You might remember that Dionne Warwick paid a visit to San Jose in January to announce the upcoming Sister Cities International Conference, with a promise of a return and a concert during the event. Well, that concert is set for Aug. 1 at the Center for the Performing Arts.

I bet she sings her 1968 hit, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," which put both her and the future "Capital of Silicon Valley" on the map.

The theme of the conference, which runs July 30-Aug. 2 at the Fairmont Hotel, is "The Power of Digital Diplomacy," which sounds like just the kind of thing you'd expect in Silicon Valley. I'm sure when the conference is in Minneapolis next year, it'll probably be something like "Target Stores Make Friends Worldwide." But I'm glad to see the organizing committee has smartly dipped into our Silicon Valley pool to include participants like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, Rep. Anna Eshoo, San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi and Gordon Biersch co-founder Dan Gordon.


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Warwick's concert, though, will no doubt be the highlight of the conference. The evening show also features "Inspiring Our World," a musical production created by MGM Resorts International, the San Jose State Choraliers and performers with the Silicon Valley Music Festival. Tickets are available from $45-$100 at www.dionnewarwicksanjose.com or by calling 800-595-4TIX. The $100 ticketholders are invited to a meet-and-greet with Warwick after the concert.

And let's hope that the Grammy-winning singer gets a better reception than she did in 1987 when she performed at the first Silicon Valley Charity Ball. The crowd at the Santa Clara Convention Center wouldn't stop with the chitchat during her show, and I'm told she left the stage in a bit of a huff when she was done. There's a good 27 years of water under that bridge.

MARIACHI KICKOFF: Technology is everywhere around here, even in our mariachi music. San Jose's 23rd annual mariachi and ballet folklorico workshop conference starts July 25, and for the first time it'll include a class on the basics of coding for musicians by software engineer and master artist Juventino Mejia.

He built an app for players of the vihuela -- a guitar-shaped string instrument -- that plots all the chord variations and lets the performer look up the proper finger positions.

There's some other great stuff going on at the conference, which is sponsored by Viva Fest and runs through July 31. There'll be auditions for workshop students to create a VivaFest all-star mariachi and folklorico ensemble to perform at a national conference on music education at Pixar Animation Studios on Aug. 27 (Register at www.vivafest.org/registration).

The whole thing will be capped off by a concert recital on July 30 by Jalisco harp maestro William Faulkner at the San Jose Woman's Club and a free performance featuring Mariachi Sol de Mexico and Symphony Silicon Valley at the Target Summer Pops festival on Aug. 1 at San Jose State.

MUSIC IN THE PARK RETURNS: Tickets are now on sale for this summer's two Music in the Park concerts in downtown San Jose. Last year, the San Jose Downtown Association brought back the concept as a ticketed event featuring Ozomatli, and the show was such a success that the downtown boosters are doubling up this year with two "Throwback Thursday" concerts.

Ska band the English Beat will play the first show on Thursday at St. James Park, with Finish Ticket and the Holdup as opening acts. And the Pete Escovedo Orchestra will headline the second concert, with opener La Santa Cecilia, at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Aug. 21.

Tickets for each 5:30 p.m. concert are $10 and are available at http://sjdowntown.com/musicinthepark.

WOOF LA LA: Santana Row restaurant LB Steak is hosting the ninth annual Poodles on Parade next Sunday at noon. The pretty pooches -- not limited to poodles -- will stroll down a red carpet next to the restaurant with their human companions with the chance of winning prizes for Best Dressed, Most Talented, Dog Owner Look-a-Like and Best Kisser.

There'll free spectator seating, but the restaurant will be open with its regular fare. Registration fees, by the way, will benefit Hospice of the Valley's pet companion program. You can register for $10 online by Thursday at www.hospicevalley.org/calendar/event/poodle-parade1 or $20 in-person the day of the event.

SOBERING STATS: I stopped by SPUR San Jose's downtown office Thursday to see its current exhibition, "Future-Proof Water." Using maps, photos and a lot of statistics, the displays explain where the Bay Area gets its water, how that water's being used and where we can expect things to head in the future.

Noah Christman, SPUR's public programming manager, told me the exhibit was on display last year in San Francisco but it's got even more relevance in Silicon Valley this year. That's because the drought hasn't let up and water use is much higher in the heavily landscaped Santa Clara Valley than in San Francisco.

It's on display through October at 76 S. First St., and you can stop by and take a peek for free.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.