Sat07262014

News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community devel...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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West Bay offers different approach to "Flying Dutchman"

West Bay Opera demonstrated its willingness to stage a major opera with an experimental approach in its production of The Flying Dutchman, by Richard Wagner, May 23-25, and May 30-June 1, at Palo Alto's Lucie Stern Theater. The Flying Dutchman was one of Wagner's first big hits, premiering in Dresden, in 1843. The emphasis is certainly on the "big" part. It is long, it is weighty, it is makes great demands on it singer-actors, and on its audience, too. Taking an innovative approach to helping the audience envision the setting of the opera, West Bay used the creative resources of video designer Chad Bonaker. During the overture, images of water play on the transparent screen on stage. At other times during the performance, the screen returns to allow images to aide expression of the setting, relationships, and mystery of the story. While the audience listens to a sea chanty sung by the Steersman, it also sees ghost ships with red sails and black mast floating into view. Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) is based on folklore about a Dutch sea captain, Philip Vanderdecken, who is said to have sworn that "in spite of the devil" he would sail around the Cape of Good Hope, even if it took him forever. The devil, apparently listening and never one to miss a chance for a joke at someone else's expense, condemns the captain to roam the seas for eternity, seeking "redemption." There is only one way he can gain it. He must find a woman who will love him faithfully "unto death." Opera goers can hear that as a clue to all that follows. It is also a bit of male-chauvinist piggery on the part of the devil as it implies that such a woman is so impossibly difficult to find, that the Dutchman will indeed be a lost soul until Judgment Day. The opera is set in an eighteenth century Norwegian sea port. The colorful costumes, designed by Callie Floor, enliven the stage and add a sense of historical place to the strange ghost story of the opera. Fortunately for the Dutchman and for West Bay Opera, Senta, the pure though slightly dippy woman who loves the Dutchman even before they meet, was portrayed on opening night by Paula Goodman Wilder. Her singing was strong and beautiful. She captured the difficult music and characterization securely enough to insure redemption of the Dutchman and of the whole presentation. The Flying Dutchman is a good match for the Bay Area. Our focus now is more on freeways and parking spaces, but much of the area, especially San Francisco, of course, came into being, at about the time the opera premiered, because of sea ports. In the opera, when the ships are tied to the dock, the sailors are greeted by their wives and sweethearts. When the sailors and townfolk invite the crew of the Dutchman's ship to join in the revelry, they hear voices from inside the mysterious ship with red sails. Those sailors sing about their damnation to the eternal voyage. This puts a stop to the partying. As is often the case in opera, even a happy ending is not exactly happy. Senta proves her devotion by jumping into the sea to her death. The Dutchman prepares to set off again, but, fortunately, his ship sinks. Senta and the Dutchman are joined together forever, rising toward heaven. The ending of the opera offers a challenging problem for staging. How should the transfiguration and rising to heaven be shown? Should it be shown at all? Director David F. Ostwald chose to use the screen with pictures of the now heavenly pair seen first very small as though far away and then growing bigger as though coming closer, as the other performers pointed heavenward from behind the screen. This was in keeping with the choice to employ video techniques as a visual theme for the production, and yet might have been both more and less literal than necessary. Transfiguration, however, not having been witnessed, how to suggest it at all may be more than even the greatest stagecraft can attain. West Bay Opera casts outstanding professional singers in leading roles and similarly outstanding amateurs in chorus and smaller roles. The Flying Dutchman was double-cast with the extraordinary, powerful Douglas Nagel on opening night, and Bryan Glenn Davis playing The Dutchman, Ms. Goodman Wilder and Gail Sullivan as Senta. John Bischoff and Peter Graham portrayed Daland, Senta's avaricious father; Ben Bongers and Vincent Chambers portrayed Erik, Senta's more normal suitor. Donna Olsen and Sally Mouzon sang the role of Mary, a leader of the local ladies who sings while they spin. West Bay's General Director, Jose Luis Moscovich conducted, Mr. Ostwald directed, and sets with realistic ships and interiors were designed by Peter Crompton. He also designed the nautical images. The performance was sung in German with the excellent English supertitles easy to see on either side of the stage, making the grand, spooky opera accessible to all.

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