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January 3, 2012 at 6:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Tango lessons, Trio De Vibe, "Weekend" flick, Geeks Who Drink ...

"Weekend" doesn’t embellish its talky romantic encounter.

TUESDAY, JAN. 3, 2012 >>>

1. It's Tuesday, which means The Grand Cinema fires up the popcorn and threads another awesome indie film as part of its Tuesday Film Series. Hitting the screen at 1:30, 3:45 and 6 p.m. will be Director Andrew Haigh's Weekend, starring Tom Cullen and Chris New who have a one-night stand that becomes something more. Roger Ebert says it's"a smart, sensitive, perceptive film, with actors well suited to the dialogue. It underlines the difficulty of making connections outside our individual boxes of time and space."

2. When the folks behind the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice-skating rink arrived to melt the ice and call the downtown attraction a success, kids cried violently, throwing themselves on the ice. What do you do? Extend the run is what you do. Extended through Jan. 8, and running from 4-10 p.m. today, the Franciscan Polar Plaza will be alive with glee.

3. Trio De Vibe will fill the Mandolin Café in Tacoma with swanky jazz beginning at 6 p.m.

4. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. This makes it cool, because you can see all of the different ways it adapted as it spread around the world. Spaniards pronounce c's as a "th." Argentineans say a "y" sound using a "juh." In Costa Rica, the word for cool can be "duanes" or "pura vida," while in southern Spain, it's "guay." So why should you care? Because Tango Puget Sound will kick-off a month long of Tuesday Tango lessons beginning at 7 p.m. inside the South Bay Grange and it would be extra cool if you could whisper "cool" in a cool language into someone's ear.

5. You've read about Geeks Who Drink Quiz Night with Quizmaster Holland Hume. Have you seen the glorious, boozy game show yet? It starts at 8 p.m. inside Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub. It ends with you passed out in your bedroom clutching your game card.

BONUS: Tacoma author Mariss Meyer unveils the Cinder series

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Nightlife It List

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January 2, 2012 at 6:16am

5 Things To Do Today: Palmer Jct., drop-in volleyball, Java Jive, Rockaraoke ...

Palmer Jct. blues band plays a free show at 8 p.m. inside The Swiss.

MONDAY, JAN. 2, 2012 >>>

1. With three different singers, dual lead guitars and a solid rhythm sections around, Enumclaw's Palmer Jct blues band will fill The Swiss with, um, blues, but also soul, funk and a bit of jazz beginning at 8 p.m.

2. Drop-In Volleyball at the Center At Norpoint begins at 6 p.m. Dig it.

3. Put down the ice beer in 2012 and become the drinker you've always wanted to be. Start at the 1022 South lounge on Hilltop Tacoma.

4. Go to the Java Jive dressed as Neo, drink PBR, and play pool. But do it when it’s just you and a few friends, Junior, and two mentally questionable but enthusiastic “musicians.” These two should go by only their first names — one of them preceded by the title “Rockin’“ or “Crazy.” Get three Red Vines for 25 cents. More awesome ideas can be found in our 85 Things To Do In Tacoma Before You Die.

5. Ya ya ya - Rockaraoke at Jazzbones at 9 p.m. But have you actually gone? You'll be surprised at its awesomeness.

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January 1, 2012 at 10:01am

5 Things To Do: Ice Skating, Hangover Nursing, Polar Bear Plunge and more ...

Brrr. Get in on the Polar Bear Plunge this morning at Point Defiance Marina.

SUNDAY, JAN. 1, 2011 >>>

1. Here at the Weekly Volcano we take our showers warm. We're kind of wimps. But there are plenty of tough, adventurous, rosy-cheeked folks out there who live on the edge, no doubt partaking in activities like today's Polar Bear Plunge at Point Defiance Marina. According to hype, the New Year's Day cold-water fiasco presents a chance to get 2012 off on the right foot. As the press release says, "The New Year offers opportunities to set new goals and try new things, so get your bucket list out and come take the Plunge with other jubilant merrymakers at the Point Defiance Marina." The all-ages Polar Bear plunge will go down rain or shine, starting at 11:30 a.m.

2. If you have yet to check out the ice skating adventures in currently being offered in Tollefson, today might just be your chance to do so. With its stay recently extended through Jan. 8, The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is a covered outdoor rink is about half the size of a hockey rink. It will have real ice and hold about 150 skaters at a time. And it's pretty awesome.

3. Nursing a hangover? Find your way to The Grand Cinema in Tacoma for a great movie in a dark room. My Week with Marilyn, The Descendants, Shame and Young Adult are currently playing. In Olympia, the place to hit is the Capitol Theater, where The Rum Diary and Margin Call are playing.  

4. There's a ton of football on today. New Year's Day is synomous the pigskin. Browse the Weekly Volcano's bar listings and find the perfect place to watch whatever game interests you.

5. So far, it's a pretty nice day. And since one of your New Year's resolutions undoubtedly involves being healthier (read: less fat), try an enjoyable walk through one of Tacoma's parks or along the Ruston Way waterfront. In Oly, a jaunt around Capitol Lake is always a good time. Or, if you're looking for more than just a walk, in Tacoma get in on the Metro Parks New Year's Day Dance at the South Park Community Center.

EXTRA CREDIT: The West Coast Bridal Showcase continues today at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.

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December 31, 2011 at 9:27am

5 Things To Do Today: The BreakLites at Top of Tacoma, First Night, Occupy Tacoma NYE and more

Bring in the New Year tonight at Top of Tacoma Bar & Cafe with the BreakLites. PHOTO: Patrick Snapp

SATURDAY, DEC. 31, 2011 >>>

1. Something about the BreakLites calling their new album RAPFACE - all caps, accompanied by an illustration of a vicious animal with the title clenched in his teeth - seems weirdly incongruous when compared to the music the BreakLites make. The packaging is so aggro that when you finally hear what the BreakLites do, you can't help but laugh. This is a hip-hop group that places a premium on the sound of the record; this is an album that mostly drifts along amiably, MC Cruel's steady stream of words floating on top of a bed of tight beats and smooth melodies - melodies that, for the most part, stay out of the way of the rap. With the exception of the occasional scratchy guitar lick popping through the mix, the music just serves to buoy and support the vocals. Tonight, catch the BreakLites at the Top of Tacoma Bar & Café for what promises to be a kick-ass New Year's Eve throwdown.

2. The Brotherhood Lounge in Olympia tops the dichotomy list. At the heart of this red-walled haven of booze, dancing and debauchery are community and solidarity. You see, while you kiss the closest beautiful face at midnight tonight- colorful balloons dropping all around and your head dizzy with drinks - you can take solace in the fact that if you were to drop dead at this point, at least you know half of your door money is going to Safeplace, a local non-profit that supports victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. DJ Dead-Air, from Portland, will be spinning all night, and has been said to induce spiritual journeys through his picks of ‘80s, rawk, punk, disco and more. Awesome.

3. If you're the revolutionary type who likes to brave the elements, there will be hip-hop and other live music down at the Occupy Tacoma camp for New Year's Eve tonight. The Occupiers in Tacoma are bearing in for the winter, and have no plans to leave. They've outlasted Occupiers in New York, Seattle and many other cities. This is the second event Occupy Tacoma has hosted with Hip-Hop Occupies, which is a national group using hip-hop culture to infuse the Occupy movement with renewed energy. Catch Volcano's hip-hop scribe Josh Rizeberg in action, along with the locally-loved band the Fun Police.

4. First Night Tacoma - an annual, all-ages, family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration - follows the Chinese lunar calendar, and this year is the year of the dragon.  In this spirit there will be two large dragons making an appearance at the festival - a 35-foot creation by Metro Parks Tacoma, and a 14-foot fire-breathing metal beast. "We're really stepping up the fire aspect to mitigate the cold," says co-event director Lance Kagey. First Night buttons - available at many businesses in the Stadium and Theater Districts - will get you into all of the stages and events for the evening (not to mention free admission to Tacoma's museums during the day). At 6:30 p.m. First Night Tacoma officially kicks off in the Theater District with a parade. Throughout the evening, attendees can enjoy music on 12 stages. Bands and performers will include regional acts such as Roman Holiday, Rumbeggae and Vamola. Find more First Night info here.

5. If you like burgers and/or karaoke with a live band, you may want to consider Varsity Grill's New Year's Eve celebration, offering an all-ages chance to karaoke your ass off with the live "Rock-Bot" backing band, not to mention bring in the New Year in style. Oh, and did we mention Varsity Grill is giving away a very meaty prize - a burger a day for all of 2012? Only a silly vegan could pass up such an awesome opportunity.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

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December 30, 2011 at 10:16am

5 Things To Do Today: Blackberry Bushes, James Hilborne & the Painkillers, December's Eve Concert and more ...

Catch James Hilborne & the Painkillers tonight at the New Frontier Lounge.

FRIDAY, DEC. 30, 2011 >>>

1. The music of James Hilborne and the Painkillers would be odd in any number of places, but, in Tacoma, it's more or less an anomaly. Ostensibly, the Painkillers play Americana: streaks of country twang and blues rock run through the band's songs, but these elements are accompanied by errant spells of psychedelia and druggy macabre. On record, the Painkillers' music is tremulous and strange, smothered as it is in the kind of haze that one might think would envelop country rock was born under Tacoma's unforgiving gloomy skies. James Hilborne and the Painkillers are the perfect band to send you drifting dreamily along into New Year's Eve, and from there the uncertain future. Catch the band tonight at the New Frontier Lounge with Humble Cub and special guests.

2. Xylophones, How To Operate Your Brain, Arpeggiator and Books & Covers play an all ages show tonight at the Red Room in Tacoma. Get hip to it. The action starts at 7 p.m. and there's a $5 cover.

3. In Olympia, enjoy the December's Eve Concert at South Puget Sound Community College's Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts tonight, featuring the SPSCC & PSCC Concert Choirs. It's an all ages event and kicks of at 7 p.m.

4. It's a big night for comedy in T-Town as Brian Moote gets into the groove of his weekend stand at the Tacoma Comedy Club, Brad Brake hits the stage at the Grit City Comedy Club and Comedy Underground presents Jim Short at Big Whisky Saloon downtown.

5. The always enjoyable Blackberry Bushes play Traditions Café and World Folk Art in Oly tonight. It starts at 8 p.m. and there is a $10-$15 cover.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

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December 29, 2011 at 9:36am

5 Things To Do Today: Allan Boothe, Religious As Hell, Billy Roy Danger, Nate Jackson's Super Funny Comedy Show and more ...

Hangin' at the Play Pen in Lacey ...

THURSDAY, DEC. 29, 2011 >>>

1. Looking at Allan Boothe and hearing him sing are two completely different things. To see him, he's a tall, handsome guy with a goofy laugh and an affable manner, but to see him perform is to see a bundle of nerves. As Humble Cub, Boothe is buoyed by a bed of choppy, layered sound, which serves to carry his nerviness through into something resembling indie pop. But when he performs, all of the tics and eccentricities stand front and center. Catch Boothe tonight at the New Frontier Lounge along with Oh Dear!, Belmont Whips and Not From Brooklyn. And tomorrow catch the full-on Humble Cub at the New Frontier with James Hilborne and the Painkillers.

2. You know where you wont find Tim Tebow tonight? The Tempest Lounge on Tacoma's Hilltop, where "Religious As Hell" will offer up a dance night of post punk, Goth, dark wave and shoegaze.

3. The always entertaining Billy Roy Danger & the Rectifiers will be at Stonegate Pizza tonight. Start your weekend a wee-bit early with a trip down to South Tacoma Way.

4. Unless you're some kind of stiff, you like to laugh. And people in Tacoma who like to laugh seem to enjoy Nate Jackson's Super Funny Comedy Show, which happens every Thursday at the Varsity Grill on Broadway.

5. In Olympia, DJ Drastic spins at Jezebels. In rough and tumble Lacey, gyrate to DJ Kewlaid at The Play Pen.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight

LINK: This week's freebies

December 28, 2011 at 9:40am

5 Things To Do Today: Comedy open mic, Nolan Garrett Trio, End County Road and more ...

End County Road performs at the Mandolin Cafe today.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28, 2011 >>>

1. If you still find yourself on vacation this holiday season (lucky bastard), try rounding up the entire family and heading to Northwest Trek, where the "Winter Wildland" promotion continues through Jan. 1. Promotion for the third annual event urges you to, "Watch animals throughout the wildlife park enjoy fun, holiday-themed enrichments. Then head over to the indoor, seasonally-themed Cheney Family Discovery Center to learn about how animals adapt to winter." Find more info here.

2. End County Road (the somewhat goofy dudes pictured above) will perform today at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma. The show is all ages and starts at 6 p.m.

3. The Nolan Garrett Trio holds down this week's Wednesday Session at Jazzbones.

4. Across the bridge and all the way in Bremerton (if you find yourself there), the venerable Mike & Lee host an open mic night at The Manette Restaurant and Bar. It starts at 8 p.m.

5. Think you're funny? Want to prove it? The Tacoma Comedy Club on Market Street invites one and all (as long as they're 21 or older) to test their chops during the Wednesday comedy open mic. It starts at 7:30 p.m. and there's a $5 cover.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight

LINK: This week's freebies

December 27, 2011 at 9:37am

5 Things To Do Today: Geeks Who Drink pub quiz, abundant trivia, karaoke in a bowling alley and more ...

Witness the joy of geeks drinking and quizzing tonight at Paddy Coyne's.

TUESDAY, DEC. 26, 2011 >>>

In Tacoma, Paddy Coyne's is the site of John Dicker's Geeks Who Drink pub quiz night. Dicker, a genius from Colorado, has taken the Irish Pub quiz tradition to a new level with Geeks Who Drink games across the nation, including every Tuesday night at the downtown pub, hosted by graphic artist and Weekly Volcano production assistant Holland Hume. The quiz consists of eight rounds of eight questions and is played in teams of up to six people. Questions are read aloud by the quizmaster; teams write their answers on provided sheets and turn them in at the end of each round. The team with the most points after eight rounds is the winner. It's awesome fun.

2. Speaking of trivia, 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.

3. Enjoy a little post Christmas karaoke in a bowling alley tonight at the Bull Market Bar and Grill at Paradise Bowl.

4. Test out your pipes tonight at O'Malley's during the weekly karaoke with Danny Ray.

5. Down south, it's open mic night at Tugboat Annie's in Olympia, and even further down Interstate 5 find an all-ages performance by the band Slow Roller at the McMenamin's owned Olympic Club Hotel and Theater.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight

December 25, 2011 at 1:18am

5 Things To Do Today: Zoolights, Franciscan Polar Plaza, sing-along "Fiddler," Arrendadores ...

I wanna be loved by you: Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) in "My Week With Marilyn."

SANTA DAY, 2011 >>>

1. My Week with Marilyn playing at The Grand Cinema is not about hanging out with the mayor of Tacoma. The film is based on the diaries of a young man named Colin Clark, who talked his way into a lowly job on a Marilyn Monroe movie. For one troubled week, while her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, was absent in Paris, she asked the worshipful 23-year-old kid to join her at a hideaway cottage. She was 30. Roger Ebert says of the film, "It was about her gift of her wonderfulness to a kid who stirred her sympathy. Michelle Williams evokes all the Marilyns, public and private, real and make-believe. We're probably looking at one of this year's Oscar nominees." Ebert gave it three and a halfout of four stars. Catch it at The Grand at 11:30 a.m., 1:45, 4, 6:15 and 8:35 p.m.

2. After you work your way through the Christmas tree, you can ditch the Claus-induced calories and that extra side of grits at the Franciscan Polar Plaza, which is open from noon to 6 p.m. The 40 by 100 square feet of ice is sure to be full of skate crews demonstrating their mad skillz and test-driving their recently unwrapped winter garb.

3. As the sun starts to sink on Christmas, prepare yourself for an untamed night at ZooLights Tacoma, where thousands of twinkling, animated light sculptures illuminate the nocturnal paths of the animal kingdom. Peddlers offer hot cocoa, while you ride the carousel or camels.

4. Fiddler on the Roof - back again this year at the annual Dec. 25 sing-along at the Capitol Theater - was released in 1971 and is set in 1905, but some of its themes have never felt more topical. In one scene, Perchik, the student revolutionary (played by the late Bert Convy, probably best-known as a staple on TV game shows), says to Tevye: "In this world, it is the rich who are the criminals. Someday, their wealth will be ours." The sing-along, a project of the Olympia Film Society and Temple Beth Hatfiloh, is in its eighth year, and Fiddler has been the film of choice for six of those years. Sing along at 6:30 p.m. inside the Capitol Theater.

5, Arrendadores will fill El Tenampa's large back room will various Mexican dance music beginning at 10 p.m. 

December 24, 2011 at 7:23am

5 Things To Do Today: Fantasy Lights, theater matinees, Christmas Prefunk Party, drummer vs. DJ and more ...

Take a drive tonight before the Sugar Plum Fairies arrive.

SATURDAY, DEC. 24, 2011 >>>

1. It's Christmas Eve (finally, finally, finally).  Having exhausted all financial resources barring the sale of various vital organs or offspring, you drive the streets, dejected, unsure of what to do now.  You venture into Spanaway, and you see stars - white stars, red stars, blue stars, in fact all sorts of colored lights. It's Peace on Earth. Your mouth forms a wondrous "Oh." You reach out for your loved one's hand. He/she slaps it and tells you to stop being so sarcastic.   It seems to be coming from Spanaway Park.  Yes, you're sure of it.  Well, God bless us, everyone, it's Fantasy Lights.  From 5:30-9 p.m. the whole park is one big ol' jolly drive-through light display, animated mind you.  The windows fog up.  OK, we have to stop there.

2. Several local theater companies stage 2 p.m. holiday shows, including Tacoma Little Theatre's A Christmas Carol, Capital Playhouse's Scrooge: the Musical and Harlequin Poductions's Stardust Serenade.

3. The Tempest Lounge will be open 4-9 p.m. with favorite Christmas TV classics on the screens and plenty of free hot cocoa and cider to the kids.

4. Christmas Eve is typically reserved for plenty of things - baking cookies for Santa, wrapping last minute gifts, sitting alone drinking the pain away - but there's nothing that says seeing Myles Crew perform ‘70s classic pop rock and Jimmy Buffett-ish tunes at the Hub can't be on that list. Even better? Watching Crew while wearing an ugly-ass holiday sweater. Yup, the Hub has added an Ugly Sweater Contest with cash prizes to its annual Christmas Prefunk Party. Two dollar pints of Harmon brew add to the excitement. The party begins at 7 p.m.

5. Jazzbones on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue hosts a Drummer Vs. DJ battle featuring DJ Switch and Wiggles beginning at 9 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Santa Says Blog

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