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October 24, 2014 at 5:59pm

JBLM 3-2 SBCT and the floating howitzers

Soldiers 1-37th Field Artillery Regiment rig a M777 howitzer to the bottom of a CH-47 Chinook during training at Yakima Training Center, Wash., Oct. 21, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

Floating easily over the steep mountains of Yakima Training Center, Washington, the twin rotor CH-47 Chinook gracefully carried the massive weight of an M777 howitzer cannon and its crew toward their destination. Their mission was to drop in, quickly set up their guns and suppress simulated enemy air defense, allowing infantry units to advance forward with the help of close air support.

This training was the first time that 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team tested their howitzer crews, who have been training for months, with a full-scale air raid mission that culminated with firing live rounds.

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October 5, 2014 at 9:32am

5 Things To Do Today: Midday Veil, Steilacoom Apple Squeeze, "Project 562," James Adomian ...

Seattle experimental rock ensemble Midday Veil combines otherworldly vocals and cosmic synths with driving, hypnotic rock grooves. Photo credit: Frank Correa.

SUNDAY, OCT. 5 2014 >>>

1. Midday Veil takes cues from krautrock without explicitly copying it. There's experimental improvisation and rigid beats, but the '70s were a long time ago. What remains with Midday Veil is an exploratory way of approaching an inscrutable subgenre dipping into different cultural influences to provide an mélange of textures and atmosphere. Catch the band with Swahili, Total Life and Lost Integrity in 8 p.m. at Northern.

2. The town of Steilacoom will host their annual cider squeeze from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering to press apples for folks, or having jugs of fresh squeezed cider available. And if the cider isn't reason enough to go, then go to sample fresh baked apple pies, cider floats, apple fritters, pony rides and music by Barleywine Revue and Steve and Kristi Nebel.

3. Matika Wilbur's "Project 562" is an ambitious and fascinating photographic study of Native American culture and an equally ambitious artistic project of which Tacoma Art Museum is fortunate to be able to present to the world the inaugural exhibition. Today is the last day to see the exhibit. Read Alec Clayton's full review of Matika Wilbur's Project 562" in the Music & Culture section., then see the show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Shakespeare can be a bit inaccessible for the average Joe and many a community theater company has butchered it so badly as to make the audience loathe ever catching another production of The Bard's works. So leave it to director Suzy Wilhoft and Tacoma Little Theatre to stage something that could go so, so wrong. Fortunately it doesn't and the audience is presented a modest start and a whiz-bang finish in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which closes today at 2 p.m. Read Joann Varnell's full review of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Music & Culture section.

5. Fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! rejoice! James Adomian will be at the Tacoma Comedy Club at 7 p.m. You've no doubt heard his voice on the podcast, doing spot-on impressions of Jesse Ventura, Tom Leykis, Dov Charney, Alan Rickman and Paul Giamatti, among others. While Adomian is nominally an impressionist, what makes his characters so special is that he takes them and spins them into surreal and inspired territory. It's a crime that he hasn't been cast on Saturday Night Live, where he is destined to become a post-modern Darrell Hammond. He's only appearing for one night, so consider this a can't-miss.

LINK: Sunday, Oct. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 25, 2014 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Super Circus Heroes, Katchafire, Gadabout Traveling Film Festival, Nacosta ...

"Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Super Circus Heroes" showcases wonders from the marvelous to the magnificent. Press photo

THURSDAY, SEPT. 25 2014 >>>

1. Superheroes are coming to Kent's ShoWare Center tonight. These "superheroes" don't actually fight crime. Instead, they battle against a more insidious threat to mankind: fickle, short-attention-span audiences. As part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Presents Super Circus Heroes, these courageous do-gooders perform super-human feats of athleticism for your amusement. The storyline, such as it is, involves "Mr. Boredom" (award-winning clown Davis Vassallo of Italy, making his American debut), searching for his own superpower while witnessing such acts as The Cuban Comets (springboard artistes), sexy acrobats The Lightning Rods (the jokes write themselves with that name) and the Shaolin Warriors - who, among other feats, swing sticks, chains, swords and their bodies at one another in what looks like an effort to figure out which one of them is more macho.

2. The largest of 12 lakes in Lakewood's Lakes District, American Lake was once envisioned by Tacoma developers as an ideal resort location. But their grandiose dreams came to a crashing halt with the Panic of 1893. Author Nancy Covert has added another book focusing on the area, American Lake Vignettes, exploring the little-known history of American Lake, weaving together stories from lifelong residents. Join Covert for a vivid look back at life on American Lake at the Steilacoom Historical Museum, beginning at 7 p.m.

3. Like many a young independent filmmaker trying to get a foot in the door, Eric Ayotte felt disenfranchised. It's not an easy life, he learned, and you just have to make your own way through the muck. In 2002, he took his future into his own hands and started the ragtag gypsy Gadabout Traveling Film Festival. The microfest seeks not only to expose audiences to quality short films by unknowns, but also comes with live music by Ayotte. His sincere songs bring a political message as well as an emotional truth. This tour will be supporting his fourth full length record, Transparency, a full band album that explores the concept of honesty, and wanting more open communication from his community, government, friends, religions and himself. See it all at 8 p.m. in Northern.

4. Katchafire are an all-Maori reggae band from Hamilton, New Zealand. With three of the original band members coming from the same family, guitarist Grenville Bell and his sons Logan (vocal) and Jordan (drums/vocals), connections are a driving force behind the band. As the group's name suggests, Katchafire was inspired by Bob Marley, whose fifth album was titled "Catch a Fire." Katcha the band at 8 p.m. in Jazzbones.

5. Astral, visceral, ethereal - all of these "al" words describe Los Angeles indie rock band Nacosta. Synthy, dancey and poppy describe them, too. Releasing their first album this past spring, Under the Half Moon is full of harmonic tendencies, resulting in dreamy songs, backed by solid instrumental work. The song "Aberlina," for instance, is lyrically, and musically, a love story laced with creepiness, as good love stories should be. Do I hear a Beatles and other '60s psychedelic influence? And perhaps some Radiohead and other '90s pop influence as well? On a successful tour, including SXSW, these hotcakes will hit The Swiss at 9 p.m. before heading home and busting out another album. Catch them while you can.

LINK: Thursday, Sept. 25 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

August 20, 2014 at 7:51am

5 Things To Do Today: Darren Motamedy, Mini Hop Fest, Drinking Liberally, Ko Ko Jo ...

Darren Motamedy has released 11 smooth jazz albums since 1989.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 20 2014 >>>

1. Smooth jazz isn't just for sick people in medical-office waiting rooms. Besides one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, Darren Motamedy blends jazz with pop, funk and blues to create a contagious sound. Grab a lawn chair for his 6:30 p.m. show in Steilacoom's Pioneer Park.

2. The public is invited to spend an afternoon at the Lacey Museum, located at 829 Lacey St. SE in the historic neighborhood of Lacey, from 4-6 p.m. Want more Lacey? The Lacey Historical commissioners will be in the house, the house being the Lacey Museum. A presentation will be given on the current status of the new museum project, the "Lacey Museum at the Depot," beginning at 5:15 p.m. Lacey, get to know it ... all of it.

3. Pint Defiance is hosting a Mini Hop Fest with Laurelwood, as the Portland brewery takes over half the beer and taproom's taps with their hop-centric brews. On draft from 5-7 p.m. will be some of Laurelwood's hoppiest concoctions including Pale Pony ISA, Workhorse IPA, Green Elephant IPA and a rare appearance of Megafauna Imperial IPA.

4. They say never talk politics at the bar. The Black Angus in Lakewood encourages it. With the dismal low voting in the recent primary, there is bound to be some interesting conversations beginning at 6 p.m. Drinking Liberally Lakewood is an informal gathering of like-minded left-leaners and true hardcore lefties who want to trade ideas, get more involved, to rant, or just share each others company ... over drinks.

5. What happened to Freckles Brown? The Olympia quartet is now Ko Ko Jo, will perform rock and country covers, as well as their own tunes, at 7 p.m. in Sylvester Park.

LINK: Wednesday, Aug. 20 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 16, 2014 at 7:55am

5 Things To Do Today: Sunset Market, Jessica Jane Julius, Lakefair, Ian McFeron ...

Wednesday nights in Puyallup just got more tasty. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, JULY 16 2014 >>>

1. Farmers markets come in all sizes, shapes and vibes, but the atmosphere of the Sunset Market is definitively about fun. Right off the bat, it turns the tables on the usual early-morning affairs we're used to by hosting its vendors in the evenings, from 3 to 7:30 p.m. - a Puyallup version of Tacoma's 6th Ave Farmers Market if you will. The Sunset Market focuses on local farmers, growers, processors, artisans, downtown merchants and food vendors accompanied by live entertainment, demonstrations and more. The farmers' party continues every Wednesday through Sept. 17.

2. Starting at 10 a.m. and running the next five weeks, the Museum of Glass will feature women artists working in the Hot Shop. Today, Jessica Jane Julius will experiment and explore new directions in her art. She currently teaches at Tyler School of Art, and her work was recently featured in Craft Spoken Here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

3. While it's easy to quantify Oly as just a hippie, college town - that's only partially true. A large portion of the population is proudly blue-collar. The most amazing part of all of this is the two demographics - shoeless hippies and hardworking grunts - come together every year for Lakefair, meshing farmer tans with hacky sacks, and creating a fairly unique event disguised as just another summer festival. Think carnies, cotton candy, live music, volleyball, fireworks and all the usual trappings - Olympia style. It runs from noon to 10 p.m. around Capital Lake and Heritage Park, Fifth and Water Street, in downtown Olympia.

4. There will be an Army invasion tonight in Steilacoom when the U.S. Army Band enters Pioneer Park at 6:30 p.m. The show is free. 

5. Ian McFeron, whose lyrical prose has been compared to Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams and David Gray, will perform roots-oriented American music at 7 p.m. in Olympia's Sylvester Park.

LINK: Wednesday, July 16 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 2, 2014 at 7:13am

5 Things To Do Today: Summer Dance Party, zine workshop, bubbly tasting, Strangely Alright ...

DJ Fir$t Lady spins at The Brotherhood Lounge's Summer Dance Party tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, JULY 2 2014 >>>

1. You can't profess to love hip-hop without having, at the least, a passing appreciation for the foundation. You don't get Outkast or Dr. Dre without EPMD. There's no Jay Z without Rakim. The Geto Boys helped open up the South. Afrika Bambaataa, The Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster flash, Kurtis Blow, Fab 5 Freddy, Public Enemy ... it's not just nostalgia; it's a history lesson you can't miss when DJ Fir$t Lady spins your favorite old school hip-hop, plus other eclectic and funky dance tunes Wednesday beginning at The Brotherhood Lounge's Summer Dance Party. Fir$t Lady will do all the heavy lifting for you so all that's left to be done is to fetch that headband out of the dryer and go freak out. Bonus: Twenty-five percent of the night's sales go to Planned Parenthood. It kicks off at 9 p.m.

2. Remember before the Internet when the only way to discover the local underground punk rock scene, slow food, yurt-builders, Kierkegaard or Shannon Doherty was to read bits of typed paper from someone pulling an all-nighter at Kinko's? Today, it's called Tumblr. Yet oddly enough, old school zines are experiencing a renaissance. How do people who've never existed in a world without the web create these handmade textures to express their unfettered opinions? In celebration of International Zine Month in July, the Lakewood Library will host several zine workshops throughout the month, the first one coming together from 6-8 p.m. Express your opinion between two staples! 

3. There will be an Elvis sighting tonight in Steilacoom when Danny Vernon's Illusions Of Elvis enters Pioneer Park at 6:30 p.m. The show is free. 

4. Here's a reason to toast: Scientists say drinking three glasses of Champagne per week helps stave off brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. So head to Abby's on Broadway Bistro and Wine Bar from 5-7:30 p.m. for a bubbles tasting. Fill your brain with Veuve Ambal Blanc de Blanc Brut, Veuve Ambal Brut Rose, Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne Brut and Veuve Ambal Rose Cremant de Bourgogne Brut.

5. It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means Maurice the Fish Records will take over Jazzbones tonight. The monthly all-ages event showcases some of the best the Pacific Northwest talent, including established musicians as well as young up-and-comers. At 8 p.m., Brooke Lizotte, Strangely Alright and Torre take the stage.

LINK: Wednesday, July 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 18, 2014 at 7:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Barbecue lecture, Walk Tacoma, brewers bonanza, Twang Junkies ...

This is our go-to photo for depicting barbecue.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18 2014 >>>

1. We red-blooded Americans like our meat smoked, cooked long and slow until it's tender enough to be cut with a sharp glance. Travel with us to the town of Steilacoom to hear Pat Maddock, championship pitmaster with Pacific Northwest BBQ Association and Kansas City Barbecue Society, share secrets of competition barbecue we can use behind our office building. Maddock covers barbecue types, smoke woods, rubs, sauces, cookers and meats, and demonstrates the way competition chefs prepare winning pork ribs at 6 p.m. We salute you, Pat Maddock!

2. The Museum of Glass has invited visiting artist Donald Lipski to hang out in the Hot Shop for the week. Lipski is a sculptor known for his poetic combining and altering of existing things and for his enigmatic installation works. Things fire up at 10 a.m.

3. From 5:15 to 6:30 p.m., why not get up off your booty and commune with Tacoma on foot? Downtown On the Go hosts another Walk Tacoma events. Tonight, it walks in the name of public art. Participants will join Pacific Avenue Streetscape artist Elizabeth Connor for a 1.5 mile walking route in downtown Tacoma starting at Fireman's Park. After the walk, participants are invited to attend a social event with food and drinks at The Forum. There is no need to pre-register for the event, simply meet in the park.

4. The Four Beer Horsemen ride into the area tonight.Fort George Brewery unloads its beers at the ParkWay Tavern beginning at 5 p.m.Boundary Bay Brewing Company makes its way to the Puyallup River Alehouse for a 6-9 p.m. party of beers, giveaways, raffle prizes and dollar tacos. Double Mountain Brewery swings through The Swiss Restaurant & Pub for a 6-9 p.m. brewer's night and raffle. Deschutes Brewing Co. bursts through the Pint Defiance doors for a 5-7 p.m. hoopla.

5. The country genre nowadays often seems to favor superstar pop-artists, and one can also admit that it has lost a lot of original flavor and a great amount of heart and soul. The Twang Junkies are loaded with original flavor and soul. The Tacoma band moseys up to the bar with Cash, Haggard, Hank and Earle on one side and Jagger, Lennon, Bowie and Gibb on the other, then taking the Jazzbones stage at 8:30 p.m. with their own blend of alt-country: a Southern twang bass with a hint of indie rock.

LINK: Wednesday, June 18 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 9, 2014 at 7:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Marymount Motorcycle Week, wetland walk, jazz, new comedy open mic ...

Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

MONDAY, JUNE 9 2014 >>>

1. If you've ridden a motorcycle, you may be interested in the Marymount Motorcycle Week, which launches at 9 a.m. and runs through Sunday at the Marymount Event Center. The LeMay Family Collection Foundation, VME, PNW Museum of Motorcycling and the Tacoma Motorcycle Club offer an up-close-and-personal look at vintage and specialty street bikes, dirt bikes, sport bikes, cruisers, scooters, race bikes - more than 200 motorcycles including the heavy-hitter all-stars of motorcycle history such as BMW, BSA, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha. An AHRMA-sanctioned vintage trials course will happen Saturday.

2. Today looks like an awesome day for a noon, free guided bird walk at the Adriana Hess Wetland Park. No experience necessary; binoculars are available to borrow. No RSVP required. 

3. James Coates performs original tunes and classic rock hits at 7 p.m. in the Steilacoom Pub & Grill

4. The Joe Mailhot Jazz Unit hits the Rhythm and Rye stage at 8 p.m. Featuring the music of composer/guitarist Joe Mailhot, with Scott Reed on tenor sax, bassist Eric Hahn, and new addition Dylan Johnson on drums, The JMJU draws from styles ranging among modern jazz, funk, soul, free and psychedelic.         

5. A new comedy open mic launches at 9 p.m. at The New Frontier Lounge. "Monday Madness Comedy Night With Puddin" offers you a stage for your best jokes, which can be recorded.

LINK: Monday, June 9 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

April 21, 2014 at 7:47am

5 Things To Do Today: UPS Senior Show, "Works In Progress," Charles Mingus, Kurt Lindsay and more ...

Painted wood saws by Mark Scherer are on display at the gallery in the Kenneth J Minnaert Center. Photo courtesy of South Puget Sound Community College

MONDAY, APRIL 21 2014 >>>

1. "The Meaning of Wood" at the gallery at South Puget Sound Community College is one of the best theme shows Weekly Volcano art critic Alec Clayton has seen in a long time. This spacious gallery in the Kenneth J Minnaert Center features sculptures, paintings and drawings from many artists in a wide range of styles, all commenting on trees, wood products and the ecology of our forest lands, and nearly all of excellent artistic quality. The curators of this show chose wisely. Read Alec Clayton's full review of "The Meaning of Wood" in the Music & Culture section, then catch it from noon to 4 p.m.

2. The University of Puget Sound's 2014 "Senior Show" features the artwork of 10 seniors who are graduating with their Bachelor's degrees in studio art. This group exhibition showcases a diverse range of subjects and media, and includes paintings, prints, mixed-media works, sculpture, and ceramics. The artworks on view offer a lively and engaging opportunity to see a variety of work by these emerging young talents. The show opens today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can meet the young lads and lasses behind the exhibition during a public reception 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23. If you don't catch the reception, that's fine. Their artwork will be on display until May 17.

3. Ready for round two? The Barefoot Collective and MLKBallet perform, once again, in-process works for a small audience in a relaxed atmosphere, where the dancers show the audience how the dance was created. For audience members, this is an opportunity to experience live theater and get a rare glimpse into the creative process of artists in all types of performing arts. After the performance, the audience can ask questions and offer feedback. Check out Works In Progress at 7:30 p.m. in the Urban Grace Studio.

4. Olympia Jazz Tentette pays tribute to Charles Mingus at 8 p.m. in the Rhythm and Rye club in downtown Olympia.

5. Weekly Volcano music critic Rev. Adam McKinney says there are vocal similarities between Kurt Lindsay and late cult singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. The Rev. says, "Lindsay's voice, like Buckley's is simultaneously full of bravado and wounded timidity. It quivers with feeling, though it might be noted that Lindsay's voice often comes across as more lost, searching, which adds a nice element to what is largely music that errs toward modern rock, with some detours to friendly mixers like R&B and folk." See for yourself at 8 p.m. when Lindsay performs at the Steilacoom Pub & Grill.

LINK: Monday, April 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

April 14, 2014 at 7:50am

5 Things To do Today: Seth Freeman Band, Sandow Birk, "The Lunchbox," James Coates and more ...

Seth Freeman rocks The Swiss tonight.

MONDAY, APRIL 14 2014 >>>

1. Seth Freeman has played the guitar since the age of 4. He has spent time in both the city and the mountains of Arkansas, in the heart of the South in a large, and very musical, family. When you hear Freeman play guitar, you quickly realize these are not the same old licks. At 23, he opened for Jonny Lang, Wes Jeans, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Damon Fowler and Devon Allman. Today, he spends most of his time on the road, gigging with Chris Duarte, Wes Jeans, Damon Fowler, Michael Burks, Lance Lopez and Jeff Lang, when not fronting his own band, which rolls into The Swiss at 8 p.m. for a night of driving blues, Ozark Mountain bluegrass and sweet tender ballads. 

2. In India, couriers called dabbawalas pick up lunch from your home, (lovingly prepared by your significant other or family member), deliver it to your workplace and then retrieve and return your empty lunchbox before the working day is over.In the U.S. you're stuck with a leftover Cup O' Noodles and a bologna sandwich that've been congealing in the office fridge for three hours. Yum. Of course, in a country with more than a billion people, there's bound to be an occasional delivery mix-up. Thus, the stage is set for Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox, screening at 1:30, 4:10, 6:30 and 8:50 in The Grand Cinema.

3. Sandow Birk is a well-traveled graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, his artworks have dealt with contemporary life in its entirety. With an emphasis on social issues, frequent themes of his past work have included inner city violence, graffiti, political issues, travel, war, and prisons, as well as surfing and skateboarding. Birk will discuss the "American Qur'an" project, currently on view in the Kittredge Gallery, at 3 p.m.

4. Tacoma singer-songwriter James Coates will perform at 7 p.m. in the Steilacoom Pub and Grill.

5. Le Voyeur Café and Lounge in downtown Olympia hosts an all-ages hip-hop show featuring E.B.T., Hufsa, Greggg, F.W.L.T. and Slow Capture at 7 p.m.

LINK: Monday, April 14 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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