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January 17, 2015 at 7:48am

5 Things To Do Today: Porterpalooza, Peking Acrobats, Oly Mountain Boys, Elvis vs. James Brown ...

P-51 Porter's posterity will pour during Porterpalooza today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, JAN. 17 2015 >>>

1. Wingman Brewers will host their annual Porterpalooza in which they'll offer creative variations on their flagship P-51 Porter, from 2-11 p.m. Expect to drink the following variations on their Porter theme: Coconut, Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla Rum, Chili Pepper and Sichuan Pepper Corns, Maple Pecan, Chocolate Orange, Smoked Sea Salted Caramel, Mexican Chocolate and Cinnamon Raisin. Also available during Porterpalooza will be Wingman's Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Baby Flat Top, aged in Willet Distillery barrels from Kentucky. Read the full story on Porterpalooza in our New Beer Column.

2. Regional bragging rights. Office betting pools. Weekend afternoon boredom. These are all worthwhile reasons to be a sports fan. But for the Weekly Volcano's money, the best defense of sports' spectators has to be the vicarious thrill that we get from seeing athletes do all the cool stuff we can't do. So unless you already know how to dance atop a stack of chairs or juggle jars, desks, ladders, and bamboo with your feet, you'll want to check out The Peking Acrobats at 3 p.m. in the Pantages Theater. The Peking Acrobats will dazzle with breathtaking displays of contortion, flexibility and control. You can bet on it.

3. What began as acoustic ruminations on offbeat subjects transformed into an unusually loose, yelpy indie rock band that seemed to favor getting the feel of the song out, with the clearly talented musicianship hiding beneath a layer of charming aloofness. Elements of Vampire Weekend and Eastern European drinking songs found their way into the mix, and the Noodlebird of old struck a balance with what Noodlebird was steadily approaching. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Noodlebird in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Sunset Flip and Tom Nook at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

4. At this year's Elvis Birthday Bash in Olympia, the King will be sharing the spotlight with the Godfather of Soul. The reason for the pairing is Robert Washington, the first African American to win the world champion Elvis impersonator, long a part of the 15th annual bash, also does a James Brown act. While diehard Elvis fans might not like the dual billing, the combination is not as unlikely as it initially sounds. The two knew and admired one another. Brown visited Presley at Graceland, and it's said that the capes Brown worse onstage inspired Presley to add a cape to his costumes. Read Molly Gilmore's full feature on the Elvis Birthday Bash in the Music & Culture section, then catch the show at 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol Theater.

5. The Olympia bluegrass quintet The Oly Mountain Boys produced the first bluegrass concept album - centering on the life and hard times of Charlie McCarver in Washington state during the early 20th century. White Horse gallops to traditional bluegrass influenced by the music of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. This is the best brand of bluegrass: energetic and thoroughly heartbroken. Catch the band at 8 p.m. in The Spar in Old Town Tacoma.

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

January 12, 2015 at 1:21pm

Nerd Alert! Blackhat, lap dancing, Seven Swords Guild ...

Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

Penetrating your firewall, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

FRIDAY, JAN. 16

Blackhat, directed by Michael Mann of Miami Vice, Heat, and Collateral fame, stars Thor (I mean Chris Hemsworth) as the hottest computer hacker in world history. When this guy arrives on screen, my wife begins purring. It's unseemly. Hemsworth plays the leader of an international team of cyber-crimefighters - so have at thee, Kim Jong-un!

Now that your spouse is all hot and bothered over a shirtless Australian playing a 1337 hax0r, maybe this'd be a good time to visit Beyond Vertical in Fife. The premier pole-dancing emporium offers a ladies-only workshop on the art of lap dancing for fun and, presumably, profit. The event is called "Fifty Shades of Seduction," so if you break it down, that's a mere half-dollar per shade. Last I checked, a proper lap dance runs about ... Wait. Never mind. I wouldn't know. Forget I said anything. What's a lap dance?

FIFTY SHADES OF SEDUCTION, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Beyond Vertical, 2412 Pacific Hwy. E., Fife, $25, 888.549.4166

If, on the other hand, you have kids, you'll be over in the PG-rated wing of the cineplex, glumly schlepping into Paddington. It's the charming, tea-and-crumpetful tale of an Andean bear cub that talks like Colin Firth. Would you believe me if I told you established critics are raving about Paddington? No? Well, I'm serious. Not that it matters - you'd be seeing it anyway. At least this time, your kids won't have awful taste in movies.

SATURDAY, JAN. 17

Imagine this. Suppose you're walking down a dark alley one night when some goon jumps out and demands your cash and phone. Like most of us, you're an easy target, because you have to nothing to protect yourself other than your questionable wits and two fists that wouldn't intimidate a Jack Russell terrier. Now, imagine whipping around instead as you draw a damn longsword. Yeah. Do I have your full attention now? 'Cause you sure as hell have your assailant's! Muggers think twice before tangling with a meter-long, double-edged blade of steel justice. That's why the Seven Swords Guild in Lakewood isn't just some loose coalition of dudes that geek out over "Historical European Martial Arts." No, sir! They're incredibly badass dudes who belong to the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword! Are you ready to test your mettle against their, uh, metal? Then hie thee to their weekend longsword demonstration and tournament, knave. They provide the mask and blade; you bring the agile wrist of a champion.

BEGINNERS' LONGSWORD TOURNAMENT, 10 a.m. Saturday, Seven Swords Guild, 2321 104th St. Ct. S, Lakewood, free to spectators, 253.278.7550

MONDAY, JAN. 19

Now that Neil deGrasse Tyson has settled for a late-night talk show hosting gig on NatGeo, a channel probably some of us get, it behooves us all to learn as much as we can about the vast and amazing solar neighborhood in which we reside. Interplanet Janet retired to the Oort cloud decades ago, so it falls on enthusiastic science geeks like Olympia Family Theater to keep us up to speed. That's why OFT continues its series of morning edutainments for preschoolers by staging a fast-paced (45 min.) episode devoted to the eight major planets. Remember, "trans-Neptunian object" Pluto no longer makes the A-list; like Dr. Tyson, the frigid rock has been relegated to the solar outskirts.

THE SOLAR SYSTEM, 10:30 a.m. Monday (and Saturday, Jan. 24), Olympia Family Theater, 612 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, $5, 360.570.1638

TUESDAY, JAN. 20

Speaking of swords and entertainment that gets my wife excited, Saturday the 17th brings the onset of season two of The Musketeers on BBC America. I don't watch the show, but in this incarnation, apparently, they're covered in milk chocolate and filled with rich, fluffy nougat. But what really revs my better half's engine is the start of season six (the final go-round, we're told) of Justified Tuesday. Timothy Olyphant and his huge, swinging Stetson bring the man-candy; Elmore Leonard's the inspiration for much of the dialogue; and Walter Goggins provides the suave Kentucky verbosity of career slicko Boyd Crowder. It truly is an amazing show. Patton Oswalt enjoys it so much he wangled his way into a recurring guest role. I like it so much I'm willing to overlook my wife humping the couch when Timothy Olyphant doffs his chapeau.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may your opponent forget to use Thibault to cancel your Capo Ferro (unless, of course, you've studied your Agrippa). En garde!

January 12, 2015 at 7:18am

5 Things To Do Today: Crazy Texas Gypsies, western shuffle, Kim Archer, Kareem Kandi Band ...

Crazy Texas Gypsies rock The Swiss tonight.

MONDAY, JAN. 12 2015 >>>

1. Since the beginning of time, The Swiss has hosted live blues every Monday. Factor in the free pool on Mondays and now Tuesdays are a black hole for you. The Crazy Texas Gypsies will be in the house at 8 p.m. Founded in 1999 by vocalist and guitarist Kenny Williams and bass player and vocalist Kevin Fraser, this rockin' blues band has opened for ZZ TOP, Ted Nugent, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, The Ford Brothers and many others. With the addition of drummer Doug Mackey and keyboardist Doug Skoog, the band is crazy good.

2. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Olympia Elks Lodge. 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. The basic step consists of a triple to the left followed by a triple to the right.  The shuffle is sometimes called double two-step or traveling swing, for it also uses components of two-step and the popular East Coast swing. This makes shuffle a very versatile dance, allowing a mix and match of patterns, which can result in some exciting variations - and there's nothing wrong with that.

3. With a timeless vocal delivery only matched by her engaging stage presence, Kim Archer has been pleasing live music fans in our area since 2004. Archer's powerful voice a la Janis Joplin and Chaka Khan gelled nicely with the sonic buzz of the guitar and groove from the backbeat. She commands the stage playing her own original songs rooted in old school soul, funk and classic rock, sultry blues and ballads while remaining a master at giving choice cover tunes the "Kim Archer treatment," such as the crowd pleasing "Shaft." Catch her at 7:30 p.m. in Smoke + Cedar.

4. Weekly Volcano readers voted the Kareem Kandi Band "Best Jazz Band" in our 2014 Best of Tacoma issue. Catch this amazing jazz band at 8 p.m. in Rhythm & Rye.

5. Rockaraoke at Jazzbones will either be your novel opportunity to act as frontman, or be completely intimidating. Perpetually packed with people, Rockaraoke boasts a unique twist for karaoke in Tacoma: instead of a backing track, you get a three-piece band playing behind you. Check it out at 9 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Jan. 12 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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

January 11, 2015 at 10:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Danny Quintero Quintet, Polar Plaza ends, "The Homesman," Kim Archer Band ...

The Danny Quintero Quintet performs at 5 p.m. in the Marine View Church.

SUNDAY, JAN. 11 2015 >>>

1. The Jazz LIVE at Marine View kicks off its seventh year with dynamic vocalist Danny Quintero. His keen ear for subtle nuances of the "Sinatra School of ‘Bel Canto' singing" - the articulation, phrasing, dynamics and breath control belies his 25 years of age. He personifies a fresh, likeable and personalized approach to the Great American Songbook. For fans of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, this is worth the drive to Northwest Tacoma. Joining Quintero will be Alexey Nikolaev on saxophone, Chris Morton on piano, Nathan Parker on bass and Adam Kessler on drums at 5 p.m. in the Marine View Church.

2. Today is the last day to bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, ends today. Hit the ice from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

3. Who doesn't like to sit in attendance while junkyard cars get smashed and toppled by massive, petrol-chugging monster trucks? Probably no one. That's like suggesting there's someone out there that doesn't like nacho cheese and back fat. Likely story. ... Anyway, at 2 p.m. "the world's biggest and baddest monster trucks battling it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing and destruction as the Monster Jamevent rolls into the Tacoma Dome."

4. The Homesman is a cinematic western that follows a group of women forced to travel across the wild frontier. Hilary Swank plays Marry Bee Cuddy: industrious and unmarried, she drives a mule team and tends a farm on the barren plain. When she happens upon an opportunity to make some cash she goes for it, even if it calls for transporting three local women to an insane asylum in a distant city. Along the way, Mary Bee meets up with Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones), who is as desperate for salvation as he is for his next drink. See the film at 5 p.m. in the Capitol Theater.

5. With a timeless vocal delivery only matched by her engaging stage presence, Kim Archer and her band have been pleasing live music fans in our area since 2004. Archer's powerful voice a la Janis Joplin and Chaka Khan gelled nicely with the sonic buzz of the guitar and groove from the backbeat. Archer commands the stage playing her own original songs rooted in old school soul, funk and classic rock, sultry blues and ballads while remaining a master at giving choice cover tunes the "Kim Archer treatment," such as the crowd pleasing "Shaft." Catch the band at 7 p.m. in The Spar in Old Town Tacoma.

LINK: Sunday, Jan. 11 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 10, 2015 at 8:45am

5 Things To Do Today: Fantastic Animals, Ford F-Series exhibit, Neil Berg, Sol Seed ...

Fantastic Animals perform at The New Frontier Lounge tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

SATURDAY, JAN. 10 2015 >>>

1. The rock concept album lives! Tommy told the story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid who became a wizard of some kind. Yoshimi battled some pink robots on a Flaming Lips record. Styx rebelled against a bleak, totalitarian future with rock-n-roll in Kilroy Was Here. And now, the Fantastic Animals' new EP, The Walls Will Speak to Break the Curse,explores the lifetime of a man who grew up at the beginning of the new millennium - a narrative divided into five different segments, each one covering a different period of perspective and experience. OK, not quite as grand in theme as the aforementioned concept albums, but Walls is only 21 minutes long - a short story in comparison to those epic, novel-length LPs. At 9 p.m., the band celebrates Walls' release at The New Frontier, where presumably they'll play the opus in its entirety. Filling out the bill are J. Martin, Bes and Wow, Laura.

2. LeMay - America's Car Museum opens the Ford F-Series: The Truck That Grew Up with America exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit highlights the versatility of the Ford F-Series over the years featuring work trucks, hot rods, luxury and off-road vehicles, such as a custom 1956 F-100 in brilliant orange and a 2000 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning, a factory-built, supercharged sport truck with a top speed of 140 mph. The Truck That Grew Up with America exhibit will be on view through June 2015.

3. Neil Berg's Rock-n-Roll Decades travels the annals of rock history. Instead of using lame comic filler to slog from song to song, however, its performers introduce each number with history about the icon who made it famous. We're talking single-named superstars like Elvis, Dylan, Aretha, Janis, Elton, Billy and Bruce. And oh, what singers and musicians Berg assembled to wail these numbers! All six vocalists have toured with national productions, and Sophia Ramos fills Janis's shoes by touring as lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on Neil Berg's Rock-N-Roll Decades in the Music & Culture section, then see the show at 7:30 p.m. in the Washington Center.

4. Tell us something: do you enjoy music? I mean, pretty much any kind of music? Reggae? Electronica? Folk? Funk? Nursery rhymes? Australian didgeridoo? Or unconditional love - do you enjoy that? Do you appreciate lyrical messages of intercultural acceptance and peace? If you said yes to any of that, then we have the band for you. They're from Eugene, Oregon; they make sweet, sensual love to your earholes; and they call themselves Sol Seed. Catch the band with Valley Green at 8 p.m. in Jazzbones.

5. Fingertips perform Motown, funky R&B, and blues at 9 p.m. inside Dawson's Bar & Grill on South Tacoma Way.

LINK: Saturday, Jan. 10 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 9, 2015 at 7:57am

5 Things To Do Today: Chain and the Gang, monster trucks, "Glengarry Glen Ross," Aan ...

Chain and the Gang / photo courtesy of dischord.com

FRIDAY, JAN. 9 2015 >>>

1. After more than 20 years of taking the punk ethos and bending it to the will of a clothes horse and a stylistic maverick, Ian Svenonius has arrived at Chain and the Gang, which similarly takes elements of early soul music and abstracts them to conform to a 2015 attitude. When we first saw Chain and the Gang, Svenonius commanded the stage with a punk version of James Brown, giving high kicks and melodramatic kneels that belied the minimalistic instrumentation that accompanied it. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Chain and the Gang in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Rocknho, and Vexx at 8 p.m. in Northern.

2. My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg returns to the Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma at 7 p.m.  Written and performed by Peter Serko, this inspiring true story offers a glimpse into the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and ‘90s.  When Mr Serko's younger brother David is diagnosed HIV positive in 1988 he is suddenly drawn into his brother's life.  David's death from the complications of AIDS in 1992 leaves a legacy finally revealed 20 years after his death.

3. Who doesn't like to sit in attendance while junkyard cars get smashed and toppled by massive, petrol-chugging monster trucks? Probably no one. That's like suggesting there's someone out there that doesn't like nacho cheese and back fat. Likely story. ... Anyway, at 7:30 p.m. "the world's biggest and baddest monster trucks battling it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing and destruction as the Monster Jamevent rolls into the Tacoma Dome." 

4. David Mamet may have won the Pulitzer Prize for Glengarry Glen Ross back in 1984. But in today's climate of corporate scandal and economic crisis, this emotionally charged black comedy/drama - opening at 8 p.m. in the Lakewood Playhouse - seems eerily relevant. Set in the cutthroat world of real estate investment sales, Glengarry Glen Ross offers a harsh look at human weakness and the moral decay of business. It's a brilliant study in gullibility and greed - a classic piece of theater that makes us squirm in our seats as Mamet exposes the "art of the deal."

5. Portland-based experimental pop maestros Aan are making their return to Olympia for a 8 p.m. show at Deadbeat Olympia, a record store that's quickly making a name for itself with exciting in-store shows. Although Aan opened for the Smashing Pumpkins, there's little of the Pumpkins' melodramatic posturing to be found in Aan's music. Rather, there's a crispness and clarity of vision to accompany their wildly exploratory pop music, ripping apart songwriting crutches and stitching them together again, like Frankenstein's monster, before electrifying them into something wholly new and exciting. Also on the bill are local favorites Fruit Juice and Wild Berries, who stun with glam-rock kaleidoscopes and soulful garage rock, respectively.

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

January 7, 2015 at 3:35pm

2015 South Sound theater preview

Lakewood Playhouse stages "Glengarry Glen Ross" opening Friday, Jan. 9. Art courtesy of Lakewood Playhouse

If, like so many of us, you're making New Year's resolutions, allow me to suggest an addition to your list. I encourage you to see more in the way of live performance. Often people think of theater as a civic duty, an obligation they owe higher culture. Meanwhile, they fill their DVRs with TV dramas and catch everything showing at the multiplex. I'm here to tell you live theater can be every bit as entertaining, stimulating, thought-provoking and just plain awesome as anything on the silver screen. It offers moments no camera can capture, and a sense of community and immediacy that go beyond simply throwing a few bucks at local theater troupes.

With that in mind, I'm highlighting smaller companies in this spring preview - partly because the larger houses don't need my help, mostly because the best shows are often staged by outfits that dare less familiar, more thoughtful material. Consider, for example, Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma, which put up a lovely production of Tea last fall and now hosts the return of a critically lauded one-man show, My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg (opening Jan. 9). Lakewood Playhouse is one of the region's leading community theaters, and that gives director John Munn the freedom to stage David Mamet's tense (and foul-mouthed) drama Glengarry Glen Ross (Jan. 9). Lakewood offers The Miracle Worker (Feb. 19), directed by Pug Bujeaud, and raucous comedy The 39 Steps (think Hitchcock meets Shakespeare Abridged) starting April 17. It concludes its 76th season with Drood (May 29), a musical that completes Dickens's unfinished novel by allowing each night's audience to choose from dozens of possible culprits and denouements.

Tacoma Little Theatre forges ahead under artistic director Chris Serface, beginning with an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby on Jan. 23. (This marks the anniversary of TLT's stellar production of To Kill a Mockingbird last winter.) Steve Martin's thinky Picasso at the Lapin Agile opens March 13, followed by playwright Ken Ludwig's (Lend Me a Tenor) golf comedy, The Fox on the Fairway (April 17). John Munn visits to close TLT's 96th season in grand style by staging the sexy musical Cabaret (May 22), currently killing in Broadway revival. Ooh, la la! Expect pop-up shows as well from upstarts New Muses Theatre Company and Working Class Theater NW.

Meanwhile, Olympia Little Theatre continues its silver-anniversary season with Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Jan. 16), a drama that reunites six members of a James Dean fan club after 20 years. Mid-February brings a readers-theater production of Angels in America at OLT; it's a landmark, six-hour show to be presented over two weekends. On March 27, the company offers Laughing Stock, a Noises Off-style backstage comedy directed by yours truly. Mama Won't Fly (May 8) is a recent comic script, as is OLT's summer show, 4000 Miles (July 10). Olympia Family Theater, now comfortably housed in its warm space on 4th, presents The Monster Under the Bed (Feb. 6), Washington-based pioneer drama Our Only May Amelia (March 20), and Pinocchio (May 15). Local colleges have been slow about announcing their spring calendars, but I'm looking forward to The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at St. Martin's University (April 11). Let's face it, that guy's always been trouble.

Filed under: Theater, Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia,

January 7, 2015 at 6:54am

5 Things To Do Today: "Frankenstein" chat, Seth Roth, Knowledge Night, aerial show in a bar ...

Give 19-year-old Mary Shelley credit for dreaming up a world-altering idea and single-handedly concocting the genre of science fiction.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7 2015 >>>

1. Give 19-year-old Mary Shelley credit for dreaming up a world-altering idea and single-handedly concocting the genre of science fiction. Frankenstein was regarded as Gothic sensationalism when first published - a lurid tale of a scientist driven mad by his obsession to animate the dead. It has earned the status of "literary classic" because the questions it asks remain unanswered, and the issues it raises continue to create intellectual and cultural divides. How does Victor Frankenstein respond to the terrible crimes that he sets in motion? By lying in bed for months at a time, plagued with delirium. Toward the end, when his rescuer is describing the nobility of his passenger's spirit, you feel like yelling, "Are you nuts? He's a spoiled aristocrat wuss-boy who couldn't be bothered to clean up his own mess!" Shelley's book continues to ask tough questions, two centuries after its creation. Who controls life and death? What constitutes human life? Should there be limits placed on scientific research? Literary scholar Lance Rhoades explores this complex story at the Lacey Timberland Library, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

2. Bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open from 4-9 p.m.

3. Seth Roth has been singing since the age of 5. The Tacoma singer-songwriter grew up on Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, but has one solid foot in the Bob Dylan and Neil Young camp. Roth has been serving coffee at Harmon's Hop Coffee since the day it opened inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma's Stadium District. Hop Coffee combines beans from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters with sweetened coffee syrups developed by Melina Eshinski, pastry chef for Harmon Brewing Co. Drop by Hop Coffee and have a cup, then head to the back room and watch him perform from 6-8 p.m.

4. Every Wednesday Doyle's Public House hosts Knowledge Night, its version of a pub quiz, at 8 and 9 p.m. It is free to play. Speaking of free, Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton is free to roam the room and look over your shoulder, crack wise and punch you in the arm.

5. The Brotherhood Takes Flight aerial show is back, featuring P.J. from Bellingham and others taking to the air with whimsy, strength and artful grace at 8 p.m. in The Brotherhood Lounge. The performance above the drinking crowd is just plain beautiful. A dance party with DJ Fir$t Lady follows the 8 p.m. performance.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 7 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 6, 2015 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Fish Breath, World War II film, reflexology, Elvis ...

Fish Breath will rock McCoy's Tavern in downtown Olympia tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

TUESDAY, JAN. 6 2015 >>>

1. "Fish Breath" may be one of the most off-putting word combinations in the English language. Something tells me that the San Francisco band Fish Breath wouldn't mind that observation one bit. Splitting time between quirkily experimental rock and ear-splitting noise rock, Fish Breath stun with sludgy riffs and frantically barked vocals. Catch the band with Sexless and RedRumsey at 9 p.m. in McCoy's Tavern.

2. Volker Schlöndorff revisits World War II with his film, Diplomacy, a love letter to Paris set during a night in 1944 when its very existence was at stake. Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) spent a formative decade in Paris, and the German director's affection is expressed through the demeanor of Paris-born Swedish Consul Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier), who attempts to convince Nazi commander General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) not to destroy his beloved city. See Diplomacy on the big screen at 1:15 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

3. New Year's resolutions? Take your time. No need to declare right away. We have the perfect place to ponder your goals for the New Year. The Pierce County Library folks will host a "Relax, Recoup, Renew!" session, hosting certified experts to discuss massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and the benefits of stretching at 7 p.m. in the Pierce County Library Parkland/Spanaway branch. Complimentary chair massages will be available. Ponder your resolutions while someone rubs your back.

4. Usually when you go to the casino you just lose money - but tonight could be different. Danny Vernon's Illusions of Elvis will be at the Red Wind Casino. Travel out to Yelm and have a great time with the King's likeness, starting at 6:30 p.m.

5. Every Tuesday night at Stonegate Pizza on South Tacoma Way Leanne Trevalyan hosts an acoustic open mic at 8 p.m.

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 5, 2015 at 7:51am

5 Things To Do Today: James Coates, Polar Plaza, Jerry Miller, Bucharest Drinking Team ...

James Coates performs at Smoke + Cedar tonight.

MONDAY, JAN. 5 2014 >>>

1. Club hopping can be overrated, especially when the weather is a snarling blast of rain and cold that makes one think twice about even leaving the couch. Some nights we like to stake out a place at a venue and hang out for a while, maybe have a meal, a few adult beverages and listen to music that doesn't invite itself into our head with an axe handle. Smoke + Cedar fits that bill Monday nights with its new music series. Tonight, venerable singer-songwriter James Coates will perform at the restaurant.Arrive at 7:30 p.m. to catch this gentleman armed with only an acoustic guitar and a whole lot of heart, who generates all sorts of comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams. (Hey, no pressure, James, OK?)

2. Bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open from 4-9 p.m.

3. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love. Sadly, through a combination of inner turmoil and bad management decisions, the mighty Moby Grape broke up in 1969. However, their debut album is still considered one of the best of all time by many critics, in part because of the nimble fingers of guitarist Jerry Miller. Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller performs at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

4. Olympia's Rhythm and Rye will host two of its favorite honk bands at 8 p.m. - The Bucharest Drinking Team and Artesian Rumble Arkestra. The Bucharest Drinking Team, a band that borrows stylistically from great Balkan brass bands such as Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic, mixes in a liberal shot of Romanian folk music and a penchant for '80s disco from behind the Iron Curtain to bring you a high-proof Eastern Bloc Party, complete with dancing, drinking, and music. The utterly delightful punk marching band Artesian Rumble Arkestra play a variety of jazz standards and atypical covers reflecting the broad diversity of its members' favorite music: samba, rock, Balkan, New Orleans, gospel, reggae and pop. This will be a sight to see ... and hear.

5. Rockaraoke at Jazzbones will either be your novel opportunity to act as frontman, or be completely intimidating. Perpetually packed with people, Rockaraoke boasts a unique twist for karaoke in Tacoma: instead of a backing track, you get a three-piece band playing behind you. Check it out at 9 p.m.

LINK: Monday. Jan. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...