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A frenetic grab bag

Music

A frenetic grab bag

There are no restrictions in music, anymore. The cross-pollination of styles that began with the proliferation of easily accessible recorded music has only snowballed with the rise of the Internet. An isolated individual, for instance, may be just as easily influenced by hip-hop, gonzo art rock, hardcore punk, and early

Monochromatic madness

Music

Monochromatic madness

There are few record labels out there that have come to define an entire country's quality independent music output. Flying Nun Records did that for New Zealand. It's entirely possible that, without Flying Nun, American music nerds wouldn't have been so easily exposed to the vast majority of New Zealand

Beauty and the Beast

Stage

Beauty and the Beast

Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast carries with it an enormous amount of emotional and nostalgic weight. As such, future retellings of this story are hit with a double-edged sword of expectations: audiences are already prone to be onboard, but stray too far from the material they know and love, and

Blues On!

Music

Blues On!

Over the course of a number of years, Tacoma's Old Town district has been shaping itself into the city's stronghold for the blues. It makes sense for Tacoma's most foundational neighborhood -- the site of the city's first settlement in the 1800s -- to be drawn to such a quintessential

Three Easy Pieces

South Sound Cinema

Three Easy Pieces

Another month, another edition of Three Easy Pieces, where I explore a specific pocket of pop culture, from its birth to today. The recent release of Solo: A Star Wars Story has me thinking of box office disasters. And look, time will tell whether or not Solo can truly be called a disaster, but

Separation Anxiety

Music

Separation Anxiety

When I was first becoming aware of singer-songwriters' individual perspectives and modes of expression, my preferences began to lie in two diametrically opposed camps: the personal and the universal. In more specific terms, I gravitated towards artists who were all about bearing their souls and presenting a persona that was

Battle of the sexes

Stage

Battle of the sexes

Editor's Note: Last week, Alec Clayton previewed the opening of Lysistrata. This week, Adam McKinney offers his review.   The battle of the sexes has been a trope, in fiction, for practically as long as there has been fiction. Along the way, it's been approached with varying levels of humor, tragedy, righteous

Knotty fusion

Music

Knotty fusion

The longer you listen to music, the easier it is to fall into a rut of only listening to bands that easily access the sweet spots of your taste. Growing up on oldies radio, I was raised on a template of songs that rarely exceeded three minutes, that got in

Slacking Towards  Tacoma

Music

Slacking Towards Tacoma

Genres in popular music can be a finicky thing, having spent the past few decades splintering into increasingly specific subcategories. Music nerds can sometimes carry strong opinions about how certain bands are labeled, with some eschewing granular distinctions entirely -- like my dad, who insisted that anything outside of the

The Season That Was

Stage

The Season That Was

Lakewood Playhouse's Little Shop of Horrors may have two more weekends of shows before it ends its run, but once it does, that will mark the end of the theater's 79th season. Save for some classes over the summer, Lakewood Playhouse has nothing to do but begin preparation for its 80th season, beginning in

Mad folk riot

Music

Mad folk riot

It seems, looking back, like a foregone conclusion that punk and folk music would become intimate bedfellows. The two genres have long existed on each others' peripheries, with each style aspiring to a sort of pure aesthetic, stripped away of unnecessary embellishments and the staid trends of popular music. Add on

Three easy pieces

South Sound Cinema

Three easy pieces

Welcome to Three Easy Pieces, where I examine a specific bit of pop culture, from its birth, to how it looks today. As summer looms, I prepare myself for a few months of living a life of quiet perspiration. Like an anti-Superman, I find myself weakened by Earth's yellow sun,

Macbeth

Stage

Macbeth

Story-wise, Macbeth is about as straightforward as they come, especially as it concerns William Shakespeare's work; not only is it Shakespeare's shortest tragedy, but it follows a quite linear line of A to B to C, working with economic momentum toward its predestined path of death and destruction. Its themes

Down That Dusty Road

Music

Down That Dusty Road

I think a lot about two particular bands, the qualities they share and the different ways in which these qualities are portrayed -- in one corner, we have the Band, and in the other, we have the Traveling Wilburys. The Band, of course, started out as Bob Dylan's backing band, before

Little Shop of Horrors

Stage

Little Shop of Horrors

For a certain generation of people, seeing the 1986, Frank Oz-directed Little Shop of Horrors was likely their first exposure to the magic that a musical can possess. Starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, along with oddball supporting turns from Steve Martin and Bill Murray, Little Shop of Horrors took a mostly forgettable B

Resistance Rock

Music

Resistance Rock

We're living in times of absolute insanity, as I'm pretty sure most people are aware. For a while, waking up every day to check the news seemed to carry with it the same feeling of panic and dread that action heroes probably face when they're trying to decide whether to

Back to Life

Music

Back to Life

In the Pacific Northwest, it can sometimes feel like no one ever truly leaves for good, especially in Washington. If you're an artistic type, there exists a healthy cycle of rising up through the local ranks, cutting your teeth on the strange and occasionally prickly scene, before uprooting and going

Dancing in commiseration

Music

Dancing in commiseration

Over the years, in writing about music, I've found myself returning again and again to a particular quote. On the special features of the DVD for Stop Making Sense, David Byrne has an absurdist segment where he interviews himself. When one of Byrne's doppelgangers notes that Byrne has a bad voice,

Bent

Stage

Bent

The best thing that the Changing Scene Theatre Northwest's production of Bent does is take its time getting us to know and like its characters before plunging them into horrific situations. Once we get to the really awful stuff, we've spent enough time with decent people to truly feel the impact of

The Weepies

Music

The Weepies

For a period of time that seemed to last forever, but what actually amounted to probably less than a decade, starting in the mid-'00s, a virus known as folk-pop spread across the land. What started in indie circles, with musicians donning denim, adopting saccharine harmonies, and affecting a certain performative

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