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February 2, 2012 at 7:16am

5 Things To Do Today: Jeremy Gregory hug, bluegrass jam, "200 Pound Beauty," Beat Fetish! ...

Meet Jeremy Gregory ??" and maybe have your teeth cleaned - tonight at Brooks Dental Studio.

THURSDAY, FEB. 2, 2012 >>>

1. Tacoma figurative painter and editorial cartoonist Jeremy Gregory has taken his dark sense of humor to the world of puppetry. We don't need to tell you that since you recognized his talent on the Halloween and Christmas covers of the Weekly Volcano. Gregory will showcase his original puppets made from repurposed materials from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the artist reception of his Tiny Circles show at Brooks Dental Studio at 732 Broadway in downtown Tacoma.

2. Bluegrass music was born in the '40s from the fast fingers of mandolin player Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, and from there quickly took its place as a cornerstone of American music. As an offshoot of country, it's often associated with the South, but Tacomans who love the twang of the banjo or tight climb of the mandolin need look no further than the next three days at the Mandolin Cafe. The neighborhood gathering spot will host the Rhythm and Roots Weekend kicking off with a good ol' fashion bluegrass jam tonight from 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights are loaded with local talent; click here for details.

3. The 10th anniversary of the Sister Cities International Film Festival opens at 6:15 p.m. at Tacoma's Blue Mouse Theater with 200 Pound Beauty from Gunsan, South Korea - a sister city of Tacoma since 1978. According to promotion for 200 Pound Beauty, Hanna is a famous Korean pop singer who also suffers from poor self-esteem. In the film, Hanna "makes the decision of a lifetime to have full-body plastic surgery." More information on the Sister Cities International Film Fest can be found at sistercityfilmfest.org.

4. Ah, Ricky J's in Puyallup. It's a nice family restaurant. They have a bunch of karaoke nights. And they serve coconut shrimp. But on Thursday nights Alan Smith brings in national-touring comics for big shows at 8 p.m. We're talking $15 at the door big shows. Tonight, Gabriel Rutledge and friends will be in the house.

5. Oh, the plight of the fashionable Tacoma basshead. All dolled up with a $125 Soma record bag and no place to go. No record shop counter to trade esoteric labels by, no listening booths to thoughtfully nod bleached heads at. Boo hoo - nowhere to share your chic catalogue number trivia. Well, at least you have tonight at the new Deltan Club. DJs Omarvelous, Bada$$ Paul Wheeler, Jess E Bomb, Electro and guests will spin at "Beat Fetish!" beginning at 10 p.m. Ah, just a techstep away.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

LINK: Local happy hours

January 31, 2012 at 7:23am

5 Things To Do Today: "Kawasaki's Rose," Tacoma's Secret opens, Peru chat, American Nights ...

The Grand will screen "Kawasaki's Rose," a drama about family and politics, the role of memory in relationships, and that of jealousy, arrogance, love, loyalty and betrayal.

TUESDAY, JAN. 31, 2012 >>>

1. Filmmaker Jan Hrebejk tackles the touchy subject of the collaboration between Czech citizens and their former Communist government with a light, ironic touch in Kawasaki's Rose, the official Czech nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards. The Grand Cinema screens the flick at 1:15 and 6 p.m. as part of its thought-provoking film series on Tuesdays.

2. Chef William and Shannon Mueller, the talent behind Dinner Solutions and Babblin' Babs Bistro, will open up the Parisian-style bistro Secret today for lunch in the back of Babs. With small tables for two, no electronic devices allowed and reservations only (253.761.9099), the Muellers hope you will leave the world behind and savor several courses over good conversation. Read the full story here.

3. Has the commercialization of "traditional" Andean animals like the Guinea Pig for nouveau cuisine or social protest against extractive industries in Latin American been eating away at you? Ease your mind. Professors Maria Elena Garcia (Anthropology; History of Ideas) and Jose Antonio Lucero (International Relations; Latin American and Caribbean Studies) from the University of Washington, Seattle will give a public talk on new trends in the shape and focus of local and transnational indigenous politics in Latin America at 4:30 p.m. inside the Murray Boardroom at the Wheelock Student Center on the University of Puget Sound campus. They will make sense of it all.

4. The Doors tribute band The American Night hits the Red Wind Casino's stage at 8 p.m. Strange days have found us.

5. Our state's credit outlook, Republican presidential race, kitten halftime show ... Let's face it, we could all use a good laugh. So do yourself a favor and enjoy a little levity courtesy of Brett J at 8 p.m. as part of Jazzbones's Ha Ha Tuesdays night.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

LINK: Local happy hours

January 30, 2012 at 6:10am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Shift Happens, Xerxes, Showcase Monday, Mark Riley Band ...

Give Tacoma a hug tonight.

MONDAY, JAN. 30, 2012 >>>

1. Back for year two, Go Local Tacoma's Shift Happens will inhabit The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center today for a daylong extravaganza built on seminars and the power of local businesses. Shift Happens attendees will eat and drink local products, as well as tour booths representing local businesses from 7-9 p.m. Shift Happens will also, once again, include a State of the City address delivered by Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Perhaps most beneficial of all, the event kicks off at 1 p.m. with a litany of "Sustainability Smart Labs," aimed at small businesses. For $10 registrants can sit in on "Key Indicators of successful Entrepreneurs;" "Unlocking Your Situated Advantage: the hidden wealth potential of body, place, and commons;" "Customer Acquisition Tool Box;" and "Becoming a BEST Business." From 6-6:45 p.m. Go Local Tacoma will hand out "Indie Awards" before Mayor Strickland tells us how it is.

2. If discussing civic spaces during the dinner hour is your bag, then you're in luck. Landscape architects Atelier Dreiseitl wants to show you a preliminary plan for transforming the portion of the Prairie Rail Line that runs through the civic heart of the University of Washington Tacoma campus into an active, open space for the community. Get in on the discussion at 5 p.m. inside the William Phillips Hall.

3. Earth Control, Xerxes, Code Orange Kids, White Heat and Tribes perform at the all-ages Red Room in downtown Tacoma beginning at 7 p.m.

4. Mark Riley Band anchors "blues night" at The Swiss beginning at 8 p.m.

5. Magoo's Annex's Micro Mondays with DJ Melodica has become a habit for many, specifically those who enjoy punk, post punk, New Wave, early electronica and garage tunes while waiting for that one damn pool table. Tonight at 8:30 p.m. the "Micro" is shelved for something Melodica calls "Showcase Monday." DJ Darren Selector will be in the house, as well as the band Battersea and a TV theme trivia contest with prizes.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

LINK: Local happy hours

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January 29, 2012 at 8:53am

5 Things To Do Today: Hey Girl opens for Pierced Arrows in Oly, In the Pocket Jazz Night, open mic night with Jeanlizabeth and more ...

Pierced Arrows returns to the Brotherhood in Olympia tonight.

SUNDAY, JAN. 29, 2012 >>>

1. The band Hey Girl is totally Olympia. Sludgy, grungy, dirty and totally cute. And I mean cute in a garage punk way. It makes you wanna crush on the three-piece band, based on their live performances and relatable lyrics - like in the song "Pizza Girl," where the delivery diva is on a pillar of gold, hallowed by catchy riffs and slamming drums. Tonight at The Brotherhood in Oly, Hey Girl, along with local rock 'n' roll shredders Blues Druid, should be the perfect openers for the ever-popular Pierced Arrows. Brace yourself for a night of sweaty, good old-fashion fun. 

2. Drop in on "Jeriactric Jazz" today at the Northern Pacific Coffee Co. in Tacoma. It runs in the afternoon, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there is no cover. It's also all-ages, in case the kids dig on jazz.

3. Speaking of jazz, it's In The Pocket Jazz Night at Tacoma Comedy Club.

4. DJ Keith. Rock, despite his name, will spin country, R&B, hip-hop and Top 40 at North Point Bar and Grill tonight. Action starts at 9 p.m.

5. Now that football season is nearly over you can get back into your Sunday open mic routine, which no doubt includes busting into your song catalogue at Steilacoom Pub and Grill during the Sunday open mic with Jeanlizabeth.

LINK: The Weekend Hustle

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January 28, 2012 at 9:17am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Urban Orchestra, Ben Union, The Blondes featuring Steve Stefanowicz and more ...

Catch Ben Union at Louie G's in Fife tonight.

SATURDAY, JAN. 28, 2012 >>>

1. Tonight, the currently trending Tacoma Urban Orchestra will lay down 14 - XIV Underground, a dance opera by Benjamin Smith-Chenovick, at The Library at Sanford and Son Antiques. Event hype promises the premiere of Acts IV and V from the Tacoma Urban Orchestra's winter show of 2012, plus Colin Reynolds of I Low singing tenor, the dance and choreography of Karin Stevens and Katrina Ellison and the costume design of Lisa Fruichantie. The action starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Sanford and Sons Antiques Library.

2. For the past few years - and working from an unusually strong starting point - Ben Union has been working to hone his sound to a fine point. After emerging on the scene with a potent live show and an even more precise debut LP, The Light, Union and his band - drummer Jared Mira, bassist Seth Mira, guitarist Talon Carpenter and percussionist "Shazam" - have been working hard to take that certain special sound and reduce it to its most effective essence. Tonight the band celebrates the release of a new record at Louie G's in Fife.

3. Both the Tacoma Home and Garden Show (in the Tacoma Dome) and The Washington Sportsmen's Show (at the Puyallup Fair Events Center) continue today with all the awesomeness you expect.

4. The Blondes featuring Steve Stefanowicz perform tonight at the iconic Spar in Old Town Tacoma. Starts at 8 p.m.

5. On the all-ages front, The Loose Buoys, Dale Everett and the Broken Song Byrds play Tahoma Tea and Co - also known as The Den, for those playing at home. The good times roll at 7 p.m.

LINK: The Weekend Hustle

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

January 27, 2012 at 9:13am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Social, "The Folk Inspired Cello," Big Mini Golf Classic and more ...

Normandie Wilson will be at Le Voyeur in Olympia tonight. PHOTO: Facebook

FRIDAY, JAN. 27, 2012 >>>

1. If you picked up your copy of the Weekly Volcano this week you already know all about Camp 6, Tacoma's newest movement to support local style, business and arts. Tonight meet the folks behind Camp 6, along with whoever else happens to stop by, at Anthem Coffee & Tea during what Camp 6 is calling the Tacoma Social. The good times start at 8 p.m. Moving forward, Camp 6 will hold a Tacoma Social event on the last Friday of each month.

2. It's no lie when the University of Puget Sound website touts David Requiro as a prize-winning cellist. Requiro is also an artist in residence at UPS, who tonight will bust out The Folk Inspired Cello along with violinist Maria Sampen and pianist Tanya Stambuk as part of the Jacobsen Series of concerts. Find more info here.

3. While smacking the ball through the windmill and past the sand trap might not seem like it has anything at all to do with helping bring the fine arts to the stage in Olympia, quite the opposite is true. The proof: This week sees the return of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts' Big Mini Golf Classic, which invites patrons of all ages to play a mini-golf course that winds throughout the building. Tonight a 21+ mini-golf party will see foursomes playing through various snack bars and "watering holes," while also enjoying a chipping contest on the main stage.

4. Normandie Wilson takes to the tiny stage at Le Voyeur in Olympia tonight. It's free, but donations are appreciated.

5. Get swanky with the Lance Buller Trio tonight at Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge. The memories start being made at 7 p.m., and continue all night long, baby.

LINK: The Weekend Hustle

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

January 26, 2012 at 9:14am

5 Things To Do Today: Robert Manning, Dukesbay 2012 Play Reading Series kicks off, the Black Swans, Neal Brennan and more ...

He's Neal Brennan, bitch!

THURSDAY, JAN. 26, 2012 >>>

1. Tacoma Community College's Artist & Lecture series continues Thursday with Robert Manning, PhD - billed in pre-event hype as a research professor and founding director of the Center for Consumer Financial Services, and "a specialist in the deregulation of household debt, consumer finance, economic development, immigration and globalization." Manning will be in Tacoma at TCC to talk about all of this, and likely his book, Credit Card Nation: America's Dangerous Addiction to Credit. Best of all: it's free and open to the public. Considering how much you put on the Discover Card during the holidays, free events are a good thing.

2. Dukesbay Productions presents its first monthly staged reading as part of the 2012 Play Reading Series. The series is made up of the work of Puget Sound-area playwrights, with tonight's focusing on the work of Roger Iverson. The action goes down at Trinity Presbyterian Church Fellowship hall and it's free.

3. The Black Swans, in Olympia tonight for a show at the Guest House, is not the type of band that lifts you up with bouncy, hopeful energy. The Black Swans don't dabble in sunshine pop or carefree smiles without caveats. What the Black Swans do deal in - led by the singer Jerry Decicca - is lonesome and morose reality, achieving a package weighted with emotion and sparse comfort. It's hipster country with a healthy splash of despair, and that's something today's tastemakers have been able to get behind. Pitchfork gave the Black Swans' latest record, Don't Blame the Stars, a solid 7.5, while Paste weighed in on the LP with an 8.4. But beyond any of these contemporary accolades, what makes the Black Swans worth your attention is the band's diligence in crating songs that often border on the morose, while managing to avoid coming off like yet another act tugging at heartstrings simply for career gain.

4. Think you were bummed when Dave Chappelle decided he didn't want to do his hilarious-ass TV show anymore? Think you cried for days? Think you wondered what to do with your "I'm Rick James, bitch!" coffee mug? Think how comedian, writer and Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan felt. You can reminisce together tonight at the Tacoma Comedy Club when Brennan brings his stand-up act to town. Or you could just laugh at Brennan's jokes. Either way. Brennan will be at the Tacoma Comedy Club all weekend.

5. Get down with country dance lessons tonight at Big Whisky Saloon in downtown Tacoma. Basic lessons kick off at 7:30 p.m., with intermediate and advanced lessons at 8:15 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

January 25, 2012 at 9:18am

5 Things To Do Today: One Act Theater Fest, Narek Arutyunian, Tacoma Home & Garden Show and more...

Johnny A

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 25, 2012 >>>

1. So you like your theater but have trouble with your attention span? Boy, do we have just the theater festival for you! The Pacific Lutheran University chapter of Alpha Psi Omega - described as a national theater honor society (even though it sounds like that frat your cousin with the Ed Hardy wardrobe joined) - presents its annual One Act Theater Festival, today through Jan. 28, at PLU's Eastvold Theater. This year's One-Act Festival bears the title "Loss ... and Found," and spotlights three one-act plays - two of them written by PLU students. According to promotion, expect Recklessness by Eugene O'Neill and directed by Frank Roberts, Otter Pops by Alex Eddy and directed by Corissa DeVerse, and Poor Little Doggy by Myia Johnson and directed by T.R. Robinson.

2. Admittedly, we have a hard time hearing the word "clarinet" and not thinking about junior high band class. And those aren't exactly the type of memories that make us want to head to the concert hall on a Wednesday night. But 19-year-old Narek Arutyunian, coming to Olympia's Washington Center for the Performing Arts tonight, is worth the gamble. One element of what the Washington Center website touts as, "its 16th consecutive year of presenting three of the world's finest young concert musicians in association with Young Concert Artists, Inc," Arutynunian has been widely celebrated for things like his "virtuosity," "warmth" and "charisma." Seeing as we've never had the word "virtuosity" associated with anything we've done in life, it's hard to argue with Arutyunian's street cred ... even if he does play the clarinet. Then there's the fact that, according to the Young Concert Artist Inc. website, Arutyunian has already done things like take home First Prize in the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and receive the Leona Green Memorial Award. Dude's legit.

3. Today marks the kick-off of the always-spectacular Tacoma Home & Garden Show - now in its 29th year. The Home & Garden Show runs through the weekend in the Tacoma Dome, but beat the crowds and get your fill of vinyl siding demonstrations today!

4. Holy cow! Not only does the Tacoma Home & Garden Show start today, so does the Washington Sportsmen's Show & Sport Fishing Boat Show - running the entire weekend at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center. Find more info here.

5. Musically in T-Town, guitar player extraordinaire Johnny A will plug in at Jazzbones for an all-ages show starting at 7:30 p.m. Word on the street is local guitar hero Jerry Miller will join him on stage.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

January 24, 2012 at 9:44am

5 Things To Do Today: Tuesday Film Series at The Grand, Anything Anastasia at The Red Room, Irish Sessions at O'Blarney's and more ...

Anything Anastasia

TUESDAY, JAN. 24. 2012 >>>

1. The Tuesday Film Series at The Grand Cinema continues today with Revenge of the Electric Car. Director Chris Paine's film investigates the intentional destruction of thousands of electric cars in 2006 by the same company that made them, and how the electric car has returned "with a vengeance" since. Show times are 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

2. Anything Anastasia will rock The Red Room in Tacoma tonight. Sharing a bill with My Iron Lung and Myself Aside, the show is all ages and kicks off at 7 p.m.

3. Speaking of all-ages music, the Kareem Kandi Band will play Uncle Thurm's Finger Licking Ribs & Chicken tonight at 8 p.m. Even better - there's no cover.

4. There are abundant trivia choices throughout Tacoma today. Test your brain at any of the following water holes tonight: The Mix, The Hub, Farrelli's or The Swiss. And for a full look at bar trivia nights throughout the South Sound, check out our calendar of events.

5. Down south, it's open mic night at Tugboat Annie's in Olympia, and at O'Blarney's Tuesday means a chance to get in on an "Irish Sessions" - which means live traditional Irish music starting at 7:30 pm.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

January 23, 2012 at 9:24am

5 Things To Do Today: Environmental Seminar series, "The Great Infection of the Sea" with Capt. Charles Moore, Capes & Cowls Book Club and more ...

Great Pacific Garbage Patch / Photo credit: greatpacificgarbagepatch.info

MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2012 >>>

1. It has all the makings of a very green day in Tacoma. At 12:30 p.m. at the University of Washington Tacoma, join Regan Dunn from the UW Seattle's Biology Department as part of the UWT's Environmental Seminar series. Dunn will discuss "Tracking the Evolution of South American Biota of the Middle-Cenozoic of Patagonia, Argentina." Seminars go down in room 309 of the Science building.

2. Capt. Charles Moore's presentation, "The Great Infection of the Sea," has nothing to do with that time Lindsey Lohan gave the entire Strait of Gibraltar Chlamydia (like you read about in US Weekly). Rather, Moore's presentation is actually of paramount importance, with the scientist and activist discussing his book, Plastic Ocean, which, according to pre-event hype, "describes the alarming presence of plastics in our oceans."  Capt. Moore will be at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma today, speaking in the Murray Boardroom in Wheelock Student Center at 5:30 p.m.  The good captain will talk about what he reportedly calls the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in the Pacific Ocean. Information on the U.P.S. website indicates the area is "roughly two million square miles in size," and "is estimated to hold an estimated three million tons of plastic debris." Should be some uplifting chats.

3.. Holy nerd alert, Batman! It's the fourth Monday of the month - which means the super hero-centric Capes & Cowls Book Club - billed as a "... book club adapted to mutants, aliens, technogeeks and puny humans who like to read superhero comics" - holds its monthly meeting at King's Books. January's super hero-y selection is The Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne.

4. Greta Jane Quartet begins its Monday night run at the 4th Avenue Tavern in downtown Olympia tonight. Catch the local favorites from 9 - 11 p.m.

5. Mondays mean all-ages trivia at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma, hosted by Jeff Ross. The quizzical fun starts at 6 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

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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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