Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 24, 2014 at 2:42pm

Nerd Alert! Portlandia, War Horse, Stalingrad, J.A. Jance and Oscar parties!

Start pickling your celery and concocting celery-based cocktails, because "Portlandia" returns to IFC at 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb 27.

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Dreaming of the '90s, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

THURSDAY, FEB. 27

Portlandia's fourth season of gentle sketch satire at the expense of the PNW begins on IFC at 10. They should totally put a bird on that.

Fathom's "National Theatre Live" series presents Nick Stafford's Tony-winning stage adaptation of War Horse. Boy, I truly wish I could see this one. The lead performance, crafted and performed by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, is amazing, but you might be too busy projectile weeping to even notice. As for me, I'll be yelling my brains out onstage that night for Lakewood Playhouse's actors' benefit performance of 12 Angry Men. 7 p.m., Century Olympia, 625 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia, $13-$15, 360.943.0769

>>> To the front lines of puppetry!

FRIDAY, FEB. 28

Today's crop of movie releases includes the Liam Neeson action vehicle Non-Stop, plus a Russian-made, 3-D IMAX feature about the Battle of Stalingrad. I have a few thoughts. First, the title Non-Stop didn't need to be hyphenated. Nonstop is already a word. Second, didn't we already see Air Force One and Passenger 57? Do we really need another "Die Hard on a plane" movie - especially if said plane doesn't boast Samuel L. Jackson and some motherlovin' snakes? Third, did you know that the Battle of Stalingrad, in which the Soviet Union repelled a determined onslaught of Nazi soldiers, wore on for more than five months and resulted in the deaths of over 1.7 million people, more than the American and Spanish Civil Wars combined? Isn't that kind of a downer, even for patriotic Russians? Also, how do they feel about the 43 percent aggregate rating received by Stalingrad on RottenTomatoes.com? Ian Freer of Empire magazine advises, "Play Call of Duty instead." Done and done, tovarisch.

If you're of a literary bent, you may already know author Judith Ann, alias J.A. Jance, will be visiting the South Sound this weekend. She's a bestselling mystery writer (Second Watch, Deadly Stakes) who divides her time between Arizona and Seattle. After a quick stop at Centralia's Fox Theatre the day before, she'll hit SPSCC to talk about (and sign copies of) her newest pulse-pounder, an "Ali Reynolds" adventure called Moving Target. 1 p.m., Minnaert Center for the Arts, South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia, free, 360.943.7790

SUNDAY, MARCH 2

The Oscars are on ABC, starting with a parade of aging playboys chasing career-strategic sideboobs at 4 p.m. Don't ask me who's gonna win what, as I have literally no idea. No one else knows, either. Even Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa or The Lone Ranger could win, God help us, though it'd only be the humble makeup award. If there's a frontrunner for Best Picture, it's probably 12 Years a Slave, which I didn't see. That ghastly history screams an empty house, Netflix, a tangle of soggy Kleenex and an orgy of white guilt to me. I saw The LEGO Movie instead. "Everything Is AWESOME!!!"

Speaking of the golden naked dudes, there are not one but two local venues at which you can put on your Oscar Sunday best and savor the festivities with hundreds of other cineastes. My wife and I hosted the Olympia Film Society's black-tie gala a few years ago, and it's a heck of a lot of fun. Break a leg, Ellen DeGeneres. Go teach another class at NYU, James Franco. Back to work on Cosmos, Seth McFarlane. (Oh, and by the way, please make firm plans to watch Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey on Fox, starting at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 9. Thus far, damnit, my pleas for a screener remain unanswered.) 4 p.m., Capitol Theater, 206 5th Ave. SE, Olympia, $9-$12, 360.754.7790; 5 p.m., Theatre on the Square, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, $15-$90, 253.593.4474

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may Cate Blanchett plant her face on the Dolby Theatre steps even harder than Jennifer Lawrence did.

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