San Jose will be rolling out the red carpet Friday for "Coherence," an independent film that's received good reviews on the festival circuit and was partly financed by a group of San Jose couples.
Rick Holden and Sandra Moll, former teachers who live in San Jose's Naglee Park neighborhood, are well-known for their community involvement and advocacy for the arts. So it's no surprise that they were interested when longtime friend Alyssa Byrkit approached them in late 2011 to find out if they were interested in investing in a movie that her brother, writer-director James Ward Byrkit, was developing.
Holden and Moll knew Byrkit from her years working with the San Jose Rep, the San Jose Public Library and Community Leadership San Jose. "She's definitely somebody we trust and admire, and I think her brother was impressed by how easily she was able to put together a group of investors. I guess in Hollywood, nobody answers the phone when you call," Holden said.
Byrkit the director says he and his sister have wanted to collaborate on a project for years. "We always thought there must be a way to combine my filmmaking with her connections to the Silicon Valley tradition of investing in cool, unusual ventures," he said.
"Coherence" took care of that. The mind-bending story about a Silicon Valley dinner party that takes a sci-fi turn wound up attracting 10 investors from the San Jose area, all of whom had made connections with Byrkit during her 18 years working in philanthropy. Holden, Moll and other investors were part of a group that screened the movie in Hollywood in November 2012 before it took off on the festival circuit.
"There were maybe 80 or 100 of us in this screening room seeing the movie for the first time with the cast," he said. "That experience alone was almost worth the investment."
The movie's been screened at Adobe, Apple and a few other tech companies, but everyone involved seems happy to be having a big Bay Area premiere event in San Jose for the movie, which opened in New York and Los Angeles on June 20 and also opens in San Francisco and Monterey this week. Cast members and director James Ward Byrkit will be at the San Jose event and will take part in a question-and-answer session between the 7 and 9:30 p.m. shows at Camera 12, followed by a VIP party at Blackbird Tavern. (The 7 p.m. show is sold out, but $24 VIP tickets are still available for the 9:30 show by going to sjcoherence.oscilloscope.net).
PLATINUM COUPLE: Congratulations to Palo Alto residents Bob and Therese Knight who are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this weekend. Together, they watched the second half of the 20th century unfold and had six children along the way, who, in turn, gave them 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
The couple's anniversary is Tuesday, but they made plans to celebrate on Saturday evening with a dinner in Menlo Park with their kids.
"They're the ultimate 'yard stick' by which to measure the important things in life and what it takes to go the distance as a team," granddaughter Brandy Faulkner said. "They always work together on projects and chores, they compromise, they don't sweat the small stuff and they put family above all else."
STUDENT ART ON DISPLAY: The San Jose Downtown Foundation's "Downtown Doors" program has been beautifying drab service doors and utility boxes in the city's center with vibrant student art for 12 years. This year, the work of 21 San Jose high school students was selected to spruce up our urban canvas, and they'll be joined by work from five young artists from San Jose's sister cities: Dublin, Ireland; Okayama, Japan; Pune, India; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Tainan, Taiwan.
The new pieces include Lincoln High School student Esther Dello Buono's colorful "Downtown San Jose," which covers a utility box near the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce building. That piece also won a Congressional Art contest and will hang in the U.S. Capitol this year. Another eye-catcher at the Fairmont Hotel is Pioneer High School student Sarah Massie's "Social Media Dress," which depicts a young girl showing off a summer dress covered with the logos of social media companies.
Another addition to this year's lineup are videos made by nearly a dozen of the students talking about their work and the program. You can check those out, as well as a walking map, at http://sjdowntown.com/downtown_doors/
SUMMER MUSIC RETURNS: It's going to be a Cole Porter summer in Los Gatos this year, with the Jazz on the Plazz concert series featuring the music of the celebrated composer of so much of the Great American Songbook, from "Anything Goes" to "I've Got You Under My Skin."
The free series kicks off Wednesday at the Town Plaza with vocalist Halie Loren taking the stage at 6:30 p.m. This year's lineup includes Brazilian guitar virtuoso Diego Figueredo, guitarist Perry Beekman, the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Stars, Kathy Kosins and the Full Spectrum Jazz Orchestra and New York fusion band Snarky Puppy.
And the can't-miss doubleheader of the summer features composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis, who'll be the headliner at this year's Los Gatos Music & Arts Gala on July 22 and will perform at Jazz on the Plazz on July 23. For tickets to the gala or more information on the series, go to www.jazzontheplazz.com.