Well, look at that. I’ve been such a good procrastinator I almost missed the entire weekend. Thankfully there’s still Sunday, the day-of-last-chance for redeeming oneself from a disappointing weekend.
But really, it didn’t matter that I missed Saturday, because the best thing going this entire weekend is Sunday’s free live show at Stern Grove. The opening act is Nitin Sawhney, the British Indian musician/dj who’s been making stellar, boundary-breaking music since the mid ‘90s. The Brits think he’s fab, and he is. Following that is Meshell Ndegeocello, a phenomenal artist who’s had a long, successful career producing always interesting, sometimes challenging, genre-expanding music. And with a funky jazzy beat too. This is one of those few times at Stern Grove where the artists outdo the set and setting.
So what if Burning Man’s gone corporate, charges exorbitant entrance fees, and these days attracts more future suburban housewives than outrageous artist types, it’s still fun. Where else can you get stoned to the beejeezus and run naked and howling down the middle of main street, and no one bats an eye? So if you plan on making the trek to Black Rock Desert this year, or not, stop by the Burning Man Design Fair at Café Cocomo in Portrero Hill for a sort of street fair/performance session/warmup act to the real thing.
Japantown in San Jose has a long and interesting history, but these days it’s mostly a sleepy neighborhood with Japanese shops and restaurants along the two block commercial area. But at least once a year it comes alive for the Obon Festival, with food booths, exhibits, taiko and hundreds of costumed dancers.
Reporting live from the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival. It’s really big, with booths (340 in all) running the length of Main and State streets, and also running down several side streets. There’s a lot of expensive artsy-crafty stuff, and some food and beverage booths spaced throughout. But the best reason to come is the beer and wine from several of the area’s wineries, like Thomas Fogarty, Naumann Vineyards and Martin Ranch Winery. There’s also three live music stages, and rides and entertainment for the kids, plus it’s warm, sunny and quaint down here.