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April 29, 2015 at 9:36am

Nerd Alert issued for Grand Cinema's Documentary Week, Free Comic Book Day, David Sedaris ...

What the Funk Brothers did for Motown...The Wrecking Crew did, only bigger, for the West Coast Sound.

The new Avengers movie doesn't need my help. Believe it or not, this is one movie that will be just fine, even without the highly sought-after Nerd Alert bump. It's going to Hulk smash box office records, and there's nothing you or I can do to prevent the interminable onslaught of comic book movies. I, for one, welcome our new Marvel overlords.

Instead, why not direct you, my dear reader, to The Grand Cinema's Documentary Week? I can't say for sure, but I'm willing to bet that the series of films programmed for the week will not feature many people with super suits, magical hammers or radiation-induced rage-monsterism. Instead, starting Friday, the week will be filled with fairly heady material, including a doc about the exposure of the FBI's overreaching spy programs by a group of activists (1971), a searing exploration of the prevalent rape culture on college campuses (The Hunting Ground), and a doc about the people who get hired to be pundits on scientific topics they know nothing about (Merchants of Doubt), among others.

Of particular interest is the documentary that covers the session musicians who worked in the shadows to shape the state of music in the '60s (The Wrecking Crew), contributing to albums by everyone from the Beach Boys to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. It's a recognition that finally gives credit to these amazing musicians whose accomplishments would otherwise go uncelebrated.

Saturday, May 2: Free Comic Book Day

Instead of supporting robot James Spader, why not get out and experience some real comic book culture? Free Comic Book Day comes but once a year, and Destiny City Comics will be giving away free comics Saturday. Among the embarrassment of riches being offered this FCBD will be new issues featuring properties like Batman, Superman, Fight Club, Bob's Burgers, Pokemon, Doctor Who, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter,and, most excitingly, The Tick.

In an age when comic books are being increasingly popularized through their adaptations into cinematic juggernauts, it can be edifying to be reacquainted with their ink-and-paper origins. There seems to be no end in sight for this blight of superhero movies - and, honestly, the less said about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the better - but there is still art inherent in the medium, and Free Comic Book Day is a great way to jump back in the fray, for those who have strayed, and to continue your obsession if you've remained a fan.

Sunday, May 3: David Sedaris

Completely exhausted with everything related to comic books? I don't blame you. If this is the case, may I suggest checking out a performance from David Sedaris, the wonderful essayist, humorist, and NPR contributor - not to mention premiere Billie Holiday impressionist - who epitomized the conversational, autobiographical tone that so many other writers would attempt to imitate. Sedaris is a fount of hysterical true stories and fanciful bits of fiction, and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down, with the release of his latest: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Books, Comedy, Screens, Tacoma,

April 10, 2015 at 7:07am

5 Things To Do Today: One Night of Queen, Beerbalation, Romeo et Juliette, Brian Lynch ...

"One Night of Queen," performed by Gary Mullen and The Works, will hit the Washington Center's stage April 10. Photo credit: Property of A.Behn/Copyright 2011

FRIDAY, APRIL 10 2015 >>>

1. The great Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town, Tanzania (then the Sultanate of Zanzibar) and was raised Zoroastrian near Mumbai. At age 24, he joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, formerly of the band Smile, and named their new enterprise Queen. Thanks in large part to his astonishing vocal range and power - he could easily cover four octaves from bass low F to soprano high F - he was an international star less than five years later. Gary Mullen, on the other hand, was born in Scotland around the time Queen released its first album. He remembers seeing a live performance of "We Are the Champions" when he was four. His wife and mother entered the mild-mannered computer salesman and cancer survivor in a British reality show called Stars in Their Eyes. There, his impression of Mercury's "It's a Kind of Magic" launched him toward a season win in 2000. He assembled his touring band, the Works, two years later. Out of makeup, Mullen looks and sounds nothing like Freddie Mercury; but put a wig, mustache and tight costume on him, and he morphs into a veritable Prince of the Universe. See One Night of Queen at 7:30 p.m. in the Washington Center.

2. Top Rung Brewing Co. celebrates their first anniversary with a Beerbalation, kicking off today and run through Sunday. Today, they will release their first bourbon barrel-aged beer - Bourbon Barrel Aged Pyrolysis Imperial Stout. Expect dark and malty flavors with notes of coffee and chocolate boosted with a smooth bourbon finish. Expect live music, commemorative glasses, games and beer from 2-9 p.m.

3. We could've easily featured Roméo et Juliette (it's OK, you can call it Romeo and Juliet, we won't tell) in our music section, because it goes without saying opera lands like a wet noodle in the absence of stirring music. If there's one thing Tacoma Opera boasts, it's capable singers. Opera San Jose resident artist Christopher Bengochea lends his powerful tenor to Roméo, while Ksenia Popova, who did lovely work as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, portrays Juliette. (Spoiler alert: they won't see their paper anniversary.) Tacoma Opera favorite Ryan Bede returns as hotheaded Mercutio. The lush, romantic score's provided by Charles-François Gounod, best known for takes on Ave Maria ("a meditation on Bach") and Faust. Keep an ear out for gorgeous duets and the lilting waltz "Je veux vivre." Non-French-speakers, have no fear: supertitles are provided at the 7:30 p.m. performance inside the Pantages Theater.

4. Australian stand-up comedian Aamer Rahman will be the featured performer at a comedy show aimed at issues of race and social justice at 7 p.m. in The Evergreen State College Longhouse. Rahman, whose ancestors hail from Bangladesh, began his comedic rise as half the award-winning cult comedy duo, Fear of a Brown Planet. His act focuses on politics, racism, the War on Terror and Batman.

5. There are events we in the musical promotional game could never have expected to see. This is one of those events. An otherwise noteworthy jazz musician, Brian Lynch, has cemented our interest in an upcoming concert by adding ... a juggler. This juggler is Henrik Bothe. He's performed all over the country. Garrison Keillor said, "Henrik is one of the few jugglers that have ever succeeded in performing on the radio." What Bothe's enthusiastic brand of physical comedy has to do with jazz, we have zero idea, but we doubt we even care. It's jazz and juggling, people. It's an Afro-Cuban-influenced, Grammy-award-winning trumpeter who's played with everyone from the Buena Vista Social Club to Prince, together with plates on sticks. This is the epitome of win-win. It's chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliott. Throw in the Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra, and hell, you've got Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliott and waffles. On sticks! Catch the show at 7:30 p.m. in the Blue Mouse Theatre.

April 8, 2015 at 6:49am

5 Things To Do Today: 50 Jobs in 50 States in 50 Weeks, Lagunitas Sucks IPA, Enjoy by 4.20.15 IPA ...

Daniel Seddiqui was a marine biologist in Washington state during week 11 on his 50 Jobs in 50 States in 50 Weeks journey. Courtesy photo

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8 2015 >>>

1. Like lots of college grads, Daniel Seddiqui was having a hard time finding a job. But in spite of more than 40 rejections, he knew opportunities had to exist. He then set out on an extraordinary quest: to work 50 jobs in 50 states in 50 weeks. And not just any jobs - Seddiqui chose professions that reflected the culture and economy of each state. For example, he worked as a coal miner in West Virginia, a border patrol agent in Arizona, a lobsterman in Maine, a marine biologist in Washington, a furniture builder in Pennsylvania, a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, a model in North Carolina, a golf caddie in South Carolina, a petroleum engineer in Texas, an archeologist in Arkansas, a meteorologist in Ohio and on and on. Seddiqui will speak about his employment adventures at 4 p.m. in the Worthington Conference Center on the Lacey campus of Saint Martin's University, then probably go get a job.

2. Lagunitas Sucks IPA use to be a Christmas season exclusive, but due to its immense popularity, it's now being distributed year-round in 32oz bottles. It's an IPA designed as an apology to fans after Lagunitas found it didn't have the capacity to make its Brown Shugga' holiday ale a few years back. The taste is a mind-bending potpourri of tropical fruits, pine, and a faint trace of earthiness. There's a lingering bitterness, but it's in no way abrasive. Pint Defiance Specialty Beer and Taproom scored a rare keg of the stuff and will tap it from 5-7 p.m. as part of their salute to Lagunitas Brewing Company. Expect to drink High-Westified Barrel-Aged Imperial Coffee Stout, the debut of Eye of the Hairball Wheatwine and Lagunitas Pale on the Randall with fresh hops and other secret ingredients. Nice.

3. Stone Brewing Company is a beer nerd's brewery, with high ABV and higher IBUs in its most popular varieties. Creator of Arrogant Bastard Ale (with the tag line "You're Not Worthy"), Stone works hard to cultivate its craft-at-all-costs image. Puyallup River Alehouse hosts the Stone crew from San Marcos, California for a night of Stone favorites such as Enjoy by 4.20.15 IPA and raffle prizes from 6-9 p.m.

4. Beginning at 10 a.m. every Saturday, NWCZ Radio unleashes comedian Eric Puddin and Shanni Williams on the Internets. Saturday Morning Funnies with Puddin and Shanster is a wild and off-the-cuff talk show. From 7-9 p.m. tonight, the show will be broadcasted at Gloria's Bar & Grill in Tacoma. Hang out with comedians and radio types.

5. The 24th installment of the Vomity Open Mic Comedy night at Le Voyeur features Brendan Kelley and host Taylor Sikorski . The laughs begin at 9 p.m.

April 7, 2015 at 6:31am

5 Things To Do Today: Pile, "Occupy The Farm," Alpine Beer Company, One-Pot Meals Class ...

Pile.

TUESDAY, APRIL 7 2015 >>>

1. While four-piece Pile from Massachusetts named themselves a single, indistinct word, there are thousands of pages to be written with that one little word. Standing out amongst the English language, "pile" is a word that rarely denotes something good. I guess you could have a pile of delicious donuts? More often than not, though, you're dealing with a pile of something wholly unsavory. Listening to the beautifully ugly sound of Pile, their name suddenly gains a whole new resonance. This is a sordid pile of sounds, assembled into a shuffling golem of sound and vision. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Pile in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Mall Walk and Trona at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

2. The film Occupy The Farm documents the journey of 200 urban farmers determined to keep farmland from corporate agendas. The farmers walk onto a public research farm and plant two acres of crops in hopes of saving it from being turned into real-estate development. The Grand Cinema will screen the film at 2:05 and 6:30 p.m.

3. Once only known to the hardcore hop heads, San Diego's Alpine Beer Company have built a reputation of building some of the most sought-after IPAs on the West Coast. Infamous names such as "Nelson" and "Pure Hoppiness" passed from the lips of seasoned beer travelers and soon Alpine's name became synonymous with world-class beer. And thanks to a partnership with Green Flash, these brews are available in Washington state for the first time, and Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom will give up half their taps to the Alpine team from 5-7 p.m.

4. One of our favorite Far Side cartoons, by Gary Larson, depicts a pair of grizzled cowboys sitting around a campfire at dusk. One is handing the other a cup. The caption reads, "More cappuccino, Raoul?" Yes, times have changed. Campfire and simple cuisine continues to evolve. Bayview School of Cooking Director Leanne offers tried and true recipes that all take under an hour to prepare and with the exception of one, and don't even need a salad to be a complete meal, beginning at 6 p.m. You'll dig the savory chicken and dumplings, the fresh one-pan tomato linguini with tomatoes and mozzarella balls, the spicy shrimp jambalaya and the hearty ground beef stroganoff. Here's proof that convenient doesn't have to mean that it comes out of a box. 

5. Tuesday means it's time for another Ha Ha Tuesday at Jazzbones, a night of comedy hosted by the venerable Ralph Porter. Tonight at 8:30 p.m., comedians Lukas Seely and Sean McBride join Porter on stage.

April 4, 2015 at 7:02am

5 Things To Do Today: Fruition, King's Books' birthday, Beer Guy Garage Sale, Woolen Men ...

Portland band Fruition perms at Rhythm and Rye tonight. Press photo

SATURDAY, APRIL 4 2015 >>>

1. We rolled our eyes when Portland band Fruition described itself as "three-part-harmony-infused, melody-rich rock, country, folk and soul." That's like characterizing a chef as an expert in "soul food, artisanal pizza, Carolina barbecue and Tex-Mex." It's too far all over the map. But when we dug into their 2013 album Just One of Them Nights, our jaws dropped. It's so damn good we're willing to overlook the folksy grammar. These three sumbitches can play. Perhaps the best way of describing their music is front-porch Americana, earnest and true. We can't think of a better night of music per dollar. Catch them at 9 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye.

2. King's Books turned 15 years old April 1. To celebrate, they are knocking 15 percent off all items in the store, as well as hosting musician and entertainers. Expect a musical sing-along with Philosopher Queen, storytime with Erica Leith, craft activity and book signing with author and kitten wrangler Laurie Cinotto, face painting with Barb White, a photo booth and more this afternoon.

3. Open up a brewery sales representatives' garage and you'll see an amassment of beer posters, buttons, bottle openers, life-size cardboard replications of brewers, drum kits made out of wooden barrels, beer can bracelets, iPhone covers that resemble frothy beer mugs and, in front of the pile, stands an angry spouse. Marine View Beverage distributors came up with an idea to rid the reps of all their brewery's booty, and simultaneously support the effort to clean up, restore and protect Commencement Bay, its surrounding waters and natural habitat. From noon to 5 p.m., The Swiss Restaurant and Pub will host the Beer Guy Garage Sale, the opportunity to furnish home bars and man cave's with the leftover beer schwag from beer reps. "We're combining two of Tacomans' favorite things - beer and the Bay," says Ian VanDooren, manager at The Swiss. "The folks from Citizens for a Healthy Bay will be on hand to collect money at the sales tables, auction off whatever really cool stuff we get - basketball hoops, hockey goals, coolers, neon signs and such - and also inform folks on their mission." Read the full store in our New Beer Column.

4. It's day two of Harlequin Productions hosted South Sound Improv Comedy Festival The festival returns, with such troupes as Unexpected Productions, Jet City Improv, Fools Play, Olyimprov, Generation Friends, Hat Trick Pony and Harlequin's own improv troupe, Something Wicked. Local favorite standup comedian Morgan Picton will emcee the show, which begins at 8 p.m. in the State Theater.

5. Portland trio The Woolen Men carry with them a number of easily identifiable influences that mix together in delightful ways. They bring the '50s rock by way of Violent Femmes, the stately indie pop of Guided By Voices, and the shambolic lo-fi rock of Pavement. The Woolen Men find the hook at record speed, juice it until there's nothing left, and the discard the song before heading into another catchy tear. See the band with Metal Heads with Broken Hearts, Annie Girl and the Flight and Young Devil at 8 p.m. in the Deadbeat Olympia record store.

April 3, 2015 at 6:19am

5 Things To Do Today: Hip-hop show, Jordan Family Circus, "It Follows," South Sound Improv Comedy Festival ...

Hip-hop compilation “All Your Friend's Friends” sounds were mined exclusively from the stuff of previous K releases by the likes of Dub Narcotic Sound System, Karl Blau, and the iconic Beat Happening. Photo courtesy of Facebook

FRIDAY, APRIL 3 2015 >>>

1. Olympia producer Smoke M2D6 raided the archives of legendary alternative record label K Records to put out an album of Pacific Northwest MCs rapping over K Records artists. The resulting compilation, All Your Friend's Friends, is selling like hotcakes. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on All Your Friend's Friends in the Music & Culture section, then head to Grit City Grindhouse skate shop at 7:30 p.m. to see XPRERIENCE, Smoke M2D6, Real Life Click, Zikki and others perform songs off the album and more.

2. Today-through Sunday the Jordan Family Circus sets up its tents at the Washington state Fair Event Center, more than ready to stick their entire head in a wild beast's mouth for nothing more than your applause ... and a small entrance fee. See it while you still can - 4 and 7:30 p.m., plus five more times this weekend. It'll be just like when you were a kid, except you'll actually spend the entire time updating your Instagram status with popcorn-eating selfies and not paying attention to a damn thing around you. This is what your life has become.

4. At 4:05, 6:30 and 8:50 p.m. in The Grand Cinema, the most buzzed-about horror movie in some time: It Follows. The film has an ingeniously simple premise. Our heroine is plagued by an entity that slowly and patiently follows her everywhere, sometimes appearing to her as friends and loved ones. If the being gets her, she's dead. The only way to get rid of the spook is to sleep with someone, thereby transferring the evil presence onto them. It's a sneaky way of exploring STDs and relationships - two longtime preoccupations in the horror genre - in new and terrifying ways.

4. 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. Roth will perform at 8 p.m. in Cork! A Wine Bar.

5. Comedy hasn't evolved much since the glory days of ventriloquist and puppet. Every so often, there's a Gallagher smashing watermelons or a musical funnyman like Jack Black, but for the most part, comedy is a dude on a stage with a microphone, plodding through a joke-punchline-new-joke routine. Boring! Well, that changed last year when Harlequin Productions hosted the South Sound Improv Comedy Festival hosting acclaimed improv troupes from the Olympia area and the Puget Sound region at 8 p.m. in the State Theater. The festival returns, with such troupes as Unexpected Productions, Jet City Improv, Fools Play, Olyimprov, Generation Friends, Hat Trick Pony and Harlequin's own improv troupe, Something Wicked. Local favorite standup comedian Morgan Picton will emcee.

April 1, 2015 at 11:11am

Nerd Alert issued for Trevor Noah and "It Follows" horror film

It Follows is horror at its most artful and rigorously disciplined, arousing fear not through jump scares or gimmicks, but rather through nimble editing and precise compositions. Photo courtesy of Northern Lights Films

Lots of comedy and politics fans were shocked and dismayed to learn that Jon Stewart would be retiring from his role behind the desk of The Daily Show. Immediately, speculation abounded about who could possibly take his place. Some names thrown around included Louis CK, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer - all of whom may very well have been fine replacements. Earlier this week, however, it was announced that Daily Show newcomer Trevor Noah would be taking the helm.

At first blush, the news that South African actor-comedian Noah would be taking over sounded like great news - with him on The Daily Show and Larry Wilmore hosting The Nightly Show, that would mean the entire 11 o'clock hour on Comedy Central would be populated by people of color, which is certainly a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, with this era of being able to publicly post any lame, sexist, anti-semitic joke that pops into your head, there was bound to be a little bit of dirt for people to dig up on Noah.

Jokes buried in Noah's Twitter feed were far from encouraging with regards to his future as the biting social satirist that The Daily Show needs. Example? Here: "'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!' - fat chicks everywhere." Also: "Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a doubly rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel"

Besides the obviously squicky viewpoints on display in these tweets, the most troubling thing for me is that they are painfully unfunny. Granted, some of these go back as far as four years, but Noah already had a successful talk show in South Africa, at the time, so he shouldn't be given the out of being young, dumb, and oblivious. At this time, Comedy Central is responding by defending their new Daily Show host, so let's hope he can grow up as quickly as possible before he permanently sinks a comedy institution.

Friday, April 3: It Follows

Really solid horrors movies can be hard to come by, these days. Even critically acclaimed ones tend to leave me cold (I'm looking at you, The Conjuring). Still, when you find one that can legitimately scare the pants off of you with ingenuity and tact, it's a moment to be cherished (I'm looking at you, The House of the Devil and The Descent).

This Friday sees the arrival of the most buzzed-about horror movie in some time: It Follows. The film has an ingeniously simple premise. Our heroine is plagued by an entity that slowly and patiently follows her everywhere, sometimes appearing to her as friends and loved ones. If the being gets her, she's dead. The only way to get rid of the spook is to sleep with someone, thereby transferring the evil presence onto them. It's a sneaky way of exploring STDs and relationships - two longtime preoccupations in the horror genre - in new and terrifying ways.

Find me at The Grand this weekend. I'll be the one with my hands over my eyes.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Comedy, Screens, Tacoma,

April 1, 2015 at 5:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Walk Tacoma, "TCC 50th," Doug Benson, aerial show in a bar ...

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba / Sithi uhm ingonyama

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1 2015 >>>

1. On National Walking Day, why not get up off your booty and commune with Tacoma on foot? Downtown On the Go hosts another Walk Tacoma event. At lunchtime, the organization will lead a walk through Tacoma's Stadium District. Participants will join Melissa McGinnis from Metro Parks, former Tacoma mayor Bill Baarsma and Exit133.com and Tacoma Runners founder Derek Young and learn about the history of Wright Park, residential complexes adjacent to the park and Stadium High School. The first 250 walk participants will receive a swag bag. There is no need to pre-register for the event, simply meet in at the south side of the park on Sixth Avenue near the lion sculptures.

2. Tacoma Community College opens their "TCC 50th Anniversary Art Exhibition" today with a 4-6 p.m. reception in The Gallery. Meet the artists, have a snack and celebrate 50 years of art education at TCC.

3. Puyallup River Brewing Alehouse will be pouring Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA, Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Bitburger Pilsner on draft, as well as some special beers in the bottle. It's Import Night at the downtown Puyallup taproom from 6-9 p.m.

4. San Diegan Doug Benson has been performing standup comedy since 1986, when his buddies dared him to hop on the stage and do three minutes. He's released seven comedy albums, starred in the movie Super High Me, and costarred on everything from Friends to Mr. Show with Bob and David. If Wikipedia is to be believed, he appeared as a visible extra in Blade Runner, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and backup dancer(!) in Captain EO. In 2009, thanks to a jokey appearance on Fox News's Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, Benson scored something of a coup by pissing off the entire government of Canada. Benson drops by the Tacoma Comedy Club at 8 p.m. This isn't an elaborate April Fool's Day prank, by the way. He really will be there. We checked.

5. The Brotherhood Takes Flight aerial show is back, featuring Charly McCreary 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.

March 25, 2015 at 6:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Jerry Miller, Ninkasi Brewing Night, Comedy Open Mic, grindcore ...

Jerry Miller will perform after the Full Sail Brewing Brewer's Night at The Swiss tonight.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25 2015 >>>

1. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love.  While they were rooted in psychedelia, they injected elements of folk, blues and country. Unlike the jam bands of the time, Grape possessed a meticulously unique sound by way of multilayered triple guitar arrangements - Jerry Miller on first guitar, the melodious Peter Lewis on second, with weirdo Skip Spence on third. 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 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 now performs with his trio, the Jerry Miller Band, as well as host jam and open mic nights around town, including Tuesday nights at Dave's in Milton. Miller and crew will perform at 8 p.m. in The Swiss. A pre-show Full Sail Brewing Brewer's Night will help everyone ride the snake.

2. Pint Defiance Specialty Beers & Taproom has killer Brewer's Nights. Their recent Facebook post reminded us of such fact: "one where we had a line out the door at start time, or that one where we broke the randall, we've had a history of kegs emptied in record time, and tons of great prizes given away." From 5-7 p.m., Ninkasi Brewing Company and rep. Josh Russell will be in the house with an eye on reaching Pint Defiance's Number One Brewer's Night Of All Time, with hoppier beers, more enthusiastic high fives and kitten-themed prizes, as well as the latest R&D (Rare & Delicious) release, Rich's Double Belgian IPA, "This Is Why I'm Hop" IPA, the original Total Domination IPA and Spring Reign Pale Ale.

3. SideWalk is a local organization on a mission to end homelessness in Thurston County. They combine volunteerism and intensive community engagement with data-driven, evidence based methods to accomplish their mission. The Olympia Downtown Association will be hosting a benefit house party for SideWalk from 5-8 p.m. at The Washington Center. Besides a performance by local band Blue Laces, and food and wine from several local restaurants, program will feature words from WCPA Executive Director Jill Barnes, ODA Executive Director Vida Zvirzdys-Farler and Sidewalk Executive Director Phil Owens. This is a free event for our community, with an opportunity to donate directly to Sidewalk during the evening.

4. Comedy open mics are where comedians cut their teeth, develop their chops and other folksy idioms meaning "possibly suck to get better." Polish is traded for rawness. Comedians nervously testing out premises they thought of while parking. It wouldn't be a true comedy open mic without a few rookies floundering or even some industry veterans filling the room with crushing awkwardness, but Tacoma Comedy Club's Open Mic Night features some damn good performers who more than balance it out. Check out the free performance at 8 p.m.

5. Deathgrave and Augurs, two Oakland, California, bands that have made grindcore and downtuned sonic aggression a way of life, will join The Vatican band for total auditive devastation at 9:30 p.m. in Obsidian.

March 23, 2015 at 10:35am

Getting Doug With Tacoma: Doug Benson is your comedy friend

Doug Benson performs at the Tacoma Comedy Club April Fool's Day. Press photo

"Did you know that in your lifetime, you are more likely to get attacked by a domesticated pig than by a shark?" Doug Benson inquires. "That is a true statistic, especially if you have a tendency to swim in pig-infested waters."

Silly? Yes. Funny? Also yes. San Diegan Doug Benson has been performing standup comedy since 1986, when his buddies dared him to hop on the stage and do three minutes. He's released seven comedy albums, starred in the movie Super High Me, and costarred on everything from Friends to Mr. Show with Bob and David. If Wikipedia is to be believed, he appeared as a visible extra in Blade Runner, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and backup dancer (!) in Captain EO. In 2009, thanks to a jokey appearance on Fox News's Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, Benson scored something of a coup by pissing off the entire government of Canada. He appears frequently on Jimmy Kimmel Live and @midnight, and hosts not one but three wildly popular podcasts. If you're curious and have three free hours a week to kill, they're called The Benson Interruption, Doug Loves Movies and Getting Doug With High. The latter is about how much fun it is to smoke weed. It's amazing how little trouble Benson has getting guests. "Marijuana pleases us," he explains in his self-produced show, The Marijuana-Logues. "The last time I was (at Disneyland), I got more stoned than the Ten Commandments."

He's also a huge fan of the Pacific Northwest, by which I mean he detests it. "In Seattle," he says, "they have a saying: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and then shoot yourself in the face." It's to our collective credit that he overcame this aversion to play the Tacoma Comedy Club April first. This isn't an elaborate April Fool's Day prank, by the way. He really will be there. I checked.

Much of Benson's act consists of advice you can use in your very own life - such as it is, given that you have time to listen to three different podcasts by the same guy each week. "It's deadly to dogs to eat grapes," he says, "so I think all chocolate from now on should be surrounded in grape. ... Why would any woman agree to be on a show called Bridezillas? It's not like men would agree to be on Douchegroom. ... I actually got pulled over once for driving in the diamond lane. Cop said to me, ‘You know you have to have more than one person in the car to drive in the carpool lane.' I said, ‘Check the trunk.'" See? Now you can eat chocolate around your dog, make wise TV booking choices and get tased and arrested like a pro.

DOUG BENSON, 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $20, 253.282.7203

Filed under: Comedy, Tacoma,

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i liked reading about the religious girls.they are interesting. ...

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I do think it's worth noting that Noah is a quarter-Jewish--and matrilinearly to boot, which...

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Arresting Power is at 6:30 (even though it's a good idea to get there early).

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