"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.





TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Hershey Felder
Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents
Hershey Felder portrays and performs as Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in "Our Great Tchaikovsky." TheatreWorks SIlicon Valley is bringing the show for its Bay Area premiere to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, January 10 through February 11, 2018.
Hershey Felder is a proven treasure of music and theater, with his brilliant, inimitable, one-man shows about great composers. He is bringing his "Our Great Tchaikovsky" to TheatreWorks in Mountain View, and took the time to talk with John Orr about it. Read the story.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Max Tachis
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Max Tachis as Crumpet, a Christmas elf in Macy's SantaLand, in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's production of "The SantaLand Diaries" by David Sedaris. The one-man show plays December 5-23, 2017, at the Lohman Theatre in Los Altos Hills. Theater-goers get to pose in Santa's big chair before the show.
"The SantaLand Diaries" by David Sedaris is a holidays treat for adults by the great David Sedaris. Max Tachis is hilarious as Crumpet the elf in the TheatreWorks production at the Lohman Theatre. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviews.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Kuykendall, Cunningham, Sullivan, Campbell
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Michael Gene Sullivan as Parsi, center, and his elephant give a lift to, from left, Jason Kuykendall as Phileas Fogg, Tristan Cunningham as Passepartout, and Ron Campbell as Sir Francis in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's production of "Around the World in 80 Days." The hilarious holiday adventure adapted by Mark Brown from the novel by Jules Verne plays at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto through December 31, 2017.
"Around the World in 80 Days" is a joy at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, directed by the great Robert Kelley and featuring a fabulous cast that is delightfully funny. Read John Orr's review.

City Lights Theater Company
Flagg, Lewis, Ryan
Steve DiBartolomeo / City Lights Theater Company
Keenan Flagg, James Lewis and Jeremy Ryan, from left, in "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley," by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, running November 16 through December 17, 2017, at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose
"Miss Bennet" Christmas at Pemberley" by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon is a delightfully charming romantic comedy, and John Orr says hurry to get your tickets! Some shows are already sold out. Read his review.

Broadway San Jose
Bockel, Brewer
Matthew Murphy / Broadway San Jose
Sarah Bockel as Carole King, left, and Andrew Brewer as Gerry Goffin in "Beautiful — The Carole King Musical." The show is at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, November 14-19, 2017.
"Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" rolled in to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to review.

Foothill Theatre
Seton Chiang
David Allen / Foothill Theatre
Seton Chiang as Bishop Peter Prang, left, speaks on the radio to endorse a presidential candidate, as the Jessup family and friends listen in "It Can't Happen Here," presented by Foothill Theatre Arts at the Lohman Theatre, November 2-19, 2017.
"It Can't Happen Here" is a new play by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen, based on the 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis. It's scary stuff, positing a racist blowhard who is elected president. Foothill College is staging an imperfect but still scary and worthwhile production. John Orr reviews.

Palo Alto Players
Farbstein, Goel, Hutton, Mignano
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Corrie Farbstein takes flight as Peter Pan, with Amay Goel as John, Billy Hutton as Michael, and Brittney Mignano as Wendy, from left, in "Peter Pan." Palo Alto Players is staging the musical at Lucie Stern Theatre, November 3-19, 2017.
"Peter Pan" is getting a fun production with a great performer in the title role at Pslo Alto Players. Really, says John Orr, don't miss seeing Corrie Farbstein. Read his review.

Pear Theatre
Rajagopal, Musgrave, Talbot
Michael Craig / Pear Theatre
Mohana Rajagopal as Katherine Stockmann, John Musgrave as Morten Kiil, and Ron Talbot as Dr. Thomas Stockmann, from left, in "An Enemy of the People" at The Pear Theatre, October 20 through November 12, 2017.
"An Enemy of the People" was first staged in 1882, but it feels like Henrik Ibsen was writing for our time. The Pear Theatre stages the classic tale of civic greed and foolish people. John Orr reviews.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Dela Cruz, Sajous
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Katherine Dela Cruz as Queen Tuya's assistant, left, holds baby Ramses as Christina Sajous as Queen Tuya introduces her son to Moses, the new addition to their family, in "The Prince of Egypt," staged by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley.
"The Prince of Egypt" gets its world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and it's a big production with fabulous dancing and a few too many dullish songs. John Orr reviews.

Hillbarn Theatre
Gerber, Neuenfeldt, Seperi, Rhodes, Strawn
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Damien Seperi as Charlie, center, is adopted by Ross Neuenfeldt as Ellard, Lauren Rhodes as Catherine Simms and Laurie Strawn as Betty Meeks in "The Foreigner," running at Hillbarn Theatre, October 5 through October 22, 2017. Gary Gerber as Sgt. "Froggy" LeSueur is in the background.
"The Foreigner," by Larry Shue, is getting a fine production at Hillbarn Theatre, with an excellent cast. John Orr reviews.

Palo Alto Players
Ryan, Kenrick
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Jeremy Ryan as Sam Phillips, left, and Nick Kenrick as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet" as staged by Palo Alto Players.
"Million Dollar Quartet" is a stunning amount of fun in the Palo Alto Players production, with real musicians who are excellent actors portraying Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley in this rock tribute to Sam Phillips and Sun Studios. Get there quick! It closes on Oct. 1. Read John Orr's review.

The Pear Theatre
April Culver
Michael Craig / Pear Theatre
April Culver, as Mrs. Givings, wants to know what's going on in the next room, in Sarah Ruhl's "In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play," at The Pear Theatre, September 8 through October 1, 2017.
"In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play," by Sarah Ruhl, is getting a fine and nuanced production at The Pear in Mountain View, September 8 through October 1, 2017. John Orr reviews.

Foothill Music Theatre
Dragon, Kenrick
David Allen / Foothill Music Theatre
The Dragon (voiced by Jennifer Martinelli) meets Nick Kenrick as Donkey in "Shrek The Musical," presented by Foothill Music Theatre.
"Shrek The Musical" at Foothill Music Theatre is tons of fun, interrupted occasionally by two or three too many slow ballads. But it is HUGE fun, with a HUGE and talented cast, and fabulous sets and costumes. Really, go see it! You'll have fun, says John Orr, who reviews.

Pear Theatre
Adams, Hammond
Pear Theatre
Amelia Adams as the Duchess, left, and Kevin Hammond as The Duke in “What You Will,” running June 23 through July 16, 2017, at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View.
"What You Will," a crazy quilt of lines ripped out of Shakespeare's plays and resewn into something new, is a blast and a half. Like theater? Go see this play. It's a delight. John Orr reviews.

West Bay Opera
Green, Gustafson
Otak Jump / West Bay Opera
Heather Green as Salome dances for David Gustafson as the excited King Herod, under the eyes of Katherine Naegele as a lady in waiting, left, and Michelle Rice as Herodias. The West Bay Opera production is to be performed May 26 and 28, and June 3 and 4, 2017, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
"Salome" by Richard Strauss, based on a play by Oscar Wilde, is only for the opera company that is stout of heart and overflowing with talent. Such as West Bay Opera, which is staging a stunning production, through June 4, 2017. Don't miss it. John Orr reviews.

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.


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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