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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

‘Beauty and the Beast’ enchants

Disney took the delightful fairytale of Beauty and the Beast and created a beautiful animated movie that transported children and adults to another time and place. Broadway by the Bay has taken the Broadway show with the divine music of Alan Menken and clever lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and brought a delightful presentation to the stage in Redwood City.Everyone knows the engaging tale in which Belle finds herself in an enchanted castle where the beast and all the inhabitants are trapped in an animated state because of a witches’ cruel curse which only Belle (unbeknownst to her) can break. Of course, as in all fairy tales, everyone lives happily ever after. But getting there is the fun part.The multiple Tony Award production recreates all the characters from the movie from Lumiere the living candlestick, to the clock, teapot, chest of drawers and delightful rug. Wrapped up in Kelly James Tighe’s fine direction with Adam Elsberry’s creative choreography is a fast moving production that will keep everyone’s attention throughout.A talented cast with Anya Absten as the spunky Belle, John Melis as the obnoxious Gaston, Warren Wernick as Lefeu, Maureen Duffey Frentz as Mrs. Potts, Ray D’ambrosio as Cogsworth, Brendon North as the lovable Lumiere and Daniel Barrington Rubio as the Beast perform as a huge ensemble with great delivery and resilient voices.The impressive orchestra brings in a tight, crisp version of this beloved story. Alan Menken’s music and Howard Ashman, (who died during the making of the original production) and Tim Rice’s lyrics ran away with Academy Awards for the movie and Tonys for the Broadway version with “Be Our Guest,” “Beauty and The Beast,” and “Something There.”The outstanding 18-piece orchestra under the baton of Sean Kana gives the show the professional touch.The the crew backstage also performs heroically. Technical and sound designer Jon Hayward impressively gets his crew to move scenes with absolute ease. Lighting designer Aaron Spivey is always on cue. Costumes by Angela F. Lazear and Leandra Watson are pleasing and colorful.Grab the kids and go and be enchanted. ‘Disney’s Beauty and The Beast’Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway St, Redwood CityPerformances through Nov. 20Information: (650) 579-5565Or visit: www.broadwaybythebay.org

Wine and painting at Seeker Vineyard

Painting and wine tasting has become a popular trend. Getting groups of people who have never held a paintbrush to come away with a framable piece of artwork while enjoying the best of Santa Clara Valley wines was the goal at a recent Paint and Sip party at Seeker Vineyard in San Martin.

‘The Lion King’ is a glowing experience

The Lion King’s National Touring Company roared into San Francisco with all the creativity, color  and excitement the show has always given audiences. A big part of its success is Julie Taymor’s genius direction, which won her Tony Awards in 1998 for direction and costume design. She also was the mask/puppet co-designer and composer of additional music and lyrics.

The best first backpack

It was a long afternoon at the REI Co-op, but now you have all the gear. The backpack is comfortable, and the boots feel like bedroom slippers. After a little research, you are feeling pretty comfortable with your backpacking know-how. The big question now is where do you go on your very first backpack trip?

Navigation impaired

Last weekend, I went to Los Angeles to see relatives. I was meeting my sister there. Since I flew in first, my job was to grab the rental car, return to the airport, pick up my sister and drive an hour to Calabasas. Now that sounds easy, right? Yeah, not so much.
Shopping local is a mantra you usually hear from downtown associations and others pushing us to spend where we live and help make our community stronger by supporting small businesses.The idea of shopping local is just as applicable when choosing a real estate agent. There is no substitute for local expertise, networking and market experience. Sometimes the choice for a Realtor is a family member or friend who has a passing interest in real estate, and may be from out of the immediate area. This may help make social gatherings easier, but could hurt when it comes to competing for a home in a local market.Local agents enjoy the power of networking with fellow agents, hearing about new listings in real time, moving quickly to show property and really knowing the market they serve. When you make an offer with a local agent who is known by their peers, it brings credibility to the offer immediately, as opposed to someone from out of area who may be working the market part-time or for the first time.Real estate agents are like any other local businesspeople. Call around, find a few to interview and when you sell or buy your next home, shop locally.Jayson Stebbins is a 23-year veteran of the mortgage banking industry. He grew up in Morgan Hill and currently lives in Gilroy. He is the local branch manager of Guild Mortgage. Contact Jayson and his team at (408) 825-0220 or at stebbinsmortgageteam.com. 

Rustic Luxury

Wanting a weekend getaway without having to travel far, my husband and I took advantage of a fantastic package deal—offered by Frank Leal—loaded with wine, food, hotel accommodations and fun.

Parks for Everyone

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Between the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 and the birth of the National Park Service 44 years later, who managed our parks? Who protected archeological sites from vandals? Who kept out the miners, the loggers and the hunters?One of the most interesting and unlikely stories of early park management happened right here in our backyard.African American regiments fought with distinction as a part of the Union Army during the Civil War, but it wasn't until 1866 that Congress created the first all-black regiment in the U.S. Army. While serving in the Great Plains during the Indian Wars, Native Americans called them Buffalo Soldiers because their hair reminded the Indians of the curly clump of hair between the Bison's horns. The name stuck.After the Spanish-American War, the Ninth Cavalry Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers wintered at the Presidio in San Francisco. Their summer orders: ride across the Central Valley to Yosemite National Park. For the next several years, these men acted as forerunners of today's park rangers, patrolling and protecting Yosemite from those who would harm it.“National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Few would argue with Wallace Stegner’s famous quote. These lands are not the fenced-off private property of some monarch or oligarch. They are open to all of us for the cost of a day-use fee. But many don’t come.Shelton Johnson is an African American man who has traveled a remarkable path from the streets of Detroit to his job as a park ranger in Yosemite National Park. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Park Service, only one percent of the visitors to Yosemite that year were black, a fact that saddens Shelton, but doesn’t surprise him. He is quick to point out that the legends of the Old West and our wilderness have not included people who look like him.When Shelton learned the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, he was thrilled. That bit of hidden history turned America’s wilderness heritage into his heritage as well. And it gives all African Americans ownership of our frontier story. Shelton tells the Buffalo Soldier story hoping to awaken disenfranchised kids and lure them to national parks where nature can do her work. He knows that national parks are more than a lovely view. Time spent in wilderness and nature builds physical and psychological health in so many ways.Wallace Stegner was right. Our national parks are a great gift to us all. The centennial of the National Park Service is an opportunity to remember and be thankful that those who came before us had the wisdom to set aside portions of our grand landscape. National Parks preserve a legacy that belongs to all of us.

Rosé wine

Rosés are the perfect hot-weather sippers and a nice alternative to chardonnay. They range from sweet-tart to bone dry, with the acidity of a white wine and the fruit flavors of a red—it’s a happy medium between the two.Looking like summer in a glass, rosé wines come in gorgeous hues such as salmon, coral and hot pink. Grapes are lightly crushed and left to soak in their red skins for a limited number of hours—depending on how dark the winemaker wants the color of the finished wine to be. Rosé wine can be made from any grape varietal.Guglielmo Winery chooses grignolino, a red Italian grape, to make their dry rosé. The 2015 Grignolino Rosé ($18) has cranberry flavors and a crisp, green apple finish.This rosé will stand up to the big flavors of a pasta marinara dinner.Pietra Santa makes their 2012 Rosato ($15) from cabernet grapes. It’s a crisp, dry rosé fermented in stainless steel with fresh flavors of pomegranate and wild strawberries. I would pair this wine with a blackened salmon salad or roast chicken.Made from sangiovese grapes, Vino Roseo di Sangiovese 2015 ($25) from Solis Winery is a lightly sweet rosé with well-balanced acidity. It’s a brilliant pink with flavors of strawberry and mango—ideal with spicy cuisine such as Thai or Mexican food.These wines pair well with most summer fare such as chicken salad or a charcuterie board filled with salami, cheeses and olives.
In talking about property inspections, many homebuyers are familiar with inspections related to the appraisal of a home. That is for valuation and marketability purposes, and to validate your purchase price to the lender. But as buyers of a home, there are other inspection events that are important and critical.

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