Gary Singh

Gary Singh

Posts by Gary Singh

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Since it’s fun to shadow distinguished writers who put San Jose locales in their novels, and since the San Jose Police Department just can’t get enough attention these days, here we go again with another epic endorsement of Menlo Park author Barry Eisler.

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Old School High Tech

I can’t think of any better reason to lurk in the Imperial Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose than to listen to a keynote address titled “Jackhammers, Polymers and Diamonds: New Applications in Explosives.” Given by Dr. Christa Hockensmith, the speech will be one of 10 highlighting ETech, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, taking place March 9–12 at the Fairmont.

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On The Corner Music

Aside from Taco Bravo, the Recycling Center on McGlincy Lane and that large bear on top of Campbell Automotive, the other primary attraction in Campbell is a curious little bastion of activity called On the Corner Music. Located—you guessed it—on a corner at 530 E. Campbell Avenue, this little record shop offers an eclectic selection of vinyl LPs, and regularly stages art openings, parties and happenings, the latest of which goes down this Friday.

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01SJ Exhibit Wins Big

Allow me to quack poetic about the efforts of a local team of artists from San Jose State University who collaborated behind the scenes on an installation for last year’s 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge in downtown San Jose. Just last month, the project Tantalum Memorial took home first prize at transmediale.09, an international festival for contemporary art and digital culture in Berlin.

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Analog Send-Off

Just about everyone who watches television knows that Feb. 17 was supposed to be the historic day of the digital TV (DTV) transition—that is, the last day for full-power TV stations in the United States to broadcast in analog. After that date, they were to broadcast in digital only, meaning if you wanted to continue receiving over-the-air broadcasts on your analog TV, you needed to purchase a digital-to-analog converter box.

Well, as of last week, the federal government put the final touches on delaying the date until June, because despite the transition being hyped for God knows how long, 6.5 million people apparently still weren’t ready yet.

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Blight Makes Right

In an Aug. 13, 2008, cover story, I channeled the Urban Blight Exploration Junkie and raved over the Pink Elephant Center, that landmark rundown strip mall at the corner of King Road and Virginia in San Jose City Council District 5. I had quacked about the place once before in a previous column, but for that travel feature, titled “Postcards from the Edge of San Jose,” in which I mapped out ignored masterpieces in each district, striking visuals were necessary to properly document the shabby outré ugliness of that East Side monument.

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Count Five Avenue

Last month saw the passing of John Byrne, lead singer of the ‘60s San Jose garage-rock band Count Five. He penned the immortal fuzzed-out 1966 hit Psychotic Reaction, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts and was listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Top 500 songs that shaped rock & roll. A whole two years before Dionne Warwick sang that tune we all know and despise, the Count Five staged its famous promo picture, wearing Dracula-style capes in front of the Winchester Mystery House.

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A Date in History

Since 1921, Faber’s Cyclery has occupied a legendary, leaning building at the corner of First Street and Margaret in San Jose. The structure was already steeped in local lore when Alex LaRiviere took over Faber’s in 1978. Built in 1884, the place began life as a saloon called Benjamin’s Corner. A well-preserved old blacksmith shop still sits out back, right next to a heritage pepper tree eight feet in diameter. The original wooden bar from 1884 still sits inside the place and serves as a parts counter.

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Excursion Experts

My vote for the Best Apocalyptic, Post-Suburban-Wasteland Photo Book of 2008 goes hands down to a glossy hardback aptly titled Frezno from Process Books. Photographer Tony Stamolis grew up in that Central Valley city, and spent six years chronicling the dreadful, doped-out, deranged and disregarded underbelly of the city whose airport code is FAT.

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Inspiration at Overfelt

Last month, for the seventh year in a row, the folks at NVIDIA—the Santa Clara–based visual computing giant—decided to do forego their annual company holiday party and commit themselves to a knock-down, drag-out community service effort called Project Inspire. One thousand employees, along with students, friends and family, volunteered and made their way out to Overfelt High School in East San Jose for the shindig last month.

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