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Spring awakening

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Spring awakening

Everyone knows the end of August brings three weeks of entertainment to the Washington State fairgrounds, which is among the largest state fairs in the country. Less well known, perhaps, is the shorter Spring Fair, which has arrived every April since 1990. It may be less expansive than its older

Heaven with theatrical flair

Music

Heaven with theatrical flair

The last time most of us thought about the harp -- and chances are that opportunity wasn't recent -- our most likely associations were uptight chamber music or supplies from Saint Peter to the newly inorganic. Maybe not, though. Maybe you're one of those lucky connoisseurs who are hip to

Journey into the unknown

Stage

Journey into the unknown

When Ludwig van Beethoven died in March of 1827, possibly from cirrhosis of the liver, he'd been in poor health for years. Despite that, he managed to finish several string quartets and his now-beloved Ninth. The finale of that symphony, an allegro familiar to anyone who ever watched Die Hard,

Chekhov's drama of everyday life

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Chekhov's drama of everyday life

"I love Chekhov because he's one of the greatest playwrights ever, and his work is really great for training actors," said Marla Elliott, a faculty member specializing in drama at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. "He creates stories and plays in which there are no villains and no heroes,

Play on

Arts

Play on

Most people can't remember old phone numbers or grade-school teachers with whom they spent five days a week, but there's a good chance they can identify dozens of Star Wars action figures, Atari 2600 games or their first Cabbage Patch Kid. Though we didn't always buy them, toys were the

One singular sensation

Stage

One singular sensation

And one and two and ball change, kick. Each year since 2010, dance troupes from all over Western Washington have come together to show off every little step they take on one expansive stage, The Washington Center. Organizing the 2018 Olympia Dance Festival program is Ken Johnson, artistic director for

Envelope, please

South Sound Cinema

Envelope, please

Nearly everyone who's ever so much as mumbled a line as Third Tree From the Left in a grade-school production of The Lorax dreams of accepting an Oscar. Still, rare are the opportunities working adults get handed by life to dress to the nines, walk the red carpet, credit Mom

Best of Olympia 2018: Sam Miller

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Best of Olympia 2018: Sam Miller

However 2017 may have treated you, Sam Miller had a banner year. "I bought a house," he agreed. "I have a great job as a social worker, working in Tacoma. I got that job in 2017."   Then there's his thriving side career as Olympia's pre-eminent standup comedian. "I'm really happy with where

Best of Olympia 2018: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

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Best of Olympia 2018: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

Sure, it's called The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, but it's more accurate to say it's the center of Olympian culture. The Center occupies the former real estate of the vaudeville-age Liberty Theater, which opened in 1924 and was renovated two-dozen years later as the Olympic Theater cinema. Then, when

The ones that we love

Music

The ones that we love

When editor Bill White assigned this article, he added, "Try not to cry when describing some of the music." He was cracking wise, of course, but he was closer to the truth than he knew. Return with us now to those totally tubular days of yesteryear, specifically the early 1980s. It

Rebellious bird

Stage

Rebellious bird

It's become a cliché to say this, but Georges Bizet's Carmen is an opera custom-made for people who say they don't like opera. It's an opéra comique -- a form in which choruses and arias are separated by spoken dialogue, ancestral to American-style musical theater -- based on a short

Boy, Howdy!

Music

Boy, Howdy!

Despite our admiration for Americana, roots and other traditional forms of music, Washingtonians sometimes fail to give country-western music the respect it deserves. Still, tickets are going fast for the upcoming Miranda Lambert concert at the Tacoma Dome, so we know there's an enthusiastic crowd of readers out there amped

Modern Moses

Stage

Modern Moses

Half a century ago this week, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was launching his "Poor People's Campaign" for economic equality. "The issue is injustice," he told the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968. After recounting past struggles, he predicted, "We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really

Not a moment too soon

Stage

Not a moment too soon

It takes a special kind of year to make us nostalgic for 2016. So how do we bid 2017 a proper adieu, given it's impossible to set a trash fire on fire? On calendar milestones like these, it's vital to cut loose and greet the future with optimism and, face

Laugh on

Stage

Laugh on

Comic talents come and go -- some more deservedly than others -- but no performer in our time has earned more enduring success than the legendary Lily Tomlin. Born in Detroit, Mary Jean Tomlin spent her 20s acting and doing standup off-Broadway. She performed under a variation on her mother's

El Camino

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El Camino

The current map of Europe is a relatively recent development in that continent's rich history. Spain, for example, wasn't united until 1833. Before that, the region was a collection of kingdoms, counties and dependencies. Andalusia, for example, spanned the southern coast, while kingdoms to the north included (from east to

Jay Chandrasekhar, super trouper

Stage

Jay Chandrasekhar, super trouper

Comic multi-talent Jay Chandrasekhar is a man of three divine names. His last name, pronounced "Chan-drah-SAY-kahr," is Sanskrit for "Moon Crown" and was an incarnation of Shiva the destroyer. His first name is an abbreviation for Jayanth, Tamil for "victorious." But the real standout is his middle name, Jambulingam, Tamil

The horned king

Music

The horned king

He didn't know it yet, but young Kenneth Gorelick was destined for greatness and international fame. He was born in 1956 in Seward Park, a largely Jewish community in Seattle. As a child, he took up golf and the alto saxophone but seemed more gifted at the former than the

All aboard the Polar Express!

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All aboard the Polar Express!

Few literary works from 1985 can be justifiably dubbed modern classics, but The Polar Express may be an exception to that principle. We know parents who read it to their families every Christmas Eve, reminding them that even kids who've begun to doubt the existence and demi-divine powers of jolly

The conqueror nerd

Stage

The conqueror nerd

One would be hard-pressed to name a guy who looks more like what he is than Brian Posehn. If you live in the Venn-diagram intersection space where folks who love both standup comedy and genre-geek culture reside, then you know the stereotypical appearance of your tribe. Balding on top but

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