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March 1, 2014 at 8:55am

5 Things To Do Today: Big Wheel Stunt Show, Sustainability Expo, Olympia Dance Festival, Rippin' Chicken and more ...

Big Wheel Stunt Show takes one last ride tonight at The New Frontier Lounge. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, MARCH 1 2014 >>>

1. In early February Big Wheel Stunt Show announced announced they would disband, and they're making good on their promise at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge. But this is no time for hankies. Anyone who knows what these guys can do live won't be crying, but rather headbanging and singing along with merry glee. Guitarist and frontman Evan Nagle and drummer Justin Gimse bid bassist Jake Melius a fond farewell. Melius found a great job in Arizona, so the five-year relationship ends, with three albums on the mantle and a Bob Rivers Show interview yesterday morning. Few bands have rocked, we mean flat-out rocked this area harder than BWSS. They will be missed. So, with one peace sign in the air pumping along to the music - and the other hand flipping Melius the bird (just kidding) - let's help BWSS go out with a bang and celebrate one last time.

2. The South Sound Sustainability Expo at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center will, once again, bring "green" to the masses. According to yearly hype, the South Sound Sustainability Expo is "intended to provide residents and business owners in the greater Tacoma metropolitan area a place to discover services, products, companies, and agencies in our region that address sustainability needs in our community." As part of that goal, instruction and information on everything from urban chicken cooping to waste minimization and recycling will be discussed. Transportation alternatives will also be covered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3. Top dance groups from the Olympia area perform in a cavalcade of dance that celebrates the South Sound's talent - from Irish dance to ballet, classic to contemporary - at 7:30 p.m. in the Washington Center.

4. The Clinton Fearon and Speaker Minds show is gonna be killa dilla! If you're not familiar with Portland's Speaker Minds, the hip-hop group takes fun to the next level with female vocals and righteous instrumentalists. Of course, Clinton Fearon is the word in Northwest reggae. Catch the all-ages show at 9 p.m. in The Olympia Ballroom.

5. Seattle band Rippin' Chicken plays a greasy brand of funky, bugaloo and soul jazz, executed with creative ease by three funky brothers from different mothers. Check out this soul-food organ trio gone rippin' at 9:30 p.m. inside Doyle's Public House.

LINK: Saturday, March 1 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 9, 2014 at 8:19am

5 Things To Do Today: Green Drinks, locavore chat, The Shy Boys, comedian Matt Braunger and more ...

Green Drinks Tacoma welcomes you to meet new people and discuss environmental issues tonight over, well, drinks.

THURSDAY, JAN. 9 2014 >>>

1. Green Drinks Tacoma, known locally as Tacoma's Green Happy Hour, is a monthly forum for business owners, students, academics, entrepreneurs, and members of the public to meet, exchange ideas, and grow their level of sustainability. It's a get-together for Green people - No, not individuals from other planets, but rather those interested in the environment, conservation and sustainability. Green Drinks kicks off 2014 at 6 p.m. with an informal get-together and brief discussion lead by Tacoma Power regarding its energy conservation efforts and programs at The Office Bar & Grill.

The locavore movement is real. It's in the Oxford Dictionary. So are the words doughnut hole, red velvet cake, panko, bibimbap and affogato. The English language has never stopped and will never stop evolving. Same with the locavore movement, thanks to authors such as Whidbey Island resident Vicki Robin. Her book, Blessing the Hands That Feed Us, is loaded with practical tips on adopting your own locally-sourced diet, in a candid, humorous, and inspirational voice. Grab a hold of Robin's views and tips at 7 p.m. in Orca Books.

The Tides Tavern has been an anchor in Gig Harbor nightlife scene. If the waterfront watering hole wants to have its New Year's kickoff party on Jan. 9, who's to argue. Appropriately Gig Harbor '70s and '80s acoustic rockers The Shy Boys will be the entertainment from 7-9 p.m. Happy New Year!

4. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Now that's what we call a play. Three acts of two married couples screaming and crying into the existential void of Cold War America. Nice. Catch the pay at 8 p.m. in the Lakewood Playhouse, and pay-what-you-can.

As you read in this week's Nerd Alert! column, Rev. Adam McKinney has been following comedian Matt Braunger. "With a boisterous and animated style reminiscent of Brian Regan, Braunger has been receiving a lot of attention for the past couple years, culminating in the release of his 2012 Comedy Central special, Shovel Fighter. Coming out of a remarkably fertile scene in Chicago that also nurtured the careers of peers such as Pete Holmes, Kumail Nanjiani, T.J. Miller and Kyle Kinane, Braunger is a comedian still on the rise, and one that seems poised to keep getting better as time goes on." Catch him at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Comedy Club.

LINK: Thursday, Jan. 9 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 4, 2013 at 10:28am

Olympia's Central for green living

West Central Park

The West Central Park, a privately owned park that opened in May at the corner of Division and Harrison in west Olympia, has spent the summer living up to its goal of being an open community space to gather, relax and network.

Saturday, from 1-5 p.m., the park hosts a Sustainable Living Exposition, bringing in more than 20 local businesses and organizations, including GRuB, Intercity Transit, city of Olympia and Native Plant Salvage Project.


June 20, 2013 at 7:06am

5 Things To do Today: "Life is OOD," Tacoma Arts Mingle, Art+Sci Salon, Thrones and more ...

"Life is OOD," new works by Sean Alexander and Henry Lee Walls, opens at Fulcrum Gallery tonight. Photo courtesy of fulcrumtacoma.com

THURSDAY. JUNE 20, 2013 >>>

1. Hot off his work as illustrator for the South Sound User's Guide, Alexander put down his tiny line making pens and explores Hilltop Tacoma though found objects. According to pre-show hype, "These found objects were collected and considered before artworks were made from them. Interactions with residents of the neighborhood also served to create work, especially those with the mysterious drifter and neighborhood staple Henry Lee Walls." Titled "Life is OOD," a play off the slogan "life is good" as well as rapper Nas' most recent album, Life is Good, Alexander and Walls offer their inspirations for public viewing with a reception from 5-9 p.m. at Fulcrum Gallery.

2. Of course today is the third Thursday of the month, which means only one thing for the Tacoma crowd: Time for Tacoma Arts Mingle - a night of strolling through galleries, museum and art friendly businesses. And as such hip citizens, you take Tacoma Arts Mingle virgins to the best galleries - and, of course, to galleries offering the best appetizers - hello 253 Collective! But even the hipsters might not know that this gallery across from The Swiss hosts an artist who digs existentialist French author Albert Camus - William H. Bryant III. Does Bryant follow Camus's creed: The artist must create dangerously? That's for you to decide. Bryant says Camus's philosophy of the absurd, views on art and society have been his biggest artistic influence, and the reason why his style of painting depicts the world's ugliness and beauty absurdly in his painting simultaneously. Don't wait for the last judgment - it takes place every day. Yes, there will be nibbles. Check it out from 3-8 p.m.

3. Another Art+Sci Salon will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Tacoma Art Museum. This collaboration between the University of Puget Sound and the Tacoma Art Museum will focus on the intersections between the arts, ecology, and community - through a panel consisting of Amy McBride, Tacoma art administrator; Elizabeth Conner, artist and adjunct instructor at University of Washington Tacoma; Vaughn Bell, also an artist and adjunct instructor at University of Washington Tacoma; Peter Hodum, biologist and assistant professor at University of Puget Sound.

4. The Kareem Kandi Band will fill the lobby of the Hotel Murano with jazz from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

5. Thrones, C Average and Moldy Castle will rock The Brotherhood Lounge in downtown Olympia beginning at 9 p.m. 

LINK: Thursday, June 20 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 2, 2013 at 7:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Back to Beale Street Blues, Mother Earth News Fair, NASCAR exhibit and more ...

Award winning blues and boogie woogie pianist Arthur Migliazza rocks Jazzbones at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2. Press photo

SUNDAY, JUNE 2 2013 >>>

1. It's become tradition in our area - a yearly blues-blowout local music fans look forward to for the quality it draws. And, like clockwork, it's back. From 4-10 p.m. at Jazzbones, the preliminary contest of this year's South Sound Blues Association sponsored Back to Beale Street 2013 Blues Competition goes down, offering a chance for competitors to earn their way to the heralded International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2014. Three solo and duo acts will battle it out in front of a panel of judges, as will seven bands. Included in the musical goodness will be the Randy Oxford Band, Delta 88's, Crazy Texas Gypsies, Arthur Migliazza, the Cody Rentas Band and many others. The top four bands will advance to the finals, to be held during the 4th of July Freedom Fair and Air Show on the Duke's Chowder House Blues Stage.

2. The Mother Earth News Fair returns to the Puyallup Fairgrounds with Ed Begley Jr. in tow. The green activist will present a talk on energy conservation followed by a question-and-answer session at 1:30 p.m. When Begley isn't chatting up renewable energy and St. Elsewhere, the family-oriented sustainable lifestyle event will feature more than 240 hands-on workshops and demonstrations from experts from the leading authorities on renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, gardening, green building, small-scale livestock, green transportation and natural health from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3. Nothing says good times like family fun and a whole crapload of pirate references. By the look of things, that's exactly what's in store for those headed to the 2013 Maritime Gig Festival in Gig Harbor. Expect wholesome treats, car show, fishing stuff, music and more in downtown Gig Harbor, along Harborview Drive, between Pioneer and Rosedale, and along the waterfront near Jerisich Dock and Skansie Brother's Park.

4. NASCAR lovers and car enthusiasts near and far, rev up your engines because there's a special event motoring into town that can't be missed. LeMay - America's Car Museum in downtown Tacoma is honored to play host to the "Legends of Motorsports: The NASCAR Story Exhibit." Be one of the first to get in on the action from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the exhibit opening today, the museum offers an extended celebration with live entertainment from the Kim Archer Band, free commemorative posters to the first 500 entrants and racing simulators available for a small fee to get a unique NASCAR experience. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Read Kim Thompson's full feature on "Legends of Motorsports: The NASCAR Story Exhibit" on our blog Walkie Talkie.

5. Beginning at 3 p.m. South Sounders have the opportunity to do two great things thanks to collaboration between Maurice the Fish Records and Fish Food Banks of Pierce County. The product of their concerted efforts is the Fish Food Benefit Concert, which will be held at Louie G's Pizzeria in Fife. The benefit show will feature 12 bands, including special guest Lynn Sorensen of Bad Company and now Spike and the Impalers. Other performers will include Audentia, Champagne Sunday, Nolan Garrett, Rikk Beatty Band, Tin Man, Kim Archer and Rafael Tranquilino, Mr. Von, Late September Dogs, Heidi Vladyka, Dave Hannon and James Coates. Read Rockford Rowley's full feature on the Fish Food Benefit Concert in his column, The Rockford Files.

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

April 20, 2013 at 7:59am

5 Things To Do Today: 24 Hour Movie Marathon, Earth Day, green films, Ancient Warlocks and more ...

"MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL": The 1975 British comedy film will screen during The Grand's 24 Hour Movie Marathon.

SATURDAY, APRIL 20 1013 >>>

1. In case this weekend already seems too hectic, allow us to complicate matters by quietly mentioning The Grand's historic first 24 Hour Movie Marathon, starting at 10 a.m. and wrapping one day and 20 flicks later. The ‘Thon features the cherished (Hitchcock!), the new (Ryan Gosling!), and a movie called Hands On A Hard Body (not what you think!). This exhausting vegging out supports a superb cause: helping The Grand turn its celluloid projectors into shiny (and industry-required) digital ones. Both 12- and 24-Hour Passes are still available at the box office or through grandcinema.com.

2. Drinking at noon? Why yes, Wingman Brewers' 2nd Anniversary Party, we'd be happy to. Imbibe on 10 taps, including some special brews just for the occasion? Of course we will. Settle into one of your many new seats and enjoy good company? Absolutely.

3. For events geared toward children, check out The Earth Day Extravaganza at the Tacoma Nature Center where families can celebrate wiggly worms, creepy crawlies and buzzing bees with fun activities that help teach about the earth and how we can all keep it healthy from noon to 4 p.m.

4. Enlarge your geo-wareness this weekend at the Capitol Theater's Environmental Film Festival (April 19-21). Sure, we must face a few inconvenient truths on the road to eco-lightenment - mankind's relationship with soil (Symphony of the Soil, April 20), our simultaneous buildup of harmful global waste (Trashed, April 21). But we also get to share in the stories of individuals and groups taking steps to reverse these trends in their own communities and lives. EFF may just inspire your metaphorical pants off - purchase tickets through olympiafilmsociety.org.

5. We need to get our hot little hands on the upcoming split 7-inch release by Mos Generator and Ancient Warlocks. If they can put all the power and straight fucking rock they pull at their live performances onto a little piece of vinyl, then we're sold. Both of these badass bands are playing The New Frontier at 9 p.m., along with C.F.A. and Furry Buddies. Yes, it's a record release party, and yes it's going to rule. Read Nikki McCoy's full feature on Ancient Warlocks in the Weekly Volcano's Music section.

LINK: Saturday, April 20 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

April 17, 2013 at 12:04pm

Earth Day begins Saturday in the South Sound


Earth Day occurs at a beautiful time of year in the South Sound: the lushness of greenery is bursting in pockets around the region; daffodils trumpet in bloom, as if announcing the arrival of spring; birds busily ready their nests; the sun makes more and more appearances. It's the perfect time to remember why we recycle, turn off the water while we brush our teeth and don't idle the car longer than the average pee. We don't want to turn Earth into a shithole.

The South Sound offers plenty of activities for community members to take it one step further this year. While Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22, many organizations have events this Saturday, April 20. (What a great day to go green in more ways than one!)

In Pierce County, Parks Appreciation Day will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.  Eight different sites around Tacoma will be filled with volunteers working to trim limbs, pick up garbage, plant flowers and trees, and much more. To register and/or for a complete list of participating sites click here

In Olympia, at Priest Point Park (2298 E. Bay Dr. NE), there will be an Earth Day Stewardship event. A free program open to all ages, the goal of the work party will be to remove invasive plants that threaten our native ecosystem and replant with native vegetation. Tools, gloves and light refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 360.753.8365.

For events geared toward children, check out The Earth Day Extravaganza at the Tacoma Nature Center (1919 S. Tyler St.), where families can celebrate wiggly worms, creepy crawlies and buzzing bees with fun activities that help teach about the earth and how we can all keep it healthy from noon to 4 p.m.

You can bet the Hand's On Children's Museum (414 Jefferson St. NE) in Olympia jumped on the green train Saturday as well, with Earth Day Fun Science Demos, where your kids can catch environmentally- friendly products in action. Free with admission.

Finally, pick up a copy of the Weekly Volcano tomorrow for our annual Green Issue.

Filed under: Green Crush, Olympia, Tacoma,

March 25, 2013 at 6:34am

5 Things To Do Today: "Ocean Frontiers" film, self-hypnosis, comedy open mic, Kora Band and more ...

"OCEAN FRONTIERS": Harbor seal haul at Mack Reef, Oregon’s richest but unprotected marine habitats. Mack Reef is a proposed future marine reserve site. Photo credit: Roy Lowe, USFWS

MONDAY, MARCH 25 2013 >>>

1. The film Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship takes viewers on an inspiring voyage to seaports and watersheds across the country where an intermingling of unlikely allies, of industrial shippers and whale biologists, pig farmers and wetland ecologists, sport and commercial fishermen, port operators, reef snorkelers and many more embark on a new course of cooperation, to sustain the sea and ocean economies. The will make its Tacoma premiere 6:45 p.m. at UWT's Phillips Hall as part of a symposium at University of Washington Tacoma.

2. George Smith, M.A., a state licensed mental health counselor, will offer a free training workshop on the Columbia University 30-second self-hypnosis method from 1-2 p.m. at the Lacey Timberland Library. This clinically tested and proven self-hypnosis system can be used to stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, resist 64 sandwiches, control anxiety, and much more.

3. Seattle-based world music ensemble The Kora Band will combine elements of jazz and West African music at 8 p.m. inside The Royal Lounge in Olympia.

4. Standup comedy hasn't evolved much since the glory days of ventriloquist and puppet. Every so often, there's a Gallagher smashing watermelons or a musical funnyman like Jack Black, but for the most part, comedy is a dude on a stage with a microphone, plodding through a joke-punchline-new-joke routine. You're funny. You need to change the course of comedy forever. Every Monday at 8 p.m. the Grit City Comedy Club opens its stage to the public for a comedy open mic. Explore the space. Head for space.

5. Every Monday at 9 p.m. Jazzbones is packed to the brim with college kids. Party types. The type that wear tight shirts and trucker hats. Throngs of Chad Fratguys and Sarah Sororitysisters swarm the bar, line up for the bathroom and dance to the Rockaraoke - live band karaoke. The Rockaraoke band is skilled, too. Expect $2 PBR drafts, $3 Sinfire shots, $4 Smirnoff flavor vodka bombs.

LINK: Monday, March 25 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 19, 2013 at 6:55am

5 Things To Do Today: "Wagner & Me," Simon Shaheen, Alice Stuart, Enemy Combatants and more ...

"WAGNER & ME": The "Me" here is likable ol' Stephen Fry, who in this sprightly doc considers one of the tougher questions of morality. Photo credit: Wavelength Films

TUESDAY, MARCH 19 2013 >>>

1. Jewish actor/comedian Stephen Fry explores the dubious associations between Richard Wagner, one of his favorite classical composers, and Adolf Hitler, the 20th century dictator who cited Wagner's music as a motivating factor in waging genocide against the Jews during World War II in the film Wagner & Me screening at 2:30 and 6:35 p.m. at The Grand Cinema. Read a full feature on the film in the Weekly Volcano's Arts section.

2. Go Local Tacoma presents the Local Food Network Night to connect local food producers, markets, businesses and consumers. The two-hour evening will be all networking, all the time, in hopes to tighten up community resources and awareness. The event is open to all. If you're interested in local food, you are invited from 6-8 p.m. at the William Factory Incubator.

3. Alice Stuart brings her country blues crowd to the Red Wind Casino for a 6:30 p.m. show. Gamblers will be drawn to her finger picking guitar style and genuine voice that will touch their hearts.

4. The Palestinian-raised, New York City-based violin and oud player Simon Shaheen has played Arabic classical music, blended Middle Eastern, Latin and jazz sounds, and directed a string section at the Grammys for a duet between Sting and Cheb Mami. Tonight, Shaheen plays the Slavonian Hall in Old Town Tacoma at 7 p.m. It's free. Shaheen's kind of a big deal. Afterward, head to The Spar and discuss the melancholy, orchestral grace as well as frenzied high-pitched excitement you experienced during the show.

5. Seattle band Enemy Combatants is heading down to Tacoma at 8 p.m. to bring an onslaught of hardcore punk to The Red Room. Double knot your shoelaces and put on your moshing pants, for they will exercise no mercy in putting on a high-energy performance.

LINK: Tuesday, March 19 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 7, 2013 at 7:47am

5 Things To Do Today: "Lincoln" closes, Danny Bonaduce, Green Drinks, open jam and more ...

"Lincoln": Often somber but hugely entertaining.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7 2013 >>>

1. As you chomped on your big ass turkey leg during your Thanksgiving dinner, The Grand Cinema flicked the switch Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. And sure it's more a long-winded history lecture than a movie, but you can't deny the skill that went into it, and well worth the price of admission just to watch Daniel-Day Lewis do his thing. Today, the Grand will screen Lincoln for the last time at 1:30, 4:55 and 8:05 p.m. The film will finish as the seventh highest grossing film in the history of The Grand, right behind last year's Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and just in front of Juno.

2. Former child star, reality TV vet and now 102.5 KZOK morning shift DJ Danny Bonaduce will hang at the Ale House Sports Pub & Grille's happy hour from 4-6 p.m. shaking hands and handing out Joe Walsh/Bob Seger tickets.

3. Why drink alone when you can get your drink on with cool cats who care about environmental issues? On the first Thursday of each month, Green Drinks invites Tacoma and Pierce County residents to do just that - hang out and chat with other green-minded individuals over drinks and snacks. The next session of Green Drinks - which will be held at 6 p.m. inside the Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe - will focus on community gardens ... and drinks, of course.

4. The 11th annual Sister Cities Film Festival is more than a film festival. It's a cultural exploration of Tacoma's sister cities, of which there are 11 located all around the world. Each Thursday, a film from a sister city lights up the screen of Blue Mouse Theatre - complemented by bonus activities and entertainment. Each week also has its own committee responsible for said entertainment and film selection. Gunsan, South Korea has been Tacoma's sister since 1978 and had a curiously parallel course of development to Tacoma - Gunsan is a port city that boomed in the 1890s due to a rail link, and there is even an American Air Force Base in the vicinity. We're still checking to see if Gunsan has a weekly chalk competition in a park or if Guy Fieri has his Camaro towed down its streets. Anyway, in honor of Gunsan, the film Secret Sunshine will screen at 7 p.m. with a culutral program beginning at 6 p.m.

5. Billy Stoop's open jam consumes Stonegate's Pizza & Rum Bar beginning at 9 p.m. Be sure to sip some La Favorite Ambre Rhum Agricole.

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

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