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April 29, 2015 at 9:36am

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 2: Free Comic Book Day

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

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

Sunday, May 3: David Sedaris

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

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

April 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 14, 2015 at 9:46pm

Nerd Alert has been issued for Celebrity Deathmatch and True Story

MTV2 is bringing back Celebrity Deathmatch for another round. Photo courtesy of Photofest

Part of the gauntlet of programming that originally sounded the death knell of MTV actually playing music videos, Celebrity Deathmatch stabbed its influence into the hearts and minds of a certain generation. Featuring battles between tangentially related celebrities, the claymation show was frequently more clever than anyone every really required it to be. It was enough that ever was a hyper-violent, zeitgeist-obsessed version of Mr. Bill; that there were any jokes at all was enough for millions of stoners and children and child stoners.

After ending its initial run in 2002, Celebrity Deathmatch returned briefly in 2006 before finally succumbing to the injuries of low ratings and a changing world. Still, the world of fame has only grown in in-fighting and vitriol, so it only makes sense that MTV would announce the return of their blood-spattered baby. Celebrity Deathmatch will rise again, this time with an element social media involvement and "hourly Twitter wars," which is just a series of nonsense words, so you might just be better off putting your flannel back on and forgetting about it.

The question remains, though, as to who will be the lucky celebrity to pummel Justin Bieber's face into oblivion. My pick? That monster truck Bigfoot. Well, either him or Eddie Vedder. Anyone with a deep, growling yarl, really. Contrast is king on Celebrity Deathmatch.

Friday, April 17: True Story

I finally got around to seeing The Wolf of Wall Street, recently, and while I wasn't incredibly impressed with the film, overall, what I was surprised by was Jonah Hill's scene-stealing performance. While I had already seen his Oscar nominated performance in Moneyball, I was really taken by Hill's turn as the geek-turned-greed-monster in The Wolf of Wall Street. Hill's been making a self-conscious, concerted attempt to escape from the prison of type-casting as a comedic actor and find richer roles elsewhere.

This trend has continued with the pairing of Hill and James Franco in True Story, which is, predictably, based on a true story. Following Michael Finkel, former writer for The New York Times, who was fired after partially fabricating a story on the African slave trade. A couple years later, he learned that a man named Christian Longo convicted of killing his family had been hiding under the alias of Finkel. True Story follows their relationship as Finkel and Longo collaborate to definitively tell Longo's real story - whatever that may be.

The trailer for the movie seems desperate to convey how important this story is, while also coming across as an ersatz fusion of Shattered Glass and Capote. Still, both Franco and Hill have been incredibly effective actors in the past, and the story is one of those stranger than fiction pieces of work that could inspire a powerful movie-though I think I'd rather see the documentary. In any case, this is one that you'll have to see for yourself when it opens at The Grand Cinema.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, Tacoma,

April 10, 2015 at 2:41pm

Cinema paradiso: The Grand Cinema reaches voting age

The Grand Cinema's starting line-up Thursday, April 16.

When I was a kid in L.A., most walk-in cinemas looked like The Grand Cinema. I remember my parents dropping me off and leaving me in a theater for hours-no helicopter parenting for me - as I watched a double feature or, often, the same movie twice in a row. (Back then, before studios clamped down on rental agreements, theaters looked the other way, content to raise future cinephiles.) A megahit like Star Wars could tie up a town's sole theater for months. Popcorn cost a buck, which seemed overpriced at the time. I remember hearing a radio news report in 1982 about a multiplex in West Hollywood that'd house 14 screens. What a wonderland, I thought. So many choices! There'll be room for every domestic and foreign release! Too bad it'll never catch on. That's way too extravagant for the average American.

Oh, but how wrong I was. The late '80s and 1990s saw a wave of expansion that culminated in 30-screen theaters in Ontario, California and Sterling Heights, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit). As the multiplex craze exploded alongside the viral proliferation of box stores, many family-owned cinemas were driven out of business. Though many cinema chains overextended and declared bankruptcy (AMC being a notable exception), the atmosphere remained perilous for smaller movie houses. That's why it's remarkable that The Grand has survived 18 years without sacrificing the sincerity or quality of its product.

Consider: I'm writing this on a Friday, the day most movies go into general release. I searched Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and computed the average critical approval percentage for two theaters, The Grand and the largest multiplex in our area. Despite unexpectedly low scores for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Woman in Gold, The Grand managed a respectable average of 72 percent. Meanwhile, despite stunningly widespread approval for Cinderella, Furious 7 and It Follows, the multiplex eked out a mere 56.5 percent; and that's not the chain theater's fault. Its modus operandi is to aim for the widest possible demographic spread, so it must program clunkers like Do You Believe? and The Longest Ride. The Grand has the luxury of pursuing movie connoisseurs - folks like you, perhaps?

Show The Grand some love on April 16. It'll reward your patronage with a $2.50 ticket discount, popcorn at 1980 prices, a birthday photo booth, and two free months tacked onto any yearlong membership. Enjoy What We Do in the Shadows, a vampire comedy that pulled an astonishing 96 percent on RottenTomatoes.com, or Selma, that day's installment of Tacoma Community College's Diversity Festival. The Grand's board, staff, and merry volunteers are fighting the good fight against Hollywood's barrage of pop-cultural pap. Let 'em know how awesome it is that they've stuck it out in style.

THE GRAND CINEMA'S 18TH ANNIVERSARY, Thursday, April 16, 606 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.6062

Filed under: Screens, Tacoma,

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 4:02pm

Nerd Alert issued for Game of Thrones, Ex Machina, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot ...

What we saw in the Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer is Varys wants Tyrion to help Daenerys take the Iron Throne. Of course, when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. Photo courtesy of HBO

Struggling through the Voight-Kampff test, 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.

THURSDAY, APRIL 9

Louie, one of TV's best and least predictable series, returns for season 5 at 10:30 on FX. A half hour before that, FX debuts one of TV's most soon-to-be-cancelled shows, The Comedians with Billy Crystal and Josh Gad.

FRIDAY, APRIL 10

Sooner and more fully than we comprehend, artificial intelligence will be woven into our daily lives. Some experts predict the next two decades will see the advent of a machine and/or uploaded sentience equal to or surpassing our own. Today's gay and trans civil rights movements will give way to the struggle to understand and empower synthetic personalities. It'll be a true paradigm shift, a transformative moment in the way we define personhood. It'll unravel centuries of assumptions about what it means to be alive and aware. Religion, art, law, philosophy, indeed, every avenue of human thought and self-identity will be challenged by this societal horizon some have rightly defined as a "singularity." No one alive can see beyond it to the other side.

In the meantime, of course, we'll keep right on making slick popcorn movies about how robots who look like hot chicks want to take over the world. Ex Machina's scoring highly on RottenTomatoes.com, and HAL knows we could use something halfway intelligent to cleanse our collective palate after Furious 7. Hey, maybe it'll be three-quarters-of-the-way intelligent like It Follows!

Also on Friday, 13 episodes of Marvel's Daredevil, aka The Man Without Fear, debut on Netflix, the Network Without Standards and Practices.

SATURDAY, APRIL 11

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. "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."

THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, 7:30 p.m. April 11 and 14-18, 2 p.m. April 12, State Theatre, 204 4th Ave., Olympia, $7-$12, 360.438.4506

SUNDAY, APRIL 12

When last we left our Westerosian heroes and villains, a certain Lannister was having a bad day on the crapper, another was enjoying an unexpected sea cruise, and Cersei was mastering level-23 bitchcraft. The last two episodes of season 4 finally lived up to Game of Thrones's promise, balancing oversize visual spectacle against compelling adventure and character development - with nary a brothel boob in sight, no less! Here's hoping David Benioff and company keep this spectacular train on the rails as it speeds past George R. R. Martin's literary source material.

Speaking of lit, today marks the 20th anniversary of Barnes & Noble (1530 Black Lake Blvd.) in Olympia. Expect author signings, story readings, princesses on the loose, and other fun moments throughout the day.

TUESDAY, APRIL 14

Timothy Olyphant hangs up his Stetson as Justified rides into the sunset, leaving Harlan County, Kentucky to its own drug- and violence-addled devices. That's a real county, by the way, though the series has never shot a minute of footage there. I bet Harlanites are super proud of their depiction on screen.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and always pay your debts.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, Theater, Olympia,

April 3, 2015 at 6:19am

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

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 3 2015 >>>

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

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

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

4. Seth Roth has been singing since the age of 5. The Tacoma singer-songwriter grew up on Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, but has one solid foot in the Bob Dylan and Neil Young camp. Roth has been serving coffee at Harmon's Hop Coffee since the day it opened inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma's Stadium District. Roth will perform at 8 p.m. in Cork! A Wine Bar.

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

April 1, 2015 at 11:11am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 3: It Follows

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

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

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

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

March 31, 2015 at 6:36am

5 Things To Do Today: Gypsy Rose Lee, J.A. Jance, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Seconds ...

Gypsy Rose Lee will be the subject of a noon lecture at the Washington State History Museum today.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 2015 >>>

1. Gypsy is an origin story, as blunt and deliberate as you'll find in any comic book. Super-stripper Gypsy Rose Lee gets her full powers when she finally stands up to Mama Rose, who pushed her daughter into vaudeville first and then into the seedy bump-and-grind world of burlesque. Supposedly, Lee was such a jammin' stripper that she would take 15 minutes to remove a glove and all the dudes in the audience would still be slobberin' for more. Lee and her actress sister, June Havoc, were made immortal in the play and subsequent movie. Their real lives, however, were far more colorful than anything Hollywood could dream up. Gwen Whiting will tell all at a noon lecture in the Washington State History Museum.

2. Oct. 7, 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay. Years later, Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt's, revisits the shocking case with never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, as Matt's all-too-brief life is remembered through the vivid testimonies of those whose lives he touched, from the friends and family who knew him best to the bartender who saw him on the night of the attack. New revelations emerge in one of the most notorious hate crimes in US history, leading to a searing, poignant, and multi-layered biographical and sociological portrait. Catch the film Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine at 1:50 and 6:35 p.m. in The Grand Cinema.

3. New York Times best-selling author J.A. Jance will discuss and sign her latest book, Cold Betrayal at 7 p.m. in the University Place Pierce County Library. The tenth book in the Ali Reynolds series, Cold Betrayal features a Taser-carrying nun who rushes to help young pregnant woman running away from a polygamous cult.

4. Kevin Seconds has never been a slave to expectations, even as his immensely influential band, 7 Seconds, helped to foster the West Coast hardcore scene in the early '80s. Today, Seconds is on his own as an acoustic singer-songwriter. Extricated from the context of the hardcore frontman, Seconds blossomed as both a writer and a performer. The man always possessed one of the best voices in punk, but his true range was given the spotlight once everything else was stripped away. Seconds will perform 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Lacey Timberland Library.

5. A powerful and widely celebrated voice in contemporary fiction, Haitian-American best-selling author and social activist Edwidge Danticat is a MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Story Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is the author of numerous books, including Claire of the Sea Light and Brother, I'm Dying, as well as Breath, Eyes, Memory and her upcoming novel Untwine. Her work has been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times. Danticat drops by for an 8 p.m. chat at Schneebeck Concert Hall as part of the University of Puget Sound's Susan Resneck Pierce Lecture in Public Affairs and the Arts series.

March 26, 2015 at 6:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Bluegrass, Pierce County READS film, "Battlefields to Farmlands," mini and the Bear ...

The Barleywine revue performs at The Swiss tonight. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

THURSDAY, MARCH 26 2015 >>>

1. Tacoma bluegrass band The Barleywine Revue and Tacoma old timey meets folk-punk band The Cottonwood Cutups will pitch a tent inside The Swiss Restaurant and Pub from 7-10 p.m. It will be a cacophony of spirited group singing and hoops and hollers.

2. The South Sound is a lit-lovin' book-readin' type of region. We welcome authors, and we support them. We read their books and we go to events where they read their books to us. And a bunch of these authors even live here, which means we probably sit next to them on the bus, or in a restaurant, or edge past them a little too closely when we're driving and they're rushing through the crosswalk just after the light changes. Many cities in the region host citywide reading events. So do the counties. Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat is the 2015 selection for Pierce County Library System's 8th annual Pierce County READS. The No. 1 New York Times best-seller chronicles the 1936 University of Washington crew team and their epic quest for gold at the Berlin Olympics. Against the grim backdrop of the Great Depression, this nine-man crew of working class origins stormed the rowing world, transformed the sport and galvanized the attention of millions of Americans. The library has put together 63 free events that cover various themes from The Boys in the Boat including a free screening of the controversial German propaganda film Triumph of the Will, at 6 p.m. in The Grand Cinema, followed by expert commentary with UW Tacoma's Claudia Gorbman, Ph.D.

3. In the Joint Base Lewis-McChord area alone, more than 11,000 servicemembers will leave active duty in the next two years. Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties are projected to have the highest Post 9/11 veteran population in the state. Organizations like GRuB (Garden Raised Bounty) in Olympia hope to help those veterans transition by affording them opportunities in the field of sustainable agriculture. Join GRuB, Enterprise for Equity, Oly Float, Rainier Therapeutic riding, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Conservation Corps at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theater for a screening of the film Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields, a documentary that examines the plight of farmers and demonstrates how veterans can translate military skills to the world of agriculture. Following the movie screening, County Commissioner Bud Blake will moderate a discussion about the relationship between food security and veteran transition.

4. The Olympia People's Mic invites vocalists, writers and poets to speak their pieces for an hour or two at 7 p.m. in Café Love. Tonight, the featured poet is eastern Washington transplant, currently-residing-in-Seattle-poet Tim Johnson. 

5. San Francisco power volume duo mini and the Bear joins Big Idiot for heavy jams at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

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Recent Comments

Melisa Ben said:

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

about 5 Things To Do Today: Religious Girls, "Big Eyes," sports chat, Kurt Lindsay ...

Web Developers Delhi said:

very informative post for me as I am always looking for new content that can help me and my...

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Carv said:

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

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

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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