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February 17, 2014 at 8:05am

5 Things To Do Today: "Works In Progress," Civil War exhibit, St. Practice Day grand prize and more ...

Catch "Works In progress" tonight at the urban Grace Church in downtown Tacoma.

MONDAY, FEB. 17 2014 >>>

1. Now this is an idea whose time has come. Barefoot Collective and MLKBallet perform in-process works for a small audience in a relaxed atmosphere, where the dancers show the audience how the dance was created. For audience members, this is an opportunity to experience live theater and get a rare glimpse into the creative process of artists in all types of performing arts. After the performance, the audience can ask questions and offer feedback. Check out Works In Progress at 7:30 p.m. in the Urban Grace Studio.

2. It might be 2014 to the rest of the world, but to the Washington State History Museum it's 1849. The downtown Tacoma museum will open "Civil War Pathways in the Pacific Northwest" at 10 a.m., an exhibit focusing on the Civil War's impact on the Pacific Northwest. 

3. University of Puget Sound business professor and an alum entrepreneur will talk about their adventure in launching a video game business at 8 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall.

4. Doyle's Public House's final St. Practice Day goes down at 8 p.m. when the 10 finalists' names are drawn for two plane tickets to Dublin, Ireland. The grand prize will be awarded at 9 p.m. Seatown Rhythm and Blues Player band will fill in the pas with greasy early '90s cuts.

5. The New Frontier Lounge isn't The Five Spot on Cooper Square. Then again, it doesn't sit in the East Village of the 1950s either. But, grab the corner bar stool on a Monday night at The New Frontier, nurse a double bourbon, close your eyes and let pianist Nate Dybevik, bassist Arneson Cameron and drummer Peter Tietjen take you to the famous New York City jazz club over the din of the drinking Tacoma crowd. It as it should be: hearing cool jazz in a comfortable, no-pressure environment.

LINK: Monday, Feb. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 13, 2014 at 1:33pm

"Civil War Pathway in the Pacific Northwest" opens Monday, Feb. 17

Illustration courtesy of washingtonhistory.org

It might be 2014 to the rest of the world, but to the Washington State History Museum it's 1849. The downtown Tacoma museum will open "Civil War Pathways in the Pacific Northwest" Monday, Feb. 17, an exhibit focusing on the Civil War's impact on the Pacific Northwest. According to pre-opening hype, "This exhibit is about those choices and where they led - the pathways people took. These pathways were discovered through a large crowd-sourcing project that turned everyday citizens into historical researchers, allowing the collection of valuable references to Civil War-era life in Washington."

On display will be more than 150 original artifacts including rare items such as an early photograph of Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Stevens' sword, rare manuscripts, drawings from the U.S. National Archives, and a host of weapons, maps, sketches, and photographs. Together with the stories gleaned from the research project, visitors will experience a powerful exhibit connecting the issues of the past to those of today.

Opening Day

On President's Day, the museum will cut the 165-year-old ribbon, allowing those who have the day off - or are pretending to have the day off - to enjoy presentations and displays by Civil War reenactors portraying members of the military and the community from the Washington Territory including Gen. George Pickett and Washington resident Mrs. Sarah Bacheldor.


Filed under: Arts, History, Tacoma, Theater, Word, Holidays,

January 27, 2014 at 8:22am

5 Things To Do Today: Brazilian music, slavery in the Northwest, Mojo Groove, Clipper karaoke and more ...

En Canto: Feel the beat!

MONDAY, JAN. 27 2014 >>>

1. Led by Brazilian-born vocalist Adriana Giordano, the septet En Canto busts out the music as rich and varied as the people and places of Brazil: forró and baião from the northeast, bossa nova and choro from Rio, and sambas from every city and town. Catch the septet at 8 p.m. in The Royal Lounge in Olympia.

2. In 1619, there were only a handful of slaves in the United States — 20 Africans landing on the shores as indentured servants, with tenures up to seven years, then freedom. Four decades later, because of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, the U.S. slave population soared. By the mid-1700s, there were 260,000 slaves just in Virginia. The westward migration attracted Americans with varied socioeconomic experiences from both Northern and Southern states. Charles Mitchell, born a slave, was brought from Maryland to Washington Territory in 1853. Citizens all over the territory had opinions about a possible Civil War, influencing their opinions about Mitchell's status as a slave. In this climate, Mitchell, at 12 years of age, made a break for freedom, nearly starting a war between the U.S. and Canada. Eva Abram - a storyteller, writer and actor - will recount Mitchell's story, discussing how ideologies travel geographically and examine whether moving to the Washington Territory affected individuals' opinions on slavery, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Lacey Timberline Library.

3. Monday, that most put-upon of weekdays, has gotten a bad rap. Yeah, going back to the office stinks, but the first day of the week also happens to be the best one for a good, invigorating talk. Think about it: You're still fresh from your weekend, and you haven't yet had your joie de vivre trounced by the working week. Lucky for you, Tacoma online magazine Post Defiance hosts a contributor's forum at 6:30 p.m. in King's Books. It's your chance to learn the backend of the mag and ask questions. It should be pretty damn cool, if you ask us (and really, by reading this, you are asking us).

4. Tacoma band Mojo Groove will mix rock and cool blues with some funky dance tunes and alternative polka at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

5. On any night of the week, one can meander past the main bar in Olympia's China Clipper Club Cafe, to the back room where a disco ball, stage, stellar PA system, extensive song list, savvy DJ and lively, often tipsy, crowd scribbles on tiny, colorful paper then waits ... for Clipper Karaoke. There are number karaoke nights around the South Sound, but only one karaoke night that has been named Best Karaoke in Thurston County three years running in the Weekly Volcano's Best of Olympia issues.

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

January 17, 2014 at 8:00am

5 Things To Do Today: "Mod Musical," MLK celebration, "Awake and Sing!", Stephanie Anne Johnson and more ...

The music of Dusty Springfield will be front and center tonight during Tacoma Musical Playhouse's "Shout!".

FRIDAY, JAN. 17 2014 >>>

1. Betty Friedan, Anne Moody, Helen Reddy, National Organization for Women and ... Gloria Steinem. Having spent many fervent hours of our childhood reading the words and following the actions of these women and listening to Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Cilla Black the Weekly Volcano will be in familiar territory at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse when the theater company stages Shout! The Mod Musical at 7 p.m. Shout! will chronicle the liberation of women through the '60s and '70s through the unforgettable music of the time.

2. Bates Technical College will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at its annual celebration 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the college's Downtown Tacoma Campus Auditorium. The community is invited to reflect on Dr. King's memorable march and historic "I Have a Dream" speech with the city's Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Dr. Dexter Gordon, and local musical guest, Jerusalem's Gate. For more MLK Day events, click here.

3. Clifford Odets' Tony award-winning play Awake and Sing! continues the Broadway Center's Free For All yearlong celebration at 7:30 p.m. in the Center's Studio II. The drama, first produced in 1935, is set in Depression-era Bronx and tells of the Berger family's struggle to survive in abject poverty. The free performance features eight area actors reading nine characters in this very tightly crafted and instantly engrossing three-act family drama.

4. The Hub in Gig Harbor hosts another winter concert under its event tent at 7:30 p.m. Tonight features the awesome talent of Stephanie Anne Johnson and Steve Stefanowicz.

5. Said in the growliest voice ever: "METALTOPIA 2014 IS ABOUT TO MELT YOUR FACE OFF." Yes, it's true boys and girls, five of the northwest's most badass metal bands are converging in one place - the magical Track House in Olympia, where bands play, beers flow and miracles happen. Black metal, doom metal, experimental metal - you name it - is covered in one night of metal mayhem, beginning at 8 p.m.

LINK: Friday, Jan. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 16, 2014 at 1:54pm

This Date in History: 1991 - George H W Bush announces war against Iraq

"As I report to you, air attacks are underway against military targets in Iraq. We are determined to knock out Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb potential. We will also destroy his chemical weapons facilities. Much of Saddam's artillery and tanks will be destroyed. Our operations are designed to best protect the lives of all the coalition forces by targeting Saddam's vast military arsenal. Initial reports from General Schwarzkopf are that our operations are proceeding according to plan. ..."

Filed under: History, Military, Video Hot Spot,

January 13, 2014 at 8:11am

5 Things To Do Today: Fine art postcards, C-SPAN hug, "Selected Druckworks," Dean Reichert and more ...

Last year’s Fine Art Postcard People’s Choice award, "Palm Tree" by Roxana Caples / courtesy photo

MONDAY, JAN. 13 2014 >>>

1. Sadly, it appears that e-mail has killed the art of the postcard (Good Lord! we sound more like our grandfathers with each passing day). It appears that we'll need to get our postcard fix elsewhere. Just in time to satisfy this itch, South Puget Sound Community College's annual "Fine Art Postcard Exhibition" returns, opening today with the theme, "It's the Water." The exhibit features 76 artists who submitted nearly 300 pieces (which means somebody had a lot of friends), using a vast range of materials.

2. The Evergreen State College Gallery kicks off the New Year with Selected Druckworks, a multi-media survey of the work of Johanna Drucker, renowned artist, writer, typographic poet, scholar and critic. This exhibit focuses on book art, a field which Drucker pioneers, showcasing typographic, literary, and visual art through a series of intricate, hand-made books. See it from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Mayor Stephen Buxbaum, Comcast and the Washington State Historical Society will welcome C-SPAN to Olympia at 3 p.m. in the Washington State Historical Society's State Capital Museum Lord Mansion. C-SPAN is in Olympia to record and feature the city's history and literary life. C-SPAN representatives will reveal the stories and segments that will be explored by the national network during their week-long stay. The event will also feature a traditional Native American blessing ceremony. 

4. Dean Reichert's soulful voice carries in it the history of American popular music: There's the down-home rhythm and testifying punch of gospel-based R&B, the snarl of the blues, the mournful rumination of honky-tonk, sultry jazz and the up-front sexuality of funk. Oh, and he's a talent guitar player, too. Reichert heads to The Swiss at 8 p.m. for the Tacoma joint's longstanding blues night.

5. Want to feel like a rock star without all the pain and annoyance of having to be a  fire-breathing demon that bleeds from the mouth? Then hit Jazzbones at 9 p.m. for Rockaraoke, where you can belt out songs such as Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again," Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You" and enough INXS tunes to make you feel like you're on a reality show, and other hits from the days when you made mixtapes by recording the radio, all backed by a live band.

LINK: Monday, Jan. 13 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 8, 2014 at 7:44am

5 Things To Do Today: Maurice The Fish Records, history speaks, Broken Window IPA, jazz jam and more ...

Regan Lane, left, and Strangely Alright play the Maurice The Fish Records 1st Wednesday Sessions at Jazzbones Jan. 8.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 8 2014 >>>

1. At the grocery store and in a park Regan Lane comes across as the most normal of guys - which doesn't mean he is.  After all, when you've been a key member of several popular and notorious Tacoma bands that spent the last three decades receiving rave reviews and an ever-growing following - not to mention soaking in the rock 'n' roll lifestyle - how, exactly, could anyone remain "normal"?  Which raises the question of what, exactly, is normal, anyway?  So let's just say Lane keeps things low-key ... except when he's on stage. When he's behind the mic, guitar in hand, he's a rock star. The way he carries himself, interacts with the crowd and most importantly his talent, Lane is a professional musician who brings it every time. Lane's pop band Strangely Alright joins Vividal and Charles Mack at the Maurice The Fish Records 1st Wednesday Sessions at Jazzbones, which kicks off at 8 p.m. True pop-heads won't find anything normal, or strange, about Lane and his band.


April 16, 2013 at 10:10am

Clayton On Art: Psychedelic '60s poster art sale

PSYCHEDELIC ‘60S POSTER SHOW: Olyphant Art Supply will sell the '60s during Olympia Arts Walk. Poster by Tom Anderson and Dick Baldridge

Who remembers the '60s or wishes they did? I'm not talking about all those who claimed to be at Woodstock but never were - but yes, I guess them too, because what I'm talking about here is nostalgia for an era, the art and the music and the way of life.

More than almost anyone else I know, Olympia artist Tom Anderson was a child of the hippie era, and he still reveres the music and art of that period. His downtown Olympia studio, above Olyphant Art Supply, is filled with psychedelic poster art from his large collection.

Anderson said he was recently brainstorming with Olyphant owners Nick and J.B. Baldridge about how to more effectively use the space in their shop that was not used for retail and suggested that since they were trying to get their framing business going it made sense to show work that highlighted that service and options. "Framing to me too often appears as an afterthought in art or a necessary evil with little if any creative vision to it," he said.

The work he had in mind was from his own poster collection. "I have been thinking of thinning out my collection for a couple years, so I offered it to them to select which works they could envision for the space. It was fun to hear and see fresh eyes look at these posters for the first time. I grew up with them so I have a different history, but for the younger artists this is new and relevant."

Anderson got his first posters from the original singer of the Jefferson Airplane, Signe Anderson, when he was 15. Signe and her husband, Jerry, an original member of Ken Keseys' Merry Pranksters, were friends of Tom's parents. That was the beginning of a collection that has become quite impressive.

There will be approximately 20-25 posters and 8-10 handbills in the show featuring renown poster artists Rick Griffin, Moscoso, Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, David Singer, Wes Wilson, all from 1966-1969. Most but not all are originals. The bands represented include Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother And The Holding Company, 13th Floor Elevator, Moby Grape, Steve Miller, Blues Project, Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry, Daily Flash and more. Most of the posters are from concerts held at the Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms in San Francisco.

"In the last several years more museums have hosted shows of '60s psychedelic posters, some of which will be in this exhibit," Anderson says.

The exhibit and sale will open on Arts Walk Friday, April 26, and be up for a month.


Filed under: Arts, History, Olympia,

March 12, 2013 at 3:50pm

City of Tacoma's Prairie Line Trail project open house

PRAIRIE LINE TRAIL: How green will the new linear park through the city be? Ask that question Thursday night at the Tacoma Art Museum. Photo courtesy of cityoftacoma.org.

Up until 2003, trains pounded the historic Prairie Line rail corridor from the Thea Foss Waterway to the Brewery District, passing rickety warehouses and dens of iniquity - before UW-Tacoma rang its school bell for its first on-site freshman class.

In the fall of 2011, some $5.83 million was earmarked to turn the half-mile Prairie Trail corridor into a living and breathing interpretive trail connecting the waterfront with downtown Tacoma, which will also include a storm water purification system for the polluted runoff from Hilltop. There was excitement. There were plans for fancy seating. In celebration, the Tacoma Art Commission turned the corridor into a temporary art installation complete with exhibits titled TacomaBall, Rogue Rhizomes and Ghost Prairie.

Then reality hit. The University of Washington brain trust recoiled over the fancy design and costs of its portion of the corridor, as well as the loss of a bike-friendly path through campus.

Today, a new set of plans rest on Chancellor Debra Friedman's desk. The storm water filtration ponds are now subtle. The pedestrian and bike paths are more functional. Historic elements have been saved and incorporated into the public gathering places and public art installations. And best of all, the price tag rings in at $4 million with construction to be complete by this fall.

Now it's the city of Tacoma's turn to fall in line. It's segments of the Prairie Line - south of campus into the Brewery District and north as it crosses Pacific Avenue and heads toward the Thea Foss Waterway, the end of the line for the transcontinental railroad of yesteryear - needs to meld with UWT's design. The city has plans for a pedestrian/bike trail and linear park through the city - plans and engineering it intendeds to carry out now that it has received a $465,000 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

What will the city do about the railing running through BNSF's private property?

Discover the answer and see the city's proposed designs for its portion of the Prairie Line Tail at an open forum from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue. Yes, open forum. You may chime in with your own design thoughts. Would you like to see a taco truck every 20 feet? Chime in. Do you think it would be cool to have outdoor tap hits through the Brewery District? Who wouldn't?

For more on the Prairie Line Trail visit www.cityoftacoma.org/planning or download the pdf of the Prairie Line Trail presentation from February 4, 2013.

March 6, 2013 at 11:18am

The history of St. Patrick's Day in Tacoma

THE FUCKING EAGLES: The Tacoma band rocked Doyle's St. Patrick's Day bash in 2010. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner


St. Patrick's Day and Tacoma go way, way back - all the way back to Tacoma's very earliest days when loggers, sailors and at least one bear (no really) roamed the city streets. The Tacoma Daily Ledger mentioned the old traditions of wearing jaunty green ribbons and shamrocks to show Irish heritage or citizenship as far back as the 1890s. As the years crawled on, St. Paddy's remained a to-do in T-town, but whether the to-do was confined to high mass or bars or spilled revelry into the streets depends on the year.

In the early 1900s, St. Patrick's Day most often included a catholic mass, but the local branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians - a fraternal organization made up of Irish descendants and immigrants - also had a major role in festivities. Papers throughout the 1910s and 20s mentioned the Hibernians annual play, often telling the story of intrepid Irish men and women overcoming difficulty. In 1921, the Tacoma Daily Ledger also highlighted the Hibernians raising money to help the starving population of Ireland. As anyone who watches Downton Abbey knows, the plight of the Irish was a big deal in the early 1900s.

By 1935, though, St. Patrick's Day seems to have become old hat. The Tacoma Daily Ledger on March 17, 1935, says, "In the olden days, there were services in the churches of commemoration, but the sons and daughters of Erin were also wont to make it a day of celebration. There were parades in which the green flag was proudly borne, there was the picnic where Irishmen and their descendants made merry, and then the festivities were prolonged well into the night. Like so many old-time customs, the celebration of St. Patrick's Day has quieted down - almost allowed to lapse."

And, in fact, other than church and school dances and other wee events, St. Patrick's Day seems to have taken a good long break.

Not until the 1960s did the holiday really get cookin' again. A Tacoma News Tribune in 1975 mentions Honan's (now Club Silverstone on St. Helen's Ave.) as St. Paddy's central. Starting in the '60s, Honan's discovered there was another Honan's in Ennis, Ireland. Each year after that discovery, Honan's Tacoma would call Honan's Ennis. The two pubs came to regard each other as sister saloons.

The 1980s brought a parade. In 1982, The Trib called the parade the first official St. Paddy's celebration in 50 years. The parade gathered in front of the Pantages, marched down Broadway, and ended at the Bicentennial Pavilion where the entire pavilion was made into a giant "pub" with music, singing and dancing. Sadly, the parade didn't do very well. Only about 300 people showed, largely due to nearby pubs. Honan's was offering two drinks for $5 and Ceccanti's Restaurant (38th and Pacific Ave.) charged $7.50 for unlimited food and drink. Who could say no to that?

Today, Tacoma doesn't see too many parades. Instead, Tacomans do as they always have done - gather in pubs and toss back mass quantities of beer and whiskey.

Doyle's Public House in the Stadium District, which is so serious about its St. Patrick's Day that it holds 11 practice sessions throughout the year, throwing a shindig on the 17th of every month. This year, because St. Paddy's is on a Sunday, Doyle's will stretch out it's St. Patrick's Day celebration over four days, March 14-17, erecting a 4,000-square-foot tent in the adjacent parking lot. Expect copious amounts of beer, and live music by the Bog Hoppers and punctuated by The Fucking Eagles and others.

"The best year was about three years ago," says Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton. "Everybody seemed to be in good spirits even though the economy was in the grips of an abject free fall. It was the first year we had the Pierce County Firefighter bagpipers come through. When they started up around the corner, the entire place went dead silent quiet as soon as the first note was hit. To quiet down a crowd of this size was amazing. The bagpiper hit his note and literally - silence. The ability of the bagpipes to do that - and they do it still - but that first time it happened is still one of those times where I was like: Holy Cow!"

Filed under: Food & Drink, History, Music, Tacoma,

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