Best of Silicon Valley 2004

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Best of Silicon Valley 2004
Arts & Culture
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Editor's Short List


Arts & Culture
Editors' Picks

Best Place to Contemplate the Meaning of Life
Rodin's 'The Thinker' at Stanford's Cantor Center for Visual Arts

If you're feeling contemplative, head to Stanford's Cantor Center to marvel beneath Rodin's surprisingly brawny Thinker. This 1-ton bronze sculpture is one of 21 existing Thinker casts. Part of the largest Rodin collection outside of Paris (Stanford has more than 200 pieces by the sculptor), The Thinker used to be just outside Meyer Library, but after several world tours, it retreated indoors to a light-filled rotunda in the Cantor Center—a perfect place for meaningful meditation on muddled matters. Admission to the Cantor Center is free. 328 Lomita Drive and Museum Way (off Palm Drive), Stanford; 650.723.4177; (AB)


Best Quick History Fix
Almaden Quicksilver County Park and Museum

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ordered that Almaden's mines be requisitioned for war materials. The move significantly amped up the North. Today, New Almaden's Quicksilver County Park and Museum display mining artifacts (though the actual mines are sealed), and the museum's liquid mercury (a.k.a. quicksilver) exhibits document the history of quicksilver mining. Almost 2,000 miners foraged here over the course of 135 years. The park, which boasts 34 miles of hiking trails, is open daily until 8pm, but the museum is open only Fri-Sun (except for major holidays) until 4pm. Admission is free. 2350 New Almaden Rd., New Almaden; 408.268.3883; (AB)


Best Place to Weave Your Way Through a Museum
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Who knew that San Jose is home to America's oldest quilt museum (though it was only founded in 1977)? The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles features Navajo rugs, quilts that actually address current issues, works by master tapestry weavers and other objects that would be of interest to textile connoisseurs. Many cultures contributed to the impressive displays, making for a multiethnic experience. Make reservations if you'd like a docent tour. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students. Children 13 and under are free. The museum's hours are Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm; Thu 10am-8pm. First Thursdays free admission. 110 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose; 408.971.0323; (AB)


Best Time to Come Out
San Jose Gay Pride Celebration

During the San Jose Gay Pride Celebration, usually over a weekend in mid-June, there are vendors, Market Street's Silicon Valley Gay Pride Parade and lots of love. In 2004, performers such as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts appeared. Festivities included a Community Day in the Park (featuring local musicians and drag queens) and the San Jose Gay Pride Festival. Santa Clara Valley's gay-rights activists and organizations are always present and honored at the Pride Celebration. Admission to the Gay Pride Celebration is $10, but the Community Day in the Park and Silicon Valley Gay Pride Parade are free. At San Carlos and Woz Way in downtown San Jose; 408.278.5563; (AB)


Best Way to See Every Film on the AFI 100
The Santa Clara County Library System

Santa Clara County's eight-library interlinked database gives users the ability to rent nearly any movie in existence for free. Sign up for a library card at any of the libraries (Alum Rock, Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill or Saratoga), and you can pilfer any location's archives. The beautiful part is that much of the process can be done electronically. Check to see whether your film is available over the Internet. If it's not, sign up to be next in line for it. When it's available, the bookmobile delivers it to your nearest branch. You can then pick it up and keep it for a week. Though rentals are free, overdue charges are $1 per day. Various locations throughout Santa Clara County; (AB)


Best Local Documentary Connection

Released this year, Thirst takes a look at the relationship between global corporations and local water resources. Filmed in India, Bolivia, Japan and the United States, the flick asks the following question: "Is water a human right or a commodity to be bought and sold in a global marketplace?" The South Bay connection to brag about, though, is that the filmmakers, Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, are the same Snitow and Kaufman who gave us Secrets of Silicon Valley, the acclaimed 2001 documentary that used local stories to demonstrate the digital divide. (NH)


Best 35th Birthday
San Jose Museum of Art

Few 35-year-olds stay as hip and flexible as San Jose's Museum of Art. Born in 1969 to a family of community leaders and San Jose State College professors, SJMA was christened in a spirit of art for the people. Deciding to offer free admission a few years back just cemented that populist impulse. SJMA's commitment to West Coast and Bay Area art—including, appropriately for Silicon Valley, new media—has given it one of the most eclectic contemporary collections, from realism to ceramic sculpture. Birthday celebrations include a black-tie, caviar-and-vodka gala Oct. 2; and a Community Day Oct. 3, featuring hip-hop, capoeira and jazz performances. 110 S. Market St., San Jose. 408.271.6840; (TV)


Best Local Esoteric Magazine
'Rosicrucian Digest'

You don't have to be a Rosicrucian to subscribe to this magazine, nor do you have to spend 28 years going through esoteric monographs. Published continually since 1915, the magazine contains carefully selected articles on the nature of the soul, intuition, self-healing, mystical sounds, the structure of matter, the creative power of visualization, the vibratory nature of all things, aura perception, free will, karmic law, alchemy, telekinesis and the Huna pathway to your inner self. Back issues are omnipresent on eBay. See (GS)


Best Bargain Movie Concessions
Spangenberg Theatre at Gunn High School

There's nothing like seeing a film theatrically—the grandeur of a wide screen, the powerful sound that most living room setups can never match. The problem for the budget-conscious is that by the time one makes an investment in a ticket, there's often little time left to purchase concessions. With a series of art house and not-quite-out-on-home-video films, the Spangenberg shows two to three pictures a night, typically during a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. Tickets for all shows are $5, and the concessions go from $1 (canned drinks, regular-sized candies) to $5 (refillable jumbo tubs of popcorn). "We're not here to gouge anyone," says Jørgen Wedseltoft, the film series booker. "We felt like if we could charge about the same price as a DVD rental for the ticket, people would still be able to buy concessions at a reasonable price." Bonus points: All proceeds from the series go back to the high school. 780 Arastradero Rd., Palo Alto. Visit (YK)



Arts & Culture
Readers Poll

Best Place to Look at Art: San Jose Museum of Art, S.J. Runner-up: Gallery Anno Domini, S.J.
Best Local Festival: San Jose Jazz Festival Runner-up: Music in the Park
Best Local Blog: Runner-up: None
Best Art House Movie Theater: Camera 12 Runner-up: Camera 7
Best Mainstream Movie Theater: AMC Mercado Runner-up: Century 16
Best Video Arcade: Nickel City, S.J. Runner-up: Dave & Busters, multiple locations
Best Open-Mic Night: Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Santa Clara Runner-up: Cafecito, S.J.
Best Local Theater Company: San Jose Repertory Theatre Runner-up: City Lights
Best Standup Comedy Venue: The San Jose Improv Runner-up: Rooster T. Feathers, Sunnyvale
Best Local Winery: J. Lohr, S.J. Runner-up: Bonny Doon Vineyard, Santa Cruz
Best College Radio Station: KSCU-FM (103.3) Runner-up: KSJS-FM (90.5)
Best Local Radio Jock: Greg Kihn, KFOX-FM (98.5) Runner-up: V-Dogg, KSCU-FM (103.3)

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From the September 22-28, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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