1. The Academy Awards 2012 nominees for Live Action Shorts are hitting movie screens across the nation, including The Grand Cinema today. You can view the five nominated shorts -- Pentecost , Raju, The Shore, Time FreakandTuba Atlantic - at 2:05 and 7:10 p.m.
2. Get your groove on tonight in Parkland. DJ Adam Ant spins during "Twisted Tuesday" at Lady Luck Cowgirl Up, offering Top 40 action and karaoke. The good times start at 9 p.m. Or, if you're looking for something more, peruse the Volcano's extensive live local music listings here.
3. Sinatra-esque crooner Chris Anderson takes his show to the Red Wind Casino tonight, hitting all the notes and making the ladies swoon in the process. Anderson has repeatedly proven to offer a throwback good time.
4. Get geared up for St. Patrick's Day tonight at O'Blarney's in Olympia (feels like Lacey). Every Tuesday the bar unleashes its "Irish Sessions," featuring live traditional Irish music.
5.Speaking of going Irish, drop in on karaoke with Danny Ray tonight at O'Malley's Irish Pub in Tacoma.
Midweek tends to be dangerous territory for restaurants. Empty tables lead to idle wait staff, and as our mother always told us, the devil will find work for idle hands. Frankly, we never saw a problem with the devil finding work for slothful folks. It sounds like a good way to keep unemployment under control. However, listing Satan on your resume as a reference could probably be seen as detrimental in some circles. But restaurant owners don't want waitrons standing around looking for work from Beelzebub, so they tempt folks to stop by with clever promotions.
Toscanos Café and Wine Bar is on it. Each March, the Puyallup valley restaurant gives away thousands of hand-painted martini glasses - with a new glass launched every Tuesday. All diners have to do is order the week's special martini concoction, which happen to be five this week under the title "Peacock Week."
According to hype, "All week long purchase one of our featured cocktails and take home a hand-painted Toscanos Wild Animal martini glass. Each week in March features a new glass design. Collect the whole set, while supplies last."
Here are the five martini options this week:
Raspberry Attraction $10.95 (Drink 3 of these & the Peacock at the end of the bar suddenly looks handsome)
Grape Cosmo $9.95 (Favorite cocktail of New York City Peahens)
Peacock Lemon Drop $9.95 (Don't let the color fool you)
Pretty as a Peahen $10.95 (OK, Peahens aren't pretty, but it's a great cocktail)
The Madness Martini $9.95 (Beautiful in it's simplicity. A classic martini made with Absolut Vodka or Bombay Gin)
Toscanos' goal is to give away 2,500 martini glasses by the end of March. Start drinking!
[Toscanos Café and Wine Bar, lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 3:30-9:30 p.m. dinner, 437 29th St. NE, Puyallup, 253.864.8600]
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle has brought back its History Is ____ Film Competition for a second time since beginning in 2011.
Then I suppose what they say about history is true...
(I take off my shades and peer seductively into my readers' eyes)
...It has a way of repeating itself. (We kiss. End scene.)
As MOHAI's Manager of Programs and Community Engagement Helen Divjak remembers, "(The competition) last year really went beyond what we'd expected... We were really overwhelmed with not only the number, but the quality of the entries."
Now you can do your part to make the new batch of films bigger and even better. But first, the rules: Each work has between one and five minutes to creatively fill in the above blank with any word or phrase of one's choosing. For example, History is HUGE.
So how to cover a topic as old as the Big Bang (and getting older) in the span of minutes?
Don't, Divjak says. "Don't try to tell the history of the world. Don't try to tell a story that you don't find inherently fascinating. History is a very personal thing...and we want to encourage a personal interpretation."
But do get a mov(i)e on soon - MOHAI needs filmed submissions by Saturday, March 31. Prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500 should help as an incentive. For a full rundown of guidelines, visit mohai.indieflix.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Drop on over to everyone's favorite neighborhood bar, Magoo's, and check out Gypsy jazz by Blue Grit tonight. There's no cover charge and the fun starts at 8 p.m.
2. If it's classic rock you're looking for, Tatoosh will be holed up at Stonegate Pizza on South Tacoma Way - playing good ol' fashioned rock starting at 9 p.m.
3. Play bingo with those not just killing time before the Grim Reaper calls their number. Every Wednesday at The New Frontier Lounge, players are treated to a rather boisterous evening of number-calling. The music rocks, the prizes are craptastic and there's something very satisfying about yelling "It's not a tumor!" when B-9 is pulled from the hopper (Schwarzenegger anyone?). Sessions are free with $2 margaritas and $4 Cuervo Gold shots during bingo. Every Wednesday night is also Taco Night with $1 beef, $1 black bean and $2 chicken in soft or crunchy shells.
4. Holy crap! Hump Day already? That must mean it's time again for Masa College Night. Expect flesh.
5. Wednesday night is always good for getting quizzical in the South Sound. The Harmon Brewery hosts Trivia Night with Gordon Adams, Doyle's Public House offers Knowledge Night team trivia with awesome prizes, and out at the Steilacoom Pub and Grill Steilacoom catch "Trivia with Dave." Find all the info you need right here.
There's nothing worse than a person who wants to be funny but isn't. It's painful to watch. There's a difference between having a good sense of humor and possessing the ability to be funny in front of a crowd, knowing timing, tone and body language.
I've been a judge for the Seattle International Comedy Competition at least once in each of the last three decades. I've watched one comedian after another take the stage to a thunderous round of applause, say words, then leave to a few hand claps. The competitors would repeat the process night after night in a different city until a champion was crowned.
Factor in a panel of humans - with jobs, mortgages, family and demons of their own - is there to judge, as well as pay for their own drinks. The results can be a crapshoot.
There isn't room for amateurs, at least at the Seattle International Comedy Competition.
And yet people like Mike Agostini continue to sign up and go through the grueling routine.
Agostini left teaching in 1997 after a 13-year run to start the Fairlane Painting Company. He always wanted to try stand-up but didn't work up the nerve to try until age 44. He broke his cherry at an open mic night at The Comedy Underground in Tacoma. The prestigious Seattle International Comedy Competition was his ultimate goal. In the '80s, Agostini pointed flashlights at seats during the competition at the Paramount Theatre. He'd pause and watch the comedians. He knew someday. ...
Twenty-two months after that first open mic night Agostini's name graced the list of SICC contestants.
"I knew it would be a one-time shot and I had also heard of all the bizarre things that occur almost every year, so I hired a film crew to follow me on my adventure," says Agostini.
The resulting documentary, Broken Mike, captures not only Agostini's pursuit of a dream but also the passion of several other contestants as they experience one of the most stressful weeks of their lives.
Broken Mike earned The Award of Excellence in Filmmaking from the Canada Film Festival. The one-day festival receives hundreds of submissions. It's an honor to be selected.
"I am traveling up there to attend the festival and awards presentation on March 31," Agostini says proudly.
Before Agostini heads north, he's screening the documentary in Tacoma Saturday night at the Grit City Comedy Club. I tossed a couple questions his way.
WEEKLY VOLCANO: How would you describe the documentary?
MIKE AGOSTINI: The doc is not just about me. It's a behind-the-scenes look into the minor league ranks of stand-up comedy. All famous comedians working today started the same way - one nighters battling with drunken hecklers. The doc captures all of it.
VOLCANO: How did you fare?
AGOSTINI: I start off well but quickly see my dream fading as I am consistently near the bottom of the 16-person field. Each new night brings new hope and I try again only to see the same result. Yet, every night I pick myself up and try again.
Others experience success. Some snap! Arlo Stone defends the Spotted Owl and threatens to burn down new construction sites in order to protect the old growth forests. Not a popular thing to say on stage in front of 700 loggers at The Columbia Theater in Longview.
VOLCANO: Has Broken Mike opened new doors?
AGOSTINI: Canada Film Festival is the first success, so I would have to say yes. Sixteen other festivals including Sundance have rejected the doc. Sundance is Mecca to filmmakers. I had to try. I am not sure why it is not experiencing more success. Maybe it is the content? Most docs focus on social issues or starving children. Mine has neither. The film was shot with some great cameras but the lighting is not always perfect - maybe that's why? To me it has a Gonzo or Guerrilla feel to it. Two doors that I hope it opens are Tacoma and the Seattle film festivals. I've submitted to both. Tacoma makes the decisions June and Seattle in April.
VOLCANO: How long was the film process?
AGOSTINI: The actual editing of the film took almost six years. I entered SICC in November of 2006 but was unable to afford an editor. We had 26 hours of film. In August of 2011 I finally met an amazing young man named Sean Puno who agreed to edit the film for me in exchange for 25 percent ownership of the profits. He knows there will be no profits; he's just a nice guy. But what he did was amazing.
The soundtrack is from Stewboss - an L.A. based band I met while down there a few years ago. Their music is a major reason the doc works.
VOLCANO: What are your reflections on your chops as a comic at this point in your career?
AGOSTINI: Funny to watch the film now. A lot of the jokes I do in the film I no longer do. Maybe it's me in a pink bra that is hurting my submission record?
I'm glad I started stand-up. Glad I entered SICC. But I rarely do stand-up these days. I still love it when I do. I've become Bill Murray on the piano in Groundhog Day. I can look at a stage and say to myself, "I could make these people laugh in here."
My new passion is acting. You can look me up on IMDB.com. I even got to work with Luke Perry on Leverage. He was awesome.
VOLCANO: What is your favorite time of day to watch a film in a theater?
AGOSTINI: I prefer watching movies in the afternoon. It is less expensive, and there is nobody wrestling with a plastic wrapper directly behind me.
VOLCANO: Why the screening Saturday night?
AGOSTINI: The event is a fundraiser to raise money for travel expenses to The Canada Film Festival as well as others that we will hopefully get into. Admission to the event is on a donation basis - whatever people feel like contributing. I will also have DVDs for sale of Broken Mike for $15. I will also be performing that same night - doing an extended "guest spot" with headliner Joe Fontenote at 8:30 p.m.
[Grit City Comedy Club,Broken Mike screening, Saturday, March 10, 5:30 p.m., donations, Broken Mike DVDs $15, 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.961.4262]
We've all thought it. I know I have. You love a certain craft or hobby and think to yourself, "I should do this as a business!" Your friends ooh and ahh at your hamburger/cupcake/auto-repair awesomeness all the while slowly convincing you it should be done for money.
"You could be rich! Be your own boss! Do what you love!"
Friends chant this from a distance, promising they'll be your loyal customers.
Eventually, with courage in hand, you begin your hamburger/cupcake/auto-repair business only to invest your entire savings into a venture that strips you of all the passion you once had for hamburgers/cupcakes/auto repair.
Shannon Smith, amazing cake-maker extraordinaire, knows better than to take money for her cakes. There'll be no business venture for her. She believes in keeping the passion alive.
Only working through favors and a quasi-bartering system, Smith will take cake orders in exchange for things she needs.