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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.

February 20, 2015 at 11:57am

Massing of the Colors in Tacoma

Begun in New York City on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1922 as a patriotic ceremony, the Massing of the Colors has become an annual event that salutes national pride and recognizes military service and sacrifice.

On Feb. 22, the Puget Sound Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW) will sponsor the area's annual Massing of the Colors Ceremony. The event will begin at 3 p.m. at Stadium High School in Tacoma. Retired Maj. Gen. John Hemphill serves as the ceremony's grand marshal.

Active, Reserve and National Guard units, along with Senior and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets; armed services auxiliary organizations; state militias; veteran and civic groups; police, sheriff and fire departments; and Boy and Girl Scout organizations with a unit and American Flag are invited and urged to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony typically begins with a march in of the various color guard units, followed by an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the national anthem and reading of the MOWW preamble. After remarks by the guest speaker and commander of the hosting MOWW chapter, the flags are blessed in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, followed by the playing of "Taps." The colors are then retired.

Founded in 1919, MOWW is comprised of commissioned officers, warrant officers and flight officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, along with officers of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Public Health Service.

The New York chapter of the organization inherited the responsibility for conducting the Massing of the Colors in 1927 after the original organization - a group of military officers, veterans and civic leaders known as the Society of the Massing of the Colors - disbanded. Now, chapters around the country conduct the ceremony each year.

The Puget Sound Chapter, founded in 2001 with the merger of the Tacoma and Seattle chapters, is the only chapter in the Pacific Northwest and includes Alaska, Oregon and Idaho. Its missions include patriotic education, ROTC programs and, of course, the annual Massing of the Colors ceremony.

Each June, the chapter sponsors the Northwest Youth Leadership Conference at Pacific Lutheran University, and its flag program helps educate school children around the region about significance of the National flag and other flags. The chapter also sponsors 52 Junior and Senior ROTC programs in its region, including Alaska and American Samoa, and holds an annual banquet to honor cadets who have excelled in their programs.

Organizations wishing to take part in the processional should call Col. Carroll Dickson at 253.566.5870.

Filed under: Community, Military, Tacoma, Ceremony,

February 18, 2015 at 6:39am

5 Things To Do Today: Steve Stefanowicz, Holy Motors, jazz records, Unified Culture ...

Steve Stefanowicz hosts an open mic at the Harmon Tap Room tonight.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 17 2015 >>>

1. In the days before adulthood consumed Steve Stefanowicz, the "Human Jukebox" would perform seven days a week. Blind at birth, proficient on the guitar at 15, performing solo and in his band Blind Ambition, Stefanowicz could be seen nightly through the '80s and '90s, performing any of the 1,000 songs he memorized. When not in a club, he was on stage with Lou Rawls, Sam Andrews' Holding Company, Blue Spark, Junkyard Jane, The Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra, jazz guitarist Michael Powers, Savoy Brown, Kansas and Elvin Bishop. To this day, the most amazing version of "Sympathy for the Devil" we have ever seen was when Stefanowicz perform it at an open jam inside Cole's in Ruston. We have our fingers crossed for another version tonight when the blues/rock singer and guitarist hosts an open mic at the Harmon Tap Room beginning at 6 p.m.

2. Metro Parks Tacoma planners invite citizens to discuss the Point Defiance Park Master Plan at 6 p.m. in the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Education Building. This will be a chance for people to learn more about the new Pacific Rim aquarium and other capital projects and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

3. Holy North American Motor Highway (also known as Holy Motors, if you're into the whole brevity thing) make experimental chamber rock that comes steeped in an intangible feeling of dread. Their only release, Live at Paper Street, contains two epic-length songs recorded in a kitchen in Olympia. In the liner notes, the refrigerator's ever-present hum gets a credit. Catch the band with Sawtooth and the Loud Potions at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

4. Remember that SNL sketch with Will Ferrel as a gross homeless man posing for a sketch class? Insert "unsuspecting model" for "gross homeless man," toss in some craft cocktails and a jazz soundtrack and you have your night at Obsidian. Heather Yall and Joe Windslow will be spinning Jon Hassell albums, a little Bitches Brew and more beginning at 9 p.m., perfect music for you to work on your sketch art. Just pick an Obsidian customer and go to work. It'll just be our little secret.

5. Unified Culture - five Island boys, rooted from the Hawaiian Islands - perform a unique combination of roots reggae and dancehall, with an emphasis on wicked intros, mixes, heavy bass lines and catchy saxophone licks. Catch them as part of Jazzbones' One Love Wednesday music series at 9 p.m.

February 4, 2015 at 7:29am

5 Things To Do Today: Seed Swap, Medicine Creek Council, improv comedy, aerial show ...

"Dude ... need seeds?"

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 4 2015 >>>

1. The Pierce County Conservative District Seed Swap goes down from 6-8 p.m. in the Parkland/Spanaway Library. Bring excess seeds either purchased or saved, cuttings, or transplants to trade with community members. Kelda Lorax of Divine Earth Gardening Project will host a seed saving workshop. The event will also be a potluck so bring a dish to share. Top your dish with sesame seeds and watch the crowd erupt in cheer.

2. Transcendent Music Group brings in Seattle Rastafari roots reggae band Laborer for its One Love Wednesday music series at Jazzbones, beginning at 7 p.m.

3.The Medicine Creek Council took place in the Nisqually Delta Dec. 26, 1854. It brought together 62 Native American tribal leaders and a contingent of American settlers headed by territorial governor Isaac Stevens, and changed the course of Northwest history. The treaty established reservations for the Native American tribes represented and described the lands that would be ceded by the tribes to the United States Government. Historian and author Drew Crooks will discuss the event and its ramifications at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library.

4. Harlequin Productions' improv troupe Something Wicked returns to the stage for a show about the beautifully absurd world of dating. Join them at 8 p.m. in the Historic State Theater as all the terror, glee, tragedy and joy of modern-day romance are whirled together into a frothy, intoxicating evening of heart-mending laughter.

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

February 3, 2015 at 2:06pm

Military spouses network with Washington state employers

Coyeatta Lee, a military spouse who lives in Yelm, networks during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center at JBLM. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

More than 250 military spouses and servicemembers from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community attended the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program hiring fair at the American Lake Conference Center Jan. 29.

Employer after employer lined the conference center - Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, and more than 50 other local companies - to discuss potential career opportunities with military spouses.

"It's important that our country focus on helping veterans, especially those who have been unemployed, seek meaningful employment, but the awareness is so minimal for what (challenges) our military spouses have always faced and will continue to face because they're relocating so often," said Sarah Worley, the Military Spouse Program senior manager.

The hiring fair gave military spouses the opportunity to network with different employers, which is considered to be the most important aspect of landing a job by the Army's Service Member For Life Transition Assistance Program.

"This is the best place to network," said Neha Malhotra, a military spouse and business analyst who lives in Renton, Washington. "There is no way you can get a job just by applying online - you have to network."

In addition to local employment opportunities, the career fair offered resume building help, as well as educational specialists to network within the local area.

"It's a beautiful area with a lot of opportunities," said Malhotra. "It's not hard to find a job; it's just hard to find the best fit."

>>> Maren Nguyen, a military spouse and native of California, speaks with a Pierce County sheriff correctional officer about potential career opportunities during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center at JBLM, Jan. 29. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

Companies like Uber offer a unique opportunity to spouses who might be expecting to permanently change stations frequently. The company is in more than 260 cities, which means, as Kimberly Pine, a company driver said, spouses can "pick up and keep going," if moving to a new installation.

"They know they'll always have work," said Pine, who spent time at the hiring fair networking with spouses. "This event lets spouses know there are really a lot of opportunities for them."

Worley values the level of experience and professionalism that military spouses like Malhotra bring to their new community after a permanent change of station.

"Spouses are some of the most professional, dedicated candidates I have ever met," said Worley. "You know they want it. You know they're going to work the hardest for it, because they've been working for so many years to try and maintain a meaningful career."

>>> Karen Marie Blank, a military spouse and native of Astoria, Oregon, speaks with an employer from Washington state during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

Spouses can also visit careerspark.org, a website designed to create skills-based resumes with nearly 1,000 volunteer positions preloaded. For more information on the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program visit uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes.

Sgt. Ryan Hallock is with the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.

January 21, 2015 at 7:45am

5 Things To Do Today: Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, JBLM discussion, "King Kong," Hooded Fang ...

Yup, the Four are still Fab and tribute shows abound. But Rain has the edge, including a multimedia presentation that incorporates original footage. Press photo

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21 2014 >>>

1. Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles features a rotating cast of musicians in a multimedia spectacular that carry the band from its jangly, Liverpudlian roots to the grand psychedelic finale of Abbey Road and Let It Be. Since the cover band's inception in 1975, its members have played everywhere from Broadway to the Today show. Dick Clark (who'd know better?) was so impressed by their vocal talents that he engaged Rain for the soundtrack of his 1979 film The Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi). Expect full-scale productions of such classics as "Come Together" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In other words, anticipate greatness at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

2. A community listening session regarding potential Army force structure reductions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the McGavick Center Ballroom at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review requires the Army to reduce its force. The listening session allows the community to provide input to the senior leadership of the Army before any decisions are made regarding force reductions.

3. Outdoor adventure takes center stage from noon to 8 p.m. as the Washington Sportsmen's Show opens for a five-day run at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. Expect a big line-up of fishing, hunting, camping attractions and more than 100 hours of how-to seminars, plus great values on fishing and hunting gear, clothing, camping equipment, sport fishing boats and RVs.

4. Take a break from asphyxiatingly overplotted blockbusters to absorb the good old days, when all you needed was a mysterious island, a couple dinosaurs and one sexually voracious ape. The Grand Cinema is deep in its Classic Film Series, hitting the Triangle District movie house very third Wednesday. At 1:45 and 6:45 p.m., they screen the original brainless blockbuster cobbled together by real-life thrillseekers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack (The Most Dangerous Game) for maximum impact. Cherish the smell-the-panties moment - a bit sliced out of the film that took 40 years to restore. That's right, the original King Kong is coming to Tacoma!

5. Toronto's Hooded Fang have garnered their fair share of positive reception since their formation in 2007, even earning a nomination for a Polaris Prize (sort of like the Canadian Grammy's) and setting up a tour supporting Johnny Marr, and they're deserving of every bit of praise. As their sound has evolved over the years, they've begun to embrace a volatility that wasn't quite present in their early days. Combining garage rock fuzz, the wiry dynamism of the Pixies, and the fractured structure and bombastic sound of Broken Social Scene. Unlike the majority of bands that rise on gales of internet hype, Hooded Fang have only improved, getting darker and leaner without giving up the vitality that made them so appealing when they first arrived on the scene. Catch them with No Body and Guaranteed Whales at 8 p.m. in the record store Deadbeat Olympia.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 21 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 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 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

December 30, 2014 at 1:35pm

A many-splendored New Year's Eve First Night

Ben Union hits the First Night Main Stage at 8:45 p.m.

What does New Year's Eve mean to you? If you're anything like us, it used to mean glum tequila shots among strangers, followed by blurry staggers home and migraine-enriched New Year's Day mornings. There was room, shall we say, for improvement. Luckily, Tacoma offers vastly superior options. The best of these options is clearly First Night, as it offers so many wonderful sub-options. To wit:

The music alone lasts well beyond the stroke of midnight. Brazilian drum and dance ensemble VamoLá takes the outdoor main stage at 6:30 p.m., in a clatter of maracatu percussion and a rainbow of Carnival-type outfits. It's super fun. The group is followed by the Sherman Family of fuzz-rockers in the Pantages at 6:45, and by rock quartet Loser Dog on the Mountain House stage at 731 Broadway. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Kye Alfred Hillig will entertain the Blue Couch lounge at 920 Broadway, and the Boneyard Preachers drop serious blues on the library at 742 Broadway. And that's the first 15 minutes! We haven't even made it to world-renowned flautist Gary Stroutsos, Ohana Ukulele, or Owl Parliament - all of whom arrive during the 7:00 hour! We'd be remiss, however, if we failed to mention the 8:05 Rialto appearance of Baby Gramps, an artist so inimitable the Village Voice observed, "If you feel like being amazed, he's a better bet than most."

Now let's dive into the realm of utter fantasy. Suppose you hate music - that's bizarre, but whatever. Maybe Chuck Berry said mean things about your mom once. In any case, you still have a full afternoon and evening of live performance ahead of you, starting with portrait art by the members of C.L.A.W. (Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians) at 6:30 in Brooks Dental Studio, 732 Broadway. Also, be sure to catch Metro Arts Theatre Company's presentation of The Hysterical History of the Trojan War at Theater on the Square at 7, and the "incendiary dance" moves of Pyrosutra and L Lisa Lawrence of Wild Celtic Rose. At 8:30 on the main stage, First Night will attempt to set a Guinness world record for, of all things, the most people (male and female) blowing bubbles while dressed in wedding gowns-and yes, you are invited, nay, entreated to dress up and participate.

Or hey, maybe you're nuts about free stuff. Who isn't? Starting at noon, New Year's Eve is your chance to enjoy free admission to the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Tacoma Children's Museum, plus free skate rental at Franciscan Polar Plaza. That's a whole lot of something for nothing, amigo. There's literally too much on the schedule to tell you about here in defensible detail, which is why we said nothing about the insane Day-of-the-Dead-themed Alice in Wonderland extravaganza at 9. You may even decide to go whole hog and spring for the Hotel Murano package deal, which includes not only event tickets but also a specially-priced room to collapse in at oh-dark-30.

See you there ... unless, of course, that fifth shot of tequila kicks in, in which case our eyes may not be focusing properly. Uber?

FIRST NIGHT TACOMA, starting noon Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9th and Broadway, Tacoma, free to $15, FirstNightTacoma.org

Filed under: Arts, Community, Music, Holidays, Theater, Tacoma,

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