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June 21, 2014 at 8:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Capital City Pride, Junk In Your Trunk, BriFest, the Thermals ...

Capital City Pride festival will consume Olympia's Sylvester Park today.

SATURDAY, JUNE 21 2014 >>>

1. Capital City Pride begins at 11 a.m. in Sylvester Park with the live performances by Sonny Nguyn & Stonewall Youth, Wonder, guitar picker and set designer extraordinaire Bruce Haasl, Something Wicked Comedy Improv, The Downey Brothers at 1 p.m., Xavier Toscano, Full Moon Radio at 2:15 p.m. and headliner Paris Original (with Hattie Hotpants & Gregory Conn) and Thea Austin at 3 p.m. There will be information and food booths in the park, a marvelous kids' area with activities provided by the Hands On Children's Museum, lots of speechifying and, of course, drag performances.

2. Happy pigs and human heads carved from coconuts, T-shirts, coffee mugs, salt and pepper shakers, trays, bells and toothpick holders stenciled with Florida iconography, metal frames bordered with leaping dolphins, necklaces, nightlights made from mollusks' shiny homes. One person's tacky is another's kitsch at Pierce County Parks & Recreation community garage sale Junk in the Trunk, where people stuff their automobiles with, er, stuff they want to sell from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sprinker Recreation Center. Even if you don't buy any of the crap they're hawking, it's worth a visit for people-watching purposes alone. And if you happen to be looking for old lamps, cheap socks or worn-down appliances, all the better.

3. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum hosts a dozen cooks competing for the coveted Golden Skillet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to pre-event hype, "This event is a glimpse into how we cooked and what we ate during the mid-1800s. The Fort's re-enactors will cook on a wood stove and over numerous campfires." Celebrity guest cook Paula Marcoux, food historian and author of Cooking with Fire, will be in the ... fort.

4. There are no words when a community loses one of its beloved members. There are no words, but there is music. And this is exactly what Brian Redman would have wanted. A stalwart in Tacoma's music scene, (3 Inches of Blood, Trial, Dirty Knockers) it's been nearly five years since Redman tragically lost his life. But, his spirit rocks on. BriFest 2014 features 11 music acts, including Pig Snout, Earth Mother, Kim Archer and Nolan Garrett, beginning at 2:30 p.m. in Jazzbones. BriFest is a fundraiser for the Brian Redmond Memorial Fund, which continues to give out the $1,000 Brian Redman Memorial Fund Scholarship.

5. The Thermals have never skimped on passion - musically or lyrically. With straightforward opinions about politics being spat by Hutch Harris at a furious rate per minute, over the driving pop-punk explosions of the unimpeachable trio, the Thermals have been, at their best, near unmatchable for fist-pumping power. It's not often that the band graces a Tacoma stage, so consider this show unmissable. Catch the band with Big Eyes and Wheelies at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge.

LINK: Saturday, June 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 9, 2014 at 7:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Marymount Motorcycle Week, wetland walk, jazz, new comedy open mic ...

Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

MONDAY, JUNE 9 2014 >>>

1. If you've ridden a motorcycle, you may be interested in the Marymount Motorcycle Week, which launches at 9 a.m. and runs through Sunday at the Marymount Event Center. The LeMay Family Collection Foundation, VME, PNW Museum of Motorcycling and the Tacoma Motorcycle Club offer an up-close-and-personal look at vintage and specialty street bikes, dirt bikes, sport bikes, cruisers, scooters, race bikes - more than 200 motorcycles including the heavy-hitter all-stars of motorcycle history such as BMW, BSA, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha. An AHRMA-sanctioned vintage trials course will happen Saturday.

2. Today looks like an awesome day for a noon, free guided bird walk at the Adriana Hess Wetland Park. No experience necessary; binoculars are available to borrow. No RSVP required. 

3. James Coates performs original tunes and classic rock hits at 7 p.m. in the Steilacoom Pub & Grill

4. The Joe Mailhot Jazz Unit hits the Rhythm and Rye stage at 8 p.m. Featuring the music of composer/guitarist Joe Mailhot, with Scott Reed on tenor sax, bassist Eric Hahn, and new addition Dylan Johnson on drums, The JMJU draws from styles ranging among modern jazz, funk, soul, free and psychedelic.         

5. A new comedy open mic launches at 9 p.m. at The New Frontier Lounge. "Monday Madness Comedy Night With Puddin" offers you a stage for your best jokes, which can be recorded.

LINK: Monday, June 9 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 6, 2014 at 7:20am

Friday Morning Joe: Remembering D-Day, N. Korea jails Americans, war's elite tough guys, chocolate drones ...

Task Force Raptor (3-124) launches a coffee from the kneeling position. The task force polishes its basic skills as part of its premobilization training at Camp Swift. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 6.6.14 >>>

Hero student tackle gunman, saves Seattle Pacific University students.

Department of Defense observes the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Veterans from the 29th Infantry Division returned to the shores of Omaha Beach at dawn today after 70 years - this time the storms replaced by a bright sun and their mission of war giving way to a desire to remember their fallen comrades.

Congress appears poised to adopt new legislation making it easier for veterans to get private medical care and harder for underperforming administrators to keep their jobs.

North Korea said it had detained an American tourist for violating its laws after entering the secretive state in April, bringing the number of U.S. citizens held by Pyongyang to three.

A small team of American military advisers will soon head to Ukraine to assess that embattled nation's "mid- and long-term needs for defense reform."

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers wants French President François Hollande to halt the sale of two warships to Moscow, warning the vessels could be used to invade other European nations.

The Pentagon released its annual assessment of Chinese military power, and the 96-page report paints a picture of China's broad-based efforts to modernize and expand its military forces.

War's elite tough guys, hesitant to seek healing.

Why turbulence happens, and why it's not so scary after all.

Yes, it's a chocolate drone.

Top Gun is actually dumb.

Coca-Cola has created 16 caps that turn its bottles into useful objects.

Watch the Afghan Whigs perform on Letterman after an 18-year gap.

Courtney Love wants her own breed of roses.

Watch the trailer for You Are Here, which stars Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler and Owen Wilson.

More live than you'll ever be ...

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

June 4, 2014 at 7:22am

5 Things To Do Today: Lake Island, print arts lecture, Kim Archer outside, Rock-bot Karaoke ...

Utah County-based indie rock group Lake Island performs tonight at Le Voyeur in Olympia. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4 2014 >>>

1. Lake Island's sound is reminiscent of Radiohead, but their warmth is radiant. Even as they drift away from rock into ambience, there's always a tactile gentility to their music, which goes a long way toward shunning the cool distance that tends to marry with these ambient textures. Catch the band at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Margaret Bullock, the curator of "INK THIS! Contemporary Print Arts in the Northwest," will lecture on the exhibit at 11 a.m. during the Lunch & Lecture series, four days before the exhibit opens at the Tacoma Art Museum.

3. Dr. Lorraine McConaghy will discuss the scoundrels of the American Civil War who resided in the Pacific Northwest at noon inside the Washington State History Museum. Her presentation is part of the exhibit "Civil War Pathways in the Pacific Northwest," which Dr. McConaghy curates. She'll discuss how the issues and characters of that war actually effected the development of Washington Territory, despite being far-removed from the action.

4. Treos in Old Town Tacoma kicks off its Summer Concert Series at 6:30 p.m. with soul, pop and classic rock awesomeness Kim Archer. Kick back on a blanket in Old Town Park and enjoy the outdoor concert.

5. Tacoma karaoke host Bria Macoy brings her Rock-bot Karaoke to The Rock And Roll Lodge at 8 p.m. "Come sing with us on a big ass stage with big ass speakers," she says.

LINK: Wednesday, June 4 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 2, 2014 at 7:21am

5 Things To Do Today: Dukes of Swing, Civil War lecture, Maia Santell & House Blend ...

The Dukes of Swing are at Rhythm and Rye tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

MONDAY, JUNE 2 2014 >>>

1. The Dukes of Swing, official stage band of Elks Lodge #593 Aberdeen, first played at lodge functions during the late 1940s. Over the years, the Dukes have been the featured band for many National Elks Convention Grand Balls. Under the watchful eye of bandleader Dave McCrary, the Dukes have expanded their repertoire to include more modern arrangements, but their book has plenty of the classic tunes from the '30s and '40s. Catch the band at 8 p.m. in the Rhythm and Rye club in downtown Olympia.

2. The Civil War, as anyone with access to a history book can tell you, got its official start on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked the U.S. military base at Fort Sumter, S.C. Earlier, seven states had declared their secession from the Union in advance of the March inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, whose Republican Party had campaigned against expanding slavery beyond its then-current boundaries. Although we often forget that the American Civil War involved the entire nation, not just "the East," people in Washington Territory were deeply involved in its issues. Should nonwhites live in Washington? Should Washington become a separate nation? How should the government deal with political dissenters? Join historian and speaker Lorraine McConaghy for an interactive, living theater program that reveals the varied opinions voiced during our state's own Civil War history at 1 p.m. in the Lacey Timberland Library.

3. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers. What is a shuffle, you say? It's the country western version of polka - the primary difference being that the style of shuffle is less hoppy than the polka - and there's nothing wrong with that. The feet hit the Olympia Elks Lodge floor at 6:30 p.m.

4. Jazz and blues band Maia Santell & House Blend will perform at 8 p.m. inside The Swiss.

5. Remember back in the day when you were in your first apartment and spent a memorable night with your friends just blaring the record player and singing along to random selections from your album collection? Toss in a pitcher of PBR and extreme lighting and that is 9 p.m. karaoke at Bob's Java Jive.

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

May 21, 2014 at 7:27am

5 Things To Do Today: Brock Ginther, Civil War history, Rose-a-palooza, Claude Bourbon and more ...

Brock Ginther will perform at Le Voyeur in downtown Olympia tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21 2014 >>>

1. A Portlander by way of Ohio and Boston, Brock Ginther share's Robert Pollard's desire for playful experimentation. On his most recent release, The Breakfast Cowboy, Ginther has populated the album with 22 songs that frequently come across as more than sketches. The concepts are left-field and verging on the surreal, and the melodies are as airtight as a minute-long song can be. The Breakfast Cowboy covers a dizzying amount of ground over its 22 tracks. Though everything is couched in a similarly wry, lo-fi aesthetic, Ginther takes excursions through Moldy Peaches-esque, conversational singer-songwriter fare ("The Tallest Hamburger"); '60s Latin music appropriation ("Litter"); Ween-esque trips down weird rabbit holes ("Lizard Defender"); and stop-start grunge ("Exotic Cop Lingo"). Read Rev. Adam McKinney's interview with Brock Ginther in the Music & Culture section, then catch Ginther with opener Super Brown at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Historian Alan Archambault will discuss black soldiers in the Civil War and their ties to the Pacific Northwest at noon in the Washington State History Museum. Archambault, who was the head curator at the Fort Lewis Military Museum for 21 years, will reference "Civil War Pathways in the Northwest," an exhibit at the museum through July 6, and in particular Fort Steilacoom Commander Gen. Silas Casey, who was instrumental in the recruitment of black troops in the Union Army in 1863.

3. Nothing says "spring into summer" like rosé. If you are not familiar with this pink wine, STINK: Cheese and Meat hosts Rosé-A-Palooza from 5-8 p.m. The Tacoma uber deli will pour pink wines from all over the world: France, Spain, Italy, Africa, South America and some from our backyards - Washington and Oregon)! For $10, you'll receive 10 tastes and some light snacks.

4. Folk, jazz, to late night and sultry blues- Carolyn Cruso has a varied resume. Hailing from the Hudson River Valley of New York State, she now calls the misty shores of Orcas Island home, so the jaunt to Tacoma's A Rhapsody in Bloom for a 7 p.m.  show will be a shorter commute. Her music is largely inspired by her travels both in the U.S. and Europe, as well as her long connection to nature, and keen interest in the stories of people she meets out on the road. Wielding two guitars, a flute, a hammered dulcimer and her voice Cruso will channel the traveling minstrels and divine misfits she has met on the back roads of life in the floral and espresso shop on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. 

5. Born in France in the early '60s, Claude Bourbon grew up in Switzerland, where he was classically trained for many years. This finger picking guitarist has performed and studied all over the world; he has crafted an unbelievable fusion of classical and jazz, with ethereal Eastern influences, Spanish and Latin elements with strains of Western folk. Catch the Medieval and Spanish blue guitarist at 7 p.m. in the Olympic Room at the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch in downtown Tacoma.

LINK: Wednesday, May 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 18, 2014 at 8:47am

Words & Photos: JBLM celebrates Armed Forces Day 2014

Army veteran and retiree Rick Tweddell spends some time in the stocks. "My wife likes this idea," he quipped. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Ethan Starr's interest was piqued.

"I'm interested in explosive ordinance disposal," he said as his friend, Cody Whitman, helped him into a protective suit.

"I think I would like to serve in the Army."

One of several thousand visitors, Starr had found the nation's 64th Armed Forces Day celebration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to his liking.

"It's good to get a glimpse of what soldiers do," Starr continued.

Begun on Aug. 31, 1949 by then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Armed Forces Day allows the military to highlight its service members and their equipment to the general public.

It is also a day to honor and acknowledge soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for the service they provide.

>>> Thousands attended the nation's 64th Armed Forces Day celebration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> With the help of some face paint, Patrick Provencio began to look like a Ninja Turtle. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Members of the Washington Civil War Association fire a 10-pound Parott Cannon during a Civil War reenactment at Memorial Stadium. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Highlighting events at JBLM's Memorial and Cowan stadiums yesterday were historical displays, carnival rides, a variety of foods and drinks, a climbing wall, music and entertainment, a 10K Volksmarch and Civil War reenactments.

"It's really a fun day," commented Army veteran Rick Tweddell moments after being freed from some stocks used as a form of punishment in the 1700s.

"It is good that the Armed Forces are remembered and supported by the public."

>>> Brooklynn Yeates takes the controls of a MH-60 Helicopter during Armed Forces Day festivities at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Eric Haines - the One Man Band - entertained visitors to Joint Base Lewis-McChord with his music and singing. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

May 18, 2014 at 8:06am

5 Things To Do Today: LAKE, Foss Waterway Seaport re-opens, Pagoda party and more ...

LAKE plays a pizza party tonight. Photo courtesy of K Records

SUNDAY, MAY 18 2014 >>>

1. LAKE had a busy 2013, releasing two full-length albums - The World is Real and Circular Doorway - while continuing their habit of not making too much of a fuss about it. Throughout their seven-year career, LAKE has quietly established itself as one of the best bands in the Pacific Northwest, crafting little lo-fi gems of glowing '70s soft rock-indebted indie rock. Their music is sunny and buoyant without falling into twee territory, and airy without risking the chillwave categorization. Any integration of discord into their waves of pristine harmonies is a welcome one, and helps to integrate texture and movement into what sometimes approaches the overly serene. Today finds them joining a free bill with two other solid local indie bands in Humble Cub and Coma Figura at 6 p.m. in Half Pint Pizza Pub. It's not to be missed.

2. The Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass offer two-for-one admission today as part of the international Art Museum Day. TAM opens at 10 a.m., while MOG waits until noon. They both close at 5 p.m.

3. The Foss Waterway Seaport - the South Sound's maritime heritage center - will officially open its doors for the summer season at noon. Located on Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway, the Seaport will host a re-opening celebration, including family-friendly festivities, cake cutting, live music, the Tacoma Fire Department fire boat, special maritime vessels, activities and exhibits, appearances by Captain Vancouver and Thea Foss, and the firing of cannons until 4 p.m. The inaugural exhibit for the summer season, "Peek in our Attic and Share our Dream," will highlight the many historic maritime treasures in the museum's collection.

4. Anyone who has visited Point Defiance Park is familiar with the stately Japanese-inspired details of the Point Defiance Pagoda. First opening in 1914 as a streetcar station serving the park, the Pagoda celebrates its centennial this month in grand-fashion following the recent announcement naming it to the National Register of Historic Places. In honor of both the centennial and naming to the register, Metro Parks will host a public celebration from noon to 4 pm. The free event welcomes the community to explore the building, enjoy live music and refreshments, create handmade event souvenirs, learn about the history of the Pagoda and future plans for the Japanese Gardens which surround it, and take part in free guided tours.

5. Olympia Little Theatre's production of playwright Lauren Gunderson's Exit, Pursued by a Bear ends its run today at 1:55 p.m. The prey in this story is Kyle Carter, a short-tempered redneck who may or may not have beaten his wife, Nan. On a quest for revenge and emancipation, she recruits the help of a stripper/wannabe actor named Sweetheart (stage name "Peaches," which isn't much better) and Simon, her gay best friend, who arrives in a cheerleader's uniform. Nan's plan is to stage a reenactment of key moments with Kyle, then douse him in honey and open the door wide to Ursus americanus floridanus, a 300-pound Florida black bear. Read Christian Carvajal's full review of Exit, Pursued By A Bear in the Music & Culture section.

LINK: Sunday, May 18 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 17, 2014 at 8:21am

5 Things To Do Today: Queen Victoria party, Armed Forces Day, "Project 562," Playboy Playmates and more ...

Celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday at Fort Nisqually today.

SATURDAY, MAY 17 2014 >>>

1. Metro Parks Tacoma is throwing a big birthday party today for Queen Victoria from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Ah, that's nice. Hey, wait a minute. Victoria, daughter of Edward, the Duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, was born in Kensington Palace in London on May 24, 1819. Metro Parks is throwing a huge birthday party on the wrong day! The dancing, the songs, the re-enactors, the games - all on the wrong day! There's punch and cookies? Happy Birthday Victoria! 

2. Today marks our country's 64th annual Armed Forces Day, a poignant day to acknowledge, honor, remember and support the extraordinary and brave men and women of the United States armed forces. Throughout the Puget Sound, plans are well underway for some extraordinary events for the general public to partake in the spirit of Armed Forces Day and say "thank you" to our servicemembers. Here are four big celebrations.

3. Matika Wilbur, a leading photographer from the Pacific Northwest (Tulalip and Swinomish Tribes), has traveled more than 60,000 miles in the Western United States over the past year, acquiring extraordinary portraits and remarkable narratives in her quest to visit and photograph people from all 562 federally recognized sovereign Native American tribes. Her provocative work exposes the tenacity and richness of contemporary Native life, and seeks to encourage a shift in consciousness toward Native Americans. Tacoma Art Museum is honored to present the inaugural exhibition of Project 562 featuring 40 of Wilbur's Native American portraits, accompanied by stirring audio narratives from select sitters from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Tonight's music selection at Bob's Java Jive includes the promise of noise rock at its finest with a killer line-up: Heavy hitters Giza just put out a new record; Bali Girls, with their avant-garde noise rock, are making the show a CD release party; Diesto, a prog metal band from Portland, are playing live in the KEXP studio earlier in the day. What strikes my curiosity most is the set by sludge rockers Ex-Gods, the new incarnation of Mahnhammer. Bob's booker Brandon Rowley says expect the band, "To not necessarily abandon all that was Mahnhammer, but to build off of it. ... But, really I have no hopes other than for them to fucking rock." 

5. Encore Boutique Nightclub hosts Hef's girls. Yup, Alana Campos (September 2012 Playmate from Brazil) and the well-rounded Jessa Hinton (July 2011 Playmate from Southern Cal) will be in the house handing out free signed pictures beginning at 10 p.m. It should be an entertaining night with Encore's reputation as an upscale party spot and DJ Phase spinning. 

LINK: Saturday, May 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

May 15, 2014 at 2:34pm

Throwback Thursday: Best Tacoma Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll in 2009

Alegra Thornsburg, the lead bartender at The New Frontier Lounge, prepares for another busy night. Photo by J.M. Simpson

The whole #ThrowbackThursday or #tbt hashtag phenomenon has truly resisted being cast off into the graveyard of tired and trite Internet fads like Doppelganger week on Facebook or planking.

And as much as Walkie Talkie enjoys seeing the baby pictures, this week we decided to drop some past Best of Tacoma moments. Below is a link to the "Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n' Roll" section from our Best of Tacoma 2009. (Our 2014 Best of Tacoma issue online readers' poll will launch in June.)

So let's take that stroll through 2009 memory lane when the Nightgowns were gigging, Hell's Kitchen was on Sixth Avenue and The New Frontier Lounge was new: CLICK HERE

Filed under: Best of TAcoma, Music, History,

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