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Dickens Festival, glass sale and more

Arts and cultural picks of the week

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I’ll hang her up!

The Associated Ministries hosts a screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” tonight at the Blue Mouse Theatre to benefit the Family Emergency Fund. Yeah!

Wonderful, yes, but remember that Frank Capra’s postwar holiday classic is about a guy who, for much of the film, is on a slow but steady path to jumping off a friggin’ bridge. Also remember all this leads right into a nightmare sequence of pure dementia, sustained far longer than is usually considered comfortable. Additionally, I feel compelled to remind you this movie was once a bomb, left pretty much for dead. It owes its untouchable place in the cultural zeitgeist to aggressive television broadcasts over the course of many, many decades — much like “A Christmas Story,”

Happy holidays! — Suzy Stump

[Blue Mouse Theatre, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m., $5, 7 p.m. fundraiser event with required reservations, 2611 N. Proctor, Tacoma, 253.383.3056]


Holiday Trunk Sale

We love the holidays, but let’s face it: shopping at this time of year can suck. Snagging your nails in a catfight over a cashmere scarf, ruining your skin in the moisture-sucking mall air, and growing monster knots of tension just to cross each gift off your list makes for a stressful season. Enter Tempest Lounge, whose Holiday Trunk Show Saturday is a much-needed respite from the insanity. Seven local artists — Laura Towse, Jennevieve Schlemmer, Sara Woodward, Pam Sprowl, Kimberly Kay, Michelle Douglas, Brit-Simone Sutter and Marty Kneeland from Vinosus — offer their creations for holidays gifts (and get to keep 100 percent of their sales). Booze will be flowing so no kiddies. — SS

[Tempest Lounge, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2-6 p.m., 913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.272.4904]


Beggars’ banquet

Christmas shopping can be fun — especially when you dress up the shopping environment like a Victorian English town, make it feel authentic with roving, costumed entertainers, town criers and carolers, and fill it with beautiful handmade gift items and scrumptious food. You’ll get all that at the Dickens Festival at Stadium, a period-piece shopping experience in Tacoma’s Stadium District Saturday, Dec. 8. Dickens Festival at Stadium concludes at 5 p.m. with the Stadium Jazz Band performance inside the First Presbyterian School gym, then pop outside for the lighting and a few carols to watch the tree light up in Norton Park at Division and Tacoma Avenue at 5:30 p.m. — Michael Swan

[Stadium District, Saturday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tacoma Avenue and Division,]


Historic holiday

One of the most fun things to do around the holidays is to sample what the season meant to past generations. An occasion to see first hand is here. Historic Fort Steilacoom Museum Association is staging its annual Christmas at the Fort event this weekend. Travel back in time to Fort Steilacoom as it once was. Tour the candle- and lantern-lit quarters of Lt. Col. Silas Casey and soldiers of the fort as they and guests engage in Christmas merry making, conversation of the time, tree trimming, dancing to the tunes of a fiddler, and caroling. Special activities for children include hands-on ornament making. The gift shop has a good stock of books, toys and souvenir items for your Christmas shopping. — Steve Dunkelberger

[Historic Fort Steilacoom, Saturday, Dec. 8, 4-7:30 p.m., $3-$5, $10 for family, 9601 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., Lakewood, 253.582.5838,]


Holiday Glass Sale

There should be a connection here. Christmas, Christmas ornaments, glass, glassblowing. ... There really should be a connection here. Hhhmm. ... Hilltop Artists in Residence Tacoma hosts its annual Holiday Glass Sale Saturday (Christmas, creating healthy spirit for youth, glass?). Beginning at 7 a.m. the public picks numbered tickets for order of admittance (gifts early in the morning ... like Christmas?). But this sale is one day only, sooo. ... Come grab your new Christmas ornament or piece of art, or Christmas shop, if you just get inspired enough. There we go. Connection. — SS

[Jason Lee Middle School, Saturday, Dec. 8, 7 a.m. ticket distribution, 9 a.m. to noon sale, 602 N. Sprague, Tacoma, 571.7670]


Holiday alternative

Take one look around and you’ll see that most South Sounders go plumb crazy buying the latest fancy doodads and electronic gadgets as presents for their loved ones. Perhaps the question has crossed your mind: Can’t my family find a more meaningful way to celebrate Christmas?

Leave it to the fine folks at the Alternative Gift Fair to come up with a solution. The Alternative Gift Fair offers shoppers the chance to buy a gift in someone’s name from organizations that help train the homeless, help protect the environment, build homes for families and feed the hungry.

So do something truly good for others this Christmas season and visit the 20 organizations at The Olympia Center Saturday. — MS

[The Olympia Center, Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 222 Columbia St. N.W., Olympia, 360.754.5397]


Pretty lick

There’s something wonderfully odd and mysterious about the mind of the miniaturist; it takes a certain kind of person to spend so much time around small things, to appreciate the exacting elegance of a tiny table or an itty-bitty bed. Whether it’s a simple dollhouse or a stamp, going miniature is a matter of scale, a fastidious craft that requires patience, an artist’s eye — and lots and lots of time.

“Art of the Stamp,” a stamp art exhibition at the Washington State History Museum, is a mind-boggling example of the ways in which a miniaturist’s vision can evolve into a life’s work. More than 55 artists, who, I believe, painted with tiny tiny brushes on tiny tiny canvases, exhibit 100 small works of original art at the downtown Tacoma museum.  — SS

[Washington State History Museum, Dec. 8-March 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., open until 8 p.m. Thursday, $6-$8. 1911 Pacific Ave., downtown Tacoma, 253.798.5877]


Duck The Malls

You don’t need a Cinnabon to have a positive shopping experience.  Hurrah!  Consider an alternative, if you will. Duck The Malls arts and crafts sale is a gathering place for Olympia punks, hippies, hipsters, youngsters, oldsters, artists, Weekly Volcano-sters, crafters and folks of all kinds as an antidote to everything that’s wrong with the hectic, antiseptic, fluorescent-lighted mall. Olympia artists have worked all year to present you with artistic gifts for the holidays.  Check it. — SS

[Capitol Theater, Sunday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., no cover, 206 E. Fifth Ave., Olympia, 360.754.5378]

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