Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Pinewood School hosts Duncan Sheik in concert


Emily Copriviza/Special to the Town Crier
Pinewood students, from left, Annie Whitacre, Carolyn Ehrlich (on guitar), Justin Stangenes and Talmage Wise perform in “Whisper House” in the school’s November production. Duncan Sheik, who cowrote the musical, will visit the school next month to perform.

Thanks to a connection with the Pinewood School Performing Arts Department, the school’s Upper Campus is scheduled to host a concert featuring Duncan Sheik, the Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer-songwriter and composer.

In November Pinewood produced the high school and regional premiere of the musical “Whisper House,” which Sheik co-wrote with Kyle Jarrow.

After finishing his ninth studio album, Sheik will kick off the Northwest leg of his national tour at Pinewood. His Broadway blockbuster “Spring Awakening” springboarded the career of actress Lea Michele and many others. His No. 1 hit from the 1990s, “Barely Breathing,” was recently featured on the TV shows “Glee” and “Girls.”

Pinewood connection

Spencer Williams, chairman of Pinewood’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, said he wanted his students to stage “Whisper House” after he saw the premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

To secure the rights to the musical, which were not subject to the typical licensing process of plays and musicals, Williams, “on a whim,” contacted Jarrow about the possibility of performing “Whisper House.” Jarrow replied, “Absolutely.”

“As a musical-theater educator, it was one of the most exciting and educational things we could do,” Williams said. “The students were able to create the characters without seeing so many other versions of the production on YouTube. It’s pretty rare to get to do that. Most don’t even get to do that in college.”

Williams invited Sheik and Jarrow to the Pinewood performance, but scheduling conflicts prevented them from attending. After reading that Sheik was embarking on a tour that would bring him to the Bay Area, Williams, “on another whim,” called Sheik’s manager and asked if the singer would stop by Pinewood to chat with students about musical theater.

Williams once again received an enthusiastic reply, with Sheik’s manager proposing a concert at the school, preceded by a VIP event for students.

“I’m very excited to hang out with the students and talk to them about music and theater,” said Sheik in a phone interview with the Town Crier. “I think that kids being encouraged to make music or theater or any kind of art in high school is incredibly important.”

Sheik said he thinks that too often nowadays students are consumers of media more than creators of art.

“I really appreciate kids making art,” he said. “When high school kids do things like this – especially a show like ‘Whisper House’ – it’s incredible they pulled it off.”

Broadway success

Sheik, 44, has spent the better part of the fall in London working on the theatrical debut of “American Psycho,” which recently premiered at the Almeida Theatre.

He launched his musical career in 1996 with his eponymous debut album, which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal, featured the pop hit “Barely Breathing” and sold 750,000 copies.

Sheik plunged into the musical-theater world in the early 2000s with “Spring Awakening,” for which he wrote the music and Steven Sater the book and lyrics. “Spring Awakening” won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical and eight Tony Awards, with Sheik earning Tonys for Best Orchestration and Best Original Score, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

“When I wrote ‘Spring Awakening,’ my real intense feeling was that there was a lot of musical theater being well made and beautifully done, but stylistically the music had no connection to the rest of the music people listen to – the popular music of the day,” he said. “I feel like the theater can and should reflect the stylistic taste of the public that is going to see it.”

“Spring Awakening” boasted an indie-rock sound that garnered accolades from the theater world. Sheik’s most recent work, “American Psycho,” has a 1980s-influenced electronic dance sound.

Pinewood performance

Sheik’s concert at Pinewood will feature selections he wrote for his musicals, songs from his catalogue as a recording artist and new music from his upcoming album, “Electric Domain,” scheduled for release later this year.

His new sound was “very much influenced by the aesthetic of electronic dance music,” he said.

The concert benefits the Pinewood Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. More than 10 students received scholarships of varying amounts last year, allowing them to travel and perform with fellow students at the Vatican. Pinewood students are scheduled to perform in Notre Dame in Paris this year.

Sheik’s concert is scheduled 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Pinewood Upper Campus Theatre, 26800 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills.

Tickets are $50, $100 and $150 (for the VIP package).

To purchase tickets, visit tinyurl.com/SheikTickets.

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