Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: October, 2011 (170) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 170

October 6, 2011 at 10:34am

VOLCANO ARTS: Tacoma Film Fest, Olympia Fall Arts Walk, and a local theater bonanza!

ARTS COVERAGE TO END ALL ARTS COVERAGE >>>

At this point it goes without saying. If you're looking for coverage of local arts in Tacoma, Olympia, and all points in between, the Weekly Volcano is THE place to find it. Our goal is to consistently provide the best local arts coverage possible to our fantastic readers -- always be on the lookout for ways to shine a light on all the awesome creativity we see around us.

Here's a look at the Volcano arts coverage waiting for you this week in print and online.

MOVIE BIZ BUZZ: The Sea Is All I Know

If you think TFF lacks any celeb cred, think again. Tucked away in Saturday's Drama Shorts package (4:15 p.m., Grand Cinema) lies The Sea Is All I Know, which boasts not one but two of those Hollywood folks you may know. Melissa Leo most notably won the Best Actress Oscar earlier this year for her work in The Fighter, and character actor Peter Gerety has, over three decades, appeared in numerous TV shows and movies. (I personally relished his world-weary police captain in Inside Man.)

Known for his supporting roles, Gerety finds himself front and center in The Sea, playing Sonny, a New England fisherman married to Sara (Leo). They have a terminally-ill daughter, Angelina (Kelly Hutchinson), who asks Mom and Dad to help her in performing euthanasia. Together and in private these parents agonize over their final decision, wavering unsteadily between mercy and what Sonny calls "natural law." ... -- Christopher Wood

FEATURE: OLYMPIA FALL ARTS WALK

Olympia's Arts Walk happens twice a year, but the fall edition has always been the little sister, bundled up and toting her umbrella, not as glamorous as spring's costumed, sandaled walk.

This time around, though, the autumn walk has grown to two days. Waterproof gear is still a good precaution, but there's twice as much time to see the art. There are also more businesses participating (106 compared to last fall's 101) and performances happening both days.

Besides visual art, music, dance and street performance, Arts Walk offers the chance to see and be seen. And many participating businesses offer snacks, desserts and even wine. ... -- Molly Gilmore

FEATURE: TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL

How about a magic trick? Most films perform one; they conceal as much as they reveal. They have us so mesmerized by the world flashing onscreen that we barely tune in to that other world just beyond the frame, that of the film's creators. They cover up their own tracks so nicely, sacrificing their real stories to serve the fictions spun for an audience's enjoyment.

Well, the curtain comes down at this year's Tacoma Film Festival. From Oct. 6-13, The Grand Cinema will blanket this town in over one hundred shorts and features. All of us will find something worth seeing, I'm sure. But beyond keeping movie lovers happy, TFF exists for producers, actors, writers and directors. Many will come from near and far to mingle with viewers and share their works, as well as a part of themselves - the stories behind the stories. ... -- Christopher Wood

THEATER REVIEW: THE LOVE LIST

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Olympia theater companies aren't competing with each other (even last weekend, when three different shows opened downtown), they're competing with television. If you're a producer who plans to charge money for tickets to a musical, then it needs to be better than Glee - a task which, let's face it, hasn't been difficult for over a year. But if you stage a sitcom, by golly, you've bitten off a challenging task indeed, because your competition is Modern Family, Parks and Rec, and Up All Night. Situation comedy has always been hit or miss, but cable subscribers have plenty of yuk-worthy material to enjoy on their DVRs. If your production can't be as polished and funny as what's on the boob tube, then you'll find yourself playing to barren houses.

The Love List at Harlequin has been playing to standing ovations, and that's because it's better than TV. ... -- Christian Carvajal

THEATER REVIEW: ALWAYS ... PATSY CLINE

I suppose one of the defining traits of legendary talent is that it cannot be reproduced. Thousands of doughy Elvis impersonators later, there's still just one King, and Beatlemania remains a mere echo of the Fab Four. Likewise, there has only ever been, and can only ever be, one Virgina "Patsy" Cline. We don't need to be fans of early Sixties country to know that. To this day, "I Fall to Pieces" remains one of the great karaoke destroyers of all time. You can't sing it; I can't, either, though it seems to have been written for my deep baritone range.

So give it up for Kittra Coomer, who dares not one, not two, but 27 Cline numbers in a little over two hours for Capital Playhouse's production of Always...Patsy Cline. ... -- Christian Carvajal

THEATER REVIEW: LITTLE WOMEN

Unfortunately, for all the talent on display, they were still doing a musical adaptation of Little Women, and there is only so much you can do to rescue a show from such a fate. A book about four women growing toward adulthood, and the changes that gradually affect their lives, is distilled into a play in which some things happen, people change suddenly and, for no apparent reason, there are some weddings ... the end. ... -- Joseph Izenman

THEATER REVIEW: BUNNICULA

Last I checked Dictionary.com, a vampire was defined as a preternatural being who sucks the blood of humans or animals, and that's a scary concept for youngsters. Luckily, James and Deborah Howe's kid-lit Bunnicula is nothing of the kind. Rather, he's a nocturnal rabbit with teleportation powers who prefers to drain the carotene from carrots and other produce. In Olympia Family Theater's version, those powers are accompanied by brief strobe effects, which I'll warn you about as I'm pretty sure house management didn't. (It's a common oversight in local theater, but I've seen the worst-case neurological repercussions so I'm sensitive to it.) That glitch aside, Bunnicula is a wittily staged, charismatically acted comedy that'll entertain rather than traumatize patrons of all ages. ... -- Christian Carvajal

PLUS: Comprehensive Arts & Entertainment Calendar

PLUS: Even More Freakin' Events

PLUS: Just Plain Goofy Stuff

Filed under: Arts, All ages, Screens, Theater, Tacoma, Olympia,

October 6, 2011 at 2:45pm

WEEKEND HUSTLE: Oly Fall Arts Walk, Oktoberfest Northwest, Celebration of Western & Wildlife Art, Fall Free For All, Rebecca Howard Mural Celebration, Tacoma Murals Dedication and more ...

THE LOWDOWN ON WHAT'S UP THIS WEEKEND >>>

WEATHER REPORT

Friday: Rain likely, hi 56, lo 50

Saturday: Cloudy, hi 61, lo 49

Sunday: Rain, hi 58, lo 48

>>> OCT. 7-8: OLYMPIA FALL ARTS WALK

Olympia's Arts Walk happens twice a year, but the fall edition has always been the little sister, bundled up and toting her umbrella, not as glamorous as spring's costumed, sandaled walk. This time around, though, the autumn version of Arts Walk has grown to two days. Waterproof gear is still a good precaution, but there's twice as much time to see the art. There are also more businesses participating (106 compared to last fall's 101) and performances happening both days. Besides visual art, music, dance and street performance, Arts Walk offers the chance to see and be seen. And many participating businesses offer snacks, desserts and even wine. (That's not listed in the guide, though; think of it as a scavenger hunt of sorts.) Click here to discover some of the outrageous offerings. - MG

  • Downtown Olympia, Friday, Oct. 7 from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free throughout downtown Olympia, 360.753.8380

>>> OCT. 7-9: OKTOBERFEST NORTHWEST

You totally need more excuses to drink beer. That gut and that child support payment shouldn't stop you now. This weekend in Puyallup, slurp down all the brew you can stomach at the 7th annual Oktoberfest Northwest. In addition to the obvious beer, expect tons of food (read: brats, pretzels) and tons of authentic entertainment (read: polka). Still not sold? Did we mention the Hammerschlagen? The wiener dog races?  The hats?

  • Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 11 a.m. - midnight Friday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday, free on Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Regular Price after 3pm on Friday and all day Saturday $10, Sunday $5, Children 12 and under free all weekend, 110 Ninth Ave. SW, Puyallup, oktoberfestnw.com

>>> OCT. 7-9: CELEBRATION OF WESTERN & WILDLIFE ART

Wait just a freakin' second! You mean to tell us Oktoberfest Northwest AND the Fred Oldfield (his name LITERALLY has the world "old" right in it)-powered Celebration of Western & Wildlife Art Show and Sale will both be at the Puyallup Fairgrounds this weekend? Simultaneously? Like, right next to one another? Jesus. This is almost too good to be true. Oldfield's Celebration of Western & Wildlife Art Show and Sale includes auctions, free wine and cheese for all, the Rainier 2 Cylinder Tractor Club and more paintings of cattle and horses than you can shake a stick at. And don't sleep on "pioneer spinning" with Mickey Pederson.

  • Puyallup Fair & Events Center  - enter through the Gold Gate, 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday,  110 Ninth Ave. SW, Puyallup, fredoldfieldcenter.org

>>> OCT. 8-9: FALL FREE FOR ALL

As the old proverb suggest, the only thing better than a community arts festival boasting more than 75 awesome events and activities for the entire family is a completely FREE community arts festival boasting more than 75 awesome events and activities for the entire family. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. This weekend's Fall Free For All offers all of the above and the proverbial bag of chips. If you have yet to introduce yourself with Tacoma's awesome Theatre District, now's your chance. Wristbands, free but required for entry to Fall Free For All events, are available through the Broadway Center's box office by calling 253.591.5894. Be sure to check out the performance by Drew Grow and The Pastors Wives Saturday night. Find all the info you need right here.

  • Theater District, Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., free, broadwaycenter.org, Tacoma, 253.591.5894

>>> OCT. 8: REBECCA HOWARD MURAL CELEBRATION

If you've been kicking around downtown Olympia lately you've no doubt been impressed by the Rebecca Howard Mural taking shape on the side of the Bread Peddler. Howard is credited as one of Olympia's very first business women, in the 1860s. She was also African American. Howard was the owner, cook and manager of the Pacific House, described by historians as a popular restaurant and hotel back in Olympia's early heyday. This year the Olympia Downtown Association and the Olympia Heritage Commission, along with historians Shanna Stevenson and Lynn Erickson, have made it their duty to make Howard's story more well-known. The mural, brought to life by local sign-master Ira Coyne and fellow artists Vince Ryland, Arthur Crews, Sara Calland, and Christopher Ross, is all part of that plan. Saturday, from 10 a.m. - noon the Rebecca Howard Mural will be celebrated. Get in on that action.

  • The Bread Peddler, 10 a.m. - noon, 222 Capitol Way, Olympia

>>> OCT. 8: TACOMA MURALS PROJECT DEDICATION & BBQ

Speaking of murals, the Tacoma Murals Project will dedicate and celebrate this year's additions Saturday at Bergerson Terrace, the site of one of this year's coolest new pieces of community art. Part of Tacoma's Safe and Clean effort, and an initiative of the Graffiti Reduction Through Community Based Art team associated with Safe and Clean, the Tacoma Murals Project bills itself as an effort that, "joins artists and communities through the collaborative process of mural-making to create powerful artworks that can transform public spaces, neighborhood identities, and individual lives." So far, so true. Saturday's event will include City of Tacoma Arts Jedi Amy McBride, Michael Power from the Tacoma Housing Authority and a whole slew of artists. Plus, you can get up close and personal with the new Bergerson Terrace mural - which is pretty sweet.

  • Bergerson Terrace, 4 p.m., free, 5305 S. Orchard St.,  tacomaarts.wordpress.com

>>> OCT. 8: HELLA EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS

We know our demographic. We know the masses reading this are going to get a huge charge to learn Tacoma Power will be throwing three upcoming events designed to promote energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (yay!), including exchanging CFL light bulbs for old, non-energy efficient bulbs (double yay!). Saturday at Home Depot on Tacoma Mall Blvd. Tacoma Power will throw the first such event, offering attendees the ability to exchange up to five incandescent bulbs for life CFLs, buy qualified CFLs and get one free (up to 10) and enjoy "fun activities related to energy-efficient lighting." Future events will be held Oct. 15 at the Home Depot on Center Street in Tacoma, and Nov. 5 at the Lowe's on Orchard Street in Tacoma.

  • Home Depot, 7050 Tacoma Mall Blvd., Tacoma  

>>> WHERE OUR STAFF IS GOING

ALEC CLAYTON Visual Arts Critic
My most excellent plans are to go to Pugstock Saturday night. That's a benefit party/performance for Oly actor/director Pug Bujold. And Sunday is the candidate forum at PFLAG-Olympia where we get to hear all of the political candidates tell us why we should vote for them.

BRETT CIHON Meat Market Correspondent/Features Writer
I continue my string of atypical meat markets this weekend with a stop at 1022 South. I love the change of scenery, but wonder if I'm starting to get dance floor withdrawals.

NIKKI TALOTTA Features Writer
My weekend prediction: I will be relishing in the fact that I was drawn onstage at the Emerald Queen Casino for a chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune. I will have kicked everybody's ass during the practice round, guessing the correct phrase after only two letters. There will then be copious amounts of bragging to friends about how I'm flying to LA to meet Vanna White and win tens of thousands of dollars. *Sigh* I hope it comes true...

CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL: Theater Critic
We're attending a benefit for a friend and writing thank you cards for our recent wedding celebration. My wife has Monday off (banker's hours), so I might even find time to make out with her.

REV. ADAM MCKINNEY: Music Writer
Friday, I'll be attending Basemint's first show in quite a while. But earlier that day, I'll be helping to make a ridiculous amount of pretzels for my Saturday activity, Maltoberfest.

JOANN VARNELL: Theater Critic
It is the Fall Free for All and I have procurred wrist bands for myself and my little son and some excellent friends. The husband is running sound and performing Saturday at 9:30 with Tad Monroe. I *might* be performing with my husband and Tad but I am mostly excited for Kellie Schaeffer and Drew Grow! Hurray for Portlanders who are practically Tacomans!!

JENNIFER JOHNSON: Food & Lifestyles Writer
Kayaking Friday if the weather takes a startling turn for the warmer. In reality, going to all of the downtown museums, having lunch at Pacific Grill, and then hitting the conservatory at Wright Park with visiting family members. Saturday I'll take the sisters to hot yoga at Expand Yoga and then have a Pampered Chef luncheon party. In the evening I'm heading to Gig Harbor for dinner at JW Restaurant. Sunday- church, family time, Pt Defiance Zoo. Somewhere in there I will do a week's worth of math homework, write a paper on Hamlet and one on the possible parallels between today's social and governmental climate and post-revolutionary colonial days in America.

STEPH DEROSA: Person, Place or Thing Corespondent
As you read this, my beloved 10-month-old Boxer puppy will be having surgery to repair his broken femur.  Unfortunately this surgery requires pins, screws and steel rods and costs a few thousand dollars.  In order to pay for this surgery, this weekend I will be panhandling on various Tacoma street corners.  In my spare time I plan to possibly hang out with Melanie Rushforth and take in a few parties.  I hear the DyDD Trampires have already begun the jello shots and melanie has found the perfect push-up bra.

STEVE DUNKELBERGER Meat Market Photographer
The boss has me shooting the Tacoma Film Fest Thursday, MaltoberFest at the Java Jive Saturday, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame action on Sunday.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

October 7, 2011 at 8:49am

MORNING SPEW: Hilltop murder case, Lakewood maniac, fake Batman gets beat up ...

A cat in a hat

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Twenty-One Years Later: Pierce County prosecutors file charges in hilltop slaying case. (News Tribune)

He Must Have Really Needed To Do Some Shopping: Lakewood man goes berserk on Lakewood police officer at Lakewood Town Center. (News Tribune)

Occupied: The Wall Street protests spread. (CNN)

How That Bump Made Us Jump!: Johnny Depp has plans to play Dr. Seuss. (Slashfilm)

Once Upon A Midnight Dreary: John Cusack is Edgar Allan Poe. (Collider)

How Do You Move A 340-Ton Rock: Very carefully. (New York Times)

Video: Fake Batman gets beat up. (Tru TV)

October 7, 2011 at 9:40am

5 Things To Do Today: Oly Fall Arts Walk kicks off, Charlie Musselwhite, Walking with Boe and more ...

Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite will blow you away tonight at the Rialto. Get it?

FRIDAY, OCT. 7, 2011 >>>

1. Olympia's Arts Walk happens twice a year, but the fall edition has always been the little sister, bundled up and toting her umbrella, not as glamorous as spring's costumed, sandaled walk. This time around, though, the autumn version of Arts Walk has grown to two days. Waterproof gear is still a good precaution, but there's twice as much time to see the art. There are also more businesses participating (106 compared to last fall's 101) and performances happening both days. Besides visual art, music, dance and street performance, Arts Walk, which runs today and tomorrow, offers the chance to see and be seen. And many participating businesses offer snacks, desserts and even wine. (That's not listed in the guide, though; think of it as a scavenger hunt of sorts.) Click here to discover some of the outrageous offerings.

2. When you hear Charlie Musselwhite is a "harmonic master," as the promotional material for Friday's show at the Broadway Center in Tacoma suggests, it's no lie. Dude is that good. He's a blues legend. With a career that's spanned nearly five decades, and with more notches on his accomplishment belt than could possible be noted in this small space, Musselwhite has done just about all there is to do in the blues music business. Tonight, as part of a show co-presented by the Immanuel Presbyterian Blues Vespers, Musselwhite plays the Rialto Theater.

3. It's Friday, and it's time for another awesome Downtown on the Go walking tour, this one featuring fantastic Tacoman, architect, and City Councilman David Boe leading a group through the Brewery District and south downtown. The walk runs from noon - 1 p.m. and starts in front of the Swiss. Find all the Downtown on the Go walking tour info you could possibly desire here.

4. Flowmotion will throw down the genre-bending rock at the 4th Ave Ale House in downtown Olympia. Take a break from gazing at visual art during Art Walk to take in some sonic art.

5. Tin Man and the Moss Brothers Band will be in Fife tonight, doing it right at Louie G's Pizzeria. If you're looking for something to do with the tweens, this might fit the bill --- as the action at Louie G's is all ages, and ears young and old can usually dig on Rusty Parrish's Tin Man.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight

October 7, 2011 at 9:53am

TODAY: Slice of Hope

May we suggest you chow on Farrelli's delicious Jack & John Pizza.

EAT A TON OF PIZZA ALL DAY AND NIGHT >>>

When it comes right down to it, just about everything rests in a name. Case in point - the fundraiser today being held for breast cancer research by pizzerias around the nation. What did its inspired organizers call it? SLICE FOR HOPE. Wow. If you don't feel like a bastard for not supporting, well, maybe you should. It's for hope, man, hope. Hope is all we have. Plus, while the hope in the title may be figurative, the slice is not.

Locally, Farrelli's Wood Fire Pizza will donate 10 percent of its sales today to the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation, a national charity based in Seattle. It's estimated 40,000 women will die from the disease this year.

"There isn't a person in this country who hasn't felt the effects of breast cancer in some way," says Farrelli's owner John Farrell in a release. "Farrelli's wants to do something to help end this disease."

Farrell goers on to say that besides donating 10 percent today, he's also created a pizza called the "Tasty Cancer Fighter" for the month of October and will be donating $6 for every 12-inch and $10 for every 16-inch of that pizza sold to the Karen Mullen Foundation.

So eat pizza. Support hope.

For the nearest Farrelli's, click here.

Filed under: Benefits, Food & Drink, Lacey, Tacoma,

October 7, 2011 at 11:14am

TFF Sniff 2011: Last night's opening party, today's films

Photography by Steve Dunkelberger

YOUR DAILY GUIDE TO THE 2011 TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL >>>

It seems like a dream a Tacoman would have about a Hollywood party: Photographers ask to take red carpet photos of you on your entrance; you're given complimentary drinks, including, if you choose, Pabst cans wrapped in napkins; burlesque dancers dance in the middle of the room; tiny pigs in a blanket are served with toothpicks and syrup dip; and a French band from Fife tells the audience its next song will make some babies.

It is a dream as last night's 2011 Tacoma Film Festival Opening Gala was slightly below that scenario, although just as swanky. TFF staff, board members, representing films directors and stars, photographers and film enthusiasts consumed Annie Wright's Great Hall noshing on fancy hors d'oeuvres as musicians bounced classical music off the dark mahogany walls. Jonz Catering outdid themselves again with delectable finger foods. I did see a few wrap their Stella beers in napkins.

"We are fortunate enough to live in a community where we can enjoy events like this and it's due to your support of film and your support of The Grand Cinema," said Mitch Robinson, president of The Grand's board of directors, as he welcomed the crowd to opening night.

This time each year, our little Grit City suddenly explodes with creativity as TFF offers moviegoers the perfect excuse to escape the rain and indulge in an incredibly diverse array of local and foreign cinema.

TFF Director Emily Alm announced her film recommendations during the party, including "a hilarious comedy" Sunday night called Losing Control, and local films Monday and Tuesday night.

Then the Warren Etheredge show took over as the cultural conversationalist and TFF film judge dropped one-liners and introduced filmmakers in attendance, including some from overseas.

The room emptied into Annie Wright's Kemper Center for TFF's opening film, Natural Selection, which was a tender, sweet story starring Rachel Harris as infertile, sexually frustrated, and very Christian housewife. This fresh funny flick is a must see.

LINK: More Opening Night photos

Today's film recommendations

Tacoma Film Festival Director Emily Alm recommends you hit the following two films today:

THIS NARROW PLACE (3:55 p.m., The Grand Cinema): Sometimes a film comes along that blows you away, that represents new, raw, and undeniable talent. The director of This Narrow Place, Sooney Kadouh, exhibits enormous potential with his debut feature. His cause is greatly empowered by the lead actors, Sammy Sheik (Hassan) and Jonathan Stanley (Chris). Hassan has recently smuggled himself into the United States and plans on avenging the death of his brother, who was killed in Israel by a US-made bomb. In the meantime, Hassan develops an unlikely and fascinating friendship with Chris, a lonely drug-addict who seems reinvigorated by his new relationship with Hassan.

HEART BREAKS OPEN (6:05 p.m., The Grand Cinema): I had the pleasure of screening this film on the big screen during one of our regular volunteer screening sessions at the Grand. Not one person in the audience disliked Heart Breaks Open, and not one person was unaffected by its powerful and realistic story. The film was powerful simply for its storyline, but the filmmaker (William Maria Rain), and actors amplify its presence through not-to-be-missed performances and creativity. Heart Breaks Open screens Friday, Oct. 7th at 6:05 p.m. at the Grand Cinema. The director, cast and crew will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A.

For a complete list of today's films, click here.

LINK: Three stories behind the stories

LINK: Big stars at the Tacoma Film Festival 2011

LINK: Our Tacoma Film Festival preview

LINK: TFF Director Emily Alm's picks

LINK: TFF on twitter 

LINK: TFF website

October 7, 2011 at 12:23pm

TFF Whiff: New experiences on Opening Night

Tacoma filmmaker Christopher Wood describing his film to the 2011 TFF Opening Party crowd. Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger

AND SO IT BEGINS >>>

Last night the Tacoma Film Festival officially entered its sixth year of existence, and this time around I aim to embrace it in a slightly different way than in the past. Obviously I'll soak in as much cinema as time allows before Closing Night Oct. 13. But this event is just a much a celebration of our humble town as a way to honor art from distant points on the globe. In other words, I see TFF 2011 as my own private excuse to explore and appreciate a community I usually ignore.

Let's start where the festival has its beginnings: The Grand Cinema. A few hours before the Opening Night Gala I made my way down the street from the theater and walked, for the first time, into STINK Cheese and Meat. Within seconds I was greeted by Kris Blondin, owner and, as I soon found out, no stranger to the Volcano's loose-knit family of writers. I casually ordered a turkey sandwich, naive to the are-you-kidding, belly-bursting deliciousness headed to my table.

No more food for awhile I decided ... except dessert. So I went to Corina Bakery, another Grand Cinema neighbor I had yet to take in. (You've probably realized by now I don't get out much.) I bought a fluffy cookie from the man behind the counter; obscured by his black apron I could just make out the words "TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL."

So, somewhat foolishly, I entered the gala at Annie Wright School with no appetite whatsoever for tray upon tray of hors d'oeuvres on display. I felt even more foolish when Warren Etheredge (host of a free filmmaker's workshop this weekend) urged me to hop on stage and introduce my own film playing later in the fest. Hiding behind guys larger than myself didn't work; once he goaded the audience into a slow clap, I had no choice.

The filmmakers who spoke before me tackled some pretty serious subjects - Mick Flaaen's Paint looks at graffiti in Tacoma, Kate Connor has POW camps in her Fort McCoy, and Dancing on the Edge by Alexander MacKenzie focuses on addiction. My movie can't compete with this. So I stood at the podium and said,

"It Came First is about an egg that comes to life and tries to kill two guys."

Before the laughter came, the crowd took one beautiful moment to look at me with quiet confusion.

Here's to a week of new experiences at TFF.

LINK: Opening Night photos

LINK: Three stories behind the stories

LINK: Big stars at the Tacoma Film Festival 2011

LINK: Our Tacoma Film Festival preview

LINK: TFF Director Emily Alm's picks

LINK: TFF on twitter 

LINK: TFF website

October 7, 2011 at 12:53pm

LAST NIGHT: The Whoopee Cats

The Whoopee Cats

SEEK THEM OUT >>>

Last night after the Tacoma Film Festival Opening Party my wife Kate and I dashed to the debut of Mike Coucoules' Thursday night acoustic open mic at Medi's Pizza & Pasta. I was thrilled to see it well attended. I was more thrilled to have caught The Whoopee Cats' set. Laurel and Jill, 19, filled the Sixth Avenue joint with amazing soulful blues.

Keep an eye on their whereabouts here.

LINK: More on the open mic

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,

October 7, 2011 at 1:26pm

See a bloody movie for free

Photo credit: Magnet Films

GIVEAWAY >>>

We're giving away five pairs of tickets to the opening weekend of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil at The Grand Cinema in Tacoma, which opens Friday, Oct. 14.

Simply "LIKE" our new Weekly Volcano Blast Zone Facebook page and you'll be included in our random drawing 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, which the accounting firm of Tucker & Dale will oversee. We'll draw five names that night, pass your Facebook page to The Grand Cinema and they'll contact you.

Good luck.

LINK: What the eff is Tucker & Dale vs. Evil?

Filed under: Contest, Screens, Tacoma,

October 7, 2011 at 2:04pm

Unexpected Asian

Photo credit: Jennifer Johnson

EATING AT CHARLEY'S PUB >>>

Unapologetically a dive bar, there's no pretense that Charley's Pub is anything else. Pool tables, karaoke, poker, patio and darts: entertainment and drinking take precedence over the American and Asian food eats.

Michelle Lemon of NightOutTacoma.com says the secret to getting good Asian food at the bar is to go when Kay is cooking. "It's really good. You'll be surprised," Lemon tells me.

She was right about the surprise. I had forgotten what day-time drinkers were like; you know the guys that are completely ripped at 2:30 p.m. ... so drunk you'll get a contact-buzz just by standing near them long enough to order. Even at the lunch hour everything about Charley's screams, "You may get mugged while walking to your car."

However, said mugger would probably let you keep your to-go box of left-over beef yakisoba; never would it be imagined that the beef from Charley's is ultra tender and packs great flavor, or that generous portions of noodles encourage eating until uncomfortably full. Check out fried rice, wonton soup, egg rolls, gyoza, barbequed pork, Mongolian beef and General Tao's chicken (a milder version of the Tso dish).

Does Charley's Pub offer amazing, write-to-your-mother Asian food? No, but it's just as good as other strip-mall locations.

Was I amazed that what I was eating came from Charley's? Obviously.

[Charley's Pub, menu ranges from $3.95-$9.95, 6520 19th St. W., Tacoma, 253.564.9454]

LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

LINK: Happy hours

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

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January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2014
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2013
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2012
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2011
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2010
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2009
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2008
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2007
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2006
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December