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For everyone, not just a few

Music

For everyone, not just a few

It's a funny thing, that subgenre known as Americana. In the nearly 10 years that I've written about music for this fine rag, I've surely used that term many, many times, and I've never thought much further past its surface level connotation: homegrown roots music with ties to country, folk,

A state of affairs

Stage

A state of affairs

There's something difficult about describing what goes on in A Little Night Music -- not because of its madcap plotting, but because of the unexpected manner in which the lunacy unfolds. This is, in its barest of bones, a delightfully amorous sex comedy, delivered via the labyrinthine music of Stephen

A challenging, verbose theatrical tradition

Stage

A challenging, verbose theatrical tradition

In theater, there's a sea of closed-room dramas that are designed around two or three characters coming at each other to try and suss out the truth of a morally complex mystery. Think plays like Doubt, Tape, or Oleanna -- explosive depictions of conflict between people who have everything to

Three Easy Pieces

Music

Three Easy Pieces

Welcome to Three Easy Pieces, where I examine a witheringly small alley of pop culture, from how it started to how it looks today. This time: art-rock in the mainstream. I love when art-rock bands -- those noted adversaries to pop music who lurk in the underground -- take the

Thirty-five years of wiggin’ out

Music

Thirty-five years of wiggin’ out

Thinking about what bands are completely synonymous with Tacoma, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a better answer than Girl Trouble. The band mixes garage rock with ‘50s rock, a detached cool and an impeccable showmanship, and an abiding love for the City of Destiny that has made them

The Canterbury sound

Music

The Canterbury sound

Over the past few weeks, in preparation for a move, I've been shuffling through my record collection to decide what'll be coming with me. The vast majority of this collection came from my dad, who left them with me when he left the country. I've still not had the chance

Best of Olympia 2019: Roxy Boggio

Online Newspapers

Best of Olympia 2019: Roxy Boggio

There are so many things that go into putting together a good show: the quality of the bands, the nature of the venue, the steps taken in ensuring that folks will even show up to the show, and a million more moving parts. If there is one element of a

Best of Olympia 2019: Elizabeth Lord

Arts

Best of Olympia 2019: Elizabeth Lord

It's not Elizabeth Lord's first time receiving accolades from Weekly Volcano readers, having won the title of Best Actress multiple times. This does mark the first instance, though, where she's also laying claim to Arts Scene MVP. It only makes sense, really, to consider Lord a valuable player -- since

Best of Olympia 2019: Rainy Day Records

Online Newspapers

Best of Olympia 2019: Rainy Day Records

There are few better ways to while away an afternoon than by taking a stroll through a good record store, discovering new music and talking shop with vinyl aficionados. Thankfully, this pastime has made a roaring comeback in the past few years with the popularity of records somewhat counterintuitively skyrocketing,

Voices at odds

Music

Voices at odds

The indie rock boom of the early-to-mid ‘00s were a wild time. No one was quite sure just where the wind was blowing, in terms of stylistic trends and general demeanor. The garage rock revival was in full swing, LCD Soundsystem was digging through crates of ‘70s vinyl obscurities, Arcade

The Pillowman strikes again

Stage

The Pillowman strikes again

One of the more fascinating theater-going moments I had in 2018 was seeing the audacious, sprawling, challenging production of The Pillowman at Tacoma Little Theatre. The pitch-black comedy about a fairytale writer being imprisoned by a totalitarian government proved to be, by all accounts, divisive among the TLT audience, some

A weekend-long celebration of cinema

South Sound Cinema

A weekend-long celebration of cinema

Boy, Tacoma sure does have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to film festivals, huh? In the fall, as we're ramping up to prestige movie season, we have the Tacoma Film Festival. Then, at the end of winter, in the lead-up to the Academy Awards, the Destiny City Film

Solo expansion

Music

Solo expansion

How long is it reasonable for a one-person band to stay a one-person band? Is there a threshold an artist reaches where they've had enough of their albums being described as "homespun," and so decide to take the all-important step of getting the band together? Folks like Iron and Wine,

Nonstop showstoppers

Stage

Nonstop showstoppers

There are few names as synonymous with musical theater as Andrew Lloyd Webber. For decades, Webber has balanced artistic moxie with an unabashed crowd-pleasing mentality in such a successful way that it's likely many people's first exposure to musicals was through one of his shows. Consider what a monumental career

Three Easy Pieces

South Sound Cinema

Three Easy Pieces

It's time, again, for Three Easy Pieces, the column where I examine a pocket of pop culture, from its birth to today. This month: hangout movies. The definition of a hangout movie is nebulous enough that a great many movies can get assigned this designation, but the basics of the

Glimpses of bigger stories

Music

Glimpses of bigger stories

Every so often, out of fascination and sadness, I take another look at the career of poor Nick Drake. The English singer-songwriter managed to release just three albums before his untimely death at the age of 26. His first, the lovely and achingly poetic Five Leaves Left, seems like exactly

Heartache on tape

Music

Heartache on tape

In the history of rock music, there exists a certain specific oddity that -- while it doesn't happen very frequently -- is always fascinating to encounter: the meta breakup album being recorded about the breakup that is currently happening between members of the band. Broken hearts, love triangles, high drama

A cold wave of anxiety

Stage

A cold wave of anxiety

Henrik Ibsen's famous and much-examined A Doll's House is a play that announces itself as being about one conflict, but eventually reveals itself to be about something far larger in scope. As produced by Tacoma Little Theatre, adapted by Marilyn Bennett and Lydia K. Valentine, with direction by Bennett, A

A heart-pumping concoction

Music

A heart-pumping concoction

Is it possible for a musician to be too skilled at playing their instrument? I'll sometimes listen to a progressive rock artist, like Robert Fripp or the Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth, and become lost in thought about how many man-hours it must have taken for these people to get bored

Across the Great Divide

Music

Across the Great Divide

As a teenager, seeing the great concert documentary The Last Waltz was a foundational experience for me; not only was I getting exposed to music that I hadn't really absorbed as a kid, but I was getting a peek behind the curtain of what it meant to be a working

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