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June 17, 2014 at 7:37am

5 Things To Do Today: The Gypsters, Two Boys Kissing, The Electric Magpie, hypnotist ...

The Gypsters will lead you through punk, ska, surf, bluegrass (just for starters) at Le Voyeur June 17. Photo credit: Chelsea Garcia

TUESDAY, JUNE 17 2014 >>>

1. The Gypsters is a band that, whether or not they intended it, reminded us of bands like Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and the Fugs, even though they stylistically don't quite connect. Like the aforementioned bands, the Gypsters are serious about making music, but their songs sometimes lend themselves to trenchant observations about life and what it means to make music for a living. Let's take their song "$250 Fine" for an example; after a cacophony of punk and horn bursts, a voice comes in: "$250 fine (that's the noise ordinance). $250 fine (violation)." Then another prolonged squall. ... Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on The Gypsters in the Music and Culture section, then catch the band with Noise Toys at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. The Grand Cinema screens The Unknown Known, which consists primarily of Donald Rumsfeld, Bush's Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006, answering questions posed off-camera by Errol Morris: No one else is interviewed. The film also draws from the 20,000 memos that Rumsfeld dictated over a four-decade-long political career. Rumsfeld himself gamely reads excerpts from the memos, which recipients nicknamed "snowflakes." Catch it at 1:40 and 6:35 p.m.

3. King's Books will discuss Two Boys Kissing - a book that captures the struggle and the history of the LGBT past and melds it with the present and the future - at its monthly Banned Book Club meeting at Doyle's Public House at 7 p.m. The other struggle will be trying to discuss the book at Doyle's during the World Cup and St. Practice Day hoopla (5 p.m. Guinness salute, Fields of Clover band at 8 p.m.).

4. The Electric Magpie show dashes of Canned Heat peak out from underneath the layers of Zombies, Turtles and Kinks. Pastoral folk-rock trades blows with heavy blues, and the trilling organs are there the whole way, planting squiggly ear worms in the listener. The Electric Magpie are signed to the Lolipop Records label, a California hub of psych-rock revivalists. Northern will be host to a 7 p.m. showcase of fellow Lolipop Records labelmates, including the far-out haze of Mystic Braves, the moody stomp of Corners, and the shoegaze-leaning fuzz of Burning Palms.

5. You are getting sleepy, v-e-r-y sleepy. Now, go see the hypnotist show at 8 p.m. inside the Red Wind Casino. Whether a skeptic or believer, the show will be sure to entertain with its comedy, rock and roll and outrageous hypnosis, like people sneezing and having orgasms(!) when Ron Stubbs, the man behind the magic, utters the word "pepper."

LINK: Tuesday, June 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 12, 2014 at 7:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Bull-riding contest, World Cup, Spit-Take, Forces ...

Hop on tonight at Steel Creek in downtown Tacoma.

THURSDAY, JUNE 12 2014 >>>

1. Steel Creek American Whiskey Company kicks off its three-day, one-year anniversary celebration with a bull-riding contest and line dancing. Enjoy drink specials, but practice moderation so you can partake in all of the fun that requires hand-eye coordination. If not, the whiskey fueled shenanigans can be just another hazy memory. Get the chance to work on your "boot scootin' boogie" with free line dance lessons or hop on the mechanical bull and hang on for dear life - cash and swag prizes go to whomever walks away the bull-riding champion. Read Jackie Fender's feature story on Steel Creek's anniversary and new menu.

2. Doyle's Public House in Tacoma's Stadium District has erected a 4,400 sq. ft. tent in its neighboring parking lot, placing two, 20-foot screens on opposite ends to the 2014 World Cup games, which launches today. There will be raised seating on both sides of the tent to provide better sight lines as well as increased standing room. A centrally located bar will make it easy to quench your thirst. Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton has some thoughts on the World Cup.

Northwest author Brian Doyle will discuss his new novel, The PLOVER, at 7 p.m. in the Puyallup Public Library. Doyle's appearance marks the kick-off for the Puyallup Public Library's Adult Summer Reading program, which officially begins June 16 and runs through Aug. 16. Doyle's book is about searching for something on a boat in the Pacific Ocean. Like we're going to tell you.

4. Connecticut poppy and punk/emo band Spit-Take, featuring members of Heats of Formation and Secret Parts brings its Wipers, Lemonheads and Jawbreaker inspired music to Le Voyeur for a 7 p.m. all-ages show with Snow Roller.

5. Erick Olson, Matt Johnston and Jason Riley are Forces, a band too weird to live and too rare to die. The electronic rock band will play The Swiss with PYP, Vaughan and DJ Mernsivich at 8 p.m.

LINK: Thursday, June 12 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 11, 2014 at 7:13am

5 Things To Do Today: Pop Crimes, Indian Shirt Story, patriotic choirs, Radio8Ball Show ...

Winnipeg’s post-punk powerhouse Pop Crimes rocks Olympia's all-ages club Northern tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11 2014 >>>

1. Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Pop Crimes come dusted with more scuzz your average Canadian indie rock. Underneath layers of fuzz and discord, however, the band is perfectly adept at crafting compelling songs that transcend noise. Also featured on the bill is fellow Canadians Heaven For Real, which is a band name that delights me to know end. If you're at the show, give Heaven For Real all the high fives. Happy Noose rounds out the 8 p.m. show at Northern.

2. The Indian Shirt Story is a tale of integrity, celebrity, salmon, and beer set in Port Heron, a fictional, but familiar, town in South Puget Sound. Olympia author Heather Lockman will read from and chat about her novel, published as an e-book, at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library.

3. The South Puget Sound Community College Concert Choir and the Puget Sound Community Choir join the Department of Washington American Legion Band for a evening filled with patriotic selections - new and old - under the title, "Celebrating American Music: A Selection of Traditional and New." The concert will include songs by American composers, including folk and hymn arrangements, pieces by modern American composers and Broadway show tunes, as well as movie medleys, big band selections, marches and more beginning at 7 p.m. in the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center.

4. Northern Pacific Coffee Company's Wednesday Open Mic is extra special tonight. The Parkland coffee shop bids Bekah and Mike Olson a fond farewell as everyone's couple is moving to Louisville. Come sing goodbye songs beginning at 8 p.m. Rumor has it Bekah is baking cookies for everyone.

5. The Radio8Ball Show is a musical talk/game show based on the concept of synchronicity. The format is simple and unique: Guests and audience members ask questions to The Pop Oracle, and the answers are divined by spinning a wheel or picking a card that determines which song the musical guest will perform as the answer to the question. Rhythm & Rye hosts Radio8Ball with musicians Scott Taylor, Jon Merithew, Olivia Love, Pail Pearson, Luke Ogden and Jon Williams and host Andy Shmushkin at 8 p.m. Ask away, just make sure you're ready for the answer.

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

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

June 5, 2014 at 7:29am

5 Things To Do Today: Ages and Ages, Green Drinks, "Jeopardy" winner, Tacoma Runners ...

Portland's masters of folk-chorale uplift, Ages and Ages, perform in Olympia tonight. Press photo

THURSDAY, JUNE 5 2014 >>>

1. Portland band Ages and Ages, without getting all touchy-feely, has eschewed apathy in favor of forthright optimism. Like the Arcade Fire did a decade ago, Ages and Ages recruit their entire band to sing at once, less for the sensation of catharsis, and more for the feeling of togetherness. Isn't it still sort of remarkable that all of these people have gathered together for a united experience of musical revelry? This magic seems to have gotten left behind, long ago, and now we all sit in cynical judgment of an art form that chiefly means to enrich. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's features on Ages and Ages in the Music & Culture section, then catch them with Stephen Steinbrink and French Quarter and Oh Rose! at 8 p.m. in Northern.

2. Tacoma Green Drinks provides a social and networking opportunity for Tacoma-Pierce County residents interested in sustainability, conservation, environmental issues and booze! Join them at 6 p.m. when they hang at Chamber Bay Grill to learn about the awesome happenings of the Tacoma Audubon ... over drinks.

3. Think running and drinking don't mix unless there's a K-9 unit involved? Not true. The Tacoma Runners - a group of T-Town pavement pounders - meet every Thursday for a 3-mile loop at a "social pace" at one of Tacoma's favorite watering holes. Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the starting and finishing line will be the Narrows Brewing Co.

4. Amazon employee Tom Nissley ended an eight-episode Jeopardy winning streak in December 2010 when he answered a question about American landmarks incorrectly. Alex Trebek asked: "Finding the spot for this memorial caused its creator to say, ‘America will march along that skyline.'" All three contestants wagered the correct answer was the Lincoln Memorial. "Oh, I'm sorry. The correct answer is Mount Rushmore." (Audience moans.) Don't feel too bad for Nissley. He won more than $250,000, making him the game show's third biggest winner. This personable, bookworm specimen from the next phase of human evolution will be at University Place Pierce County Library at 7 p.m., signing his book, A Reader's Book of Days, and generally reminding you what a moron you are by comparison.

5. Want to watch bands exchange CDs then listen to a band that melds reggae, hip-hop metal and funk? Good news!  Ted Brown Music presents the North & South CD Swap Meet Networking Party from 7-9 p.m. at Louie G's Pizza, followed by a live performance by The Approach.

LINK: Thursday, June 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 28, 2014 at 10:35am

Tonight: Claire Gebben book talk and genealogy research discussion

Seattle author Claire Gebben

The tale of an immigrant arriving on American shores seeking opportunity and a better life is one that's been oft-told. Usually, the story goes like this: a family in a far-off land realize how hard their lives are and decide to embark on a bold adventure to the New World, where life will be so much better. BUT when they get there, they find there are still cats who will chase them around and the streets are not paved with cheese. ... This is the template that Seattle author Claire Gebben works with in her historical novel The Last of the Blacksmiths (well, maybe not the parts about cats and cheese). Though instead of a family of 19th century Russian mice landing in New York, Blacksmiths borrows from Gebben's family history of 19th century Germans landing in Cleveland. The story's protagonist Fievel Michael Harm has sailed to the New World to apprentice as ... well, a blacksmith.

Gebben discusses her novel, as well as genealogy research for historical novels, at Wheelock Library this evening. Maybe she'll reveal details for the sequel, Blacksmiths II: Michael Goes West. ...

CLAIRE GEBBEN, 7 p.m., Wheelock Library, 3722 N. 26th St., Tacoma, free admission, 253.617.7811

Filed under: Books, Tacoma,

May 28, 2014 at 7:19am

5 Things To Do Today: Dylanologists, Western Landscape, The Telephone Projects, Margaret Cho ...

Be like Dylan tonight at the downtown Olympia library.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28 2014 >>>

1. Come gather ‘round, people, wherever you roam. Like many writers and critics who prophesize with our pens, we keep our eyes open for new books about Robert Zimmerman, better known as the one and only Mr. Bob Dylan. But The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob isn't, strictly speaking, a tome about the Bard of Minneapolis, it's an insider's look at geeks like us who adore him. Author David Kinney will stop by the downtown Olympia library at 7:30 p.m. to promote it. And don't think twice, it's all right: he will have copies available for purchase.

2. Learn how artists have responded to the mountains, valleys, and vast plains of the western United States over time, influencing perceptions of the West, when Tacoma Art Museum Curator Laura Fry discusses "The Western Landscape in Art" at 11 a.m., as part of Tacoma Art Museum's Lunch & Learn series. The lecture is in conjunction with TAM's exhibit, "Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots."

3. It's Wednesday, which means Pour at Four pours complimentary tastes of its favorite wines. From 5:30-8 p.m., The Proctor District wine bar will showcase wines from Foris Vineyards and Winery in Southern Oregon. Expect Alsacean style whites and Pinot Noirs.

4. The Telephone Projects is Brennon Gage, of San Diego, a band that seems to mostly revolve around Gage and his Casiotone, churning out vaguely miserablist indie pop with a tongue-in-cheek attitude of carefree defiance. Catch the band with Gage's other band, the gothy Witch Prayer, plus Apollo Ried Sygmund, and Follies and Vices at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

5. As the cliché goes, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." And such is the case with Margaret Cho, who somehow parlayed the poignant failures of her early career - namely, the cancellation of '90s sitcom All American Girl, a gig that, literally, almost killed her - into one of the most successful standup careers. At 8 p.m., Cho will bring her raunchy comedic stylings to The Evergreen State College's Recreation Center.

LINK: Wednesday, May 28 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 27, 2014 at 7:31am

5 Things To Do Today: West Olympia Farmers Market, Sam Hunt, YA Book Club, The Square ...

West Olympia Farmers Market is open every Tuesday through Oct. 14.

TUESDAY, MAY 27 2014 >>>

1. Ever since the Westside Tavern won the Tournament of Burgers, the real estate agents representing Olympia's Westside have been inundated with inquiries. The Westside is happening, but that's not news to those who live up on the hill. If you want proof, drop by the West Olympia Farmers Market from 4-7 p.m. In addition to an awesome selection of local vendors, this season features live music, raffles and special events. Drop by for fresh produce, baked goods, pastured poultry and meats, flowers, veggie starts and crafts.

2. As far as menopausal-crisis road-trip semi-dramas go, On My Way's hormonal launch into the provinces has several advantages, including Emmanuelle Bercot's fluid nonstop traveling camera. But primarily the film has Catherine Deneuve, who is her classically resonant self as a small-town ex-beauty queen and grandmother shattered again by romantic disappointment and who leaves her failing restaurant one day and falls off the grid. Catch the film at 2 and 6:10 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

3. Thought-provoking reading doesn't have to come from classic authors such as Dickens and Steinbeck. Young adult literature, which continues to grow in popularity, has been producing intriguing works about society that appeal to a wide audience - a fact that King's Books hasn't missed. The Tacoma Stadium District bookstore hosts a Young Adult Book Club at 7 p.m. The group will discuss Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko. The story is about Moose Flannagan who moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school. But Natalie has autism, and when she's denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous coping mechanisms Moose's family has used for dealing with her disorder. 

4. Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt will perform a free show at 7:30 p.m. in the Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. in downtown Tacoma. He's penned songs for some of the biggest names in country music, such as "Cop Car" by Keith Urban, "We are Tonight" by Billy Currington and "Come Over" for Kenny Chesney. 

5. Nominated for Best Documentary at this year's Academy Awards, Egyptian-American documentarian Jehane Noujaim's The Square takes you inside the Egyptian revolution centered around Cairo's Tahrir Square. Catch the film at 9 p.m. in the Capitol Theater.

LINK: Tuesday, May 27 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 20, 2014 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Banned book discussion, "Omar," rose tasting, British Export and more ...

The Banned Book Club will discuss this book over drinks at Doyle's Public House tonight.

TUESDAY, MAY 20 2014 >>>

1. Each year, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. Between May 2011 and May 2012, John Berger - a novelist, storyteller, poet, screenwriter and art critic - had his To the Wedding dinged by some parents for dropping f-bombs to describe sexual relations. That doesn't sit well with King's Books owner, sweet pea. The Berger novel will be front and center at King's Banned Book Club 7 p.m. discussion in neighboring Doyle's Public House. Expect much worse language inside Doyle's if a televised soccer match turns nutty.

The Palestinian Oscar nominee for best foreign language film has the title character, Omar, climbing over the Israeli separation wall to visit his romantic interest Nadia, her brother Tarek and his other childhood friend Amjad. Without much thought, the three men conspire to kill an Israeli soldier, and Amjad is the one to do the shooting. When Omar is captured and tortured by the Israelis, they give him an ultimatum. Find out what happens at 1:55 and 6:30 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

Every so often, we come across the argument that rosé lacks merit as a wine, and, therefore, has become over-hyped. To the residents of southern France, rosé equals lifestyle; we doubt they would agree their Provençal existence isn't deserving of recognition. Pour At Four knows this. The Tacoma Proctor District wine bar will pour complimentary tastes of six roses from three regions from 5:30-8 p.m.

This might be hard to believe, but you can't go see The Beatles live anymore, unless you have some sort of resurrection or time traveling technology. If you do have said technology and are using to see The Beatles, you've got some problems, so let Red Wind Casino help you out. It hosts Beatles tribute band British Export at 8 p.m. Go scream your head off.

The 1230 Room probably has you at "$3 You Call Its," but you also may be interested in the downtown Olympia club's Tuesday deep, tech and progressive house night "The Deep End." It launches at 9 p.m. with drink specials, no cover and resident DJs Alex Bosi, Evan Mould, Chris Paro and Braxxus.

LINK: Tuesday, May 20 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 13, 2014 at 7:51am

5 Things To Do Today: Argo chat, Wet art show, Next Goal Wins film, hypnotist and more ...

Meet Mark Lijek this morning.

TUESDAY, MAY 13 2014 >>>

1. It's a true-enough story about something that really happened: Posing as a Canadian filmmaker, a CIA agent got six Americans out of Tehran in 1980 after an angry mob of "students" stormed our embassy and held its occupants hostage for 444 days, a siege that gave us, more or less, the Reagan presidency. Mark Lijek was one of those six hiding in Iran. At 10:30 a.m. in the Garfield Book Company, Lijek will reveal how he and the five other Americans avoided capture, detail their months of hiding and describe the facts of the CIA rescue, which includes more Canadian involvement than portrayed in the film, Argo

2. The exhibition called "Wet" and subtitled "Abstract Expressionism in Fluidity, Movement and Space" at B2 Fine Art is a retrospective of work by Chuck Smart with some works by other well-known artists thrown in - like Yakime Brown, who is beginning to make a splash in New York; Judy Hintz Cox, a regular at B2 who has four excellent paintings in this show. And just for good measure there are a few glass vessels by Dale Chihuly. But Brown, Chihuly and Cox are bonus artists. What this show is really all about is the amazing artwork of Chuck Smart. Read Alec Clayton's full review of "Wet: Abstract Expressionism in Fluidity, Movement and Space" in the Music & Culture section, then check out the show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Next Goal Wins, a documentary about American Samoa's soccer team and how it became known as the worst soccer team on the planet after compiling a 0-31 record, will screen at 2 and 7 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

4. Twelve years ago, Jason Padgett was a party-loving jock and a college dropout who'd never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging permanently and profoundly altered the way his brain works, giving him unique gifts. He's now a devoted student and an award-winning artist, hand-drawing the stunning geometric patterns he sees everywhere. His is the first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia. At 7 p.m. inside the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch, Padgett discusses his book, Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel.

5. You are getting sleepy, v-e-r-y sleepy. Now, go see the hypnotist show at 8 p.m. inside the Red Wind Casino. Whether a skeptic or believer, the show will be sure to entertain with its comedy, rock and roll and outrageous hypnosis, like people sneezing and having orgasms(!) when Ron Stubbs, the man behind the magic, utters the word "pepper."

LINK: Tuesday, May 13 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 8, 2014 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Legendary Locals of Lakewood, benefit at Treos, Tacoma Runners, Hungry Skinny and more ...

"Legendary Locals of Lakewood" highlights town greats and unsung heroes, past and present.

THURSDAY, MAY 8 2014 >>>

1. Steve Dunkelberger and Walter Neary are city of Lakewood legends. They were on the scene when Pong debuted inside the Liberty House store. They were there for all-you-can-eat pizza Wednesdays at Pizza Haven. They held court at Big Scoop, Shakey's Pizza and Bob's Big Boy. They threw toast at midnight in the Lakewood Theater. They rode the tiny train inside the shoe store at Villa Plaza. They stood outside and watched Love's Restaurant burn to the ground. They pestered Ivan the gorilla. They held on tight when Earthquake went all Sensurround in the General Cinemas. They ran across Steilacoom Lake the year it froze solid. I'm certain they tried to sneak into the Lakewood Terrace's back lounge and The Tiki Restaurant. At 7 p.m. in King's Books, they will hold court, once again, this time to sign copies of their new book, Legendary Locals of Lakewood. Ask them about riding in the plastic bins on the roller track at Gov-Mart. They were there.

2. Treos in Old Town Tacoma hosts a Leukemia/Lymphoma Team in Training fundraisers from 5-9 p.m. featuring Celtic music with Mooncoyne's Martin Nyberg followed by Scott Desart acoustical set. Proceeds of beer and wine sales go to cure cancer.

3. Katie Downs on Tacoma's Ruston Way is crazy popular, especially after it won the Tournament of Pizza in 2011. Today, the joint will overflow as the Tacoma Runners launch its 3-mile run from it then return to celebrate the feat with pizza, burgers and booze. You in?

4. Humble and energetic standup comedian Don Friesen brings his physical, self-deprecating style of humor to the Tacoma Comedy Club at 8 p.m.

5. San Francisco rock band Hungry Skinny will join Phobos & Deimos for a 9 p.m. show at Le Voyeur in downtown Olympia.

LINK: Thursday, May 8 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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