Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: February, 2011 (159) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 159

February 1, 2011 at 7:14am

Things To Do Today: Bellydance Superstars, read to a dog, Neil Diamond covers ...

Shake, shake, shake ...

TUESDAY, FEB. 1, 2011 >>>

1. The Bellydance Superstars shake their bellies at the sleazy culture of pelvic-pumping pop divas and strategic wardrobe malfunctions, bringing a shimmying celebration of the softness and strength that is womanhood to the Washington Center at 8 p.m. OK, they're hot, too.

2. Finally, finally, FINALLY! The butt-sniffing action, the dodging doggie bombs, the pooper scooper malfunctions - reading to your dog at the dog park has been a nightmare. Thankfully, the Graham Pierce County Library will allow you to publically share a book with your furry friend, while improving your reading skills, in a relaxed, serene setting beginning at 6:30 p.m.

3. Guitarist Billy Farmers covers the hits of Neil Diamond beginning at 6:30 p.m. inside the Red Wind Casino. No one should miss this - not even the chair.

4. Comedian Jake Sharon headlines Ha Ha Tuesday! comedy show at 7 p.m. inside Jazzbones. DJ Omar spins around 10 p.m.

5. Rafael Tranquilino rockin' blues jam with Dominique Stone and Glenn Hummel hits Stonegate Pizza around 8:30 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

February 1, 2011 at 11:05am

Weekly Volcano wins award


Last night the Weekly Volcano received the Community Stewardship 2011 award from Go Local Tacoma during the Shift Happens event at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Go Local President Patricia Lecy-Davis commended the Volcano on its community involvement, its dedication to championing Tacoma and its support of all things "cool," handing the award to co-publisher Ron Swarner.

"There are so many cool things happening in our beloved city, and I want everyone to have the chance to be a part of them," says Swarner. "Last night's impressive turnout, Mayor Marilyn Strickland's State of the City address, the energy - I left Shift Happens proud of our city, and especially proud of our weekly newspaper. I would like to thank Go Local Tacoma from my heart."

The Weekly Volcano, and its parent company Swarner Communications, is a founding member of Go Local Tacoma.

Filed under: Business, Tacoma, Weekly Volcano,

February 1, 2011 at 11:11am

Crazy Shit I Found on the Internet


An Alabama law firm is suing Taco Bell for falsely advertising their product as "beef" when allegedly, it contains less than 35% beef and a slew of fillers. I'm not sure anyone can act surprised here. What's shocking is the USDA only requires beef to contain 40 percent beef in order to be called beef. What the...

Since being sued, Taco Bell has fired back an angry response denying the accuracy of recent claims.

"We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88%)," Taco Bell said in an ad signed by company president Greg Creed. "Then add water to keep it juicy and moist (3%). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder and cocoa powder (4%). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency and quality of our seasoned beef."

Beef or no beef. It won't stop me from getting my 2 am post-drinking beefy crunch burrito. Mmmmm.

Filed under: News To Us,

February 1, 2011 at 11:35am

Movie Biz Buzz: "The King's Speech"

Justin Timberlake Character: Can you believe "The Social Network" got so many Oscar nominations? That's crazier than the time I was in a relationship with Britney Spears."


The grand old Duke of York

His stammer was the worst,

But Dr. Logue, that charming rogue

Taught him to scream and curse!

Since its release, the buzz surrounding The Social Network seemed as ubiquitous as its namesake. But on Tuesday Jan. 25 the Academy announced its Oscar nominations, and suddenly all focus shifted to a little-seen British piece called The King's Speech. I thought, Finally! Another plodding episode of those wacky royals to hijack awards night! Speech nabbed 12 noms, a king's ransom that left TSN's 8 noms in its wake.

So why the change overnight? Maybe in hindsight, piling accolades onto a Facebook flick would look silly to our descendants, us going ladygaga for a fab web fad. Instead, bet on a safe prestige picture with the solemn years of history on its side. Yet despite their differences, both films have at their core a running theme: people lost and grappling with the onrush of global communications.

Is Speech worth all the talk? This weekend I managed to squeeze into a virtually sold-out show at The Grand Cinema. I won't rate the film against every category it received a nomination, but just a few of the biggies:

The Academy recognized Alexandre Desplat for his score, which honestly I can't even recall after just hearing it. The composers behind Inception and TSN deserve it more.

Awards for Art Direction usually end up with Brit flicks anyway. Speech designed several lovely sets, particularly in the office and home of Logue (Geoffrey Rush), the "doctor" who treats the stammering Duke.

The camera at times seemed more interested in the wall patterns than the characters, which brings me to the next category, Cinematography. Danny Cohen heightens much of the standard underdog plot with extreme angles, unconventional compositions and, for the ladies, plenty of Colin Firth mouth shots.

As far as Best Screenplay, I'll simply say this: Nothing in 2010 came anywhere near Inception. But Speech scribe David Seidler evokes both humor and pathos deftly.

The film's three leads each received noms. Helena Bonham Carter does serviceable, though hardly Oscar-worthy, work filling in the typical behind-every-great-man role of supportive wife. Rush, in contrast, has a good shot as the fun-to-watch sassy mentor. Same with Firth; somehow his incessant jaw clucking warmed my gut. And bonus points for triumphing over a universal terror: public speaking.

With many things going for it, does The King's Speech warrant a Best Picture win? Maybe more than anything it comes down to one's mood. Social Network remains my 2010 fave, but it oozes cynicism. Need some of that old-school movie charm? Speech left me feeling downright regal.

Filed under: Screens, Tacoma,

February 1, 2011 at 12:08pm

LAST NIGHT: Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland’s “State of the City” address


Last night Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland gave Tacoma's first ever "State of the City" address. The speech culminated what seemed to be an overwhelmingly successful Shift Happens event at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, organized by the good folks at Go Local (see this week's cover story for the full scoop on Shift Happens).

Mayor Strickland stressed the specific importance of Shift Happens and Go Local, but appropriately used most of the address to highlight the city's recent efforts and future plans to continue to improve the quality of life and economy in Tacoma.

Like a typical State of the Union, successes were magnified and shortcomings downplayed. Mayor Strickland sang the praises of Tacoma Metro Parks, calling it one of the best park systems in the nation, and even ventured to call the Tacoma Police Department's work with local neighborhoods "progressive."

The highlight of the address came when the Mayor did what she does best: share her hopes and goals for a more sustainable, progressive Tacoma. Strickland has pushed programs and created exploratory committees designed to heighten Tacoma's commitment to education, local business and the arts. Every time I hear Strickland speak on her vision for Tacoma - whether in a written speech given from podium or casually in conversation - I'm left inspired.

The pride Strickland takes in Tacoma's present and future was evident as she shared national awards and recognition the city and local businesses received in 2010. Likewise, her excitement was genuine when she spoke of plans to continue to develop downtown and make Tacoma an "attraction" to conventions and tourists.

The only pause-worthy portion of the address came when Strickland lauded accomplishments that are basic requirements of all city governments, such as maintaining city streets. It could very well be that 194 streets repaired is an impressive feat, but without the same statistics for previous years or percentage improvements, I wasn't prepared to applaud random numbers, making me a minority for this (albeit very brief) portion of the speech.

The large crowd (nearly every seat was taken) reacted enthusiastically to both policy changes and efforts to improve the aesthetic of local neighborhoods. The largest cheers were reserved for the mention of the recent business-friendly adjustments to the B&O tax, but were almost matched when Strickland shared her goal of having the most community gardens per capita of any city in America.

If only for one night, in the confines of the convention center, Tacoma truly did seem like a city on the cusp of transforming itself.

Before Mayor Strickland spoke I visited the many dozens of booths set up by local businesses. I imagined a Tacoma where instead of Best Buy, Stadium Video was everyone's first stop for the latest DVD release. I pictured a Tacoma where instead of Starbucks, more of us stopped at Satellite Coffee on our way to work. I even pictured a Tacoma where instead of Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch, more of us relied on local financial planners and banks (at one booth I was given intriguing 401(k) advice, even after telling the charismatic investor that student loans pay my bills).

I don't know if that Tacoma is actually the Tacoma of the future, but for two hours Go Local and Mayor Strickland had me convinced.

Here's hoping.

February 1, 2011 at 2:09pm

LAST SATURDAY NIGHT: Apache Chief and Red Hex


In the interest of full disclosure, I must inform you that my hands are quite soft. I am a delicate flower, born to watch energetic moshing from afar and never to participate. Accordingly, when a mosh pit broke out almost immediately after the initiation of Apache Chief's set, I observed from upstairs in the old persons' loft of the Peabody Waldorf.

Apache Chief is a band that values cacophony above many other things in life, as their live show strives to prove. At certain points, all of the band members (not counting drummer Jake Hupp) faced away from the audience as they leaned into the amplifiers, creating squealing feedback to punctuate the searing punk-rock. It wasn't long before the crowd started to seethe, one guy shoved another, and utterly incongruous mayhem tore through the twee interior of the Peabody.

The band's set list consisted mostly of tracks off of their debut album, Trail of Beers-"Rape Cave" and "Dogfuckers" and all-with the exception of a new song that was premiered midway through. With a more pronounced sense of pop songcraft, it hinted at exciting growth and a broadening of sound for Apache Chief.

Red Hex followed Apache Chief, with frontman Sam Olsen announcing into the microphone, "This song is about you getting fucked by everyone who's in power!"

Moshing, once more.

Red Hex showed off an impressive range, from garage punk to head-banging metal to near-balladry. Olsen proved himself to be not only a fine technician, but a surprisingly soulful guitarist. The silly impromptu exchanges over the microphone in between songs did well to hide just how sophisticated and well thought out Red Hex's material is.

During the last song of Red Hex's set, moshers took advantage of the last time in the night when some rambunctious behavior might be appropriate, and took to slamming into one another again. A tennis shoe shot into the air, ejected from the tangled pit, and it was time for the Drug Purse to take the stage.

Unfortunately, as the show had started about an hour and a half late, a previous engagement called me away and I had to leave shortly into the Drug Purse's set.

We'll meet again, Peabody. Until then, we'll think on how wondrous it would be for a second restroom to magically make its home inside you.

Filed under: All ages, Music, Tacoma,

February 1, 2011 at 2:50pm

Louise Williams: a second look


I'm still enjoying the book about the artist Louise Williams that I wrote about for this blog two weeks ago, Louise Rae Williams: Her Life and Work 1947-2004. It's a fascinating book partly because her art is so inconsistent. Frankly, she sometimes can't draw worth a flip, but other times her drawing is superb. How do you account for that? I surely don't know, but I know that such inconsistency is not uncommon among artists (including me back when I was actually making art and not just writing about it). Heck, even the great master Pablo Picasso turned out some perfectly horrible drawings and paintings.

This could be an object lesson in art appreciation. It's a comparison of two Louise Williams paintings.

Children in Sunlight (right), a 1994 pastel, pictures three children at play in a sandbox. It's overly sweet, trite, clumsily drawn and strangely disturbing in an unintentional way. By Your Own Sweet Skill, another pastel from the same year that's printed on the facing page in the book, is intentionally disturbing, beautifully drawn and mesmerizing. I wish I could own this painting.

One thing I like about both works is that each is color-keyed to a narrow value range. The colors in Children actually remind me of Pierre Bonnard, the great Post-Impressionist colorist, and the colors in Sweet Skill remind me of another great painter from the same period, Paul Gauguin. (The imagery and drawing in this one also reminds me of Gauguin.)

There is some clumsy drawing in Children that detracts from its sweetness. Both of the boys in the picture have legs that don't attach at the hip the way they should, and their hands look like claws, and the girl's face is harsh, mostly because of the dark shadows around her eyes. On the upside, the contour line on the boy on the right from his shoulder to his hand is exquisitely drawn with nicely flowing marks.

The composition of Children could stand some improvement. One thing I do like about the composition is that each of the four corners is different, a device artists often use to keep the viewer's eye from getting stuck on the central figures. I also like the circular edges of the sandbox seen at top right and bottom left. But the rest of the composition seems haphazard and unplanned, especially the harsh angle of the slide that touches the boy's head. If Williams was working from a photo or an actual scene, I suspect she just painted what was there with little thought about how the placement of objects might affect the design. But here again there's an upside. The chance quality of the composition lends to the painting the unpretentious feel of a snapshot; it's an unposed and natural moment.

Sweet Skill (left) is a powerful image. The chunkiness and strength of the figure is like Picasso's gigantic classical figures and also like Gauguin's paintings of Tahitian girls. It's monstrous and sexy at the same time. I love the way she clings to the tree trunk and the way she seems to be one with the tree due to the similarity of colors between body and tree limbs. The colors set an ominous mood, and the dark-light contrasts and that strange mask-like face add dramatic impact.

I wish everyone reading this could get a copy of this book, and I wish I could sit down with each of you and go through it and talk about all the of the pictures. We might disagree on many of them, but I suspect we would like a lot more of them than we dislike. There are a limited number of copies left. While supplies last you may get yours by e-mailing Thomas Lineham at tlineham@comcast.net

Filed under: Arts, Olympia,

February 1, 2011 at 3:51pm

Comment of the day: Dirty Oscar’s Annex


Today's comment comes from Katie in regard to our recent peek inside Dirty Oscar's Annex on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma (formerly Sax on Sixth).

Katie writes,

"I was there last weekend- and their food is amazing! They even have $3 well drinks from like 9pm till closing! Fun place!"

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

February 1, 2011 at 4:30pm

Person, Place or Thing with Steph DeRosa

SOTA INTERN ANNE ANDERLE: No doubt scarred for life now

This week ...

Place: Mi Chalateca Pupuseria

Visited: Sunday at noon

Partner in crime: Anne Anderle, Weekly Volcano intern

Time spent: 2.33 hours

Most offensive menu item: Dog penis. Just kidding.

Food plates on our table: Approximately eight

Space left on the table: Four square inches

Biggest mistake: Not wearing elastic waistbands

Mutual weight gained: 6 pounds, 14 ounces

Event dubbed: Sunday Salvadorian Eat-A-Thon

To read the full article, click here.

February 2, 2011 at 12:04am

Things To Do Today: Nobunny, Fairly Fast 40, "Mummy" and more ...


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 2, 2011 >>>

1. Nobunny (aka Justin Champlin) is all about fusing punk energy with older modes of songwriting, resulting in superheated garage music with a delectable rawness that more than makes up for its lack of innovation. His live shows are sweaty, libidinous insanity as he cavorts around in a freakish bunny mask, American Apparel underwear, stylin' denim jacket and little else. Catch Nobunny with Hari Kari and Dreamdate at 8 p.m. at Olympia all-ages venue Northern.

2. The Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club's Fairly Fast 40 has nothing to do with Olde English 800 and everything to do with a fast-paced, hilly, 40-mile training ride leaving the Proctor District Starbucks at 9:30 a.m.

3. Wrapped: The Search for the Essential Mummy welcomes Washington State History Museum visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to "an outstanding piece of ancient Egyptian history, [and] an iconic element of Tacoma's history." Read what this means here.

4. Here's a tiny preview of Tiny Furniture playing at 9 p.m. at the Capitol Theater in Olympia: This low-budget dramedy from writer-director Lena Dunham - who also portrays Aura, a recent college grad who returns home while she tries to figure out what to do with her life - is a piece of skillful social anthropology, capturing the characters' artistic, privileged Manhattan milieu.

5. Oritaks Indrome, Discordem, Blood Of Rome and Echoreason will rock your skull beginning at 9 p.m. inside Hell's Kitchen.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Wine and beer tastings

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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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