Wednesday, June 12, 2019

"A Night in Napoli" at Trianon Theatre on June 16th

On June 16th, Italian-born President of the Jury, Antonio Pompa-Baldi will host an unforgettable opening concert, "A Night in Napoli" at the sublime Trianon Theatre in downtown San Jose. This will kick off the ONLY international piano competition in Northern California: The San Jose International Piano Competition. Thirty contestants, ages 18 to 32 will fly in from 13 countries to compete. Anyone, regardless of music interest, be it jazz, hip hop, rock, or blues to become inspired. 

The opening night will include Italian appetizers and entrees (from ten local Italian eateries!) and wine. Pompa-Baldi is SJIPC's Jury President and a Van Cliburn medalist. 

This is the 19th annual competition. SJIPC is a nonprofit that works all year guiding, educating, and providing one-on-one mentorship to young people and children of all ages to learn, appreciate, and strive in piano. Music-lovers can dive into 8 days of events, mixers, masterclasses, and competition rounds starting on June 16th and ending on June 23rd. 

Events, both paid and free, will be held in San Jose, CA at the historic Trianon Theater (its last year as a public space) and San Jose State University.The contestants and attendees will immerse themselves into a week of music, education, and community. Contestants practice 5 to 8 hours every day!  The mission of SJIPC for almost 20 years has been to provide excellence in education and performance while nurturing the love of classical music. Many go on to win awards all around the world or to prestigious piano careers. 

Our community will have access to a week of free and paid performances of the highest caliber, fun mixers, and an inspiring master class. This will be a rare a unique and unforgettable experience. Pompa-Baldi, who does not reside in California, will lead a not-to-be-missed Master Class on June 21st. 

Please support our local music arts by visiting for the schedule, tickets, and to learn of the the various ways you can become involved.

5 reasons to buy your ticket, attend free competition rounds or donate to SJIPC 

1. It is motivating and inspiring to go for your own dreams and challenge yourself when you see making a challenging dream their #1 priority. Seeing students in San Jose and from around the world dedicated, mind, body, and soul, to polishing a skill that takes a lifetime of patience, practice, and perseverance...encourages us to root for others AND ourselves.  

2. We believe our core job is to encourage children and young adults to be their best at every moment of performance or practice as they pursue excellence.  We are mentors to our students, guiding them one-on-one through frustration, setbacks, and mistakes, and cheering for them when they improve, gain confidence, and triumph. Whatever the chosen field, SJIPC contestants learn lifetime values that will nurture them in all areas of life. 

3. We provide opportunities for the community to experience the highest caliber of piano performance in public spaces, like libraries, where we have Competition winners perform for the public. We feel classical piano is for all. We don't forget the reactions on peoples' faces when they hear the sounds of the keys of a SJIPC winner. It is awe and joy. We believe in accessibility to the learning, appreciation, and joy of classical piano.

4. This success story. Six years ago, a young 14  year old teenager flew over from Vietnam to compete. We worked with the community to provide lodging for her and her mother that they could not afford. As she competed, it was made known she was self-taught, she had NO access to teachers.  SJIPC provided her with sponsored masterclasses from every jury member, and then we had her taken to one of the  best piano teachers in the world. This tutor was one of Rachmaninoff's only students. She returned to SJIPC and received an Honorable Mention. We smiled through tears as she received a coveted SJIPC competition prize of a scholarship to a summer piano festival in Europe. It was a life-changing transformation. She dared to dream and we helped make the dream a reality. 

5. We pride ourselves in a transparent, honest competition and we are committed to making sure our Jury and contestants adhere to fair competition values and practices. This is why we have one of the most respected piano competitions in the world. Need more reason? We help mold world-renowned pianists. The 2012 winner of SJIPC, won the Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition yesterday. This is the most prestigious piano competition in the world! 

-Anna Bagirov 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

June 2019 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month:

The June 2019 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
In this edition:
  • Immediate, short-term and long-term programs addressing homelessness are starting to emerge in San Jose. However, for every individual placed in housing, three more homeless people come to San Jose. Here's an update on homeless services.
  • Results of the Groundwerx survey are reported.  Property owners in general approve of Groundwerx programs, but factors out of Groundwerx control are keeping people from giving high marks to the state of downtown cleanliness.
  • Santa Clara County has released plans for the old hospital site on East Santa Clara Street.
  • Downtown properties continue to change ownership.
  • The 15th version of Downtown Doors has been posted on service doors and utility boxes around downtown.
  • Get ready for the start of Music in the Park on June 21, when The Delfonics come to Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Also for your information:

  • Live and Local SJ supports live music in the center city.
  • Traffic alerts keep up with lane and road closures and openings.
  • Maps of downtown commercial property availability and development proposals.
  • Boom City: SJDA's summary of new downtown building proposals and west side acquisitions, continues to be updated almost monthly...
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, June 10, 2019

SJC is getting five new gates this month

SJC is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. In fact, this year we overtook Oakland to become the second busiest airport in the Bay Area. The downside to the rapid growth is that we are quickly running out of space. Fortunately, a $54 million airport expansion with five temporary gates will go live this month and increase capacity in Terminal B by 50%. A 6th gate will also be ready in November.

The new gates will let Southwest and Alaska airlines consolidate their operations to make it easier for connecting flights. It will also open up opportunities for expansion. For example, Delta is going to make San Jose a focus city and wants to more aggressively compete with Southwest and Alaska. Delta is planning to increase service at SJC by 23.1%, which means a lot more flights and better prices for San Joseans.

As exciting as this news is, it is only the beginning. Terminal B will eventually have a permanent 12-gate expansion (see diagram below) with new restaurants an shopping options. This would bring our total gate count to 40 and it could be built without disruptions to the temporary gates. This is still five to seven years away, but shows the airport still has a long way to go before hitting its potential.

Sources: SVBJ, Flight Global, thanks to Daniel Martinez for the tip regarding Delta!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

12th Annual SubZERO Festival June 7th & 8th

South FIRST FRIDAYS is hosting an art walk on steroids tomorrow--SubZERO. Over 100 artists, performers, and musicians are participating in the event. Dozens of local arts & crafts vendors will also be there and two stages will host nonstop live music. The event runs from 6pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Oh, and admission is free.

For more info, head over here. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Light Between Two Towers is getting recognized

The documentary film relating the San Jose Electric Light Tower and the Eiffel Tower has received its first two awards. It was recognized as an Official Selection for both the Rome Independent Prisma Awards and the Depth of Field International Film Festival. If you haven't seen the movie yet, we highly recommend doing so. You can watch The Light Between Two Towers over here. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mamma Mia! @ The Stage

Donna and the Dynamos
Allison F. Rich (Tanya), Adrienne Herro (Donna), Jill Miller (Rosie)
Courtesy photograph provided by The Stage in San Jose.

As an ABBA fan, I knew that I wanted to see Mamma Mia! playing at The Stage in San Jose even if my friends may jokingly say, Here We Go Again! Upon seeing the Broadway tour production at the Center for Performing Arts and watching every movie of its franchise, I know that The Stage would give its own take allowing every audience member to love its song and story.

The set of Mamma Mia! at The Stage in San Jose.
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.
Sitting on the last row—also known as row 5—at The Stage, the simple stage was elegant on "an island sparkling in the iridescent blue of the Aegean in 1999." I was surrounded people from all ages from an elementary school daughter to two seniors going on their lovely date on a Sunday afternoon.

As the Overture starts, the five band orchestra is found playing at the center back part of the stage led by The Stage former cast member and now conductor, Martín Rojas Dietrich. Despite the small theater, the orchestra was able to deliver all the songs allowing an ABBA fan to feel the music resonating in their hearts.

Although I came in with high expectations, what really hit the musical out of the park were the three cast members that made Donna and the Dynamos (Donna, Tanya, and Rosie) including their delivery of the infamous song, "Dancing Queen."

Allison F. Rich, musical director and cast member, continues to deliver a solid performance as Tanya including her seductive flirtation with Pepper, played by Michael J. Wu, in "Does Your Mother Know." Jill Miller, who played Rosie, performed a great duet with Jeffrey Brian Adams, who played Bill, in "Take a Chance on Me" with a nod to some future BDSM.

Donna, played by Adrienne Herro
Courtesy photograph provided by The Stage in San Jose
Nevertheless, to round out the trio was a spectacular performance by Adrienne Herro who played Donna. From the first scene to the last, Adrienee Herro evoked Donna's character as a mother who is not only confused and frustrated but also loving and fun. The audience can relate to Adrienee Herro when she delivered her anguish in "The Winner Takes it All" for feeling cheated by Sam, played by Noel Anthony, to her elation in "Super Trouper." Personally, I can envision Adrienee Herro playing the character Diana in one of my personal favorite musicals, Next to Normal. She was a great actress!

I want to give a callout to the crew under Bethany Deal, Costume Designer, and Ge Jia, Costume Design Assistant, for creating the amazing costumes worn by Donna and the Dynamos along with the fathers (Harry, Bill, and Sam). Instead of doing the same costume style but with different colors, they used the same fabric and silver color but using different styles to represent each of the respective personalities. See the photograph of Donna and the Dynamos to understand why I loved their costumes. Heck, I'd love to buy any of the ones worn by the fathers!

Unfortunately, one of the things that made me really cringe throughout the show was when the ensemble and cast members were wearing masquerade masks. Although I could understand the significance to blend into the background, there are alternative ways such as the use of lighting, similar colored costumes, or maybe not even having them wear masquerade masks at all.

Despite my cringe, I was proud of the men who were willing to wear adorable flippers and go shirtless in "Lay All Your Love On Me" with Sky, played by Sam Saustine, and the boys, played by Michael J. Wu, Sean Okuniewicz, Vinh G. Nguyen, and James Zongus. Along with the girls played by Allison J. Parker, Brigitte Losey, Sarah Bylsma, Monica Moe, Brittney Monroe, and Tracey Shaw, the audience were engaged throughout the storyline including after the bows with some audience members standing (and dancing) to their final song!

It was a fun show and you can catch a performance playing from Wednesdays to Sundays now until July 7, 2019. You can purchase tickets online at The 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. As a word of caution, this show may not be appropriate for everyone and discretion is strongly advised due to the some language, a lot of sexual innuendos, and taboo humor. I personally had some good laughs and I believe you will also too!

Written by John Huân Vu.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Apple is building a flagship two-story store in San Jose

San Jose is finally getting an Apple store worthy of being in Silicon Valley! As part of Westfield's $1.1 billion expansion, Apple will move to a two-story location facing the new Santana Row-style outdoor dining district. In the image below I marked where I think it could go. Based on the description it could be anywhere on the walkway closest to Stevens Creek Boulevard and it will feature both indoor and outdoor areas.

Westfield is calling this out as an "anchor" tenant for their expansion which will have over 150 new retail stores, multiple new restaurants, and a Bloomingdale's department store. Apple tends to pull out all the stops for their flagship locations and I can't see what they come up with for San Jose.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, May 23, 2019

San Jose holds 3rd place in US solar rankings

We just hit the highest level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 3 million years. Fortunately, some cities are doing their part to reduce CO2 as much as possible. San Jose has the highest per-capita electric vehicle adoption of any major city in the United States and now we are 3rd when it comes to per capita solar adoption.

Only sunny San Diego and Honolulu (where electricity rates are insane) are ranked higher than San Jose. San Francisco came in 20th place.

As the prices of solar systems drop and electricity becomes more expensive, hopefully adoption of clean energy will continue to rise.

Source: SJ Economy Blog