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Posts made in: January, 2015 (44) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 44

January 2, 2015 at 7:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Puyallup Home & Garden Show, Sea Of Misinformation, Jay Hollingsworth, Smart People ...

Celebrate flower power at the Puyallup Home & Garden Show Jan. 2-4.

FRIDAY, JAN. 2 2015 >>>

1. It's winter (duh!) and Green Thumbs have a bad case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. For these folks, artificial won't do; it's just a countdown to spring. Ah, but there are a few plants that flourish indoors during the cold months to keep Green Thumbs smiling - and they're not plastic. Green thumbs hanging out at the Puyallup Home & Garden Show from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. know which plants flourish indoors. The show will feature garden displays and vendors with opportunities to shop at participating nurseries. Green Thumbs will dig lectures given by Certified Sustainable Landscape Professional Bill Peregrine. The show will also feature exhibitors demonstrating the latest in home remolding, building, decorating and improvement techniques. It's all here, from windows to doors, bathrooms to kitchens, decks to roofing and furniture to spas. Northwest leading experts will be presenting home ideas for 2015. If Green Thumbs are mad about keeping up with the Joneses, then this congregation of home and garden exhibitors will inflame their covetous inclinations.

2. Formed by Ryan Giffin in support of his original material written for both studio and the stage, Sea Of Misinformation - a 2012 Seattle Wave Radio Jammin' Challenge Top 4 finalist - will celebrate the release of their second album, North Star, at 7 p.m. in Louie G's Pizza.

3. The innovative genre-bending double bassist Ethan Jodziewicz and award-winning Appalachian fiddler and singer Tatiana Hargreaves will present passionate and virtuosic acoustic music at 8 p.m. in Traditions Café.

4. Jay Hollingsworth is one "big dude" (those are his words, as are "I'm six-eight. I weigh right around twoooo much") who tells some big-ass jokes. He was born in Portland, moved from Seattle to Los Angeles and happily refers to himself as "Big Irish." He's a fixture on podcasts including Doug (Benson) Loves Movies and his own HollingsWorthless. Louie Anderson calls him "a great joke writer," and I agree. Catch his show at 8 and 10:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Comedy Club.

5. Tonight's "Smart People" DJ dance party, organized by Tacoma's Mr. Melanin and hosted by Gallery of Ambition's Neon Dion, features Mr. Melanin, DJ Midnight Mike and DJ SlimRock spinning R&B, electronica, indie rock, house and disco in an improved setting of coolness. Dancing is awesome, but you'll catch yourself gazing at the turntable skills. It's OK. It really begins at 9:55 p.m. at The New Frontier Lounge.

LINK: Friday, Jan. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 2, 2015 at 3:12pm

Mayor of Lakewood wins bet with JBLM commander

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander Col. Chuck Hodges bet the mayor of Lakewood, Don Anderson, Florida State University would win the Rose Bowl. Photo courtesy of Facebook

It looks like Joint Base Lewis-McChord's commander, Col. Chuck Hodges, will be making good on his bet with Lakewood's mayor, Don Anderson.

The city and JBLM enjoy a very good relationship that both Anderson and Hodges prize. But that didn't stop them from making a friendly wager on the outcome of the University of Oregon/Florida State University Rose Bowl game yesterday.

Anderson, a native of Coos Bay, Oregon, and Hodges, a native of Tallahassee, Florida, had bet that their state's team would win.

Anderson won the bet.

To put it differently, the Ducks clobbered the Seminoles, 59-20.

Oregon will now play Ohio State in the first ever College Football Championship to be held Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

Ohio State earlier defeated Alabama 42-35 to advance to the final.

As to the Anderson-Hodges bet, Hodges owes Anderson a dinner at The Bistro at Russell Landing at JBLM.

No date has been set for the engagement.

January 3, 2015 at 8:25am

5 Things To Do Today: The Oly Mountain Boys on Ice, Lakefight, The Twang Junkies, The Spazmatics ...

The Oly Mountain Boys perform live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink from 7-9 p.m.

SATURDAY, JAN. 3 2015 >>>

1. You've been waiting for tonight. You have questions. You've dissected The Oly Mountain Boys' epic concept album White Horse every which way. You've played it backwards. You've synced it to the Wizard of Oz. You are certain you can hear "Paul (Williams) is Dead" in the lyrics. You need to ask this quintet of Olympia bluegrass musicians if there's more to this concept album about a man named Charlie McCarver and his rough life in Washington state during the early 20th century. If you like your bluegrass complex, melodic and focused on weighty matters, then catch The Oly Mountain Boys at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink from 7-9 p.m. If you like your bluegrass with high-energy drive and a Pacific Northwest bent, mixing traditional tunes with revolutionary original bluegrass compositions, then lace up.

2. Grab a seat in one of the vintage school desks scattered haphazardly about Tacoma Art Museum's spacious Weyerhaeuser gallery and prepare to be immersed in desolate beauty as Mary Lucier's five-channel video installation "The Plains of Sweet Regret" takes you to another time and place not so far away - the plains of North Dakota in the recent past.

3. Lakefight are a concentrated blast of jittery energy. The amount of churning forward momentum produced by the trio is a bit bracing at times. Comprised of guitar, drums and keyboard, the sound maintains a spry lightness, even as it barrels ahead like a runaway train. Citing influences ranging from the black heart of evil in the world, the redeeming powers of pizza and Blue Velvet's Frank Booth, Lakefight may seem scattered and, well, they sort of are. Still, it's this manic dot-connecting that colors the best aspects of their music, with torrents of yelped lyrics running roughshod over top of blazing instrumentation. Catch the band with the Pecos, Cradle Cap and the Variety Hour at 8 p.m. in Bob's Java Jive.

4. The country genre nowadays often seems to favor superstar pop-artists, and one can also admit that it has lost a lot of original flavor and a great amount of heart and soul. The Twang Junkies are loaded with original flavor and soul. The Tacoma band will mosey up to the bar with Cash, Haggard, Hank and Earle on one side and Jagger, Lennon, Bowie and Gibb on the other, then take The Spar stage at 8 p.m. with their own blend of alt-country: a Southern twang bass with a hint of indie rock.

5. Children of the '80s need to squeeze into your old 501s and Members Only jacket (good luck!), embiggen your hair and motor your bitchin' self to Jazzbones at 9 p.m. The Spazmatics are in town, dude! - with gnarly covers of all your '80s favorites, including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Take on Me" and a pitch-perfect "Bohemian Rhapsody" (technically 1975, but shut up). It's a totally awesome, high-energy song-and-dance show that'll have you, like, stoked to the max. Cool beans, McFly!

LINK: Saturday, Jan. 3 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 4, 2015 at 9:13am

5 Things To Do Today: Jazz brunch, Puyallup Home & Garden Show, Zoolights, Sleepy Pilot ...

The Kareem Kandi Band kicks of the Museum of Glass' Sunday Music Series at 11 a.m.

SUNDAY, JAN. 4 2015 >>>

1. What is brunch doing to jazz? Must I resign to hearing second-rate elevator music as I nibble smoked salmon and sip Bloody Marys? This thought seems too horrible to accept, so I'm thrilled to announce the Museum of Glass debuts its Sunday Music series with the Kareem Kandi Band in the house, beginning at 11 a.m. When Kandi put his sax to his lips, I hear evidence he's devoted years of his life listening to Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt and Joshua Redman. The Kareem Kandi Band owns the "Best Jazz Group" in the Weekly Volcano's annual Best of Tacoma issue. Jazz this hip will fit perfect in MOG's Grand Hall. Brunch and beverages will be available for purchase from Choripan, the Museum's café, during the performance.

2. The final day of the Puyallup Home & Garden Show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show offers garden displays and vendors with opportunities to shop at participating nurseries, as well as exhibitors demonstrating the latest in home remolding, building, decorating and improvement techniques. It's all there, from windows to doors, bathrooms to kitchens, decks to roofing and furniture to spas. Northwest leading experts will be presenting home ideas for 2015.

3. Tonight is the last night to check out Zoolights, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's holiday light show and extravaganza, offering a stroll through more than half a million lights, crafted whimsically throughout the zoo from 5-9 p.m. A Sunday evening would be a nice time to take the family out and see some bright shiny things.

4. Tacoma record label Maurice the Fish Records presents another Sunday Session concert with Sleepy Pilot and Negative Inside taking the Jazzbones stage at 7 p.m.

4. Jay Hollingsworth is one "big dude" (those are his words, as are "I'm six-eight. I weigh right around twoooo much") who tells some big-ass jokes. He was born in Portland, moved from Seattle to Los Angeles and happily refers to himself as "Big Irish." He's a fixture on podcasts including Doug (Benson) Loves Movies and his own HollingsWorthless. Louie Anderson calls him "a great joke writer," and we agree. Catch his show at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Comedy Club.

LINK: Sunday, Jan. 4 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 4, 2015 at 4:33pm

Words, Photos & Video: The Oly Mountain Boys live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink crowd enjoyed awesome bluegrass and cold temperatures Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

The best music has never been about noodling around, proving what a virtuoso one is as a player, or simply trying to fill up one whole side of an album with a 22 minute plundering of one marginally interesting idea. No, the good stuff pushes the fringes of what had been heretofore accepted within the realms of popular music, thrusting it as far as possible into the arena of legitimate art. Like Brian Wilson did on Pet Sounds. Like The Beatles did on Sgt. Pepper. Like Ray Davies did on Village Green. Like The Oly Mountain Boys did on White Horse. Nothing like White Horse had existed prior to its release. The Olympia bluegrass quintet produced the first bluegrass concept album, the life and hard times of Charlie McCarver in Washington state during the early 20th century. White Horse gallops to traditional bluegrass influenced by the music of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. The album, The Oly Mountain Boys' fourth, draws from the mildew and forlorn, straight from the Olympic National Forest. This is the best brand of bluegrass: energetic and thoroughly heartbroken.

Last night, The Oly Mountain Boys performed live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink in downtown Tacoma. The concept of their concept album didn't sink in with the skaters. Why would it? The band didn't perform it front to back, but instead teased with six White Horse songs, among songs off their other albums and several cover songs. The skaters didn't carry Charlie McCarver's fall from grace on their shoulders. No, they skaters were busy falling themselves ... over and over and over. But, unlike McCarver, the skaters were able to pick themselves back up and continue skating in circles to the complex and melodic bluegrass these five chaps have mastered.

The Olympia-based band performed at the ice-skating rink as part of the Weekly Volcano's "Rhythm & Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown" music series. The Tacoma Art Museum asked us to produce the live music stage at the rink every Saturday night during its run. In conjunction with the "Art of the American West" exhibit across the street at TAM, we booked seven Saturday nights of bluegrass, country rock and old-timey bands. The Oly Mountain Boys wrapped up the series in fine style ... cowboy hats.

I shot a little amateur video last night, which features "Sky Fell Down," "Chased Away" and "It Rained For Forty Days," all off White Horse. The video also includes an intermission at neighboring Indochine.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza is open to public ice-skating sessions across the street from TAM daily through Jan. 11.

Enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from The Oly Mountain Boys live at Polar Plaza Jan. 3, 2015. ...

SEE ALSO

Words, photos and video from Forest Beutel's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from Dixie Highway's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from The Rusty Cleavers' live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from Shotgun Kitchen's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from SweetKiss Momma's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and a video from The Cottonwood Cutups' live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink

The backstory and band schedule for the Weekly Volcano's Rhythm & Ice music series at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

January 5, 2015 at 7:51am

5 Things To Do Today: James Coates, Polar Plaza, Jerry Miller, Bucharest Drinking Team ...

James Coates performs at Smoke + Cedar tonight.

MONDAY, JAN. 5 2014 >>>

1. Club hopping can be overrated, especially when the weather is a snarling blast of rain and cold that makes one think twice about even leaving the couch. Some nights we like to stake out a place at a venue and hang out for a while, maybe have a meal, a few adult beverages and listen to music that doesn't invite itself into our head with an axe handle. Smoke + Cedar fits that bill Monday nights with its new music series. Tonight, venerable singer-songwriter James Coates will perform at the restaurant.Arrive at 7:30 p.m. to catch this gentleman armed with only an acoustic guitar and a whole lot of heart, who generates all sorts of comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams. (Hey, no pressure, James, OK?)

2. Bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open from 4-9 p.m.

3. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love. Sadly, through a combination of inner turmoil and bad management decisions, the mighty Moby Grape broke up in 1969. However, their debut album is still considered one of the best of all time by many critics, in part because of the nimble fingers of guitarist Jerry Miller. Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller performs at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

4. Olympia's Rhythm and Rye will host two of its favorite honk bands at 8 p.m. - The Bucharest Drinking Team and Artesian Rumble Arkestra. The Bucharest Drinking Team, a band that borrows stylistically from great Balkan brass bands such as Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic, mixes in a liberal shot of Romanian folk music and a penchant for '80s disco from behind the Iron Curtain to bring you a high-proof Eastern Bloc Party, complete with dancing, drinking, and music. The utterly delightful punk marching band Artesian Rumble Arkestra play a variety of jazz standards and atypical covers reflecting the broad diversity of its members' favorite music: samba, rock, Balkan, New Orleans, gospel, reggae and pop. This will be a sight to see ... and hear.

5. Rockaraoke at Jazzbones will either be your novel opportunity to act as frontman, or be completely intimidating. Perpetually packed with people, Rockaraoke boasts a unique twist for karaoke in Tacoma: instead of a backing track, you get a three-piece band playing behind you. Check it out at 9 p.m.

LINK: Monday. Jan. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 5, 2015 at 6:17pm

JBLM combat engineer Spc. Asa Bingham receives Purple Heart

Spc. Asa Bingham, right, a combat engineer assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade received the Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at JBLM Jan. 5. Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell presented the medal. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda

A combat engineer assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade received the Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 5. Spc. Asa Bingham, 22nd Engineer Clearance Company, suffered traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb blast during deployment to Afghanistan in January 2014.

"I was hit twice - once in December 2013, but at the time I didn't really feel the effects from that first one," said Bingham, a native of Pismo Beach, Calif.
"It was the one January 3rd (2014) that I was medically evacuated, transferred to Germany for treatment before being sent home."

Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander, 7th Infantry Division presented the medal to Bingham. He took the opportunity to thank the soldiers of the 22nd Eng. Clearance Company for their mission success and to talk about U.S. Army current topics.

Bingham was in good spirits after receiving the Purple Heart, and joked in his closing remarks, "I want to thank the ‘Hooligans' (22nd ECC) for the support, getting me through that last deployment ... it was a blast."

Bingham receives treatment for his TBIs and returned to full duty status with the 22nd Eng. Clearance Company.

January 6, 2015 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Fish Breath, World War II film, reflexology, Elvis ...

Fish Breath will rock McCoy's Tavern in downtown Olympia tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

TUESDAY, JAN. 6 2015 >>>

1. "Fish Breath" may be one of the most off-putting word combinations in the English language. Something tells me that the San Francisco band Fish Breath wouldn't mind that observation one bit. Splitting time between quirkily experimental rock and ear-splitting noise rock, Fish Breath stun with sludgy riffs and frantically barked vocals. Catch the band with Sexless and RedRumsey at 9 p.m. in McCoy's Tavern.

2. Volker Schlöndorff revisits World War II with his film, Diplomacy, a love letter to Paris set during a night in 1944 when its very existence was at stake. Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) spent a formative decade in Paris, and the German director's affection is expressed through the demeanor of Paris-born Swedish Consul Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier), who attempts to convince Nazi commander General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) not to destroy his beloved city. See Diplomacy on the big screen at 1:15 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

3. New Year's resolutions? Take your time. No need to declare right away. We have the perfect place to ponder your goals for the New Year. The Pierce County Library folks will host a "Relax, Recoup, Renew!" session, hosting certified experts to discuss massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and the benefits of stretching at 7 p.m. in the Pierce County Library Parkland/Spanaway branch. Complimentary chair massages will be available. Ponder your resolutions while someone rubs your back.

4. Usually when you go to the casino you just lose money - but tonight could be different. Danny Vernon's Illusions of Elvis will be at the Red Wind Casino. Travel out to Yelm and have a great time with the King's likeness, starting at 6:30 p.m.

5. Every Tuesday night at Stonegate Pizza on South Tacoma Way Leanne Trevalyan hosts an acoustic open mic at 8 p.m.

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 6, 2015 at 7:00pm

Army leadership engage soldiers during virtual town hall at Google Headquarters

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, right, listens to U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno answer a question during a virtual town hall at the Google Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2015. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkl

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler held a live virtual town hall meeting at the Google Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2015.

For a little over an hour the Army leaders - speaking over a webcam - took questions from soldiers stationed around the country and around the world - including members of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Spc. Marabello of I Corps asked the two senior leaders about health care. She pointed out that U.S. troops are often deploying to environments with high concentrations of parasites and communicable diseases. She asked what the Army is doing to prepare soldiers for these dangers, and how they treat the afflicted. Recent deployments to West Africa to help contain Ebola - along with soldiers and airmen at JBLM currently undergoing quarantines after their return - have brought health issues to the forefront.

Odierno told her it's been a challenge. He explained soldiers returning from overseas are asked to fill out questionnaires, but he acknowledged they've had mixed results. "It's right when you get home from a deployment, you're in a rush, you don't want to take the time," he said. But Odierno stressed soldiers need to take the time to report any changes or symptoms.

It's about knowledge.

A soldier from Fort Lee, Virginia, asked how social media and quick spread of information are changing Army leadership. "Everybody has to realize that the world we live in has changed significantly," Odierno answered. "Like it or not, everything we do is going to be much more public."

He explained they need leaders who can comfortably navigate the new media landscape of the information age. But, Chandler weighed in and said the best way to communicate is still face-to-face contact where people actually talk to each other. He warned that intent could be misinterpreted in text and e-mail conversations.

It is indeed another a changing world.

A soldier with Ft. Benning's Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade asked about the prestigious Ranger School accepting female candidates and women wearing Ranger tabs. "What do you define success as?" he asked.

Odierno answered there was no criteria for success or failure, explaining that it's about giving women the opportunity to go through the program with the same standards as the men, and letting the results speak for themselves.

Chandler turned the conversation to the instructor, asking him how he felt about it based on his experience.

"It's a great idea," the soldier replied. "I feel like this is something that could have come along years ago."

January 7, 2015 at 6:54am

5 Things To Do Today: "Frankenstein" chat, Seth Roth, Knowledge Night, aerial show in a bar ...

Give 19-year-old Mary Shelley credit for dreaming up a world-altering idea and single-handedly concocting the genre of science fiction.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7 2015 >>>

1. Give 19-year-old Mary Shelley credit for dreaming up a world-altering idea and single-handedly concocting the genre of science fiction. Frankenstein was regarded as Gothic sensationalism when first published - a lurid tale of a scientist driven mad by his obsession to animate the dead. It has earned the status of "literary classic" because the questions it asks remain unanswered, and the issues it raises continue to create intellectual and cultural divides. How does Victor Frankenstein respond to the terrible crimes that he sets in motion? By lying in bed for months at a time, plagued with delirium. Toward the end, when his rescuer is describing the nobility of his passenger's spirit, you feel like yelling, "Are you nuts? He's a spoiled aristocrat wuss-boy who couldn't be bothered to clean up his own mess!" Shelley's book continues to ask tough questions, two centuries after its creation. Who controls life and death? What constitutes human life? Should there be limits placed on scientific research? Literary scholar Lance Rhoades explores this complex story at the Lacey Timberland Library, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

2. Bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open from 4-9 p.m.

3. Seth Roth has been singing since the age of 5. The Tacoma singer-songwriter grew up on Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, but has one solid foot in the Bob Dylan and Neil Young camp. Roth has been serving coffee at Harmon's Hop Coffee since the day it opened inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma's Stadium District. Hop Coffee combines beans from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters with sweetened coffee syrups developed by Melina Eshinski, pastry chef for Harmon Brewing Co. Drop by Hop Coffee and have a cup, then head to the back room and watch him perform from 6-8 p.m.

4. Every Wednesday Doyle's Public House hosts Knowledge Night, its version of a pub quiz, at 8 and 9 p.m. It is free to play. Speaking of free, Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton is free to roam the room and look over your shoulder, crack wise and punch you in the arm.

5. The Brotherhood Takes Flight aerial show is back, featuring P.J. from Bellingham and others taking to the air with whimsy, strength and artful grace at 8 p.m. in The Brotherhood Lounge. The performance above the drinking crowd is just plain beautiful. A dance party with DJ Fir$t Lady follows the 8 p.m. performance.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 7 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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