Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: April, 2008 (211) Currently Viewing: 71 - 80 of 211

April 11, 2008 at 11:03am

Chalk it up to creativity


If you think sidewalk chalk is only good for hopscotch, you've got another thing coming. Today at noon, during the weekly Take Back The Park event, hundreds of Tacomans will descend upon Frost Park (Ninth and Pacific Avenue), turning its concrete into canvas.  The art will be judged by chalk event organizer R.R. Anderson.

Witness unbelievable feats of illustration, and create some of your own.

Word from R.R. Anderson:


Anderson will supply chalk sticks while they last.

Filed under: Arts, Culture, Tacoma,

April 11, 2008 at 12:08pm

Pacific Grill does lamb right


Pacificgrilllamb I tasted heaven last night at the Pacific Grill â€" the lamb tartare. The lamb flank is quickly grilled, then dressed with feta, black olive-oil-cured olives, golden raisins, fried capers, pine nuts, and charred rosemary aioli.

This starter was actually better than my last sexual encounter. No joke.

Filed under: Food & Drink, Natasha, Tacoma,

April 11, 2008 at 1:22pm

Visit Destruction Island Saturday


Destruction Island, an indie power pop group led by Kye Alfred Hillig set to explode onto Tacoma’s musical scene, will release their debut CD this Saturday with a show at Sanford & Son. They’ll be playing with Portland’s 31 Knots, along with local favorites These Arms are Snakes. The show is a sure bet, and one you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss. I caught up with Hillig yesterday to get his thoughts on the new CD, 31 Knots, Sanford & Son, and his band’s place in Tacoma.

Destructionisland WEEKLY VOLCANO: How did the lineup for Saturday’s show come together? Do you guys have a connection with Portland’s 31 Knots? Personally, I think they’re awesome. They played one of the better shows I’ve seen in a while when they released their last record at the Doug Fir in PDX. For Tacomans who perhaps aren’t familiar with 31 Knots, what can they expect from Saturday’s show?
KYE ALFRED HILLIG: The show came together largely in part to Rural Wolf records, which right now is our friend Mike Cooper and DI's David Bilbrey. They handled getting a hold of a lot of the bands who I think were just happy to be a part of a birth of a new local label. David had seen 31 knots a couple years ago and was blown away. They were one of the first bands we asked. They happened to be playing a show in Portland around the same time and just happened to be in route, much to our luck. I think as far as what people can expect from them goes, they can expect to see one of the most creative bands the northwest has to offer.

OLCANO: What about the venue? Sanford & Son seems to be one of the cooler places for bands to play these days. Why did you choose it for the record release?
HILLIG: We chose Sanford & Son simply because of its capacity and the great people who run it. It seemed like a good central location in our home town that we could run without much input from an outside source. They have always been very kind with us.

VOLCANO: The new album is officially out on April 12? How long have you worked on Destruction Island’s Preaches the New Wilderness?
HILLIG: April 12th is the official release date in Tacoma. It will be available in Northwest indie record shops, iTunes, and through CD Baby sometime at the end of next week. We love Tacoma and felt it would be kind of cool to release it here to all of our fans before the rest of the world gets to it. We began recording with James Resch back in September and finished up with him in December. Then we mixed with Ben Verellen of Helms Alee in January and mastered at RFI in February.

VOLCANO: Your well written bio gives a lot of credit to the experience your band has, especially in previous projects, and suggests this experience helps Destruction Island from falling victim to familiar musical “trappings.” Talk about the experience Destruction Island has and how it shapes what you do.
HILLIG: We have all been in bands who got stuck in one way of being. I have always written songs that were different from each other. I will write a song that's rock-ish â€" about finding a dead prostitute by the railroad tracks â€" and turn around and write a country song about how sad it is to lose a friendship. In all the bands I was in before they would either take one or the other. In Destruction Island we made it our mission statement to not be any one way. We are all happiest mixing it up and I think that comes across both live and on the record.

VOLCANO: What’s the strongest part of Preaches the New Wilderness? The weakest?
HILLIG: I think we made very good choices about what songs to put on the record. We never let ourselves settle for anything. I'm not really sure what its weakness would be. The production was great, the mixing was awesome and we are all very satisfied with how it came out.

VOLCANO: Tell people about Rural Wolf Records? How did Destruction Island hook up with the new label, and what can people expect from the relationship? What other releases can folks look forward to? What makes a good label, from a band perspective?
HILLIG: Well this release is Rural Wolf's first. They are focusing right now on just putting out great local acts and might eventually branch off into taking on bands from out of the area. We kind of helped spawn the label because we had all been burned out on certain aspects of working with labels in the past. We just got lucky that we had another person who believed in us enough to get this all off the ground. We are happy about working with this label because it means absolute freedom. We say what ever we want, we play whatever shows we want and we just make ourselves happy. There just isn't any pressure right now and we feel good.

VOLCANO: Do you think Tacoma has a place in its heart for Destruction Island?
HILLIG: I certainly hope so. We have a place in our heart for Tacoma for sure. I think there are probably a lot of people out there who will appreciate a band like us for the reason that they enjoy variety. We aren't really of a genre and I think that a real music lover could really get into a band like us.

VOLCANO: What does the rest of ’08 hold? Where are you going?
HILLIG: I'm not really sure what the rest of the year will be like. I've been surprised every step of the way. We are planning on playing the hell out of our record and just seeing where it goes. We will be crossing some state lines but we don't have an immediate lengthy tours planned. We're just going with the flow.

[Sanford & Son, Destruction Island, These Arms Are Snakes, 31 Knots, and Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, Saturday, April 12, 5:30 p.m., all ages, $10-$12, 741 Broadway, Tacoma, www.myspace.com/destructionisland]

Filed under: Matt Driscoll, Music, Tacoma,

April 11, 2008 at 2:21pm

High-stepping in the sun


The transformation takes place in an instant. A timid 14-year-old drops her smile, tilts her hat forward, lifts a whistle to her lips, and voila: drill sergeant.

With two sharp shrills, she takes command of her dance squad, a gaggle of 40 kids who snap into six neat columns, chins up, eyes forward.

“Drill team, atten-shun!  Atten-SHUN!  I want everyone to bounce. I want you to jump!  Why aren’t you in parade rest? Don’t be scratchin’ your nose. I said parade rest!”

Dad Scorseses huff down the street filming the budding starlets.

Saturday, April 12 the 75th Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Street Parade will pass through the downtowns of Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting.  It’s your typical town parade with marching bands, high school floats, little kids dressed as the young Elvis, big flatbed trucks with a bunch of people sitting on bales of hay. And what would a Daffodil parade be without the fun-loving Realtors dressed as houses? â€" Suzy Stump

[Various locations, April 12 10:15 a.m., Pacific Avenue between 11th and 19th in downtown Tacoma; 12:45 p.m., Fifth and Seventh Avenue Southwest, downtown Puyallup; 2:30 p.m., Kincaid Avenue and Main Street, downtown Sumner; 5 p.m., Bridge Street and Washington, downtown Orting; 253.627.6176]

LINK: The Gray Sky Blues Festival begins after the Tacoma parade.

Filed under: Community, Events, Puyallup, Tacoma,

April 11, 2008 at 3:02pm

New Tacoma Awards Luncheon


Everyday since the Weekly Volcano expanded has been something of an adventure for me, and this afternoon was no different. The annual New Tacoma Awards Luncheon was held at the Tacoma Club just hours ago, and the powers that be at the Volcano asked me to be there. As has become my customary move, I arrived 20 minutes late, without registering, smelling like smoke and wearing a jean jacket. It was one of those awkward experiences this job is making me accustomed to.

Luckily, this is Tacoma â€" where even the hoity-toity will accept you if you’re there to talk economic revitalization or honor the movement.

The New Tacoma Awards Luncheon is put on by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. Marty Campbell of Buzzard’s, Stadium Video and president of the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council was the sharply dressed master of ceremonies. He presided over an hour and a half of applause and clattering silverware, which included a 20-minute 2008 Tall Ships Tacoma pep rally and the presentation of five awards.

The Sirius Real Estate Group took home the Ghilarducci Award, which according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber “recognizes successful new development renovation or beautification.” The Sirius Group won for their work on the 505 Broadway condo building where “Luxury now has an address,” in Tacoma, of all places.

Layne Alfonso of Tacoma’s GeoEngineers took home the Popham Award, which “recognizes the individual that has done the most to build community spirit.” The award is named after Art Popham, far and away one of the most recognizable and loved names to ever wield a pen for the News Tribune. Alfonso beat out Kevin Freitas of FeedTacoma, in what the Weekly Volcano only hopes was a very close race.

Ken Grassi of Grassi’s Flowers and Gifts took home the Schoenfeld Award, for “exemplary performance and pizzazz as a retailer.” (I originally thought this award had something to do with handcrafted oak dinette sets. I was so wrong.)

The Union Station Award is designed to “recognize leading companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization.” The award was split (strangely) between India Mahal restaurant, and commercial real estate broker Eric Cedarstrand â€" who was referred to as “Tacoma’s Donald Trump.” The dude from India Mahal was not given a nickname.

And a lifetime achievement award, which was also named after Popham, was given to Paul Ellis - the Chamber’s former director of Metropolitan Development. He now works at a presumably better paying job with more power in Colombia, Missouri. Chelsea Levy was introduced as Ellis' replacement at the luncheon. She starts Monday.

All in all, the food looked good (I didn’t have any because I showed up late). Those in attendance looked well powdered and pleased with themselves. And everyone was in the mood to relish Tacoma’s economic accomplishments and think about the possibilities of the future.

Tacoma’s come a long way, baby. Such a long way, in fact, that we have awards luncheons in honor of it. If I didn’t realize that before today’s prestigious event, I certainly do now. Next time I might wear a tie.

Filed under: Matt Driscoll, Tacoma,

April 11, 2008 at 4:43pm

Alex Duncan tonight


My boy Paul Schrag did a lovely job previewing the Alex Duncan show at the new Juno club tonight.

It will be interesting to see who shows up, crowd wise. Duncan packs Jazzbones every time.

It’s not hard to understand the music’s appeal.  In addition to its infectious grooves, reggae lyrics typically present a fantasy life to listeners, one in which positivity and love always win out and partaking in large amounts of shrub is a good thing. The latter reason seems to be the key to why audiences of reggae and jam rock have largely merged into one baked body. This has led many reggae bands to dumb the music down and perform reggae-fied Grateful Dead covers to appeal to that lowest common dominator.

Not Alex Duncan. 

He favors upbeat rhythms over the lazy, laid-back tempos preferred by too many of its contemporaries.  This gives the songs an exceptionally strong rhythmic backbone. Though he plays straightforward reggae, the band isn’t afraid to throw in some unexpected tricks, like calypso and dancehall.   

[Juno, 9 p.m., $10, 933 Market St., Tacoma, www.myspace.com/clubjuno]

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

April 12, 2008 at 7:19am

After the daffodils float by

oVolcanoblastart_2 POST HARDCORE
These Arms Are Snakes
These Arms Are Snakes always steal the show, with an engrossing blend of sonic overload and punk-powered energy that leaves the indie-rock kids struck dumb and the punk kids wondering why all their CDs at home sound like crap. They go from zero to 123 mph in one verse bouncing off the equipment and crowd like it’s picking up a 7-10 split. Think a cross between later Fugazi and, like, At The Drive-In if you have time to think while dodging lead singer Steve Snere flying over your head. â€" Brad Allen
[Sanford & Son, Destruction Island release party with These Arms Are Snakes, 31 Knots, Triumph Of Lethargy, Skinned Alive To Death, 5:30 p.m., all ages, $10-$12, 743 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.272.0334]


Jim Hightower
Sometimes it's the little guys who deserve to be heard the most â€" at least that's how it is in the world of progressive activist Jim Hightower, a politician, journalist, radio commentator and author dedicated to making certain the real voice of America gets heard in high places. The folksy but hard-hitting Hightower, who describes himself as an agitator, or "the center-post in the washing machine that gets the dirt out," will speak at a benefit for KAOS-FM Olympia Community Radio and the Olympia Film Society. â€" Michael Swan
[Capitol Theater, 7:30 p.m., $15-$20, 206 Fifth Ave., Olympia, 360.754.3635]


Dance 2008
Well, it’s almost here. The end of the season. No more plays, no more dance recitals, no more artsy nothin’ â€" ever. OK, not ever. However, it will be one looonnng summer of American Idol reruns, I tell you what. How about one more, just for old time’s sake? Pacific Lutheran University Dance Ensemble presents Dance 2008, a collection of dances in the style of jazz, modern, ballet and hip-hop. In all, the performance features 13 choreographers, 57 dancers and musicians and that dude working the lights. Aaahh, let’s end the season by giving each other a big hug. â€" Suzy Stump
[Eastvold Auditorium, 8 p.m., $5-$8, Park Avenue South and Garfield Street, Parkland, 253.535.7411]

LINK: Broken Oars and others in the clubs tonight.
LINK: Gray Sky Blues Festival is on today.
LINK: Let’s eat French.

Filed under: 5 Things To Do, Culture, Music, Tacoma,

April 12, 2008 at 7:42am

Sunny sky blues today


It may be a little-known fact â€" God knows why â€" but Tacoma is teeming with really good blues musicians. Overrun, almost. And like lemmings, they will all be swarming to the numerous blues festivals beginning Memorial Day weekend, but in the meantime, something has to be done to keep them occupied. (Leave a bluesman sitting around with nothing to do, and it isn't pretty. For example, look at Huey Lewis. He used to play harp, but now ... it's just sad.)

So, Doug Miller and Gary Grape have organized today’s Gray Sky Blues Festival kicking off after the Daffodil Grand Floral Parade in downtown Tacoma.

For more information and complete schedule, check out the Weekly Volcano’s Web site.

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

April 12, 2008 at 8:48am

My thoughts on Juno


Suzy, do you have a boyfriend? I think I have a crush on you. Angel, Lakewood.

Finally! A letter from a dude! And a fine one at that.

No, luv, life is too short for Judeo-Christian moral parameters, especially monogamy. I have, at any given time, several men with whom I … hang out. The one thing they have in common: They don’t bring me drama.

If you’d like to be considered, send a few JPEGs here with a short bio and your qualifications.

Oh, I should also mention: If you’re under 25-years-old, don’t even bother. I saw how you behaved last night at the new Juno club downtown. What’s up with the baseball cap and toothpick?

Even though Juno is basically the old Garage nightclub with a curtained-off VIP room, it does have a chance of making it, especially with that smoking hot chick bartending.

However, I’d like it to make a few changes:

Make sure the singer doesn’t stand behind the post supporting two flat screens that blocks the middle section of the massive stage. I couldn’t see Alex Duncan half the time last night.

Do we really need to watch the band in various modes â€" sepia, mirror, fadeout â€" on the televisions? I found the looping annoying, especially with the mode name blocking half the screen.  BTW, washout scrolling was my favorite.

And, last, shut the freakin' door. It was freezing up front.

Back to the dudes, is no one dismayed by the fact that 40 or 50 years from now there will be elderly men â€" grandfathers â€" named Caden and DeShawn and Angel? It just won’t sound right, having old men named Hunter cruising around on Rascals.

Junobooth All the booths along Juno's back wall sported chilled champagne and reserved signs.

Junofan A massive fan of Juno.

Junostage Hey, Alex Duncan! I can't see you behind that post!

Filed under: Club Hopping, Tacoma,

April 12, 2008 at 8:56am

Armed and ready


Rockpizzawood The Rock Wood Fired Pizza has received a new load of wood.  I wonder if they're expecting a big downtown Tacoma crowd today?

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

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