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Festival of Tress, Banff Film Fest and more

Arts and cultural picks of the week

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School of Rock

While he’s no Dewey Finn, author and activist Derrick Jensen will join the Portland School of Rock band Friday, Nov. 30 as a fund-raiser for the School of Rock scholarship fund. I love kids as much as the next tiki, but truth be told, I was a little nonplussed when I discovered this event. I’m a busy tiki. Bobble Tiki has “work” to do. He doesn’t have time for kid bands.

Bobble Tiki’s knee-jerk reaction exemplifies exactly what’s wrong with the music industry today. From the media that covers it to the artists who make it, music’s become a j-o-b. It’s not fun — and that’s a problem. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, music’s really all about three chords and the truth. That’s what Bobble Tiki will scream at the kids Friday — once he pulls his head out of his wooden ass.

It’s only $5. Totally worth it to see 15 kids play Rage Against the Machine. If they perform “Bulls on Parade” Bobble Tiki will yank out his checkbook. — Bobble Tiki

[Evergreen State College, Friday, Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m., $5, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy. N.W., Olympia, 360.867.6000]


Festival of Trees

Long before kids had actor Will Ferrell stuffed into yellow elf tights and pointed booties to laugh at, my brother, sister and I amused ourselves for hours on end dancing around the Christmas tree lip-synching to a cassette of kooky Christmas classics. So much fun. It just so happens that my brother, sister and I will all be in Tacoma this weekend. Say, isn’t the Festival of Trees at the convention center? I’m thinking the three of us might dance around one of the 70 hand-decorated, themed Christmas trees on display. It’s a benefit for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital’s Critical Care so we’ll be doing it for the kids. How could they kick us out? — Suzy Stump

[Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, live entertainment, raffles, Jingle Bell Jam dinner and dance (Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m., $125), Nov. 29, 5-9 p.m., Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $2-$6, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.403.1368]


Nite of the Living Dead

Coming off last year’s run of “Cannibal,” Theater Artists Olympia’s twisted band of thespians take on the world of zombies and humor found in murder with “Nite of the Living Dead: The Musical.” Written by Olympia songwriter Josh Anderson, the original book and score is an adaptation of George Romero’s creepy 1968 horror classic. It has everything required for a good time: Undead beings. Clueless victims.  Blood. Dance numbers. Tenor solos. It is “Shaun of the Dead” set to music. — Steve Dunkelberger

[Kenneth Minnaert Center, through Dec. 16, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12 at, South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Road S.W., Olympia, 360.357.3471,]


Ready, poinsettia, go

According to Mexican folklore, a girl put a handful of weeds on the altar before baby Jesus, and he turned them into a poinsettia. Then, in 1919, a toddler supposedly ingested some red leaves and died. That’s how the plant earned its creepy reputation. Thousands of tests later, the Society of American Florists insists that poinsettias are nontoxic. We’re not taking any chances at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, where its December exhibit hosts exotic amaryllis and poinsettias.

The Conservatory’s staff and volunteers go Victorian Saturday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m., free) for its Victorian Holiday Celebration. — SS

[W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, month of December, 316 South G St., (in Wright Park), Tacoma, 253.591.5330]


Puppets matter

The Tony Award-winning “Avenue Q” notwithstanding, puppets — excuse me, Persons of Felt — don’t get the respect they deserve for their thespian talents. We’ll wager that the same people who think the Dragon Art Studio’s Chinese puppets is just for kids have never heard potty mouth from a P.O.F. (àla “Avenue Q”). Their loss. Chinese puppetry has more than one thousand years of history, and it has morphed to combine artistic expression with detailed handcraft, traditional Chinese opera movements, music, perfect puppet parts and Western technology.  Whoa! — SS

[Kenneth Minnaert Center, Dec. 1, 2 p.m., $10-$25, South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Road S.W., Olympia, 360.596.5501]


Get high

Living in these parts, we simply cannot ignore our physical surroundings. Winter’s graceful drowning, Mount Rainier’s brooding-beauty, and Interstate 5 make all of us adventurers of sorts. Our physical surroundings permeate our existence.

For many in the area, the mountains call us to come see what lies beyond the civilized lives we lead.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival began in 1976 as a 10-film festival drawing 450 people to the small but famed mountain town of Banff, Canada. Each November, Banff celebrates the spirit of adventure by featuring that year’s best films on mountain themes. Then the best films hit the road.

If you’re looking for a celluloid high, check out the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Capitol Theater Saturday. The festival features the best in “mountain” film from all over the world, from white water to heli-kayaking, summitting a high peak to mastering fresh powder. — Suzy Stump

[Capitol Theater, Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m., $10, $17 for both nights, 206 E. Fifth, Olympia, 360.956. 1699]

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