Ballet Exits and Entrances
Ballet San Jose principal ballerina Karen Gabay retired after 34 seasons, having started with the company during its early days in Cleveland. South Bay audiences saw Gabay in nearly every major ballet role; she also coached and choreographed for BSJ. During the month of December, the company is staging a new production of The Nutcracker that Gabay created for BSJ last season. In other news, over the summer, former American Ballet Theater principal dancer Jose Manuel Carreno was named as the company’s new permanent artistic director—its first in two seasons since founder Dennis Nahat was let go. The company has had a partnership with ABT since late 2011.
Students await mental hospital
In April, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) floated the idea of selling an abandoned mental hospital that dates back to the Gold Rush to the Santa Clara Unified School District. Transforming the shuttered Agnews building into a K-12 school for 2,800 students would benefit Alviso and north San Jose neighborhoods, he argued. Residents and local officials are on board, but the state agency that manages property sales has rejected the city and school board’s $76 million offer in hopes of wooing corporate buyers. The grounds served as the site for Green Day’s “Basket Case” video in 1994, before the facility closed in 2009.
Boston marathon bombing
Prosecutors are still deciding whether Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should face the death penalty. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce his intention by Jan. 31, but it could be more than a year before the 20-year-old suspect sees a courtroom and faces charges of killing three people and injuring 260 with pressure-cooker bombs he and his older brother, Tamerlan, allegedly built and planted near the race’s finish line in April. During the ensuing manhunt that gripped the nation, police killed the older Tsarnaev in a shootout. Dzhokhar, a native of Chechnya and former UMass-Dartmouth student, was found hiding in a boat outside Boston, where he amazingly survived a barrage of bullets after scrawling an anti-American missive with his own blood inside the vessel’s hull.