Entertainment and Events
San Jose is definitely blessed with all sorts of entertainment. Cultural travelers can get seats to Ballet San Jose (408/288-2800, www.balletsanjose.org, $25–82) at the Center for the Performing Arts (255 S. Almaden Blvd.) or to Opera San Jose (408/437-4950, www.operasj.org) at the California Theatre (345 S. First St.).
Live theater options also abound in downtown San Jose. The big pro company is the San Jose Repertory Theatre (101 Paseo de San Antonio, 408/367-7255, www.sjrep.com, $30–60), locally known as the Rep. They’ve rebuilt their theater space and made over their company in an attempt to lure in a younger audience with edgy new works. It’s only been partly successful—the audience still leans toward their canes, and the shows sometimes get so close to the edge that they fall off into the abyss of bad theater. Still, it can be fun to see the action in the gorgeous newer space.
On the other hand, City Lights Theatre (529 S. Second St., 408/295-4200, www.cltc.org, $25–40) just down the block from the Rep, has a tiny, black-box-style theater and little money to spend on fancy lobby light fixtures. But the shows, mostly acted by up-and-coming local performers, never fail to entertain. Their take on everything from Lysistrata to The Waiting Room is fresh and original, providing a perfect local theater experience with a definite Silicon Valley flavor.
The clubs in San Jose certainly are suburban, but the lack of self-conscious hipness can make a night out at Agenda Lounge (399 S. First St., 408/287-3991, www.agendalounge.com, Wed.–Sat. 5:30 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 9 p.m.–2 a.m.) or the Voodoo Lounge (14 S. Second St., 408/286-8636, www.voodooloungesj.com) more relaxed than a trek up to the City.
Live comedy is another popular Silicon Valley option—even software engineers need a giggle sometimes! The San Jose Improv (62 S. Second St., 408/280-7475, www.improv2.com) often hosts major-league headliners like Bob Saget and Jamie Kennedy, while also granting stage time to local talent in showcases and contests.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition