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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Filmmaker looks to Los Altos friends for support


Photo By:
Szymanowski

Longtime downtown Los Altos business owner Elizabeth Szymanowski has an acclaimed filmmaker in the family. Her son Matt is working on a new movie, “The Purple Onion.”

The screenplay merited recognition from the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, and the filmmakers have received development support from the San Francisco Film Society.

But transforming the screenplay into a movie won’t be easy. The film’s launch party was held Nov. 11 in Los Altos Hills at the home of supporter Mary Myers. She and other supporters are currently trying to raise $30,000 to cover preproduction and initial production costs. Their fundraising deadline is Dec. 16.

“That movie’s going to happen,” said Elizabeth, who has run Salon Elizabeth on First Street in downtown Los Altos the past 24 years. “It’s going to be fantastic.”

Set in San Francisco and named after the recently closed historical San Francisco comedy club, the tragicomic story follows hapless amateur comedian Johnny Lee at his dead-end job as a restaurant dishwasher. Clashing with his live-in mother, the comedian is prepared to leave everything behind. When his mother finds solace in a lonely and oddball neighbor, Johnny realizes he’s pushed away the one person in his life who cares the most.

The movie is based on a good friend of Matt’s, co-writer Edwin Li, who is tapped to play the main character. Matt said he was moved by the story.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and texted him, ‘We’re going to make a movie,’” Matt said of breaking the news to his friend.

Matt recognizes the parallel between the comedian’s struggles and his own as a film artist.

“It’s a modern-day Sisyphus,” he said. “He’s pushing a boulder up the hill forever and ever, and he keeps on doing it. He asks, ‘What am I doing this for?’ But he still hopes to get to his goal.”

The Purple Onion, founded in 1952, was one of the oldest venues for comedy in North America. The club showcased some of the most influential comedians from the early days of stand-up comedy, including Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen and Phyllis Diller.

Matt hopes “The Purple Onion” will prove a positive addition to his career credits, which include producing content for CBS’ award-winning CHOW.com; media agency MKSHFT’s clients Toyota, Gizmodo and HTC; the documentary “Nine Days That Changed the World”; and various local music videos.

His short film “History of Solitude” played at the San Francisco International Festival and was presented in Poland, France and Albania. It won the Jury Award at The European Independent Film Festival in Paris.

To contribute to the film, visit www.indiegogo.com/thepurpleonion.

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