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December 23, 2014 at 11:39am

Nerd Alert! - "The Interview" disaster and "The Imitation Game"

"The Imitation Game" finally gives the life of mathematical genius Alan Turing ??" filled with both triumphs and tragedy ??" the respect it deserves.

Ed. note: Sony Pictures Entertainment said today it will release The Interview in select theaters on Christmas Day.

It would be disingenuous for me to start off this column with anything other than the biggest bit of news in the entertainment industry, right now, even though I might literally be the last person in the world to give my opinion on the matter. With that said, here's my patented TakeTM on the catastrophe surrounding Sony pulling the release (seemingly indefinitely, in all formats) of The Interview: in the simplest terms - it's awful and we should all be very afraid.

That good enough? OK, in more complicated terms, this is clearly setting a dangerous precedent for the state of creativity in mainstream entertainment. Whether or not North Korea was ultimately behind the hacking of Sony and the subsequent threats of terrorist activity (as the US government is now alleging), what we do know is that Sony decided to bury a movie because of some vague threats and the very real possibility of more internal documents being released to the public. While I acknowledge that Sony was between a rock and a hard place (releasing the film to actual terrorist attacks would have made them seem like ghoulish profiteers), what they've actually done is confirm that anonymous threats are enough to inspire an awe-inspiring act of censorship over what was likely a movie mostly about James Franco and Seth Rogen making dick jokes.

Comparisons to The Great Dictator have already been made and, yes, while it's true that that film did not feature Chaplin assassinating a reigning dictator, it did infamously end with Chaplin posing as the dictator and giving a rousing speech decrying everything that Hitler stood for, which would arguably have been just as offensive to Hitler had so many countries not then shunned Chaplin (which, including the United States, was unfortunately the case).

I realize that this is a silly nerd column, so I'll end my rant here: If we're not vocal, this disaster with The Interview will go on to dictate what entertainment the public is privy to watch, which should sound absolutely terrifying to you.

Opening Christmas Day: The Imitation Game

In other, less troubling movie news, the film in competition with The Theory of Everything for the coveted award of Best Prestige Movie About a Great Scientist is coming to theaters. Instead of exploring the life of Stephen Hawking, The Imitation Game follows the life of Alan Turing, who helped the United States to break the Germans' supposedly unbreakable codes during World War II. As if that isn't enough, he also came up with the Turing test, which has challenged scientists ever since to come up with a machine that can believably converse with humans to the point that a human cannot tell if he or she is speaking with a machine. This, Turing thought, would be the barrier we would need to pass before we could actually access artificial intelligence.

Plus, The Imitation Game has Benedict Cumberbatch in it, which is always nice. Just try not to think about The Interview, and you should enjoy your time at the movies just fine.

LINK: Previous Nerd Alerts issued

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens,

December 16, 2014 at 7:54am

5 Things To Do Today: A Brief History of Time, The Noteables, Christmas Revels, Vanilla Fudge ...

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic "A Brief History of Time" to help non-scientists understand fundamental questions of physics and our existence.

TUESDAY, DEC. 16 2014 >>>

1. Everything has been coming up Stephen Hawking this year. The physicist was a guest vocalist on Pink Floyd's latest album, and the story of his life, The Theory of Everything, is the Oscar bait the world needs, not the one it deserves. In conjunction with his biopic playing at The Grand Cinema, the theater has decided to screen the 1991 Hawking documentary, A Brief History of Time, for its Tuesday Film Series. Directed by the great documentarian Errol Morris, the film is an exploration of the man and his work, with presumably a little more accuracy than The Theory of Everything. It screens at 2 and 6:45 p.m., with the later one followed by a discussion of both the documentary and the biopic. The discussion will be led by ... David Gilmour? It can't possibly be that David Gilmour, but you never know. Stephen Hawking and Pink Floyd are apparently tight.

2. Take a mid-day break, bring your lunch and enjoy a merry mini-concert with Tumwater High School's premier vocal ensemble, The Noteables, at noon in the Tumwater Timberland Library. The group will perform, a capella, a variety of traditional and jazz-infused holiday selections. Holiday treats and beverages will be provided by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library.

3. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 4-9 p.m. today.

4. Don't let these dark days get you down, mio amico. Hop in the Christmas Revels' time machine, journey to the Renaissance, and bask in Salerno's bright, cheerful courtyard at 7:30 p.m. in the Rialto Theater. Let a troupe of commedia artists and musicians put a smile on your face. Sing along with a pub song. Wipe away tears from a lush Pater Noster, and kick up your heels to "Madama Doré," a lively canzo a ballo (wedding dance). Have some cocoa. Feel the feels. It's what England's Master of Revels would want.

5. Roald Dahl's 1964 kid-lit classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a dose of moral entertainment packed with enough flights of fancy for a dozen books. Hook up with the Banned Book Club and discuss this book at 7 p.m. in Doyle's Public House, as well as the unearthed missing chapter that discuss the kids finding a room marked Vanilla Fudge, which contains a five-story mountain of the sweet stuff. After frolicking on and around the mountain, it comes time, once again, for some kids to be assholes, resulting in them being whisked off to the chopping and smashing room, which is pretty harsh, even for Dahl.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 16 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 15, 2014 at 2:26pm

Nerd Alert! - Movies opening Christmas Day

"The Interview": Seth Rogen and James Franco star in the dirty Hope and Crosby-style film about assassinating Kim Jong-un.

Dwarves of Erebor, 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.

With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies cutting Peter Jackson & Co. loose at long last to work on non-Tolkien projects, this holiday movie season arrives with a vengeance. That's awesome, too, because there's squat-all to watch on TV.


If ever I loved the musical Annie, and I'm not sure ever I did, a summer working as a publicist next door to six weeks of "It's the Hard Knock Life" rehearsals drummed it out of me. Still, even I find myself aghast at what Columbia Pictures and director Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits) have done with the popular property. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis are playing Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie, respectively, but who thought Cameron Diaz would make a great Miss Hannigan? And isn't Annie famously the story of a little girl struggling through the Great Depression? Why is this movie set in the present day?

On the other hand, what're ya gonna do, buy a ticket to Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb instead? Ha! As if! Oh, I crack myself up. But let's be serious for a moment: perhaps now would be a great time to tuck into a fun weekend read! Say, have I mentioned I'm an author?


Gentle Reader, I'm confused. (This happens oftener than I'd like to admit.) Specifically, I'm at a loss to comprehend this year's holiday movie releases. In past years, the last two weeks of December saw major prestige releases roll out in the last possible qualifying moments for Oscar consideration. This year, only one serious contender for Best Picture, Angelina Jolie's epic wartime drama Unbroken, premieres Christmas Day. It's the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who ran a 4:08 mile, then served as a bombardier in the Pacific theater before getting shot down by the Japanese. Zamperini survived 47 days on a life raft at sea before reaching the Marshall Islands, only to find himself captured and tormented for months. It's an amazing, true-life story, one richly deserving of cinematic enshrinement.

Unbroken debuts alongside Big Eyes, a Tim Burton biopic about shy Tennessee artist Margaret Keane. Keane's paintings of mutant children were everywhere in the 1950s, but her self-aggrandizing husband Walter became a national celebrity by claiming he painted all of them. The movie stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, two actors who've earned multiple nominations over the years and may well coast into awards consideration again. The film itself, however, is having a tough time gathering buzz.

Also opening on Christmas - not that its ubiquitous commercials and trailers have kept this a secret - is Disney's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. If you've ever attended a live musical theater production, this was probably it. In the last few years I've seen two local productions, and passed on seeing yet another at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Early reports suggest the movie (directed by Chicago's Rob Marshall, who should know better) takes liberties with the musical we all know and respect. Sound familiar? Among other changes, it dispenses with the narrator altogether. I wish I could be more optimistic, especially given Woods' undeniably talented cast, but unless the trailers have vastly undersold it I think you may be happier driving to Ashland instead.

Ed. note: Sony pulled the release of The Interview after theaters refused to screen the film due to death threats from the Sony hackers.

One final movie opening Dec. 25 worth mentioning, if only for the damage it may have inspired, is Sony's The Interview. It stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as clueless TV personalities who are commissioned to kill North Korea's "Supreme Leader," Kim Jong-un. Of course, Kim Jong-un is a real person, known more for his purges, human rights violations and nuclear threats than his sense of self-deprecating humor, so this did not go unnoticed. No, it appears Kim got his supreme panties in a bunch about it, a reaction, perhaps, to his father's merciless savaging at the hands of Team America: World Police. Coincidentally or probably not, hackers invaded Sony's corporate network and leaked hundreds of damaging emails, including an exchange in which Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal called Angelina Jolie "a minimally talented spoiled brat." Ooh, or maybe you heard the one about how Sony was planning to sue Bill Murray for declining to costar in Ghostbusters 3? Yeah, this has not been a fun week on the Sony lot, and I have every reason to believe it will not get better soon.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may God bless Bill Murray, amen.

December 12, 2014 at 7:20am

5 Things To Do Today: Obsidian Grand Opening, Holiday Native Arts Fair, Stand Up For A Cure, Charlatan ...

Obsidian bartender Jessica Nicoletti mixes delicious craft cocktails. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

FRIDAY, DEC. 12 2014 >>>

1. Seasoned musicians Nathan Weaver and Chris Beug recently opened Obsidian music venue and cafe in downtown Olympia. They chose the name because of the healing and purifying properties associated with the black crystal formed from fast cooling volcanic lava. The aesthetic of Obsidian is an amalgamation of the building's existing industrial architecture and organic elements such as cedar and natural fibers. They offer local, organic and gluten-free options including waffles, sandwiches, salads and small plates. The waffles are freakin' delicious. After dark, the lounge offers a selection of craft cocktails, local craft beer, hard cider and wine while providing unique ethereal ambience. At 9 p.m., Weaver and Beug host a grand opening celebration featuring electronic music by Ocean, D.A. Terence and Vowl.

2. The Evergreen State College's Longhouse Education & Cultural Center will host its 18th annual Holiday Native Arts Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fair will feature nearly 40 Native artists from Washington and Oregon, as well as Alaska Native and First Nations artists from British Columbia. Among the items for sale are original carvings, woven textiles, prints, basketry, jewelry, clothing, musical instruments and more.

3. For Andrew Rivers, poking fun at himself just comes naturally. "I have a lot of female friends," the Seattle comedian jokes in an appearance on Fox TV's Laughs. "Because they put me there." Rivers is headlining Stand Up For A Cure, a benefit for research into childhood cancer, at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, beginning at 8 p.m. Also on the bill are Seattle comedians Narin Vann and Mike Coletta and the show's producer, Jacob Johnson of Lacey. Read Molly Gilmore's full story on Andrew Rivers in the Music & Culture section.

4. The Grand Cinema's annual showings of the delightfully demented Finnish film, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale will hit the screen at 9 p.m.The new holiday classic is a pulpy, darkly comic take on what is essentially the Krampus mythology, where Santa isn't so jolly and children are dirty little urchins that deserve to be punished. The horror comedy is a gorgeously shot descent into yuletide madness, and it is a wonder to see on The Grand's (relatively) big screens. It'll make you rethink candy canes.

5. Charlatan is surging, post-punk inspired electro-rock. As a solo project of Omar Rashan, Charlatan combines programmed beats, synthesizers and fuzzed-out guitars into a sound that's reminiscent of Joy Division. In a positively packed lineup, Hot Panda is the other standout. The Vancouver, B.C., trio combines art-rock, punk and psychedelia into a propulsive mixture that moves feet as much as it lights up neurons. Both Charlatan and Hot Panda take inspiration from the UK's post-'70s explosion, though neither sound like tribute bands. Check them out with Beatrix Sky and Jupiter Sprites at 9 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

LINK: Friday, Dec. 12 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 11, 2014 at 7:31am

5 Things To Do Today: The Hugs, KPLU Christmas Jam, TCC Student Film Showcase, "Quartet" ...

Retro popsters The Hugs play Le Voyeur tonight. Photo credit: Sean Allen

THURSDAY, DEC. 11 2014 >>>

1. Portland psych-pop group The Hugs has been steadily picking up steam since their formation in 2007 - being featured in illustrious music publications like NME, and sharing the stage with tons of indie rock luminaries - and they've recently released a new EP. "When we were younger, we had a lot of ideas about music and purity and wanting to not sell out, whatever that means," says Appaloosa. "Speaking at least for myself, now we just want to make music that people love. We're not hung up about indie status - not that we're successful, yet, but we want to be successful at all costs. At least I do. I hope we can sell out. That's the goal." Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on The Hugs in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with special guests at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. The 18th Annual KPLU Christmas Jam, the annual free holiday concert and live broadcast, will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at Lagerquist Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the Pacific Lutheran University campus. Hosted by KPLU's Kevin Kniestedt, the concert will feature jazz vocalist Gail Pettis singing holiday classics backed by the PLU University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Deacon-Joyner, as well as with her own trio. 

3. Pint Defiance hosts its annual Winter Beer-nanza party, beginning at 5 p.m. The specialty beer store and taproom will convert seven of its taps into winter cheer dispensers: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2014), Black Raven Festivus Holiday Ale, Lost Abbey Merry Taj IPA, Bale Breaker High Camp Winter Warmer, pFriem Belgian Christmas Ale, Heathen Reindeer Tears Barrel-Aged Barleywine and Atlas Spiced Pear Cider. In addition to big beers, Pint Defiance will host a "Christmas Cookie Potluck," asking patrons to don a holiday sweater and deliver cookies for all to enjoy. Emergency Food Network donations will be collected at the door.

4. Watch out, Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan: A new generation of directors wants your jobs. These aspiring filmmakers will showcase their efforts at the second annual TCC Student Film Showcase at 6 p.m. in the Galaxy Uptown Theater. A team-taught class at Tacoma Community College's Gig Harbor campus host a film event that will raise funds for student veterans in honor of TCC's former Veterans' Affairs coordinator, the late Bill Harrington.

5. Tacoma Little Theatre presents the charming piece about four aging opera singers in the stage play Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Micheal O'Hara, and featuring Randy Clark, Steve Tarry, Sharry O'Hare, and Syra Beth Puett, this production brings together four of Tacoma's best known actors, who collectively have more than 200 years of stage experience. Cool.

LINK: Thursday, Dec. 11 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 10, 2014 at 1:09pm

Nerd Alert! - Our American Godzilla, Scary Claus, The Man with the Golden Atom-Smasher ...

"Neutralize Bond! Forthwith!" / photo courtesy of ©2013 FOX / bild.de

No one asked me what my opinion of the latest American version of Godzilla was, but it was largely the same as everyone else's: eh. Not enough Bryan Cranston, the lead actor might as well have been that cardboard cutout in the background of Three Men and a Baby, and I was uncomfortable with the expressiveness of Godzilla's face. Still, it was inarguably better than Roland Emmerich's 1998 monstrosity, which means that it was a step in the right direction for healing to begin.

Even with the relatively good quality of Our American Godzilla (which is a spinoff that I'd like to copyright and pitch to the This American Life people), the fine people over at Japan's Toho Studios have decided to return to their radioactive creation, a decade after their Godzilla: Final Wars SKREEONKed onto screens. Toho has brought together a wonder team of executives and directors - a team they've dubbed the Godzilla Strategic Conference, or Godzi-con. With a release date set for 2016, Toho's Godzilla should arrive two years before our Godzilla 2 hits theaters.

SKREEONK, indeed.

Friday, Dec. 12-Saturday, Dec. 13: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

The one Christmas tradition that I can totally back is The Grand Cinema's annual showings of the delightfully demented Finnish film, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. The new holiday classic is a pulpy, darkly comic take on what is essentially the Krampus mythology, where Santa isn't so jolly and children are dirty little urchins that deserve to be punished. The horror comedy is a gorgeously shot descent into yuletide madness, and it is a wonder to see on The Grand's (relatively) big screens. It's only shown in Tacoma two days a year, so see it while you can. It'll make you rethink candy canes.

Tuesday, Dec. 16: A Brief History of Time

Stephen Hawking has recently expressed interest in playing a Bond villain. That's it. Just wanted to tell you that.

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch, because everything has been coming up Hawking this year. The physicist was a guest vocalist on Pink Floyd's latest album, and the story of his life, The Theory of Everything, is the Oscar bait the world needs, not the one it deserves. In conjunction with his biopic playing at The Grand Cinema, the theater has decided to screen the 1991 Hawking documentary, A Brief History of Time, for its Tuesday Film Series. Directed by the great documentarian Errol Morris, the film is an exploration of the man and his work, with presumably a little more accuracy than The Theory of Everything.

There are two screenings on Tuesday, but the 6:45 one will be followed by a discussion of both the documentary and the biopic. The discussion will be led by ... David Gilmour? It can't possibly be that David Gilmour, but you never know. Stephen Hawking and Pink Floyd are apparently tight.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Tacoma, Screens,

December 9, 2014 at 7:28am

5 Things To Do Today: Puyallup River Film Festival, Polar Plaza, Classical Tuesdays benefit, Bobby Meader ...

"Rodney Raccoon Goes Green" won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Puyallup River Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Youtube

TUESDAY, DEC. 9 2014 >>>

1. Done on a budget of $434, spanning 23 trips over eight months up and down the Puyallup River - from Mount Rainier to Commencement Bay - you are eager to show the public your film at the Puyallup River Film Festival from 6-9 p.m. at the University of Washington-Tacoma. Using shots of spiritual rituals, inspirational landscapes and devastating destruction, and interweaving them with a score combining bluegrass, you have expressed ideas about the interconnectedness of humans and the river, and the transcendence of evolution. With a generous grant from The Russell Family Foundation, the University of Washington Tacoma will host the second annual film festival focused on the Puyallup River Watershed. Community members, students and non-profit organizations located in or working in the watershed submitted two- to three-minute videos related to issues affecting the Puyallup River and its tributaries. Of all the judged categories - open, middle school, high school, college/university, non-profit and government - you are confident your film will walk away with at least one award. You have to win; you invited all your friends, even that one guy who skinny-dips in the river.

2. Whether you want to channel your inner Winter Olympics sports nerd, capture the magic of the season in a vibrant urban venue or just have a wintery and sporty adventure, break out the ice skates, people, because the Franciscan Polar Plaza, in partnership with the Tacoma Art Museum, is open from 4-9 p.m. Bring family and friends to Tacoma's holiday ice rink for holiday fun and a good time right in the heart of downtown Tacoma.

3. Ron Bates has performed '40s tunes since the '80s. He knows Sinatra's songbook inside and out. Catch him at 6:30 p.m. for a Supper with Sinatra show at the Red Wind Casino.

4. This year's Classical Tuesdays Wine & Song Benefit in Old Town Tacoma will feature Neapolitan songs and standard Italian opera hits by tenor Gino Lucchetti. Baritone Charles Robert Stephens will sing romantic songs from the 1940s and 1950s. The two singers will also perform duets. Equally important, the night will feature lovely wines by neighboring Ginkgo Forest Winery, which kicks off at 7 p.m. inside the Connelly Law Offices. This annual event benefits the free Classical Tuesdays in Old Town chamber music series. So bring $25.

5. Bobby Meader's music is not technically complicated, or particularly unusual by any means. But it's heartfelt, a broken man with the raspy voice of an old punk turned soft, who strums like a early Bob Dylan or a John Denver, supporting himself on harmonica. It's the kind of music that makes you think of bad breakups and that trip to the woods you were supposed to make months ago. Catch Meader at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 9 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 8, 2014 at 7:59am

5 Things To Do Today: "Horns," Directors' Lab, Audio Elixir, Derek Nelson Quartet ...

There's not much sympathy for the devil in the small Washington hometown of Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe).

MONDAY, DEC. 8 2014 >>>

1. After his girlfriend is murdered, suspicion falls on Ig (Daniel Radcliffe). He claims he didn't do it, and sets out to prove it. Along the way, he gets drunk a lot and grows a set of devil horns (!), which prove to be a useful detecting tool. Alexandre Aja's dark-comedy-mystery hybrid Horns is adapted from Joe Hill's novel, and finds the Harry Potter actor taking yet another step away from his iconic kiddie role for darker adult fare. Catch the film at 6:30 p.m. in the Capitol Theater.

2. The South Hill Book Discussion Group will discuss Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran - the story of mouthwatering recipes that add enchantment to the warmth radiating from an Iranian family in Ireland and their big-hearted Italian landlady - at 7 p.m. in the South Hill Library.

3. University of Puget Sound Theater Department matches scenes from six plays with student directors and actors in its Directors' Lab series at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton Clapp Theatre in Jones Hall. Six scenes run the gamut from dramatic to absurd. There is classic mythology involving dangerous street kids, a slice-of-life set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century, a man worries his wife is becoming a bag lady, an exploration of unknowability of love and the mysteries of science, a husband brings his wife to meet the family for the first time, and a moral play that takes an honest look at the issues of commitment and fidelity in today's world. It's a festival of scenes.

4. Drummer Glenn Hummel, guitarist Brian Olver and bassist Rick Robinson are Audio Elixir, an R&B band playing The Swiss at 8 p.m.

5. Intimate interpretations of jazz standards and blues featuring Derek Nelson on tenor and bari saxes, Phil Lawson on jazz guitar, Steve Luceno on upright bass and Dave Snodgrass on drums as the Derek Nelson Quartet performs at 8 p.m. in Rhythm and Rye. The group will slip in some jazz interpretations of holiday tunes for the season.

LINK: Monday, Dec. 8 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 5, 2014 at 7:58am

5 Things To Do Today: Janis Lives, "Bestial Mirrors," BareFoot Collective vs "Ich Hunger," Pirate Karaoke ...

Sherrie Voxx Minter is Janis Joplin. Photo credit: Bill Bungard Photography

FRIDAY, DEC. 5 2014 >>>

1. With a blues soul and a rock & roll recklessness, Janis Joplin was the ultimate female rock figure. Probably it was the mingling of substances that opened her up so fully, but she poured her emotions through her music and every cracking sob and stomped-on feeling is audible. Even when she's howling, she's vulnerable, her deep-bottom voice is the true sound of a woman in pain. Sherrie Voxx Minter, the voice behind the old school rock band Voxxy Vallejo, doesn't have the pain, but has performed many times before folks who whispered, "She sounds like Janis Joplin." At 7 p.m., "Ah-ha!" will fill Jazzbones as Voxxy fronts the Joplin tribute band Janis Lives, sponsored by her other gig, NWCZ.com radio.

2. Tacoma artist Kellë McLaughlin's "Bestial Mirrors" is meant to give something back as a tribute to all the people who have supported her as an artist. The pieces in the show are animal heads on human bodies, and each is representative of a member of the Tacoma community. Each animal is a "reflection" of the person depicted in the piece. The show is a mix of traditional Japanese woodcut prints and ceramic sculptures, heavily skewed toward the former. That's a change for McLaughlin, who considers herself primarily a ceramic artist. But she's been doing woodcuts and prints for years. Mostly she did them just for fun, but when she started selling prints and T-shirts, they became popular in Tacoma. Read Kevin Knodell's full feature on Kellë McLaughlin in the Music & Culture section., then attend the opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. at Fulcrum Gallery.

3. Over a year ago, local punk bands took off their shirts and trashed about The New Frontier Lounge. Nestled in between the snarls, Tacoma filmmaker Isaac Olsen screened his German expressionist film, Ich Hunger, while Tacoma dance troupe BareFoot Collective translated the film's imagery into free-form dance. Es war sehr gut! As the film flickered that night, an idea flickered in his head. "What if I could convince the Tacoma Arts Commission to help me take this to the Broadway Center?" Auf geht's! The spectacle, as Olsen calls it, will hit Broadway. Olsen's tale of a creature-boy roaming the German wilderness and devouring the village's hapless tourists will, once again, pair with the BareFoot Collective's elegant performance, this time in Studio 3 at the Broadway Center, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

4. You know the story: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser who couldn't give a fig about his fellow man. He's dismissive toward his nephew, his only remaining family member; abusive toward his impoverished employee, Bob Cratchit; and just a miserable wretch in general. In the days leading up to Christmas 1843, Scrooge is haunted by his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. This is not a social call. Marley - doomed to forever walk the earth alone, in death as he did in life - warns Scrooge that he has one chance to mend his wicked ways, and so Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts who will teach him the lessons of Christmas. Tacoma Little Theatre presents the holiday classic Scrooge! The Musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusseat at 7:30 p.m.

5. At Bob's Java Jive, there's a recurring event called "Pirate Karaoke," where you're not only encouraged to sing like a pirate; you can dress like one, too. Imagine, if you will, Lucky the Shoulder Parrot joining you in a stirring round of "Come As You ARRRR!" in the same dive where Kurt Cobain himself used to put away brewskis. Your host Bowan the Black offers a library of 100,000 songs including Styx's "Come Sail Away" and Selena Gomez's "Lubber in Me." (Sorry.) If you're lucky, you'll enjoy the company of rowdy cosplayers The Black Bank, Criminal Dawn, The Feisty Felines or House Madrasa. If not, your rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" will earn you a stroll down the plank. The song pillage begins at 9 p.m.

LINK: Friday, Dec. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 2, 2014 at 7:55am

5 Things To Do Today: "One Chance," Number 6 Cider, Nathan Watts, Banff Mountain Film Festival ...

“One Chance” is an inspirational true story that transcends its formulaic telling with humor, heart and a pair of cherishable lead performances.

TUESDAY, DEC. 2 2014 >>>

1. One Chance is a dramedy about the unlikely rise of Britain's Got Talent breakout Paul Potts (played by James Corden, who just replaced Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show). Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night, became a phenomenon after being chosen for - and ultimately winning - the talent show (2007). See One Chance at 2:15 and 6:55 at The Grand Cinema.

2. Hard cider is the kindest of alcoholic beverages. Beer must be cumbersomely boiled, wine is expensive and poorly distilled spirits can blow up and fry your eyes. They all involve so much waiting. Cider is a relative cakewalk. Find out if this is true when Number 6 Cider out of Seattle launched its brand at The Red Hot beginning at 6 p.m.

3. Detroit kid Nathan Watts started on trumpet and switched to electric bass in high school, at the urging of childhood pals Ollie Brown and Ray Parker, Jr. Inspired by the Funk Brothers - who he watched through the basement window at Motown's Hitsville Studios - as well as the rock and roll of Jimi Hendrix and Rare Earth, Watts worked his way through local bands. In 1974, via Parker, Jr's recommendation, Watts got a call from Stevie Wonder's office. Making a good debut showing at a large concert in Memphis and acing an L.A. audition, Nate was firmly in place for the recording of Wonder's 1976 smash, Songs in the Key of Life. The rest, as they say, is history. Watts became Wonder's permanent musical director and bassist. Ted Brown Music will host Watts for a performance and chat from 6-8 p.m. "for all to sing, dance and clap their hands."

4. The Far Field is a brand new, folk music band consisting of four experienced musicians sneaking in through the backdoor of Tacoma's local music scene. Their sound is reminiscent of the revival-folk of the '60s full of jangly guitars and wheezing harmonicas. Catch the band at 6:30 p.m. in the B Sharp Coffee House.

5. The outdoors is our neighborhood playground for growth, introspection and escape. Since the time of George Vancouver and Peter Puget, the South Puget Sound has been and will always be an adventurer's region. For that reason, the Banff Mountain Film Festival's annual visit draws huge crowds to see a who's who of the mountain adventure world and learn the story behind the adventurers. Watch and hear amazing stories of the outdoors at 6:45 p.m. in the Rialto Theater.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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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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Shimul Kabir said:

Vedder's album is really nice. I have heard attentively

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

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