Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: May, 2011 (216) Currently Viewing: 61 - 70 of 216

May 10, 2011 at 2:13pm

CLAYTON ON ART: New artist in town - Victoria Johnson


I wish I'd been able to see Victoria Johnson's April showing at G/O Architecture in Tacoma. Maybe we'll get a chance to see her work again soon. If not in Tacoma, then just up the road in Seattle.

Johnson recently moved to Tacoma from Seattle where she was an established artist, with shows in respected galleries, including a solo show and participation in a group show in 2009 at the highly successful Lisa Harris Gallery. Johnson also has a couple of upcoming shows in Seattle: one at SRG Partnership in June and July and another at Lisa Harris in July. SRG is an architectural firm located at 110 Union St., and Lisa Harris is at the bottom of Pikes Place Market at 1922 Pike Place. (Lisa Harris is upstairs and is not handicap accessible.)

There seems to be an affinity between Johnson and architectural firms. She said of G/O Architecture, the site of her most recent T-town show, "Scott Olson's vision is to promote a boutique gallery and it is such a smart idea to convert a technical office space into a gallery."

I've seen her work only as reproduced on her website. The pieces are all pure abstract paintings with flat, organic and curvilinear shapes afloat in shallow space. The colors are soft and vibrant and Johnson uses a lot of delicate transparencies, which lend to a lot of her paintings the flavor of stained glass minus the heavy outlines.

I particularly liked a large oil painting called "Night of a Hundred Lanterns." It's an airy picture with many overlapping ribbons or orange, yellow and blue-green swirling over a field of light blue that fades to a brilliant white at top.

I also liked a smaller painting called "Abaris," which divides the space into two equal vertical areas with a brownish orange shape in the middle that connects the two. It looks like a sperm swimming toward the ovaries on the left.

Here's a statement Johnson wrote for her show at G/O Architecture:

"I'm committed to the foundation of pure abstraction with its pure form, pure surface and pure color. There aren't any certainties on the journey. Abstract art is about something that is happening all at once in the space of the painting and process, the eventual arrival of the painting revealing the power of formalized qualities. A representative painter plots to get something and wants to show things in the painting, whereas without a destination in mind, I'm hopefully taken out of context to the space of creation.

"These paintings investigate the two dimensional surface and there are subspaces within it of some higher dimensional space to explore the overall extent and substance of the area. AREA as a noun is the plane of the surface and the magnitude of an object. It is the scope of the surface and the volume of the solid. Whereas, the cause and conditions of the space is the adverb to explain it somewhere, in some place, wherever it may be. The realm and area that fashions a space is the modifying adjective about thickness of a shape, its length and curve. This lets us know when, where and why and under what conditions something is happening on the surface."

It's nice to know that another accomplished artist has chosen to make Tacoma her home, and we look forward to being able to see more of her work.

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma,

May 10, 2011 at 4:58pm

Olympia Awesome Film Festival arrives at last

Travis Blood and Ken Carlson, left to right, on the set of Mutually Assured Productions' "The Biggest Stick."


I hope you haven't forgotten about OAFF. Back in March I reported on the first-ever Olympia Awesome Film Festival and the regrettable delay of its world premiere. Since the event's original venue, The Loft on Cherry, closed its doors earlier than expected, organizers had no choice but to postpone and scour the city for a new location.

Mission accomplished. The date: Saturday, May 14. The time: 6 to 11-ish p.m. And the place: The Olympia Ballroom (116 Legion Way, Olympia).

The only dancing going on there shall be your eyeballs after eating up hours of movie badassery.

Years from now, the story of OAFF's humble birth might make its way into the annals of cinematic legend, but the memory still burns clearly for those who witnessed its inception. A few members from the small film collective Mutually Assured Productions gathered at a bar one evening last summer. Not surprisingly for this group the conversation turned to movies, and someone nonchalantly suggested that MAP start its own festival.

Now, the bar milieu has a way of unlocking the greatest world-changing notions (or the most idiotic bullshit) from the human mind. Fortunately, the concept formulated that night belonged in the former category. And as a bonus, it didn't dissolve in a fog of cigarette smoke and next-day hangovers like so many before it. These brothers of film banded together to make their idea a reality.

Each member has offered their individual talents to OAFF's construction. Ken Carlson (whose short Senator Feelgood won the runner-up vote this past weekend at The Grand Cinema's 72-Hour Film Competition) and sometimes-actor Travis Blood spent months finding event sponsors. But would businesses take a chance on an all-shorts fest with no track record?

"It's actually been pretty easy," says Carlson. "Almost any local business that we approached ... was more than happy to sponsor."

He, Blood and others also formed a committee that ranked all the entries - most from Washington, several out-of-staters and even a film from Ireland. Similar to the Grand's contest, OAFF will hand out Judges' and People's Choice awards (immediately dubbed "the Oaffie" by yours truly). Olympia's Studio23 Metalworks handcrafted the trophy, which resembles a WWE belt. (I've always craved a prize that doubles as a fashion accessory to show off at parties.)

Besides this one, I can't recall any other festival assembled from scratch by actual moviemakers, folks who breathe creativity on a daily basis. While Kyle Scott prepares the program layout, Charles Chadwick conceptualized many of the bold retro graphics and built the website (oaff.org). There you can watch the highly informative and entertaining promo videos produced by Mutually Assured, which span a range of topics including What is OAFF?, Why OAFF, Why Now and Why Come to OAFF? To all these perplexing inquiries Johnathan Texidor has a succinct response:  "One word. Orgasm."


I spoke with Carlson about growing up in Oly, his lifelong passion for storytelling and making stop-motion movies starring his Ninja Turtle toys with Mom's VHS camera. OAFF simply grows out of this and the rest of Mutually Assured's mutual love of entertainment (emphasis on that last word). His team avoids at all cost both making and watching what Carlson calls "art films," an aesthetic he defines as "blurry camera work with some dissonant jazz music." Enough festivals already exist that eagerly embrace this style while snubbing the cinema Carlson enjoys.

It will offer certain filmmakers more exposure. It will serve up excitement and guilty pleasures to audiences seeking shelter from purposefully puzzling art. Most importantly, it seems OAFF will deliver on its promise of grade-A fun.  

[The Olympia Ballroom, Olympia Awesome Film Festival, Saturday, May 14, 6 p.m., $3 suggested donation, 116 Legion Way, Olympia. oaff.org]

Filed under: Screens, Olympia,

May 10, 2011 at 6:00pm



Today's comment comes from Corky in response to yesterday's SPEW post on White Trash Mondays at Backstage Bar and Grill.

Corky writes,

I would've come out but am on house arrest till the 24th...

May 11, 2011 at 9:59am

SHORT ORDER: New farmers market, widmer tasting tonight, and more ...


Drinks Amped Up: Lakebridge Forza in Lakewood has added beer and wine to their coffee house AND beer and wine are back at The Mandolin Café.

New Farmers Market: The West Olympia Farmers Market opens this Saturday at 9 a.m.

Craft Beer Tasting: 99 Bottles in Federal Way will host Rob Widmer of Widmer Brothers and serve tastings of Citra Summer Blond, Rotator X-114 IPA, Black IPA, and the limited Brothers' Reserve Galaxy Hopped Barleywine - all for a $1 - from 5-7 p.m. tonight.

Future Things Are Coming: Primo Grill hosts a cooking class concentrating on the Emilia Romagna region in Italy at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21. The cost is $65 per person. Reserve your spot at 253.383.7000.

LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

LINK: Happy hours!

May 11, 2011 at 10:12am

5 Things to Do Today: Vagabond Swing, Tacoma City Ballet drop-in, Crazy Mountain Billies, Brown Edition ...

Crazy Mountain Billies are just crazy, man. Crazy ...

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2011 >>>

1. Holy crap! Check out what a good rock show Hell's Kitchen has lined up on a Wednesday night. Catch Louisiana's Vagabond Swing, along with local favorites Brotherhood Of The Black Squirrel, Trees Without Leaves, Love Songs From The Hated and Western Haunts tonight, starting at 8 p.m. Or, if that's not your ticket, browse the Volcano's extensive South Sound live local music listings here.

2. Tacoma City Ballet offers an open intermediate and advanced drop-in ballet class every Wednesday and Friday night at Merlino Arts Center. It's an awesome opportunity for those 18 and older to re-spark their love of ballet, or just have some fun. If you're looking for something else, the Volcano's arts and entertainment calendar for the entire South Sound can be found here.

3. Crazy Mountain Billies perform today at the Mandolin Cafe in Tacoma.

4. See Olympia's Best Band, at least according to voters in the Volcano's Best of Olympia 2011 Issue, the Brown Edition tonight at the Royal Lounge - a Wednesday funk and soul party that's becoming institution.

5. Vote for the sexiest folks in the South Sound here, and help the Volcano crown winners in the 2011 Sexy Issue, due out June 2.

May 11, 2011 at 10:27am

Vicci Martinez advances to next round of NBC's "The Voice"

Vicci Martinez is kicking ass and taking names on NBC's "The Voice"

Having been recruited to be on Cee Lo Green's team, Vicci Martinez was made to compete in order to move on to the round of audience eliminations. This was the first episode of NBC's The Voice with "battles," which I knew would be crazy, but I had no idea would be so genuinely perverse.

Two teammates stand in a Thunderdome-ish ring, forced to sing a duet. After they are done, their coach will decide who stays and who goes. The idea of competitively singing a duet against your partner is fucking bananas, and it made for real tension each battle (even though the choices coaches made were rarely surprising).

Martinez battled last, facing off against another soulful singer named Niki, and working with Pink's "Perfect." The night's earlier duets carried a palpable tension, but this one had so much good energy. Vicci and Niki supported each other, harmonized, backed off when the other would go for a run, and they even hugged afterward. Coach Adam Levine (of Maroon 5, yo!) said it was the best duet of the night, and I can't really disagree. Martinez is really bringing it on this show.

Cee Lo ultimately decided on Martinez, which was really thrilling to see. This means that, by my estimation, we won't see Martinez on the show again for about four weeks (the amount of time it will take for the teams to be whittled down to four members - then they'll face at-home voting).

So, until then, Tacoma.

INTERVIEW LINK: Vicci Martinez talks about being on The Voice

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

May 11, 2011 at 10:35am

Sometimes you feel like a Peanut - "Dog Sees God" at SPSCC


What if Pig-Pen greeted Marcie and Peppermint Patty with "What's up, sluts?"

It must be some kind of an alternate reality. And for those who love Charles M. Schulz's world just the way it is, that's probably the safest way to think of it.

For the rest of us, let's just say that Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, opening Thursday, May 12, at South Puget Sound Community College, is nutty indeed. And completely unsuitable for children.

The completely unauthorized parody by Bert V. Royal begins with the death of the beloved beagle. Surrounding the grieving CB are the germ-obsessed Matt (Pig-Pen), party girls Tricia and Marcy (Peppermint Patty and Marcie) and pothead Van (Linus).

The play explores such after-school-special-worthy topics as eating disorders, drug use, sex - and provides a plausible explanation for the origins of the spork, told by Marcy in this video of a scene from a 2009 production.

The comics will never be the same.

Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts at SPSCC, Dog Sees God, through May 22, 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12.50, $7.50 for students, faculty and staff, 2011 Mottman Road S.W., Olympia, 360.753.8586, olytix.org

Filed under: Theater, Olympia,

May 11, 2011 at 11:54am


Grave Babies performing at Seattle venue Cairo. PHOTO CREDIT: Adam Way


Snippets of dialogue from George Romero's seminal 1968 film Night of the Living Dead act as connective tissue on Grave Babies' 2009 debut full-length Deathface, but it's the penetrating post-apocalyptic goth-rock in between these clips that have garnered the Seattle band fans from here to Copenhagen (home of Skrot Up, the underground label that released Deathface on cassette and LP, and mans its U.S. distribution efforts from right here in the Pacific Northwest).

Grave Babies is the brainchild of Danny Wahfeldt, an ironic-mullet-sporting Illinois emigrant who wrote, performed and produced Deathface entirely on his own.

"I just had this shitty Yamaha PSR (keyboard)," Wahfeldt says, "and I took all the industrial-sounding beats off of it, and then just made it sound really exploded."

To read Jason Baxter's full article click here.

[Northern, Grave Babies with X-Ray Eyeballs, Unwilling Participants, Sick Jumps, Friday, May 13, 8 p.m., All Ages, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia, northernolympia.org]

Filed under: All ages, Music, Olympia,

May 11, 2011 at 2:29pm

FRIDAY IN TACOMA: Brubeck’s brood

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet will be at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma Friday


Honestly, if I were a child of jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck I'd be trust-funding it up on a Caribbean island somewhere contemplating the very real possibility my hands would never know a blister or callous. But that's just me. I'm a little worthless.

Daniel and Chris Brubeck, on the other hand, obviously the lucky recipients of their father's musical genes, took the more obvious and respectable route, pursuing music and using their family's famous name to help along the way. Daniel, a renowned drummer, and Chris, no slouch with the bass and trombone, are part of the Brubeck Brothers Quarter, hitting the Rialto Theater in Tacoma Friday.  Joined by guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet is known for a style "rooted in straight ahead jazz," according to the band's promotional hype, but also, "an inherent ability to explore and play odd time signatures while naturally integrating the influences of funk, blues and world music."

Wonder where the love of odd time signatures comes from?

[The Rialto Theater, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Friday, May 13, 7:30 p.m., $28-$49, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5890]

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

May 11, 2011 at 3:31pm

SATURDAY: Evergreen Tacoma Spring Fair - Food and Culture

The Fab-5 crew will spin during the Evergreen Tacoma Spring Fair. Photo courtesy of Fab-5


"As the saying goes, knowledge is power, especially for those living in the margins," reads the public invitation for the 15th annual Evergreen Tacoma Spring Fair. The goal behind the fair, which goes down Saturday at the Evergreen Tacoma campus, is to provide useful information regarding social justice and culture to the Tacoma community.

This year the Evergreen Tacoma Spring Fair planning committee, made up of Evergreen Tacoma students, chose "Food and Culture" for the fair's theme. "The idea is to adjust the lens of how we view food and culture in our society," explains planning committee member Tasha Ina Church.

To read Zach Powers' full article on the Evergreen Tacoma Spring Fair click here.

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