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March 29, 2014 at 8:00am

5 Things To Do Today: Dockyard Derby Dames, Slider Cook-Off, CHAMBER, the Purrs and more ...

Champions The Marauding Mollys are battling the green fighting machines Femme Fianna tonight. Photo courtesy of dockyardderbydames.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 29 2014 >>>

1. The appeal of roller derby for onlookers is sort of similar to that insane, vicarious excitement many experience through watching ultimate fighting, only these tough ladies are on skates, and they're going really-really fast. The four roller derby teams that call Dockyard Derby Dames home will be battling against each other, and you can bet these dedicated derby girls won't let up against each other. The 6 p.m. bout will be back at Pierce College in Lakewood. Following the match, meet up at The Fan Club (8315 83rd Ave. SW, Lakewood) for an afterparty, which also promises to be fast-paced and full-contact.

2. With Coachella on the horizon and SWSX respectfully behind us, it can only mean one thing - 54 music fest season is officially in swing. The Olympia Acoustic Festival is just one of many in the South Sound, and it's a good one. In its second year, the all-ages, two-stage festival is from 1 p.m. to midnight at the historical Olympia Ballroom inside the Urban Onion in downtown Olympia. More than 15 acts are slated to play; headliners are Juniper Circus, Sansel and the Skirt, Oly Mountain Boys, Shawn Smith and Science! Read Nikki McCoy's full feature on the Olympia Acoustic Festival in the Music and Culture section.

3. Sliders know no boundaries when it comes to the diverse flavor that can be found between two mini buns, and the crew at Museum of Glass celebrating their 3rd annual Slider Cook-Off proves that we just can't get enough of the little guys. MoG kicks off "Shake Rattle and Grill" at 6:30 p.m. pitting seven of Tacoma's best restaurants against each other in an epic cook-off battle featuring the fine art of slider concoctions. Read Jackie Fender's full story on the Slider Cook-Off in our restaurant section.

4. Featuring original choreography by Faith Stevens and the world premier of commissioned music for cello, violin, piano, and electronics by local composer Brad Hawkins, MLKBallet's CHAMBER blends contemporary dance with new music and bold 20th century works by Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen and John Cage at 7 p.m. inside the Urban Grace Church in downtown Tacoma. CHAMBER joins old traditions with new and explores the visual aspects of music and dance performance, as performing artists share the stage.

5. There was a moment in my conversation with Jima, frontman of Seattle band the Purrs, when I expressed how inadequate it is to simply call the Purrs a psychedelic indie rock band. While that might be ultimately accurate, it just doesn't quite do justice to what the band does. Let's take a moment, for instance, to consider the bands that the Purrs have shared stages with: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pearl Jam and Okkervil River, just to name three markedly disparate acts. The Purrs are able to drift among scenes in a manner befitting of their intangible sound. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's interview with Jima in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Trees and Timber, People Under the Sun and DJ Melodica at 9 p.m. in The New frontier Lounge.

LINK: Saturday, March 29 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 28, 2014 at 7:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Hell's Belles, "Man of la Mancha," Java Tacoma, Adelphian Concert Choir and more ...

It takes balls the size of Tasmania to impersonate AC/DC, Australia's most famed musical export and an undeniable rock-and-roll legend. Uh, that is, unless you're Seattle's Hell's Belles.

FRIDAY, MARCH 28 2014 >>>

1. Five fetching females will pay homage to that sweatiest, ugliest, manliest rock 'n' roll band of all time at 9 p.m. in the Capitol Theater. It's classic cock-rock without the, uh, receding hairline. If you haven't seen the balls-out (in every sense) rock explosion of Seattle's Hell's Belles, do whatever or whomever it takes to witness it Friday.  The "all-female AC/DC tribute band" gimmick gets 'em in the door, but guitarist Adrian Conner (Angus incarnate with much better legs) and Aussie singer Amber Saxon (belting Bon and Brian) deliver the goods note-for-sweaty-note with no mercy given. Prophets of Addiction open.

2. Check out the Washington Center's new Gallery show, "Memoir: Portrait of a Moment," from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The show features local artists focusing on the impact of memory on an individual artist. See the Center's fancy remodel, meet the artists and enjoy local talent.

3. Jeri, Kate and Linda join forces once again to commit manic mayhem over at Tacoma's Perky's Coffee House. This time, a suave but untrustworthy stranger enters their lives. Could this mean romance for one of our ladies, or a reason for comic revenge? Loosely inspired by William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, JAVA TACOMA is a celebration of friendship, middle-aged womanhood and all things Tacoma in The Merry Wives Americano beginning at 7:30 p.m. in The Dukesbay Theater above The Grand Cinema.

4. University of Puget Sound's celebrated student vocal group, the Adelphian Concert Choir, is heading home after a tour of the state. The 48-voice ensemble will give a free public concert at 8 p.m. on its home turf at Kilworth Memorial Chapel. Expect sacred songs, old-time favorites, choruses from Buddhist, European, and South African traditions, and modern innovations in music. No word yet if the choir will hand out apples picked in Wenatchee.

5. Man of La Mancha finds Miguel de Cervantes in a dungeon with other prisoners, defending his life by narrating the story of Don Quixote, the naïve but faithful Sancho Panza, and the scrappy Aldonza. The treatment of Aldonza/Dulcinea in the musical, as opposed to the novel, is deeply disturbing. Cervantes's brawny farm girl becomes a prostitute who's brutally gang-raped in a barn. Quixote trounces the rapists ... then ministers to their wounds. But what of Aldonza's? What's the point of this added scene? Why not have Quixote - hell, Aldonza - prevent the attack? Find out at 8 p.m. when the undeniable talent, especially in the lead roles, of Tacoma Musical Playhouse stages the show. Read Christian Carvajal's full review of Man of La Mancha in the Music & Culture section.

LINK: Friday, March 28 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 26, 2014 at 7:55am

5 Things To Do Today: The Funs, American West art, glacier chat, cellist Cicely Parnas and more ...

The Funs / Photo credit: Jason Balla

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 2014 >>>

1. Chicago fuzz merchants the Funs bringing a chugging, lo-fi bravado to your more standard garage rock. Even with the buzzy noise that surrounds the Funs' music, there's still a hypnotic lull that it's quite easy to fall into when listening. The insistently strummed guitars and primal drums eventually fade into pastiche, letting the hazy vocals drift to the front. Catch the band with Criminal Code, Dreamdecay, Vexx and Thee Samedi at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Explore the themes and stories of the art of the American West, from the adventurer artists of the 19th century to contemporary artists working in the West today, with Tacoma Art Museum curator Laura Fry. Entry to her 11 a.m. "Art of the West through Time" lecture is free with the price of admission to TAM.

3. Pour at Four wine bar co-owner Mark Merrill knows wine. It comes with the job. He's tasted a few bottles over the last couple of months. Happily, he's found some beauties. From 5:30-8 p.m., Merrill will pour complimentary tastes of his recent favorites, including several that over deliver for their price.

4. If you'd like to start spring off worrying about something, you could do worse than attend painter Anna McKee's discussion about her travels with climate scientists to glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and Antarctica at 7:30 p.m. at Olympia Timberland Library. We imagine it will be equal parts a profile of beautiful artwork; gorgeous scenes of exotic locales; and a derring-do adventure. But, as we are reminded almost daily in some form of media, her presentation could also be a Giant Blinking Light that Earth's glaciers are melting and disappearing at an astonishing pace - especially when University of Washington glaciologist Bradley Markle adds his field research photos and stories during the same presentation.

5. Cicely Parnas made her Carnegie Hall debut performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the New York String Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo, to a rave review in The New York Times. Wow. Catch the cellist at 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Center.

LINK: Wednesday, March 26 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 18, 2014 at 7:36am

5 Things To Do Today: German operas, cheap fish-n-chips, "Detroit Unleaded," Terry Gilliam hug and more ...

Robert Schumann had a similar life experience as you.

TUESDAY, MARCH 18 2014 >>>

We are deeply saddened by this morning's tragic KOMO News 4 helicopter crash in downtown Seattle. Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved and their families.

1. We've all been there. You met her when she was a young teen, then you two nurtured a growing romance over the next several years despite the objections and outright bitter legal battles with her father. When you finally married, you composed a great deal of romantic lieder describing your feelings for your wife. Hear Robert Schumann's version of your story along with Richard Strauss' Zueignung and Hugo Wolf's Der Tambour when Opera tenor Thomas Harper performs a selection of musical works by German artists at the next Music @ 11 event at 11 a.m. in Kreielsheimer Hall on the Saint Martin's University campus.

2. The Grand Cinema's Tuesday Film Series hosts a more romantic variation on Clerks. The film Detroit Unleaded charts the budding relationship between Lebanese-American gas station owner Sami - compelled to take over the family's Detroit-slums business with ambitious cousin Mike after his father is killed in a robbery - and his beautiful cousin Naj. Catch it at 1:45 and 6:40 p.m.

3. Ivar's Seafood Bars and full service restaurants are once again paying tribute to beloved flounder Ivar Haglund and his would-be 109th birthday with a deep-sea deal. Today, all Ivar's fans who purchase one regularly-priced entrée and wish Ivar "Happy Birthday," will receive a second entrée of their choice for $1.09 off a special birthday menu. In addition to the birthday discounts, Ivar's will also treat the first 109 guests to a sweet slice of birthday cake.   

4. Accountants-turned-pirates, a daydreaming bureaucrat from a dystopian future, folklore-collecting con-artist brothers, a fantastically lying baron, and an ill-fated attempt to bring Don Quixote to the big screen. These could all be among the topics tonight as Saint Martin's University presents "The Films of Terry Gilliam" as part of their Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series at 6:30 p.m. in Harned Hall on the Saint Martin's University campus. Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula and Karen Randell lead a discussion of the Monty Python alumnus' cinematic works based upon their book The Cinema of Terry Gilliam: It's a Mad World. A screening of the Gilliam classic Time Bandits follows; the trio will then present an analysis ofthe film - perhaps clearing up once-and-for-all the mystery of how Horseflesh, the supposedly-deceased seventh dwarf, ends up on the side of Evil. Or the nature of Vincent's "problem" which he needed fruit to cure.

5. Lakewood Historical Society celebrates Women's History Month by hosting a panel of local women writers - Dorothy Wilhelm, Nancy Covert, Carol Neufeld Stout, Meg Justus - at 7 p.m. in St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

LINK: Tuesday, March 18 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 16, 2014 at 8:14am

5 Things To Do Today: Christian Mistress, "12 Angry Men," Little Bill's birthday and more ...

Christian Mistress: The best metal in Olympia, according to the 2014 Best of Olympia issue.

SUNDAY, MARCH 16 2014 >>>

1. Christian Mistress, Olympia's favorite metal sweethearts, are about to make their home stop on a wailing west coast tour. The bellowing harmonies of a front woman - who was clearly born from the ashes of a phoenix - the dueling guitars that create paths of thunderbolts in your mind, and the brilliant tempo of a drummer who gets in your spine, Christian Mistress is the real deal. Voted by Weekly Volcano readers as the Best Metal Band in the 2014 Best of Olympia issue, you should see this band live at 9 p.m. in The Brotherhood Lounge. On deck is Broken Water with punk rock/shoe gaze delights and Paralyzer with indie dance vibes.

2. Twelve chairs surround the table, and the audience surrounds the chairs. Lakewood Playhouse's 12 Angry Men's set design announces its intentions immediately and without mistake: as an audience, we are made to be conscientious observers, to judge these jurors as they judge a murder. It's an intriguing way to view this show, and it's one of the things that this production gets absolutely right. Read Rev. McKinney's full review of 12 Angry Men in the Music & Culture section, then catch the closing show at 2 p.m. 

3. Conductor Christophe Chagnard, the Northwest Sinfonietta, PLU Choral Union and five soloists perform J.S. Bach's sacred oratorio St. John Passion - a harrowing tale of power, betrayal, murder, love, compassion and hope at 2 p.m. at the Puyallup Pavilion.

4. Children are stubborn creatures. Molding them into the clean, safe-driving, classical-music-loving model citizens you dream of them being is just not as simple as it should be. It takes creativity and an ability to be extremely entertaining for long periods of time. You should share your burden. Take Junior and Junior Junior to Mini Maestros: Jungle Jams at 2:30 p.m. in Schneebeck Hall, where the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet will teach children how horns, trumpets, trombones and tubas can sound like animals - while you sit in the back and wonder how the musical and zoological worlds all collided without your noticing.

5. Little Bill Engelhart grew up on Hilltop Tacoma and learned rock 'n' roll by playing rhythm and blues with the black musicians' downtown, which was unusual for a young white kid at the time. He formed a band with some of his teenage friends and had a national hit when he was just 19 titled "I'm in Love with an Angel." Life after that seemed a bit anti-climactic. Once you've toured with the most famous musicians of your time, it's hard to come home and be an every day guy. Engelhart turns 75 tomorrow, but still works most days booking, promoting and playing music. At 5 p.m., Englehart will headline the Blues Vespers in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Wish him a happy birthday.

LINK: Sunday, March 16 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 15, 2014 at 8:56am

5 Things To Do Today: Bone Cave Ballet, Doyle's St. Pat's Bash, Ides of March, Northwest Sinfonietta and more ...

Bone Cave Ballet: Powerful prog-rock promenade / photo courtesy of Facebook

SATURDAY, MARCH 15 2014 >>>

1. Experimentation for experimentation's sake can be a fun tunnel to explore, but the ability to rein oneself in is a valuable one to have. Following every whim is too easy, which is why we'll always give enormous amounts of credit to people that can write a solid three-minute pop song. Being able to split the difference is ideal, and it's something that Bone Cave Ballet do very well. They're able to take you right to the edge without shoving you off. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Bone Cave Ballet in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Bandolier, Red Sea and Buffalo Tongue at 8:30 p.m. in Bob's Java Jive.

2. Doyle's Public House has pitched the giant tent and its St. Patrick's Weekend is on. Today, it's a full schedule. They are open this morning for the pre- and post-St. Patrick's Day Dash breakfast and beers. Sounders Supporter Bus will depart at 11:30 a.m. for the 1:30 p.m. kick-off. The Pierce County Firefighters Pipes & Drums will be in the house to stir the emotions with their haunting sound. Corned Beef Cabbage and other Irish dishes are on the menu. At 9 p.m., it's "Working Man's St. Patrick's Day" party kicks in with The Rusty Cleavers and the Ethan Tucker Band.

3. Poet Lisa Panepinto will read from On This Borrowed Bike, her debut collection, full of lyrical, heartwarming poems at 3 p.m. in Orca Books.

4. 106.5 KOWA-FM low power community radio hosts an "Ides of March" benefit concert featuring Yogoman Burning Band, Fabulous Downey Brothers, Oh Rose, Old Growth Poetry Collective and special host and DJ Selector Dub Narcotic at 7 p.m. in the Eagles Ballroom in downtown Olympia.

5. When we were kids, Bach was the bane of our existence. During childhood piano lessons, time spent struggling with the German composer's Inventions 1 through 5 forced us to miss out on crucial bike-riding time and numerous episodes of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. But if any orchestra can help us overcome our aversion to the music of Johann Sebastian, it's the Northwest Sinfonietta. Conductor Christophe Chagnard, 93 musicians, PLU Choral Union and five soloists perform J.S. Bach's sacred oratorio St. John Passion - a harrowing tale of power, betrayal, murder, love, compassion and hope at 7:30 p.m. in the Rialto Theater.

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

March 7, 2014 at 7:47am

5 Things To Do Today: Black Violin, RAGS, "Angry Housewives," Coma Figura ...

Yes, violins. Yes, hip-hop.

FRIDAY, MARCH 7 2014 >>>

1. From Bach to Bird to Biggie, Black Violin executes a unique and often brilliant juxtaposition of urban and classical styles. The two-man violin/viola hip-hop outfit of Wil B and Kev Marcus mix classical music with hip-hop beats, and then toss in some rap and freestyle to keep it interesting. Yes, violins. Yes, hip-hop. With the addition of a hip-hop DJ, this talented trio fuses funk, hip-hop and classical music to create a sound and style that very nearly defies traditional genre categorization. Some might call it revolutionary. Check it out at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

2. Sure, Tacoma celebrates its status as an arts community.  Sure, Tacoma loves to band together for a good cause.  With the YWCA RAGS wearable Art Sale and Gallery, continuing for its 20th year, it does both. RAGS started as a fun way to raise money for the YWCA, whose mission statement is all about honoring diversity and creating opportunities for women’s growth, leadership, and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. RAGS offers guests an opportunity to view and acquire fabulous handmade clothing, jewelry and accessories created by artisans from across the country. Check out RAGS from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside the Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma new showroom at 1701 Alexander Ave. East in Fife.

3. The Tacoma Community College Symphonic Band concert and trombone soloists Sara Mayo present a variety of contemporary wind band music, exploring ideas around tradition, conversation, spirits and dance at 7:30 p.m. in TCC Building 2 Auditorium, which is close to South 12th and Mildred.

4. The genial satire of contemporary feminism Angry Housewives ran for ages in Seattle centering on Jetti, Bev, Wendi and Carol — good friends, but angry over the lack of respect from their men. So, they form a punk rock band, Angry Housewives, and take their local club scene by storm gaining new self-respect and renewed respect from their men. The play opens at Paradise Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

5. Near as we can tell from what little music is available of Coma Figura, one might describe them as a sort of Foxygen or Titus Andronicus for the bedroom pop set. These are bands that mash together influences and jumble them up into something that surges past imitation and into a kind of fervent homage. Whereas Foxygen and Titus Andronicus reinterpret pastoral psych rock and boozy Springsteen-isms, respectively, Coma Figura take stabs at the idiosyncratic singer-songwriter. Catch the band with BA the Scribe, FLORIDA, Mad Youth at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge.

LINK: Friday, March 7 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 2, 2014 at 8:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Oscar parties, author Glen Retief, The Esoterics, Howie Mandel and more ...

We snuck into The Grand Cinema's Oscar Party VIP room last year.

SUNDAY, MARCH 2 2014 >>>

1. The Academy Awards are tonight. There's plenty of speculation about who's likely to win, along with conversation about who's worthy of the awards. Team Walkie Talkie has our money on American Hustle or 12 Years A Slave. Speaking of the golden naked dudes, there are not one but two local venues at which you can put on your Oscar Sunday best and savor the festivities with hundreds of other cineastes. The Olympia Film Society rolls out the red carpet at 4 p.m. in front of the Capitol Theater. The Grand Cinema opens its Oscars party at 5 p.m. in Tacoma's Theatre on the Square


February 28, 2014 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Survival Knife, new IPA, wine and chocolate, classical music ...

Olympia, Washington’s Survival Knife. Photo credit: Roger Stanley.

FRIDAY, FEB. 28 2014 >>>

1. Survival Knife, C Average and The Narrows play at 9:30 p.m. in McCoy's Tavern. Take it away Meg Cunningham of Survival Knife: "I am beyond excited to play this show." "It's a perfect trifecta with The Narrows, gracing us with their heavy, epic, mind blowing self as always. Survival Knife, well ... I'm in this band so all I'll say about us is, we'll bring the noise and won't disappoint. Then of course, C Average. If you don't know Cave rage, well ... that's sad. Riffage from the valleys of beyond. Come one and all."

2. Though it gets a lot less press than Woodinville, the South Sound also has a number of wineries. The South Sound Wine Trail ventures through Olympia, Lacey and Shelton. Participating wineries are tucked throughout Thurston County and include Madsen Family Cellars, Medicine Creek Winery, Northwest Mountain Winery, Scatter Creek Winery, Stottle Winery, Vina Salida and Walter Dacon Wines. The best time to tour the South Sound Wine Trail is during the annual Wine and Chocolate Passport ride, which is Feb. 28-March 2. The wineries invite the public to taste their vinos paired with delicious rich chocolates. A passport costs $30 in advance, $40 at the doors, and includes samples from six of the participating wineries. Participants need not visit all wineries in one day. For full event details and map, visit southsoundwinetrail.com.

3. Puyallup River Brewery releases We Are The Champions IPA today at its Puyallup River Alehouse. To pair perfectly with the Seahawks-inspired brew, the Alehouse hosts a taco night, beginning at 5 p.m. Puyallup River Alehouse has partnered with Sweet and Savory catering, so hand-fried corn tortillas and fresh ingredients will be paired with the newbie brew, which drops at 7:30 p.m.

4. Flutist Darrin Thaves - an instructor of flute at California State University, Long Beach - joins the Tacoma Community College Orchestra for a little Elgar, Molique and Haydn at 7:30 p.m. in TCC's Building 2. Expect Thaves to go off during the Molique Concerto in d minor for Flute, Op. 69.

5. Speaking of classical music, the next Jacobsen Series concert at University of Puget Sound will spotlight the diverse talents of its School of Music faculty members in a classical evening that evokes the mischief of the French cabaret and the enchantment of a music hall. From the Music Hall to the Cabaret: Chamber Works by Weill and Poulenc will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall.

LINK: Friday, Feb. 28 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 23, 2014 at 8:33am

5 Things To Do Today: "Verdi & Friends," Alejandro Fleites & Sin Embargo, "12 Angry Men," Battle of the Sexes and more ...

It's mostly about Verdi at the Pantages Theater this afternoon.

SUNDAY, FEB. 23 2014 >>>

1. Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da Requiem is one of the most dramatic and inspiring sacred pieces ever written, contrasting fiery climaxes with passages of heart-rending poignancy. Composed in 1874 as a memorial to the Italian poet and novelist, Allesandro Manzoni, the Requiem is one of the most moving works ever to flow from the heart of Verdi. At 2:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra will open its concert of opera music with excerpts of the piece. That's a tough act to follow. Can baritone Kenneth Overton and the Tacoma Symphony Chorus move the audience along with lively and poignant selections from AidaIl TrovatoreLa Traviata and Carmen? Only Music Director Harvey Felder and crew know the answer. The "Major General Song" from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance is on the set list, which means an "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" sing-along could bust out.


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