John Witherspoon
He’s been nicknamed “America’s favorite dad,” usurping the title from fellow comedian Bill Cosby. John Witherspoon was the dad in the Friday movies and the TV shows The Wayans Brothers and The Tracy Morgan Show. Look for his Dear John short video series on YouTube in which he doles out sage advice on such high-brow topics as hoochies, MySpace, steroids and New York. He’s doing a special Valentine’s Day show at the San Jose Improv on Monday.

Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff
The late George Carlin used to do a funny bit on America’s obsession with “stuff” and how houses are just for storing stuff so people can go out and buy more stuff. How is it that Americans have accumulated ever more and better stuff? As environmental activist Annie Leonard explains, all this stuff is taking an enormous toll on our health, our happiness, our desire for global justice and our shared natural world. Where does all this stuff come from and where does it go when we throw it away? Leonard exposes the hidden costs of all this stuff in a provocative, humorous and engaging examination of the true costs of our consumer driven culture. She’s an expert on international sustainability and environmental health, with more than 20 years experience investigating sources and solutions to pollution. Her talk is enlivened with a 20-minute film entitled “The Story of Stuff,” which is probably a better choice than showing the 1985 gross-out horror flick “The Stuff.”

The Electric Voice with Nicholas Isherwood
German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen pioneered new forms of musical composition involving electronic music, controlled chance, and spatialization. Stockhausen passed away in 2007 but finished a piece before his death entitled Havona that he wrote specifically for bass Nicholas Isherwood. Isherwood partnered with additional modern composers to create a new program built around Havona. “This program is the third edition of a project involving the bass voice and electronics,” writes Isherwood. “The composers are all musicians I admire and respect. They conceive new life, and it is up to me to nurture it through years of performances before passing it on to the next generation. Keep your seat belts securely fastened, relax, and enjoy the flight.”

De Anza Daddios CD “Pre-Release” Party
It’s live big band jazz music and Brazilian cuisine at Senzala on Thursday as the De Anza Daddios throw a CD pre-release party. The Daddios are raising additional funds to complete the production of their upcoming CD, Inner Voices. The Lynbrook High School Jazz Ensemble will present a short program during intermission. Cover is $5 with dinner, $10 without. But it wouldn’t be wise to skip dinner at Senzala. They’ve got some of the best Brazilian fare in the South Bay.

Andy Allo and Mara Hruby
Pagoda Lounge at the Fairmont Hotel hosts two rising stars of the new breed of soul music on Friday night. Andy Allo describes her style as “alter-hip-soul.” Her ‘fro is recognizable from national ads for Toyota and the U.S. Postal Service. Mara Hruby’s debut EP featured songs written by Mos Def, Jamiroquai and Bob Marley. She also cites Prince, Marvin Gaye and Bjork as influences. Put Allo and Hruby together in the same show and it’s guaranteed to be a classy night of smooth and funky R&B.