Features & Columns

Quest Love: Cinequest Week 1 Recap

San Jose's anti-man-about-town falls hard for city's annual film festival. Read More


Breaking the Internet: 'Killswitch' Screens at Cinequest

We want everything in the whole wide world from the World Wide Web. We want information at our fingertips, and, yet, we want our information kept private. We want to connect openly with friends on social media, and feel that those awful little memories of social embarrassment that keep you awake in the night didn't really matter after all. We want both freedom and safety, and the vast machineries of government spying revealed by Edward Snowden show us that we have neither. » Read More

Cinequest 2015 Festival Picks

Our film critic reviews 7 Cinequest films. Aspie Seeks Love: One of the best of the fest-Julie Sokolow's documentary about the Pittsburgh writer David Matthews. At 41 he got the diagnosis that "my so called eccentricities had a biological basis." Coping with Asperger's, Matthews lived alone with a cat of great age and raccoon size. » Read More

Can Comic Books Be Saved?

I wish to make a complaint. There are exceptions, and I'll try to name them, but most mainstream media coverage of comics sucks the air out of the room. And this in a time when the lively medium needs all the help it can get. One of the bigger comic-book-related stories of 2014 was a copy of Action Comics #1 selling for $2.3 million on Ebay. » Read More

New Book 'A Cross of Thorns' Says Junipero Serra Was No Saint

Amidst the controversy over Pope Francis' plan to elevate Father Junipero Serra to Catholic sainthood this year comes a scholarly magnum opus, A Cross of Thorns, by Peninsula writer Elias Castillo. It will no doubt fuel the debate. For seven years, the longtime journalist immersed himself in historical documents from the mission era at archives from Stanford to Mexico City to reconstruct a portrait of California's conquest by the Spaniards, with a keen eye to documenting the treatment of Native Americans under Serra's mission system. » Read More

Aziz Ansari: Calm, Cool & Connected

If Aziz Ansari ever had any misgivings about his abilities, they're long gone. If anyone's self-assurance has been shaken, it's Rupert Murdoch, who's likely a little more careful before he hits the "Tweet" button these days, thanks to Ansari's January hashtag assault. The comedian's confidence may stem from the work he's done on TV—starring in two hit shows: MTV's Human Giant and NBC's blockbuster Parks and Recreation. » Read More

Silicon Valley Winter Arts Guide

The holiday season is behind us and the days are growing longer, but there is still plenty of cold and dreary weather ahead of us before the spring. It's the perfect time to contemplate the heavy things-and just as Hollywood is dropping all kinds of thinky, Oscar hopefuls in cinemas around the country, the producers of art in the South Bay are planning works that ask difficult questions and push viewers out of their comfort zones and into the unknown. » Read More


Cinequest Shorts Program

At Cinequest, the short programs can help launch a director's career and give audiences a glimpse at future mavericks. What's more, those who program the shorts inhabit the cutting edge right here in San Jose. This time around, for the festival's 25th anniversary, a wide smattering of snippets will explode off the screen. Every emotion imaginable will be thrown right in your face, from the extremes of uncomfortable darkness to joyous tear-jerking. » Read More

The Legendary Video Mania

With Cinequest nearly upon us, the anti-man-about-town needs to shatter spacetime and reflect on a legendary San Jose institution that originally taught him about movies. We're not talking about academic institutions, PBS, Gill Cable, or even books. We're talking about Video Mania, the greatest VHS movie rental store in San Jose history. Way back in the last half of the earth-shattering '80s, and located in a cookie-cutter stripmall at the northeast corner of the monolithic intersection of Branham and Almaden Expressway, Video Mania was, literally, a-maze-ing. » Read More

Female Artists Take Down Stereotypes in 'She Who Tells a Story'

At the Cantor Arts Center, I mistake bullets for sequins. A thousand of them, in fact. From across the gallery, a large triptych, 5 1/2 feet high and 12 1/2 feet tall, a set of three chromogenic prints on aluminum, stretches before me. In the work, a woman lies apparently sleeping on a bed of sequins. Behind her, a wall of still more sequins backdrops the scene. Sequins are falling throughout the piece, but as I make the approach it turns out the sequins are silver and gold bullet casings. » Read More