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April 14, 2015 at 6:19am

5 Things To Do Today: Haunted Summer, Captain's Party, Science Cafe, Teddy Haggarty's Starbucks Evening ...

Haunted Summer performs at Le Voyeur tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14 2015 >>>

1. Los Angeles duo Haunted Summer bring a dimensionality and range to dream pop that's as refreshing as it is intriguing. Without sacrificing the gauzy serenity that typifies the genre, they bring inflections of '50s pop (as on the swaying "Ain't One" and their swooning cover of Animal Collective's "Bees") and lo-fi eeriness (as on "Something in the Water," which recalls the Flaming Lips' cover of "Plastic Jesus" in its spare murkiness). While they are sometimes joined by other members on drums, which adds a welcome bit of pep to the proceedings, Haunted Summer still find strength in low numbers. With just dreamy guitar and keyboards, they are more than capable of taking your brain by the stem and leading it on a hazy walk through a secluded wood. Catch the band with Beatrix Sky, Captain Algebra and Coma Figura at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. At the inaugural Tacoma Eco-Hour, adults will meet local business leaders who are creating impact through their innovative and sustainable products and practices at 5 p.m. in the Madera Furniture Company. Expect to build relationships with like-minded peers, share ideas and learn about the activities Northwest nonprofit Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability is carrying out to promote sustainable and profitable business in the region. The first hosts will be professional woodworker Carlos Taylor-Swanson of Madera Furniture Company and Paul Birkey of Belina Interiors. They sustain the hell out of their businesses.

3. The city of Tacoma, Downtown On the Go, Pierce Transit and Pierce County want to thank the region's Bike Team Captains and motivate a few others to saddle up with a Captain's Party from 5-7 p.m. at the Harmon Tap Room. Enjoy food and drink specials while picking up special Captain's Packet with Bike Month incentives to help you and your team get in gear. Learn about what other captains do at their worksites to make riding easier for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned veteran, a new captain or thinking about creating your first team, drop by and hug it out.

4. Longtime nationally and locally renowned artist, actor, filmmaker, designer and South Sound resident Teddy Haggarty has been painting up a beautiful storm, with a positively prolific collection of new works to debut tonight at the Starbucks in the Lakewood Towne Center, which coincides with the launch of the Starbucks Evenings program at the store. After 4 p.m., the menu will include the after-work favorites such as beer and a variety of wines and selections such as truffle macaroni and cheese, chicken skewers and double chocolate brownie bites. Haggarty's artist reception will run 5-10 p.m.

5. Ever wonder how scientists study ALS and Alzheimer's? Join the University of Washington's Laura Taylor in a Science Cafe discussion of human dementia and learn how worms are used in the lab to study the early progression of ALS and Alzheimer's disease at 6:30 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

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 9, 2015 at 6:40am

5 Things To Do Today: Charles Cross, LeMay Cruise-In, Tacoma Runners, Cody Raymond ...

Charles Cross will speak at the University of Puget Sound tonight.

THURSDAY, APRIL 9 2015 >>>

1. Charles Cross captained The Rocket, Seattle's monthly rock newspaper, during the era when Nirvana played Seattle Vogue club before a handful of people and you could eat breakfast next to Eddie Vedder at the original Cyclopes Café up the street from the Seattle Art Institute. Overnight, Seattle and the Northwest had gone from being a backwoods that turned out national stars roughly once a decade (in the '60s, the Kingsmen and Jimi Hendrix, in the '70s, Heart) to a music hub like New York or Los Angeles. The Rocket gave way to The Stranger, and Cross went on to pen articles in hundreds of magazines, as well as author of seven books, including Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Hyperion/Hodder, 2001). Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to Heavier Than Heaven, which is the first film to be made from Cross' work. His Hendrix book has also been optioned. The University of Puget Sound hosts Cross and his thousand stories at 7:30 p.m. in Kilworth Chapel.

2. Every second Thursday LeMay - America's Car Museum drive their classic cars onto their plaza to mix and mingle with other car enthusiasts, eat some barbecue, listen to music, vote on the People's Choice Award and enter to win the raffle. The first Cruise-In of the year goes down tonight from 5-8 p.m.

3. The public is invited to attend an informative, entertaining and free presentation by special guest Peter Altmann of Tacoma as he discusses his family ties to the painting "The Woman in Gold", at 5:30 p.m. at the Gig Harbor Civic Center. Altmann is the great nephew of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who was immortalized in a painting by the world-renowned artist Gustav Klimt.

4. Forget light and low-carb beers. The Tacoma Runners have a better method for fighting fat: They run then drink beer. They're the classic drinking group with a running problem. They meet at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday at a Pierce County alcohol-slinging joint, run 3 miles and then return to the starting line to celebrate. Tonight, the group will meet at Two Town Pub and Cafe along Ruston Way.

5. Cody Raymond, an Oregon native born in Corvallis and raised in Albany, has attended Berklee College of Music as a Music Production and Technology Major, and is currently at the Seattle Art Institute as an Audio Production Major, recording all his own music to include drums, bass, guitar, piano, and all vocals and harmonies. Raymond is as much a guitar player as he is a musical visionary, capable of composing and performing anything heard in his own head. Catch him at 9 p.m. in The Swiss.

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 6, 2015 at 6:42am

5 Things To Do Today: The Boxers, Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party, Charlie Saibel ...

The Boxers perform at Deadbeat Olympia record store tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

MONDAY, APRIL 6 2015 >>>

1. Chicago quartet The Boxers start out their most recent LP, The Blue Pool, with washed-out snippets from Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet," distorted and sinister, before segueing into a sort of anthemic, melancholy rock. It's reminiscent of the days when the Flaming Lips were transitioning from stoned punks into the glorious pop on the late '90s and early '00s. When the crooning vocals come around, it becomes clear that, while The Boxers don't quite sound like the matinee idols that they've quoted, they are still dedicated to melody above all else. Catch the band with Tomorrow's Tulips, Sun Eggs and Bob Bucko Jr. at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

2. Here we go! Over The Moon Café in Tacoma's Opera Alley will face Boathouse 19, the restaurant and bar perched over the Narrows waterway, in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese Championship Game. Online voting will run until 5 p.m. At 6 p.m., the voting will resume live at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont during the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party. Ballots will be handed out. The live vote will close at halftime of the NCAA Men's Tournament final and the South Sound Mac and Cheese Champion will be announced.

3. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers, at 6:30 p.m. in the Olympia Elks Lodge. What is a shuffle, you say? It's the country western version of polka - the primary difference being that the style of shuffle is less hoppy than the polka. The basic step consists of a triple to the left followed by a triple to the right.  The shuffle is sometimes called double two-step or traveling swing, for it also uses components of two-step and the popular East Coast swing. This makes shuffle a very versatile dance, allowing a mix and match of patterns, which can result in some exciting variations - and there's nothing wrong with that.

4. Piano man Charlie Saibel is a superb musician, a versatile jazz/swing pianist and composer with an innovative sense of texture. He seems to have a lifelong fascination with genres, easily fitting in with honkey tonk, boogie woogie, blues, Latin, jazz, classic rock, plus seasonal and special occasions. He also morphs into any situation: Charlie Saibel and the Intrusions Jazz Trio, '60s rock band The T-Tops, 20-piece Basie-style Lakewood Community Jazz Band and others. Monday, he'll think more along the lines of jazz when he entertains during Rhythm and Rye's Monday Jazz Series, beginning at 8 p.m.

5. At 9 p.m. every Monday, Jazzbones is packed to the brim with college kids. Party types. The type that wear tight shirts and trucker hats. Throngs of Chad Fratguys and Sarah Sororitysisters swarm the bar, line up for the bathroom and dance to the Rockaraoke - live band karaoke. The Rockaraoke band is skilled, too. Expect dollar beers.

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 2, 2015 at 11:20am

Washington National Guard hosted its annual menu board selection and food demonstration

Washington National Guard’s Aviation Readiness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord played host to this year’s Washington National Guard FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Washington National Guard hosted its annual menu board selection and food demonstration event March 27 in its Aviation Readiness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord with the goal of selecting this year's new menu items for drilling service members.

"Servicemembers need to learn new skills, and those skill sets play a role in our ability to do more from scratch, to feed more and still stay within the budget," said the Guard's Food Program Manager Master Sgt. Darrell DeGroff.

The purpose of the event was to allow servicemembers an opportunity to learn more and help decide on the menu items that they will see during their drill/AT weekends in the coming year.

Along with selecting meals, attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of different food samplings from dozens of food vendors like Sysco, PepsiCo and US Foods.

While the taste testing of the latest and greatest food items was occurring downstairs, culinary competitions took place upstairs with various local schools and colleges.

"Our high school is so military centric because we have so many military kids that go through our school," said Lakes High School sophomore Anna Short, who participated in the day's culinary competition.

Lakes High, Steilacoom High and Bates Technical Culinary students all had to use the same primary ingredients to create a meal that cost no less or no more than $4.09 per person.

"Conceptualization was the most difficult part of today's meal," said Bates Technical culinary student Anthony Brooks.  "It's important how these plates look as well, and we wanted to take the budget and meal choice and make it more exciting."

>>> A Culinary Arts Program student from Bates Technical College communicates on what techniques they used to craft the vegetable portion of his presented meal.  Command members of the Washington National Guard were the official judges for the culinary competition that took place during this year's FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The chefs also had to ensure that the total amount of their ingredients could feed 100 servicemembers.

Short gave a familiar-sounding description of how resiliency fits into her cooking career, similar to the military.

"We have to learn how to work together really well," she said. "You've got to learn how to listen to others, work together and check up on each other to see how everyone's doing."

Food brings people together, and that message is one that should resonate with every FY15 Menu Board attendee.

In other words, food isn't just about eating.

"The Army is coming to understand that food means more than eating," DeGroff said. "It is, as we say, feeding the soul, the mind, the body and the spirit.  It's a part of our big Army cycle of physical fitness."

>>> These Culinary Arts Program students from Bates Technical College show off their FY15 Outstanding College Culinary Arts Team award for winning this year's college culinary competition.  Each group had to spend a $4.09 budget per servicemember to prepare a lasagna and salad plate. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Involving the servicemembers that actually eat the food to become a part of selecting the food that they eat sounds like a reasonable idea and is something that remains a focus of the Washington National Guard.

"The fact that we are reaching out to our customers to get them in, so they can have an influence, is impactful for all of us," DeGroff said.

Anyone who has had a really good meal probably agrees with the fact that food has many feelings of endearment associated with it.

"We care about each other, and it's demonstrated in food here," DeGroff added.  "These menu boards allow for training and (food) demos to remind these soldiers that they just don't come here to throw a meal out and go home."

>>> The Washington National Guard's 81st HBCT Annual First Place Trophy for the Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Field Kitchen Competition was on display for this year's FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The biggest addition this year from last was the inclusion of the Washington Restaurant Association. 

"The troops have to be healthy and vibrant to protect us, so food safety is critical," said guest judge and Washington Restaurant Association Director of Education Lyle Hildahl. 

Hildahl provided constructive criticism to the students throughout the competition.

With servicemembers relaxed and full of savory snacks, the FY 15 WA Food Service Menu Board also provided resiliency support resources.

"The number of younger soldiers that we have that leave our drill weekend that don't have a place to live, that don't have a job, are unfortunately increasing dramatically," added DeGroff.

Suicide Prevention, Family Programs and Employment Transition Services representatives from the Joint Services Support Directorate-Washington National Guard were present throughout the day for servicemembers to utilize as well.

"If you provide hope, if you provide a challenge, then you lift them, you get them engaged," DeGroff said.  "Getting them to go to these people is very difficult, but bringing these people to them in a place like this, where they are away from their family and just relaxing, is very beneficial.

"They let down their guard and become more willing to pull someone to the side and have that conversation than they would back in their unit."

April 2, 2015 at 6:27am

5 Things To Do Today: Peach Kelli Pop, Olympia Farmers Market, Lee Heath photography, The Brown Edition ...

Peach Kelli Pop performs at Deadbeat Olympia record store tonight. Photo credit: Kelsey Reckling

THURSDAY, APRIL 2 2015 >>>

1. The music of Peach Kelli Pop harkens back to the sugary sound of Beach Blanket Bingo - albeit with a fuzzy veneer of bubblegum garage pop - but sneakily provides more substance than Frankie and Annette could've mustered. From bedroom recordings to playful glamor shots on album covers and associations with record labels like Burger, Lolipop and Bachelor, the years since Peach Kelli Pop have been feverishly eventful ones. Numerous tours across North America and even over to Japan have helped to refine and strengthen what Peach Kelli Pop already had pretty well nailed back when it was just a one-woman project. Even though the members tend to shift - with different ladies coming in to fill out the band at various times - the vision of Peach Kelli Pop remains a constant. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Peach Kelli Pop in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Globelamp and No Big Seal at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

2. One of the most popular attractions in the city of Olympia, the historic and active Olympia Farmers Market opens its main season at 10 a.m. The market has been serving locals and visitors for 40 years and can see upward of 400,000 visitors during the market season. A vast variety of vendors, live entertainment and a covered but open and airy market make it a not-to-miss destination. This year the market has partnered with South Sound Community Farm Land Trust, furthering agricultural land awareness, stewardship and preservation in the region. Bonus: bluegrass band The Pine Hearts will perform 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

3. The Swiss Restaurant and Pub held a photo contest asking the public to submit photos depicting The Swiss as either a family-friendly environment or as a cultural or historical site in Tacoma. Lee Heath won, which means she earned wall space at The Swiss for the month of April. "I have chosen to go strictly with photography," says Heath. "I am not sure if this has been done in Tacoma before, but I am doing a Pay What You Want display. This is an attempt to make an interactive art display, not only by trying to get people to engage in discussions about what they see while they dine, but when someone ‘pays what they can,' and a photo is removed from the wall, a new one will go up in its place." The show features photos from places, people, murals and street art around Tacoma.

4. Tacoma Green Drinks has invited Earthship Seattle to raise awareness about Earthship technology, and all the green building techniques that come with it. What better way to talk about green building techniques than over a drink with friends? Of course, there isn't a better way. Drink and learn at 6 p.m. in The Forum Tacoma.

5. Award-winning Olympia-based funk rock band The Brown Edition wants you to join their band. Hold on - don't get your hopes up. The band, led by the charismatic Miguel Pineda, will host a jam session inviting all to join them on stage at 8:30 p.m. in the Rhythm and Rye venue in downtown Olympia. For the uninitiated, the popular and bubbling band has had it with all the revision, and will return to its funk bass - the bass that scored them the best funk band in Thurston County, according to the Weekly Volcano readers voting in our Best of Olympia issues year after year. In addition to original works, expect funked-out jazz standards covers of more funk essentials at this free show.

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.

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