Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 17, 2014 at 2:34pm

JBLM families jump into the first Polar Skip & Dip Race

Servicemembers and family members start the course during the first ever JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k fun run or walk at Shoreline Park, JBLM, Dec. 13, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke

Servicemembers and their families braved the cold water of American Lake when they took the plunge for the first JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k Fun Run or Walk at Shoreline Park at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 13.

The JBLM Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation hosted the 5k and 2k run for more than 250 participants, nearly 40 of whom took the plunge into the cold water.

"With this run, the main focus is to bring something different to the families of JBLM; we want to spice it up, we don't want to just run," said Stephanie Parr, the recreation assistant from the DFMWR intramural sports office. "We want to make sure that each event has its own feature, which in this event will be the dip. In between all of our usual fun runs, the best thing to do is to offer something different, exciting and new like this race here. I'm glad to be a part of it."

Col. Charles H. Hodges, the JBLM commander, who brought the first ever zombie 5k run to the base Nov. 1, was pleased to see another unique activity offered to the servicemembers and families that make up the JBLM community.

"This is a new concept and we always want to be fresh in our ideas. This is a chance for people to come out and do something a little bit different than what they've done before," said Hodges. "JBLM is known for innovation and having a great imagination. It's good we can embrace that mindset throughout the entire community."

>>> Kayla Conriquez, 7, high-fives her mother, Amanda Bennett, after her mom braved the cold water during the first ever JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k fun run or walk at Shoreline Park, JBLM, Dec. 13, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke

Several families ran together and some children were experienced enough to run the 2k by themselves. Seven-year-old Kayla Conriquez runs weekly with her mother, Amanda Bennett, and she ran the JBLM Zombie Apocalypse 5k run by herself. So naturally she ran the 2k solo.

Conriquez said the race was fun and plans to do several races next year after completing three this year.

Two brothers, Ari and Eli Vitor, ages 12 and eight, ran the race together and braved the freezing water to complete every event.

"I found it fun even though it's cold, but it's still fun to do. I don't regret going in the cold water," said the older brother Ari.

"I liked the water part a lot and wasn't scared to go in," said Eli with a shivering smile.

Despite the race calendar becoming extremely full for the JBLM DFMWR 2015 race season, they are always looking for new possibilities to add variety, explained Parr.

"There is another race in the works for next summer, but I can't give any information about that one," she hinted. "We want to surprise JBLM with that race, it's going to be great."

For the 2015 race calendar, click here or email usarmy.jblm.imcom.list.dfmwr-sports@mail.mil for further information.

Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke is with the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.

>>> Ari and Eli Vitor, ages 12 and 8, warm up after taking a dip in the cold water during the first ever JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k fun run or walk at Shoreline Park, JBLM, Dec. 13, 2014. More than 200 adults completed the 5k and nearly 50 children finished the 2k and many braved the cold water of American Lake to complete the dip portion after the race. They had several door prizes given away during the dip in American Lake portion with two grand prizes, a Dell tablet and a Great Wolf Lodge gift certificate. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke

December 17, 2014 at 12:00pm

Heed the Trouble Alert: The Justice League of America needs you!

What was the first piece of writing you truly, deeply loved? I'm talking fictional characters whose biographies you knew back and forth, settings as real as your quiet hometown, and plot surprises you felt as keenly as your own life events. Chances are, it wasn't a book your teacher assigned. When I was a kid, it was 25-cent superhero comics. Before they're old enough for Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, or even Charlie Bucket, many boys and girls identify as True Believers or soar with the Justice League of America. In recent years, the grown-up world's rediscovered the innocent joy of an issue full of colorful splash panels and galaxy-spanning adventure, and for less than the cost of a Quarter Pounder at Mickey D's.

Still, even that $3.99 comic is a challenge for many families. A child who never falls in love with the power of written words is a child who faces an uphill battle in school and in life. Danger Room Comics in Olympia sees the importance of this truism every day. That's why they've partnered with the South Sound chapter of The Children's Reading Foundation to hand-pick comics guaranteed to transport children far from the here and now, then return them a bit smarter, more heroic, more adventurous, and more curious about the universe around them. This is important stuff, and it gives you a chance to be a real-world hero.

Not only does the Danger Room winter fundraiser benefit childhood literacy, its funnybook aficionados will send collections of comics to wounded warriors in Veterans Health Administration hospitals. These packages, festooned with purple ribbons in honor of recipients' Purple Hearts, have been chosen to assist patients dealing with the horrors of post-traumatic stress. Yeah, this kinda just got real, didn't it? This project is a collaboration between Danger Room Comics and Blackdog Foundation, a 501(c)3 support group based here in Olympia, and it's already collected thousands of comics-yet the battle rages on, True Believer.

Over decades of pop culture geek life, I've had the cherished privilege of highlighting such national crusades as Omaze for UNICEF, Batkid Day for San Franciscan cancer survivor Miles Scott and support for bullied Star Wars fan Katie Goldman. There are moments when thousands of geeks pull together around something they love in a way that makes life better for people in need. This Danger Room campaign marks one of those heartwarming moments, and its payoff lands right here at home. The Justice League of America, and the children and soldiers its heroes protect, require your generous assistance right now. Will you answer the call?

Please, visit DangerRoomOly.com/blog/2014/12/winter-charity-fundraiser/ to see how your monetary donations can help power this vital enterprise.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Benefits, Books, Olympia,

December 17, 2014 at 7:34am

5 Things To Do Today: Walking With Dinosaurs, Cheers to Winter Beers, Olympia Aloha Ukulele Pu'ukani, Sagittarius Celebration ...

You don't have to be a dinosaur enthusiast to really enjoy and appreciate tonight's show, and even the devotees of all that is Mesozoic will appreciate it.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17 2014 >>>

1. The creatures in Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular are so lifelike, it's easy for young viewers to imagine John Hammond and those mad scientists at InGen have been at it for real. But these aren't the modified movie monsters of Jurassic Park, these are puppets and animatronic actors that have been updated to keep pace with scientific discoveries. Instead of shooting 'roids into a featherless Deinonychus and calling it a Velociraptor, this 7 p.m. show in the Tacoma Dome gives us the ostrich-like (but still predatory) Utahraptor. In lieu of Tyrannosaurus duking it out with Stegosaurus - two species separated by almost 90 million years - Walking With Dinosaurs pits the plated herbivore against its contemporary foe, Allosaurus. The aim here is to educate as much as to entertain, so kids get a better idea how dinosaurs actually lived and died. They may even grasp paleontologists' current view of present-day birds as the direct descendants of Mesozoic dinosaurs. Yeah, that's right, folks: Big Bird has more in common with Grumpy from Land of the Lost than he does with Mr. Snuffleupagus.

2. The second annual Cheers to Winter Beers event takes place at 6 p.m. in the Puyallup River Alehouse. Here's the deliciousness owner Eric Akeson has planned for patrons: 10 Barrel Pray For Snow, Alaskan Winter, Elysian Bifrost, Widmer Brrr, Redhook Winterhook, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, Naked City Potlatch Smoked Maple Brown Ale, The Lost Abbey Merry Taj Christmas IPA, Puyallup River Old Pioneer Winter Ale and others. "Our 2014 Old Pioneer Winter Ale is a new recipe for this year," says Akeson. "Last year we brewed a malt-forward Amber Ale with vanilla beans and lavender. This year, we're brewing an Imperial Red IPA-style beer, with a big dry hop that all the hop heads are going to love." Santa will arrive at 7 p.m.

3. The Olympia Aloha Ukulele Pu'ukani Holiday Concert will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Lacey Timberland Library. Expect songs about Christmas luaus, decorating the palm trees and Santa arriving in a red canoe.

4. Don't let these dark days get you down, mio amico. Hop in the Christmas Revels' time machine, journey to the Renaissance, and bask in Salerno's bright, cheerful courtyard at 7:30 p.m. in the Rialto Theater. Let a troupe of commedia artists and musicians put a smile on your face. Sing along with a pub song. Wipe away tears from a lush Pater Noster, and kick up your heels to "Madama Doré," a lively canzo a ballo (wedding dance). Have some cocoa. Feel the feels. It's what England's Master of Revels would want.

5. The 7th Annual Sagittarius Celebration features a who's who of dope DJs from the South Sound, including DJ Iceman (Brooklyn), DJ Drastic (Atlanta), Kid One (San Diego), DJ Poison (Kingston, Jamaica) and a surprise visit from Tacoma's main soundbwoy, DJ Qualifi, who rocks reggae/roots/dancehall at Champions in Lakewood every Saturday. It launches at 9 p.m. in Sampan Restaurant.

LINK: Wednesday, Dec. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 16, 2014 at 7:54am

5 Things To Do Today: A Brief History of Time, The Noteables, Christmas Revels, Vanilla Fudge ...

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic "A Brief History of Time" to help non-scientists understand fundamental questions of physics and our existence.

TUESDAY, DEC. 16 2014 >>>

1. Everything has been coming up Stephen Hawking this year. The physicist was a guest vocalist on Pink Floyd's latest album, and the story of his life, The Theory of Everything, is the Oscar bait the world needs, not the one it deserves. In conjunction with his biopic playing at The Grand Cinema, the theater has decided to screen the 1991 Hawking documentary, A Brief History of Time, for its Tuesday Film Series. Directed by the great documentarian Errol Morris, the film is an exploration of the man and his work, with presumably a little more accuracy than The Theory of Everything. It screens at 2 and 6:45 p.m., with the later one followed by a discussion of both the documentary and the biopic. The discussion will be led by ... David Gilmour? It can't possibly be that David Gilmour, but you never know. Stephen Hawking and Pink Floyd are apparently tight.

2. Take a mid-day break, bring your lunch and enjoy a merry mini-concert with Tumwater High School's premier vocal ensemble, The Noteables, at noon in the Tumwater Timberland Library. The group will perform, a capella, a variety of traditional and jazz-infused holiday selections. Holiday treats and beverages will be provided by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library.

3. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 4-9 p.m. today.

4. Don't let these dark days get you down, mio amico. Hop in the Christmas Revels' time machine, journey to the Renaissance, and bask in Salerno's bright, cheerful courtyard at 7:30 p.m. in the Rialto Theater. Let a troupe of commedia artists and musicians put a smile on your face. Sing along with a pub song. Wipe away tears from a lush Pater Noster, and kick up your heels to "Madama Doré," a lively canzo a ballo (wedding dance). Have some cocoa. Feel the feels. It's what England's Master of Revels would want.

5. Roald Dahl's 1964 kid-lit classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a dose of moral entertainment packed with enough flights of fancy for a dozen books. Hook up with the Banned Book Club and discuss this book at 7 p.m. in Doyle's Public House, as well as the unearthed missing chapter that discuss the kids finding a room marked Vanilla Fudge, which contains a five-story mountain of the sweet stuff. After frolicking on and around the mountain, it comes time, once again, for some kids to be assholes, resulting in them being whisked off to the chopping and smashing room, which is pretty harsh, even for Dahl.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 16 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 15, 2014 at 3:57pm

Merry Singles in Tacoma

Doug Fur and Holly Day are looking for love. Photos courtesy of jayray.com

Coming up with a fun, creative and festive Christmas card is not always an easy task. Leave it to the professionals at JayRay, a branding, advertising and strategic communications firm in Tacoma, to develop a website dedicated solely to sending holiday cheer.

Launched Dec. 10, www.merry.singles is a dating website parody and the firm's virtual holiday card.

"It's a JayRay hallmark to send out fun holiday greetings, and this year we decided to focus on engagement," said the firm's co-owner and president, Kathleen Deakins. "Our business, just like in dating, is all about increasing engagement. So we thought it would be fun to use the various marketing tools that we use for our clients. There was a direct mail piece, there's our website and there's social media, to see if we could get some engagement going for our ‘holi-dating' site."

The "dating site" features just four available singles looking for love: Ru Dolph, Candi Cane, Doug Fur and Holly Day. Each has a profile complete with pictures, personality traits and of course, a call to action. Candi Cane, for instance, is listed as an exotic model who likes aged red wine and six packs. Mountain Man Doug Fur - a "tall drink of water with a powerful thirst" - likes fishing and Duck Dynasty. Ru Dolph posts, "those who think they can yank on my reins need not respond. If you're ready to make a dash for love, we'll go down in history (pinky promise)."

It's all in good fun - but it's also for a good cause. Visitors to the website can vote for their favorite merry single on Facebook through Jan. 5. One lucky voter will score a $50 Visa gift card, and JayRay will donate another $50 to the charity of the model who garners the most votes.

Each model has his or her own designated charity: Votes for Ru Dolph will benefit the Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County; Candi Cane voters will help Community Health Care; Doug Fur fans will help support Washington's National Park Fund and Holly Days voters will support Citizens for a Healthy Bay.

"There's a competition going among our models, who are also promoting it among their websites and friends, and we are watching the votes add up," Deakins said. "This has been the most successful project like this we've ever been involved in. We (had nearly) 500 likes, shares and comments in the first 48 hours."

Most people can appreciate the sentiment and the dating-site parody, she added. However, "we have found that some IT systems are blocking it," Deakins said, "which we thought was very funny. If this happens to you, you can reach the site by using the jayray.com website."

While JayRay normally does something "wacky and fun" for the holidays for its friends and clients, this year the firm wanted to spread the cheer a little further.

"The news can be sort of depressing, and it's nice to have an opportunity to do something fun," Deakins said. "We wish everyone a happy holidays."

JayRay has been in Tacoma since 1970. The firm works with a variety of nonprofit, business and government organizations in the South Sound and around the country. For more information, visit www.jayray.com.

Filed under: Business, Tacoma, Benefits,

December 15, 2014 at 2:26pm

Nerd Alert! - Movies opening Christmas Day

"The Interview": Seth Rogen and James Franco star in the dirty Hope and Crosby-style film about assassinating Kim Jong-un.

Dwarves of Erebor, 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.

With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies cutting Peter Jackson & Co. loose at long last to work on non-Tolkien projects, this holiday movie season arrives with a vengeance. That's awesome, too, because there's squat-all to watch on TV.

FRIDAY, DEC. 19

If ever I loved the musical Annie, and I'm not sure ever I did, a summer working as a publicist next door to six weeks of "It's the Hard Knock Life" rehearsals drummed it out of me. Still, even I find myself aghast at what Columbia Pictures and director Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits) have done with the popular property. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis are playing Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie, respectively, but who thought Cameron Diaz would make a great Miss Hannigan? And isn't Annie famously the story of a little girl struggling through the Great Depression? Why is this movie set in the present day?

On the other hand, what're ya gonna do, buy a ticket to Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb instead? Ha! As if! Oh, I crack myself up. But let's be serious for a moment: perhaps now would be a great time to tuck into a fun weekend read! Say, have I mentioned I'm an author?

THURSDAY, DEC. 25

Gentle Reader, I'm confused. (This happens oftener than I'd like to admit.) Specifically, I'm at a loss to comprehend this year's holiday movie releases. In past years, the last two weeks of December saw major prestige releases roll out in the last possible qualifying moments for Oscar consideration. This year, only one serious contender for Best Picture, Angelina Jolie's epic wartime drama Unbroken, premieres Christmas Day. It's the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who ran a 4:08 mile, then served as a bombardier in the Pacific theater before getting shot down by the Japanese. Zamperini survived 47 days on a life raft at sea before reaching the Marshall Islands, only to find himself captured and tormented for months. It's an amazing, true-life story, one richly deserving of cinematic enshrinement.

Unbroken debuts alongside Big Eyes, a Tim Burton biopic about shy Tennessee artist Margaret Keane. Keane's paintings of mutant children were everywhere in the 1950s, but her self-aggrandizing husband Walter became a national celebrity by claiming he painted all of them. The movie stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, two actors who've earned multiple nominations over the years and may well coast into awards consideration again. The film itself, however, is having a tough time gathering buzz.

Also opening on Christmas - not that its ubiquitous commercials and trailers have kept this a secret - is Disney's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. If you've ever attended a live musical theater production, this was probably it. In the last few years I've seen two local productions, and passed on seeing yet another at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Early reports suggest the movie (directed by Chicago's Rob Marshall, who should know better) takes liberties with the musical we all know and respect. Sound familiar? Among other changes, it dispenses with the narrator altogether. I wish I could be more optimistic, especially given Woods' undeniably talented cast, but unless the trailers have vastly undersold it I think you may be happier driving to Ashland instead.

Ed. note: Sony pulled the release of The Interview after theaters refused to screen the film due to death threats from the Sony hackers.

One final movie opening Dec. 25 worth mentioning, if only for the damage it may have inspired, is Sony's The Interview. It stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as clueless TV personalities who are commissioned to kill North Korea's "Supreme Leader," Kim Jong-un. Of course, Kim Jong-un is a real person, known more for his purges, human rights violations and nuclear threats than his sense of self-deprecating humor, so this did not go unnoticed. No, it appears Kim got his supreme panties in a bunch about it, a reaction, perhaps, to his father's merciless savaging at the hands of Team America: World Police. Coincidentally or probably not, hackers invaded Sony's corporate network and leaked hundreds of damaging emails, including an exchange in which Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal called Angelina Jolie "a minimally talented spoiled brat." Ooh, or maybe you heard the one about how Sony was planning to sue Bill Murray for declining to costar in Ghostbusters 3? Yeah, this has not been a fun week on the Sony lot, and I have every reason to believe it will not get better soon.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may God bless Bill Murray, amen.

December 15, 2014 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Cedar Shakes, Polar Plaza, Olympia Jazz Senators, Jay Mabin ...

Cedar Shakes perform at Le Voyeur tonight.

MONDAY, DEC. 15 2014 >>>

1. We like Travis Champ for the same reason we like fried pickles, Schlitz in a bottle and all breeds of big dogs - they're all good things that come without an ounce of pretense or posing. Poet Champ came into some Oregon coastal notoriety with his poetry collection, Old Nehalem Road. He set his poems of boyhood memory, baseball and the fate of boys to war to song, inhabiting a masculine world, one that is shared artfully through old school country style. Champ's hooks and emotive guitar chords are set against his semi-monotone, yet smooth and resonant vocals. James Owen Greenan's drums offer crisp rhythms even in the slower paced songs. Jon Feeder's bass release tasty melodic bass interludes. Together, they are The Cedar Shakes, performing an old time Americana sound with a punkish flair. Catch the band at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 4-9 p.m. today.

3. Drawn from a vast custom library, the Olympia Jazz Senators perform a full range of big band jazz. You might hear an authentic Glen Miller dance tune straight from World War II, followed by Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich or a cutting-edge new composition by one of the Senators. Catch the big band at 8 p.m. in Rhythm & Rye.

4. Born in Chicago in 1955, Jay Mabin's musical influences began at an early age when he was exposed to a wide variety of jazz and blues both at home and at numerous coffee houses and concert stages in the Northwest. When Mabin turned 14 he had the opportunity to perform with the legendary blues duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. Terry became his mentor and showed him the basics of the blues. Jay also studied with jazz greats Toots Thielemans and Howard Levy whose revolutionary systems of harmonics for the harmonica has given Mabin the tools to create one of the truly original voices in jazz harmonica. Catch him with The Blues Perpetrators at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

5. Rockaraoke at Jazzbones will either be your novel opportunity to act as frontman, or be completely intimidating. Perpetually packed with people, Rockaraoke boasts a unique twist for karaoke in Tacoma: instead of a backing track, you get a three-piece band playing behind you. Check it out at 9 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Dec. 15 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 14, 2014 at 11:15pm

Words, Photos & Video: The Rusty Cleavers live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

The Rusty Cleavers knocked everyone off their feet at the Franciscan Polar Plaza Dec. 13. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Mention the words "rusty cleavers" in the South Sound, and odds are responses will range more to the punk-grass spectrum than lazy chefs. The Rusty Cleavers write rowdy songs. They take their musical influences - folk, country and bluegrass - and punk them up. They add growls, and serve them with a cold Tacoma beer. Dec. 13, the Tacoma band served their music with cold weather. They delivered a Paul Bunyan-like boot heel clack before the ice skaters at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink.

It's Saturday night at the ice rink plopped atop of Tollefson Plaza and the people are packed so tight it's amazing they can get find a spot to fall. But they can, and they do, and it feels like an earthquake, like the ice might crack. The Rusty Cleavers' singer and banjo player Forest Beutel announces he's keeping track of the wipeouts and the greatest spill recipient will receive a free band CD.

Often described as the Old Crow Medicine show meets the Ramones, The Rusty Cleavers' live shows have always been fist-pumping barnburners. Audiences can't help but cut loose as they pummel their string instruments with rhythmic abandon, layering husky harmonies overtop that swell to bursting. Saturday, the audience couldn't help but flat out fall down.

A big, thank you to The Rusty Cleavers and all who came out to watch the band and ice skate.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza hosts public ice skating sessions across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum daily through Jan. 11.

Tacoma Americana band Dixie Highway is up next at the ice rink, performing 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Saturday's down home holiday hoedown with The Rusty Cleavers.

SEE ALSO

Words, photos and video from Shotgun Kitchen's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from SweetKiss Momma's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and a video from The Cottonwood Cutups' live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink

The backstory and band schedule for the Weekly Volcano's Rhythm & Ice music series at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

December 14, 2014 at 8:56am

5 Things To Do Today: Broho Anniversary Party, Christmas Revels, "The Nutcracker," Michael Powers ...

The Falsies perform tonight at The Brotherhood Lounge in Olympia. Photo courtesy of Facebook

SUNDAY, DEC. 14 2014 >>>

1. It has been 12 years since The Brotherhood Lounge morphed from the dank, labor bar into one of Olympia's beloved hotspots; 12 years of soul nights, dance parties, aerial artists and more bands than you can ever want to count. By the time owner Pit Kwiecinski purchased The Brotherhood in September 2002, he was ready to get out of the dance club business selling longtime Olympia hotspot Thekla. After four months of extensive renovation, a new Olympia hotspot was born. Although the bar had been around for decades, Kwiecinski loved the spot and made an offer for the bar, which the owner accepted. Fresh from reincarnating Courtney Love and Hole for Night of the Living Tribute Bands 2014, Oly's all-grrl rock trio Full Moon Radio will wake up in their makeup again for The Brotherhood Lounge's 12th anniversary party. It's also a good chance to catch the early '60s classic rock style tunes from The Falsies.

2. Tacoma's acclaimed Fulcrum Gallery hosts its annual Holiday Artists Market Saturday and Sunday offering one offs, B-sides and studio gems from such artists as Kellë McLaughlin, Darlene Dihel, Ometepe Art (Victor Inmaculada and Maria Davis), Artifaex Studios (Michael Wishwell), Mossport Studios (Gail Kelly) Scott Nelson and Lynne Farren and gallery owner Oliver Doriss from noon to 4 p.m.

3. Don't let these dark days get you down, mio amico. Hop in the Christmas Revels' time machine, journey to the Renaissance, and bask in Salerno's bright, cheerful courtyard - 1 and 5:30 p.m. at the Rialto Theater. Let a troupe of commedia artists and musicians put a smile on your face. Sing along with a pub song. Wipe away tears from a lush Pater Noster, and kick up your heels to "Madama Doré," a lively canzo a ballo (wedding dance). Have some cocoa. Feel the feels. It's what England's Master of Revels, not to mention Sally the Solstice Slug, would want.

4. Hello, holiday tradition! The Nutcracker ballet performance is a holiday forever classic. The Tacoma City Ballet does it up right and with a delightful twist. Did you know that there's a "prequel" to The Nutcracker called Tale of the Hard Nut? Celebrating its 31st performance season, the ballet company takes on The Nutcracker performance in its entirety, which includes the prequel. In short: prepare to be dazzled, delighted and enchanted at 3 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

5. Blues music is a genre that often hearkens back to the past. So when Billboard magazine proclaims guitarist and singer Michael Powers "the future of the blues," it's saying he's both a virtuoso and an innovator. That's no revelation to anyone who's heard "Murch" Powers chug through the rolling guitar licks on "Baby's Got a Train." Born in New Jersey, Powers spent his childhood summers around North Carolina tobacco fields. He was influenced by both Jimmy Reed and Jimi Hendrix, then opened for the likes of James Brown and Bo Diddley. He's recorded with everyone from Chuck Berry to Bruce Springsteen to Robert Cray. Now you can catch him live at 5 p.m., and for free, on his sixth annual appearance at Marine View Presbyterian, where he'll play "holiday jazz" pieces from his albums Frosty the Bluesman and Frosty's Funky Holiday. Expect greatness.

LINK: Sunday, Dec. 14 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 13, 2014 at 9:32am

Words & Photos: National Guard Birthday Run at Camp Murray

Washington National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, left, finishes the final bend of a 5K run around Camp Murray with Family Programs Director Lt. Col. Don Brewer to honor the National Guard's 378th birthday. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"It is important to celebrate the birthday of the Army National Guard in order to take a little time to remember that we are part of an enduring, professional organization built on irreplaceable values with a unified purpose," said Lt. Col. Don Brewer, Washington National Guard Family Programs director. "Sometimes, it is easy to take for granted very important things and in the process, forget who we are and where we have come from. Celebrating the birthday of the Army National Guard gives us an opportunity to remember and be grateful."

Then, everyone went on a run.

Dozens of servicemembers and their families braved the high-wind storms and cold morning weather to join together and run the perimeter of Camp Murray for a National Guard Birthday Run Dec. 12. The event had two goals:to honor the many contributions of the National Guard, as well as to provide senior leadership with the opportunity to join their enlisted servicemembers - and their families - to stress the importance of morale, resiliency and fitness.

"These types of events are extremely important because they help build confidence, trust and friendship between people who might not normally spend time together outside of the workplace," said Brewer.

>>> The Washington National Guard's Family Programs Director, Lt. Col. Don Brewer, shares with the crowd of servicemembers the importance of "never forgetting" the accomplishments of those servicemembers that came before. 

>>> Members of the Washington National Guard participated in a Camp Murray Fun Run Dec. 12 to honor and build awareness for the National Guard's 378th birthday, which will take place Dec. 13. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> A line of Washington National Guard servicemember runners start their 5k trek around the perimeter of Camp Murray in front of the iconic minuteman statue that sits affront the Washington National Guard headquarters. Photo credit: Gary Lott

National Guard History

Founded in 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Colony - comprised of more than 5,000 European men, women and children - made the long voyage to the New World, or now called United States of America. With the long and uncertain move away from their homeland, the leaders of the New World wanted a ready, willing and able group of citizens that were ready at a moment's notice to protect and serve the new continent. Thus, the National Guard was formed into existence with a direct declaration signed into law on Dec. 13, 1636.

The National Guard is the longest serving military branch, and was in place even before the United States was "officially" a country. These community warriors became the "Always Ready, Always There" force structure that to this day are still protecting the homes of the communities they serve.

Just in the past year, the Washington National Guard became a "savior" for many Washingtonians, by assisting with the plaguing wildfires that hit Eastern and Central Washington, as well as assisting with the devastation caused by the SR 530 landslide.

These two emergencies are perfect examples again of how the National Guard may serve in many of the same capacities that our active-duty military branches do, but in a much different and impactful light.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Robert Chinneth of the Washington National Guard was running faster than the five miles per hour speed limit sign through the RV Park next to American Lake. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> The Assistant Operations NCO of G1, 1st Sgt. Berndt, runs besides the barbed-wire fences along the perimeter of Camp Murray.

National Guard Component

The National Guard may be viewed upon as similar to all the other military branches, and in many ways that statement is correct. The servicemembers deploy, attend basic training, conduct regular physical training and sacrifice their lives for this country. The major difference between the National Guard and other branches, is the majority of guardsmembers were born in, serve in and, one day will die in the same state that they serve. All servicemembers serve this nation, but only one branch gets the opportunity to defend and constantly support the places they have always and may always call home.

National Guard Birthday Run

Joint Services Support Directorate for the Washington National Guard (JSS), Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), Recruiting & Retention Battalion (RRB) and the National Guard Association of Washington (NGAW) held the National Guard Birthday Run to honor the sacrifices of those before and to raise awareness and pride for those serving today.

"Being willing to come out and run on a cold, wet and dreary morning with a handful of other soldiers and airmen portrays a positive message that the Adjutant General of Washington still enjoys the camaraderie that happens when you get out and work hard with your people," said Brewer. "It is a positive message of no leader being above his or her people."

The Washington National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, joined the run to help stress the importance of the National Guard's accomplishments, as well as to emphasize the importance of soldier morale, fitness and resiliency overall.

"The older I get the more I understand how important it is to never forget our history," said Daugherty. "Forgetting the history of our organization can facilitate forgetting our values and our purpose. Conversely, remembering the history of our organization can help us to remember our values and purpose."

It seems apparent that the Washington National Guard will not forget those that have gone before them; those service members who have shed blood, sweat and tears in order to make the organization what it is today.

"Taking a few minutes to remember our history can ultimately produce a renewed sense of pride and gratitude that just might make a difference in the way that we approach our jobs and our families on any given day," added Daugherty.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Robert Chinneth was the first place male finisher for the Camp Murray National Guard Run Dec. 12. Chinneth finished the 5k-plus run around Camp Murray in just over 20 minutes. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Hopkins, Staff Sgt. Murray and Spc. Gines finish the final stretch of the Washington National Guard's National Guard Birthday Run. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> The Washington National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, left, receives support from his servicemembers while crossing the finish line of the 5K run around Camp Murray. Daugherty ran alongside the Joint Services Support and Family Programs Director Lt. Col. Don Brewer to honor the National Guard's 378th birthday. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> The spouse of a Washington National Guard servicemember shows off the Recruiting and Retention Battalion "Swag Bag" that she received for finishing with the top female time.

>>> The Washington National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, reiterates the importance of National Guard history and the impacts of the guard throughout the centuries following a National Guard Birthday Run around the perimeter of Camp Murray Dec. 12. Photo by Gary Lott

>>> The youngest attendee of the National Guard Birthday Run, held by the Joint Services Support Directorate Dec. 12, joins the Washington National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, to conduct the official National Guard 378th birthday cake cutting ceremony. Photo credit: Gary Lott

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