Friday, September 30, 2022

Illusionist show coming to San Jose for the holidays + Giveaway

The internationally renowned show Champions of Magic is doing five performances at the San Jose Civic from Dec. 27 to 29. The show is led by a team of five illusionists that have been featured on every major US TV network. The acts take place around the whole theater and include interactive magic, levitations, several illusions that can't be seen anywhere else, and an epic finale. 

It's an ideal family-friendly activity for the holiday season and will pair well with Christmas in the Park across the street.

You can buy tickets right now over here starting at $69 per person. We are also going to do a giveaway for four tickets next week! Keep your eyes peeled for further details early next week on how to enter the giveaway.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

California's Great America plans for 2023

Earlier this year, we got the sad news that Great America will be closing it's doors permanently at some point this decade. Fortunately, it appears that the theme park is going to make the most of it's remaining few years.

2023 has a full lineup of events and the park will be open for weekends all year long. New for 2023 will be a PEANUTS Celebration in April featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Friday Nights at Great America will welcome live bands, food, and drinks. Red, White & Brews is a hometown celebration of Americana food and drinks with local beers and wines. Tricks and Treats is a toned down version of Halloween Haunt that is family friendly (no mazes or haunted houses unfortunately). Last but not least is WinterFest in November and December.

For all of the 2023 details, continue reading the press release below.

California’s Great America Plans Expanded Lineup of Events and New Attractions for 2023; Will Be Open for Weekends All Year

SANTA CLARA, CA (August 11, 2022) – California’s Great America, the region’s premier amusement park, is planning an exciting 2023 season that will include an expanded lineup of events, live shows, new attractions, thrilling rides, kid-sized fun and waterpark adventures. And the park will be open for weekends all year long beginning in January.

As part of the expanded calendar and additional operating days in 2023, the park is planning a full slate of new and returning events:

  • PEANUTS Celebration (select dates in April) – New in 2023, the PEANUTS Gang comes out to play in a big way with this limited-time, special event where Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang will take over the entire park. Fans of all ages are invited to join the excitement with new live shows, Instagrammable moments, and activities for guests to play and interact with the PEANUTS Gang throughout the park. 
  • Friday Nights at Great America (select Fridays, March to November): Returning for another season, guests can enjoy the best night of the week with live bands, amazing food, tasty drinks and favorite rides.
  • Red, White & Brews (Select dates in June to July 4th): Join this hometown celebration of Americana food and fun as Great America's Hometown Square comes to life with live entertainment, gourmet food and locally sourced beer and wine. And there will be plenty of games and activities for the whole family.
  • Carnivale at Orleans Place (Select dates in July): Immerse yourself in this larger-than-life New Orleans festival featuring bold Cajun flavors, Big Easy Live Bands, and ending with the Spectacle of Color Parade featuring a host of Mardi Gras floats. A dance party and spectacular fireworks high over Orleans Place finish off the evening. Let the good times roll!
  • Tricks and Treats (Select dates in September and October): Halloween at Great America is as spook-tacular as ever. Tricks and Treats features all the Halloween fun and no fright. Guests of all ages will find ghastly great things to do as they choose their own path to follow through the lands of Icky Ville, Spooky Spires, Everfall and Sweet Tooth Acres. We invite the whole family to dress up for costume parties, play game shows, dance with spooky characters, and enjoy boo-licious food and drinks.
  • WinterFest (Select dates in November and December): The Bay Area’s most immersive holiday event returns this year, sparkling brighter than ever before. WinterFest brings holiday cheer to California’s Great America as the park is magically transformed into a winter wonderland and holiday festival.

In addition to this full calendar of fun events for 2023, park guests can also enjoy the recently expanded and upgraded All-American Corners area. It includes The Corner Notes musical song and dance show, expanded food options and two classic rides. Liberty Twirler is a brand-new spin on a classic midway ride that has been thrilling guests for decades. Long-time guests of Great America will instantly recognize Orbit, which spins back into action as part of the expanded area.

Park-goers will continue to enjoy the value of two parks for the price of one when they experience the thrilling slides and refreshing splashes of South Bay Shores waterpark – included with park admission. Featuring exciting water attractions, diverse and delicious food locations, premium cabanas and shaded lounge areas, South Bay Shores reflects the unique character of the South Bay region.

“California’s Great America is in the business of delivering fun and lifelong family memories. With our expanded operating calendar in 2023, guests will have more opportunities than ever to experience all that Great America has to offer,” said Barb Granter, general manager. “Between our exciting and expanded events lineup, thrilling and family-friendly rides, and everything our guests love about South Bay Shores waterpark, there’s something for everyone.”

Enjoy unlimited visits for the rest of 2022 plus all of the excitement planned in 2023 with a 2023 Gold Pass. You'll get visits to Great America, South Bay Shores, the new Tricks and Treats, WinterFest, exclusive discounts, and more. 2023 Gold Season Passes are now available for the lowest price of the year – as low as $95 or 11 payments of only $7, after initial payment plus fees. A season pass pays for itself in fewer than two visits. Purchase a Gold Pass between August 11 – 14 and enjoy one free Fast Lane to be used one day this fall. For more information and to purchase a 2023 season pass, please visit here.

About California’s Great America

California’s Great America is a 115-acre theme and waterpark located in Santa Clara, California. As Northern California’s premier amusement park, featuring thrill rides, live entertainment, and South Bay Shores waterpark, California’s Great America is the top destination for thrill-seekers and families alike. 

About Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

California’s Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a publicly traded partnership and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. For more information, see

Monday, September 19, 2022

SJMA presents Kelly Akashi: Formations, the artist's first major touring exhibition

The San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) is hosting the first major touring exhibition of Kelly Akashi. The exhibit includes nearly a decade of work featuring sculptures, glass, cast bronze, and photography. She is known for her hybrid works that are compelling both formally and conceptually. The exhibit also includes a new series where Akashi explores the inherited impact of her family's imprisonment in a Japanese American incarceration camp during WWII. For more information, please read the full press release below.

Kelly Akashi: Formations will be available at the SJMA until April 23rd, 2023 and then will travel nationally.

For Immediate Release
SAN JOSE, CA (June 28, 2022)—From September 3, 2022 through April 23, 2023, the San José Museum of Art (SJMA) will present the first major touring museum exhibition of Los Angeles–based artist Kelly Akashi (born 1983, Los Angeles). Organized by senior curator Lauren Schell Dickens, Kelly Akashi: Formations presents an overview of nearly a decade of work, including glass and cast bronze objects, multipart sculptural installations, and photographic work. It also includes a newly commissioned body of work that explores the inherited impact of the artist’s father’s imprisonment in a Japanese American incarceration camp in Poston, Arizona during World War II. The exhibition will debut at SJMA and then travel nationally.

“Since its founding, SJMA has provided a platform for emerging artists. We are honored to present Kelly Akashi’s first touring museum exhibition and encourage deeper exploration of her work and unique practice,” said S. Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director, San José Museum of Art.

Originally trained in analog photography, Akashi is drawn to fluid, impressionable materials and old-world craft techniques, such as glass blowing and casting, candle making, bronze and silicone casting, and rope making. She often pairs hand-blown glass or wax forms with unique and temporally specific bronze casts of her own hand, each a unique record of the slow-changing human body. Akashi’s interest in time—embedded in the materiality of many of her processes—has led her to study fossils, geology, and botany, locating humankind within a longer geological timeline. Drawing on scientific research and theoretical inquiry, she explores fundamental questions of existence—about being in the world and being in time—cultivating relationships among a variety of materials and subjects to investigate how they actively convey their histories and potential for change.  

“Akashi uses a familiar language of craft—of skilled experience and material knowledge—in a way that draws from tradition, but reveals internal encounters, juxtapositions, and relationships that push towards transformation. In one sense, you could say she’s encouraging a material empathy—looking at stones as witnesses to human trauma—while she’s also looking to interactions with materials, to geologic records, to make sense of her own history, as a human, and as a Japanese American,” said Lauren Schell Dickens, senior curator, San José Museum of Art.

The newly commissioned Conjoined Tumbleweeds (2022) is a monumental bronze cast of intertwined plants collected from Poston, Arizona—the former site of an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans where the artist’s paternal family, along with thousands of others, were relocated and imprisoned during World War II. It is presented with a variety of sculptures from throughout Akashi’s career on rammed earth pedestals, such as Be Me (Californian—Japanese Citrus) (2016), a stainless-steel cast of the cultivated fruit whose hybrid identity reflects the artist’s own heritage. The title “Be Me” is given to an ongoing group of works: an empathetic entreaty to dissolve boundaries between object and viewer, self and other. Particular subjects, weeds, flowers, shells, as well as traditional craft forms—footed vase, candle cup—reoccur, each encompassing particular morphologies and lineages in botany, paleontology, and histories of craft.

Akashi’s interest in thinking about cultivation, botanical time, and their relationship to self could first be seen in Local Weed (2017). The artist has an ongoing series of weed sculptures from the weeds in her backyard, drawn from life with meticulous tracings and entombed through lost-wax bronze casting. The exhibition will also include several large multifaceted sculptures—called “Complexes”—which incorporate their own systems of display. Evocative of scientific specimen tables, cabinets of curiosities, and domestic display furniture, these complex and detailed arrangements reveal the tenuous frailty of systems of classification and order.


The exhibition catalog—the first scholarly monograph on the artist—will feature essays by Lauren Schell Dickens, Ruba Katrib, Dr. Jenni Sorkin; and a conversation between Akashi and painter Julien Nguyen. The book will also feature a special photography project by Akashi, created specifically for this publication.  



Born in 1983, Kelly Akashi holds an MFA from the University of Southern California (2014) and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design (2006); she also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste—Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The artist’s work was featured in the 2016 edition of the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. Other notable group exhibitions include TITLE, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2017); LA: A Fiction, Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (2017); Take Me (I’m Yours), curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jens Hoffmann, and Kelly Taxter, Jewish Museum, New York (2016); and Can’t Reach Me There, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2015). Winner of the 2019 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize, the artist will have a residency and solo exhibition at the foundation in Ojai, California. Other residencies include ARCH Athens (2019) and Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California (2019). Akashi’s solo exhibition Long Exposure was curated by Ruba Katrib at the SculptureCenter, New York (2017), and her first solo New York gallery exhibition was held at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in February 2020. Kelly Akashi’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; CC Foundation, Shanghai; M WOODS, Beijing; The Perimeter, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; and Sifang Museum, Nanjing, China, among others.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Viva CalleSJ 2022 on Sunday, September 18th

Viva Calle SJ is one of San Jose's largest and most unique annual events. Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, bike, or skateboard down the streets of San Jose. 

Viva Calle features multiple activity hubs which are basically festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This year the activity hubs will be at Parque de los Pobladores (Downtown), Kelley Park & History Park, the Arena Green, and Japantown. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all four hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores. Up to 100,000 people attend this event, but it never feels crowded given how spread out it is.

This year the route is essentially a hub Downtown with 3 spokes extending to the activity hubs. It's wild to think that you can walk from Kelly Park to Japantown in the middle of city streets.

Viva CalleSJ 2022 takes place on Sunday, September 18th from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). It is completely free and has no designated beginning or end as it's not a race. It also overlaps with a PokemonGO community event, so you may see a lot of people on their phones. You can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Oktoberfest 2022 at Ludwig's - Sep, 26, 17, 23, 24

Ludwig's--one of my favorite Downtown restaurants--is hosting multiple Oktoberfest celebrations this year. The first couple events are this weekend on September 16th and 17th with an encore next weekend on September 23rd and 24th.

There is food, beer (hopefully in a boot), music, dancing, a best-dressed contest, and a Stein-Holding competition. To get in, you have to purchase a table which allows entry for 6-8 adults. You can buy tickets over here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

September 2022 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The September 2022 Downtown Dimension is available for download.
This month's newsletter highlights:  
  • Learn about startup development company Nabr's plans for SoFA, starting with three towers of condos and breaking ground on the first 140 units this winter.
  • Progress being made on BART design improvements to proposed lines under downtown San Jose.
  • Juan Carlos Aguirre's background fits perfectly into his new assignment with SJDA as Community Engagement Manager, 
  • Groundwerx Employee of the Month Jesse Velo is an ardent supporter of public transportation, resulting in a thorough knowledge of downtown that comes in handy when visitors request directions.
  • SJDA's street life team creates an urban botanical garden.
  • 1 Culture art store joins eclectic lineup of businesses along the block of East Santa Clara Street between Third and Fourth streets
  • Do you have an idea for a community event or public activation? Apply this month for the Mayor's Abierto program, a celebration of the city's post pandemic re-opening.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Future of the Bay is San Jose

Nabr is building a sustainable, contemporary Scandinavian high-rises in Downtown San Jose's SoFA district and they have produced several articles that highlight just how walkable the area is. I think they nailed it (I visit most of the places mentioned frequently).

Click here to read "The Future of the Bay is San Jose"

Then follow it up with "72 Hours in San Jose, CA"

If you might be interested in their unique rent-to-own apartments, then I have one more link for you over here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

District 3 City Council Candidate Forum

District 3 is one of the most challenging parts of San Jose to manage as it contains Downtown San Jose, our urban and cultural core. With great challenge comes great reward--several District 3 councilmembers have ended up becoming mayor (Sam Liccardo, Susan Hammer, etc.). This election season, Irene Smith and Omar Torres are the frontrunners for the District 3 role. They will both be sharing their qualifications and vision in a forum at the Tabard Theatre on September 9th at 8:15am.

You can either attend in person by registering at (everyone gets 90 minutes of free parking at the Market/San Pedro Square garage) or by livestreaming the event over here.