5 Things To Do Today: Model Train Festival, "The Butterfly Effect," Surf Monkeys, Maria Joyner-Wulf ...

By Volcano Staff on December 29, 2014

MONDAY, DEC. 29 2014 >>>

1. Just so you know, you might miss the train today - seeing as how it's scaled down to one and a half inches. Get it? At the 19th Annual Model Train Festival, every floor of the Washington State History Museum features model trains of all sizes and eras, landscapes, train experts plus the museum's permanent HO-scale 1,700-square-foot model railroad layout that portrays Tacoma and surroundings in the 1950s. The wee ones will go nuts over the Model Train Festival. Slip your budding trainiac a couple candy canes along the way and their little heads will practically explode. The trains run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2. The Thurston County Family & Juvenile Court is not a place people are likely to go with the intention of viewing art, but the court is open to the public and there is a lot of exciting art to be seen. "The Butterfly Effect" is a new permanent installation in the stairwell of the court house that was created by stringing together many hundreds (probably more than a thousand) butterflies cut out of plastic juice pouches, the work of nearly 700 students. Read Alec Clayton's full review of the art at the Thurston County Family & Juvenile Court in the music & Culture section.

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 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today.

4. Our ears perked up and our stomachs flipped a little when we heard the phrase "ultra cool spy themes." It sounds dangerous and sexy. Blues, that most American of musical forms, will receive a dose of spy music, as well as surf tones, at The Swiss' Monday Blues Night at 8 p.m. Seattle guitarist and singer Chris Stevens will fill the downtown Tacoma watering hole with electric blues lines via a big Gibson archtop. Taking their unusual name from a song title by legendary blues guitarist Freddy King, Stevens' back band, the Surf Monkeys, keep a firm footing in the blues while stretching the boundaries with "ultra cool spy themes," reverb drenched surf twang and Chris' own "blues on the edge of jazz" originals.

5. Jazz drummer Maria Joyner-Wulf performs with many groups in the region including Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Senators and Bevy. She's also a music educator, band leader, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She'll join pianist Reuel Lubag, bassist Wayne Bliss and saxophonist Cynthia Mullis for Rhythm and Rye last jazz night of the year, beginning at 8 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Dec. 29 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area