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A really big Shew at Tacoma Community College

Music

A really big Shew at Tacoma Community College

This isn't the first time I've received a press release that referred to an artist as "legendary." It's an adjective I've employed myself, to describe Smokey Robinson and other members of the pop music pantheon, but I can honestly say it's not a word I use lightly. A promoter who

Bibliotopia

Guides

Bibliotopia

By some standards, Seattle is the most literate city in the United States. Its ratio of college graduates approaches three out of five adults. Its libraries get used more frequently than most cities', and South Lake Union-based Amazon is the national bookstore of choice. Portland just missed the top 10

Saturday, April 4: Fruition

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Saturday, April 4: Fruition

Much of the enjoyment of writing about and publicizing music comes from pleasant surprises. I admit I skimmed over Fruition's concert announcement the first time I came across it. I rolled my eyes when this trio of Portlandians described itself as "three-part-harmony-infused, melody-rich rock, country, folk and soul." That's like

Saturday, April 11: Caspar Babypants

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Saturday, April 11: Caspar Babypants

Chris Ballew, lead singer for mid-'90s Seattle alt-rock outfit The Presidents of the United States of America, has a pair of Grammy nominations under his belt. His hit singles "Lump" and "Peaches" are fixtures on rock radio. So it's amusing that Ballew reentered the public consciousness,

Apple Tree puts on its Babypants

Music

Apple Tree puts on its Babypants

Chris Ballew, lead singer for mid-'90s Seattle alt-rock outfit The Presidents of the United States of America, has a pair of Grammy nominations under his belt. His hit singles "Lump" and "Peaches" are fixtures on rock radio. So it's amusing that Ballew reentered the public consciousness, not as a middle-aged

Saturday, March 28: Maroon 5

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Saturday, March 28: Maroon 5

It's been 11 years since Maroon 5 smashed into the public consciousness with "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved," though "Harder to Breathe," the first single from that same album, actually reached #18 two years earlier. (Overnight success is a funny thing.) Since then, Adam Levine's distinctively high-pitched tenor

Friday, March 20: Jonny Lang

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Friday, March 20: Jonny Lang

Fargo, North Dakota native Jonny Lang has had five albums in the Billboard top 50. He recorded his first blues guitar album, Smokin', at the tender age of 14. Two years later came Lie to Me, an album that went multi-platinum and earned raves from major critics. After a Grammy

Saturday, March 21: Amy Schumer

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Saturday, March 21: Amy Schumer

If I need to tell you who Amy Schumer is, you must not own a TV. Her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer was nominated for an Emmy. Both Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone praised it as one of last year's best series, especially a firecracker of a sketch about

Sunday, March 22: Songs of the Emerald Isle

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Sunday, March 22: Songs of the Emerald Isle

You may not know it yet, but you are going to love Kaitlyn Lusk. She first sang with the Baltimore Symphony at age 14. A year later, she was chosen as featured vocal soloist for composer Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings Symphony suite. If you're a Tolkien geek, her

Sunday, March 22: Recycled Percussion

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Sunday, March 22: Recycled Percussion

For a hell of a lot less than the cost of a plane ticket to Las Vegas, you can see four guys who still have the same enthusiasm as, but decades more experience than, any game show wannabe. Throw in acrobatics and a fair amount of drumstick

The big bam boom of Recycled Percussion

Arts

The big bam boom of Recycled Percussion

There are times when it falls on the Weekly Volcano to shatter pop-cultural myths. This, we're sorry to say, is one of those occasions. No matter what the preternaturally effusive judges on America's Got Talent claim, they aren't always the discoverers of brand-new artistic geniuses. Last year, for example, contestants

Friday, March 13: Jake Shimabukuro

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Friday, March 13: Jake Shimabukuro

I encountered Jake Shimabukuro through his much-admired rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," a piece that went viral in YouTube's infancy. Since then he's toured with Jimmy Buffett and played the West Hollywood House of Blues, B.B. King's Nightclub in New York, Bumbershoot and popular

The dancing fingers of Jake Shimabukuro

Music

The dancing fingers of Jake Shimabukuro

I think we each have that friend who "discovers" Facebook memes that made the rounds two years ago. We think, "How can he just now be seeing this? Has he really never heard ‘The Bed Intruder Song?' Does he still think Rick rolling is funny?" Last month I was that

Friday, March 13: New Kingston

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Friday, March 13: New Kingston

Irie, braa! Sadly, most Americans' understanding of (and appreciation for) reggae begins and ends with Bob Marley. But the genre is doing just fine these days, thank you, and not just in Jamaica. The father-and-sons quartet New Kingston are of rasta heritage, but the Pantons are second-generation Americans who drop

Saturday, March 7: South Sound Sustainability Expo

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Saturday, March 7: South Sound Sustainability Expo

Recycling is a way of life in western Washington, but do you wonder if you're truly making a difference? A few cans and bottles here and there can't make that big a dent, can it? It's easy to get cynical about such things. Upon closer inspection, it turns out snipping

Friday, March 6: Smokey Robinson

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Friday, March 6: Smokey Robinson

It may be impossible to overstate William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr.'s contribution to pop music. For once, the term "living legend" sells the guy short. No less an artist than Bob Dylan listed Robinson among his favorite poets. It's not merely that his hits represent a significant chunk of the American

Skin vs. Desire: South Sound college theater smackdown!

Arts

Skin vs. Desire: South Sound college theater smackdown!

Let's be honest, if I told you two very skilled college theater departments were staging productions of classic American plays this weekend, you wouldn't get too excited about that, would you? Instead, prompted by a suggestion from Volcano editor Ron Swarner, let's pretend these productions are duking it out mano-a-mano,

Through March 1: "Angels In America, Part 2: Perestroika"

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Through March 1: "Angels In America, Part 2: Perestroika"

I spent last week in the skin of a monster. I'm playing Roy Cohn, the very real attorney who guided the knife point of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, then adamantly denied his own homosexuality even as he was dying of AIDS. He's a character in Tony

Friday, Feb. 27: International Guitar Night

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Friday, Feb. 27: International Guitar Night

If you think the height of guitar music is a stoner's curbside rendition of "Wish You Were," then prepare to have your mind blown. (Seriously - why does every guitarist learn "Wish You Were Here" fresh out of the gate? What's wrong with a little "Bourrée in

Saturday, Feb. 28: Rocky Sandoval

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Saturday, Feb. 28: Rocky Sandoval

Tacoma's homegrown crooner Rocky Sandoval is the definition of an artist on the verge of stardom. After graduating from the Musicians Institute in L.A., he was featured on MTV's Score, then made top 15 on Making the Band. His greatest national exposure to date has probably been season 1 of

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