A Day in San Jose with the Jazz Festival

When we went downtown to visit Peter and have fun on Friday, Kelly and I got off a different light rail stop to see if it was any different to get to the office. As it turned out, the sidewalks in front of the Tech Museum were being closed off an we had to wander around in the street around the many stands that were being set up for the weekend’s jazz festival. Now, I do think it’s cool that we have a jazz festival, and one that’s rather affordable at that: $10 a day for all the bands playing on at least 10 stages. But later that day, Peter and I pondered why the festival wasn’t staged in San Jose’s spacious Discovery Park and through Guadalupe Park, but was rather staged in a way that blocked off several major streets (and sidewalks) in San Jose, forcing traffic into a convoluted maze all around it.

Kelly and I caught the tail end of the farmer’s market, and I always end up vowing to come earlier. Kelly loves tasting the samples, but by the time we get to the end and turn around to buy the best of the produce, the farmers are already packing up. I did get Peter out of the office to check out the Superlight exhibit. It was hit and miss. Some pieces, like one (especially commissioned for this show by the museum) of scrap technology and garbage turned into a room of eerie, blinky creatures was brilliant, and cleverly complemented other exhibits in the museum, like the Chihuly chadeliers and the robot exhibit. Others, like Dazed and Confused dubbed over by South Asians, maybe as a comment on outsourcing, was meh: I like foreign films and I’m used to Indian accents, so what’s it to me if the hero’s named Ramesh, not David? Kelly and I liked a mockumentary about a man who abandoned his real life to become a character in Second Life, but it only had two headphones to it, so we hogged it while others could only see the video. And one artist had come up with an awkward computer simulation of how all major cities will move to the North Pole because of global warming. All I could think was, “Wow, I would love for it to be warm enough so I could live at the North Pole,” and “Al Gore, is that you behind that pseudonym?”

I helped out at the office for a while, and when Peter had to work after hours, I took Kelly downstairs to listen to the jazz festival. It was seriously fenced off to anyone who hadn’t bought a wristband to get in, which sadly also meant we couldn’t check out the vendors’ booths. I’m not particularly into jazz, even though the festival seems to have a wide range of it. Kelly and I walked around the edge of the festival as far as we could go before it completely blocked off the sidewalk, and found some seats by the art museum. Kelly liked picking out the bongos of the first act, a latin jazz combo, but we left while the next act was setting up, because the area outside of the festival proper was attracting a rough looking crowd. Unfortunately, the playground near Adobe was also being blocked off for a different stage of the festival. Luckily, Peter was nearly done, and after having to actually drive around a road block behind his office, we headed home.

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