Matt Damon as The Martian
Matt Damon stars in the film version of "The Martian," based on the excellent book by Andy Weir. The movie tie-in version of the book was released on August 18, 2015, although we have yet to find it in Click on the image to read John Orr's review of the book.
"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.

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The Marsh San Francisco
Ann Randolph
Leland Auslender photo
Ann Randolph returns to The Marsh San Francisco with her solo show, "Loveland," featuring a new interaction workshop on Good Grief following each performance, and a new talk, performance, and interactive workshop, "Inapproptiate in All the Right Ways." Visit or call 1-415-282-3055.
"Loveland," written and performed by Ann Randolph, is funny, touching and meaningful at The Marsh in San Francisco. Cy Ashley Webb reviews.

City Lights
Hidde, Magill, Tachis, Slavich
Susan Mah Photography / City Lights
Adam Magill as one of four Mr. Hydes, left front, threatens Max Tachis as Gabriel Utterson in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," running September 17 through October 18, 2015, at City Lights in San Jose. Visit or call 408-295-4200. In back are Joseph Hidde (mostly hidden behind Magill) and Caitlyn Slavich as orderlies.
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Jeffrey Hatcher, is getting an excellent, electrifying production at City Lights in San Jose, with a powerful cast directed by Mark Anderson Phillips. Read John Orr's review.

Mark Anderson Phillips
Phillips, Ross
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Mark Anderson Phillips as Fred, left, gets an earful from Tory Ross as Saunders in "Fallen Angels." The TheatreWorks production of the Noël Coward play ran June 3-28, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Mark Anderson Phillips has enjoyed a great career as an actor, and has, in turn, been enjoyed by thousands of theater fans. These days, in addition to acting, he is bringing his skill to directing as well, such as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." John Orr talked with Anderson Phillips. Read about Mark Anderson Phillips.

Pear Theatre
Reitz, Cook
Ray Renati / Pear Theatre
Sarah Cook, as Elspeth Andrews, right, shows Drew Reitz as Peter Warne how to hitch a ride in "The Walls of Jericho," running September 17 through October 4, 2015, at Pear Theatre in Mountain View.
"The Walls of Jericho" by Diane Tasca is getting its world premiere at the new and delightful Pear Theatre, which replaces the old Pear Avenue Theatre. The story of the play will be familiar to anyone who's seen "It Happened One Night," but The Pear has its own way with it. John Orr reviews.

Palo Alto Players
McDaniels, Reign, Santana, Monagle
MayerPhoto / Palo Alto Players
Joey McDaniel as Amos Hart, Robbie Reign as The Judge, Elizabeth Santana as Roxie Hart, Michael Monagle as Billy Flynn, from left, in the Palo Alto Players production of "Chicago," running September 12-27, 2015, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, California. Call 650-329-0891 or
"Chicago" is a brilliant success at Palo Alto Players, which is really bringing up the level of theater it is delivering. John Orr saw this fabulous show and reviews.

Los Altos Stage Company
Dead Man's Cell Phone
Richard Mayer / Los Altos Stage Company
Judith Miller as Mrs. Gottlieb, Kristin Walter as Jean and and David Scott as Dwight, from left in front; and Marjorie Hazeltine as Hermia and Adrienne Walters as The Other Woman, from left in back, in "Dead Man's Cell Phone," produced by Los Altos Stage Company. The Sarah Ruhl play is at the Bus Barn Theater through Sept. 27, 2015.
"Dead Man's Cell Phone" is a weird story, no doubt about it, but it's smart and poetically written by Sarah Ruhl. Jeffrey Lo does a fine job putting it on stage for Los Altos Stage Company. Read John Orr's review.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Kuykendall, Hallett
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Jason Kuykendall as Michael Astor, left, with Rosie Hallett as Susie Keegan, who just can't believe the mustache, in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's regional premiere of "The Country House" by Donald Margulies, playing through September 20, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"The Country House" by Donald Margulies is getting its regional premiere in Mountain View, produced by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Joanne Engelhardt reviews the handsome production.

ShakesBEERience San Jose
Condardo, Marx
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Kevin Condardo, left, script in hand, as Richard the Third, and Josh Marx, center, further back, script in hand, as Richmond, in the ShakesBEERience production of "Richard III" at Café Stritch in San Jose on Monday, April 20, 2015. A party is planned to help support the program.
ShakesBEERience San Jose brings big fun to the Bard, with plays that take place among the diners and drinkers at Café Stritch in San Jose. A fund-raiser with plenty of fun is planned for September 22, 2015. Tony Lacy-Thompson says get thee to a ticketry! Read his preview.

Hillbarn Theatre
Blackburn, Demers, Gangi
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
David Blackburn as Hero, Dan Demers as Pseudolus and Alie Marie Gangi as Philia, from left, in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, August 27 through September 20, 2015.
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is getting a fabulous revival at Hillbarn Theatre, and y'all are encouraged to go see it, soonest, because chances are you'll want to see it twice before it closes on September 20, 2015. Read John Orr's review.

The Pear Theatre
Tasca, McAlister, Smith
John Orr / Regarding Arts
The Pear Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Diane Tasca, left, and Mountain View Mayor John McAlister, with some help from frequent Pear creative force Jeanie K. Smith cut the ribbon for the walk through of The Pear's new theater, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. It was quite the process; those scissors couldn't cut warm butter.
The Pear Theatre, formerly known as The Pear Avenue Theatre, let supporters and reporters tour its new building on August 15, 2015, and Regarding Arts' John Orr was there and reports back that the new space is great. Read his story.

Broadway By The Bay
Ison, Manahan, Gee, C. Edralin, Jones, Tang, K. Edralin
Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin / Broadway By The Bay
Miko Ison as Estella, Catrina Manahan as Teresita, Elizabeth Gee as Gloria, Camille Edralin as Rosalia, Taylor Jones as Anita, Katy Tang as Consuela, and Katie Edralin as Francisa sing "America"in Broadway By The Bay's production of "West Side Story." Fabulous singing.
"West Side Story" is getting a grand and impressive production by Broadway By The Bay at the Fox Theatre in Redwood city, with a fabulous orchestra. John Orr reviews.

City Lights Theater Company
Ryan, Hubbard, Frampton, Okuniewicz, Corkery
Susan Mah Photography / City Lights
""When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way." From left are Jeremy Ryan as Diesel, Darrell Hubbard as A-rab, Josiah Frampton as Riff, Sean Okuniewicz as Action, and William Corkery as Baby John. At City Lights in San Jose, July 16-August 30, 2015.
"West Side Story" doesn't get produced every day. It's big, it's involved, it requires fabulous singers and dancers. And yet, City Lights has managed to cram a very, very good production into its small theater in San Jose, and an audience of 100 at a time get to watch a fine cast of singers and dance move and sweat just feet from the faces. Thrilling. Read John Orr's review.

Leon Russell
Leon Russell
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.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Grace Potter
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Grace Potter brings a lot of energy, impressive music and a short, short dress to Oakland's Fox Theater on Saturday, August 15, 2015.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals brought their rock for grown-ups to the Fox Theater in Oakland, and Tony Lacy-Thompson was there to enjoy the hot show. Read his review.

John Mayall
Rzab, Mayall
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Bass player Greg Rzab, left, and music legend John Mayall at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz on Thursday, July 9, 2015.
John Mayall, one of the earliest British blues musicians and certainly one of the most influential, is still bringing the goods at age 80. Tony Lacy-Thompson saw him a few days ago at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, and reviews the show.

Robin Trower
Robin Trower may be 70 years old, but he's still a master of the Stratocaster and blew the doors off The Catalyst in Santa Cruz last week. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there, and reviews the great show.

Asleep at the Wheel
Asleep at the Wheel
Wyatt McSpadden photo
Ray Benson, center on the couch, and Asleep at the Wheel.
Ray Benson's been rockin' that Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel for more than 40 years. Tony Lacy-Thompson interviewed him. Read the story.


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.
Asylum Street Spankers: "Monkey Rag," and "If You Want Me to Love You."
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".


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