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November 18, 2014 at 3:01pm

Art Trip Seattle: "Pop Departures" and Juan Alonso Studio

"Untitled (Self in Progress)," 2001, Alwar Balasubramaniam, Indian, b. 1971, gesso, wood, fiberglass, 72 x 47 x 35 in., Collection of Sanjay Parthasarathy and Malini Balakrishnan. © Alwar Balasubramaniam, Photo courtesy Talwar Gallery, New York/New Delhi.

Seattle Art Museum has always been worth the trip.

We drove up to see "Pop Departures" at SAM. What a wonderful show!

I must admit, however, that my enjoyment of this exhibition was based to some small measure on nostalgia. I was in my sophomore or junior year as an art student when pop burst on the scene back in the early '60s, and it was an eye-popping, mind-bending, psychedelic trip. The very idea that serious artists could paint pictures of soup cans and comic book images and make giant soft sculptures of drum sets or a giant cherry perched in a giant spoon was the most radical thing ever. It bothered me a little that the pop artists were said to be in revolt against abstract expressionism, which I loved, but pop still floated my boat.

Hard on pop's heel came what was called hard edge painting: Ellsworth Kelly and Al Held and - oh my god - Frank Stella. That era in American art history had to have been the most exciting time ever. And yesterday I saw it all — all over again.

"Pop Departures" is a look back at work by the leading pop artists of the 1960s and a jump forward to more contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Margarita Cabrera and Mickalene Thomas who continue to follow in the footsteps of those '60s bad boys.

There are whole galleries devoted to Lichtenstein and Warhol, unquestionably the brightest lights of the movement. Other artists represented in the show include Oldenberg, Mel Ramos, Edward Ruscha, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist (inadequately represented by a single modest-sized painting).

Lichtenstein dominates the first gallery with some of his most iconic images such as "Kiss V," one of his many paintings of romance comic images; "Varoom," a comic-style explosion in and garish red, yellow and orange with lettering; and "Red Painting (Brush Stroke)," one of his famous paintings of an abstract-expressionist brush stroke. (See, they weren't rebelling against AE, they revered it.) Lichtenstein's brushstroke paintings were done to honor the abstract expressionists whom he venerated while at the same time giving them little digs - see, we can paint big, sloppy brushstrokes too, never mind that they were done with mechanical precision.

Lichtenstein's early paintings have lost none of their power over the years and have gained stature as pure design.

In another gallery are two of his paintings of famous modernist paintings, the best of these being "Reflections on Painter and Model," his copy in stripes and Ben-Day dots of a Picasso painting. This is a marvelously composed picture that is, like his brushstrokes, a lampoon of and homage to a hero.

>>> "Marilyn," 1967, Andy Warhol, silkscreen on paper, 36 x 36, Seattle Art Museum bequest of Kathryn L. Skinner, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Paul Macapia.

The many Warhols in this show evidence just how expressive Warhol could be, despite his use of mechanical means and his claim to want to be a machine. How well I remember folks in the '60s saying Warhol was putting us on, that he wasn't a serious artist, that his fame would quickly fade. Fifty years later it is kind of hard to support such claims. I suspect that many of the people who denigrated Warhol's art had never seen it other than in reproduction. When you look at them closely it becomes obvious that his off-register silk screens were just as expressive as many of the action paintings of the previous generation. And what he did with color was simply astounding. Look at the milky green blending to blue and the lemon yellow lips on the face of Richard Nixon in his painting "McGovern." These are indescribable colors that only Warhol could come up with (and yes, it is a portrait of Nixon with the name McGovern written across the bottom).

The one painting by Wayne Thiebaud was a terrific example of his lush paint application. I wish there were more of his paintings. He was always seen as on the periphery of pop, more of a classical painter, but his subject matter fit right in, and man could he ever paint. And since this show "departs" from the first wave of pop to feature later developments, it would have been nice if one of his much later San Francisco cityscapes had been included.

My least favorite among the first generation pop artists in this show is Ramos. Clever titles like "Val Veeta" (a naked pin-up girl on top of a box of Velveeta cheese, note the spelling) do not erase the fact that his pin-up girls are just as sexist as the commercialization of sex he supposedly lampooned. There are a number of his paintings in this show, and they are not impressive.

>>> "Vocho (Yellow)," 2004, Margarita Cabrera, vinyl, batting, thread ad car parts, 60 x 72 x 156, Anne and William J. Hokin Collection. ©Magarita Cabrera, photo courtesy the artist.

Among the best of the most contemporary works is Cabrera's "Vocho (Yellow)," an actual-size, beat-up yellow Volkswagen Beetle made of vinyl, batting, thread and car parts including real bumper and tail lights. The loosely hanging threads in the car lend a house-of-horrors aspect to the car. It reminds me of some of Edward Kienholz's installations. Obviously influenced by Oldenberg, this is a more powerful piece than any of the Oldenberg's in the show (his sculptures look best in situ and these look weak in a gallery setting).

Another of the more outstanding recent works is Barbara Kruger's portrait of Andy Warhol, "untitled (Not cruel enough)." This wall size portrait, 109" x 109", would be indistinguishable from a self-portrait by Andy if it were not for the insulting descriptors printed all around and across the face - unflattering things others have called Warhol.

"Pop Departures" is but one of many shows at SAM. I wandered into the galleries featuring modern and contemporary works from the permanent collection and enjoyed once again seeing paintings by Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock and a couple of great Hans Hoffmans. I was blown away by two large Frank Stella paintings and opposite them a wall-size painting by Al Held. One gallery had a wall full of small paintings by Held, each about a foot square. We always think of his paintings as being slick, flat and precise, but the paint application on these looked like plaster spread with a trowel.

"American Art Masterworks" includes a selection of works by early American masters including John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer and many more - dark and somber works to counteract the glitz of the pop art.

"City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India" offered interesting views on mostly sculpture and photography by contemporary Indian artists. "Include Me Out," an amazingly dense photo-montage by Vivek Vilasinia and "India Shining V (Gandhi with iPod) by Debnjan Roy, a striking bright red fiberglass sculpture of Gandhi walking with an iPod in hand stand out, as does "Untiled (Self in Progress)" by Alwar Balasubramaniam, a haunting image in white of a seated figure with face and legs buried into a wall and projecting out the other side.

>>> Installation shot of Juan Alonso Studio, courtesy the artist.

After leaving SAM drove to Pioneer Square to visit the Juan Alonso Studio on Washington Street. Juan Alonso-Rodriguez was represented by the Francine Seders Gallery until it closed. He has now joined the ranks of DIY artists who are marketing their own work and opening their studios to the public. His latest work is a series of abstract paintings with horizontal bands or stripes, many in brilliant colors and often with abstract expressionist drips and slashes confined within forms that are essentially minimalist and hard-edge, thus striking an exciting balance between the two strongest movements in abstraction during the second half of the 20th century. These are some of the more vibrant paintings I have seen in a long time.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at SAM and Alonso-Rodriquez's studio and highly recommend you visit both when you can.

Juan Alonso Studio, 306 S. Washington St. #104, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays. http://www.juanalonso.info/

"Pop Departures," Thursday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. through Jan. 11, 2015, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle, http://www.seattleartmuseum.org

Filed under: Arts,

November 15, 2014 at 8:26am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Art Museum Western party, No Turning Back, All Your Friend's Friends, Little Donuts ...

John Nieto (American, born 1936) "Buffalo at Sunset", 1996. Acrylic on canvas, 48 ?- 60 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.89

SATURDAY, NOV. 15 2014 >>>

1. It's here at last - the brand new Haub Family Collection of Western American Art in the new galleries designed by Olson Kundig Architects - open to the public at the grand opening celebration today. The new wing doubles the museum's gallery space and places the Tacoma Art Museum as the only museum in the Pacific Northwestern region with a Western American art collection of this caliber. The celebration begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. and will feature music by Foss High School Orchestral Band. The new galleries open at 11 a.m. From 1-2 p.m. there will be a living history presentation and storytelling by Karen Haas. At 2:30 p.m. there will be curator and author talks followed by book-signing of the new Art of the American West: Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum, followed by Native American storytelling by Roger Fernandez from 3-5 p.m. The Oly Mountain Boys will perform at 3 p.m., followed by banjo musician Forest Beutel at 4 p.m. The evening social and members' party will be from 7-11 p.m.

2. Warren Miller Entertainment's latest film, No Turning Back, was shot and produced by cinematographer Josh Haskins, working closely with ski racer Chris Anthony. It follows a cadre of elite snowboarders and skiers from Montana to Mount Olympus. (Yes, Greece has an actual Mount Olympus. It rises to 9570 feet. Opa!) The film takes stunning side trips to Norway, the Swiss Alps, Chugach Mountain peaks in Alaska and deep powder in Niseka, Japan. World-class athletes make the slopes look fairly easy, but even reaching some of these exotic locations can be daunting. Despite these difficulties, Haskins and his crew have done it again: they've immortalized feats of human daring and athleticism by freezing breakneck action into slow-motion glory. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on No Turning Back in the Music & Culture section, then see the film at 6 and 9 p.m. in Pantages Theater.

3. Olympia producer Smoke M2D6 raided the archives of legendary alternative record label K Records to put out an album of Pacific Northwest MCs rapping over K Records artists. The resulting compilation, All Your Friend's Friends, is gearing up for an album release show tonight Olympia. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on All Your Friend's Friends in the Music & Culture section, then seeWildcard, Tyler Xp Andrews, Free Whiskey, MIZ, Angel Perez and Calvin Johnson perform at 8 p.m. in The Olympia Ballroom.

4. When I heard that some of Tacoma's best musicians were getting together to form the Northwest's premier (and only?) all-Filipino Hall & Oates tribute band, my question wasn't "why?" All I wanted to know was when and where I could see this magic happen. The new tribute band, known as the Little Donuts, is made up of members of Le Lo/Fi, the Dignitaries and the recently defunct Bandolier. I spoke with Little Donuts member Reylan Fernandez about the unlikely project. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Little Donuts in the music & Culture section, then catch the band at8:30 p.m. in Bob's Java Jive.

5. Velocity will come forth onto Doyle's Public House at 9:30 p.m. and there bestowed unto their faithful fans a glorious bounty of fusion and funk, powered with Galactic grooves and Latin spice. And the people will be thankful, and there was much rejoicing, for Velocity - lead composer/pianist Peter Adams, drum maverick Brian "Hannibal" Smith, tenor saxophonist Cliff Colòn and bassist Rob Hutchinson aka Dr. Shred  - have traveled light years to rattle pints of Guinness with hard hitting grooves and hook melodies. The moon will shine mightily down upon the countenances of the faithful fans, and their shepherd's pies will be plenty, and their goats will bore many offspring and there will be peace over the Stadium District.

LINK: Saturday, Nov. 15 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

November 12, 2014 at 7:48am

5 Things To Do Today: Olympia Film Festival, Super-team at MOG, Taylor Guitars Road Show, Vomity ...

Learn about Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis perceptually enhanced 1970 no-hitter against the Padres at the Capitol Theater tonight.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12 2014 >>>

1. Dock Ellis is best known as the Major League Baseball player who pitched a no-hitter (aka a "no-no") while tripping balls on acid. He couldn't really see the players, he recalls, just which side of the plate they were standing on. Ellis was baseball's first "militant black athlete," a black player who wasn't simply so grateful to be allowed in the game that he would overlook slights and slurs. Refusing to tamp down his outsized personality and style just to fit in meekly was his contribution to the black pride movement; refusing to temper his drinking and drugging was his downfall. Catch Director Jeff Radice's take on Ellis in the film No No: A Dockumentary at 9 p.m. at the Olympia Film Festival.

2. Simon Kogan is locally famous in Olympia for his World War II memorial on the Capitol Campus and for the larger-than-life statue of a pregnant woman, "Motherhood," at Percival Landing.  He is also well known as a teacher of private art classes. Today is the last day to check out artworks by his students in the art gallery at Pacific Lutheran University. Read Alec Clayton full review of the "Art Students of Simon Kogan" show in the Music & Culture section, then see the show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

3. Super-team Dr. Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine and Shandra McLane will complete their collaborative Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass today through Sunday, Nov. 16. Assisted by the Hot Shop Team, they will be experimenting with new techniques that blend together printmaking and glassblowing. The Demaine duo is well known in their respected fields at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Martin Demaine has multiple roles at MIT, from Resident Artist to Technical Instructor at the Glass Lab, while his son, Dr. Erik Demaine, is a professor in Computer Science. Their collaborator, Shandra McLane, learned the art of glassblowing at the renowned Pilchuck Glass School, where she served as Print Shop Coordinator for 18 years. MOG opens at 10 a.m.

4. The Taylor Guitars Road Show is all about guitars, giving you a chance to talk shop with a team from the company's factory in El Cajon, California. At each event, Taylor's Road Show team shares insights on the company's guitar-making process and the award-winning Expression System pickup, and demonstrates how body shapes and woods affect tone. After the demonstration, guests are invited to sample a variety of different models, along with rare and custom Build to Order guitars, as part of Taylor's "Petting Zoo." The Road Show hits Music 6000 in Olympia at 7 p.m.

5. Comedy open mics are where comedians cut their teeth, develop their chops and other folksy idioms meaning "possibly suck to get better." Polish is traded for rawness. Comedians nervously testing out premises they thought of while parking. It wouldn't be a true comedy open mic without a few rookies floundering or even some industry veterans filling the room with crushing awkwardness, but Vomity features some damn good performers who more than balance it out every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Le Voyeur. Host Sam Miller has an infectious enthusiasm for what he does, and the result is a well-organized but natural open mic that doesn't take itself too seriously.

LINK: Wednesday, Nov. 11 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

November 3, 2014 at 7:23am

5 Things To Do Today: Poetry Above the Roar, Fumiko Kimura/Rob Fornell Exhibit, Environmental Seminar, Spin Quartet ...

Mezzo-soprano Erin Calata will sing 10 works of poetry written by Tacoma's first poet laureate, William Kupinse, tonight.

MONDAY, NOV. 3 2014 >>>

1. Following the popularity of last winter's Poetry Above the Roar event, three Pacific Northwest artists - a poet, composer, and a singer - will again take the chill out of the season with a return performance at the University of Puget Sound at 7 p.m. in Commencement Hall. Mezzo-soprano Erin Calata will sing 10 works of poetry written by Tacoma's first poet laureate William Kupinse, who is a member of University of Puget Sound's English faculty. The 10 poems, from his 2009 collection Fallow, have been set to original music by composer Greg Youtz, professor of music at Pacific Lutheran University. Youtz's music will be performed electronically by a computer capable of sounding like a small jazz combo or a chamber orchestra. 

2. The "Fumiko Kimura/Rob Fornell Exhibit" opens today at The Gallery at Tacoma Community College. For Puget Sound Sumi Artists co-founder Kimura, exhibition represents nearly 60 years of her sumi paintings, mixed media sumi collages and Asian brush calligraphies. Ceramics artist Fornell created objects that are contemporary in their expression and concern, and which function to bind us in the expression of our humanity at this moment. Check out the exhibit from noon to 5 p.m.

3. The UWT Environmental Seminar features Kevin O'Brien, the chair of the Environmental Studies Program and an associate professor in the Dept. of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University discussing "Ecological Scale and Christian Ethics: Bringing Religion and Science Together to Think About Climate Change" at 12:25 p.m. in SCI 309 on the UWT campus.

4. Collins Memorial LibraryhostsBill and Vicky Stewartfor their fifth visit to Puget Sound. The Stewarts represent book artists across the United States. This one and a half hour informal"Show & Tell"will showcase some of their most recent acquisitions. Begins at 1 p.m. in the Library on the University of Puget Sound campus.

5. The Spin Quartet brings together four modern internationally touring jazz artists multiple-CMA-grant recipient and NIU professor Geof Bradfield on saxophone, Grammy-winning bassist Clark Sommers (Kurt Elling, Brian Blade, Darrell Grant), Kobie Watkins(touring drummer for Sonny Rollins) and is spearheaded by trumpeter, and newly appointed DePaul University faculty member Chad McCullough (Bram Weijters, The Kora Band). Recorded shortly after McCullough had relocated to Chicago, IL; their album, In Circles, captures the group's dynamic interplay and cohesion, showcasing the group's original repertoire. Catch the band at 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye in downtown Olympia.

LINK: Monday, Nov. 3 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

November 2, 2014 at 10:25am

5 Things To Do Today: "The Magic Flute," Dia de los Muertos, PugetBrass, cheap comedy ...

A celebration of true love conquering all, "The Magic Flute" transports us into an enchanted world where good faces the forces of darkness. Photo credit: Peter Serko

SUNDAY, NOV. 2 2014 >>>

1. The Magic Flute is set in an unnamed fantasyland, but this production benefits from local stylistic influences. Tacoma Opera drew inspiration from the art and culture of Pacific Northwest Salish tribes, with valuable assistance from the Puyallup tribe in particular. The event's web page notes the indigenous culture's "impish sense of humor and ... immense respect for nature, all of which blend perfectly with the transcendent music." It'll be interesting to note how these tribal elements are woven into set and costume designs, as The Magic Flute's expansive, episodic structure demands a unifying aesthetic perspective. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on The Magic Flute in the Music & Culture section, then enjoy the opera at 2 p.m. in the Rialto Theater.

2. Celebrating Day of the Dead in grand community style, the Tacoma Art Museum begins the month with a free community celebration today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Museum. Held in conjunction with Consulado de Mexico en Seattle, Centro Latino and Proyecto Molé, the festival celebrates Dia de los Muertos with traditional music and dance, art activities, sugar skull decoration and displays of art that include a traditional Tapete, or sand painting, and community altars honoring passed loved ones, as well as student artwork demonstrations. This family friendly event, the 10th in so many years, brings together cultural iconography with activities that bring to light how a grim subject can be celebrated - and enjoyed - by all ages, inviting conversation about loss, remembrance, and the rich fabric of diversity.

3. Seattle based brass band PugetBrass will perform pieces by Edward Gregson, as well as Ball, Downie and Richards at 2 p.m. in Building 2 at Tacoma Community College. Expect tuba soloist Andy Abel at this free concert.

4. Rich Wetzel's Groovin Higher Orchestra will drop in on Stonegate Pizza to perform a rockin' big band jazz dinner show from 5-8pm.

5. The Tacoma Comedy Club hosts another 5 for $5 Sunday night show featuring five of the best up and coming stand-up comedians, all performing for just $5. Scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. are emcee Monica Nevi, Cory Michaelis, Brett Hamil, Scott Losse and TBD. Oh man, the last time TBD played the Tacoma Comedy Club he unmercifully and hilariously shut down an extremely drunk, shoe-tossing heckler. The comic took the audience down unexpected roads as he wove intricate analogies about topics such as student loans and the realities of insomnia, which revealed more intelligence and insight than one might expect of a performer with a sports-bar demeanor and a gruff bark. In addition to TBD, TCC will also have Sunday Funday food and drink specials all night long.

LINK: Sunday, Nov. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 29, 2014 at 2:18pm

Trail To Western American Art: Haub Family Collection catalog, TAM Store goods, grand opening events ...

The TAM Store has opened its doors, and with it comes a catalog of its new collection, "Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum." Photo courtesy of Facebook

Time is nigh for the opening of the new wing at Tacoma Art Museum. The Haub Family Collection catalog, Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum, is now available for purchase in the TAM Store ($45, soft cover). The catalog includes color images for all 295 works in the Haub collection. Get it now for a marvelous preview of the collection and treasure it forever.

Also available is the museum's newest mascot, Cody, a cute plush bison toy ($24.50). Cody was named after the first bison brought to the Haub family's ranch. Also available is a Pendleton Saxony Hills blanket robe ($250). The Saxony Hills blanket references the changing landscape of Navajo weaving in the 1800s when yarns from merino sheep produced in the Saxony area of Germany were introduced. The blanket incorporates traditional, geometric Navajo motifs.

The museum has posted the schedules for grand opening events on the website. Check www.TacomaArtMuseum.org under the Calendar and Events tab for details about the Go West Gala and Go West Grand Opening. Tickets are still available for the evening social and members' party featuring live music by The Tallboys and TAM's new signature Tacoma New West CDA from Harmon Brewing Co. and Tacoma New West Bourbon Whiskey from Heritage Distilling Co.

TACOMA ART MUSEUM, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. third Thursday, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $8-$10, 5 and younger free, 253.627.6031

MORE HAUB WING UPDATES

Secret sculture, Haub wing beer and boubon, TAM Store opens

Cherokee Nation, Go West Gala, bluegrass coming to Tacoma Art Museum

Painted walls, "Big Red," Celebrity Cake Studio and metal coming to Tacoma Art Museum

Sellen Construction dangles the keys

Checking in with the Tacoma Art Museum

Colors, video, improved store at Tacoma Art Museum

Filed under: Arts, Food & Drink, Tacoma, Books,

October 27, 2014 at 7:01am

5 Things To Do Today: Creative Colloquy, Ripple and Unfold, Thelonius Monk tribute, Some Kind of Nightmare ...

Creative Colloquy shares Tacoma’s rich literary talents and foster relationships built upon mutual admiration of the written word.

MONDAY, OCT. 27 2014 >>>

1. There are those among us who can make their trip to a hair stylist the most riveting story you've heard all week. People whose stories never trail off into "it was really cool. ..." Envy them. They are not like you. Not only do they have great success at parties, they have a future with Creative Colloquy. See what all the storytelling fuss is about Monday when authors Teresa Carol, Patti Crouch, Titus Buley, Ross Dohrmann and Nicole McCarthy share their latest work, followed by an open mic at 7 p.m. in B sharp Coffee House. If you can stand a 5-minute hairdo story, just imagine how riveted you'll be by something with an actual plot.

2. On view at Kittredge Gallery for the month of October and first half of November is a dynamic exhibition of related, but distinct, recent work by Puget Sound faculty members Janet Marcavage, associate professor of printmaking, and Elise Richman, associate professor of painting. Ripple and Unfold explores their shared interests in pattern and visible process, juxtaposing Richman's paintings, drawn from natural forms, with Marcavage's prints, which investigate the manmade, both deliberate and accidental. Check it out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. With more than 25 years of experience in her field of study - soils, hydrology, and the wetland sciences - Lisa Palazzi is a regional expert in hydrology science and has worked with numerous Washington State Native American Tribes, regional Universities and county extension groups, local and county governments and the Coastal Wetlands Training Program among others. Palazzi will discuss the environmental policy of Washington state of the past 25 years at noon in the State Capital Museum in Olympia.

4. Olympia Jazz Tentette will perform a Thelonius Monk tribute at 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye in downtown Olympia.

5. Formed in the summer of 2006 in San Diego and hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, Some Kind of Nightmare is the pure embodiment of punk rock. Expect the band to voice the thoughts and opinions of the rock bottom class and making a hell of a lot of noise doing it at 9 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

LINK: Monday, Oct. 27 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 22, 2014 at 1:29pm

Trail To Western American Art: Secret sculpture, Haub wing Harmon beer and Heritage bourbon, TAM Store opens ...

Sellen Construction crew and TAM staff worked with artist Julie Speidel (looking on, back left) and her team to install her sculpture, “Kinetic Repose.” Photo by Myles Lasco, Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum continues its headlong gallop toward the huge opening day celebration for the new Haub wing Nov. 15. We have the scoop on behind-the-scenes preparations for the big opening. ...

Julie Speidel's sculpture "Kinetic Repose" is installed but under wraps near the new glass vestibule entry at TAM's parking lot level. According to TAM spokesperson Julianna Verboort, the installation went off without a hitch and the sculpture will be revealed for visiting and regional press just before the grand opening. Verboort says she can't show us Speidel's sculpture, but the World Wide Web makes it possible to see representative samples of her work here. Her works are typically massive and simple stainless steel megaliths. According to a description on her website, Speidel "often works at the intersection between figuration and abstraction, suggesting the human form through combinations of elegantly simple shapes." She is represented by Winston-Wachter in Seattle and by galleries worldwide.

For those who like to imbibe, the museum has teamed with local beer mavens Harmon Brewing Company to create signature beers for exhibitions over the past five years. For the grand opening of the new Haub Family Galleries, Harmon and TAM have come up with a new brew called Tacoma New West Cascadian Dark Ale. The museum has also collaborated with Heritage Distillery to craft a rich, flavorful, deep golden Tacoma New West Bourbon. The ale will be sold at TAM Cafe and all of Harmon's restaurants; both the ale and the bourbon will be available at TAM's Go West Gala and Go West Grand Opening evening social events.

Curatorial staff has installed approximately half of the works to be on view at the Nov. 15 grand opening of the four new galleries of the Haub wing.

The TAM Cafe dining room is in process with a complete makeover. The menu is also undergoing a makeover. Look for some fun new Western themed dishes.

The TAM Store held a soft opening Oct. 18 with a terrific range of new products from screen printed burlap sachets to hand-crafted jewelry to new books about the art and artists of the West and much more, displayed in beautiful maple and glass cabinetry. Take a peek in the store next time you are walking along Pacific Avenue.

Also now open is the exhibition "Protective Ornament: Contemporary Amulets to Armor" showcasing approximately 80 wearable works in metal including helmets, brass knuckles, breastplates, amulets, talismans and more.

TACOMA ART MUSEUM, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. third Thursday, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $8-$10, 5 and younger free, 253.627.6031

MORE HAUB WING UPDATES

Cherokee Nation, Go West Gala, bluegrass coming to Tacoma Art Museum

Painted walls, "Big Red," Celebrity Cake Studio and metal coming to Tacoma Art Museum

Sellen Construction dangles the keys

Checking in with the Tacoma Art Museum

Colors, video, improved store at Tacoma Art Museum

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma, Food & Drink,

October 19, 2014 at 9:46am

5 Things To Do Today: Doug MacLeod, Oktoberfest, Metal-Urge Fest, Salute to Pierce County ...

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Doug MacLeod is one engaging individual.

SUNDAY, OCT. 19 2014 >>>

1. A prolific songwriter, Doug MacLeod performs his own work. Others like it, too, including the likes of Albert King and Albert Collins, who have covered his songs. MacLeod, winner of two 2014 Blues Music Awards, the perennial Blues Music Award Nominee, is a singer-songwriter in the American tradition. He is a traveling artist that writes and sings original songs that are based on his own life and experiences. In performance, MacLeod is known for his unique, unorthodox and powerfully rhythmic acoustic guitar style that incorporates a churning beat to complement his intricate bottleneck and finger-style technique. At the heart of this is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters-from the faceless to the legendary-to strikingly real life. MacLeod is performing live at Blues Vespers at 5 p.m. in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

2. Little Creek Casino will offer "authentic" German cuisine and more than 30 varieties of beer from around the world as well as wines and spirits from noon to 8 p.m. as part of its 2nd Annual Oktoberfest. A traditional keg-tapping ceremony will be held at noon followed by live entertainment. Admission is $10 per person and includes a souvenir beer mug and 10 tasting tickets.

3. "Metal-Urge" is a massive celebration of all things metal-art forged by 80 artists holding firm in 20 venues all around Tacoma through the month of October and November. "Metal-Urge" is a citywide celebration of the metal arts that includes both traditional and non-traditional gallery venues exhibiting the metal work of talented artists and includes jewelry, sculptures, vessels, home décor, enamel and artifacts. "Metal-Urge" arrives today in the form of a community featival from noon to 3 p.m. at Tollefson Plaza. Expect live sword fighting reenactments, blacksmithing demonstrations, hands-on metal crafts, steel music and more.

4. The Northwest Playwrights Alliance's Double Shot Play Fest is a chance for local scribes to show off and, just as important, for the organization to make a little spending cash. Consider this: eager writers go to work the evening before the festival, as that's when they're handed the topic for a brand-new, 10-minute play. A troupe of actors arrives at Broadway Center the next morning to rehearse the resulting scripts for a 2 show at Theatre on the Square. This year, in a welcome shift toward marginalized voices, the writers, directors, and repertory cast are all women. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on the Double Shot Play Fest in the Music & Culture section.

5. The Lakewood and Tacoma Historical Societies are joining forces to commemorate the World War I centennial and the fascinating role citizens of Pierce County played in establishing Camp Lewis in 1917. "Every year we put on the Destiny Dinner, which is one of our largest events," explained Bill Baarsma, president of the Tacoma Historical Society. "But when we realized it was the centennial of the Great War - because the events that began in 1914 inevitably led to the U.S. entry to the war - we knew this was a great time to honor our military and the long-standing ties to this community." That rich heritage will be showcased during the Salute to Pierce County event at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the American Lake Conference Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord North.

LINK: Sunday, Oct. 19 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 18, 2014 at 7:59am

5 Things To Do Today: Maltoberfest 9, IPA Festival, Nitty Gritty Art Show, Double Shot Play Fest ...

Maltoberfest 9: The beautiful, lederhosen-centric, malt-liquor-fueled tradition continues, with a venue switch to the Stonegate.

SATURDAY, OCT. 18 2014 >>>

1. It's October, which can mean only one thing: fans of hip-hop and cartoonish German culture can rejoice. Maltoberfest is back and as Olde English-sodden as ever! For the uninitiated, Maltoberfest is a sublimely beer-soaked celebration of hip-hop and oompah, punk and pretzels and - above all else - more malt liquor than anyone has ever seen in one place at one time - 7 p.m. at Stonegate Restaurant & Bar. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their best hip-hop and/or German attire, while a wide array of bands serenade the increasingly drunk revelers. This year's performers include favorites like rap collective 508 Disturbanceand punk marching band Artesian Rumble Arkestra, as well as newcomers like the indie rock of the Breakfast Cowboy and the weirdo hillbilly rap of Three Ninjas & the Weird Old Tricks, among others.

2. The Washington Beer Commission will host its inaugural South Sound IPA Festival with two sessions at downtown Tacoma's Union Station. Its first venture into the City of Destiny, the WBC will host 26 Washington breweries - including several for the South Sound - pouring their IPAs during an afternoon and evening session at Union Station in downtown Tacoma. In all, there will be at least 48 craft beers, most hitting the high mark on the International Bitterness Units (IBUs) scale. For complete details, click here.

3. In celebration of Tacoma Arts Month, Nitty Gritty Tacoma Salvage & Industrial Art Show will feature local art that revolves around Tacoma industry and architecture from 1-5 p.m. at Earthwise Architectural Salvage. Puyallup Tribe graffiti artist Daniel Yeloe and mural artist Chris Sharp will be in attendance for a meet-and-greet and the unveiling of their art from 3-4 p.m. Kim Archer, A Flock of Geezers and Shotgun Kitchen will provide the live soundtrack. Food will be available for purchase from Finnwick's Kitchen. Anthem Coffee will be providing free beverages.

4. The Northwest Playwrights Alliance's Double Shot Play Fest is a chance for local scribes to show off and, just as important, for the organization to make a little spending cash. Consider this: eager writers go to work the evening before the festival, as that's when they're handed the topic for a brand-new, 10-minute play. A troupe of actors arrives at Broadway Center the next morning to rehearse the resulting scripts for a 7:30 show at Theatre on the Square. Then the same plays are performed at a 2 p.m. tomorrow. This year, in a welcome shift toward marginalized voices, the writers, directors, and repertory cast are all women. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on the Double Shot Play Fest in the Music & Culture section.

5. There's just no faking the sort of unbridled exuberance that bursts forth from Portland punk trio Hey Lover. How awesome are these guys? The husband and wife that make up two thirds of the group played Hey Lover's first show following their own wedding. That had to have been the best wedding reception in the history of the form. With regards to their music, Hey Lover work almost exclusively in rowdy blasts of endorphin-sapping punk. Catch the band with Anteek Junkees, Various Moods and Heads Out the Window at 8 p.m. in Bob's Java Jive.

LINK: Saturday, Oct. 18 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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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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