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February 20, 2015 at 10:33am

Words & Photos: "Sugar" female hip-hop night at the Eagles Club in Olympia

Night Fox performed at Sugar in the Olympia Eagles Club Feb. 18. Photo credit: Red Williamson

Red Williamson and Newspin Photography changed the hip-hop game in Olympia by opening up shop for local hip-hop artists to step their YouTube game up. For the past couple of years, the accomplished photographs - and Sasquatch Music Festival documentarian - has been making quality music videos for the Olympia hip-hop scene.

Williamson was on the scene Wednesday night when "Sugar" - a female hip-hop night - launched at the Eagles Club in downtown Olympia. Presented by Heddie Leonne with special guest DJ OND4, hostess The Illustrious Ms. Hattie Hotpants and performers Corina Corina, Garlic Man & Chikn, The Muzes and Night Fox, the rumor is Sugar could be a regular thang.

"There is an incredible amount of talent in these MCs," says Williamson. "You could feel the excitement. It was basically one bad ass, sexy righteous dance party. Celebrating these powerful ladies was quite a way to get the (Eagles) club going up on a Wednesday."

Below are a few of Williamson's snapshots of the night, plus, of course, a video. ...

For more of Williamson's awesome photos of the night, click here.

Filed under: Music, Olympia, Photo Hot Spot,

February 5, 2015 at 8:52am

USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center before and after photographs

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level Feb. 4. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level yesterday. The new center offers better food services, sleeping accommodations, showering facilities and even separate family areas and bag storage.

It will be open for servicemembers and their families Feb. 14.

Kevin Knodell covered the new SeaTac Airport Center unveiling, talked to dignitaries, interviewed volunteers and snapped photos.

The new center is nothing short of impressive. They went from a space that was roughly 3,400 square feet to a space that's around 7,000 square feet. The change has allowed them to triple their occupancy.

There are plenty of new amenities and upgrades. The new bathrooms have showers, most of which are handicap accessible for wounded veterans. Soda and drinks that once cost money are now complementary.

Read Knodell's full report here.

Knodell also took comparison photos of the old and new space. Enjoy.

>>> The Front Desk

>>>The Baggage Area

>>> The Dining Area

>>> The Lounge Area

Filed under: USO, Military, Photo Hot Spot,

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

December 28, 2014 at 4:50pm

Words, Photos & Video: Forest Beutel live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

Forest Beutel brightened spirits at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink in downtown Tacoma Dec. 27. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Americana music owes its existence to the collision of post-punk insurgency with a modern take on the often rude sounds of old-time country, blues and bluegrass, with singer-songwriter fetishes thrown in for good measure. If that sounds like a mouthful, it's meant to be: Americana covers a pretty wide range of styles and performers, and last night Forest Beutel covered all aspects of Americana.

Tacoma musician Beutel performed at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink in downtown Tacoma 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 have booked seven Saturday nights of bluegrass, country rock and old-timey bands.

Beutel - a fixture of Tacoma's bluegrass scene, playing banjo for The Barleywine Revue, punkgrass outfit The Rusty Cleavers and matching Julie Campbell's fierce fiddle in Dixie Highway - picked at his banjo, blew his harmonica, pumped his bass drum and hi-hat, performing a mix of high-energy bluegrass, down-tempo blues and introspective lyrics for the skaters going in circles. Beutel held an ice-skating trick contest throughout the night, pointing out potential candidates in between songs off his new solo CD, If You Label Me, You Negate Me.

I shot a little amateur video last night, which features Beutel's songs "Don't Know No Other Way" and Good Ol' Boy" at the rink, and "Angus' Romp" during my intermission session at The Social Bar & Grill.

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.

The Weekly Volcano's last Rhythm & Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown bluegrass concert stars The Oly Mountain Boys 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3. The quintet from Olympia will, no doubt, play tunes off their new bluegrass concept album, White Horse, which tells the story of 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 ice skate to this show Jan. 3. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Forest Beutel live at Polar Plaza Dec. 27.

SEE ALSO

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

December 21, 2014 at 7:24pm

Words, Photos & Video: Dixie Highway live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

Dixie Highway performed at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink Saturday, Dec. 20. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Dixie Highway. Remember those words. You may already know them, but in a year you'll know them better. At the bluegrass family picnic, Dixie Highway is the loud and brash kid brother, the noisy upstart from down south who would just as soon stand on your sandwich and scream into your face as slink quietly back from whence he came - deep in the woods, behind the still.

Last night was no picnic. As 20 police cars chased bad guys past the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, Dixie Highway ripped through songs from The Barleywine Revue's repertoire and Forest Beutel's new CD, If You Label Me, You Negate Me. There were several times during Dixie Highway's two riveting sets at the rink when you had to remind yourself that this was only half and not a full-throttle Barleywine Revue. As a duo, Forest Beutel on banjo and Julie Campbell on fiddle - half of the Revue - craft some of the finest bluegrass around. Unfortunately, Forest and Julie don't book many gigs around the Sound, so here's hoping this duo gets the exposure they deserve.

Dixie Highway performed "Good Ol' Boy" off Forest Beutel's CD, which I sort of captured on video.

The word on the street is this year's Polar Plaza numbers will beat previously year's totals. Last night, the rink was packed with young and old - and a whole bunch in the middle as the photos below show.

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

The Weekly Volcano presents Rhythm & Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown every Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. at Polar Plaza. Saturday, Dec. 27, banjo musician Forest Beutel tells his other bands - The Rusty Cleavers, The Barleywine Revue and new favorite band Dixie Highway - to take a flying leap as he's performing solo at the ice rink. Ice skate in front of Beutel and show him your new clothes you scored for Christmas. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Dixie Highway live at Polar Plaza Dec. 20.

SEE ALSO

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

December 14, 2014 at 11:15pm

Words, Photos & Video: The Rusty Cleavers live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

The Rusty Cleavers knocked everyone off their feet at the Franciscan Polar Plaza Dec. 13. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Mention the words "rusty cleavers" in the South Sound, and odds are responses will range more to the punk-grass spectrum than lazy chefs. The Rusty Cleavers write rowdy songs. They take their musical influences - folk, country and bluegrass - and punk them up. They add growls, and serve them with a cold Tacoma beer. Dec. 13, the Tacoma band served their music with cold weather. They delivered a Paul Bunyan-like boot heel clack before the ice skaters at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink.

It's Saturday night at the ice rink plopped atop of Tollefson Plaza and the people are packed so tight it's amazing they can get find a spot to fall. But they can, and they do, and it feels like an earthquake, like the ice might crack. The Rusty Cleavers' singer and banjo player Forest Beutel announces he's keeping track of the wipeouts and the greatest spill recipient will receive a free band CD.

Often described as the Old Crow Medicine show meets the Ramones, The Rusty Cleavers' live shows have always been fist-pumping barnburners. Audiences can't help but cut loose as they pummel their string instruments with rhythmic abandon, layering husky harmonies overtop that swell to bursting. Saturday, the audience couldn't help but flat out fall down.

A big, thank you to The Rusty Cleavers and all who came out to watch the band and ice skate.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza hosts public ice skating sessions across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum daily through Jan. 11.

Tacoma Americana band Dixie Highway is up next at the ice rink, performing 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Saturday's down home holiday hoedown with The Rusty Cleavers.

SEE ALSO

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

December 6, 2014 at 2:31pm

Photos: Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at Olympia's Capitol Theater

Nani Poonani was one of several TUSH! Burlesque performers at the Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at Olympia's Capitol Theater Dec. 5. Photo credit: Red Williamson

When the country outlawed alcohol in 1920, millions of Americans turned to a clandestine network of speakeasies and bootleggers in search of a stiff drink.

The 18th Amendment, which banned the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol, ushered in an era of prohibition and gave rise to organized crime, whose bootlegging operations flourished over the 13 dry years.

Dec. 5, 1933, passage of the 21st Amendment, brought an end to Prohibition.

You might think there are already enough reasons to party in December. You might think there are enough holidays prominently featuring the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

You would be wrong.

The anniversary of the day Prohibition was repealed, Dec. 5, is fast becoming a favorite holiday for nightlife - and certainly for bartenders. Once again, Olympia jumped on the bandwagon (or should that be off the wagon?) with an Olympia Film Society sponsored Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration - a night of burlesque, craft cocktails and fabulous fashion at the Capitol Theater. Olympia craft bartenders mixed pre-Prohibition era cocktails while members of The Greta Jane Quartet - with Prof. Andrew Dorsett on the Barrelhouse piano - filled the 1924 movie palace with classic mid-century jazz.

Besides the drinks and music, the evening - hosted by storyteller and actress Elizabeth Lord - included sultry stripping by Olympia's TUSH! Burlesque troupe lead by the fabulous funny Ms. Hattie Hotpants.

Photographer Red Williamson of Newspin Photo captured last night's gratuitous debauchery, lavish carousing and general tomfoolery. Below are a few of his photographs. To see his whole album of shots, visit his website here.

Olympia, you look awesome.

August 17, 2014 at 12:59pm

Photos: A Day in the Life of Tacoma, Saturday, Aug. 16 2014 ...

Girl Trouble ended their Music and Art in Wright Park set by tossing candy and bags of chips into the crowd. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

WE SCENE IT >>>

So, you picked up a free and excellent - if we do say so myself - entertainment rag. You checked out the stories. You read the reviews. You filled the crossword. What's a person to do after all that on a Saturday in Tacoma?

How about The Red Hot 7th Anniversary Breakfast, Music and Art in Wright Park, Tacoma Military Service Parade and the Downtown Block Party?

That's the path Weekly Volcano editor Pappi Swarner and his better half, Kate, chose.

LINK: Plot today's course

August 13, 2014 at 1:59pm

Roadside Classifieds: summer couches of Olympia

Here's a beauty from Olympia's South Capitol Neighborhood. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

You know it's the peak of summer in Olympia when all the couches have sprung. They appear in front lawns, in alleys and on street corners - loveseats, davenports, hide-a-beds - all varieties of couch are in full bloom.

Some are stained.

Some are cushion-less.

Some couches are in near-perfect condition.

Some are littered with beer cans and garbage.

Some have signs stating they're free.

Some couches are occupied by folks - surprised they could sit in an empty lot - with feet crossed and basking in the sun.

And each of these couches is beautiful - bleached by weather, patterned with flowers, or cigarette burns, perhaps with the loving scratch of a passerby cat.

We adore Olympia and her blossoming of summertime couches.

Please enjoy the following gallery of Olympia couch beauties ... and the world's ugliest, but most comfortable, chair.

>>> Quince Street on Olympia's eastside

>>> Capitol Way, Near Wildwood and close to Vic's Pizzeria, Spud's etc.

>>> This one is on Phoenix Avenue by Skateland.

>>> Here's another couch on Phoenix Avenue by Skateland.

>>> Here's a couch from Olympia's South Capitol Neighborhood.

>>> I found this one on Legion Way.

>>> I can't remember where I snapped this photo. My guess is somewhere in Lacey.  I was so dumbfounded by its beauty.

August 3, 2014 at 11:23am

Photos: 2014 Olympia Brew Fest and DB Cooper Music Festival

It was a day made for sunglasses. Photos by Pappi Swarner

The day after two festivals is always foggy. But this morning - following yesterday's 2014 Olympia Brew Fest at Port Plaza and the DB Cooper Music Festival in Chehalis - isn't just foggy, it is surreal. I felt like I woke up from a 24-hour slumber where I dreamt a ridiculous beer and music fantasy.

Did that really happen? Did I really drink beer with some of the best brewers in the country and freakin' rock out in freakin' Chehalis? Were there really no lines at any of the beer booths? Were there really 10,000 IPAs along Olympia's waterfront? Did Chehalis erect a bronze statue of Puyallup Southern rock band SweetKiss Momma because they're so freakin' good?

More than 30 of the best brewers and cider makers in the Northwest came to Olympia to pour their beer, hang out and talk with hundreds of beer fans. Thirty miles down the road, while the crowd was thin, then music was more than full at the DB Cooper Music Festival.

I'm still pinching myself, but I do have photographic proof it happened.

This man knows beer.

Abby's Cupcakes knows what goes with beer.

Ahhhhhh.

Olympia Beer Fest early crowd shot

Another crowd shot

DBST provided the soundtrack at the Olympia Brew Fest.

People danced.

Thurston County Chamber folks danced too.

Here's "Mr. Beer" Mick Wilcox of Click Distributing chatting with the ScuttleButt Brewing folks.

Here are two people enjoying the beer festival.

Lucky Eagle Casino had the biggest barbecue.

Lacey's Top Rung Brewing Co. caught with their mouths full.

Little Creek Casino's Oktoberfest promotional girls owned the Olympia Brew Fest.

Proof the girls owned it.

More proof

The Brown Edition kicked off the DB Cooper Music Festival on the Saloon Stage at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds in Chehalis.

Ethan Tucker went Hendrix on the DB Cooper Music Festival crowd. That's Jesse Turcotte on bass.

He really went Hendrix.

Charlie Imes played the Songwriter Stage.

Sour Owl played a fusion of rock, blues, jazz, funk, zydeco and pop on the South Stage.

Bump Kitchen had them dancing.

Seriously dancing

When you hear Puyallup's SweetKiss Momma it's impossible not to make a few assumptions. Assumption No. 1: They're a classic Southern rock band. However, SweetKiss Momma are as much like Drive-By Truckers as they are Gov't Mule.

Yes, Jeff Hamel, I said Drive-By Truckers and Gov't Mule.

SEE ALSO

Delicious IPAs at the 2014 Olympia Brew Fest

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