anna Koster photo
Math Bass, center, speaks with a journalist before the exhibition opens to the public. Her apple sculpture "Elizabeth" (ceramic with lacquer and wood, 22 x 22 x 22 inches) and untitled ladder (wood, 67 x 36 x 18 inches) are in the foreground. Both were created in 2017 for this exhibition. Portraits of monarchs from the Imperial Court SF's 62-year history hang on the wall. A selection of Empresses' and Emperors' banners hang above.
"Over the Top: Math Bass & the Imperial Court SF" is a fascinating story that blends modern works by Math Bass with historical artifacts from a 62-year-old LGBTQ society in San Francisco. Anna Koster has seen the show and reports. See her review.

Valerie Vigoda review
Valerie Vigoda
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Valerie Vigoda performs a solo show at the home of Kevin Surace and Erica Rogers in Sunnyvale, on Dec 2, 2016.
Valerie Vigoda is well known to Bay Are theater fans, especially for the musicals "Striking 12" and "Sleeping Beauty Wakes," which she performed at TheatreWorks while in the power trio GrooveLily. Recently, she performed a solo show in a house concert and was terrific. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews.


For ears and eyes

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.
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.
Asylum Street Spankers: "Monkey Rag," and "If You Want Me to Love You."
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".
"Let's Go Get Stoned" is the first thing the friend of a friend said when he got off the plane from Vietnam in 1967 or so. It's also the title of this fab song by Ray Charles.


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