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Lois Maffeo, Calvin Johnson and Bruce Pavitt discuss 25 years of music in Washington

Hey, there, birthday girl: A musical celebration at the State Capital Museum

K Records founder Calvin Johnson will discuss the history of Washington state music at the State Capital Museum July 31. Photo credit: Winter Teems

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You know who looks great for her age? Washington. Yeah, I said it: Washington. For 125; are you kidding me? This state doesn't look a day over 80! And as terrific as Washington looks, she sounds even better. Oh, sure, she's been through some experimental phases. I mean, what youngster hasn't? I think we all remember her grunge years back in the '90s, when she'd show up mumbling and scowling through angst-ridden, feedback-laden diatribes against Cobain knows what, dressed to the Value Village nines in a flannel overshirt with the knees of her jeans slashed just so. Nowadays she's more into liberal rap, dropping sweet rhymes about gay marriage and Cadillacs while chilled on legal weed. And we love her. We can't help it. She does what she wants. She plays what she feels.

Birthdays are a time to look back with fond nostalgia, mapping the distance traveled and looking ahead to new frontiers. It's a great time to crank up some tunes as well, especially those that remind us of youthful misadventures. So it is with Washington. This Saturday, three experts in what it means to be a Washingtonian musician will come together for a brisk, metaphorical slide show. It'll dance through our groundbreaking, chartbusting musical successes, from the MTV-friendly shredders in Metal Church of Aberdeen to "Professor" Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty ... and beyond.

Lois Maffeo is an Olympia musician and writer who's been a theater manager for the Olympia Film Society and served on the Olympia Arts Council. She'll be joined by Calvin Johnson, who moved on from adolescent volunteer work at KAOS-FM to founding media outlet K Records in 1982, and by Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt. Sub Pop Records, I'm sure I have no need to tell you, is the label which gave the world immortal tracks by Sunny Day Real Estate, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and many other iconic artists and bands. Together, these three folks constitute a huge chunk of the reason a chord-spangled banner of sheet music yet waves o'er the Evergreen State. You're damn skippy they'll play music of their own; and yes, beer and wine will be sold, so come thirsty.

This is only the first in a series of state-congratulatory events, culminating in a grand anniversary celebration in Olympia's Legislative Building the afternoon of November 11th. You have plenty of time to dry clean your formalwear before that special occasion. In the meantime, perhaps digging through your closet for razor-slashed jeans and an old concert tee would feel more apropos. After all, no one wants to arrive at a birthday party feeling square and overdressed.

25 YEARS OF MUSIC IN WASHINGTON, 6 p.m. Thursday, July 31, State Capital Museum Coach House, 211 21st Ave. SW, Olympia, $2 suggested donation, 360.753.2580

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