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Cinequest 2019. Photo by Greg Ramar


Best Museum

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

San Jose Museum of Art
110 S Market St, San Jose

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

Best Holiday Celebration

Christmas in the Park
Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San Jose

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

Obon Festival
Japantown, N 5th St, San Jose

Best Film Festival


San Jose Short Film Festival

Silicon Valley African Film Festival

School of Visual Philosophy. Photo by Nick Veronin

Best Place to Learn an Iron Age Trade
School of Visual Philosophy

1065 The Alameda, San Jose
In an ecosystem where new and shiny products are constantly hatching with zippy and expensively conceived monikers like Fitbit or Slack, a name like the School of Visual Philosophy falls on the ear as positively 19th-century. And yet, the SVP fits as snugly into 2019 as any other Silicon Valley startup. It’s a bit like a WeWork for artists. The school rents out 32 small studios to painters, printmakers, sculptors and other visual artists, as well as larger spaces to a couple of small companies. And perhaps most aspirationally, the SVP is a school that provides instruction in a number of decidedly old-school art forms such as woodworking, bronze casting, painting and printmaking. And even in the midst of the world’s most prominent high-tech corridor, this new arts school is offering training in a technology that can be traced back to the iron age: blacksmithing. Yori and Dana Seeger, the husband-and-wife duo who run the School of Visual Philosophy, have built a place not just for skilled artists (the talented folks who rent studio spaces)—but for those who want to create something away from their keyboards and glowing monitors and put their backs into a passion project. Many enrolled in their analog classes have day jobs as engineers, and one of the school’s most popular draws is its bladesmithing class.

Best Historical Collection

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Ave, San Jose

Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View

Campbell Historical Museum
51 N Central Ave, Campbell

Best Dance Company

San Jose Dance Theatre
1756 Junction Ave, San Jose

Los Gatos Ballet
630 University Ave, Los Gatos

Dance Attack
Los Gatos & Sunnyvale

Best Free Film School
Celluloid Dreams

90.5 KSJS-FM, Mondays 5pm
Twenty-three years after they began programming at SJSU’s radio station, the cabal of Peter Canavese, Larry Jakubecz, Dennis Kwiatkowski and Tim Sika continue to provide thoughtful yet vivid commentary on the film scene. They’ve given help to innumerable local filmmakers. The collaborators have interviewed scads of directors and stars on the air, including Brie Larson, Julie Andrews, Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola. Canavese (of the website grouchoreviews.com) provides learned commentary on the side. If you can’t pick up something about the state of the art, its history, the culture and the technique of film from Celluloid Dreams, you simply aren’t listening.

Best Theater Company

City Lights Theater Company
529 S 2nd St, San Jose

San Jose Stage Company
490 S 1st St, San Jose

El Teatro Campesino
705 4th St, San Juan Bautista

Tabard Theatre Company
29 N San Pedro St, San Jose

Best Musical Theater Company

Broadway San Jose
255 S Almaden Blvd, San Jose

CMT San Jose
271 S Market St San Jose

South Bay Musical Theatre
13777 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga

Best Escape Room

Psychotronix Film Festival

Best Place to Hotwire a Time Machine
Psychotronix Film Festival

7pm March 30, Room 5015, Foothill College
Oh, to be a chrononaut… to explore different time realms, punch dinosaurs and save Ol’ Honest Abe. (“Don’t go to Ford’s Theater tonight, Mr. President—I saw Our American Cousin already, and it stinks!” “Tarnation, Mrs. Lincoln loves John Wilkes Booth. She’ll be mad.” “Indeed she will, but that’s another story!”). Sadly, time travel and universe-ending paradoxes are still relegated to the realm of science fiction. However, anyone seeking to burrow into the past can show up for the semi-annual Psychotronix Film Festival at Foothill College. The next one is slated for March 30, when KFJC’s Robert Emmett hosts “The vinyl of video”—evocative 16mm reels capturing the matchless strangeness of yore in now-forbidden commercials, primordial music videos featuring long dead sex kittens, and other strange beguilements that the citizens of the past once enjoyed. Don’t judge them too harshly, and try not to step on any butterflies this time.

Beat the Lock
San Jose & Santa Clara

1967 O’Toole Wy, San Jose

Escape Game 911
20 Harold Ave, Santa Clara


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


Best Local Festival



Music in the Park
Los Gatos

Terminator Salvation

Best Way Visit Post-Apocalyptic L.A. on Your Lunch Break
Terminator Salvation

Century 20, Oakridge, 925 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose
Downtown L.A., which used to have a reputation for flophouses and wino bars, is really coming along, with museums, chic high-end restaurants, hotels and an army of metal murder machines with red-eyed chrome skulls for faces. Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future takes you—via a VR headset and motion sensing accessories—on a time- and space-breaching journey to the City of Angels, sometime after Skynet became self-aware and took care of the cluttering meatbag humans who were failing to spark joy. After getting suited up and going through a five-minute drill, you and as many as three companions are temporarily disguised as killer droids, the better to infiltrate a hive of these cybernet demons. In between blasting the monsters to pieces, be sure to take in the many sights, including half-blown up buildings, tottering water towers and bullet riddled cars. You’ll see why people say, “I Love L.A.!”


Best Local Festival

Santa Clara Art and Wine
Santa Clara

Sunnyvale Art and Wine

Cherry Blossom Festival


Best Local Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival

San Jose Obon Festival
San Jose

San Jose Jazz Festival
San Jose

Best Place to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
3Below Theaters & Lounge

288 S 2nd St, San Jose
San Jose’s only regularly scheduled downtown theater features some seriously downtown programming. Take, for instance, the new documentary on Robert Mapplethorpe currently screening, or the upcoming punk rock-based drama, Her Smell, with the amazing
Elisabeth Moss, who went all the way into David Lynch-like horror in Us. Coming soon is Molly Shannon’s take on the life and secret love of Emily Dickinson. 3Below’s brave picks have so far included the morbid, but in a good way, To Dust and the searing Lebanese drama Capernaum. 3Below is what an independent cinema ought to be. It’s risky, eclectic and surprising.


Best Local Festival

Fremont Festival of the Arts

Milpitas Backyard Boogie

Celebrate Milpitas

Best Torch-Bearing Dance Organization
New Ballet School

40 N 1st St, San Jose
After Silicon Valley Ballet threw in the tutu in the summer of 2016, Dalia Rawson, director of the ballet’s training school, didn’t despair. She saw an opportunity. Pulling together a team culled from the ashes of SV Ballet, she launched a new professional ballet training program with a focus on dancer health and child development. The New Ballet School was born. Since then, Rawson has grown the school and through the organization’s Studio Company, she’s worked to bring ballet into the 21st century. Her experiments have included beginning productions with tutorials that catch the audience up on the visual language of ballet, and providing a digital accompaniment—a livecast—to performances, which allows patrons to listen to real-time commentary about the performance they are watching on their personal handsets.

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