Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

March 3, 2015 at 7:41am

5 Things To Do Today: "National Gallery" film, Tap Tasting Tuesday, Chinese New Year ...

Frederick Wiseman's lengthy "National Gallery" doc takes a provocative stroll in and about the famed British art museum. Tag along today at The Grand Cinema.

TUESDAY, MARCH 3 2015 >>>

1. Frederick Wiseman's three-hour documentary about Britain's National Gallery is a rather sly house of mirrors, in which we watch a film and, within that film, we watch others gaze at a painting, while also joining them in that act. Not to be outdone, many of the paintings - their subjects commissioned portraits, or figures of myth and Christianity - stare just as intently back at us. National Gallery screens at 1 and 6:20 p.m. in The Grand Cinema.

2. Pop by the Harmon Tap Room today for their Tap Tasting Tuesday special. Sample four, 5-ounce beers paired with four small bites for only $10 from 5 p.m. to close. Helluva deal, especially for those indecisive types.

3. Yielding, softness, centeredness, slowness, balancing, suppleness and rootedness are all characteristics of the ancient Chinese practice of Tai Chi. They are evident in names of the movements, like "Cloud hands," and in the movements themselves. The principle of Tai Chi can also be summed up in the title awarded to its founder, "a spiritual man who has attained the Tao and is no longer ruled by what he sees, hears or feels." Ring in Chinese New Year 2015 at the Tumwater Timberland Library with a program for all ages, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Olympia Tai Chi & Kung-Fu Club will perform the traditional Lion Dance and demonstrate Tai Chi and the martial art of Kung-Fu.

4. Jerry Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller hosts an open jam at 7 p.m. in Dave's of Milton.

5. TCC@TCC! - a group of Tacoma Community College communications students raising money for local tutoring nonprofit write@253 - has teamed up with the Tacoma Comedy Club for a benefit comedy performance at 8 p.m. Write@253 provides after-school homework hope to kids in underserved Tacoma neighborhoods.

March 2, 2015 at 7:50am

5 Things To Do Today: Greta Jane and Vince Brown, Makoto Fujimura, Underwhelmed Radio, Joy Harjo ...

Greta Jane will sing at Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen tonight.

MONDAY, MARCH 2 2015 >>>

1. Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen looks as if it came straight from the '20s, with a graceful, high-arched mirrored shelving system to hold small-batch bottles of booze. For your own taste of Jazz Age Prohibition era, vocalist Greta Jane and guitarist Vince Brown will perform music of the gin joints and back-alley speakeasies at 6 p.m. Bonus: Dillingers was voted Best Restaurant in the Weekly Volcano's 2015 Best of Olympia issue, with the joint's bartender Sherilyn Lightner grabbing Best Bartender honors.

2. "Process Drawings: Recent Works by Makoto Fujimura" showcases recent works by the abstract expressionist painter that provide insight into his creative process and the evolution of an important group of his large-scale paintings created since 2007 at Kittredge Gallery on the University of Puget Sound campus. An artist reception will be held from 5-6:30 p.m.

3. Online Tacoma magazine Post Defiance wants you to SHUT IT at Treos in Old Town Tacoma. Grab a book and read in silence from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Turn off the cellphone!

4. Underwhelmed comes to us from Dick Rossetti (formerly of 107.7 The End and currently the frontman of the Jilly Rizzo) and Isaac Olsen. Olsen should be known to fans of local music and film as the director behind Quiet Shoes, Ich Hunger, and the Girl Trouble documentary, Strictly Sacred. The touch of Olsen can be felt in the hyper-kinetic editing of the show, which mirrors the energy shown in his movies. Assaultive radio stings come and go, framing a show that steers violently from tongue-in-cheek commentary to comedy sketches to readings of prison letters and - their favorite invention - a 10-song montage in five minutes. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Underwhelmed in the Music and Culture section, then catch the show from 6-7 p.m. at nwczradio.com.

5. Award winning Muscogee-Creek poet, musician, memoirist, playwright and performer Joy Harjo will read her works at 7 p.m. in the Communications Building Recital Hall at The Evergreen State College. Harjo will read selected works from her book How We Became Human, a collection of poems throughout her twenty-eight-year career, beginning in 1973 in the age marked by the takeover at Wounded Knee and the rejuvenation of indigenous cultures in the world through poetry and music.

February 28, 2015 at 7:32am

5 Things To Do Today: The Classical, vinyl sale, Total Experience Gospel Choir, The Oly Mountain Boys ...

The Classical performs tonight at Dead Olympia record store. Photo Credit: Bert Johnson at www.bertjohnsonphotography.com

SATURDAY, FEB. 28 2015 >>>

1. San Francisco duet the Classical make concise descriptions quite a task. The easiest way to sum them up is to call them baroque art-rock, though that doesn't quite cut it. "Shovel & Bevel" combines clinically mesmerizing drums with odd phrases repeated over and over with darkly expressive strings to create a creepily compelling product. Lead singer and songwriter Juliet E. Gordon pushes the lurching songs forward with her sighing vocals, leaving long stretches of meditative blank space before reappearing to offer more cryptic intonations. Though the songs tend to move slowly, there's a disjointed structure to most of them that manages to keep you on your toes. Check it out at 8 p.m. with Fruit Juice and Retrospecter in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

2.  KAOS 89.3 FM, located in deep West Olympia on the campus of The Evergreen State College, is hosting one of its rare and beautiful music dump or as the station calls it - a "CD & Vinyl Liquidation Sale." In years past, this event was a treasure chest of rare and lost gems of audio delight for collectors of music. It still has that aura, but the "pickins" are more and more slim as the years pass by - with vinyl becoming a scarce commodity you have to get there early and beat the DITC (Diggin' In The Crates) experts. The sale begins at noon in the KAOS lobby.

3. Seattle's acclaimed Total Experience Gospel Choir, led by the Rev. Pat Wright, has performed all over the world, has made numerous recordings, has included Sanjaya (American Idol) and Ray Dalton (Macklemore/Lewis), and has been the featured group in the annual Seattle production of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity. The Total Experience Gospel Choice, er, experience is like no other. They join their powerful voices to create a blend of lyrics, movement, and narrative that variously relate history, point the finger at injustice, encourage activism and sing the praises of love. The University of Puget Sound will host the choir at 8 p.m. in Schneeback Concert Hall, capping the university's Black History Month celebration. The concert will include commentary by the 75-year-old Wright, an ordained pastor whose southern roots and personal musical journey provide a spoken word accompaniment to the choir's ebullient music.

4. Award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tommy Castro is famed for his signature brand of tough, rocking rhythm and blues. With his eyes and ears firmly on the future, Castro, along with The Painkillers - original Tommy Castro Band bassist Randy McDonald, Bowen Brown on drums and James Pace on keyboards - has stripped his music down to its raw essence as he rockets into the next phase of his storied career. Whatever. Nobody plays roadhouse like this anymore: the rock snarl and the soul heart. His songs don't make you want to sing along; they make you want to scream along. The band is back at 8 p.m. for a second night at Jazzbones.

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 voted "Best Bluegrass Band" in the 2015 Best of Olympia issue at 8 p.m. with The Student Loan and Mbrascatu in Rhythm & Rye.

Filed under: 5 Things To Do, Music, Olympia, Tacoma,

February 27, 2015 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: International Guitar Night, A Streetcar Named Desire, Nasalrod, Tommy Castro ...

Brazilian jazz master Diego Figuierido performs at the Rialto Theater Feb. 27.

FRIDAY, FEB. 27 2015 >>>

1. If you think the height of guitar music is a stoner's curbside rendition of "Wish You Were," then prepare to have your mind blown. (Seriously - why does every guitarist learn "Wish You Were Here" fresh out of the gate? What's wrong with a little "Bourrée in E Minor?") The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts is serving up an evening of six-string wizardry, brought to you by some of the finest git-axe pickers from around the world - Brian Gore, Andrew York, Diego Figuierido and Maneli Jamal. True, there's no Eddie Van Halen or Tom Morello in the IGN lineup, but we can assure you its artists' lack of household name recognition is undeserved. Catch the 7:30 p.m. concert in the Pantages Theater.

2. When the curtain dropped on the 1947 debut production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, the room - legend has it - was absolutely silent. After a long moment, the stunned audience regained their senses and burst into an ovation that continued for a solid half-hour. University of Puget Sound's production of Williams' classic of love, loss and madness runs through the next two weekends. In the right hands, the play's raw ending (no spoilers here, I promise) still retains the power to take the wind right out of an audience. The word is UPS does just that. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton Clapp Theatre.

3. We have a hankering for rowdy bluegrass tonight. Maybe it's the rain, the flannel shirts and the switch from Winter Warmers to India Pale Ale. Whatever the case, it's nice. Tacoma's The Cottonwood Cutups are bringing that satisfying pluck and twang and bang to B Sharp Coffee House with McDougall and Nate Dybivek, beginning at 8 p.m.

4. Nasalrod is a lot of goddamn fun. The punk rock Portland foursome create impossibly energetic music that doesn't so much pummel as it grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you about. With stop-start dynamics and gleefully deranged vocals, Nasalrod recall the early days of New Wave and art-rock just as much as the glory days of punk. What makes Nasalrod incredibly exciting, though, is the presence of former Fear member Spit Stix on drums. Having a member of one of the godfathers of punk in your band-and having that person named Spit Stix - is a very Portland thing to have happen. Nasalrod will be joined by C Average and Bullets or Balloons at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

5. Award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tommy Castro is famed for his signature brand of tough, rocking rhythm and blues. With his eyes and ears firmly on the future, Castro, along with The Painkillers - original Tommy Castro Band bassist Randy McDonald, Bowen Brown on drums and James Pace on keyboards - has stripped his music down to its raw essence as he rockets into the next phase of his storied career. Whatever. Nobody plays roadhouse like this anymore: the rock snarl and the soul heart. His songs don't make you want to sing along; they make you want to scream along. The band hits Jazzbones' stage at 8 p.m.

February 26, 2015 at 7:14am

5 Things To Do Today: JFK program, Olympia Ambassadors benefit, "Angels In America," Barleywine Revue ...

In this public domain photo, President John F. Kennedy rides alongside First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy moments before his death. Hear more about this fateful day tonight in Olympia.

THURSDAY, FEB. 26 2015 >>>

1. We've all seen the footage: President John F. Kennedy in the gleaming dark blue limousine, smiling and waving at the crowd, and then the shot rings out in Dealey Plaza, and everything in a relatively mundane presidential moment has become a piece of history. Author and journalist Dean R. Owen was 7 years old on the day JFK was assassinated. Owen says the tragedy prompted his 30-plus year career in journalism and communications. He will present a multi-media program entitled "John Kennedy: the Man, Myth and Legend," at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library. The program is based on Owen's book, November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination and Legacy of John F. Kennedy. Owen interviewed nearly 100 people for the book, including White House staff, civil rights leaders, family members of Kennedy, and journalists who covered him. Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who died in 2013, wrote the foreword.

2. From sweeping alleys, to acting as extra eyes and being a familiar friendly face, downtown Olympia businesses have been benefitting from the Olympia Ambassadors. This of course, has been a pick-me-up for downtown retail. Downtown Olympia Ambassadors provide customer service, directions, and city information to all users of downtown. Our 2015 Best of Olympia issue praises the program multiple times. From 4-9 p.m. The Brotherhood Lounge will host a happy hour benefit for the Downtown Ambassadors, donating 50 percent of drink sales to the program.

3. Traveler Pat O'Connor will discuss his expedition to Antarctica and Argentina with pictures and stories of animals and ice at 7 p.m. in the Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library.

4. Volcano scribe Christian Carvajal spent last week in the skin of a monster. He's playing Roy Cohn, the very real attorney who guided the knife point of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, then adamantly denied his own homosexuality even as he was dying of AIDS. He's a character in Tony Kushner's landmark, two-part play Angels in America, directed by Nic Olson for Olympia Little Theatre. The show is challenging for both actors and audiences, and it inspires bizarre moments on stage. Read Christian Carvajal's first person account of Angels In America, Part 2: Perestroika on our Walkie Talkie blog, then catch the show at 7:55 p.m.

5. Barleywine Revue is just awesome. The band writes and performs contemporary, relevant bluegrass and Americana music while paying homage to the traditions that have come in generations before ... think Bill Monroe meets Bill Withers. Oh man, that's fresh! Catch the band with Squirrel Butter at 7 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant & Pub.

February 25, 2015 at 10:32am

Wrestling with "Angels": behind the scenes at Olympia Little Theatre

Bonnie Vandver as Ethel Rosenberg and Christian Carvajal as Al Capone, er, Roy Cohn, costar in OLT's "Angels in America." Photo credit: Austin Lang, courtesy OLT

I spent last week in the skin of a monster. I'm playing Roy Cohn, the very real attorney who guided the knife point of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, then adamantly denied his own homosexuality even as he was dying of AIDS. He's a character in Tony Kushner's landmark, two-part play Angels in America, directed by Nic Olson for Olympia Little Theatre. The show is challenging for both actors and audiences, and it inspires bizarre moments on stage.

OLT's new artistic director Kendra Malm was delivering Thursday-night house announcements when suddenly, a stack of boxes that forms a set wall leaned over and collapsed. The destruction of that wall, and the emergence of an angel through the breach, mark the climax of Part 1, Millennium Approaches. "I don't think that was supposed to happen," Malm announced accurately. No one was standing anywhere near the structure, which remained upright for 21 hours prior to the fall. This sort of thing makes actors believe in theater ghosts.

We performed for a larger house on Friday. As per OLT custom, we greeted departing guests as they passed through the lobby after the three-hour show. An audience member (and frequent OLT actor) came over to shake my hand. "Hey, do you watch that show Breaking Bad?" she asked. I replied it was one of my favorites. "Your Cohn kinda reminds me of that lawyer," she mused, meaning Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). I threw my arms in a V and claimed victory for the night. Last Friday, at least, I won Angels in America. That may be my favorite audience compliment ever.

By Saturday we were inured to the occasional walkout. (This show pushes people's buttons.) We agree it was our finest performance of Millennium Approaches, and the crowd responded warmly. Sunday? Not so much. An audience member shook my hand and asked, "How do you do all that yelling?" Another complimented each of us in turn before arriving at the last actor in line, Anthony Neff. Instead of praising Neff's performance as Joe, he announced, "You need to speak up more," then strode out the door.

Still, you have to hand it to any audience member who sits through, and tracks with, an epic night of theater that makes David Mamet sound like the Disney Channel. Even a brief male-male sex scene, which caused pandemonium in the college theater where I played Louis 22 years ago, rose nary an eyebrow over the weekend. A number of patrons vowed they'd be back for Part 2. I hope they will. It'd be a shame to play one of the worst guys in history for my own amusement. Actually, I'm not sure what that'd say about me at all. If you're curious about the show but missed Part 1, give it a go. You can always ask the house manager for a recap as we patch up the ghost-demolished set.

ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART 2: PERESTROIKA, 7:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1:55 p.m. Sunday, through March 1, Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia, $8, 360.786.9484

Filed under: Theater, Olympia,

February 25, 2015 at 7:59am

5 Things To Do Today: Hilltop Kitchen Novo Fodo Night, beer drinking, Vince Brown, Positive Rising ...

Novo Fogo on Hilltop, yo.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25 2015 >>>

1. If you were drinking a cocktail with the floral notes of a rainforest, the aroma of banana and lime flowers, the earthiness of sweet red peppers and the saltiness of oysters, you'd be drinking cachaca (pronounced ka-SHA-sa), a Brazilian spirit distilled from sugarcane juice. Suffice it to say that, if you enjoy rum, you'll enjoy cachaça. Until recently, the only cachaças available in the States were the industrial style, made in a column still and full of harsh, unrefined flavors. Today, with the upswing in premium-spirits appreciation, high-quality, artisanal cachaça (both aged and unaged) is now easily accessible outside of Brazil, including a new brand of cachaca: Novo Fogo, which translates to "New Fire" in Portuguese. Every week or so, Novo Fogo Cachaça Empresários take over a hot bar somewhere in this country for a few hours of "Brazilian Zen." From 6-9 p.m., Team Novo Fodo - Leroy Thomas and Jim Romdall - visit Hilltop Kitchen to deliver South American alegria in the form of delicious cachaça cocktails and happy times.

2. This week in "Humans and Other Animals," Dr. Erin Colbert-White of the University of Puget Sound will be giving a talk entitled, "Evidence for Language-Like Conversational Strategies by an African Grey Parrot," in which she'll discuss evidence that parrots can pay attention to social contexts and take turnsduring conversations. Check it out at 12:25 in Dougan 201 on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

3. Several brewer's nights are doing down tonight. Check it.

4. Vince Brown is no stranger to string swing fans in the Northwest. He plays western swing style take-off guitar with Red Brown & the Tune Stranglers; strums guitar and tenor banjo with the gypsy swing band Hot Club Sandwich; he's half of Red and Ruby - a swing duo project with vocalist LaVon Hardison; performs mandolin and tenor banjoist with the old timey outfit Deaf Lester; and the guitarist with the modern jazz/lounge group The Greta Jane Quartet. Brown's nimble fingers have delighted audiences for more than 35 years. Catch his solo jazz guitarist downstairs at Swing Wing Bar & Cafe, the converted bungalow overlooking Capitol Lake in Olympia, from 6-8 p.m.

5. Positive Rising - a Seattle-based reggae band whose members have been rooted in the reggae community for over 10 years - strive to bring a positive message put to catchy hooks and danceable grooves. They have shared the stage with such acts as Natural Vibrations, Easy Star All Stars, Josh Heinrichs & Skillinjah, Kyle & C-Money of Slightly Stoopid, Tomorrows Bad Seeds and Josh Fischel as well as other local acts such as Valley Green, The Approach and Tribal Order just to name a few. Catch them as part of Jazzbones' One Love Wednesday music series at 9 p.m.

February 24, 2015 at 7:44am

5 Things To Do Today: Feast of Thrones, Washington volcano hazards, trivia night, Hungry Skinny ...

"Give our regards to the Night’s Watch. We're sure it will be thrilling. And if it’s not, it's only for life."

TUESDAY, FEB. 23 2015 >>>

1. Even though you don't live in one of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, dining at King's Landing is a bucket list item for any die-hard Game of Thrones fan. While you won't exactly get the chance to "do what queens do," fans of the show will get the chance to dine on A Feast of Thrones and let their imaginations do the ruling. Bayview School of Cooking instructor Caroline Willard will prepare a feast worthy of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms at 6 p.m. From The Wall, to Highgarden, and across the Narrow Sea, taste dishes taken straight from the pages of George R.R. Martin's hugely popular book series. Spicy Dornish Stuffed Grape Leaves begins the culinary journey, followed by Highgarden Medieval Poached Pears with Cheese, both accompanied by a Honey Citrus Wine from across The Narrow Sea. The main course is Winterfell Beef and Bacon Pie served with a Salad at Castle Black. Sansa's beloved Lemon Cakes from King's Landing are the sweet finish to the menu. Complementary wine pairing, of course! Nothing goes better with Game of Thrones than many swigs of complementary wine - just ask the constantly imbibing characters. RSVP at 360.754.1448.

2. United States Geological Survey specialist Carolyn Driedger will present an eye-opening investigation of the history of volcano study in Washington state at noon inside the Washington State History Museum. Part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," Washington's mountains are both beautiful and deadly, making the area a key location for early warning technology and observation. Be sure to check out the "Living in the Shadows: Volcanoes of Washington" exhibit before or after the lecture.

3. If you've resolved this year to get your brain, as well as your body, limber, the pub quiz is a great start. This athletics of the mind can be highly rewarding, both tangibly (winning nets you cash prizes, swag and gift certificates) and intangibly (finding an outlet for such mental detritus as the name of the group that sang "Walking on Sunshine" is surprisingly fulfilling). Treos in Old Town Tacoma offers a weekly Tuesday trivia game to up your cultural literacy. Expect three rounds with prizes beginning at 6:30 p.m.

4. Jerry Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller hosts an open jam at 7 p.m. in Dave's of Milton.

5. Hungry Skinny perfect a kind of dirtbag glam befitting their Northern California roots. What initially sounds like the same sort of garage pop that comes from Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin eventually reveals itself to be impeccably assembled rock that draws from the sloppy blues-rock of '60s mods like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. Filled to the brim with untold amounts of swagger and spit, Hungry Skinny effortlessly recreate the days when the musicians in bands were more totems than men: shorthand in human form for the carefree living and drinking rock 'n' roll supplies in spades. Catch the band with the Loud Potions and Phil Taylor at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

February 23, 2015 at 1:05pm

Nerd Alert issued for The Lazarus Effect and Neill Blomkamp vs. Alien

"The Lazarus Effect": When a team of research students mapping the human brain accidentally kills one of their own, they unwittingly unlock a deadly force by reanimating their colleague.

Rethinking that bite of Weyland-Yutani cornbread, 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.

FRIDAY, FEB. 27

The Lazarus Effect stars Mark Duplass, Donald Glover and Olivia Wilde, three actors I like. There is nothing else to highlight about this picture. It's a horror movie. You know: a horror movie. It's every contemporary horror movie. Will a woman's eyes turn jet black as she makes asthmatic exhaling noises? Will a character record supernatural events on a 1990s-era camcorder? Will our hero be startled by the lunging reappearance of a pet? Do I even need to answer these questions? It's about oh who cares. Y'know, now that I think about it, a movie about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead has serious potential as a horror movie. The Lazarus Effect, however, does not.

A recent trending headline on Facebook read, "Joyland Amusement Park: Kansas park's stolen clown found in convicted sex offender's home, police say." That headline is scarier than anything in The Lazarus Effect. That headline, in fact, is scarier than anything I've ever seen ever. It should be made into a horror movie starring Mark Duplass, Donald Glover and Olivia Wilde. Then, it should be buried and the earth around it salted, because nothing that evil should be allowed to exist. A year later, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover and Olivia Wilde could be given their own sitcom about life on the set of a run-of-the-mill horror movie. That sitcom would be charming. It'd also be scarier than anything in The Lazarus Effect.

It was recently announced that Neill Blomkamp will direct a sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece of interstellar grotesquery, Alien. Blomkamp is the South African-Canadian auteur (based in Vancouver, B.C.) behind Elysium, the modern genre classic District 9, and next weekend's promising Chappie. Before that, he was lead animator for Dark Angel on Fox. His promo shorts for Bungie/Microsoft's Halo almost netted him a feature set in that techno-militaristic future. When funding for Blomkamp's Halo fell through, we were denied his take on a 'verse that owes a ton to James Cameron's 1986 sequel Aliens, which both Blomkamp (and I) admire deeply. While Chappie was going through post-production, Blomkamp concocted ideas for a sequel that'd feature Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Michael Biehn's Hicks, despite the fact that both characters were killed in Alien3. (Ripley was reanimated in the ill-fated four-quel Alien: Resurrection.)

Over the last 18 years, the Alien franchise has fallen on hard times. Scott returned to that domain in his sporadically entertaining Prometheus, yet ignored the so-called "Xenomorph" parasite designed for him by Swiss surrealist H. R. Giger. Thanks in large part to its pop-cultural ubiquity, the Alien now seems scarier in claustrophobic computer games than in amplified blockbuster cinema. While Blomkamp's concepts offer glorious fan service, it should be remembered that Cameron's sequel owes much of its success to how far it strays from its predecessor. While Scott made a locked-mansion slasher film in space, Cameron wrote and directed a Vietnam-style combat movie in which the villains were undeniably slaughter-worthy. So what scares us now? What kind of Alien movie should Blomkamp make? I think it's clear we need to see something new, but something that flows logically from where we went in at least the first two films. (I, for one, would be happy to retcon this series by ignoring everything since 1986.) I think the solution underlies John Hurt's memorable demise aboard the Nostromo, Jeff Goldblum's dive into the gene pool in the 1986 remake of The Fly, and Sharlto Copley's degeneration in District 9. So what scares us now? Why, the realm of the medical.

So why won't that cut heal? Am I catching a faint, putrid whiff of sub-enamel tooth decay? Did I spend too many hours in a tanning bed? As we get older, and God knows we Alien fans have been doing that, it's the slow ruination of our bodies that keeps us up nights. I think it's time for the Xenomorph to crawl back under our skin.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and remember to nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens,

February 23, 2015 at 7:50am

5 Things To Do Today: Author Holly Black, Intro to Urban Gardening, Makedonians, Audio Elixir ...

Author Holly Black / photo courtesy of Youtube

MONDAY, FEB. 23, 2015 >>>

1. Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does. ... This is how author Holly Black thinks. She discusses her new fantasy novel The Darkest Part of the Forest at 7 p.m. in the University Place Pierce County Library.

2. The Evergreen State College Tacoma will offer a four-session life enrichment course called "Intro to Urban Gardening," Monday evenings, Feb. 23-March 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.  The class costs $100, which includes materials and a home consultation with course instructor Dean Jackson, who is executive director of Hilltop Urban Gardens, a food sovereignty and social justice organization in Tacoma. Jackson has been growing food in urban settings for 10 years and is a master gardener in Pierce County. Course topics will include site selection, building a raised bed, starting a planting calendar and creating proper soil for plant health. During the first session, students will start seeds indoors that will be available as transplants at the end of the class. This non-credit course is geared toward the general public and beginning gardeners with an interest in growing their own food.

3. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers. The shuffle is sometimes called double two-step or traveling swing, for it also uses components of two-step and the popular East Coast swing. The hoedown begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Olympia Elks Lodge.

4. Throughout the Makedonians' rollicking, energetic set of traditional Balkan music at 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye, you will be treated to lessons in Greek musical geography, five-tone scale harmony (most "western" music uses the seven) and how to count some of the more unusual time signatures, ranging from 5 to 25 beats in a measure.

5. Blues trio Audio Elixir performs at 8 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

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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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