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January 20, 2006

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, January 20, 2006

Worth a Look Worth a Look (January 20, 2006)

'The Clean House'

Try keeping your home -- and life -- just as you like it when you're a doctor married to a surgeon, your maid prefers wisecracking to scrubbing and your sister's compulsively neat. Such are the woes facing the main character of Lane in TheatreWorks' production of "The Clean House."

Penned by Sarah Ruhl, the play is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist. It runs through Feb. 12 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 500 Castro St., with shows Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets are $20-$52, with discounts available for youth, students, seniors and members.

Call (650) 903-6000 or go to


Martha Graham Dance

The hardships and triumphs of women in a small 19th-century frontier town come to life in dance this Wednesday when the Martha Graham Dance Company takes the stage at Memorial Auditorium at Stanford University.

The legendary company presents "Appalachian Spring," which is set to music by Aaron Copland and staged in period dress. The program will also include "Cave of the Heart," set to music by Samuel Barber, and selections from "Chronicle," which premiered in 1936, denouncing Fascism in Europe.

A pre-performance discussion is planned for 6:45 p.m., and the performance starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $46/$40/$28 for adults and $23/$20/$14 for Stanford students.

Call (650) 725-ARTS or go to


Benefit concert

"Bach, Bluegrass and Chamber Jazz" may seem an unlikely grouping, but the Palo Alto-based TOPAZ music ensemble hopes to meld them together in perfect harmony on Saturday for a good cause -- the outreach programs at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto.

At the 7:30 p.m. benefit concert, the first of a series of three, the group will play classical works by Bach, Mozart and Dvorak, and then take on a bluegrass composition by American composer Mark O'Connor. TOPAZ co-founder Mimi Dye also lends her work to the occasion; the ensemble will premiere her composition "Paradise Dreams."

Visual art has its place, too: painter Harry Cohen will display his "Jazz Series," and Leonard Breger will exhibit his painting of Bach.

The church is at 555 Waverley St. and tickets are $25/$30. Call (650) 380-0961 or go to

Organ evening

The stately Memorial Church at Stanford University was just made for the grandeur of organ music, and it will serve that purpose at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

University organist Robert Huw Morgan will present a program titled "Invocationist Evocations," including works by Dupré as well as some of his original compositions.

Tickets are $10 general and $5 for students; they're free for Stanford University students. Call (650) 725-ARTS or go to


'Beyond Pluto'

Doesn't every school child know there are only nine planets? Maybe that's not so, according to California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown, who will come to Foothill College on Wednesday to discuss how he and his colleagues recently discovered an object larger than the planet Pluto.

"Beyond Pluto: The Discovery of the '10th Planet'" is promised to be a non-technical, illustrated talk, covering the latest theories on whether the new object -- and Pluto itself -- are indeed planets. Brown will also discuss how astronomers find bodies in the far reaches of the solar system.

The 7 p.m. talk, which takes place in Smithwick Theater, is free, but parking is $2 (eight quarters). Call (650) 949-7888 or go to

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