Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 16, 2015 at 7:44am

5 Things To Do Today: LaVon Hardison, Kids 'N' Critters, "Underwhelmed," Maia Santell ...

LaVon Hardison and band perform at Rhythm and Rye tonight.

MONDAY, FEB. 16 2015 >>>

1. LaVon Hardison has never been any one thing. Although she's identified herself as a jazz singer, the classically trained vocalist has a broad range of sources, including gospel and blues. What comes through is a voice and this combination of something very hopeful and effervescent and sparkling and also some kind of melancholy. Hardison creates music that makes you sit up and take notice - a modern jazz singer who is redefining the genre. You could make a checklist of things that jazz vocalists today do, and she does a lot if not all of them. Pianist Dr. David Deacon, bassist Osama Affifi and drummer Jeff Busch - extremely talented musicians - will join Hardison at 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye.

2. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park hosts its annual Kids ‘N' Critters weekend at the wildlife park from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You'll see bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose and deer roaming the 435-acre park. But, keep an eye out for those evil squirrels during your 30-minute tram rides. Bonus: Up to four children 12 and younger will be admitted free to Northwest Trek with each paying adult over the long Presidents Weekend. Expect story times, special workshops, moose crafts ... and squirrels.

3. 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.

4. Jazz and blues band Maia Santell & House Blend will perform at 8 p.m. inside 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.

February 14, 2015 at 9:30am

5 Things To Do Today: TUSH! Burlesque, Kids ‘N' Critters, Harlem Globetrotters, Neil Andersson Trio ...

From left: Ginger Smack, Edyn Beaver, Aurora Darling, Nani Poonani, Miss Hattie Hotpants, Wednesday du Monde, Bettie Beelzebub and Princess Lucky Buttons. Photo by Ashley McKenzie, courtesy TUSH! Burlesque

SATURDAY, FEB. 14 2015 >>>

1. When it comes to love, anything is possible. Love makes the world, and your heart, spin. Love makes the soul sing. When the subject is love, let nothing be in moderation. TUSH! Burlesque will present multifaceted emotions of passion, temptation and lust at 9 p.m. in the Capitol Theater. It's a valentine to the sights, sounds and sexiness of Olympia, featuring our readers' 2014 pick for Oly's best band, Full Moon Radio. Read Christian Carvajal's Q&A with the women of TUSH! Burlesque in the Music & Culture section.

2. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park hosts its annual Kids ‘N' Critters weekend at the wildlife park from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You'll see bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose and deer roaming the 435-acre park. But, keep an eye out for those evil squirrels during your 30-minute tram rides. Bonus: Up to four children 12 and younger will be admitted free to Northwest Trek with each paying adult over the long Presidents Weekend. Expect story times, special workshops, moose crafts ... and squirrels.

3. The Harlem Globetrotters have come along way from traveling to their very first games in founder-coach Abe Saperstein's Model "T" Ford. Back in 1926, their astounding antics, athleticism, wizardry and hijinks won the world over from the start. Hmm, take the children to this: It's simply not acceptable for them to go around thinking the Nike ballers invented these amazing feats of dribbling. Catch the Trotters at 2 and 7 p.m. in the ShoWare Center in Kent. This is history, baby!

4. The Blackberry Bushes Stringband, Wild Rabbit and Renegade Stringband will bring their stringband mayhem to Rhythm & Rye at 9 p.m. - part of a larger tour, informally dubbed "The Winter Tour of Stringband Mayhem," which has the three bands visiting eight Northwest cities. There is a strong roots music scene in the Northwest that spans the whole spectrum from traditionalists to those using traditional elements in more modern pop or rock influences. The Blackberry Bushes (Seattle), Wild Rabbit (Bellingham) and Renegade Stringband (Portland) span that spectrum. The Blackberry Bushes perform mostly original material, but they'll keep a thread of bluegrass and old-time going through their show. Wild Rabbit is a little more pop. Renegade is a little more traditional.

5. Local gypsy guitar legend Neil Andersson of Pearl Django is joined by well known next generation heavyweights Josh Hegg and Cameron Arneson for an enchanted evening of Hot Club Jazz, Django style at 9:30 p.m. in Doyle's Public House.

February 13, 2015 at 7:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Skrill Meadow, artist Glory Cancro, Air Supply, "My Bloody Valentine" ...

Skrill Meadow performs at Deadbeat Olympia record store tonight. photo courtesy of skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com

FRIDAY, FEB. 13 2015 >>>

1. We were surprised and delighted to hear the latest from Skrill Meadow, the one-man band of Markly Morrison. Private Memories is an album of straight-up slow jams, albeit jams coming directly from one shitty tape machine to your ear. Despite his limitations, Morrison embodies the consummate frontman, reeking of sex and brimming with confidence, even if it may be buried beneath layers of tape hiss. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Skrill Meadow in the music and Culture section, then catch him with Jupiter Sprites and Grey Waves at 8 p.m. in Deadbeat Olympia record store.

2. Join Metro Parks Tacoma for their annual pre-V Day Wine and Chocolate event at the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at 5:30 p.m. A $30 ticket includes an opportunity to sip on wine and champagne paired with chocolate covered strawberries and truffles while you mingle among glorious floral decorations. Live music will also be onsite. Must be 21 and over to attend. Tickets can be purchased at the conservatory or the Metro Parks main office. For more details, call 253.591.5330.

3. Inspired by her love of Da Vinci's anatomical studies - visceral, instinctive, deep rooted - a necessary part of our human makeup, artist Glory Cancro presents "Music, Tea & Art" from 7-10 p.m. at Mad Hat Tea Company. "I wanted to do something for Valentine's Day and the body parts seemed to fit," says Mad Hat co-owner Maureen McHugh. Singer/songwriter Riley Egge and friends will provide the soundtrack for the art show.

4. "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" was a 1983 fixture on pizzeria jukeboxes across the country. That ballad, warbled by Russell Hitchcock of Australian soft-rock stalwarts Air Supply, was written by songwriting powerhouse Jim Steinman and actually features two members of the E Street Band. It remained at #2 for three weeks, boxed out of the top spot by another Steinman opus, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." It was a freaking epic time on the radio. And if none of this means anything to you, then you, my friend, are not in your mid-40s. But for some of us, the sound of Air Supply is the sound of first love. So here we are, Air Supply, the ones that you love, just when we thought we were over you, 8:30 p.m., Emerald Queen Casino.

5. Twenty years after a Valentine's Day tragedy, a small town prepares for its annual holiday dance. When a box of candy arrives containing an eerie warning and a blood soaked heart, the townsfolk realize that this Valentine's Day romance is as good as dead ... AND SO ARE THEY! My Bloody Valentine will be Reverend-Joe Duncan's final Friday Night Frights film at the Blue Mouse Theatre. Expect prizes, goodies and screams, beginning at 10 p.m.

February 12, 2015 at 7:36am

5 Things To Do Today: Stringband Mayhem, bicycling film, Oly Old Time Festival, "The Sunset Limited" ...

The Blackberry Bushes Stringband perform at The Swiss restaurant and Pub tonight.

THURSDAY, FEB. 12 2015 >>>

1. The Blackberry Bushes Stringband, Wild Rabbit and Renegade Stringband will bring their stringband mayhem to The Swiss at 9 p.m. - part of a larger tour, informally dubbed "The Winter Tour of Stringband Mayhem," which has the three bands visiting eight Northwest cities. There is a strong roots music scene in the Northwest that spans the whole spectrum from traditionalists to those using traditional elements in more modern pop or rock influences. The Blackberry Bushes (Seattle), Wild Rabbit (Bellingham) and Renegade Stringband (Portland) span that spectrum. The Blackberry Bushes perform mostly original material, but they'll keep a thread of bluegrass and old-time going through their show. Wild Rabbit is a little more pop. Renegade is a little more traditional.

2. Explore the social change, events and people that can lead to a bike-friendly city through an interactive free screening of AfterMass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland at 6:30 p.m. in The Grand Cinema. The movie will be followed by a community discussion on how changes can happen in Tacoma. Free tickets are available at The Grand on a first-come, first-served basis.

3. The seventh annual Oly Old Time Festival kicks off tonight with a square dance featuring the Grizzle Grazzle Tune Snugglers and Evie Ladin calling from 7-9 p.m. at The Olympia Ballroom. What will follow will be several of the country's best purveyors of traditional Appalachian and old time American music Friday through Sunday. For the full schedule, visit olyoldtime.weebly.com.

4. Working Class Theater NW presents its second full-length production, Cormac McCarthy's The Sunset Limited, exploring religion through the dynamic lens of American race relations, at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Youth Theater space, 924 Broadway. Directed by Tim Samland and starring local actors Aaron Bredlau (White) and Jack House (Black), The Sunset Limited opening scene begins immediately after Black rescues White from jumping in front of a train. From that chance meeting, the two men explore the depths of faith and conviction that have led them down such opposite paths.

5. Here's a worth hip-hop show. Rashan Amad of Oakland's The Crown City Rockers and Sleep of Oldominion will perform at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur's back music room.

February 11, 2015 at 7:18am

5 Things To Do Today: The Life of Elliott Smith, Kegs For Keepers, Kareem Kandi, One Love Wednesday ...

Elliott Smith as seen on the cover of "Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith," which will be discussed tonight in Olympia.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10 2015 >>>

1. Before Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein branded Portland, Oregon, Elliott Smith did the same - except his Portland was about self-loathing. He told stories about addicts getting off the bus at Southeast Powell Boulevard and 6th Avenue to cop, and chronicled the absurd ritual of the Rose Parade. After battling depression, drugs and alcohol for years, Smith committed suicide Oct. 21, 2003. He was 34. William Todd Schultz, a professor of psychology, chronicled Smith's childhood and adolescence in the book, Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith, offering critical insight into the musician as both an individual and an artist, as well as into the myriad influences that shaped his music and lyrical content. Schultz will drop by the Olympia Timberland Library at 7:30 p.m. to offer a presentation on the life and music of Smith - specifically rare audio recordings and early versions of lyrics for the potent Smith song, "King's Crossing." Q & A will follow.

2. The ParkWay Tavern will host Drinking for Conservation's Kegs For Keepers night. Fifty cents of every beer, cider and wine sold between 6 and 10 p.m. will help fund the Point Defiance Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers.

3. Over the past week the Weekly Volcano has published 53 stories on the changes going down at Narrows Brewing Company. Head brewer Joe Walts is headed back home to Madison Wisconsin and his old job as quality control manager at Ale Asylum Brewery. Mike Davis will tie on the Narrows' head brewer apron next week. The folks at Puyallup River Brewing Alehouse bid Walts a fond farewell shining a light on Narrows Brewing beers, beginning at 6 p.m. Drop by and thank Walts for the tasty beers, and maybe even win a raffle prize.

4. Saxophonist Kareem Kandi has hosted an open jazz session for years, a backyard patio for his music school friends, fellow musicians and newbies to jam out standards - fresh, fiery and exciting. The jam now resides every second Wednesday at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

5. Happy (late) birthday, Bob Marley! Although Tacoma's reigning dancehall king, DJ Qualifi, keeps it bangin' at Champions every Saturday night, there is another notable spot hosting a weekly, free Wednesday reggae/dancehall joint. One Love Wednesday at Jazzbones getting irie on Sixth Avenue with rotating bands, a DJ between sets and finishing the night off for the party people. At 9 p.m., The Sindicate takes the stage.

February 10, 2015 at 10:44am

Nerd Alert! Kingsman, Fifty Shades of Crap, Saturday Night Live, Valentine's Day movies!

"SNL" debuted in 1975 with Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Dan Aykroyd, Lorraine Newman and Gilda Radnor. Photo courtesy of Facebook

In a van down by the river, 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.


This weekend brings two movies I think are worthy of your attention, and one that is worthy of your derision. First, let's talk about Kingsman: The Secret Service, a nutball actioner from Matthew Vaughn of X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass fame. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as its over-the-top villain (because the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision Jackson v. Rickman decreed every movie has to do that now) and Colin Firth as a swanky British superspy. It's been screening and earning raves around the Western world for months. It's kind of like 20th Century Fox knows it has a good thing going. So why, then, is Kingsman debuting in February? Why not? Are you complaining? Would you rather see Jupiter Ascending? I thought not.

The Last Five Days is a musical romance debuting in select U.S. markets, though probably not in South Puget just yet. The advance word says Anna Kendrick is terrific, the movie itself maybe better as a play. Still, if you've never caught this charming two-hander in a theater, perhaps Kendrick's appeal and actual vocal chops will pull you on board.

Or hey, maybe you have zero taste and you're drooling for Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah. I hate it that much. "Mr. Grey will see you now!" Not if I see him first. Variety reports it's the fastest selling R-rated movie in Fandango history, while film critic Kim Kardashian tweeted, "OMG it's sooooo good!!!!! (sic)" If the movie is anything like the book, however, nooooo, it's not!!!!! It's fifty shades of crap. By way of elucidation, check out my 1783-word dissection of the book, helpfully entitled "Fifty Shades of Crap." Do you understand what I'm saying? This book is crap. I hated it THAT MUCH. And if you go see its unwarranted film adaptation, and GOD KNOWS YOU WILL because TAKE THAT, CIVILIZATION AND RATIONALITY AND BESIDES, BY THE WAY, THERE IS NO GOD, then you'll get exactly what you deserve. Also, have fun being eaten by your cats Mr. Pawpaw Patch and Jeffrey when you die of cookie dough consumption and Al-Qaeda-level sexual frustration.


Dozens of Not Ready for Prime Time Players past and present will assemble for Sunday's 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live on NBC, well within prime time at 8. Producer Lorne Michaels says a significant portion of the show is devoted to new performances, instead of the clips and highlight reels E's been running every weekend. Frequent guests Alec Baldwin, Jon Hamm, Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken will return, and Eddie Murphy makes his first SNL appearance in three decades. Even Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson and the much-maligned Chevy Chase will show up. You can bet your Schweddy Balls it'll be a good time.

I've often felt "SNL cast member" would be my dream job, but when I reflect on the talented people who've auditioned and failed - Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Geena Davis, Zach Galifianakis, Kathy Griffin, Kevin Hart, Lisa Kudrow and Aubrey Plaza, among many, many others including 13-time guest host John Goodman - I think I'd have a better shot if I tried out for Chippendales.

Finally, a word on that Whitman's-Sampler-scented, Hallmark-approved celebration known far and wide, to those who can still stomach it at least, as VD. I for one have been dumped on two different Valentine's Days, which took me a few decades to overcome. I'm fine now. Thanks for asking. The point is some of us are still leery of making a big deal of February 14th, even if we happen to find ourselves consciously coupled at the time. So to you, my fellow star-crossed lovers, I offer sweet, romantic movies to throw on your Netflix queue and watch at home. Take a breather from the Nora Ephron-penned standbys this year. Instead, order a heart-shaped pizza and check out The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a pastel-hued '60s musical in French starring quite possibly the most beautiful woman who ever acted in front of a camera, Mlle. Catherine Deneuve. Speaking of French, perhaps you've never seen Amélie or La Belle et la Bête - quel dommage! His Girl Friday boasts a killer script, and multiple Oscar winner It Happened One Night is a must-see for any self-respecting cineaste. My wife and I nestled into (500) Days of Summer and Silver Linings Playbook, and Say Anything ... has aged as gracefully as Deneuve. If you really want an excuse to drag out the fur-lined handcuffs you received at your bachelorette party, Secretary leaves Fifty Shades in its disciplinarian dust.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and doggone it, may people like you.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, Holidays,

February 10, 2015 at 10:07am

Washington National Guard 351st Aviation Support Battalion deploying to Kuwait

351st Aviation Support Battalion was honored in a deployment ceremony at the Washington National Guard Army Aviation Sustainment Facility #1 on JBLM, Feb. 8. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Dozens of military helicopters were the background for an important ceremony that took place last weekend at the Washington National Guard's Flight Facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

That's because all eyes were on Washington National Guard soldiers from Detachment 1, B Company of the 351st Aviation Support Battalion.

Last summer, these servicemembers had an important role in Washington state by assisting with battling wildfires that plagued Central Washington. 

Bravo Company provided critical maintenance operations for the Guard's helicopters as they dropped 2.5 million gallons of water over the Carlton Complex and Chiwaukum Complex fires. The unit ensured the helicopters continued to operate by working long hours into the night.

This summer, these servicemembers will be tasked with another important role, but this time thousands of miles away in Kuwait.

The unit of more than 35 Washington National Guardsmen will perform aviation maintenance support operations while deployed.

During last weekend's ceremony, the deploying servicemembers were surrounded by their fellow service members, friends and family, who were shown a special slideshow of some of the many recent accomplishments of the 351st. Attendees were also treated to the national anthem and Army Song performed by the 133rd Army Band, and of course, cake!

The 351st cased its colors during the deployment ceremony as part of its preparation to deploy to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

This is the first deployment for the 351st and will be the first under the command of Capt. Daniel Clemons.

Along with the traditional casing of the colors and remarks from the commander, deployment ceremonies are also important venues to connect with the families of the deploying soldiers.

Military families serve, too, and are left to maintain their households and communities while their service member is deployed.

>>> Pfc. Aaron Hamrick cherishes a hug from his daughter during a deployment ceremony for members of the 351st Aviation Support Battalion, Feb. 8. Hamrick will be joined by more than 30 other members of his battalion for a deployment to Kuwait to perform aviation maintenance support operations. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Although families may initially feel as if they are being left behind, the reality is these families receive support and training before, during and even after deployments, as well as the security of 24/7 support throughout.

These are just a few of the major impacts that make Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Programs & Family Programs across the nation so crucial and impactful for those still serving from home.

Spouses and significant others were provided with various resources and contacts and given the opportunity to connect with and ask questions of Washington National Guard Family Programs staff members. Military youth were given USO deployment bears that allow them to insert a photo of their deploying parent.

The adjutant general for the Washington National Guard, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, joined other general officers and commanders for the departure ceremony.

This ceremony not only provided support from their peers and bosses, but also provided service members with the security of knowing that their families will be taken care of during their deployment.

February 10, 2015 at 7:11am

5 Things To Do Today: Oscar nominated documentary shorts, CRAVE: An Early Glimpse of Spring, Classical Tuesdays ...

Gabriel Serra Arguello's "The Reaper (La Parka)" is artfully shot, but frequently stomach churning images make it a difficult (but at times beautiful) watch.

TUESDAY, FEB. 10 2015 >>>

1. Oscar nominees for Documentary Shorts will screen at 1:45 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema. A film of startling intimacy, the elegiac Joanna follows a mother diagnosed with terminal cancer, and focuses mostly on her conversations with her precocious 5-year-old son. The sometimes harrowing Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 spotlights the critical work being done by the counselors at the Veterans Crisis Line in Canandaigua, New York, as they attempt to provide support to veterans contemplating suicide. In the heartrendingly empathetic Our Curse, director Tomasz Sliwinski documents his and his wife's struggles caring for their infant son, who has a rare, and potentially fatal, breathing disorder. Christian Jenson's White Earth chronicles life through the eyes of three children whose fathers' work in the oil fields of North Dakota. And Gabriel Serra Arguello's The Reaper (La Parka) follows a worker at a Mexican slaughterhouse.

2. The W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory says the flowers are blooming; the birds are chirping; more and more frequently the sun peeks through the glass dome. So, the Conservatory will open "CRAVE: An Early Glimpse of Spring" at 10 a.m. with featured flowers azaleas, cyclamen, tulips, clivia, cymbidium orchids, assorted species of winter blooming orchids, vireyas (sub-tropical rhododendrons) and oxalis (purple shamrocks).

3. Commencement Bay Haiku will meet at 6 p.m. in King's Books to read haiku or one page of haibun (prose with haiku), as well as discuss various aspects of haiku, haibun, or haiga (a painting, sketch or photo with haiku). It's not easy to convert the innards of your soul into scrawled words on paper and then wax rhapsodic as judging eyes stare at you. You have our permission to use this haiku at King's: "At the tractor pull / We shared super nachos, Coors / Belched each others' names."

4. In appreciation of these 10 years that the Slavonian-American Benevolent Society has opened their lovely hall for the Classical Tuesdays in Old Town Tacoma concerts, the 6 p.m. concert will featuring music of the Croatian and the Balkan regions. Clare Petrich, owner of Petrich Marine Dock in Tacoma, will lead the night off with a presentation "From Old Town, Dalmatia to Old Town, Tacoma ... And Back Again: An Ancestral Journey to Croatia." At 7 p.m., the female a cappella group Dunava will be followed by Dave & the Dalmatians band.

5. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love. Sadly, through a combination of inner turmoil and bad management decisions, the mighty Moby Grape broke up in 1969. However, their debut album is still considered one of the best of all time by many critics, in part because of the nimble fingers of guitarist Jerry Miller. 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.

February 9, 2015 at 5:40pm

"The Age of Love" focuses on speed-daters older than 65

"The Age of Love" delves deeply into the emotional lives of 70 to 90 year olds at a speed dating event, as their still-hopeful hearts look for love. Photo copyright 2013 Steven Loring, all rights reserved

"Time makes you bolder," a sage once observed. "Even children get older." That philosopher, one Stephanie Nicks, is now 66 years old. According to the USDA's Administration on Aging, about one in eight Americans are Ms. Nicks's age or over. We're all gettin' older, too: the organization projects that by 2030, 72.1 million of us will be over 65, representing about a fifth of the country. I'll be 62 that year. And although we've been afraid of changin', the aging of Gen X-ers like me will drive this country in certain directions. It may be that emerging technologies will widen the gap between rich and poor by allowing some Americans to upload and preserve their conscious natures. Some experts warn against threats to Social Security brought on by increasing lifespans of folks past retirement age. Already the ratio of those receiving to those paying into Social Security benefits is 35:100, and that'll rise to 46:100 by 2030. With Ensure-drinking Boomers thriving into their 80s and even 90s, many face the devastating trauma of outliving their spouses or partners.

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the children within our hearts rise above? Even those who've built their lives around someone who's unfortunately no longer with us can climb a mountain and turn around. A new documentary, The Age of Love, addresses this struggle by focusing on a speed-dating event for daters aged 70 to 90. (Love Connection host Chuck Woolery, by the way, now qualifies at age 73.) It's already earned raves at film festivals and the AARP National Expo in Boston. Now it's coming to Yelm, at Senior Living Rosemont, and better yet? It's free, just in time for Valentine's Day. Awww!

The truth is we all face changing ocean tides, but there's no need to let the landslide bring us down with it. The Age of Love demonstrates a pressing need to give attention to the love lives of seniors, and it seeks to open a dialogue about how to make the last decades of our lives as sweet as the second or third. "No one, not even my children, ask me what's in my heart anymore," one documentary subject observes. It's time for that to change. As one speed dater says, "Let's go on the assumption that the Lord gives you 75 years. You gonna waste it?"

THE AGE OF LOVE, 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, Senior Living Rosemont, 215 Killion Rd. NW, Yelm, free admission, 360.458.1800

Filed under: Screens,

February 9, 2015 at 3:37pm

Skanska USA, BCRA partner with JBLM nonprofit for new 2-2 SBCT memorial

A sketch of the proposed Lancer Brigade Memorial. Courtesy illustration

In just a few short months, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team will finally have a memorial on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The monument will join several other unit memorials in the installation's Memorial Park, which is located on Lewis Main near the Cascade Community Center.

Groundbreaking is set to begin soon, and a dedication ceremony is planned for the end of May.

"We are currently the only Stryker brigade on the installation without a memorial for its fallen soldiers," said Danielle L'Heureux, a 2/2 spouse and chairwoman of the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund, a nonprofit 501c3 organization. "It's an important thing to make happen."

The project has been in the works since 2013 and is a joint effort between construction company Skanska, design and engineering firm BRCA, their subcontractors and the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund.

Angela Crabtree, a spouse in the brigade at the time, initially approached members of Skanska to ask if they would be willing to help with the project.

"As with each Skanska project, we look for opportunities to give back to the communities that we work in," said Brian Urban, a senior project manager with Skanska who is leading the JBLM memorial effort, "whether it's donating toys to the toy drive, sponsoring and building a gingerbread house to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and donating services to build a memorial. On top of that, it is an honor to help pay tribute to fallen soldiers."

Skanska, BRCA and their subcontractors have donated thousands of dollars in manpower and materials toward the 2/2 memorial project, and the Lancer Fund is working to raise the roughly $23,000 needed to pay for the granite pillars. Fundraising was slow to start, but monies are now starting to add up. Efforts have included a ride with Northwest Harley Davidson in Lacey last year that raised thousands of dollars; a similar fundraising event is planned for April 24.

"We are amazed and thrilled that Skanska has been able to pull together all the materials and labor at no cost to us," L'Heureux said. "To have it all donated is awesome."

Work on the project will begin soon. "We are in the process of obtaining a dig permit through JBLM, and once that is in hand, the project will be completed within 30 days," Urban said.

The memorial design features a central bench with boot prints leading away from it with two large granite pillars on each side. The names of the brigade's 51 fallen soldiers will be etched on those pillars, and the back of the bench will read "Seize the High Ground."

When it stood up in 2007, the brigade was known as 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. It was reflagged as 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division three years later after returning from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. Current units include infantry and field artillery battalions, a cavalry squadron and a support battalion.

L'Heureux said she hopes the memorial will bring closure for the families of the fallen. "There isn't one place on this installation [for all of the brigade's fallen soldiers]," she said. "Some battalions have a memorial, but it's in their building and not really for everyone."

The group is also looking to raise money to help defray the cost of bringing in as many Gold Star families from the brigade as possible for the memorial's unveiling and dedication in May.

For more information or to donate, visit the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund on Facebook.

About this blog

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

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