Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 7, 2014 at 9:32pm

Words, Photos & Video: Shotgun Kitchen live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

Friends enjoying Shotgun Kitchen's live white trash soul music performance at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink Saturday, Dec. 6. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Saturday night in downtown Tacoma children and adults danced on ice to "Field Sobriety Test." Rest assured, the Weekly Volcano isn't clever enough to be making this up. It happened. The crowd also danced to "Hopeless Love," "If Jesus Had A Gun" and chants of "Amphetamines." The band performing the songs, Shotgun Kitchen, crammed onto the stage of the Franciscan Polar Plaza outdoor ice rink for a weekly music series the Weekly Volcano likes to call "Rhythm & Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown." We can name it whatever we want. The Tacoma Art Museum asked us to produce the live music stage at the rink every Saturday night during its run. In conjunction with the "Art of the American West" exhibit across the street at the Tacoma Art Museum, we have booked seven Saturday nights of bluegrass, country rock and old-timey bands.

Saturday night, Tacoma's white trash soul band Shotgun Kitchen provided an awesome ice-skating soundtrack about white-trash-living and country-road-dying - performed with appealingly outlaw country-ish instrumentation and vocals. It was exciting music for butterfly jumps, cherry-flips and layback spins - but the music also inspired acrobatic moves such as the unstable skating, the fall, the skid and the mixed-gender collision. It was a hoot.

A big, thank you to Shotgun Kitchen 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 punkgrass band The Rusty Cleavers is up next at the ice rink, performing 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Saturday's down home holiday hoedown with Shotgun Kitchen.


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

Filed under: Holidays, Music, Community, Tacoma,

December 7, 2014 at 9:07am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Concert Band, Messiah Sing-A-Long, Cardiel, The Movement ...

Deck the halls with silver, gold and brass and celebrate the holiday season with the jubilant sound of the Tacoma Concert Band today.

SUNDAY, DEC. 7 2014 >>>

1. Tacoma Concert Band will present its annual Holiday Traditions, but it's not the same old music you'll hear on the radio and in every store and elevator, but sprinkled among the usual chestnuts will be fascinating new variations on familiar holiday themes. KIRO's Dave Ross will read The Night Before Christmas as reimagined by composer Randol Bass. Also featured will be vocalist Melanie Vail, composers Leroy Anderson, Serge Prokofiev, Victor Herbert, and Percy Grainger, among others, plus several arrangements in the style of Mannheim Steamroller. The lion's share of this bounty isn't simply good holiday fare; it's good music, period. Talk about a Christmas miracle. Check it out at 2:30 p.m. in the Rialto Theater.

2. Like many oratorios, George Handel's 1741 masterpiece Messiah uses a technique called text painting, in which the score reinforces individual lyrics. That's why the line "Ev'ry valley shall be exalted," for example, sounds so ... exalted. Christ Lutheran Church's 2 p.m. production will be conducted by Anne Lyman and highlights professional soloists and instrumentalists. Oh, and it's a sing-a-long. Rejoice greatly!

3. We've given Rich Wetzel a lot of love over the years, not only because he's a groovy guy, but because he's always playing a gig worth mentioning. This weekend is no exception as Wetzel and his Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra brought their annual jazzy holiday to Tacoma Community College last night. Trumpeter Wetzel set up chairs for what seemed like 59 musicians for a night of swinging renditions of Christmas classics. From 5-8 p.m. at the Stonegate Pizza & Rum Bar, Wetzel sets up fewer chairs, BUT special holiday drinks loaded with rum make up for the missing flugelhorn.

4. From Mexico, by way of Venezuela, the psych-hardcore outfit Cardiel make an ungodly racket that belies their status as a two-piece. Even if it's never quite said explicitly, there's a feeling of revolution that permeates their music. Every song seems to be violently pushing back against anything that threatens to hold Cardiel in one place or to one designation. Catch the band with Blanco Bronco and DJ Quan Fi at 5 p.m. in The Valley.

5. Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, the reggae-rock group The Movement was formed in 2004 by a trio of Sublime and Pixies fans. Joshua Swain, Jordan Miller, and John Ruff, aka DJ Riggles, launched The Movement with their alternative reggae debut album, On Your Feet. Since then, the band has worked with Philadelphia-based producer Chris DiBeneditto, gone through the standard line-up changes, included adding scratch master DJ Alific to the mix. The Movement brings its watery-dub guitar, bouncy-swaying beats, airy keys and verses delivered in sing-song rhymes to Jazzbones at 8 p.m. Publish The Quest and Positive Rising open.

LINK: Sunday, Dec. 7 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 6, 2014 at 2:31pm

Photos: Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at Olympia's Capitol Theater

Nani Poonani was one of several TUSH! Burlesque performers at the Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at Olympia's Capitol Theater Dec. 5. Photo credit: Red Williamson

When the country outlawed alcohol in 1920, millions of Americans turned to a clandestine network of speakeasies and bootleggers in search of a stiff drink.

The 18th Amendment, which banned the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol, ushered in an era of prohibition and gave rise to organized crime, whose bootlegging operations flourished over the 13 dry years.

Dec. 5, 1933, passage of the 21st Amendment, brought an end to Prohibition.

You might think there are already enough reasons to party in December. You might think there are enough holidays prominently featuring the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

You would be wrong.

The anniversary of the day Prohibition was repealed, Dec. 5, is fast becoming a favorite holiday for nightlife - and certainly for bartenders. Once again, Olympia jumped on the bandwagon (or should that be off the wagon?) with an Olympia Film Society sponsored Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration - a night of burlesque, craft cocktails and fabulous fashion at the Capitol Theater. Olympia craft bartenders mixed pre-Prohibition era cocktails while members of The Greta Jane Quartet - with Prof. Andrew Dorsett on the Barrelhouse piano - filled the 1924 movie palace with classic mid-century jazz.

Besides the drinks and music, the evening - hosted by storyteller and actress Elizabeth Lord - included sultry stripping by Olympia's TUSH! Burlesque troupe lead by the fabulous funny Ms. Hattie Hotpants.

Photographer Red Williamson of Newspin Photo captured last night's gratuitous debauchery, lavish carousing and general tomfoolery. Below are a few of his photographs. To see his whole album of shots, visit his website here.

Olympia, you look awesome.

December 6, 2014 at 9:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Shotgun Kitchen on Ice, crime writers, big band Christmas, The Valley hard opening ...

Shotgun Kitchen perform at the Polar Plaza Ice Rink in downtown Tacoma from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. Watch for free, ice skate for $4-$8. Courtesy photo


1. An almost too obvious entry point for the kind of satirical Americana of Shotgun Kitchen would be their spiritual forefather, John Prine. Expect stories about white-trash-living and country-road-dying performed with appealingly outlaw country-ish instrumentation and vocals while ice skating to the band's live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink in downtown Tacoma from 7-9 p.m. The music is free; it's $4-$8 to ice skate.

2. Five acclaimed Puget Sound regional writers of mysteries, thrillers and chillers will sneak in the downtown Tacoma Main Library's back door at 1 p.m. to discuss about their books, the art of crime writing and their favorite authors. The authors include William Dietrich, Elizabeth George, Bharti Kirchner, Mike Lawson and Bernadette Pajer. The five authors are all members of the Seattle 7 Writers - a nonprofit collective of Pacific Northwest authors whose mission is to foster and support a passion for the written word. 

3. There's no doubt that the annual Beautiful Angle Holiday Party and Poster Sale is an event Tacoma has come to know and love. Going down at 7 p.m. in the Diane Hansen Studio (747 Fawcett Street, Suite B), the event will be a, well, beautiful exposition of everything Tacoma's underground-legend guerilla arts project is all about. If you're not on the Beautiful Angle train yet, see what you've been missing. Sporty Lee will be providing the music. Expect Grit City Beer. And you'll have the opportunity to buy a poster or two while meeting BA artists Lance Kagey and Tom Llewellyn. All the proceeds of this year’s poster sale go to "Tacoma Warhol" to help get the Andy Warhol flower on the Tacoma Dome. It's a win-win.

4. We've given Rich Wetzel a lot of love over the years, not only because he's a groovy guy, but because he's always playing a gig worth mentioning. Tonight is no exception as Wetzel and his Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra bring their annual jazzy holiday to Tacoma Community College at 7:30 p.m. Trumpeter Wetzel sets up chairs for what seems like 59 musicians for a night of swinging renditions of Christmas classics, featuring singers Steve Stefanowicz and Sunny Jo Loudin.

5. True, blue Tacomans likely already have the date circled on their calendar, or programmed into their smart phone, or scrawled on the back of their hand in sharpie. The Valley Pub celebrates its "hard opening" Saturday with CFA, Sun Giants, Stereo Creep and Infinite Flux. Cody Foster, bassist and singer with the high octane CFA, put the show together, welcoming new and improved Valley Pub to the Tacoma Dome neighborhood, and offering a chance for CFA guitarist Dave Takata to show off his new fashion. Foster says this will be the last CFA show of the year as the band needs to hammer down on the new album, although a new song will blast into tonight's show, as well as a cover of Fear's sentimental Christmas song. The free celebratory show is certain to scare the Dickens of out those waiting to board an Amtrak train down the street.

LINK: Saturday, Dec. 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 5, 2014 at 7:58am

5 Things To Do Today: Janis Lives, "Bestial Mirrors," BareFoot Collective vs "Ich Hunger," Pirate Karaoke ...

Sherrie Voxx Minter is Janis Joplin. Photo credit: Bill Bungard Photography

FRIDAY, DEC. 5 2014 >>>

1. With a blues soul and a rock & roll recklessness, Janis Joplin was the ultimate female rock figure. Probably it was the mingling of substances that opened her up so fully, but she poured her emotions through her music and every cracking sob and stomped-on feeling is audible. Even when she's howling, she's vulnerable, her deep-bottom voice is the true sound of a woman in pain. Sherrie Voxx Minter, the voice behind the old school rock band Voxxy Vallejo, doesn't have the pain, but has performed many times before folks who whispered, "She sounds like Janis Joplin." At 7 p.m., "Ah-ha!" will fill Jazzbones as Voxxy fronts the Joplin tribute band Janis Lives, sponsored by her other gig, NWCZ.com radio.

2. Tacoma artist Kellë McLaughlin's "Bestial Mirrors" is meant to give something back as a tribute to all the people who have supported her as an artist. The pieces in the show are animal heads on human bodies, and each is representative of a member of the Tacoma community. Each animal is a "reflection" of the person depicted in the piece. The show is a mix of traditional Japanese woodcut prints and ceramic sculptures, heavily skewed toward the former. That's a change for McLaughlin, who considers herself primarily a ceramic artist. But she's been doing woodcuts and prints for years. Mostly she did them just for fun, but when she started selling prints and T-shirts, they became popular in Tacoma. Read Kevin Knodell's full feature on Kellë McLaughlin in the Music & Culture section., then attend the opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. at Fulcrum Gallery.

3. Over a year ago, local punk bands took off their shirts and trashed about The New Frontier Lounge. Nestled in between the snarls, Tacoma filmmaker Isaac Olsen screened his German expressionist film, Ich Hunger, while Tacoma dance troupe BareFoot Collective translated the film's imagery into free-form dance. Es war sehr gut! As the film flickered that night, an idea flickered in his head. "What if I could convince the Tacoma Arts Commission to help me take this to the Broadway Center?" Auf geht's! The spectacle, as Olsen calls it, will hit Broadway. Olsen's tale of a creature-boy roaming the German wilderness and devouring the village's hapless tourists will, once again, pair with the BareFoot Collective's elegant performance, this time in Studio 3 at the Broadway Center, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

4. You know the story: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser who couldn't give a fig about his fellow man. He's dismissive toward his nephew, his only remaining family member; abusive toward his impoverished employee, Bob Cratchit; and just a miserable wretch in general. In the days leading up to Christmas 1843, Scrooge is haunted by his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. This is not a social call. Marley - doomed to forever walk the earth alone, in death as he did in life - warns Scrooge that he has one chance to mend his wicked ways, and so Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts who will teach him the lessons of Christmas. Tacoma Little Theatre presents the holiday classic Scrooge! The Musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusseat at 7:30 p.m.

5. At Bob's Java Jive, there's a recurring event called "Pirate Karaoke," where you're not only encouraged to sing like a pirate; you can dress like one, too. Imagine, if you will, Lucky the Shoulder Parrot joining you in a stirring round of "Come As You ARRRR!" in the same dive where Kurt Cobain himself used to put away brewskis. Your host Bowan the Black offers a library of 100,000 songs including Styx's "Come Sail Away" and Selena Gomez's "Lubber in Me." (Sorry.) If you're lucky, you'll enjoy the company of rowdy cosplayers The Black Bank, Criminal Dawn, The Feisty Felines or House Madrasa. If not, your rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" will earn you a stroll down the plank. The song pillage begins at 9 p.m.

LINK: Friday, Dec. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 4, 2014 at 7:44am

5 Things To Do Today: Seattle Men's Chorus, Tacoma Runners, Brian James, The Head That Wouldn't Die! ...

Who better to highlight all of the campy, fun and ... well ... gay apparel they have to wear during the holiday season than Seattle Men's Chorus. Courtesy photo

THURSDAY, DEC. 4 2014 >>>

1. Did you know Seattle boasts one of the largest community choruses in America? Did you know that justly revered group is making its way south to Tacoma this week? Better recognize! The Seattle Men's Chorus is celebrating its 35th season, so all 300-plus members are dressed up with someplace to go - 8 p.m. at the Pantages Theater. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on ...Our Gay Apparel in the Music and Culture section, then go see their holiday show tonight.

2. The city of Lacey invites the community to join in the 19th annual Lighting of the Christmas Tree along with the additional lighting of Huntamer Park at 6 p.m. The old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony will feature caroling by the Komachin Middle School United Voices choir, with more than 100 children led by Marci Ellefritz. Free popcorn and hot cocoa will be provided, along with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard the Santa Mobile from the Lacey Fire Department. River Ridge Jazz Ensemble will also perform.

3. Let's talk Tacoma Runners, cause you know we love them ... from a safe distance at the donut counter. As it does every Thursday, the running group will gather at 6:30 p.m. outside a venue, stretch a bit, listen to Rob McNair-Huff describe the 3-mile route, then hit the pavement. What started as seven people running to justify post beers has turned into a giant mass of people running ... to justify post beers and to be social. Speaking of social, that's exactly where Thursday's run starts and ends - at The Social Bar and Grill. Why not run the Museum of Glass stairs and really feel good about the Social Manhattan.

4. On a beautiful day in 1963, the brilliant intern Dr. Bill Cortner and his fiancé, Jan, are involved in an auto accident, in which Jan is decapitated. Using his new experimental serum, Bill manages to keep Jan alive. In a race against the clock Bill begins a search for the perfect body for his darling Jan. Discover what happen next at 8 p.m. in The Midnight Sun Performance Space when Theater Artists Olympia stage a new adaptation of the classic B movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die ... the all-original musical The Head! That Wouldn't Die!

5. Brian James is an accomplished singer/songwriter and instrumentalist who was hired in 2008 as the head staff writer at Sure-Fire Music Publishing in Nashville where he wrote hit songs for four years, before starting his own publishing/management company, Brick Hit House Music. He wrote the theme song for the Discovery Channel's American Farmer, as well as songs for Taylor Hicks, Donny Anderson and Tonya Kennedy. Catch him at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

LINK: Thursday, Dec. 4 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 3, 2014 at 12:23pm

Pirates steal the karaoke mic at Bob's Java Jive

Yo ho ho ho! Shanty Claus is comin’ to town.

"I soon got used to this singing, for the sailors never touched a rope without it....It is a great thing in a sailor to know how to sing well, for he gets a great name by it from the officers, and a good deal of popularity among his shipmates." - Herman Melville, Redburn

Like many of you, I had my share of youthful indiscretions. I wedged my mom's car between two trees (don't ask), tried the occasional illicit substance and ... you know, now that I think back, I may have been married for a few years back in the '90s. Whew, that was a dark time. The habit I look back on with the most confusion and embarrassment, however, is not a drug or psychotic relationship. It's a weird Japanese pastime that took off in American clubs in the 1990s and was never fully eradicated by the forces of good. I'm referring, of course, to karaoke. Did you know karaoke is the clipped form of a Japanese phrase that means "empty orchestra?" That about says it all. I myself was guilty of numerous slurred performances of "Rocky Raccoon," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," and, in a recurring quest to score phone numbers from insecure women, "Creep." Judge not, me hearties. I've seen plenty of you tormenting open karaoke mics at La Palma and the Crippler.

The trick to karaoke, it seems to me, is performing ironically. I for one used to walk into good ol' boy establishments in small-town Oklahoma and croon Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." When I'd get to the line about being extra friendly in a theater, you could feel locals' annoyance like incipient sunburn. I recommend it highly next time you're in the Flyover Zone. Have a friend keep an escape vehicle idling nearby.

That's my technique for keeping an audience on its toes. Honestly, though, what better, more ironic way is there to sing karaoke than in the guttural timbre of a pirate? At Bob's Java Jive, there's a recurring event called "Pirate Karaoke," where you're not only encouraged to sing like a pirate; you can dress like one, too. Imagine, if you will, Lucky the Shoulder Parrot joining you in a stirring round of "Come As You ARRRR!" in the same dive where Kurt Cobain himself used to put away brewskis. That's ironic on a whole other level. Your host Bowan the Black offers a library of 100,000 songs including Styx's "Come Sail Away" and Selena Gomez's "Lubber in Me." (Sorry.) If you're lucky, you'll enjoy the company of rowdy cosplayers The Black Bank, Criminal Dawn, The Feisty Felines or House Madrasa. If not, your rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" will earn you a stroll down the plank.

One last thing: Tacoma landmark Bob's Java Jive is shaped like a giant coffeepot, so imagine how blasted you'll feel when you stagger outside, three sheets to the wind from pirate grog or (more likely) PBR. Dead men tell no tales!

PIRATE KARAOKE, 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, no cover, 253.475.9843

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

December 3, 2014 at 8:21am

5 Things To Do Today: Victorian Country Christmas, curator chat, The Cloves, Sounds of the Season ...

Kids love A Victorian Country Christmas.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3 2014 >>>

1. Puyallup Fair and Events Center will be turned into a Christmas lover's wonderland for five days when the Victorian Country Christmas festival opens at 10 a.m. Holiday music will fill the air as live musicians stroll through a festive array of Christmas décor and animated displays. Visitors can shop all day as well as enjoy the shows and a vast array of food offerings. There are also carriage rides, Santa Tram rides and the Christmas Carousel. Best of all, for those who love to sing Christmas carols, the festival features Christmas Karaoke.

2. Tacoma Art Museum Chief Curator Rock Hushka will lead a discussion on the history and inspiration behind the sound and video installation Mary Lucier: The Plains of Sweet Regret at 11 a.m. Hear how the video stemmed from a larger project titled Emptying Out of the Plains that was commissioned by the North Dakota Museum of Art. Find out more about this installation and how life is on the plains almost 10 years after the video was created.

3. Tacoma's Mad Hat Tea Co. and local band The Cloves teamed up to create their own special tea blend. Mad Hat's Tobin and Maureen created a unique mix of black tea, cinnamon and cloves to spawn "Tea Time with The Cloves." Thrilled with the tea, the band will celebrate with an acoustic set at 4:30 p.m. in the tea shop in downtown Tacoma.

4. The South Puget Sound Community College Choir will join voices with the Puget Sound Community Choir and St. Martin's University Chorale, all to the festive strains of the Department of Washington American Legion Band for Sounds of the Season at 7 p.m. on the Minnaert Center Main Stage. Among tunes performed will be "Ding Dong Merrily on High," "A Virgin Unspotted," "A Visit from St. Nicholas" with poetic narration, and a "Christmas on Broadway" medley featuring the songs of Irving Berlin. This heartwarming concert will be followed by a sing-along of carols with the audience. O night divine!

5. Tacoma and Seattle music scenes will collide at 8 p.m. when Maurice the Fish Records welcomes London Tone Music's artists in a showcase at Jazzbones. The all-ages show will feature musicians Eric Lilavois, Science! And Vanowen. The staff of both labels will be on hand with open arms if you'd like to hand them your CDs.

LINK: Wednesday, Dec. 3 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 2, 2014 at 7:55am

5 Things To Do Today: "One Chance," Number 6 Cider, Nathan Watts, Banff Mountain Film Festival ...

“One Chance” is an inspirational true story that transcends its formulaic telling with humor, heart and a pair of cherishable lead performances.

TUESDAY, DEC. 2 2014 >>>

1. One Chance is a dramedy about the unlikely rise of Britain's Got Talent breakout Paul Potts (played by James Corden, who just replaced Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show). Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night, became a phenomenon after being chosen for - and ultimately winning - the talent show (2007). See One Chance at 2:15 and 6:55 at The Grand Cinema.

2. Hard cider is the kindest of alcoholic beverages. Beer must be cumbersomely boiled, wine is expensive and poorly distilled spirits can blow up and fry your eyes. They all involve so much waiting. Cider is a relative cakewalk. Find out if this is true when Number 6 Cider out of Seattle launched its brand at The Red Hot beginning at 6 p.m.

3. Detroit kid Nathan Watts started on trumpet and switched to electric bass in high school, at the urging of childhood pals Ollie Brown and Ray Parker, Jr. Inspired by the Funk Brothers - who he watched through the basement window at Motown's Hitsville Studios - as well as the rock and roll of Jimi Hendrix and Rare Earth, Watts worked his way through local bands. In 1974, via Parker, Jr's recommendation, Watts got a call from Stevie Wonder's office. Making a good debut showing at a large concert in Memphis and acing an L.A. audition, Nate was firmly in place for the recording of Wonder's 1976 smash, Songs in the Key of Life. The rest, as they say, is history. Watts became Wonder's permanent musical director and bassist. Ted Brown Music will host Watts for a performance and chat from 6-8 p.m. "for all to sing, dance and clap their hands."

4. The Far Field is a brand new, folk music band consisting of four experienced musicians sneaking in through the backdoor of Tacoma's local music scene. Their sound is reminiscent of the revival-folk of the '60s full of jangly guitars and wheezing harmonicas. Catch the band at 6:30 p.m. in the B Sharp Coffee House.

5. The outdoors is our neighborhood playground for growth, introspection and escape. Since the time of George Vancouver and Peter Puget, the South Puget Sound has been and will always be an adventurer's region. For that reason, the Banff Mountain Film Festival's annual visit draws huge crowds to see a who's who of the mountain adventure world and learn the story behind the adventurers. Watch and hear amazing stories of the outdoors at 6:45 p.m. in the Rialto Theater.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 1, 2014 at 12:16pm

Nerd Alert! Trailers for Jurassic World and The Force Awakens, big theater week, anaconda to eat Paul Rosolie's head ...

The "Jurassic World" trailer shows the park opening, the two stars and some dinosaurs, all to a slightly chilling piano rendition of the original film’s theme.

Chomping the shark, 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.

I submit to you, Gentle Reader, that last week was among the most exciting in recent geek history. No sooner had Rev. Adam posted his Nerd Alert for the week than Universal pulled a surprise move, undercutting its own countdown clock by two days and releasing the Jurassic World teaser to an Internet clamoring for a break from sad Missouri news. I'm a dino buff from way back, so this teaser left stirrings in my genes. ("Ooh, it's Mr. DNA!") To answer your first objection, yes, the raptors are actually an overgrown version of a species called Deinonychus and have way too few feathers. Also, that big mothergator in the lagoon, the one that noshes on Bruce in a sly jab at executive producer Steven Spielberg, is a Mosasaurus - a Cretaceous leviathan almost 60 feet long that probably did swallow sharks whole, then digest them over time like an anaconda or the all-powerful sarlacc. Incidentally, look closely the next time you watch the teaser: those raptors aren't hunting Chris Pratt; they're hunting with him. They're in his motorcycle gang; and if that doesn't make Pratt the coolest dude on our planet, then I'm a veggie-saurus. Jurassic World comes out on my 47th birthday, because I am down with Jeebus.

"There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" Based on how drastically my Internet slowed down Friday morning, I'll freaking bet you have. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser was released to near-ubiquitous fanfare, especially the John Williams fanfare that hailed the reappearance of the Millennium Falcon to the saga. Between TIE fighters, X-wings, new characters, cruciform lightsabers, snowy forest planets, soccerbots and what sure as hell sounds like Benedict Cumberbatch intoning his lines through a swig of battery acid, the 88-second teaser offered just enough to whet our appetite to the breaking point without giving away anything of significance. That's impressive for a teaser over a year in advance. I watched it alone in a dark room with my childhood so my wife wouldn't catch me having petit mal geek seizures.


Thursday, Christopher Walken stars as Captain Hook in NBC's second stab at Twitter-bait musical theater, Peter Pan Live! That exclamation point's emphatically theirs, by the way. I see live musical theater all the time, made by people who know what they're doing, yet have a hell of a time getting most people to give a wet slap about it. So if you insist on bypassing the three, count 'em, three live musicals opening this weekend in the South Sound in order to watch Marnie from Girls play a boy on a wire, that's on you. Otherwise, Joann Varnell and I will be at The Head That Wouldn't Die (Theater Artists Olympia), Scrooge: The Musical (Tacoma Little Theatre) or A Year With Frog and Toad (Lakewood Playhouse). The Stardust Christmas Commotion is still packing 'em in at Harlequin Productions. I'll also review Olympia Little Theatre's take on Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, which opens Friday. There's no singing or flying, but I hear Lena Dunham gets naked in it.


On Discovery's Eaten Alive, environmentalist Paul Rosolie goads an anaconda into eating his head. That's an actual show, folks. I'm not even kidding. He can do this trick once.


I already clued you in to Thursday's Blu-ray and DVD release of Guardians of the Galaxy, so instead I ask you to pick up your visual scanning and look at a couple of books. Frank Portman's 2006 YA novel King Dork was one of my favorites that year. It's a cross between Catcher in the Rye and High Fidelity, in which high school sophomore Tom Henderson navigates the tricky adolescent social sphere six years after his cop father's death. Now Portman offers a sequel, King Dork Approximately, in which Henderson is still in the 10th-grade but unlocks the challenging "first girlfriend" level. No less an authority than John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) said, "Basically, if you are a human being with even a vague grasp of the English language, King Dork will rock your world." I have nothing further, Your Honor.

Then there's Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, in which an American Pinkerton detective, the aptly-named Frederick Chase, awaits Moriarty's nefarious successor. Remember, Sherlock Holmes pushed "the Napoleon of crime" to his just demise at the Reichenbach Falls ... or did he? That's the tension driving the action of a novel endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate. Personally, they had me at "Sherlock," but if you need more, consider this: the London Daily Mail calls Moriarty "the finest crime novel of the year." Read it now before the inevitable movie starring Pratt as Dr. John Watson, Christopher Walken as Moriarty, and Kristen Stewart as Holmes' sad, empty chair.

Sons of Anarchy wraps Tuesday. I've never seen the show, but here's a spoiler anyway: everyone dies except Horatio and Fortinbras. Meanwhile, Square Enix releases a new co-op Tomb Raider adventure, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, in which the titular British adventurer must crisscross Egypt in search of yet another ancient MacGuffin. What was that? No, I said "titular," meaning "mentioned in the title." Why are you snickering?

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and if Kristen Stewart chases you, run.

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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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about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...