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Party Time

Photo by Bret Lopez

High-energy: Tower of Power rings in the New Year at the Fairmont

A guide to the best parties and concerts for New Year's Eve

By Todd S. Inoue

The biggest San Jose blast this year has to be mighty Tower of Power performing its R&B/funk/soul mix at the Fairmont Hotel. The Soulsonics, L.A.'s finest acid-jazz ensemble, return to the area after a hiatus to test the brand-new dance floor at The Usual. The equally new Agenda supper club counters with We Three Kings and San Francisco underground jazz faves Jungle Biskit.

The worthiest party is a dance benefit for El Teatro Campesino with Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band (with special guest Luis Valdez); it takes place at the Center for Employment Training, 701 Vine St., San Jose. Strictly for laughs, Howie Mandel stands up for New Year's Eve at the Flint Center in Cupertino with guest comedian Margaret Cho.

Outside of San Jose, the largest Bay Area shindig, on the level of that surreal Strange Days finale, is SFNYE, a comedy-blues-latin-disco-rock-jazz and Barbary Coast funfest with music by Santana, War, Gin Blossoms, Spearhead, Enrique, Charlie Hunter Quartet and more. This extravaganza is scheduled to unfold in and around the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. If you'd rather smooch a computer screen at midnight than a real person, you can follow the event live on the Internet by pointing your browser to

South Bay/Peninsula

Agenda Jungle Biskit and We Three Kings; dinner and champagne. $10/$8 adv. 399 S. First St, San Jose (408/287-3991).

Alberto's Rock en Español with Confusion. $15 adv. 736 Dana St, Mtn View (415/968-3007).

An Alternative New Year Celebration Jazz, dancing, hors d'oeuvres and a midnight toast. 8pm-1:30am. No cover. Coffee Society, 21265 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (408/725-8091).

Bank Shot Sports Bar and Billiards Four hours on a table, party favors and champagne or sparkling cider. 9pm-1am. $25. 350 Altair Way, Sunnyvale (408/733-3855).

Bella Mia Dinner and dance with the Jazz Workshop Dance Band. No cover. 58 S. First St, San Jose (408/280-1993).

Big Lil's Tony Roma's dinner, unlimited drinks and an interactive comedy and vaudeville show. $60. Call for reservations. Big Lil's Barbary Coast Dinner Theater, 157 W. San Fernando St, San Jose (408/295-7469).

Biltmore Hotel and Suites DJ dancing, casino games, champagne and hors d'oeuvres. $109 per couple/$59 per person. 2151 Laurelwood Rd, Santa Clara (408/988-8411).

Black & White New Year's Extravaganza Two dance floors with DJ dancing, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, champagne and a balloon drop. $15 for ages 18-20/$10 for 21+. The Edge, 260 California Ave, Palo Alto (415/324-EDGE).

Britannia Arms Almaden Party with the Hipnotics. 5027 Almaden Expwy, San Jose (408/266-0550).

Britannia Arms Cupertino Party with Frank Joseph. 1087 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd, Cupertino (408/252-7262).

C&J's Sports Bar Buffet dinner, party favors, midnight champagne and music with Floyd's Ordeal. 9pm. $15/$10 adv. 1550 Lafayette St, Santa Clara (408/296-5810).

The Cactus Club Celebrate with Long Gone Bon, an AC/DC tribute band. 417 S. First St, San Jose (408/491-9300).

Casa de Fruta The 12th annual event includes BBQ dinner, party favors and champagne. The Patsy Kistner Band performs. $27.50. Call for details (408/842-9316).

Chasers Party featuring music by Phone Sex, and a midnight toast. 1007 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose (408/269-BREW).

Cheers Dancing, party favors, champagne and complimentary breakfast. 7pm. 685 El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408/749-1288).

Club Oasis DJ dancing, free champagne, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment, midnight champagne, prizes and more. 8pm. $15 adv. 200 N. First St, San Jose (408/292-2212).

ComedySportz Improv comedy, plus a catered buffet at the late show. 7:30 and 10pm. $6-$15. Rancho Center, 3428 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (408/985-5233).

Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band Benefit for El Teatro Campesino; special guest Luis Valdez, plus hors d'oeuvres and champagne at midnight. 8pm. $30. Reservations recommended. Center for Employment Training, 701 Vine St, San Jose (408/283-5717 x622).

Dolce Vita Live music and dancing all night. 14482 Big Basin Way, Saratoga (408/741-8858).

Duke of Edinburgh Spanking Machine, champagne and party favors. 9:30pm. No cover. 10801 N. Wolfe Rd, Cupertino (408/446-3853).

Embassy Suites Monte Carlo celebration features casino gaming, dancing with music by the Chet Smith Orchestra, accommodations, breakfast and more. 5:30pm. $289 per couple. Call for details (408/496-6400).

Fairmont The urban soul and funk band Tower of Power performs. The evening begins with an hors d'oeuvres reception. $65. Call for reservations. Fairmont Hotel, 170 S. Market St, San Jose (408/998-3962).

Fibbar Magee's Black-and-White Ball featuring free hors d'oeuvres, door prizes and music with Screaming Towardz Earth. $10. 156 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale (408/749-8373).

Four Points Hotel Dinner, champagne and DJ dancing. Dinner and dancing $60/dancing only $25. 1100 N. Mathilda Ave, Sunnyvale (408/745-6000).

Garden City Strings Attached and John Handy with the Smith and Gail Dobson Trio perform. 5, 7, 9 and 11pm. $3-$5/$25 for 11pm show. 360 S. Saratoga Ave, San Jose (408/244-3333).

The Hensley House Murder-mystery play, prizes, a buffet and a champagne toast. 7pm. $69. 456 N. Third St, San Jose (408/298-3537).

Howie Mandel Comedy veteran rings in 1996 with guest Margaret Cho. 9:30pm. $40. Flint Center, De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (BASS).

Hyatt San Jose Raging Reggae Party and Mediterranean Dance Party with music from Silver Creek. Special packages available. Hyatt San Jose, 1740 N. First St, San Jose (408/993-1234).

Johnny Z's Gunner Andersohn and a midnight champagne toast. 8:30pm. $65. Call for reservations. 1655 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd, Cupertino (408/257-1120).

JoJo's Champagne toast at midnight and music by the Zoo. $10 per couple/$6 per person. 1984 Oakland Rd, San Jose (408/435-0100).

La Mère Michelle Dinner and dancing with Clifford's Jazz Quartet. 8:30pm. 14467 Big Basin Way, Saratoga (408/867-5272).

Le Baron Hotel In the Fiesta Ballroom, Tito Garcia y su Orquesta International, Caña Roja and DJ Joe Feliciano; in the International Ballroom, DJs Carlos Diaz, Cris Campos and Julian Quiñones. 8pm-2am. $25. 1350 N. First St, San Jose (408/322-0840).

Margherita di Roma Cenone di Capodanno celebration features dinner, live music, dancing and party favors. Call for reservations. The Oaks, 21275 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (408/996-0666).

Mariani's The Night Hawks, party favors and champagne. $44.95. 2500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (408/243-1431).

Neighborhood Center New Year's Party Los Rivales, a steak dinner and dancing. 8pm-1am. $35 per couple/$20 per person. Eastside Neighborhood Center, 2150 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose (408/251-0215).

New Year's Eve Groove Bash Safe place to celebrate for youth; Jazzy Jim, Greg Lopez. $15/$10. San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose (408/984-4088).

Nicolino's Garden Cafe Live entertainment throughout dinner as well as dancing and a midnight toast. Shows at 6:30 and 9:30pm. Dancing starts at 6:30pm. No cover. Call for reservations. 1228 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale (408/734-5323).

Northwest YMCA Party Family evening with live music and dancing. 5-11pm. $3.50 per person. 20803 Alves Dr, Cupertino (408/257-7160).

P.J. Mulligan's New Year's Eve Bash with party favors, champagne and dancing. 8pm. $10/$8 adv. 19979 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (408/255-0588).

Pacific Fresh Mystery show, DJ dancing, champagne and party favors. 1130 N. Mathilda Ave, Sunnyvale (408/745-1710).

Paddy's School, champagne toast and appetizers. 31 E. Santa Clara St, San Jose (408/293-1118).

Paradise Beach Wild 107 New Year's Party. 8pm. 175 N. San Pedro, San Jose (408/298-9283).

The Phoenix Horchata and Lux-O-Crush. $6. 325 S. First St, San Jose (408/279-2272).

The Palace International Tapas Buffet, funk and soul of Sri Da Honky and DJ James Owen. Dinner at 6pm; dancing at 9:30pm. Dinner and Dance Package, $75; Dance Package, $25. The Palace, 146 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale (408/739-5179).

The Plumed Horse A special New Year's dinner includes an eclectic limited menu and live music and dancing. Beginning at 5pm. Big Basin Way, Saratoga (408/867-4711).

The Red Light 187 Calm, the Odd Numbers and 4 Banger. 369 S. First St, San Jose (408/297-1995).

Rooster T. Feathers Comedians Don McMillan, Steve Altman and Mark Lundholm. 8:30 and 10:30pm. Advance tickets only. 157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408/736-0921).

St. Andrew Armenian Church Fundraising New Year's Eve party. Holiday Inn, San Jose. Call for details (408/257-6743).

San Jose Live! Getting Even, party favors and a champagne toast. 7pm. 150 S. First St, San Jose (408/294-5483).

Scalawag's Mission Street Band, party favors and a champagne. $15 per couple/$10 per person. 14 S. Second St, San Jose (408/295-6969).

Sh Boom Music from the '50s-'80s; buffet, party favors and champagne. Dinner 6-9pm; dancing 9pm. Dinner and dancing: $105 per couple/$60 per person. Dancing only: $70 per couple/$40 per person. Call for reservations. 975 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd, San Jose (408/725-1600).

Singles' Pre-New Year's Gala Singles only; live band as well as DJ music. Dec 30, 8pm. $35/$29 adv. Decathlon Club, 3250 Central Expwy, Santa Clara (415/995-4949).

Sports Page Rockethead. 1432 Plymouth Ave, Mtn View (415/961-1992).

Starlite Ballroom Gala dance party. 8pm-1am. $18/$14 adv. 1160 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Sunnyvale (408/745-7827).

Stoddard's Brewhouse Board of Directors, dinner, champagne and dancing. 6:30pm or 9:30pm. 6:30pm dinner: $35. 9:30pm dinner and dancing: $50. 111 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale (408/733-7824).

Toon's Free hors d'oeuvres, champagne and Mood Ring. $10 adv. 52 E. Santa Clara St, San Jose (408/292-7464).

The Usual The Mo'Fessionals and the Solsonics, plus complimentary champagne toast. $30 dr/$25 adv or with F/X gold or black cards. 400 S. First St, San Jose (408/535-0330).

Waves The Yardies and a dance party. 9:30pm. 50 University Ave, Los Gatos (408/395-8600).

San Francisco/East Bay

Big Bash '96 Superdiamond and the Timmie Hesla Big Band; food and drink from local establishments. 8pm. $40/$35 adv. San Francisco Fashion Center, San Francisco (BASS).

Bimbo's Dance Party Vise Grip and the Ambassadors of Swing, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, the New Morty Show and the Girl in the Fishbowl. $40. 8pm. Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave, San Francisco (BASS).

Black Comedy Explosion Mark Curry, Chris Rock and Cedrick the Entertainer. 7 and 11pm. $34.50/$29.50. Paramount Theatre, Oakland (BASS).

Cajun Dance Party Beausoleil; champagne, party favors and dance class. 9pm. The Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St, San Francisco (415/885-0750).

Elbo Room The evening's festivities include performances by the Greyboy All-stars and Behind the Post Office. 10pm. $7. Valencia Street near 17th, San Francisco (415/552-7788).

The Fillmore Hot Tuna. $37.50. 1805 Geary St, San Francisco (BASS).

Jazz in Flight Concert This year's concert is the last in a long series of collaborations between George Cables and a variety of musicians, including Bobby Hutcherson, Steve Berrios and Herbie Lewis. Special guests are flautist James Newton and cellist Kash Killion. $60/$50 for Jazz in Flight members. 8pm. 552 Vernon St, Oakland (510/601-7715).

KSOL New Year's Eve Ball Confunkshun, the SOS Band, Cherrelle, Know Jazz and comedian A.J. Jamal; complimentary buffet. $49.50 per person/$90 per couple. 7pm. Concourse Exhibition Center, Eighth and Brannan at Townsend, San Francisco (510/832-5840).

New Year's Eve Comedy Countdown Greg Proops, David Feldman, Matt Weinhold, Larry "Bubbles" Brown, Sabrina Matthews and Warren Thomas. 7 and 9:30pm. 7pm $25/9:30pm $45. Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco (BASS).

Primus Tool opens. 8:30pm. $28.50. Oakland Coliseum, Highway 880 and Hegenberger Road, Oakland (BASS).

Sailor's Delight Two evenings with the Radiators and Zero. Plus multimedia show. Dec 30, 7:30. $25 door/$21.75 adv; Dec 31, 7:30pm, $35 door/$29.75 adv. 18+. Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison St, San Francisco (510/420-1529).

San Francisco New Year's Eve Seven square blocks of San Francisco waterfront; Santana, Gin Blossoms and stages for blues, comedy, Latin music, a '70s Disco Inferno, a Barbary Coast Saloon and a Champagne Terrace. 8pm. $72.50 including BASS service charge. Call for details (415/974-6726).

Slim's Box Set and the Broun Fellinis, champagne and a buffet. $35/$30. 333 11th St, San Francisco (415/522-0333).

A Toast to the New Year Brian McNight and Chante Moore and complimentary buffet. 9pm. $75.50 adv. Oakland Convention Center (BASS).

The Warfield Former Stray Cat Brian Setzer and his 17-piece orchestra and Rev. Horton Heat. $50/$45 includes champagne and party favors. 982 Market St, San Francisco (BASS).

Yoshi's National Public Radio broadcast; music by the Joshua Redman Quartet and the Benny Green Trio and a champagne toast. $50. 6030 Claremont St, Oakland (510/652-9200).

Santa Cruz

Catalyst Pele Juju. 9:30pm. $15.50/$14. The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (408/423-1336).

Cocoanut Grove Caribbean Carnaval Dinner; Las Ramas, Fusao Brazilian Dance Company and Conjunto Cespedes. $49 dinner and dancing; advance tickets only. Dance only: $30/$27 adv. Dinner and dance: $49. 7:30pm dinner; 9:15pm dancing. 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz (408/423-2053).

First Night Family celebration fills downtown Santa Cruz with local performers. First Night buttons are admission: $9 each. Advance purchase is recommended. Smoke- and alcohol-free. Downtown Santa Cruz (408/425-7277).

Lesbian New Year's Eve Ball Rebecca Adams Swinging Jazz Trio; dining and dancing. 9pm (music). Sliding scale $65-$85 (advance ticket sales only). Chaminade at Santa Cruz, 1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz (408/429-6636).

Moe's Alley The Soul Drivers and Terry Hanck. 9pm. $10. Moe's Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz (408/479-1854).

New Year's Eve Gala Joe Sharino Band one day early. $15/$13 in advance. Dec 30, 8:30pm-1am. Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz (408/423-5590).

Palookaville Psychedelic New Year's with Merl Saunders the Blissninnies and Old Dead Bug open. 9pm. $15/$13.50. Palookaville, 1133 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (408/454-0600).

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From the Dec. 28, 1995-Jan. 3, 1996 issue of Metro

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