.Art & Culture

BEST ARTISTS TAKING BACK THE TOWN
Haters insisting on insulting San Jose’s tendency toward bland architectural choices and beige-on-beige building palates have less to gripe about than they did back in 2008. A number of initiatives spearheaded by local artists have helped to brighten up the town sometimes referred to as Tan Jose. The Exhibition District has focused on raising money through grants to paint murals all over the city, while the Ex-D’s affiliated Local Color artist cooperative has reactivated the shuttered Ross Dress for Less space—turning it into a space for creatives and makers of all stripes. And last fall, Empire Seven teamed with Universal Grammar, the city of San Jose and other local organizations to put on POW! WOW! San Jose, which recruited local artists to create more than 10 murals over the course of a single week.

OVERALL

Best Art Gallery

 San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
560 S First St, San Jose

 Allied Arts Guild
75 Arbor Rd, Menlo Park

 MACLA
510 S First St, San Jose

Best Holiday Celebration

 Christmas in the Park
Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park, San Jose

 Fantasy of Lights, Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos

 Oktoberfest, Campbell
Campbell Ave, Campbell

Best Film Festival

 San Jose Short Film Festival
sjsff.com

 Palo Alto International Film Festival
Palo Alto

 Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
svjff.org

Photo by Greg Ramar

BEST RESURRECTED THEATER
Back in 2014, the South BayÕs performing arts community took a major hit, as the San Jose Repertory Theatre went belly up and pulled out of the Hammer Theatre. For a few years, the big blue building remained vacant. But in 2016, San Jose State University worked out a deal with the city of San Jose to take over the complex and the era of Hammer 2.0 was born. Now the theater center is home to a variety of productions—including SJSU programs, National Theatre Live screenings, live music and touring productions. The Hammer Theatre Center is no longer a symbol of a flailing Silicon Valley arts community but the centerpiece of a lively scene.

Best Small/Quirky Museum

 Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Ave, San Jose

 Campbell Historical Museum
51 N Central Ave, Campbell

 Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View

Best Dance Company

 Los Gatos Ballet
630 University Ave, Los Gatos

 Dance Attack
Multiple locations

 San Jose Dance Theatre
1756 Junction Ave, San Jose

Best Small Theater Company

 City Lights
529 S Second St, San Jose

 San Jose Youth Shakespeare
youthshakes.org

 El Teatro Campesino
705 Fourth St, San Juan Bautista

Illustration by Jhonen Vasquez

BEST HEORES SAVING THE DAY
After a long absence, Silicon Valley, a mecca for nerd culture, has not one, but two, comic book and sci-fi oriented conventions. In 2014, Dan Vado of Slave Labor Graphics and the Art Boutiki, regained control of the Alternative Press Expo, which he founded in 1994. The celebration of alt-comics produced by the likes of Derf Backderf and Jhonen Vasquez returned to its city of origin, San Jose, in 2014. Then, in 2015, prototypical nerd and Silicon Valley booster Steve Wozniak took over the Big Wow! Comic Fest, rebranding it Silicon Valley Comic Con. It returns for its third year this March.

Best Theater Company

 Broadway San Jose
100 W San Fernando St, San Jose

 San Jose Stage Company
490 S First St, San Jose

 CMT San Jose
1401 Parkmoor Ave, San Jose

PENINSULA

Best Local Festival

 Mountain View Art & Wine Festival
Mountain View

 Los Altos Art & Wine Festival
Los Altos

 Palo Alto Festival of the Arts
Palo Alto

WEST VALLEY

Best Local Festival

 Music In The Park
Los Gatos

 Boogie on the Bayou
Campbell

 Oktoberfest
Campbell

Photo by Frank Ferrante Productions

BEST CINEMATIC STEWARDS
For a period in late 2017, downtown San Jose was without a single dedicated movie theater. This was not OK. Thankfully, Guggenheim Entertainment has taken over what was once the Camera 3 and is trying a new concept—mixing live stage performance, the longtime San Jose staple Comedy Sportz and revivals of classic movies, as well as singalongs. The new space, rebranded as 3Below, recently held one such audience participation night, inviting Monty Python fans to a screening of The Holy Grail.

CENTRAL VALLEY

Best Local Festival

 Cherry Blossom Festival
Cupertino

 Santa Clara Art and Wine
Santa Clara

 Sunnyvale Summer Music Series
Sunnyvale

SAN JOSE / SOUTH VALLEY

Best Local Festival

 Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy

 Dancin’ on the Avenue
San Jose

 San Jose Obon Festival
San Jose

FREMONT / MILPITAS

BEST SILICON VALLEY SCI-FI WRITER
Longtime Bay Area resident and current Mountain View denizen Andy Weir was always into science and space travel. He also, apparently, has a penchant for writing. Back in 2011, he published a serial story about a man marooned on Mars on his personal blog. The posts eventually became The Martian, published in 2014 to critical acclaim. The sci-fi smash became a blockbuster film starring Matt Damon. In late 2017, Weir published his follow-up, Artemis, about a low-gravity heist on the moon. The work has already been optioned for a movie, which may star Rosario Dawson in the leading role.

Best Local Festival

 Fremont Festival of the Arts
Fremont

 Milpitas Backyard Boogie
Milpitas

 Celebrate Milpitas
Milpitas

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