Metro's Best of Silicon Valley 2002

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[whitespace] Editors Picks: Culture Clubbing

Best Day Trip to the Moon

The Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
Douglas Beach House, Miramar Beach, Half Moon Bay 650.726.4143

What do you get when you combine dramatic scenery, first-class musicians and a charming host? Why, the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, of course, set in the rocky cliffs overlooking Miramar Beach. Pete Douglas and his beat-hipster friends started welcoming visitors in 1963; 39 years later, the friendly Douglas Beach House still offers a casual social atmosphere in which to loll on the lofty weathered wooden deck or curl up on a cozy couch in front of a crackling fireplace. Douglas himself is worth seeking out. A generous host and a real character, he seems fond of regaling new ears with his remarkable tales. Bring a picnic to enjoy outside or, even better, indulge in the delicious catered buffet, which is designed to complement the music of the night, complete with mouthwatering vegetarian fare. A small bar sells wine, beer and soda. Though the nonprofit organization is funded primarily by members, this unique music space is open to everyone. Those who have been there can attest that the magical ambience and setting are unbeatable.

Best Place to Pretend You're Richard Clayderman (or John Tesh, or Any Other Schlock Piano Noodler)

Music, Music, Music
60 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara 408.985.9677

The piano is always in tune at Music, Music, Music, San Jose's legendary sheet-music Mecca. Located on a small side street just west of Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair, the place has the widest possible variety of sheet music, and you can test out any song on their house piano. Just waltz in and plop yourself down on the bench with a Celine Dion songbook. As long as you can at least read the melody, the employees will let you play to your heart's desire. Ever secretly wondered what Mötley Crüe might sound like on a piano? If it's available on sheet music, this store can get it. Guitar, trombone, bassoon, 1930s show tunes--they're all here.

Best Place to Meditate and Be Creative at the Same Time

Color Me Mine
602 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650.328.4486

Remember kindergarten arts and crafts, where all the materials were set out on tables, and little kids ran amuck, splattered with paint and glue, and came home the proud owners of yet another misshapen ashtray or wildly impressionistic finger painting? Color Me Mine, a studio where children and adults can design and paint ready-made ceramic pieces, conjures up the same artistic vibe. Just the other night, two women concentrated on their elaborate designs, surrounded by brushes and glazes, eating brie cheese and French bread and sipping a fine cabernet. At the next table, three pint-sizers worked away, laughing and playing. The atmosphere is laid-back, rock music plays in the background and the skilled staffers are ready to help out or teach beginners. Choose from 400 ceramic pieces, sketch a design (or pick graphics from a design computer), select the underglazes, paint the piece--and they'll fire it up in their kiln, to be ready for pickup within two or three days. Prices for the bisque pieces range from $2.50 to $50, and the studio charges $5 an hour per painter (with special flat-rate times as well). Finished samples adorn the walls for ideas and inspiration.

Tireless contributors to this year's editor's picks included Corinne Asturias, Michael Gant, Allie Gottlieb, Todd Inoue, Gary Singh, Sarah Quelland, Loren Stein and Gordon Young

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From the October 10-16, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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