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January 21, 2015 at 7:45am

5 Things To Do Today: Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, JBLM discussion, "King Kong," Hooded Fang ...

Yup, the Four are still Fab and tribute shows abound. But Rain has the edge, including a multimedia presentation that incorporates original footage. Press photo

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21 2014 >>>

1. Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles features a rotating cast of musicians in a multimedia spectacular that carry the band from its jangly, Liverpudlian roots to the grand psychedelic finale of Abbey Road and Let It Be. Since the cover band's inception in 1975, its members have played everywhere from Broadway to the Today show. Dick Clark (who'd know better?) was so impressed by their vocal talents that he engaged Rain for the soundtrack of his 1979 film The Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi). Expect full-scale productions of such classics as "Come Together" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In other words, anticipate greatness at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

2. A community listening session regarding potential Army force structure reductions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the McGavick Center Ballroom at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review requires the Army to reduce its force. The listening session allows the community to provide input to the senior leadership of the Army before any decisions are made regarding force reductions.

3. Outdoor adventure takes center stage from noon to 8 p.m. as the Washington Sportsmen's Show opens for a five-day run at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. Expect a big line-up of fishing, hunting, camping attractions and more than 100 hours of how-to seminars, plus great values on fishing and hunting gear, clothing, camping equipment, sport fishing boats and RVs.

4. Take a break from asphyxiatingly overplotted blockbusters to absorb the good old days, when all you needed was a mysterious island, a couple dinosaurs and one sexually voracious ape. The Grand Cinema is deep in its Classic Film Series, hitting the Triangle District movie house very third Wednesday. At 1:45 and 6:45 p.m., they screen the original brainless blockbuster cobbled together by real-life thrillseekers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack (The Most Dangerous Game) for maximum impact. Cherish the smell-the-panties moment - a bit sliced out of the film that took 40 years to restore. That's right, the original King Kong is coming to Tacoma!

5. Toronto's Hooded Fang have garnered their fair share of positive reception since their formation in 2007, even earning a nomination for a Polaris Prize (sort of like the Canadian Grammy's) and setting up a tour supporting Johnny Marr, and they're deserving of every bit of praise. As their sound has evolved over the years, they've begun to embrace a volatility that wasn't quite present in their early days. Combining garage rock fuzz, the wiry dynamism of the Pixies, and the fractured structure and bombastic sound of Broken Social Scene. Unlike the majority of bands that rise on gales of internet hype, Hooded Fang have only improved, getting darker and leaner without giving up the vitality that made them so appealing when they first arrived on the scene. Catch them with No Body and Guaranteed Whales at 8 p.m. in the record store Deadbeat Olympia.

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

January 20, 2015 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: "Keep On Keepin' On," Ford F-Series exhibit, Rosa Clemente, Banned Book Club ...

Seeing a living legend laid up in an oxygen tent shouldn't be fun. But in Alan Hicks’s doc "Keep On Keepin’ On," it somehow is.

TUESDAY, JAN. 20 2015 >>>

1. Keep On Keepin' On chronicles 89-year-old trumpeting legend Clark Terry who has mentored jazz wonders such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. Terry's most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano player with uncanny talent, but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for the most pivotal moment in his budding career, Terry's ailing health threatens to end his own. Charming and nostalgic, Alan Hicks' melodic debut screens at 1:30 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

2. For the last 38 years, Ford's F-series has been the top seller for trucks in the United States. Since last spring, Scott Keller, LeMay - America's Car Museum's chief curator has been talking with and looking for owners of these classic Ford trucks from around the state, asking if they would loan their trucks for his exhibit, "The Truck That Grew Up With America." From where the F-Series started to where it is now, tells a story of the country, reflecting a recovery from a depression to a more prosperous time. Check out the trucks from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Who doesn't enjoy browsing through old photographs from days gone by? In addition to the enjoyment that is inevitable when looking at vintage photos, the "Found Photographs" exhibition in the Gallery at Tacoma Community College is filled with creative expression in a variety of media from photos to paintings and drawings inspired by found photos, to sculpture, assemblage and collage incorporating old photos. There are stories behind many of the images that are included on wall labels along with copies of the original found photos. Read Alec Clayton's full review of "Found Photographs" in the Music & Culture section, then check out the show from noon to 5 p.m.

4. Rosa Clemente, black Puerto Rican community organizer, journalist, and former Green Party vice presidential candidate, will speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at University of Puget Sound at 7 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. Bronx-born entrepreneur and hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente will headline a program including messages from Puget Sound community members, live music from members of the college's Jazz Band, and the presentation of the Keep Living the Dream Award to a student leader. The celebration is free and everyone is welcome.

5. There may be no better club to join than King's Books' Banned Book Club at Doyle's Public House. At 7 p.m., the club will be discussing Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, the Young Adult novel that received national attention when a father was handcuffed and escorted out of a New Hampshire board meeting after expressing concern about the required book given to his 14-year-old daughter. Picoult examines a school shooting in her riveting, poignant and thought-provoking novel that asks a haunting question: Do we really ever know someone? Drop-in visitors are always welcome to the BBC.

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

January 18, 2015 at 6:32am

5 Things To Do Today: "Way Down East," South Sound Wedding Show, Tacoma RV Show, Belly Dance Revue ...

Lillian Gish plays Anna, a country naif tricked into a fake marriage and then impregnated by a cad during her stay in the city, in "Way Down East."

SUNDAY, JAN. 18 2015 >>>

1. The Washington Center has launched its Silent Movie Series for the year. Renowned organist Dennis James nestles the Center's beautiful Wurlitzer Pipe Organ as they screen some of the earliest films created, including Way Down East - a 1920 romantic drama directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish - at 2 p.m. Way Down East is best known for the exciting climax featuring Gish trapped in the ice during a snowstorm. Shot on location during an actual blizzard, this harrowing sequence features Gish's character, having fainted on an ice floe, floating toward a waterfall with her right hand and her hair in the freezing river. The film will be accompanied by the actual original musical score written for the film's initial release.

2. A large percentage of people get married at some point during their lives. Some people, like Larry King for instance, do it several times. The fact is, weddings are a big part of our existence. All the more reason to check out the seventh annual South Sound Wedding Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Centralia's Great Wolf Lodge. Expect to meet caterers, disc jockeys, wedding planners, florists, photographers, jewelry designers, as well as representatives from wedding and reception venues and bridal and tux shops. The latest styles in hair, makeup, bridal bouquets, jewelry, wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos will be featured during fashion shows at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to engaged couples during the show. Pro Tip: If your South Sound Wedding Show date ditches you for one of the Great Wolf water slides, he's probably not the one.

3. There's nothing more American than a recreational vehicle. Here's a car that's literally as big as a house, equipped to the nines with every sort of modern amenity you can think of, a brazen gas-guzzler ready to tear giant swaths of land apart, highway by scenic highway. Indeed, the modern RV is an apt metaphor for the United States. The final day of the Tacoma RV Show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome. The show will feature hundreds of new RVs.

4. At 28, Stacy Jones had released five CDs, played hundreds of shows and won multiple awards, including Washington Blues Society's "Best Female Vocalist of the Year" in 2010. Her band will play the Blues Vespers Show at 5 p.m. in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Finding a flow of funk, blues, rock and jazz appears to come easy to The Stacy Jones Band. Its presence, talent and raw soul weave seamlessly on stage.

5. The true origins of Middle Eastern belly dance, or raqs sharqi ("Oriental dance") in Arabic, have been clouded by time. Egyptian art seems to suggest belly dancers provided sexy entertainment for pharaohs as they have for sultans and sheikhs ever since. Some believe the sinuous belly roll movements originated in birthing rituals; belly dancing has long been associated with feminine fecundity.  Some present-day commentators, uncomfortable with the association with sex and fertility, claim belly dance was invented as a way for women to entertain and socialize with other women. In any event, the Tacoma Belly Dance Revue takes over the B Sharp Coffee House at 6:30 p.m. The free show features 12 dancers.

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

January 13, 2015 at 7:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Classical music and cookies, MLK celebrations, "Pump," Karaoke Party ...

Tacoma Youth Symphony takes over Classical Tuesdays in Old Town Tacoma tonight. Courtesy photo

TUESDAY, JAN. 13 2015 >>>

1. Classical music is not like spinach. Sure, your mom might have insinuated that cultivating a taste for both was good for you, but the goal of Classical Tuesday in Old Town Artistic Director Pamela Ryker is to get you to see that, unlike the somewhat slimy green stuff that left a funny feeling on your teeth, the musical dish she serves up is spicy, peppy fun. They'll be plenty of moms in the Slavonion Hall at 7 p.m. when Ryker hosts the Tacoma Youth Symphony chamber music ensembles. The glue-eating kid won't be there. The night will feature the best of the best: of the hundreds of students in the Tacoma Youth Symphony orchestras, the top instrumentalists will be showcased in small groups of woodwinds, brass and strings. Expect cocoa, coffee and cookies.

2. Two Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations happen today. A Living Voices performance will serve as the featured entertainment at Bates Technical College's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the college's South Campus Auditorium. The performance, titled "The Right to Dream," follows a young African American student growing up in small-town Mississippi, where the American Civil Rights movement is on the horizon. Audience members will watch as the animated performer brings life to civil rights-era issues. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the I Corps Equal Opportunity Office will sponsor a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1-2:30 p.m. at French Theater on Pendleton Boulevard, Lewis Main.

3. The Grand Cinema screens Pump at 1:50 and 6:40 p.m. as part of its Tuesday Film Series. The film examines why Americans are so lacking in options at the gas station, what that means about the future of transportation and environmental health, and why the oil-driven American Dream must die - why it is dying.

4. If hearing the sound of your own cackling voice echoing off the walls of your shower stall has you craving the sound of something a bit more harmonious, check out the local songbirds at Victory Music Open Mic in the Antique Sandwich Co. from 7-10 p.m. It's guaranteed to be jam-packed with gorgeous sounds and humbling verses, as the South Sound's greatest up-and-coming acoustic musicians bare their souls impromptu-style.

5. Karaoke is a uniquely egalitarian way for people to live out minor fantasies while also blowing off steam. Teddy hosts a Karaoke Party at 9 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 13 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 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 7, 2015 at 12:31pm

Nerd Alert! Gotham and They Might Be Giants Dial-A-Song!

All hail the Penguin!

Gotham

Ah, the day that nerds the world over have been craving for far too long has at last arrived! They Might Be Giants' Dial-A-Song has come back? Yes, but I'll get to that in a moment. First, some sarcastic praise for the Baby Batman show we never knew we wanted: Got Ham. Er, I mean, Gotham.

Yes, those long winter months of missing Lil' Bruce Wayne and his crybaby antics is back, and even more overstuffed with on-the-nose references to future villains. Ever wonder what Edward Nygma was like before he became the Riddler? Well, Gotham is here to let us know that he talks in riddles constantly and drinks coffee out of a mug with a question mark on it. What about Poison Ivy? Turns out she's a girl who loves plants and is now literally named Ivy, which does a lot to take the guesswork out of her eventually coming up with her villainous moniker.

There's a lot to like about Gotham (one word: Penguin), but there's exponentially more to enjoy loudly with friends while you get drunk and wonder how such a rich concept could have gone so laughably wrong. Granted, I do look forward to at least a decade more of Gotham, so we can finally get to the point where the Neophyte Knight actually dons his cowl. Until then, at least we have Robin Taylor knocking it out of the park every week with his psychotic take on the Penguin. And speaking of "Robins," we have also been assured the Boy Wonder will not appear in any other form than possibly as a fetus. Chris O'Donnell already broke our hearts once. No more.

Dial-A-Song

Now, for a real cause for celebration. They Might Be Giants have brought back their legendary Dial-A-Song service. Running from 1983-2006, the band had a hotline you could call to listen to works-in-progress, covers, B-sides and other oddities. A lot of times, you'd get a busy signal and have to call back multiple times in a night, just to hear a scratchy bit of nerdy, musical genius.

With the old hotline, the songs would be updated at the whim of TMBG, meaning that you'd never quite be sure when you'd hear something new. The return of Dial-A-Song comes with the promise that every Tuesday will see the release of a new song, which you can access at DialASong.com or, if you're feeling nostalgic, you can literally dial them up, toll-free, at 844.387.6962 (which, minus the area code, is the exact same number they used to have).

Calling up Dial-A-Song used to be the only constant bit of magic in a dreary world. Now, it's come back to whisper stories of puppet heads and birdhouses to us all.

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

December 30, 2014 at 7:36am

5 Things To Do Today: Orden Mundial, Sassparilla, DJ Li'l Mascara, Old School Jam ...

This could happen tonight at Le Voyeur in downtown Olympia. Photo courtesy of Facebook

TUESDAY, DEC. 30 2014 >>>

1. The Spanish hardcore outfit Orden Mundial lay everything out on the line in their recent LP, Obedienca Debida, with 10 tracks that almost never make it past a minute and a half. Still, within these unfathomably tight structures, Orden Mundial find compelling melodies and enough crunch to satisfy those that normally blanch at hardcore punk. There's a ferocity to the vocals that almost upstages the instrumentation, creating a roaring drive akin to a train barreling down on you. Catch the band with Combat Knife and Spetsnaz at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter (James Caan) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen), a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady (Chloë Grace Moretz). The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. What? Oh, wait ... it's the animated film The Tale of The Princess Kaguya screening at 2:30 and 6 p.m. in The Grand Cinema.

3. Maybe you're the type who is thinking "Hey, let's do something Tuesday" and stay in and cuddle New Year's Eve away from the madding crowds. Tonight would, in fact, be a good time to take in Portland blood-jug holler band Sassparilla, complete with washtub bass, cigar-box guitar, washboard and a dude with about 50 different harmonicas in his vest, at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympic Club Theater.

4. DJ Li'l Mascara will spin punk beginning ta 9 p.m. in Obsidian in downtown Olympia. The waffles are delicious.

5. DJ Freshwell and DJ Dirty White host "2x4 Old School Jam" after the comedy show at 10:30 p.m. in Jazzbones. Warning: It's also Brandon Escovedo's bachelor party ... so there goes your New Year's Eve plans.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 30 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 29, 2014 at 11:16am

Nerd Alert! The Head That Wouldn't Die! Downton Abbey! Galavant! Robots! ...

"Marvel's Agent Carter": In the 1946-set spin off of "Captain America," Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) takes on spy missions for Stark Industries. Photo courtesy of ABC TV Network

Just saying no to the Polar Bear Plunge, 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.

THURSDAY, JAN. 1

Jay Hollingsworth is one "big dude" (those are his words, as are "I'm six-eight. I weigh right around twoooo much") who tells some big-ass jokes. He was born in Portland, moved from Seattle to Los Angeles and happily refers to himself as "Big Irish." He's a fixture on podcasts including Doug (Benson) Loves Movies and his own HollingsWorthless. Louie Anderson calls him "a great joke writer," and I agree. He's also industrious enough to fly to Tacoma for a week of shows in winter, on New Year's Day no less, and that seems worthy of our mutual respect. Give him a shot; see if he doesn't deliver serious laughs per minute.

JAY HOLLINGSWORTH, 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $10-$15, 253.282.7203

FRIDAY, JAN. 2

The only downside of compiling my year-end "Carvy awards" for Olympia theater practitioners is that you, our devoted readers, forwent your chance to see all my favorites months ago. I'm happy to report that's not the case for my top pick of 2014, Theater Artists Olympia's The Head! That Wouldn't Die! No, that show sold well enough to justify two reprise performances this week, not to mention two italicized exclamation points. It's a toe-tapping musical that'll put a smile on your face and a song in your heart and other clichés in your brain, then cut that brain full of clichés out and set it in a pan for future audiences to enjoy. It's just so damned! Entertaining!

THE HEAD! THAT WOULDN'T DIE!, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Midnight Sun Performance Space, 113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia, $15, 360.259.2743

SUNDAY, JAN. 4

The art form our English readers refer to as "the telly" returns this week, beginning with the long-awaited Downton Abbey premiere on PBS (9 p.m.). I say "long-awaited," but of course that's assuming you aren't really a recent immigrant from the United Kingdom. If you are British, then you caught Downton's season five starting over three months ago and have probably moved on to Walking with Beasts or The Blue Planet. Also, you say "al-yuMINium" and "adVERTis-ment" and "vitt-amin" and frankly, we're all getting just a bit sick of your superior attitude. Also, Nigella Lawson is getting clobbered on The Taste again, so put that in your calabash and smoke it, guv'nor.

Speaking of stupid jokes about a mythical land, ABC's Galavant premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. It's almost certainly terrible, but it does feature a couple of songs composed by Disney vet Alan Menken. Or you could check out the broadcast premiere of Life Itself, a biography of dearly departed columnist Roger Ebert, at 9 p.m. on CNN. Two thumbs sad.

TUESDAY, JAN. 6

My wife and I caught the Master Chef Junior bug late, but boy, did we. I actually thought about calling ex-girlfriends on the sly, not to catch up but as it occurred to me I may have unknowingly fathered some of these junior-high competitors. Chubby kids with outsized vocabularies and culinary ambitions? An 11-year-old gastronome who referred to another guy's food choices as "pedestrian?" Yeah, remind me to screen calls from Maury Povich. Anyway, season three debuts on Fox at 9 p.m.

Also at 9 p.m., set your DVR for the premiere of Disney's, ABC's, Marvel's Agent Carter. It stars Hayley Atwell as Captain America's former squeeze, then recruits her as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to clear the name of Howard Hughes - I mean Stark! - aka Iron Man's superrich daddy issue. Also: amazing hats.

Tuesday marks the DVD/Blu-ray release of what a fair number of critics are calling the best movie of the year, director Richard Linklater's Boyhood. It's the film that cast Ellar Coltrane at age 6, then followed him to legal voting age at Sul Ross State University. I haven't seen it yet, so I'm rooting for Birdman till a Netflix viewing of this movie changes my mind.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7

Speaking of boyhood, how much would your kids enjoy building robots out of Legos at the library? Well, today brings your first of several chances, which continue through the spring. Remember to teach your kids how to code Asimov's Three Laws of robot behavior. You and the rest of humanity will be so glad you did.

ROBOTS!, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Pl. W., Tacoma, free, 253.272.8801

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and thank the Maker, this New-Year's-Day, post-hangover oil bath is going to feel so good.

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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