Actor Matthew Modine to receive Cinequest award next month

Throughout his career, actor Matthew Modine has been a lot of things: a soldier in the Vietnam War, a World War II pilot, an earnest FBI agent and a manipulative scientist on “Stranger Things.” And next month, he can add Maverick Spirit Award winner to the list.

Modine will receive the honor at the Cinequest film festival in March, joining the likes of Harrison Ford, Rosario Dawson, Nicolas Cage and Tatiana Maslany. The presentation will be part of closing night events on March 17 at the California Theatre, which will include a screening of Modine’s latest movie, “Hard Miles.”

“We’re very excited to have him as this year’s Maverick Spirit Award winner. We just can’t wait for this,” said Festival Director and co-founder Halfdan Hussey, who noted this won’t be the first time Modine has been to Cinequest. In 2014, the actor received the Maverick Tech Innovator Award for the “appumentary” he made with producer Adam Rackoff, “Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad App Project.”

The festival opens March 7 at the California with a fantasy thriller, “The Island Between Tides,” a fantasy thriller based on a story by “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie. Writers/directors Austin Andrews and Andrew Holmes are expected to be in attendance along with cast members Paloma Kwiatkowski, David Mazouz and Donal Logue. In the following 10 days, the festival will screen 217 films — including 100 directed by women and several world premieres. (Selections from the festival also will be available through the online Cinejoy platform March 21-31.)

One of the most interesting events for this year’s Cinequest will take place before the festival even starts. On March 6 at the Hammer Theatre Center, Cinequest will host a town hall on artificial intelligence with a keynote and two forums, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of AI” and “Creativity, Consciousness and AI.” San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan will be there to talk about the topics explored in the forums, and there’ll be competitions between humans and AI in creative fields like comedy and rap.

Tickets for individual films and full festival passes are available at

COMEDY FOR A CAUSE: The Alano Club of San Jose, which has provided a sober space for people in recovery since 1950, will be the beneficiary of a fundraising event Feb. 10 featuring comedians Mark Lundholm and Karin Babbitt. Tickets for “Save the Alano Club of San Jose,” which starts at 5:30 p.m., are $35 for general admission. You can get them at

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: It was great to see the San Jose Sharks score a big shutout against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday, but it was an even bigger night for Pamela Shannon. A decade ago, I wrote about the San Jose resident and former second-grade working her 900th Sharks game at SAP Center, where she took in-seat concession orders for fans in section 102. That win against Seattle also happened to be Shannon’s 1,300th game. Her position in the stands has been replaced by an app, but she still serves fans in the Sharks Lounge on the club level.

She’s been at the job since the first Sharks preseason game in 1993 and has 13 seasons with 100 percent attendance and has never missed more than three games in a season, according to proud husband John Shannon.

• Friends and colleagues gathered for lunch at Mezcal in downtown San Jose on Thursday to bid a fond farewell to Rick Jensen, who is leaving his job as the San Jose Downtown Association’s marketing director after 21-plus years. Jensen, who had previously worked at Clorox, said when he got the job in 2002 — he rode his bike around downtown’s streets and jotted down story ideas — some of which no doubt found their way into the Downtown Dimension newsletter he wrote and edited.

“It seemed like a really good gig, and I loved the downtown,” said Jensen, who also brought in more than $3 million for the Downtown Association as a grant-writer. “This town is full of great stories.”

• It was also a wrap Thursday for J. Jennings Moss, who has stepped down as editor of the Silicon Valley Business Journal after seven years. Moss, who became a familiar face to the business community as a frequent host of Business Journal events like the Structures Awards and 40 Under 40, is heading back to New York City. My prediction is he’ll miss the weather around here before he misses the work part.

SWIFT PARTY: Taylor Swift fans can make plans to spend Valentine’s Day at the Tech Interactive in San Jose, which will be showing “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” film on its IMAX Dome Theater. You can snag a ticket to the 7 p.m. show for $13-$19.89 or level up to the Love Story Lounge Experience, which includes access to the Love Story Lounge space, a complimentary themed cocktail and a “Girl Dinner” bistro box along with the movie for $63.89. Check it out at

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Natalie Alvanez-Taylor, the Tech’s vice president of marketing and sales, says the movie is “a tribute to the interconnectedness of music, technology, and innovation, showcasing the potent influence of creativity on both science and the arts.” And there’s all that Taylor Swift music being pumped through the IMAX Dome speakers.

Meanwhile, Mix 106.5 (KEZR) has some issues of its own when it comes to Taylor Swift music. Given the pop superstar’s romantic entanglement with Kansas City receiver Travis Kelce, the station is leaving it up to listeners whether they keep playing Swift’s music the week leading up to the Super Bowl or take a break until after the game. We’ll be listening to find out who prevailed, Swifties or hardcore Niners fans.

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