Comedy for cancer: De Anza College alumnus, Cops Care Cancer Foundation host stand-up – 2/12/2009

Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. The stand-up show in the Morris Dailey Auditorium at San Jose State University Jan. 30 was more than just another comedy act on a Friday night. It was also an act of charity to benefit cancer patients.

The event was set up by local production company Clownshoe Entertainment with the cooperation of the Cops Care Cancer Foundation and support from SJSU’s radio station 90.5 KSJS, along with SJSU’s Jewish Student Union.

The doors opened at 7 p.m. with 25 percent of the proceeds from the $15 ticket being donated to the Cops Care Cancer Foundation.

The event was hosted by one of the comics, Sammy Obeid, winner of the San Jose Improv Comedy Competition. The other comics included local comedian Jim Panetta, president of Clownshoe Entertainment and a De Anza College alumnus, along with headliners Brad Williams from “Mind of Mencia” and Bret Ernest from “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show.”

The show began about a half hour late, at 8:30, due to people slowly trickling in. Sixty five people attended.

First up was Obeid, whose humor reflected growing up in Fremont, along with life in the Bay Area. After his routine, Obeid introduced Panetta onto the stage.

Panetta captivated the audience with his raw humor. He focused on politics, the economy and his family, using the signature style he is known for.

After Panetta’s performance, a raffle with a fruit basket prize was offered by 90.5 KSJS. The winner was Rochelle Farlow, a San Jose State alumnus, who heard about the show from the Metro.

Next up was Williams, whose humorous performance centered on his dwarfism, while taking a few moments to joke about Barack Obama.

Ernest delivered the final performance of the night, entertaining the audience with the routine that fans know and remember from “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show.” Unfortunately, there were some technical problems with the CD player during his “Roller Skate” routine.

After the show, audience members had the opportunity to meet Williams and Ernest for an autograph or photo opportunity along with the chance to purchase a DVD copy of “Rockstars of Comedy” and t-shirts.

The Cops Care Cancer Foundation is a charity established by Brian Simuro, a San Jose Police officer and cancer survivor, to help and support people and families affected by the disease.

The organization has been collaborating for a year with Clownshoe Entertainment to set up comedy shows in the Bay Area to raise awareness for cancer.

Written for La Voz Weekly
2/12/2009
Original Article: Comedy for cancer: De Anza College alumnus, Cops Care Cancer Foundation host stand-up

Jews, Israelis and Friends club honors late Israeli PM – 11/10/2008

Rather then eating lunch in the Sunken Garden, members of the Jews, Israelis and Friends club gathered in the Main Quad on Nov. 11 to reflect upon the legacy of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Members of JIF set up booths by the fountain, allowing students to discuss and learn about Rabin’s attempts to establish peace in the Middle East. On display was a copy of a memoir written by his granddaughter.

Posters illustrated Rabin’s lifetime accomplishments as a military leader and politician. Photos displayed included the famous moment he entered East Jerusalem with Moshe Dayan and Uzi Narkiss after the Six-Day War.

Songs written in Rabin’s honor played while club members offered bagels to students passing by.

JIF members Bella Yashayev and Maya Kostyanovsky together read the last speech Rabin gave at a peace rally in Tel Aviv followed by the song Ha’ish Ha Hu, which is Hebrew for “That Man,” a song that has been associated with him.

JIF co-President Omer Ben-Zvi and Zohar Porshyan, Hillel’s Israel Fellow, performed the song.

Rabin was the fifth prime minister of Israel and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. He shared this honor with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat for the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Signed in 1993, the Oslo Accords was an agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization to formally acknowledge each other, and to establish the West Bank and Gaza Strip territory to be self governed by the Palestinians for five years.

Yigal Amir, a right-wing radical who was opposed to the Oslo Accords, assassinated Rabin in 1995.

“I was ashamed that one of my people did it,” said Porshyan, reflecting on the the tragedy.

“It was like a political earthquake for Israel,” said Emilya Burd, a member of JIF disusing the impact the assassination had.

The assassination and its lasting effects have been compared to the 1963 assassination of American President John F. Kennedy.

Written for La Voz Weekly
11/10/2008
Original Article: Jews, Israelis and Friends club honors late Israeli PM

A Virtual Revolution: Grand Theft Auto IV provides a new player experience – 5/12/2008

Niko Bellic, a Serbian veteran of the Bosnian War, arrives in the United States in hopes of finding the American dream.

When Bellic first steps foot on the docks of Liberty City, he’s excited to see his cousin Roman, who brags in his letters to Bellic of his success.

Sadly though, Roman’s story of fortune is in fact a story of debt.

For Bellic, this is one of many moments of disappointment he will experience on his journey to find what he desires on the streets of Liberty City.

But for the player, there are hardly any disappointing moments when they experience the world of “Grand Theft Auto IV” for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

“GTA IV” is more of a revolution in console gaming than just another video game.

Thanks to the hardware of fourth generation consoles, this is not the Liberty City that players experienced in “GTA III”.

The city has been redesigned to resemble New York City, and Bellic no longer drives around on his own; a Global Positioning System is available to navigate his rides.

Furthermore, while most games just focus on showing off their shiny new graphics (and ignore elements such as plot and playability), “GTA IV” focuses on the smallest of details to provide the player with a spectacularly real adventure. Even Bellic’s bulletholes look genuine.

Combat and action aren’t ignored either. Both have receive a complete overhaul that improves the gaming experience, and the inclusion of rag doll physics and realistic blood splatter has made “GTA IV” the most violent game in the series yet.

The depiction of the Liberty City Police has also received a complete make over as officers patrol the streets wearing a variety of uniforms and armed with traditional law enforcement weapons.

The law is now more of a challenge than ever, as higher felonies will attract more than two police cars, and if you’re lucky, a helicopter.

Finally, as if to complete an already perfect experience, for the first time ever in “GTA” history there is option for multi-player gaming.

Up to a glorious 16 players can work together or fight it out in either a death match or a street race.

Excited yet? Well, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Truly, this is an experience that words alone cannot explain. Try it for yourself and feel the amazing-ness that is the new “GTA IV”.

Written For La Voz Weekly
5/12/2009
Original Article: A Virtual Revolution: Grand Theft Auto IV provides a new player experience

How to start a new club – 4/28/2008

Do the clubs at De Anza College not interest you? Start your own. Just follow these nine steps to create your own club.

1. Sign up for a meeting with the ICC.

2. Submit a copy of the club constitution to the ICC.

3. Recruit one or more De Anza faculty members as an adviser.

4. Find a minimum of 10 students interested in the club.

5. Submit the event planning form for a meeting room.

6. Hold a meeting with the ICC for club approval.

7. The club is put on trial for three weeks.

8. Pending any issues, final approval is made.

9. The club sends one ICC representative to a weekly meeting.

10. You have a club!

For more information pick up a packet at the ICC office in the Hinson Campus Center.

Published for La Voz Weekly
4/28/2008
Original Link: How to start a new club

Cheap Eats for under $5 – 3/11/2008

Nine out of 10 doctors agree: students need to eat. But with a job that just breaks minimum wage, what’s a student to do? Read on, pupil.

The Book Store
Location: Student and Community Services Building
Recommended Dish: The most excellent Power Bar Second
Choice: Beef jerky or chips
Healthiness: 2 (out of 5), or maybe even less depending on what you pick.
Service: 4 (out of 5)
The Verdict: The book store is for when you need a fast meal and/or are extremely late to class. When you need to eat something that could satisfy you and you’re in a hurry, stop by the book store for a quick meal. We only recommend the bookstore as a last resort.

Hinson Campus Center (aka the cafeteria)
Location: The main quad
Recommended Dish: Chicken Caesar Wrap Second Choices: Salad or pasta.
Healthiness: 3.5
Service: 4
The Verdict: You get a good lunch when you don’t want to leave school. The cafeteria has some meals that are both cheap and healthy. There are also the typical burgers, which are horrible and too pricey, encouraging you to eat the healthy meals.

Togo’s Sandwiches
Location: Across the street on Stevens Creek Boulevard
Recommended Dish: #8
Second Choice: Daily soup
Healthiness: 5
Service: 1.5
The Verdict: The soup is cheap and a regular sandwich is only $4.95. However, if you can afford it, drive to the Togo’s down Prospect Road at Lawrence Expressway. It’s the same Togo’s feel only with better service.

Published for La Voz Weekly
3/11/2008
Original Link: Cheap Eats for under $5

No, he doesn’t like Dane Cook – 3/7/2008

Jim Panetta is a 20-year-old stand-up comedian from Campbell who’s risen from having next to nothing to establishing an independent production company with a major show premiering.

Armed with only a G.E.D. and one night school class at De Anza College, Jim Panetta has established his own production company, Clownshoe Entertainment, which has a major show titled “Stand Up for Humanity” scheduled to debut March 7 at the Campbell Heritage Theater.

Panetta has performed stand-up in most major clubs in the Bay Area. In this interview, Panetta tells about his rise to fame and, of course, plugs his latest show.

Soheil Rezaee: What inspired you to be a stand-up comedian?

Jim Panetta: I was a talker in school and I would always get kicked out of class for it.

SR: When did you first perform on stage and how was it?

JP: My first show was at the Gaslighter Theater. My friend Nick Greenwell signed me up for open mike without my knowledge and so I performed in front of the biggest crowd that attended the Gaslighter for open mic night. Surprisingly, I did so good that they asked me to come back.

SR: Who in your life has inspired you?

JP: Both my father and grandfather inspired me. My dad always supported me. He introduced me to the works of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. After he passed away I stopped touring for a while. My grandfather was a real influence. We would watch cartoons and stand-up together.

SR: Which comedians have influenced you?

JP: The five great comedians of all time: Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, and Chris Rock.

SR: What is your theory on telling jokes?

JP: It needs to offend people. It’s like my life motto, “the truth is said in jest.”

SR: How did you establish your production company, Clownshoe Entertainment?

JP: My associates and I have been planning this for many years and Matt inherited some money from his great grandmother. We rented an apartment complex on Winchester close to where I used to live and where I came up with most of my ideas. It’s like the hip hop industry and how it tries to stay connected with its roots.

SR: What is the theme of your up coming show, “Stand-Up for Humanity”?

JP: It’s a comedy show where the audience sits back and laughs at what hasn’t changed in America. We’re also going to be filming it as a documentary. It all started as a project to see the creation of the company and now it has taken a life of its own where words can’t explain it.

SR: Tell me about your co-stars.

JP: Our national headliner is Mark Lundholm, who’s had several Showtime specials. There’s Justin McClure who’s the emcee at the San Jose Improv and has become a growing Myspace comedian. Finally, there’s Andrew Norelli, who wrote several jokes for the Oscars.

SR: How have ticket sales and advertising been going for the show?

JP: We only need to sell $200 worth of tickets to break even. We’ve embraced a guerrilla marketing campaign to spread the word about the show. Our target has been the Campbell area since the majority of our audience is in that area. We have received support from the local businesses who have allowed us to post flyers on their front windows.

SR: What do you see as the biggest threat to comedy?

JP: There are a lot of threats to comedy. (For) clubs like the Improv, if you don’t fit their image, they could blacklist you. There is also Comedy Central promoting talentless people like Larry the Cable Guy and Dane Cook. If Comedy Central is really about comedy, why did they give Carlos Mencia four seasons? Finally, there are those who see comedy as a business. There are no business grounds; comedy is like Jerusalem. It’s sacred ground, and stop hiring Dane Cook. I would rather pay $30,000 to have the ashes of Bill Hicks on stage than Dane Cook.

Published for La Voz Weekly
3/7/2008
Original Link: No, he doesn’t like Dane Cook

It’s smoking… – 2/29/2008

The Campbell Cigar Store held its monthly cigar party on Feb. 15 with Gurkha Cigars being represented. The event was hosted by Shawna Williams, Gurkha’s regional sales manager, and Nazih Alannous, the storeowner. Special thanks to Jolly Bimbachi for organizing the event.

Gurkha offers a variety of cigars from either Nicaragua, Honduras, or the Dominican Republic wrapped in Connecticut leafs. All the cigars were packaged in boxes that were very colorful and well designed. People who attended the event were given one free cigar to smoke as Williams explained the quality of each cigar. At the end of the event a raffle was held and the winner received a Gurkha clock.

Out of the many cigars available, three were randomly chosen to be reviewed based on their odor, taste, quality of lighting it and price. All cigars were cut using a cutter, lit with a match and smoked at Orchard Valley Coffee Shop in Downtown Campbell.

G3
Price: $9*
Pro: It’s good to smoke when you’re at a party or just wanting to relax.
Cons: Too strong from some people.
Information: The G3 is made of three layers of legro (the top of the tobacco plant) grown in Nicaragua and aged for a few years. Experience: Rarely have I ever finished a cigar close to the end. It had a great taste to it and the odor was good too.
Verdict: This is an excellent cigar to enjoy no matter what the occasion is. It gives of a good odor when you’re puffing and has a nice taste to it. It burns well and it won’t go out if you’re not smoking it for a short amount of time. It’s a cigar that you’re guaranteed to smoke all the way and its sold at an affordable price. However it might be too bold for people who don’t smoke cigars as much. Score: 4/5

Grand Reserve
Price: $20*
Pro: It has a sweet odor and very durable.
Cons: The price might be a burden and the case might be difficult to open.
Information: The Grand Reserve is Gurkha’s flagship cigar. It is made with tobacco grown in Ecuador aged from seven to eight years, wrapped in Connecticut leafs and moisturized in cognac for 90 days to give it a natural sweetness.
Experience: When I tried to open the case, it broke and the cigar was slightly damaged. Yet the small hole did not affect the cigar and so I was able to smoke it as if nothing happened. That is something rare I have seen in a cigar. The odor from the smoke attracted people sitting around me.
Verdict: This is an excellent cigar to smoke for any one. Nobody will be able to resist its sweet odor. Its also very durable and even with a small hole, you could smoke it without a problem. Yet its high price suggests it’s something you would smoke on a special occasion. Score: 4.5/5

Black Dragon
Price: $16*
Pro: Very mellow cigar to enjoy.
Cons: Too strong and pricey.
Information: The Black Dragon is Gurkha’s newest cigar released in late 2007. It’s made from a mix of dark rich tobacco from Connecticut and Cameroon. Experience: When smoking the Black Dragon, all I wanted to do was just sit back and relax.
Verdict: This is an excellent cigar to smoke when you just want to relax or talk. However it’s too strong for people who don’t smoke often or have a low tolerance for cigars. The price might also be a problem for some thus making the G3 a better alternative. Score: 3.5/5

So if you ever want to take a break from all the hardships in life, get a cigar, sit down and seize the moment.

*All prices exclude tax

Published for La Voz Weekly
2/29/2008
Original Link: It’s smoking…