Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Downtown San Jose artwork

I stumbled across several stunning canvas prints of Downtown San Jose. The series is called VIVID SAN JOSE by West Coast Artworks. I was torn between getting one of the last two, but eventually decided on the San Carlos Street at night piece.

Update: I ended up getting both, and they look amazing.

You can find a few more options at the artist's Etsy page.

Source: aphelion2100 from the San Jose Development Forum

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October 2019 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month:
The OCTOBER 2019 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
  • Google is expected to submit its application this month to develop the west side of downtown San Jose.  In September, we received a 10,000-foot view of the development and report on the highlights.
  • MOMENT at San Pedro Squared is well into its second year of operations out of the Market-San Pedro Square Garage.  Businesses, customers and other key stakeholders remark on the overall success of the project that grew out of a 2015 Knight Cities Challenge grant.
  • Developers of downtown high rises have another two years to take advantage of a reduction in construction taxes and waiver on affordable housing impact fees.
  • Looks like BART service in downtown San Jose won't begin until 2030.
  • Local Color opens two satellite locations.
  • Three more restaurants, a bank and a boxing center opened in downtown San Jose.
  • Good news announced from Hotel De Anza and Cloudflare.
Hope to see you at the Annual Membership Meeting of the San Jose Downtown Association – Oct. 11, 8 a.m., San Jose First United Methodist Church, 24 N. Fifth St.
The public meeting will feature the “State of Downtown” address by Executive Director Scott Knies, financial reports and the popular lightning-round committee summaries – all in 90 minutes or less.  
Continental breakfast included.  RSVP to attend at
Also happening downtown:
  • Live and Local SJ live music
  • Traffic alerts lane and road closures.
  • Maps of downtown commercial property availability and development proposals.
  • Boom City: SJDA's continuing summary of new downtown building proposals and west side acquisitions, 
Downtown Dimension is a leading source for information about downtown San Jose news, events and businesses.  Subscribe with a simple email to, subject line:  Subscribe.
Copyright © 2019 San Jose Downtown Association, All rights reserved.

Monday, October 14, 2019

New six-story project with expansive rooftop bar Downtown

Urban Catalyst is transforming the Lido nightclub building at 30 S. 1st, an adjoining parking lot, and a nearby building into a major mixed-use project. The six-story building will have 73,000 SQFT of office space, 14,000 SQFT of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, and a whopping 5,000 SQFT rooftop bar. It will even have a glass elevator to take visitor from Fountain Alley directly to the lounge on the roof. This will be the largest rooftop bar in San Jose when completed and it will hopefully help take the vibe of this street up a notch.

Urban Catalyst also plans to build a water fountain on the corner of South First Street and Fountain Alley.

If everything goes according to plan, they will break ground on this building in 2021 after the current tenant's lease expires and complete the project in 2022.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, October 10, 2019

sjDANCEco Opens 17th Season October 18 and 19, 2019 in San Jose

Photo by John Parencia

Features World Premiere, two West Coast Premieres, Company Premiere and Masterwork by José Limón.

Who: sjDANCEco presents
What: Etched in Time   
When: Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19 at 8:00 pm.  
Where: California Theatre, 345 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Why: sjDANCEco’s 2019-2020 season opens with a World Premiere, two West Coast Premieres, a Company Premiere, and a masterwork by José Limón. The program is performed to live music by San José Chamber Orchestra.  

Tickets: $45 to $70.
Saturday night’s VIP tickets are $100 and include entry to the after-show Gala with sjDANCEco dancers and choreographers.
Available online at or 408.520.9854 

More: The 17th Anniversary of sjDANCEco opens with “Etched in Time”, a program of modern dance featuring two new works that premiered in March at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.  Included on the program are a World Premiere based on the experiences of a DACA/Dreamer, a 1950 masterwork by José Limón, and a revival of a piece inspired by Nelson Mandela. This season also marks the 10th year of collaboration with conductor Barbara Day Turner and the San José Chamber Orchestra.  

The Dancers: Mario Barron, Maria Basile, Kevin Gaytan, Kelisha Gardeen, Sarah Hernandez, Katherine House, Hsiang-Hsiu Lin, David Le, Gabriel Mata, Danielle Sullivant, Ryan Tucker, and Jazmyn Turner with guest artists, Fred Mathews and Gary Masters.

The Program:
José Limón’s powerful 1950 masterwork “The Exiles” is a male-female duet inspired by John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost, set to Chamber Symphony No. 2, Opus 38 by Arnold Schoenberg, an Austrian composer who emigrated to the United States in 1933 to escape the Nazis. (He began writing his Second Chamber Symphony in 1906 but did not complete it until 1939.) A version created by the composer will be played four hands on two pianos by Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi (ZOFO). The piece will be danced by Kelisha Gardeen and Gabriel Mata.

A World Premiere from choreographer Gabriel Mata entitled “This is where/I Begin...” is set to JENUWINE FLOW by Michael Wall. It is a solo work performed by Mata which is inspired by the plight of a Mexican/American DACA/Dreamer immigrant living in the United States. The piece addresses the current sociopolitical climate and civil unrest while using humor to engage in levity, optimism and hope.  NOTE: Very nice piece just published by IN DANCE magazine about Gabriel here: 

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Hsiang-Hsiu Lin with music of the same name by Randall Thompson is based on the poem by Robert Frost, and performed by the San José Chamber Orchestra with the San José Choral Project.  It is danced by eight members of the company.  

Hsiang-Hsiu Lin will also present her Company Premiere of “Tomorrow”, set to ‘For All We Know’ written by J Fred Coots & Sam M Lewis. Danced by Katherine House.     

Maria Basile’s “Inner Edge” is a tribute to Nelson Mandela set to Piano Concerto by Michael Ching (1996) with piano soloist Michael Touchi. Danced by eight company members. 

“Etched in Time” is a group collaborative that explores the multi-generational experiences of the dancers. It is set to music by Jazon Escultura that was commissioned for the piece. The music was actually created AFTER the dance. It was a collaborative effort of Gary Masters, Barbara Day Turner and composer Escultura who together watched video of the dancers and then discussed how the music should sound. It was originally a “sound scape” computer-generated score, but has now been transcribed and will be performed live by the orchestra. Danced by Maria Basile, Kelisha Gardeen, Gary Masters, Gabriel Mata and Fred Mathews. 

sjDANCEco is a year-round contemporary dance company based in San Jose, California that produces world premieres by its core and guest choreographers, and presents the very best of Contemporary and Classic Modern Dance and Masterpieces of the American Modern Dance Repertory. The company has also participated in International Dance Festivals in New York and Taipei and produces a FREE Spring Festival each year celebrating National Dance Week. sjDANCEco ignites the spirit of dance.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

CREATV to air the Light Between Two Towers

An excellent documentary that juxtaposes the San Jose Light Tower with the Eiffel Tower will be airing on the Silicon Valley Channel (Channel 30 in San Jose & Campbell) on Fridays at 10pm and Saturdays at 12:30pm. The Light between Two Towers is is a must watch for any San Josean. If you haven't seen the documentary yet, this is your best opportunity to do so at no cost.

It will also air during other times throughout the week and you can check out the CREATV website for the full schedule.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Live Action "The Rocky Horror Show" @ San Jose Stage Company

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

The iconic red lips painted outside of The San Jose Stage
Photograph taken and courtesy by John Huan Vu
It was July 28, 2010. Under the beautiful stars surrounding Downtown San Jose, my friends and I sat in a parking lot to see a projected movie hosted by the San Jose Downtown Association Starlight Cinemas. The movie: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'm still in shock over the show's risqué nature along with its audience of hecklers and volunteer actors. I didn't realize that 9+ years later, I would be seeing the live action performance just steps away at the San Jose Stage Company! Truly, let's do the time warp again!

Arriving on the opening night, the big luscious and iconic red lips were painted on the wall outside the San Jose Stage. Being in line, you can definitely tell who loved the show including the cult following in full gear such as tall men in stilettos!

As I waited outside before the show started, the Phantoms, played by Brian Conway, Monica Moe, and Tracy Shaw, greeted audience members, especially those who have never seen the show before. Although their roles may be discreet, the Phantoms were adorably funny and creative. Pay attention to the scene where they use their bodies as a vehicle with windshield wipers and headlights.

Program of the Rocky Horror Show
Photograph taken and courtesy by John Huân Vu.
Keith Pinto
The program cover of the show features Keith Pinto who plays the scandalous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. I have seen Keith Pinto in multiple productions at the San Jose Stage and recently had the opportunity to interview him before opening night. The reason why Keith enjoys his time with the San Jose Stage is due to the great team he gets to work with and for being part of productions that are gritty and will take a chance in putting their own stamp on the way the company views the material. For the show itself, Keith had so much fun studying and playing the iconic character as a "sexy mad scientist." His biggest challenge was not only to deliver a strong performance to audience in drag, but also being able to dance (and not trip) with his platform heels. On opening night, I was convinced that Keith was truly Dr. Frank-N-Furter who gave the powerful justice to fans who have come to love The Rocky Horror Show.

Magenta (Allison F. Rich), Brad (Parker Harris),
Janet (Ashley Garlick), and Riff Raff (Sean Okuniewicz)

Photograph courtesy by Dave Lepori
A direction that I enjoyed in the production were the two strong couples who were counterpoints throughout the show. At one end, we journey along with the beautifully naive and bubbly couple, Janet and Brad, who are played by Ashley Garlick and Parker Harris. The other end, we witness the the sexually naughty and conniving couple, Magenta and Riff Raff, played by director Allison F. Rich and Sean Okuniewicz. My highlight was to see the beautiful Ashley Garlick and the dashingly handsome Parker Harris deliver some numbers with some great singing.

Of course, Rocky himself, played by Matthew Kropschot, will not disappoint you, being a hunk to some and a twink to others. Do note that his ugly headshot in the program does little justice to his pretty looks. As a recent college graduate, Matthew was not only able to dance in his ripped six-pack body with swim briefs, he was also able to sing!

Rocky and Dr. Frank-N-Furter
Photograph courtesy by Dave Lepori
Now, a couple words of caution: this show may not be appropriate for everyone and discretion is strongly advised due to the show's language, sexual nature, and taboo humor.

Will hecklers and callbacks from audience be allowed? Most definitely. During rehearsals, Keith Pinto shared that the cast and company would need to be ready to read the audience's response. For example, the Narrator, played by Edward Hightower, got us to giggle because there were moments in which he couldn't keep a straight face. The whole audience was caught up in howls of laughter when, as the answer to the question "Where are we?" as characters Janet and Brad entered the castle, someone yelled out "Mar-a-Lago"! Of course, if you are not used to hecklers and callbacks from the audience, you are strongly advised to watch the movie beforehand. And if you decide to participate, audience members are politely asked to not throw anything to the cast or on to the stage.

You can catch a performance playing from Wednesdays to Sundays now until November 3, 2019. You can purchase tickets online at the San Jose Stage website at or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors.

Written by John Huân Vu.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Halloween Haunt 2019

It's that time of year again! Halloween Haunt is going on right now at Great America and they made a few changes this year. One of the more popular haunted mazes, Wax Museum, is now a blackout maze. All the lights are turned off, so you have to go through it with a tiny flashlight. There is a new Dia de los Muertos area with an impressive music and dance show. Lastly, the clowns are back in a new scare zone called Killer Clown Town. As in previous years, they went all out with the decorations throughout the park.

There is so much to do and see, that I would recommend getting a Fright Lane pass to skip all of the lines for Halloween attractions. It's early October, and some of the lines were already up to an hour long. Practically all of the rides are also in operation during the event. I really like Trailblazer, a new single-file roller-coaster with a 90 degree drop. I think it is the first new coaster in the park to top Flight Deck (I'll always remember it as "Top Gun" from my childhood).

For details and links to get to tickets, head over to the full press release below or click here.

New Haunted Maze, Scare Zone and Interactive Entertainment Area Provide Fresh Frights in 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA – Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America, the Bay Area’s premier  Halloween event, will begin terrifying guests on Sept. 27. Scares take place on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Nov. 2, including Halloween night. Tickets are on sale now at

Halloween Haunt offers eight haunted mazes, each with its own frightening theme, plus two scare zones, where guests encounter transformed midways, ghoulish monsters and rampant scares. Guests will enjoy several new experiences 2019, including:

  • A thrilling interactive entertainment zone, Dia de los Muertos, will offer a lively party in the land of the dead, where free-spirited hosts lead exciting music and dancing on the midway.
  • The all-new Killer Clown Town scare zone will bring a twisted carnival world to life with deranged circus acts and disgruntled clowns who want to see guests scream. 
  • The lights have been turned out in one of Halloween Haunt’s most popular mazes, Wax Museum Blackout, which will feature a nearly pitch-black experience where guests are only given a flashlight to illuminate the museum’s lifelike wax figures—some of which might even be alive. 
Halloween Haunt’s returning mazes include Backwoods, Chaos House, CornStalkers, Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor, Roadkill Roadhouse, Tooth Fairy and Zombie High. The popular scare zone Ripper’s Revenge will also return in 2019. The popular show Blood Drums, complete with percussion, music, blood, fire and sparks, returns on a brand-new stage.

“Halloween Haunt is not only a guest favorite event, it’s truly the Bay Area’s leading Halloween experience,” said Manny Gonzalez, vice president and general manager of California’s Great America. “This fall, a new maze, new scare zone, and an interactive midway party ensure Halloween Haunt continues to offer intense scares and fun for all who come through the Great America gates.”

For younger kids who want to enjoy Halloween in the park without the scares, The Great Pumpkin Fest takes over Great America during daytime hours on select Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 28–Nov. 3. Featuring trick-or-treating with Snoopy and the PEANUTS gang, pumpkin decorating, a hay maze and coloring, this event brings Halloween activities to life for the entire family. Great America will also entertain with “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” movie showings and book readings throughout the day.

Tickets for Halloween Haunt and The Great Pumpkin Fest are available online at The best way to enjoy Halloween Haunt and The Great Pumpkin Fest is with a 2020 Gold Season Pass, on sale now. The Gold Season Pass includes unlimited visits to California’s Great America and South Bay Shores waterpark on every public operating day for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020, including Halloween Haunt, The Great Pumpkin Fest and WinterFest, plus passholder-only perks like free parking, special events, early ride times, in-park discounts and more.

About California’s Great America and Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
California’s Great America is a 100-acre theme and waterpark located in Santa Clara, Calif. As Northern California’s premier amusement park, featuring thrill rides, live entertainment, and the South Bay Shores waterpark, California’s Great America is the top destination for thrill-seekers and families alike. California’s Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. Focused on its mission to make people happy by providing fun, immersive and memorable experiences, the Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, four outdoor water parks, an indoor water park and resort accommodations totaling more than 2,300 rooms and more than 600 luxury RV sites. For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Vince and Barry's Bootcamp are now open in Santana Row

Vince is a luxury clothing and accessory store located in a 2,378 SQFT space next to the newly-expanded lululemon. They are known for a modern, timeless aesthetic. This is one of only three Vince locations within 100 miles, the other two are in Palo Alto and San Francisco.

On the other side of the Row we have Barry's Bootcamp in a 4,500 SQFT space below Splunk. The gym features intense cardio and strength training interval workouts. Members burn up to 1,000 calories per class. You'll find 21 treadmills, full-service locker rooms with private shower, and premium snacks. This is the fourth Barry's Bootcamp in the Bay Area.

Both are now open, with Meso Modern Mediterranean and Blue Bottle Coffee opening next.