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How can you resist it?

Stage

How can you resist it?

Every now and again, it's fun to remember that ABBA -- the Swedish pop band responsible for some of the biggest hits in the history of pop music -- was once offered one billion dollars to reunite for a tour, and they turned it down. This offer was made in

Three Easy Pieces

Music

Three Easy Pieces

Time for another Three Easy Pieces, where I examine a witheringly small strand of pop culture, from its inception to today. This time: love songs by punks. While the song in question may or not be of the punk rock persuasion, these are tracks by artists that had spent so

As true today

Stage

As true today

Fiction has long been dominated by stories of charlatans -- charismatic or otherwise -- who blow into people's lives and attempt to fleece them of anything that isn't tied down. It's a trope that's persisted as well as it has for very clear reasons, the main of which being that

They can do it!

Stage

They can do it!

Mel Brooks' The Producers -- both the original film and its subsequent stage adaptation -- is something of an anomaly in mainstream entertainment; while future comedians would more flagrantly, almost giddily push the edge in search of provocations, The Producers maintains a pristine balance between pointed satire and almost cartoonish

Three Easy Pieces

South Sound Cinema

Three Easy Pieces

Here at Three Easy Pieces, I walk you through a pocket of pop culture, from its early days, to its present. This time: cinematic swan songs. I'm talking about the final projects of actors or directors. Good or bad, there's something magnetic about seeing the last film that these artists

Take it off!

Stage

Take it off!

The Full Monty seemed like it was destined to be adapted to a Broadway musical: a bunch of blue-collar blokes, despite having no dancing experience or marquee idol looks, decide to stage a one-night-only nude revue. The film -- which rode on a wave of similarly charismatic British crossover comedies

Three Easy Pieces

Music

Three Easy Pieces

Is it time, once again, for Three Easy Pieces? You bet it is. And what is Three Easy Pieces? Well, it's the column where I dissect a segment of pop culture, from its inception, to how it looks today. In the month of May, I'm thinking about movie soundtracks that

Welcome to the family

Stage

Welcome to the family

The South Sound theater community is populated with a cavalcade of intensely passionate participants -- both onstage and behind the scenes. It's an unending source of joy to see so many familiar names pop up as actors or crew members for all the plays that we get to enjoy from

Those overcast blues

Music

Those overcast blues

It's wild to step back and consider that the Gray Sky Blues Music Festival has been alive and kicking in Tacoma for 12 years. This Saturday will mark the event's entry into the dozen-timers' club, and that milestone once again shines a light on how infrequently blues music gets mentioned

Top five

Music

Top five

April marks my 10th anniversary writing for the Weekly Volcano. In that time, the vast majority of my coverage has centered around music in the South Sound, and it's been a real roller coaster ride to see how the scene has shifted and developed. Fallow periods come and go, but

Three Easy Pieces

Music

Three Easy Pieces

Another edition of Three Easy Pieces, another time for me to tell you about a corner of pop culture, from how it started, to how it looks today. This month: comedy podcasts. Podcasts have only existed for about 15 years, but in that time, have not only grown in popularity,

Synthpop two ways

Music

Synthpop two ways

There's something kind of admirable and romantic about the advent, and continued popularity, and synth music. Synthesizers were created, in part, to provide a more precise engine for creating music, cutting out the middle man that would otherwise be fumbling around with analog instruments like guitars, drums, and bass. Eliminating

Herky-jerky chaos

Music

Herky-jerky chaos

I've written before about bands that can seem antagonistic or confrontational toward their audience. Sometimes, this can make for a frustrating, distancing listen, pitting the band against the listener in a way that come off as more of a turn-off than a challenge. Other times, for reasons I don't quite

Seeking refuge

Stage

Seeking refuge

Screaming Butterflies Productions, an independent theater company based in Tacoma, will be putting up a production of Lisa Loomer's mystical, family-friendly fable ¡Bocón! The story concerns a young boy named Miguel, a loquacious storyteller, who gets labeled a bocón (AKA "big mouth"). As Miguel flees an oppressive regime in Central

A captivating voice

Music

A captivating voice

Do you remember the first time a singer's voice ever truly touched you? In my experience, growing up listening largely to pop songs from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, I mostly let everything wash over me in a great mass, very rarely tuning in specifically to hear the power behind

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

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