Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 21, 2015 at 12:22pm

Know Your History: Danny Glover and the heart of America

Danny Glover will discuss the history of the Buffalo Soldiers at the Pantages Theater Jan. 25. Press photo

When I say the name Danny Glover, what comes to mind? As an actor, thanks in large part to his work in 1987's Lethal Weapon, he was one of cinema's first ubiquitous African-American leading men. He was already a household name, though, after strong turns in Places in the Heart, Witness, Silverado and The Color Purple. His stature (6'3") and gentle voice were a perfect fit for "good cop" roles, and he earned his first lead chasing an extraterrestrial trophy hunter in Predator 2. As Lethal Weapon sequels rolled out over the ensuing decade, Glover established a résumé of range, including laudable performances in To Sleep with Anger, A Rage in Harlem, Grand Canyon and the justly beloved Lonesome Dove miniseries of 1989. Now in his late 60s, Glover continues to impress, with younger audiences discovering him in Saw, 2012 and Death at a Funeral. He is not, in fact, "too old for this shit," as his character in Lethal Weapon would famously have it. On the contrary, he's a consummate professional who never strikes a discordant note.

So that's his working life - but aside from that, Glover's established quite the CV as a social and civil rights activist. In college, he and fellow members of the Black Students Union staged a five-month-long student walkout at San Francisco State University. The result was a Black Studies department at SFSU, the first of its kind in the nation. He's a fixture in the pro-union movement and was named honorary tribal chief by the Igbo of eastern Nigeria. He's on the board of a D.C. advocacy organization, the TransAfrica Forum, and of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. In 2004, he was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, an honor for which he served in both Africa and Latin America.

None of that, however, is the focus of Glover's upcoming visit to Tacoma. No, Danny Glover wants to make sure you know a fascinating aspect of U.S. history. If all you know of Buffalo Soldiers is the dorm-friendly Bob Marley classic, it's time you learned why the Civil War story of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment resonates today. The indigenous people they fought called them the "Negro Cavalry," and indeed, some of these all-black regiments were commanded by black officers. They were among the first national park rangers and chased "Pancho" Villa in Mexico. None of that, of course, prevented them from being brutally assaulted numerous times by Texas civilians. Gen. John Pershing, a white man who served with and endorsed the 10th Cavalry, is still called "Black Jack" in history books, if only because newspaper writers of the era euphemized his much crueler nickname.

Although the National Buffalo Soldier National Museum is in Houston (where they were attacked in 1917), Tacoma has its own 501(c)(3) Buffalo Soldiers Museum. It's at 1940 S. Wilkeson - and Danny Glover thinks it's high time you knew that. His evening at Broadway Center's a benefit for that museum and a tribute to American heroes. A $40 donation earns a ticket to a pre-show meet-and-greet. The performance itself is guaranteed to bring history to life and shine a spotlight on soldiers whose complex relationship with the tribes they battled is a microcosm of American civil rights history.

AN EVENING WITH DANNY GLOVER, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, $19-$49, 253.591.5890

Filed under: Theater, History, Military, Tacoma,

January 21, 2015 at 9:45am

Nerd Alert! Oscars snubs, Liberace Hologram, Justin Bieber Roast

With Lego, you can build anything: houses, airplanes, house-airplanes. But, "The Lego Movie" writers-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will have to build an Oscar statue to get one this year. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Oscar Nominations

It's been an unusually strong year for movies, with outliers like Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash and Boyhood even snagging spots on the list of nominees for this year's Oscars. Missing are the mega-blockbusters from years past that would fog up the nominations, like the overwhelmingly mediocre Avatar. Marion Cotillard even got a nomination for Best Actress in a foreign-language film (Two Days, One Night), which is incredibly rare.

Still, it wouldn't be the Academy Awards if we weren't bitching about some notable snubs. Most obvious, at first glance, is The Lego Movie missing from Best Animated Feature. Another quibble is Whiplash being nominated for Adapted Screenplay, as opposed to original, thanks to byzantine Academy rules that say that Whiplash having earlier been made in a short film means that it technically has been adapted from its earlier form. Worst of all, though, is the general lack of love given to Selma, which was easily the best biopic of the entire year, giving a fair and powerful portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. While Selma did get nods for both Best Picture and Best Song, that's the entirety of it: nothing for stars David Oyelowo or Carmen Ejogo, or any other aspect of the film.

Still, it's overall a very thoughtful group of films chosen by an underground order or ancient white men. Way to almost be progressive and then fail at the last second, Hollywood!

Liberace Hologram

If anyone has spent any amount of time talking to me, you know my undying love for the HBO Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra. Others, who have talked to me when I'm drunk, may know of my idea for Behind the Candelabra's unofficial, direct-to-DVD sequel, Beyond the Candelabra, wherein Liberace is a ghost: Beau Bridges as Liberace, Macaulay Culkin as his young lover and Harry Dean Stanton as a Ghostbuster. There will be a love triangle, and it will be directed by David Cronenberg.

Still, I'm clearly not the only person interested in bringing Liberace back from the grave. It has been announced that Liberace will be joining the likes of Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur in hologram form. No word yet on whether these holographic celebrities will join forces as interdimensional crime-fighters, but what we do know is that Liberace will once again tread the boards of Las Vegas and other venues, bringing his campy wit, indelible piano skills and general old-lady-wooing back from the nth dimension.

Justin Bieber

We can probably track the downward trajectory of the televised Comedy Central Roasts to that disastrous Roast of Chevy Chase, which featured a cavalcade of strangers making fun of a visibly upset Chase, with everyone's feeling getting hurt in the end. Continuing the tradition of shooting fish in a barrel, Comedy Central has announced that everyone's least favorite person, Justin Bieber, will be on the business end of their next roast. Odds are solid that the event will either end in Justin Bieber crying or trying to fight off those mean, mean comedians.

Whoever wins, we lose.

January 21, 2015 at 7:45am

5 Things To Do Today: Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, JBLM discussion, "King Kong," Hooded Fang ...

Yup, the Four are still Fab and tribute shows abound. But Rain has the edge, including a multimedia presentation that incorporates original footage. Press photo

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21 2014 >>>

1. Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles features a rotating cast of musicians in a multimedia spectacular that carry the band from its jangly, Liverpudlian roots to the grand psychedelic finale of Abbey Road and Let It Be. Since the cover band's inception in 1975, its members have played everywhere from Broadway to the Today show. Dick Clark (who'd know better?) was so impressed by their vocal talents that he engaged Rain for the soundtrack of his 1979 film The Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi). Expect full-scale productions of such classics as "Come Together" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In other words, anticipate greatness at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

2. A community listening session regarding potential Army force structure reductions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the McGavick Center Ballroom at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review requires the Army to reduce its force. The listening session allows the community to provide input to the senior leadership of the Army before any decisions are made regarding force reductions.

3. Outdoor adventure takes center stage from noon to 8 p.m. as the Washington Sportsmen's Show opens for a five-day run at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. Expect a big line-up of fishing, hunting, camping attractions and more than 100 hours of how-to seminars, plus great values on fishing and hunting gear, clothing, camping equipment, sport fishing boats and RVs.

4. Take a break from asphyxiatingly overplotted blockbusters to absorb the good old days, when all you needed was a mysterious island, a couple dinosaurs and one sexually voracious ape. The Grand Cinema is deep in its Classic Film Series, hitting the Triangle District movie house very third Wednesday. At 1:45 and 6:45 p.m., they screen the original brainless blockbuster cobbled together by real-life thrillseekers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack (The Most Dangerous Game) for maximum impact. Cherish the smell-the-panties moment - a bit sliced out of the film that took 40 years to restore. That's right, the original King Kong is coming to Tacoma!

5. Toronto's Hooded Fang have garnered their fair share of positive reception since their formation in 2007, even earning a nomination for a Polaris Prize (sort of like the Canadian Grammy's) and setting up a tour supporting Johnny Marr, and they're deserving of every bit of praise. As their sound has evolved over the years, they've begun to embrace a volatility that wasn't quite present in their early days. Combining garage rock fuzz, the wiry dynamism of the Pixies, and the fractured structure and bombastic sound of Broken Social Scene. Unlike the majority of bands that rise on gales of internet hype, Hooded Fang have only improved, getting darker and leaner without giving up the vitality that made them so appealing when they first arrived on the scene. Catch them with No Body and Guaranteed Whales at 8 p.m. in the record store Deadbeat Olympia.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 20, 2015 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: "Keep On Keepin' On," Ford F-Series exhibit, Rosa Clemente, Banned Book Club ...

Seeing a living legend laid up in an oxygen tent shouldn't be fun. But in Alan Hicks’s doc "Keep On Keepin’ On," it somehow is.

TUESDAY, JAN. 20 2015 >>>

1. Keep On Keepin' On chronicles 89-year-old trumpeting legend Clark Terry who has mentored jazz wonders such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. Terry's most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano player with uncanny talent, but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for the most pivotal moment in his budding career, Terry's ailing health threatens to end his own. Charming and nostalgic, Alan Hicks' melodic debut screens at 1:30 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

2. For the last 38 years, Ford's F-series has been the top seller for trucks in the United States. Since last spring, Scott Keller, LeMay - America's Car Museum's chief curator has been talking with and looking for owners of these classic Ford trucks from around the state, asking if they would loan their trucks for his exhibit, "The Truck That Grew Up With America." From where the F-Series started to where it is now, tells a story of the country, reflecting a recovery from a depression to a more prosperous time. Check out the trucks from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Who doesn't enjoy browsing through old photographs from days gone by? In addition to the enjoyment that is inevitable when looking at vintage photos, the "Found Photographs" exhibition in the Gallery at Tacoma Community College is filled with creative expression in a variety of media from photos to paintings and drawings inspired by found photos, to sculpture, assemblage and collage incorporating old photos. There are stories behind many of the images that are included on wall labels along with copies of the original found photos. Read Alec Clayton's full review of "Found Photographs" in the Music & Culture section, then check out the show from noon to 5 p.m.

4. Rosa Clemente, black Puerto Rican community organizer, journalist, and former Green Party vice presidential candidate, will speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at University of Puget Sound at 7 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. Bronx-born entrepreneur and hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente will headline a program including messages from Puget Sound community members, live music from members of the college's Jazz Band, and the presentation of the Keep Living the Dream Award to a student leader. The celebration is free and everyone is welcome.

5. There may be no better club to join than King's Books' Banned Book Club at Doyle's Public House. At 7 p.m., the club will be discussing Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, the Young Adult novel that received national attention when a father was handcuffed and escorted out of a New Hampshire board meeting after expressing concern about the required book given to his 14-year-old daughter. Picoult examines a school shooting in her riveting, poignant and thought-provoking novel that asks a haunting question: Do we really ever know someone? Drop-in visitors are always welcome to the BBC.

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 19 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 19, 2015 at 1:28pm

Military major part of Seahawks' NFC Championship game

Seahawk's wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches the game-winning touchdown in overtime for a 28-22 Seahawks' victory over the Green Bay Packers to retain the NFC Champion crown. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Staff Sgt. Jerimiah Adkins remembers quite clearly how he learned to love the Seattle Seahawks.

"When I was younger, we didn't have a whole lot, but on game days we would all get together and crowd around our little TV and watch the game," he recalled. "During those two hours or so, nothing else mattered, just football."

Unfortunately, Adkins wasn't able to crowd around those same family members and that same little television to watch the Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers Sunday during the NFC Championship game.

The reason isn't because he is now stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

It's because Adkins, who's with 3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, was sitting in the stands of CenturyLink Field watching the game alongside a record breaking 68,538 screaming fans.

>>> Staff Sgt. Jerimiah Adkins

>>> Servicemembers from all branches give a quick cheer for the Seattle Seahawks inside one of the tunnels of CenturyLink Field before conducting the color guard and flag holding duties for the national anthem ceremony of the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field, Jan. 18, 2015. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha shakes the hand of Sgt. 1st Class Travis Medberry, as well as the hands of every other servicemember participating in the Seahawks Salute anthem ceremony taking place before the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field, Jan. 18, 2015. Photo credit: Gary Lott

There may have been moments in yesterday's game that may not have seemed so champion-esque, but prior to one of the most exciting games in NFL history concluded - and even before it started - it was all fireworks for servicemembers from all branches around (and above) CenturyLink Field.

The Seattle Seahawks have kept the military a priority this season, even after winning last year's Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVIII.

"I think it's important because it's always nice to give back to the fans that support this team so passionately," said Adkins. "For a lot of the 12s out there, this isn't just a team, it's part of who we are.  For me being in the military, regardless of where I was, there was always the Seahawks."

The Seahawks Salute campaign goes above and beyond just having servicemembers on the field holding the flag.

If you happened to be in attendance during the big game, then it would have been hard to miss the military flyovers that took place immediately following the national anthem performance by American Idol and Scorpion star Katharine McPhee.

Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five important flyovers took place: Two EA-18G Growlers and one MH-60 Seahawk, from the VAQ-130s Zappers and the Patriots of VAQ-140, Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, conducted the flyover prior to the game.

The MH-60 Seahawk helicopter is from NAS Whidbey Island's Search and Rescue (SAR) unit, which conducted 35 rescue, medical evacuation and search missions that saved 47 lives in the area in just the past year alone.

With a donation from the Seahawks and help from Delta Air Lines, Adkins received a phone call and was able to be flown in from Kentucky to watch the game, live and in the stands, screaming among his fellow 12 brethren. Delta Air Lines teamed with the Seahawks to select 12 deserving fans and their guests to attend the game. The fans, six of which are local and six others from outside of the state of Washington, were selected from various groups within the Seahawks' fan base - including fan clubs, kid's clubs, military relations and community groups - for their strong support of the Seahawks.

"I was in shock," Adkins said of getting the phone call that informed him about attending the NFC Championship. "I got off the phone and still had to work that night, and when I was driving to work, my hands were shaking on the steering wheel."

His hotel was also taken care of.

"It was amazing!!!" he said. "I am so humbled by being chosen. I really appreciate everything."

Adkins wasn't the only VIP service member flown in to watch the game, however.

For the second time ever, the Seahawks had a Medal of Honor recipient walking along the sidelines of CenturyLink Field with Seahawks players, celebrities like actor Chris Pratt and rapper Macklemore, and even Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Medal of Honor Recipient Clint Romesha made sure to individually shake the hands of every service member who participated in the national anthem ceremony of events known as Seahawks Salute.

The Seahawks also earmarked 20 tickets to be sold to service members for Sunday's game, and donated 10 more tickets to servicemembers.

With tickets given away for every home game (and even some away games), a section solely devoted to service members and their families to open next season, military vehicles involved throughout the year (to include flyovers and transporting players through the streets of Seattle during a Championship Parade), it's safe to say the military will always remain a priority for the Seattle Seahawks organization.

>>> Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson shows his emotions while kneeling centerfield with his teammates, following a very emotional 28-22 comeback victory in overtime over the Green Bay Packers. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> What's the first thing you do after winning the NFC Championship game? You grab a Seattle Police Department bicycle and ride all over CenturyLink Field giving high-fives to SeaGal cheerleaders and everyone else, which is what Defensive End Michael Bennett did. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Doug Baldwin hoists the George Halas Trophy and points to all of the 12s fans lining the stands after the Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers. Photo credit: Gary Lott

All eyes are now set on winning back-to-back championships in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

There should be no question that the Seahawks support the servicemembers who line the stands and maintain an intense presence that not just military 12s, but all 12s have now come to expect during every possible Seahawks moment.

That same 12s feeling brings together the community and family members and finds a way to bring out the kid in them all, even through adversity, and is similar to the characteristics that the military family holds near and dear to their hearts.

"It's still like that for me to this day, when I'm watching the game, I tune everything else out, and I'm back to being a kid again," Adkins said. "No bills, no deployments, nothing else matters."

Filed under: Military, Sports,

January 19, 2015 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events, Supernaut ...

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MONDAY, JAN. 19 2015 >>>

The memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. always receives plenty of folksy acknowledgment on this day set aside in his name, but the best events tend to target togetherness. Here are a few:

1. Unity Breakfast: The 9th Annual MLK Unity Breakfast recognizes and celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over breakfast, featuring keynote speaker CNN national news anchor Fredricka Whitfield and the UW Tacoma Dream Awards, 8 a.m., (University Y, 1710 Market St., 253.692-4501);

2. Community March to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center: Bates Technical College students, staff and families invite the community to march to the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center to attend the City of Tacoma's King event, 8:30 a.m., free, (Bates Technical College, 1101 S. Yakima Ave., 253.680.7113);

3. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: the city of Tacoma presents the 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, building on message of service and encourages the entire community to join together, and listen to keynote speaker Melannie Denise Cunningham, local entrepreneur, humanitarian and philanthropist, 11 a.m., free (Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5000).

4. Washington State History Museum: In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Washington State History Museum is offering free admission, along with a 2 p.m. program encouraging the discussion about how diversity and community change are communicated through children's literature, a community photo project and a food drive. (1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 1.888.BE.THERE).

5. Supernaut, Black Top Demon and Loser Dog will rock Le Voyuer at 10 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Jan. 19 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 18, 2015 at 6:32am

5 Things To Do Today: "Way Down East," South Sound Wedding Show, Tacoma RV Show, Belly Dance Revue ...

Lillian Gish plays Anna, a country naif tricked into a fake marriage and then impregnated by a cad during her stay in the city, in "Way Down East."

SUNDAY, JAN. 18 2015 >>>

1. The Washington Center has launched its Silent Movie Series for the year. Renowned organist Dennis James nestles the Center's beautiful Wurlitzer Pipe Organ as they screen some of the earliest films created, including Way Down East - a 1920 romantic drama directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish - at 2 p.m. Way Down East is best known for the exciting climax featuring Gish trapped in the ice during a snowstorm. Shot on location during an actual blizzard, this harrowing sequence features Gish's character, having fainted on an ice floe, floating toward a waterfall with her right hand and her hair in the freezing river. The film will be accompanied by the actual original musical score written for the film's initial release.

2. A large percentage of people get married at some point during their lives. Some people, like Larry King for instance, do it several times. The fact is, weddings are a big part of our existence. All the more reason to check out the seventh annual South Sound Wedding Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Centralia's Great Wolf Lodge. Expect to meet caterers, disc jockeys, wedding planners, florists, photographers, jewelry designers, as well as representatives from wedding and reception venues and bridal and tux shops. The latest styles in hair, makeup, bridal bouquets, jewelry, wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos will be featured during fashion shows at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to engaged couples during the show. Pro Tip: If your South Sound Wedding Show date ditches you for one of the Great Wolf water slides, he's probably not the one.

3. There's nothing more American than a recreational vehicle. Here's a car that's literally as big as a house, equipped to the nines with every sort of modern amenity you can think of, a brazen gas-guzzler ready to tear giant swaths of land apart, highway by scenic highway. Indeed, the modern RV is an apt metaphor for the United States. The final day of the Tacoma RV Show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome. The show will feature hundreds of new RVs.

4. At 28, Stacy Jones had released five CDs, played hundreds of shows and won multiple awards, including Washington Blues Society's "Best Female Vocalist of the Year" in 2010. Her band will play the Blues Vespers Show at 5 p.m. in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Finding a flow of funk, blues, rock and jazz appears to come easy to The Stacy Jones Band. Its presence, talent and raw soul weave seamlessly on stage.

5. The true origins of Middle Eastern belly dance, or raqs sharqi ("Oriental dance") in Arabic, have been clouded by time. Egyptian art seems to suggest belly dancers provided sexy entertainment for pharaohs as they have for sultans and sheikhs ever since. Some believe the sinuous belly roll movements originated in birthing rituals; belly dancing has long been associated with feminine fecundity.  Some present-day commentators, uncomfortable with the association with sex and fertility, claim belly dance was invented as a way for women to entertain and socialize with other women. In any event, the Tacoma Belly Dance Revue takes over the B Sharp Coffee House at 6:30 p.m. The free show features 12 dancers.

LINK: Sunday, Jan 18 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 17, 2015 at 7:48am

5 Things To Do Today: Porterpalooza, Peking Acrobats, Oly Mountain Boys, Elvis vs. James Brown ...

P-51 Porter's posterity will pour during Porterpalooza today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, JAN. 17 2015 >>>

1. Wingman Brewers will host their annual Porterpalooza in which they'll offer creative variations on their flagship P-51 Porter, from 2-11 p.m. Expect to drink the following variations on their Porter theme: Coconut, Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla Rum, Chili Pepper and Sichuan Pepper Corns, Maple Pecan, Chocolate Orange, Smoked Sea Salted Caramel, Mexican Chocolate and Cinnamon Raisin. Also available during Porterpalooza will be Wingman's Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Baby Flat Top, aged in Willet Distillery barrels from Kentucky. Read the full story on Porterpalooza in our New Beer Column.

2. Regional bragging rights. Office betting pools. Weekend afternoon boredom. These are all worthwhile reasons to be a sports fan. But for the Weekly Volcano's money, the best defense of sports' spectators has to be the vicarious thrill that we get from seeing athletes do all the cool stuff we can't do. So unless you already know how to dance atop a stack of chairs or juggle jars, desks, ladders, and bamboo with your feet, you'll want to check out The Peking Acrobats at 3 p.m. in the Pantages Theater. The Peking Acrobats will dazzle with breathtaking displays of contortion, flexibility and control. You can bet on it.

3. What began as acoustic ruminations on offbeat subjects transformed into an unusually loose, yelpy indie rock band that seemed to favor getting the feel of the song out, with the clearly talented musicianship hiding beneath a layer of charming aloofness. Elements of Vampire Weekend and Eastern European drinking songs found their way into the mix, and the Noodlebird of old struck a balance with what Noodlebird was steadily approaching. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Noodlebird in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Sunset Flip and Tom Nook at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

4. At this year's Elvis Birthday Bash in Olympia, the King will be sharing the spotlight with the Godfather of Soul. The reason for the pairing is Robert Washington, the first African American to win the world champion Elvis impersonator, long a part of the 15th annual bash, also does a James Brown act. While diehard Elvis fans might not like the dual billing, the combination is not as unlikely as it initially sounds. The two knew and admired one another. Brown visited Presley at Graceland, and it's said that the capes Brown worse onstage inspired Presley to add a cape to his costumes. Read Molly Gilmore's full feature on the Elvis Birthday Bash in the Music & Culture section, then catch the show at 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol Theater.

5. The Olympia bluegrass quintet The Oly Mountain Boys produced the first bluegrass concept album - centering on the life and hard times of Charlie McCarver in Washington state during the early 20th century. White Horse gallops to traditional bluegrass influenced by the music of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. This is the best brand of bluegrass: energetic and thoroughly heartbroken. Catch the band at 8 p.m. in The Spar in Old Town Tacoma.

LINK: Saturday, Jan. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 13, 2015 at 3:04pm

Strawberry Fields Forever: Reuniting the Fab Four in Tacoma

Yup, the Four are still Fab and tribute shows abound. But Rain has the edge, including a multimedia presentation that incorporates original footage. Press photo

I had the great privilege of seeing Paul McCartney live in Kansas City back in 1993. I traveled there from Oklahoma with my good friend Shawn and his mother, and all three of us enjoyed the show immensely. As we were creeping out of the parking lot, Shawn's mom remarked, "He was a lot better this time than the last time I saw him." Excuse me? Come to find out, she had seen the Beatles live on their 1964 American tour. She said the sound was bad. They played a dozen songs and could barely be heard over ten thousand shrieking teenagers.

In some ways, modern audiences have it better. We can listen to the Fab Four in stunning remastered stereo and mono editions. We know all the words and get to sing along with every "na" in "Hey Jude," and no one can tell us to pipe down. There will never be another Beatles. It's been 50 years now, and no one's come close. Having said that, it's still possible to recreate the experience of seeing them live. I can vouch for a group called 1964, having caught them in Arizona, and you can test the impersonation skills of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles this Wednesday, Jan. 21.

The show features a rotating cast of musicians in a multimedia spectacular that carry the band from its jangly, Liverpudlian roots to the grand psychedelic finale of Abbey Road (in my opinion, the greatest pop disc ever recorded) and Let It Be. Since the cover band's inception in 1975, its members have played everywhere from Broadway to the Today show. Dick Clark (who'd know better?) was so impressed by their vocal talents that he engaged Rain for the soundtrack of his 1979 film The Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi). Expect full-scale productions of such classics as "Come Together" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In other words, anticipate greatness.

One of the things I love about writing promotional pieces like this is I come across interesting trivia about the artists in question. Sometimes they fit into the article; sometimes not. This factoid isn't all that relevant, but it is so juicy so I have no choice but to throw it in anyway. (It's my Volcano preview; I can do what I want. Consider it my contribution to the font of public knowledge.) Back in 1977, Dr. Carl Sagan and his then partner, later wife, Ann Druyan, hit on the idea of attaching a golden LP record to the Voyager spacecraft. With only six weeks to complete the task, the NASA team was understandably frantic. Among the pieces of music they sought to include was "Here Comes the Sun." The Beatles themselves were all for it. Their label, EMI, unfortunately, owned the rights and nixed the idea on grounds of copyright infringement. Sorry, V'ger. No Beatles for you.

RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, $29-$85, 253.591.5890

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

January 13, 2015 at 7:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Classical music and cookies, MLK celebrations, "Pump," Karaoke Party ...

Tacoma Youth Symphony takes over Classical Tuesdays in Old Town Tacoma tonight. Courtesy photo

TUESDAY, JAN. 13 2015 >>>

1. Classical music is not like spinach. Sure, your mom might have insinuated that cultivating a taste for both was good for you, but the goal of Classical Tuesday in Old Town Artistic Director Pamela Ryker is to get you to see that, unlike the somewhat slimy green stuff that left a funny feeling on your teeth, the musical dish she serves up is spicy, peppy fun. They'll be plenty of moms in the Slavonion Hall at 7 p.m. when Ryker hosts the Tacoma Youth Symphony chamber music ensembles. The glue-eating kid won't be there. The night will feature the best of the best: of the hundreds of students in the Tacoma Youth Symphony orchestras, the top instrumentalists will be showcased in small groups of woodwinds, brass and strings. Expect cocoa, coffee and cookies.

2. Two Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations happen today. A Living Voices performance will serve as the featured entertainment at Bates Technical College's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the college's South Campus Auditorium. The performance, titled "The Right to Dream," follows a young African American student growing up in small-town Mississippi, where the American Civil Rights movement is on the horizon. Audience members will watch as the animated performer brings life to civil rights-era issues. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the I Corps Equal Opportunity Office will sponsor a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1-2:30 p.m. at French Theater on Pendleton Boulevard, Lewis Main.

3. The Grand Cinema screens Pump at 1:50 and 6:40 p.m. as part of its Tuesday Film Series. The film examines why Americans are so lacking in options at the gas station, what that means about the future of transportation and environmental health, and why the oil-driven American Dream must die - why it is dying.

4. If hearing the sound of your own cackling voice echoing off the walls of your shower stall has you craving the sound of something a bit more harmonious, check out the local songbirds at Victory Music Open Mic in the Antique Sandwich Co. from 7-10 p.m. It's guaranteed to be jam-packed with gorgeous sounds and humbling verses, as the South Sound's greatest up-and-coming acoustic musicians bare their souls impromptu-style.

5. Karaoke is a uniquely egalitarian way for people to live out minor fantasies while also blowing off steam. Teddy hosts a Karaoke Party at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 13 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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