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Step Lively: San Jose's Flamenco Society kicks up its heels for October's PASS Series.

Recall Antidotes

A few suggestions for not thinking about next Tuesday's electoral obligation

By Michael S. Gant

Voters reeling from the recall carnival can sample some real entertainment all month long at San Jose Performing Arts Series, which gets under way this weekend with performances by the Flamenco Society of San Jose (Friday, 7:30pm), the Aztlán Academy (Saturday, 8pm) and Oriki Theater (Sunday, 4pm). The Flamenco Society showcases a variety of Spanish dance styles, all done in full costume. Aztlán, meanwhile, will range across the Mexican landscape, presenting dance and folk numbers from four different regions of the country. Oriki's offering is the play A Killing in Choctow, a drama about a young African American man's odyssey in the 1960s by San Jose actor Carl Ray.

The buffet-format concerts befit the whole tone of the series, which offers a concentrated way to check out the myriad of nonprofit multicultural arts groups in the city--all in the same place (the Montgomery Theater), all at a reasonable price ($12 to $30 tops). The schedule after this weekend includes: Asian American Comedy Night (Oct. 10, 8pm); Habib Khan Sarawsati Temple, world music concert. (Oct. 11, 7pm); Kaisahan, Filipino song and dance, (Oct. 17-18, 8pm); Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra (Oct. 19, 3:30pm); Visual Rhythm Dance Company (Oct. 24-25, 8pm); Dancing Sun Foundation (Oct. 26, 3pm).

In other stage news, Lyric Theater of San Jose begins a quick six-day run (Oct. 4-5, Oct. 9-12) of Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida at Santa Clara University's Mayer Theatre. Lyric Theater delighted light-opera fans with a musical adroit (if somewhat de-eroticized) version of Offenbach's La Belle Hélène in June.

The Return of MACLA

South First Street definitely promises to be a livelier destination with the return of the enlarged MACLA. The Latino art gallery and performance venue has been dark during an extensive renovation project that has added nearly 3,000 square feet to the gallery, thus allowing for art shows and music performances to proceed simultaneously without competing for limited floor and wall space. According to new executive director Tamara Alvarado, this bifurcation will permit a much busier schedule of events in a variety of media.

The reopening festivities get under way Oct. 9 with a talk by renowned performance artist Nao Bustamante. A performer in the bodywork mold of Karen Finley, Bustamante is famous for a piece in which she uses a burrito (vegetarian, please) as a dildo substitute and invites Anglo men from her audience to expiate centuries of colonial guilt by chowing down on the culinary offering. (Recall Fun Fact: Nao Bustamante is related to Cruz Bustamante). The show starts at 7:30pm, and is free. Additional events include an appearance Oct. 10 by Josefina Lopez, playwright and co-screenwriter of Real Women Have Curves.

Top Notes

Now that what conductor Barbara Day Turner calls her "day" job--conducting the pit for American Musical Theater's production of Funny Girl--is over, her real job, running the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, begins. For the season opener, Turner has programmed a concerto by Michael Haydn, younger brother of Joseph. This unusual work has really been more a rumor than a reality for years until Mark Starr, a retired orchestra conductor at Stanford, reconstructed it from manuscript fragments. The featured soloist for the concerto is cellist Felix Fan from San Diego. The evening also takes a distinctive southern turn with Manuel Ponce's Estampas Nocturnas and Javier Alvarzez's Metro Chabacano, a 1987 piece by the contemporary Mexican composer. The concert takes place Saturday at 8pm at Le Petit Trianon in San Jose (see www.sjco.org for details).

Also to the south, this weekend (Oct. 3-4, 7:30pm) at the Henry Mello Center in Watsonville, Tandy Beal and Co. presents Wide Live, an Evening of Circus, Dance and Music. The two-nighter celebrates the release of not one, but three new CDs by composer Jon Scoville, who has worked with dancer and choreographer Beal for 30 years. Joining Beal and Scoville will be Aloysia Gavre, a trapeze artist from Cirque du Soleil; tango dancers John and Nancy Lingemann; and clown Rock Lerum of Santa Cruz. For details, call 831.763.4047. The show promises to be a real circus, instead of the faux-circus of California politics.

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From the October 2-8, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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