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April 23, 2015 at 9:56am

Nerd Alert issued for Star Wars trailer, Wayzgoose, summer movies ...

Wayzgoose! Letterpress and Book Arts Extravaganza will roll out April 25 at King's Books in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

It seems this good thing must soon come to an end. Nerd Alert will be taking an indefinite break after Rev. Adam McKinney's version next week, as the Weekly Volcano passes through an editorial life change. Think of it as graduation from college. No more keggers for you, kids; cultivate a taste for chardonnay. Or something. I don't know. I'll contemplate it as I wait in line for Avengers: Age of Ultron tickets. A word to the wise: they're available now. Most theaters will start screening the movie on April 30, the night before official opening. I predict it'll earn over $210 million. In other words, it'll boast the most lucrative opening weekend of all time, a record it'll hold for exactly seven and a half months. Enjoy that Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, amigos.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24

No matter who's performing the melancholy Dane or where, one goes into any production of Hamlet with the luxury of confidence. That's because it's the greatest single play ever written in the English language, perhaps in any language. Director Sikander Sohail promises his take on the rottenness in Elsinore Castle will be "apocalyptic, revolutionary, and dangerous." Put us down for "to be."

HAMLET, 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat., University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma, $6-$8, 253.879.3100

Actually, this is a big month for theater all over the South Sound. Continuing from last week are two manic comedies: The 39 Steps at Lakewood Playhouse and The Fox on the Fairway at Tacoma Little Theatre. The former runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 through May 10, the latter Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2 through May 3. Next month brings equally diverse offerings, including The Language Archive from Pulp Productions at Evergreen State College (opening May 1), Pinocchio at Olympia Family Theater (May 15), Cabaret at Tacoma Little Theatre (May 22), and a find-your-fate musical adaptation of Drood at Lakewood Playhouse (May 29).

SATURDAY, APRIL 25

Dozens of artists from Olympia and Tacoma will converge on King's Books for its 11th annual Wayzgoose festival. Bring any fabric item to be screen-printed by UPS students. Steamroller printing will also return, as will CLAW, the Cartoonists' League of Absurd Washingtonians. By popular demand, the event stretches an extra day this year, so watch for Godrun Aurand of Washington State Book Restoration and Jeremy Gregory of Candy Teeth Creative on Sunday.

WAYZGOOSE! LETTERPRESS AND BOOK ARTS EXTRAVAGANZA, 11 - 4 Sat. and Sun., King's Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, free, 253.705.0760

Finally, let's look ahead to geeky summer entertainment. TV premiere dates include May 28 for Louis C.K. Live From the Comedy Store on FX, June 4 for Hannibal on NBC, June 12 for Defiance on Syfy and Orange Is the New Black on Netflix, June 21 for True Detective on HBO, June 28 for Falling Skies on TNT, and July 17 for Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix. The Strain will return for season 2 on FX, though no exact date has been confirmed.

On the big screen, set your calendars for Muppet documentary I Am Big Bird: the Carroll Spinney Story on May 6, the his-and-hers double whammy of Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2 on May 15, the Poltergeist reboot and (much more promising) Tomorrowland on May 22, temblor San Andreas on May 29, Jurassic World and SNL documentary Live From New York! on June 12, Terminator Genisys on July 1, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation on July 31, Josh Trank's darker take on Fantastic Four on August 7, and Netflix's first cinematic feature, the Yuen Wo-Ping wuxia sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, opening August 28.

Assembling this column has been a blast, folks. I mean that. May the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may there be no fate but what you make for yourselves. Live long and prosper.

April 11, 2015 at 7:27am

5 Things To Do Today: Dockyard Derby Dames, Gray Sky Blues, Caspar Babypants, Kurupt & Kokane ...

Brat Capone will be battling on the flat track tonight. Photo credit to Travis Tigner

SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 2015 >>>

1. Remember in high school, how your best friend had the coolest sister? You know, the one who loaned you her smokes and bought you beer with her fake ID and laughed at dirty jokes? She's still cool as hell, and now she's skating for the championship Saturday. Tacoma's original roller derby league - Dockyard Derby Dames - will roll onto the track for their final bout of their ninth season at 6 p.m. in the Pierce College Health Education Center.  First up, the Trampires battle the Whidbey Island Rollergirls. Then, reigning champs, the Marauding Mollys, take on the fearsome green machine, the Femme Fianna, for the Championship trophy while hundreds of spectators jump around and scream their lungs out. Grab a spot on the bleachers, or if you're really up for it, hang in the beer garden, where your own protective gear is probably a wise idea, and enjoy a night of good ol' fashion bruising. After party to follow at The Fan Club.

2. The good folks at the Gray Sky Blues Music Festival have programmed a full afternoon and evening of entertainment in three different venues to follow the Tacoma Grand Floral Daffodil Parade. They've selected artists who produce what they consider "some of the finest blues west of the Mississippi." Listening to Teddy Lee Hooker, we're inclined to agree. Check the lineup: 

  • THE EMILY GARDNER BAND, MAIA SANTELL AND HOUSE BLEND, THE CD WOODBURY BAND AND TEDDY LEE HOOKER, 1-7:30 p.m. Sat., April 11, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 S. Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, $8-$10, 253.572.2821
  • KING KOM BEAUX, LITTLE BILL AND THE BLUENOTES, BLUES COUNTY SHERIFF AND JERRY MILLER BAND, noon-5:30 p.m. Sat., April 11, The Harmon Brewery & Restaurant, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, free, 253.383.2739
  • THE DEAN REICHERT BAND WITH TEDDY LEE HOOKER AND MAIA SANTELL, 8-11 p.m. Sat., April 11, B Sharp Coffee House, 706 Court C, Tacoma, $5, 253.292.9969

3. Chris Ballew, lead singer for mid-'90s Seattle alt-rock outfit The Presidents of the United States of America, has a pair of Grammy nominations under his belt. His hit singles "Lump" and "Peaches" are fixtures on rock radio. So it's amusing that Ballew reentered the public consciousness, not as a middle-aged headbanger, but as children's music performer Caspar Babypants. His eight albums for tots since 2009 have featured artists as diverse as Krist Novoselic and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Mr. Babypants is a hot commodity among hipper parents, with numerous shows in Portland and Seattle (and on KEXP) over the last two weeks alone. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on Caspar Babypants in the Music & Culture section, then catch his show at 2:30 p.m. inTumwater High School.

4. White-hot playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis penned The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,  a seriocomic meditation on free will set in a limbo night court beyond time. Its characters are all your Gospel favorites, including Uncle Pino. Wait ... what? This production, directed by 2015 grad Grace Caruso, comes courtesy of Saint Martin's University Theatre Department, and hits downtown Olympia's State Theater at 7:30 p.m. "The subject may be religion," notes critic Ben Brantley of The New York Times, "but questions are encouraged. Thank Heaven...at least the person in charge is the class cutup."

5. "Legendary" is not a word to be tossed around, but I can't think of a better description for West Coast rap/hip-hop legends Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound and Pamona-bred hookmaster Kokane, and their "West Coast Party." Kurupt is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest, having made nearly a dozen visits in the past few years. Kokane now calls the Puget Sound home. Kokane is second only to Nate Dogg (RIP) in terms of his notoriety for lacing chorus on hooks. From their platinum-selling heydays to today, they both have maintained legendary status as lyricists. Represent that D-P-G at 9 p.m. in the Cultura Events Center.

March 9, 2015 at 1:28pm

Nerd Alert issued for Leonard Nimoy, Kenneth Branagh, Yahoo! Screen ...

Leonard Nimoy represented the best of humanity. ©2003 By Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

Wishing Harrison "fly yes, land no" Ford a speedy recovery, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

I'd be remiss if I didn't begin this installment with a tribute to the late, lamented Leonard Nimoy. (Cue the Vulcan salute and "Amazing Grace" bagpipes.) Mr. Nimoy was a hell of a lot more than half-human, but of course I have to start with his most beloved character. Spock represented, not the alien, but the alienated. He stood for all of us who got picked on for being smart and socially awkward - pretty much all of SF fandom. I was addicted to Fringe, on which he played a recurring role, and the docu-series he hosted on Nickelodeon, Standby: Lights, Camera, Action! I loved his stage Sherlock. He was probably the first actor I knew by name. In short, I've been a Leonard Nimoy fan for 40 years. We all have. He lives in us now. Nimoy has been, and always shall be, our friend.

Our nation has contributed hundreds of characters to the planetary mythos over the years, a fact about which we should be patriotically proud. Yet many of those characters are defined by their ability to kill. Others are famous for quests purely vengeful or materialistic. Spock's goal is different: he wants to understand as much as possible of the universe. He seeks to find kinship with those least like himself. His favorite word, "fascinating," attaches value to the "merely" interesting. His catchphrase, "Live long and prosper," is both secular and applicable to all. That character lives on, of course, in Zachary Quinto's respectful performances, and his spirit owes to the labors of multitudes. Yet I think it's important to remember why Spock and Leonard Nimoy were synonymous in so many people's minds: they stood for the same unimpeachable goals. I hope future guardians of Star Trek and its ideas will remember that.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

Who's got big balls? Disney princess geeks, that's who! So don your blue ribbon, transmogrify Bruno, Gus, Jaq and Luke, and saddle up, fellow Mouseketeers! Kenneth Branagh, acclaimed director of Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and umpteen Shakespeare adaptations, has lavished his talents on a live-action retelling of Cinderella. It stars Lily James (Downton Abbey's Lady Rose) as Ella, Cate Blanchett as her snotty stepmum and Helena Bonham Carter as the world's greatest personal stylist. As I write this, RottenTomatoes.com rates the flick a bippity-boppity-beautiful 94 percent. Ah, Cinderella: disparaging stepparents in favor of the patriarchal monarchy since 1634.

SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Feel like getting your act on? Olympia's Shakespeare-in-the-Park company Animal Fire Theatre is auditioning for King John at 11 a.m. in the Midnight Sun (113 N. Columbia). Think Game of Thrones minus zombies and whores, but with bloodthirsty mosquitos the size of direwolves. At 7 the next evening, Lakewood Playhouse would love to see actors and singers for Drood, a musical adaptation of Dickens's unfinished novel. The Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret, which features both prostitutes and Nazis, holds auditions at Tacoma Little Theatre on March 22. It's springtime for Hitler!

Two promising stage productions open this weekend: Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at Evergreen State College, and Steve Martin's thinky Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Tacoma Little Theatre. I've peeked through the windows of the real Lapin Agile on Montmartre. It's the size of a Starbucks. Who knew?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17

After getting unceremoniously expelled from NBC's prime-time campus, season six of Community moves to something called Yahoo! Screen, where it probably streams between levels of Candy Crush. In a related story, Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Chevy Chase are still dead to us.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may you live long and prosper.

February 22, 2015 at 9:26am

5 Things To Do Today: Academy Awards parties, "The Miracle Worker," Bob Rivers, DJ Qualifi ...

In the immortal words of "Unforgiven" - “deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” Enjoy the ceremony as part of a lively conversation about contemporary movies.

SUNDAY, FEB. 22 2015 >>>

1. Thanks to The Grand Cinema in Tacoma and Olympia Film Society in Olympia, you can not only stroll the red carpet in your Sunday finest, you might also win one of several fabulous prizes. Show up to Theatre on the Square in a movie costume (Death to Smoochy, anyone?), and you could snag 250 bucks. That'd buy a crap ton of popcorn! Another prize up for grabs is a "Golden Ticket" good for movie admission any time till the next Oscar ceremony. Both events feature great food and drinks, and remember, your odds of winning an Academy Award of your own this year are exactly as good as Jennifer Aniston's or Daniel Oyelowo's! You'll be in beautiful company, in more towns than one. Megastar selfie! Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on the 87th Academy Awards parties in Tacoma and Olympia in the Music & Culture section, then arrive at the Theatre on the Square or Capitol Theater at 5 p.m.

2. Nena Curley was 14 years old when she performed the role of Sarah, one of the blind girls, in the Lakewood Playhouse 2003 production of The Miracle Worker. Twelve years later, Curley is the stage manager and production manager for the theater company's current production of The Miracle Worker, William Gibson's inspiring 1959 drama about blind, deaf and mute child Helen Keller and teacher Annie Sullivan's extraordinary efforts to communicate with her, which hits the stage at 2 p.m.

3. The Gig Harbor Film Festival folks are also hosting an Oscar Party at 4 p.m. in The Hub in Gig Harbor. Dinner will be served as well as red carpet pictures and a champagne toast. The Hub will have a big screen and all the other dialed into the red carpet and the Oscar ceremony. The Gig Harbor Film Festival will have film directors on hand and other local celebrities. Your $50 ticket helps finance this year's Gig Harbor Film Festival.

4. Seattle radio personality Bob Rivers will host a night of Northwest comedians at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Comedy Club.

5. If you are looking for a crunk, trapped out, hustle-music haven then check out Champions every Sunday at 9 p.m. DJ Qualifi keeps the beats bangin' - deep bass, booty music, trap music, D-Boy/Girl music. ... All. Night. Long.  This is officially one of the spots to hit if you want to appear like you're in a 2015 rap video. Twerkin' will happen. Yeah, Champions is a hole in the wall type bar/club, but it is where Tacoma rocks on a Sunday.

February 20, 2015 at 7:54am

5 Things To Do Today: Strangely Alright, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, "The Miracle Worker," the Hoot Hoots ...

Strangely Alright performs at The Swiss tonight.

FRIDAY, FEB. 20 2015 >>>

1. Strangely Alright is more than all right - the band is awesome. Its music is fun, timeless and real. The band can laugh, cry and flip people off all in one album, backed up by talent and experience. Fronted by longtime Tacoma musician Regan Lane (Baby Knockors, Strypes, Groovy Times in Babylon, BrokenNess), take the Beatles and Super Furry Animals sprinkled it with some Bowie, Traveling Wilburys and Elvis Costello and add confessional lyrics ala John Lennon and Bob Dylan and you have the five-piece power pop band Strangely Alright. "We'll perform new material I have written Friday," says Lane, "plus a Weezer-style cover of ‘Imagine,' some New York Dolls and Ramones." Our new single, ‘Come on,' will be released in a few weeks. In fact, we'll be releasing a new single and video every two months this year." Well, all right! Catch the band with SleepyPilot at 9 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

2. Broadway Center for the Performing Arts presents Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater. Delicately stuffed into tutus and man-sized toe shoes, the gender bending all-male ballet company returns to deliver hilarious twists on classical ballet. A worldwide phenomenon, the comedy of "The Trocks" is only outmatched by their technical prowess. Performing en pointe, these "mallerinas" revel in buffoonery and antics with perfectly pointed toes and leap to the heavens with attuned choreographic precision.

3. Nena Curley was 14 years old when she performed the role of Sarah, one of the blind girls, in the Lakewood Playhouse 2003 production of The Miracle Worker. Twelve years later, Curley is the stage manager and production manager for the theater company's current production of The Miracle Worker, William Gibson's inspiring 1959 drama about blind, deaf and mute child Helen Keller and teacher Annie Sullivan's extraordinary efforts to communicate with her, which hits the stage at 8 p.m.

4. Weekly Volcano scribe Rev. Adam McKinney has long been in love with the fizzy, cartoonishly bright power pop of the Hoot Hoots. With their driving indie rock, dressed with colorful costumes and embellished with lyrics about robots and dinosaurs, the Hoot Hoots have embodied the height of blissful optimism for him in the Pacific Northwest. Seeing them live is a sweaty, exuberant joy. Read his full feature on The Hoot Hoots in the Music and Culture section., then catch the band with the Jesus Rehab, Fruit Juice and Trees and Timber at 8 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge.

5. Obsidian in downtown Olympia hosts "Invokation," a night of gothic, industrial, darkwave and electro tunes spun by DJs. Dress to depress for a night of classic bats-and-bondage soundscapes, beginning at 9 p.m. Bela Lugosi's dead - long live Bela Lugosi!

February 1, 2015 at 9:56am

5 Things To Do Today: Super Bowl eats and drinks, Pearl Django, Tapmaster, "Tacomapocalype 4" ...

Go Hawks!

SUNDAY, FEB. 1 2015 >>>

1. We could have loaded today's 5 Things To Do with double entendres based on the concept of Super Bowl snacks and deflated balls. Instead, click here for several Super Bowl parties in the South Sound.

2. Pearl Django performs at 11 a.m. in the Museum of Glass. Pulling inspiration from the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Pearl Django has a signature Hot Club style marked by the band's expert string work, steady pulse of rhythm guitar and unmistakable swing that reaches out to audiences of all musical sensibilities.

3. These days, South Sound pubs offer more activities than a cruise ship. Tides Tavern wants to make it crystal clear its 12th Annual Tapmaster program isn't about chugging yards of beer then taking a flying leap off the dock into the harbor. Instead, the popular watering hole in Gig Harbor wants you to enjoy its 16 taps through the month of February. Get to know each beer. Ask the beers questions. Ask the bartenders questions. If by happenstance you drink all 16 beers in the 28 days, the Tides will give you a nifty T-shirt and add your name to the wall of fame.

4. We all know what it feels like to be stuck in a job we hate, where managers lead by harassment and double down on strategies that didn't work the first hundred times. Imagine you're trapped in a low-rent Chicago sales office with five alpha males, each struggling to sell Florida swampland before apathetic corporate overlords drop the axe. If you're looking to feel better about your working life, David Mamet's 1983 drama Glengarry Glen Ross is a great place to start. The Lakewood Playhouse stages the play at noon due to some big game on the tube. Read Christian Carvajal's full review of Glengarry Glen Ross in the Music & Culture section.

5. Tacoma's humorous zombie art show returns but at a new location - Destiny City Comics. "Tacomapocalype 4: Back to the Future" focuses on "Zombies Vs. 80's Time Travel Movies." Check out the local zombie art from noon to 6 p.m.

LINK: Sunday, Feb. 1 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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 9, 2015 at 7:57am

5 Things To Do Today: Chain and the Gang, monster trucks, "Glengarry Glen Ross," Aan ...

Chain and the Gang / photo courtesy of dischord.com

FRIDAY, JAN. 9 2015 >>>

1. After more than 20 years of taking the punk ethos and bending it to the will of a clothes horse and a stylistic maverick, Ian Svenonius has arrived at Chain and the Gang, which similarly takes elements of early soul music and abstracts them to conform to a 2015 attitude. When we first saw Chain and the Gang, Svenonius commanded the stage with a punk version of James Brown, giving high kicks and melodramatic kneels that belied the minimalistic instrumentation that accompanied it. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Chain and the Gang in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Rocknho, and Vexx at 8 p.m. in Northern.

2. My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg returns to the Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma at 7 p.m.  Written and performed by Peter Serko, this inspiring true story offers a glimpse into the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and ‘90s.  When Mr Serko's younger brother David is diagnosed HIV positive in 1988 he is suddenly drawn into his brother's life.  David's death from the complications of AIDS in 1992 leaves a legacy finally revealed 20 years after his death.

3. Who doesn't like to sit in attendance while junkyard cars get smashed and toppled by massive, petrol-chugging monster trucks? Probably no one. That's like suggesting there's someone out there that doesn't like nacho cheese and back fat. Likely story. ... Anyway, at 7:30 p.m. "the world's biggest and baddest monster trucks battling it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing and destruction as the Monster Jamevent rolls into the Tacoma Dome." 

4. David Mamet may have won the Pulitzer Prize for Glengarry Glen Ross back in 1984. But in today's climate of corporate scandal and economic crisis, this emotionally charged black comedy/drama - opening at 8 p.m. in the Lakewood Playhouse - seems eerily relevant. Set in the cutthroat world of real estate investment sales, Glengarry Glen Ross offers a harsh look at human weakness and the moral decay of business. It's a brilliant study in gullibility and greed - a classic piece of theater that makes us squirm in our seats as Mamet exposes the "art of the deal."

5. Portland-based experimental pop maestros Aan are making their return to Olympia for a 8 p.m. show at Deadbeat Olympia, a record store that's quickly making a name for itself with exciting in-store shows. Although Aan opened for the Smashing Pumpkins, there's little of the Pumpkins' melodramatic posturing to be found in Aan's music. Rather, there's a crispness and clarity of vision to accompany their wildly exploratory pop music, ripping apart songwriting crutches and stitching them together again, like Frankenstein's monster, before electrifying them into something wholly new and exciting. Also on the bill are local favorites Fruit Juice and Wild Berries, who stun with glam-rock kaleidoscopes and soulful garage rock, respectively.

LINK: Friday, Jan. 9 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 7, 2015 at 3:35pm

2015 South Sound theater preview

Lakewood Playhouse stages "Glengarry Glen Ross" opening Friday, Jan. 9. Art courtesy of Lakewood Playhouse

If, like so many of us, you're making New Year's resolutions, allow me to suggest an addition to your list. I encourage you to see more in the way of live performance. Often people think of theater as a civic duty, an obligation they owe higher culture. Meanwhile, they fill their DVRs with TV dramas and catch everything showing at the multiplex. I'm here to tell you live theater can be every bit as entertaining, stimulating, thought-provoking and just plain awesome as anything on the silver screen. It offers moments no camera can capture, and a sense of community and immediacy that go beyond simply throwing a few bucks at local theater troupes.

With that in mind, I'm highlighting smaller companies in this spring preview - partly because the larger houses don't need my help, mostly because the best shows are often staged by outfits that dare less familiar, more thoughtful material. Consider, for example, Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma, which put up a lovely production of Tea last fall and now hosts the return of a critically lauded one-man show, My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg (opening Jan. 9). Lakewood Playhouse is one of the region's leading community theaters, and that gives director John Munn the freedom to stage David Mamet's tense (and foul-mouthed) drama Glengarry Glen Ross (Jan. 9). Lakewood offers The Miracle Worker (Feb. 19), directed by Pug Bujeaud, and raucous comedy The 39 Steps (think Hitchcock meets Shakespeare Abridged) starting April 17. It concludes its 76th season with Drood (May 29), a musical that completes Dickens's unfinished novel by allowing each night's audience to choose from dozens of possible culprits and denouements.

Tacoma Little Theatre forges ahead under artistic director Chris Serface, beginning with an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby on Jan. 23. (This marks the anniversary of TLT's stellar production of To Kill a Mockingbird last winter.) Steve Martin's thinky Picasso at the Lapin Agile opens March 13, followed by playwright Ken Ludwig's (Lend Me a Tenor) golf comedy, The Fox on the Fairway (April 17). John Munn visits to close TLT's 96th season in grand style by staging the sexy musical Cabaret (May 22), currently killing in Broadway revival. Ooh, la la! Expect pop-up shows as well from upstarts New Muses Theatre Company and Working Class Theater NW.

Meanwhile, Olympia Little Theatre continues its silver-anniversary season with Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Jan. 16), a drama that reunites six members of a James Dean fan club after 20 years. Mid-February brings a readers-theater production of Angels in America at OLT; it's a landmark, six-hour show to be presented over two weekends. On March 27, the company offers Laughing Stock, a Noises Off-style backstage comedy directed by yours truly. Mama Won't Fly (May 8) is a recent comic script, as is OLT's summer show, 4000 Miles (July 10). Olympia Family Theater, now comfortably housed in its warm space on 4th, presents The Monster Under the Bed (Feb. 6), Washington-based pioneer drama Our Only May Amelia (March 20), and Pinocchio (May 15). Local colleges have been slow about announcing their spring calendars, but I'm looking forward to The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at St. Martin's University (April 11). Let's face it, that guy's always been trouble.

Filed under: Theater, Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia,

January 2, 2015 at 3:12pm

Mayor of Lakewood wins bet with JBLM commander

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

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

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

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

Anderson won the bet.

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

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

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

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

No date has been set for the engagement.

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Andrew Gordon said:

Thanks for the article, Carv! The article mentions Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen - just to...

about A murder at Journeycon: To hostility ... and beyond!

Marcy LaViollette said:

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

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