Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: July, 2010 (144) Currently Viewing: 141 - 144 of 144

July 31, 2010 at 2:47pm

Spaceworks Tacoma in pictures

Amy McBride speaks in front of Lisa Kinoshita's "Jack's Epitaph" piece at the Woolworth Windows on Broadway during the Spaceworks Tacoma walking tour. Amy is going to kill me for posting this photo but it looks as if she's pretending to be the bear that's


As the recession takes its toll on retailing, empty storefront windows throughout the downtown Tacoma area are turning into "artscapes," the result of an opportune alignment of interests among artists, landlords, city of Tacoma, Seattle-based arts non-profit Shunpike and the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. Spaceworks Tacoma is an art project whose goal is to fill empty downtown storefronts with art from local artists. Not only will the program provide local artists with an accessible venue for their works, but it will also benefit property owners by drawing attention to available buildings and spaces and adding a much more vibrant appeal to these otherwise unoccupied facades.

The programmed kicked off Thursday evening with a block party at Ninth and Broadway featuring a beer garden, spoken word, film, live music and walking tours of the 17 storefronts, which also include the Woolworth Windows that has been donated by Tacoma Contemporary for the Spaceworks project. Tacoma Arts Commission Wizard Amy McBride led the tours, filling our heads with Tacoma history, Spaceworks background, and artist bios while sterring us clear of the black T-shirt wearing smokers outside Hell's Kitchen. I enjoyed the tour, and even more impressed with the quality of artwork in the storefronts.

The 19 artist participating in Spaceworks include: filmmaker Isaac Olsen (Quiet Shoes) and photographer Joshua Everson holed up in a massive two-story space (1114 Pacific Ave.) incorporating bank vaults, a spiral staircase and groovy ‘70s-ish lighting into their projects; Tiffanie Peters' store Chiffon (915 Pacific Ave.)  featuring vintage handbags and clothes plus jewelry that works also as artwork on the crazy painted walls; Shakespeare in the Parking Lot and director Kristie Worthey parked at the 913 Pacific Ave. space to prepare for Titus Andronicus; artist Jennifer Adams (Tacoma is For Lovers) loving the 904 Broadway space for her indie craft boutique Fly; Eric Holdener, Scott McGee and Bill Fleming rode their kinetic inventions (part of Zeit-Bike 2010 at the Tacoma Art Museum) into the Woolworth Windows spot at 11th and Commerce.

Here are a few snapshots I took on my crappy camera while on the first tour Thursday night.

For more information on Spaceworks, the participating artists and storefront locations, click here.

LINK: More photos in our Photo Hot Spot

July 31, 2010 at 3:01pm

Amocat Cafe had its ribbon cut

Amocat Cafe owner Morgan Alexander, his family, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma City Councilmembers David Boe and Marty Campbell and former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma pose after the ribbon cutting. Photography by Jennifer Johnson


Owner Morgan Alexander put his hustle into hyper-drive preparing for his Amocat Café's grand opening party last night. Visitors filed in before the 5 p.m. start time eager to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony with Tacoma City Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Tacoma City Councilman David Boe. Inside said cafe on St. Helens Avenue, filmmaker Adam "The Alien" Manley and Mark Monlux of Tacoma's cartoonist club C.L.A.W. rehashed the day's chalk-off at Frost Park with Councilman Boe while Jim Higgins, owner of Puget Sound Pizza, sipped a cold Iron Horse Irish Death beer (Amocat now serves beer!)while chatting with Mayor Strickland about paid parking. Former mayor Bill Barsma, Councilman Marty Campbell, artist/creator Andrea Lowen, attorney Erik Bjornson and Tacoma blogger Kevin Freitas mingled and discussed all things Tacoma. Attendees noshed on delicious Italian fare provided by Proctor District Café Europa. Wines from local Lake Tapp's Kalamar Winery, Olympia's Andrake Cellars, and Wilridge Winery (Seattle) were enjoyed while listening to the smooth sounds of University Place jazz guitarist Andrew Sherbrooke. Tacoma's own Valhalla Coffee and Mad Hat Tea custom Amocat Blend were also available.

Alexander proves local loyalty runs deep in almost all aspects of his café. The yellow and red walls are graced with endearing artwork by Tacoma resident Alexis St. John.

Just before 6 p.m. Mayor Strickland and Councilman Boe took their places in front of stretched taut yellow caution tape humorously used as the ribbon. With garden pruning shears in hand, the two jokingly clashed shears in a mock-fencing fashion and smiled while Alexander, with his wife by his side, expressed his thanks to the crowd for attending an indoor event on such a beautiful, warm evening. Mayor Strickland remarked on the importance of businesses opening, no matter how small and with that she and Councilman Boe did the honors - snip snip - the ribbon was cut and a new Tacoma business was officially open.

Amocat Café is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Amocat Café

625 St. Helens, Tacoma

Filed under: Business, Food & Drink, Tacoma,

July 31, 2010 at 5:08pm

Getting the word out in Tacoma's Tollefson Plaza


Artist James Sinding has turned Tacoma's Tollefson Plaza into a different type of hangout with his Letters exhibition - and harnessed more creative brain juices from its contributing artists than most group art shows can muster. As part of Spaceworks Tacoma Sinding dumped 5 square yards of 12-inch painted wooden letters into the middle of Tollefson Plaza then extended an open invitation for passersby to write a poem, or read the thoughts of others.

The Weekly Volcano dropped by Tollefson Plaza today for the exhibit's opening. We enjoyed the sinuous curve that creates an s, the sturdy heft of the h and the awkward crook of the "r."

The exhibit runs through Aug. 30. Drop by for a spell.

LINK: More Letters photos in our Photo Hot Spot

Filed under: Arts, Community, Tacoma,

December 3, 2010 at 2:50pm

Jazz to the Vax Saturday night

Mike Vax


This Saturday, Wetzel and his Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra will push the Santa chair front and center for trumpeter Mike Vax. Vax will join Wetzel's annual "A Big Band Christmas" show, this time bringing holiday cheer to Tacoma Community College's Auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. The stage will be decked out with presents, garland, ribbon and a lot of guys in tuxedos.

Vax, an international artist for the Getzen Musical Instrument Company and a Summit Records recording artist, has played lead and solo trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Big Bad Band, and the U.S. Navy Show Band. His "sit-in" list is long and impressive that includes Art Pepper, Gene Krupa, Al Grey, and Freddy Hubbard, John Handy, Don Ellis, Don Jacoby, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams. Currently Vax leads his own groups: The Stan Kenton Alumni Band, The Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra, The Swing Shift Big Band in Prescott, Arizona, TRPTS (Trumpets), The Great American Jazz Band and the Mike Vax Quintet and Sextet.

And he finds time to drop in on Tacoma how?

Anyway, I scored the set list for Saturday night. This year Wetzel and crew will skip the Kenton focus of year's past and pay special tribute to Tom Kubis' arrangements. Check it:

Set One

  • Silent Night
  • Oh Holy Night
  • O Come Little Town
  • Hark The Herald
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • Sleigh Ride

Set Two

  • I'll Be Home For Christmas
  • Christmas Time Is Here
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gents
  • Christmas Medley
  • The Christmas Song

Encore:  Auld Lang Syne

A Big Band Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., $10 at Brown Paper Tickets
Tacoma Community College Building 3 Auditorium
6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma

LINK: Wetzel has more holiday cheer to give

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