The Book of Life

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.



Internet Movie Database



Hillbarn Theatre
stopped by sheep
Mark & Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Elspeth Noble as Margaret, left, and Brad Satterwhite as Richard Hannay, in back, and Ross Neuenfeldt and Russell Ward as cops who aren't really cops in "The 39 Steps" at Hillbarn Theatre. The program informs us that no haddock, herring or sheep were harmed in the making of this production.
"The 39 Steps" gets a hilarious, very impressive production at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, California, thanks to the immensely talented cast. Read John Orr's review.
Ross Neuenfeldt
Mark Kitaoka / Hillbarn Theatre / Digital manipulation by Regarding Arts
Ross Neuenfeldt in two of the dozens of characters he plays in "The 39 Steps" at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, California. The show runs October 16 through November 2, 2014. Call 650-349-6411, extension 2, or visit
Ross Neuenfeldt tells us what it's like to play dozens of characters in one play — "The 39 Steps," which is on stage at Hillbarn Theatre through November 2, 2014. Read the interview.

David Studwell, Tory Ross
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
David Studwell as Sweeney Todd and Tory Ross as Mrs. Lovett contemplate revenge iin Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," playing at TheatreWorks October 8 through November 2, 2014, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Read Joanne Engelhardt's review.
Sweeney Todd
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Spencer Kiely as Tobias invites customers to sample Mrs. Lovett's meat pies in Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," playing at TheatreWorks October 8 through November 2, 2014, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. We invite you to read Tony Lacy-Thompson's review of the innovative production.
"Sweeney Todd" has been advanced to 1940 in the innovative and excellent production staged by TheatreWorks. Mrs. Lovett needs meat for her pies? What to do, what to do? Sweeney Todd has the answer. We have two, count 'em, two reviews for this show! Read Joanne Engelhardt's review. And, read Tony Lacy-Thompson's review.

SF Playhouse
Jordan Puckett / SF Playhouse
Carrie Paff, Mark Anderson Phillips and Michael Ray Wisely, from left, in "Ideation," by Aaron Loeb, playing September 23 through November 8, 2014, at SF Playhouse. Call 415-677-9596 or visit
"Ideation" is the latest wild fusion of ideas from innovative playwright Aaron Loeb. Strap yourself in; it's a bumpy ride, says reviewer Kevin Kelly. Read what he has to say.

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.
Stand Up Men
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.

Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval
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 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.

Imelda May
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.

Tower of Power
Tower of Power
Courtesy of Tower of Power
Tower of Power in concert, in an undated photograph. In front is vocalist Ray Greene. The horn line includes, from left, Adolfo Acosta, Sal Cracchiolo, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Tom Polizer and Emilo Castillo. On the riser, from left, are Dave Garibaldi, Rocco Prestia, Jerry Cortez and Roger Smith.
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.


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 Triviana Arts & Entertainment, 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.
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.
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".


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