Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: March, 2013 (145) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 145

March 5, 2013 at 7:11am

The Coffee Vault: You can bank on it

THE COFFEE VAULT: The new Tacoma joint has unlocked fresh ingredients.

Monday marked the grand opening of The Coffee Vault, a coffee and sandwich shop aptly named for its location in a former bank building, complete with a real bank vault. In an area primarily populated by large national food and coffee chains, chef/owner Travis Todd provides a welcome oasis of homemade soups, sandwiches and locally owned Martin Henry coffee.

The deluxe deli sandwiches are made to order and loaded with fresh ingredients. Build your own sandwich ($5.99), or choose from specialty sandwiches like the Italian sub, loaded with pastrami, salami, turkey, provolone and vegetables and topped with Italian dressing ($8.99). If a hot sandwich is more your fancy, try the tuna melt ($7.99) or French dip, served with au jus ($7.99).

Perfect for breakfast or lunch on the go, the full menu of breakfast and lunch items and espresso are available in the drive-through or in the comfortable inside seating area.

THE COFFEE VAULT, 6 A.M. TO 3 P.M. MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 3 P.M. SATURDAY, 317 S. 72ND ST., TACOMA, 253.302.3250

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

March 5, 2013 at 8:25am

Clayton On art: Artist Juan Alonso breaks out

JUAN ALONSO: "Pacific," 2011, acrylic, ink on Claybord, 30 x 40 inches, on display at the Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle.

VENTURING OUTSIDE THE AREA >>>

Go north, art lovers, to the Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle's Freemont neighborhood, the Center of the Universe. And check out the Juan Alonso paintings in the upstairs gallery.

Francine Seders is one of the oldest and most respected galleries in Seattle. They handle such outstanding artists as Marita Dingus and Robert C. Jones, and the Spaffords - Michael and Spike. But it is Alonso with whom I have been most impressed lately, thanks to some images posted on Facebook.

He's been around for a long time, but I suspect his latest work is, at least, his breakout work.

My first contact with Alonso was back in 1988 when he was co-owner of the Alonso Sullivan Gallery, which hosted a juried art show that I happened to be in. After that I heard that he moved to Miami and then later back to Seattle. Throughout the years since then I have periodically run into various incarnations of his paintings in shows at the Tacoma Art Museum. I've always thought he was an interesting artist, but his paintings never exactly kicked me into the stratosphere. And then they did.

He posted some images of his latest paintings on Facebook, and they were unlike any of his previous works - or any that I had seen. They were paintings that nicely combined elements of Abstract Expressionism with what was call hard edge abstraction. They were striped painting, horizontal stripes of a single color alternating light and dark, flat color areas with definite edges; but sloppily painted with drips and splatters and not the "no-hand-of-the-artist" look normally associated with hard edge abstraction. The stripes were bent sharply in the middle giving them the look of window blinds if someone had reached up and pulled down a few of the slats in the middle as if to peek out. The resulting feeling was one of vertigo. The surfaces, even in photographic reproductions (I've not yet had the opportunity to see them in person) had a lush and creamy look. In short, I loved them.

Just within the last few days Alonso has posted images of another series of paintings that comprise groups of rectangular shapes with the same kind of lush surface quality.

Judging from his website and the Francine Seders site, he also continues to make paintings in an older style. They are mostly floral shapes in black and white and tones of gray that that have the iconic look of heraldic symbols or crests or relief ornamentation on old buildings. I had seen a few of these before, and I've had a hard time getting used to them. They're not as impressive as the more colorful striped and geometric paintings, but they're beginning to grow on me.

There's a personal reason for liking these so much. They remind me of paintings by New York artist Thornton Willis who was my mentor and studio mate almost 50 years ago. Their paintings share the same quality of minimalist or almost-minimalist geometric abstraction with the gesture and texture of Abstract Expressionism. Those two, Willis and Alonso, are the only painters I've ever known to paint in quite that way (with the possible exceptions of Sean Scully). It's a kind of painting that offers huge challenges to the artist, and they both meet those challenges beautifully.

FRANCINE SEDERS GALLERY, MARCH 8-31, 6701 GREENWOOD AVE. N., SEATTLE, 206.782.0355

Filed under: Arts,

March 5, 2013 at 9:06am

Checking In With Street Performers: Aaron Gates

AARON GATES AND BANDITO: You'll find them on Olympia Fourth avenue performing "Use Me." Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

ON THE STREETS OF OLYMPIA >>>

Whether it's Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, or Billy, the homeless man who returned a valuable diamond ring, many folks on the street possess a certain charm that attracts people.

In honor of our annual Music Issue this Thursday, I loaded my pockets with coins and searched the streets of Olympia for musical entertainment. I passed an older woman strumming her guitar, I passed a man playing good rhythm on the congas, but it was Aaron Gates who finally caught my eye. His dirty blonde hair, slow smile and heartfelt music made him stand apart.

The 27-year-old from South Dakota and his dog, Bandito, post up on Fourth Avenue on a regular basis, turning out song after song, from covers to originals.

He tells me he likes to play Bill Withers and Otis Redding on a busy weekend night and that when he plays, "people generally go home happier."

Gates believes his music helps adjust the vibe to mellow on an otherwise potential-for-violence kind of night.

"When there's music - it disappears," he says.

Gates says a non-rainy Thursday evening can bring him around $20, and weekend nights can bring much more.

"I'm just trying to get by," he says.

Below is Gates performing his original song, "Free to My Soul."

Filed under: Music, Olympia,

March 5, 2013 at 12:54pm

Tonight: Perfect Storm at Stonegate Pizza

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY HAGGARTY! >>>

Some bars lure customers in with specialty selections, great pizza or killer open jam sessions. Some places, such as Stonegate Pizza & Rum Bar, do all three. Mondays, blues/rock fusion guitarist Rafael Tranquilino leads a rockin' blues jam. Tuesdays, swampbilly blues band Junkyard Jane founding member guitarist, singer/songwriter, percussionist Leanne Trevalyan hosts an acoustic open mic. Thursdays, the other Junkyard Jane founding member Billy Stoops commands a blues open jam night, rocking his guitar and throwing out one-liners. Between the three nights, a who's who of local musical talent hops on and off Stonegate's stage.

Last Thursday, Billy Stoops' open jam night became Junkyard Jane's open jam night as several members of the band sat in with Stoops, playing Junkyard hits and covers.

Tonight, it's Trevalyan's turn to host the Junkyard Jane takeover. Stoops and crew are scheduled to join her on stage under a local birthday umbrella - Tacoma artist Teddy Haggarty's 60th birthday celebration.

It's the perfect storm: Haggarty's vast friend contingent will join Trevalyan's normal Tuesday crowd, adding to Stonegate's new marijuana smoking customer base. Stonegate's upstairs lounge has been converted into the Vape Club, where members pay a nominal fee to puff vapor pens loaded with their own, previously purchased cannabis-infused oil. Vape Club co-owner Green Light Expo encourages members to purchase their medical marijuana vaporizing oil from its business, which is located across the street from Stonegate.

As part of Haggarty's birthday celebration, DJ Ninja will spin in the Vape Club.

So, to recap, Stonegate will host Teddy Haggarty's 60th birthday celebration tonight featuring Junkyard Jane-ish performing downstairs and DJ Ninja spinning upstairs for Vape Club members and those who want to purchase a membership day-pass, or something, to watch card-carrying marijuana members puff away.

Exciting.

STONEGATE PIZZA, TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 7 P.M. TO CLOSE, 5421 S. TACOMA WAY, TACOMA, 253.473.2255

Filed under: Music, Drugs, DJ/Electronica, Tacoma,

March 6, 2013 at 6:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Brews and Bunnies, "Freedom Sailors," O'Bingo, Trivia For Dorks and more ...

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6 2013 >>>

1. Typically when discussing beers and hops, one is discussing intensely bitter and bracing beers with a pronounced bite that stays in your mouth all the way to the bottom of the glass ... and beyond. From 6-10 p.m. at Doyle's Public House, hops will take a more literal form, as in bunny rabbits. Project:U, those hip, 20-something, do-gooder rascals from United Way, will host their second annual Brews and Bunnies night. Besides collecting calories, Project:U will collect stuffed bunnies of all shapes and sizes to give to local kiddos during Easter weekend. Doyle's has graciously agreed to donate a portion of the night's proceeds - which will be given to the United Way of Pierce County's Community Solutions Fund - because that's how the Stadium District bar rolls.

2. If you need a beer break from Doyle's, walk next door to King's Books and catch Greta Berlin and Bill Dienst, co-editors of the new book Freedom Sailors, as they discuss the 44 intrepid passengers who sailed through Israel's illegal blockade on Gaza in August, 2008. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m.

3. Usually, the Weekly Volcano feels pretty cool when we order drinks. James Bond clicking opening his cigarette case as he orders his martini kind of cool. We imagine we just kicked ass in our tuxedo and call for our libations with pride. Unless, it's early Wednesday evening after we put the newspaper to bed. Then we drag our tired asses to The Hub. The bicycle-themed neighborhood joint serves $3 Orange Appeals, J&J's, Cosmos, Kamikazes - vodka drinks - and Harmon pints every Wednesday.

4. Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub in downtown Tacoma will launch its new Wednesday night bingo game at 7:30 p.m. It's free to participate with prizes to be scored. If you like a little B-9 with your bangers and mash, then pull up a bar stool. Expect drink specials. Expect not as many blue hairs as your typical bingo game.

5. Dorky's Bar Arcade in Tacoma knows there are many who love live for Twilight's gleeful decapitations and fang-on-fang showdowns. That's why the downtown Tacoma bar + arcade will occassionaly focus its weekly trivia session - Trivia for Dorks - on the vampire melodrama. Held every Wednesday at 8 p.m., Trivia for Dorks is a free, all-ages affair with such prizes as gift certificates to Dorky's. Sure, prizes are nice, but even better is dropping your win at your next round table D & D discussion.

LINK: Wednesday, March 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 6, 2013 at 8:29am

Today: Pierce Transit to host its first Route Shout meeting

PIERCE TRANSIT: It will haul out the big boards for the public service reduction information meetings. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

TIME TO START PLANNING >>>

Late last year, we got our company Corolla impounded (don't ask), and had no choice but to explore the Pierce Transit bus system. we found ourselves pleasantly convenienced: There were plenty of bars and city services within busing distance, and the hands-free commute allowed for reading and ear-budding and window-gazing like we were in high school again. We'd study the Pierce Transit map every day, looking for new destinations. It was like a game.

But for daily commuters traversing Pierce County's 292 square miles trying to get to work, school, medical clinics and such, Pierce Transit's public transportation system is about to be a darkening nightmare, especially for those with disabilities. That's because cuts in service are on the way due to the loss of Proposition 1 in November 2012. Pierce Transit currently operates 417,000 annual service hours. Once the service reduction plan is implemented, Pierce Transit will operate 300,000 annual hours, a 28 percent cut.

What the hell? Pierce Transit will tell you at nine public meetings beginning today at noon inside the Pierce Transit Training Center. The reductions will happen in late September 2013. Don't get caught holding the map in the middle of nowhere. Get your butt to a meeting.

LAKEWOOD: Wednesday, March 6, noon to 2 p.m., Pierce Transit Training Center (Rainier Room), 3720 96th St. SW, Lakewood

>>> Served by Routes 48, 300

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON - TACOMA: Thursday, March 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m., William W. Phillip Hall (Jane Russell Commons), 1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 

>>> Served by Routes 1, 48, 53, ST 590 (Northbound),ST 594, ST Link light rail

NORTHEAST TACOMA: Wednesday, March 13, 4-6 p.m., Northeast Tacoma Police Substation, 4731 Norpoint Way NE, Tacoma

>>> Served by Route 62

PARKLAND / SPANAWAY: Monday, March 18 5-7 p.m., Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma

>>> Served by Route 1

PUYALLUP: Thursday, March 19 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Puyallup Library (North Room), 324 S. Meridian, Puyallup

>>>Served by Routes 400, 402, 409

GIG HARBOR: Wednesday, March 20, 5-7 p.m., Gig Harbor Civic Center (Council Chambers), 3510 Grandview St., Gig Harbor

>>> Served by Route 100

PUYALLUP: Tuesday, March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Puyallup Library (North Room), 324 S. Meridian, Puyallup

>>> Served by Routes 400, 402, 409

UNIVERSITY PLACE: Tuesday, April 9, 6-7:30 p.m., University Place Library, 3609 Market Pl. W., Ste. 100, University Place

>>> Served by Route 2

Detailed service reduction plan information is available online at www.piercetransit.org, or by calling customer service at 253.58.8000. A public hearing on implementation of the service reduction plan is scheduled for the May 13, 2013 Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners meeting.

March 6, 2013 at 9:22am

Tuesdays with Maxwell's

MAXWELL'S SPEAKEASY: The Tacoma Restaurant paired a fried mushroom risotto with port beurre rouge and a finocchiona salami and chèvre grilled baguette appetizer with a Novelty Hill Blend last week. Photo courtesy of Maxwell's

EARLY WEEK AWESOMENESS >>>

Trying an unacquainted wine can be a costly journey - especially difficult for those who wrestle with the big C word. Yes, commitment. You like what you like and ordering a glass of vino that you're unfamiliar with when dining out simply is not an option.

Fear no longer, my commitmentphobes. If you're feeling like indulging in the finer things in life, and what to try something a little different than the norm, Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge has the weekly special for you.

Every Tuesday, Maxwell's serves two chef's choice appetizers and two house wines or draft beers for $15. Chef Hudson Slater tells me, "It's nothing over the top but keeps things fun and fresh."

Chef Slater and server extraordinaire and wine pro Kent Bolden sample wines weeks in advance, mull them over, discuss possible pairings, sample more, then create a new Tuesday experience.

"We sip something tasty and we play with it," says chef Slater.

Last night, traditional fishcakes were served with roasted goat cheese and squash stacks paired with a Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc.

Maxwell's Speakeasy also launched a monthly whiskey/bourbon flight of the month. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Maxwell's is featuring an Irish whiskey flight - 2.5 ounces of brown liquor brought to you by the Emerald Isle. The flight highlights Tullamore Dew 12 year, The Knot and The Irishman for $15.

Maxwell's will also unleash a new cocktail and dinner menu by April Fool's Day.

MAXWELL'S SPEAKEASY AND LOUNGE, 4-10 P.M. MONDAY-THURSDAY, 4 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 5 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT SATURDAY, 454 ST. HELEN'S AVE., TACOMA, 253.683.4115

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

March 6, 2013 at 11:18am

The history of St. Patrick's Day in Tacoma

THE FUCKING EAGLES: The Tacoma band rocked Doyle's St. Patrick's Day bash in 2010. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

FROM HIBERNIANS TO THE FUCKING EAGLES >>>

St. Patrick's Day and Tacoma go way, way back - all the way back to Tacoma's very earliest days when loggers, sailors and at least one bear (no really) roamed the city streets. The Tacoma Daily Ledger mentioned the old traditions of wearing jaunty green ribbons and shamrocks to show Irish heritage or citizenship as far back as the 1890s. As the years crawled on, St. Paddy's remained a to-do in T-town, but whether the to-do was confined to high mass or bars or spilled revelry into the streets depends on the year.

In the early 1900s, St. Patrick's Day most often included a catholic mass, but the local branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians - a fraternal organization made up of Irish descendants and immigrants - also had a major role in festivities. Papers throughout the 1910s and 20s mentioned the Hibernians annual play, often telling the story of intrepid Irish men and women overcoming difficulty. In 1921, the Tacoma Daily Ledger also highlighted the Hibernians raising money to help the starving population of Ireland. As anyone who watches Downton Abbey knows, the plight of the Irish was a big deal in the early 1900s.

By 1935, though, St. Patrick's Day seems to have become old hat. The Tacoma Daily Ledger on March 17, 1935, says, "In the olden days, there were services in the churches of commemoration, but the sons and daughters of Erin were also wont to make it a day of celebration. There were parades in which the green flag was proudly borne, there was the picnic where Irishmen and their descendants made merry, and then the festivities were prolonged well into the night. Like so many old-time customs, the celebration of St. Patrick's Day has quieted down - almost allowed to lapse."

And, in fact, other than church and school dances and other wee events, St. Patrick's Day seems to have taken a good long break.

Not until the 1960s did the holiday really get cookin' again. A Tacoma News Tribune in 1975 mentions Honan's (now Club Silverstone on St. Helen's Ave.) as St. Paddy's central. Starting in the '60s, Honan's discovered there was another Honan's in Ennis, Ireland. Each year after that discovery, Honan's Tacoma would call Honan's Ennis. The two pubs came to regard each other as sister saloons.

The 1980s brought a parade. In 1982, The Trib called the parade the first official St. Paddy's celebration in 50 years. The parade gathered in front of the Pantages, marched down Broadway, and ended at the Bicentennial Pavilion where the entire pavilion was made into a giant "pub" with music, singing and dancing. Sadly, the parade didn't do very well. Only about 300 people showed, largely due to nearby pubs. Honan's was offering two drinks for $5 and Ceccanti's Restaurant (38th and Pacific Ave.) charged $7.50 for unlimited food and drink. Who could say no to that?

Today, Tacoma doesn't see too many parades. Instead, Tacomans do as they always have done - gather in pubs and toss back mass quantities of beer and whiskey.

Doyle's Public House in the Stadium District, which is so serious about its St. Patrick's Day that it holds 11 practice sessions throughout the year, throwing a shindig on the 17th of every month. This year, because St. Paddy's is on a Sunday, Doyle's will stretch out it's St. Patrick's Day celebration over four days, March 14-17, erecting a 4,000-square-foot tent in the adjacent parking lot. Expect copious amounts of beer, and live music by the Bog Hoppers and punctuated by The Fucking Eagles and others.

"The best year was about three years ago," says Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton. "Everybody seemed to be in good spirits even though the economy was in the grips of an abject free fall. It was the first year we had the Pierce County Firefighter bagpipers come through. When they started up around the corner, the entire place went dead silent quiet as soon as the first note was hit. To quiet down a crowd of this size was amazing. The bagpiper hit his note and literally - silence. The ability of the bagpipes to do that - and they do it still - but that first time it happened is still one of those times where I was like: Holy Cow!"

Filed under: Food & Drink, History, Music, Tacoma,

March 6, 2013 at 1:12pm

Sound Sandwiches: Rollies Tavern's Clubhouse

IT'S A SANDWICH SERIES >>>

Established in 1976, Rollies Tavern anchors the north end of McChord Field. The dive tavern is known for several things. For prowling ladies, it's a good spot to catch Air Force types all suited up and sexy. But it's even a better spot to find pizza, which is something the popular establishment has built a name on. Last, there's always that one guy in the corner, hoping to hang out with The Right Stuff crowd. Dude, you have to let go.

That said, this is a sandwich column. I don't care about dreams of being Chuck Yeager. I care bread density and mayo viscosity.

Rollies has a whoppin' two sandwiches on its menu. That's how it Rollies.

Flipping a coin, the Rollies Clubhouse procedure was set in motion.

A club is a club is a club, in most cases.  Go into any deli or tavern, and you're likely to get the same sandwich. However, Rollies Clubhouse sandwich has more of a twist to it than simply adding the word "house" to its name. You can go hot or cold with it. Your call.

Layered between three pieces of crisp toasty bread, you'll find the standard fresh tomatoes and lettuce, stacked with slices of crispy bacon. At Rollies, ham replaces the standard turkey and thick, melted Swiss cheese takes the top slot. It's tasty. it's not drive from Tumwater tasty, but still a solid lunch option.

Did I mention you can go hot or cold with the Clubhouse?

ROLLIES TAVERN, 2404 112th ST. S., LAKEWOOD, 253.582.7770

March 6, 2013 at 1:48pm

Q-Dot headed to Music Matters showcase in New York City

Q-DOT: He can hold his head high. Press photo

THIS JUST IN >>>

When Q-Dot isn't flying around in his hip-hop superhero cape rapping, making beats, recording, performing and running his own record label, Tre'dmarks Music Group, he goes simply by Q or Quincy. He was named after Quincy Jones, and has earned badges as an MC, producer, songwriter, pianist, singer, recording engineer, mixer and DJ.

Today, the Federal Way-based hip-hop superhero dropped a bit of news:

Senior Executives at BET Networks have invited Seattle MC/Pianist/Producer Q Dot to perform at the networks Music Matters showcase in New York City in May. Music Matters is a platform BET started to help nurture and launch the careers of new artists and has played an instrumental role in helping break artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Elle Varner, Stalley and Grammy nominee Miguel. 

Q Dot's inclusion in the program includes the aforementioned showcase which is free and will be held at S.O.B's (Sounds of Brazil) May 14th in New York, New York. 

Congrats Q!

Filed under: Music, News To Us,

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