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Three Easy Pieces

South Sound Cinema

Three Easy Pieces

Another month, another edition of Three Easy Pieces, where I explore a specific pop cultural subject from its birth to how it looks today. It's generally accepted that remakes of movies are never as good as the original -- and I'd usually tend to agree. This month, I'm looking at

Blissful exuberance

Music

Blissful exuberance

Paul McCartney recently did an interview where he ran down some of the best songs that he wrote for the Beatles. At a certain point, after discussing the likes of "Hey Jude," "Let It Be," and "Blackbird," McCartney noted how proud he was that, for the most part, Beatles songs

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Stage

Brighton Beach Memoirs

The household presented in Lakewood Playhouse's production of Brighton Beach Memoirs is one of a rumbling, simmering strife. Economic hardships and unresolved resentments have been so thoroughly woven into the fabric of this family that everyone has been inured to a general feeling of anxiety. I certainly felt a bit anxious watching

Anderson Island Film Festival

South Sound Cinema

Anderson Island Film Festival

In an age where streaming services have done their part in solving the problem of everyone having access to an abundance of films, another problem has presented itself: there's an overabundance of selection and a lack of concern about the level of quality of these films. Imagine the time you

Just a pop song

Music

Just a pop song

Stiff Records mainstay Wreckless Eric, after the success of his indelible "Whole Wide World," wrote "A Popsong," all about the fear and anxiety of being asked by his label to come up with a hit; as Wreckless Eric says, it's "just a pop song," so why is it so hard

Music’s direct line

Music

Music’s direct line

There's something alchemical about music that still remains unknown, to me, even after so many years of being hired to think about it for a living. How is it that we, as humans, have evolved to have our heart rates intensify when we listen to the right song? What mechanism

The Sonics are Tacoma

Music

The Sonics are Tacoma

There's no need to mince words, here, so let's just begin with two irrefutable statements: The Sonics are one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and they are, perhaps more than any other band, synonymous with Tacoma. Call them the godfathers of punk, call them profoundly influential to

TMP Turns 25

Stage

TMP Turns 25

It's a continued astonishment to look at calendars, week after week, and see how much amazing theater we get to enjoy in Tacoma over the year. Over the past few months, we at the Weekly Volcano have shined the spotlight on two local theaters as they prepare for their new seasons --

Punk Rock Block Party

Music

Punk Rock Block Party

Alright, let me know if you've heard this one before: Tacoma's music scene has a frustrating habit of fluctuating in waves, experiencing fallow periods and periods of fruitful activity, but it always has its way of bouncing back. Tired though this slightly panicked mantra is, it's mostly been proven to

Fools Play

Stage

Fools Play

In some ways, Whose Line Is It Anyway? was both the best and worst thing to happen to improvisational comedy. While the show undeniably introduced the form to an immensely wider audience -- most fans of improv belonged to niche markets in comedy-focused cities like Chicago -- the style of improv it

Bright sonic warmth

Music

Bright sonic warmth

In the Okkervil River song, "Pop Lie," lead singer Will Sheff calls out an unseen superstar who's the "liar who lied in his pop song," and admonishes the audience that "you're lying if you sing along." While Sheff's target and intentions aren't quite clear, I think it's safe to say

Trading in agitation

Music

Trading in agitation

As I write this, we've just come out the other side of what felt like a never-ending heat wave. Yes, I know there are other places that have it far worse, and a week of 90-degree days isn't the apocalypse I sincerely want to paint it to be, but come

Three Easy Pieces

Music

Three Easy Pieces

This is Three Easy Pieces, the column where I examine a bit of pop culture from its birth to today, hoping to give you just a bit of an edge at your next bar trivia night. This month, we're talking bootleg albums. For anyone too young to understand, bootlegs denote

Best Cult Movie Night: Weird Elephant

South Sound Cinema

Best Cult Movie Night: Weird Elephant

Movie nerds are a strange bunch; while they will always turn out in support of unabashedly good films, there is a pocket of moviegoers that find themselves drawn to films that are offbeat, grotesque, inscrutable, wholly unique, and sometimes stunningly bad. This affection for cult films was, to a certain

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

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