Broadway By the Bay Patron Services Director Sarah Dunn-Rankin told me I was in for a fast moving rip roaring high voltage musical show in DREAMGIRLS and she was right! When I went to see the show at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City, I remembered seeing it in 1981 when it had won six Tony Awards and became a movie in 2006. Director Angela Farr Schiller boasted DREAMGIRLS had not been produced locally by a Bay Area Theatre company in more than a decade and said Dreamgirls is about believing in oneself in the time period of the early 60s to the late 70s, where as an African American to be considered a fully human being was indeed only a dream where believing in oneself as both black and with value was radical. Kudos to wonderful singers Miranda Lawson, Janelle LaSalle, Majesty Scott, Anthone Jackson, Dedrick Weathersby,and AeJay Mitchell who sang their hearts out. This is a very lively production continuing through August 31. Contact 650-579 5565 or broadwaybythebay.org for comfortable seats in very busy Redwood City’s Broadway Street downtown area. Lots of restaurants on the block to catch some great eats before the show.
MOTOWN hit San Francisco fans with a big bang – and this story of Berry Gordy is a wonderful exciting production with smart scenery mechanization of big picture frame-like partitions moving effortlessly to set the next scene with different people.
Clifton Oliver was a great Berry Gordy and Allison Semmes was a very beautiful look alike Diana Ross. However, it was tiny Reed Shannon who brought down the house playing Michael Jackson as a young boy as he belted out his heart performing with his “brothers.” The audience continually clapped furiously whenever a familiar Motown song came on, and there was many a foot tapping with the extraordinary dancing and singing on stage. This nostalgic look back into the Motown sound is not to be missed in the beautiful Orpheum Theater in downtown San Francisco. The show will run through August and September so get those dancing feet to the box office before the show is sold out. Thanks SHN for bringing outstanding theater back to San Francisco.
FUN AND FOOD
In this Silicon Valley of cultural diversity and the influence of Indian and Chinese food all around us, it is no wonder that the culinary competition event at the Silicon Valley Food and Art Festival was a challenge between mostly Indian and Chinese chefs.
Held at the Quinlan Community Center this afternoon event brought together food lovers while promoting community involvement among the citizens of Cupertino. This four annual event was presented by Ding Ding TV, with its vivacious CEO Diana Ding and MC David Bonaccorsi opening the program to welcome everyone mingling among the food tables. Other sponsors of this crowded event was the Cupertino Rotary Club, Distinctive Taste Magazine, and several media partners and community organizations.
Over 1000 people filled the Quinlan Center rooms for this popular event. Of the dozen competitors, First place went to Om Marwah, second place to Julie Lai and third place was captured by Sunil Mehta who also won the title of Favorite Chef of the Day. Much community participation was evident among the local leaders. Award presenters included Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong, Orrin Walker, Kansen Chu, Savita Vaidhy, Don Sun, Emily Lo, Barry Chang, George Shao, Steve Wang and Angela Chen. A very attractive display of fine China porcelain was exhibited by Rita Beckman and Richard Lo of Franz Collection. Their display table showed China’s hand painted artistry in vases, teacups and plates. Franz porcelain can only be bought at Bloomingdale’s locally so be sure to look for these precious collectibles at Stanford Bloomingdale’s store.
MONTY PYTHON INVASION
City Lights Theater Company has a wild smash hit on its stage this month with SPAMALOT, a new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With its small stage, City Lights still manages to pull off great shows that delight the audiences in a more intimate stage fashion. In pure slapstick manner, the cast of Ken Boswell, Clara Rose Walker, Nick Manfredi, Mackenzie Draw and James Snell jump, run, and fast track across the stage whether it be imitating a horse or going to battle for King Arthur. Costumes are fun and the show has been updated with new current themes and spoofs forever and ever. Show continues for another week, so check cltc.org for showings next week or call (408) 295-4200, encourages Rebecca Wallace, Marketing Director.
To commemorate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture “Fighting Impunity” and highlight AACI’s services for torture survivors, an afternoon reception was held at the home of AACI’s President Michele Lew and Jon Kessler recently. Guest speaker was Professor Tom Nazario, founder of the nonprofit “The Forgotten International”, who spoke about his foundation work and new book “Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor.” Professor Nazario is an expert consultant on issues related to global poverty and human rights and a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law.
SEPTEMBER EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
The Auxiliary of the Foundation of City College of San Francisco will hold its TENTH ANNIVERSARY BASIC SKILLS LUNCHEON on Wednesday, September 17 in the Gold Room of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. Keynote speaker will be The Bernard Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman, with Featured Speaker Chancellor Dr. Arthur Q. Tyler. As Luncheon chair Sharon Seto explained, “We need everyone’s support as it is an investment in CCSF students, their future and the future of our community.” She and Host Committee chair Ellen Magnin Newman explain that all funds donated to the Basic Skills Luncheon are used in the current school year to help the students of the Guardian Scholars Programs and those enrolled in Basic Skills classes. For more info (415) 452-5134
What fun it will be to come to AACI’s cleverly named charity karaoke event – CHAR-A-OKE NIGHT. There will be an evening of networking at buffet stations, games and entertainment where local celebrities will sing to support AACI programs. Some people may pay to have them sing – and maybe some will pay for them NOT to sing. Whatever, AACI’s till will flourish.
Come see the results at the Santa Clara Convention Center at the Great American Parkway September 20, Saturday night,5:30 fun and games with silent auction and Dinner at 7pm.
Honored that evening with the Gordon Chan Leadership Award will be Honorable Norman Mineta, Health and Trailblazer Award will be Dr. Albert and Anna Wang, and Business Trailblazer Award will go to Ms. Van Dang of Cisco. Looks like a fun night to support Asian Americans for Community Involvement in a new more fun-loving way than the standard rubber chicken format. I like AACI’s new by-words – Supporting healthy lives, building healthy communities. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 975-0730, ext. 107.
On the very same night, Stanford’s Dr. Gordon Chang will win the 2014 History Maker Award from the Chinese Historical Society at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. September 20 must be a good night for fundraising according to the fung shui for two leading non profit organizations to plan their annual event on the same evening. Voice and Vision, CHSA’s annual event, is always a great place to support CHSA’s museum and programs while having a good time. Gordon is well deserving of this honor to recognize his leadership of the Chinese Railroad Workers of North America Project at Stanford. To order tickets: chsa.org/event/voice-and-vision-gala-2014.
The following week on September 27, Asian Health Services will present its 40th gala benefit at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland. Unique to this group is that there will be headline entertainment in the form of old favorite singing group Hiroshima and the menu will be designed by Alice Waters. Asian Health Services has just expanded to the site of the old Golden Dragon Restaurant where many a wedding, birthday and baby party was held. Asian Health Services provides low cost medical services at 818 Webster St. in Oakland’s Chinatown.
Bouquets of well wishes go to a deserving organization for AHS’s long standing progress to serving the growing Asian population in Oakland. Applause to Board Chair Carl Chan, AHS Foundation Chair Donn Ginoza and CEO Sherry Hirota for continued leadership. Ticket info available at www.asianhealthservices.org.
The talented Eden Aoba Taiko group will be presenting an evening of Taiko drumming and dance at a fundraiser benefiting the Todoroki Taiko Group in Ongawa, Japan and the Eden Japanese Community Center in San Lorenzo onSaturday, September 27 7pm. The master drumming will take place at Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center in San Ramon. Collaborating their talents that night for audience pleasure will be Vrindavan Indian Dance Academy, Sabah Ensemble, Mau Lona Ohana, Adara Dance Company, B-Boys Hip Hop and a Guitar Flute Taiko Tsuguru Shimasen & Violin Ensemble. Under the direction of Masa Fukuzumi, Eden Aoba was formed in 1997 and has grown to include members of all ages and ethnicities from the Tri-Valley. For more info: www.edentaiko.com for an evening rhythm and music.