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I'm too sexy for my space suit

I overcome the post-holiday slump by turning ordinary outings into colorful costumed celebrations.

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Wondering how to beat the post-holiday blues? Have the nerve to stand out from the crowd? Then consider treating some of the Tacoma area’s upcoming afternoon and evening winter season events as excuses to play dress-up. All you need is a little imagination and a cooperative costuming consultant.

I found my consultants at Tacoma’s Northwest Costume, which is run by Mary and Tom Johnson. Together, we recently toured their shop’s showroom, as well as their backroom inventory, in search of ways for me to turn local January and February events into a mini Mardi Gras for myself and reasons to point and snicker for everyone else.

Joe Piscatella on Fitness and Health

The author of “The Road to a Healthy Heart Runs Through the Kitchen” speaks on health and fitness and signs copies of the book at Garfield Book Company (208 S. Garfield near Pacific Lutheran University) Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. It’s free.

My plan: A couple of choices here. I could celebrate heart health wearing Northwest Costume’s large Valentine heart costume, or I could wear some old-school basketball shorts and tank top, rent one of the store’s Afro wigs, and attend the program dressed as Richard Simmons. I’d better choose fast.

Garage Band Night

Girl Trouble, The Freakouts, Toxic Peanuts, Gypsies, and Sun Dogs will rock out Hell’s Kitchen (3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) Saturday, Jan. 26, beginning at 5 p.m. The all-ages show screams garage rock, and the show’s poster is designed around Dr. Evil. It’s $7 at the door.

My plan: Northwest Costume has a selection of ’60s style clothing. If I can find an old pair of bell bottoms, the Johnsons will provide me with a psychedelic T-shirt and a furry vest inspired by Sonny Bono. Perhaps I’ll pass out cut flowers to the crowd. Perhaps I will have my head shoved in the toilet.

100th Monkey Arts Party

Danielle McClenahan hosts the next 100th Monkey Party where artists and art lovers are both welcome at this six-times-yearly event that combines art, music and networking. This month’s monkey soiree takes place at Jazzbones (2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) on Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Susan Christian’s art tiles are available for purchase for $4, and music is complements of Deborah Page.

My plan: This event has nothing to do with monkeys as far as I know, but I don’t feel like showing up wearing black ski pajamas and a beret — and I won’t have to. Northwest Costume has a selection of full gorilla suits (some with black fur, some with brown — and one with shocking pink fur). I’ll go with the pink.

Lunar Spring Event

Celebration of the Year of the Rat is the focus at this concert being held at the Kenneth Minnaert Center for the Arts on the campus of South Puget Sound Community College (2001 Mottman Road S.W., Olympia). The event features the Seattle Chinese Orchestra as well as other performers. Tickets are $10-$25. Call 360.596.5501 for more information.

My plan: Hmmm, no rodent costumes to be found, and I don’t think a white Easter Bunny suit will cut it. (The Year of the Rabbit isn’t until 2011. Damn.) I may have to go with a dragon-patterned silk shirt with a Mandarin collar. I’ll probably look like a girl.


This musical comedy involving water shortages and a ban on privately owned toilets plays at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse (7116 Sixth Ave.) through Feb. 3 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $16-$23. Call 253.565.6867 or visit to learn more.

My plan: I’m on my own here. I didn’t have the nerve to ask the Johnsons for help, but I’m thinking I could wear a set of white overalls and a red cap — and carry a plumber’s helper. Then add a bushy black mustache. Northwest Costume could probably help with that. Hey, it’s a Mario!

Constellation Basics

The Tacoma Astronomical Society is presenting the latest in its series of public programs at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom (9401 Farwest Drive S.W., Lakewood) Saturday, Jan. 26, from 7:30-9 p.m. These events are held under the stars on clear nights and replaced by indoor lectures when the weather refuses to cooperate. Admission is free although donations are “gladly accepted.”

My plan: Two ways to go here. The shop stocks a number of traditional wizard robes covered with images of stars and planets and pointed hats similarly adorned.  Alternatively, I could wear Northwest Costume’s authentic NASA astronaut flight suit. (I could also pull out my old Captain Kirk costume, but I wouldn’t be able to breathe in it. It must have shrunk.) Think I’ll be a wizard.

Tribute to Benny Goodman

The Dave Bennett Septet is joining the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra for an afternoon of big band music at the Pantages Theater (901 Broadway, Tacoma) Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $22-$75.

My plan: The style is an easy choice — plenty of zoot suits from which to select — but I’ll have to choose a color and a wide-brimmed hat to go with it. I’m torn between either purple or bright red, both with pinstripes. What do you think?

For more costume ideas (shoppers are already making selections for Mardi Gras, and full Easter Bunny suits — found a use for it after all — are waiting to fill your spring costume needs) check out Northwest Costume. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. I did at Northwest Costume.

[Northwest Costume, 2315 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.4700]

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