Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: March, 2011 (193) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 193

March 7, 2011 at 6:40am

PHOTO: Good morning


Jim Oliver, or jimoliverphotography on Flickr, posted a beautiful shot of a morning high tide at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on the Weekly Volcano Flickr Group. 

Down On The Boardwalk

LINK: Upload your photos on the Weekly Volcano Flickr Group

Filed under: Photo Hot Spot,

March 7, 2011 at 12:24pm

My Name Is Christian Carvajal

"My Name Is Asher Lev"


I was scheduled to review My Name Is Asher Lev at Lakewood Playhouse, but numerous hurdles, including my own absentmindedness, got in the way. Instead, I recruited my friend Brie Yost to review the production, as she'd already seen it at Broadway Center Tacoma. This was a fortuitous choice, as Brie is Jewish, and the play is about the artistic struggles of a young "Torah Jew" (Hasid) in 1950s Brooklyn. The script, based on a popular novel, immerses us quickly in kabbalistic spirituality and Yiddish jargon. One would think a guy like me, a Mexican-American agnostic who spent his formative years in Oklahoma, would find little of himself in the story of young Asher Lev.

I went to see the show last Thursday, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I was well aware of the devastating illness suffered by its director, Marcus Walker, who worked with assistants to complete what will almost certainly be his final production. I've never met Mr. Walker, but I gather he's something of a spiritual leader in the Tacoma theater community. He's also a Baptist minister, whose life in the arts has clashed with his mostly fundamentalist religion. I knew Mr. Walker saw himself in Asher Lev, and this production would be his passion project. That usually makes for excellent theater.

Well, this may surprise you, but I saw myself in Asher, too. Regardless of the man I became, I was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I wrote science fiction stories as a boy; but I hid them from everyone but my mother, because we were discouraged from envisioning any future other than the one foretold in Revelation. Like the Hasidim, we had our own ecclesiastical jargon, and the diphthongs of Hebrew were familiar to my lips even as a child. Like the Hasidim, we dressed as if we were time travelers from the past. And like the Hasidim, and like Oklahoma Baptists, we had strict taboos about subject matter fit for discussion or artistic representation. Like Asher, I felt compelled to break all those taboos; and as I grew into an actor and writer, I found it all but impossible to reconcile my two lives and thought patterns.

Even now I feel this conflict. I've written a book about the Rapture, and I'm working (very slowly) on another about modern American sexuality. These are not fit subjects for the dinner table, and my future in-laws would be thrilled if I'd invest my limited talent in more "noble" pursuits. I just can't. That's not me. It's in the nature of an artist to find himself on the Other Side, the shadow realm that Asher's faith calls the Sitra Achra. My mind is more comfortable in the wilderness outside the walls of civilization.

I won't review My Name Is Asher Lev. I'm kind of glad I don't have to, actually; not in detail, anyway. While it is very good, it isn't quite perfect, and I'd be obliged to say why...though it hit me as if it were. It's talky and melodramatic and slathered in Hebrew, yes, but it's also the story of my life. It landed over and over again. So if, in any way, it seems as if it might be the story of your life, too, you should see it just as quickly as you can. Help its fine cast and crew pay fitting tribute to an artist, Marcus Walker, and to the artist in all of us.

Filed under: All ages, Arts, Lakewood, Tacoma, Theater,

March 7, 2011 at 4:11pm

Last In, First Out … what now?


Education has taken a center stage in Olympia this session as the legislature deals with balancing a laundry list of funding dilemmas and a roster of struggling schools that spans seemingly every county in the state. However, our struggling schools are not the sole result of legislation, nor will the cure-all necessarily be a perfect reform bill or statewide policy.

The decisions made by both state and local leaders of all kinds will drastically affect how much, or how little, our schools can progress and improve. In the coming weeks I'll be interviewing policy makers, activists and engaged community members for the Weekly Volcano, examining different angles of local and statewide education debates. My first interview will be coming later this week, as I sit down with Tacoma School Board Member and REACH (Resources for Educational and Career Help) Center Executive Director Kurt Miller.

In the meantime, consider pondering this report by the Center on Reinventing Education suggesting downsizing/firing policies commonly known as "Last In, First Out" may disproportionately impact schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants (SIGs). These grants are a pillar of U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's school reform agenda. Washington is slated to receive over $50 million in SIG funding, and much of this will be used to pay for newly hired teachers in failing schools --  teachers hired on the basis of high ability and commitment to education of disadvantaged children. The potential hiccup is - because of large budget gaps many of these new teachers may find their jobs terminated at the end of year because of the "Last In, First Out" seniority policy districts are currently bound by.

The report states, "in Washington's SIG schools about 23% of teachers are in their first three years of teaching, nearly twice the proportion of new teachers in their districts of residence."

The report uses Tacoma as an example and illustrates that a five percent budget reduction could potentially mean Tacoma's three SIG schools ( Stewart Middle School, Giaudrone Middle School, and Jason Lee) Middle School would lose one-quarter to one-half of their current teachers.

The specifics of potential budget reductions are currently speculative, however this scenario may play out in multiple districts throughout the state.

The report is available for download here.

Filed under: Olympia, Tacoma, Politics,

March 7, 2011 at 4:29pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: More on Rockwell


Today's comment comes from Patrick in regard to Alec Clayton's recent review of the Norman Rockwell exhibit, American Chronicles, currently on display at Tacoma Art Museum.

Patrick writes,

As mentioned in the article, Rockwell was an illustrator. He called himself as much. His job was to design magazine and newspaper covers and posters. He did a fantastic job of it, but it wasn't high art any more than the cover of the Weekly Volcano isn't high art.

I've read that Rockwell himself was never too pleased with the saccharine sweet depictions of American life he is most famous for, but it paid the bills. As a designer myself, I personally can't blame him.

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma,

March 7, 2011 at 5:39pm

Despite no physical location yet, the Tacoma Food Co-op now boasts over 400 members


As we've reported before on SPEW, the Tacoma Food Co-op is currently trying to purchase retail space for a long-sought-after physical location - specifically, the 6th Avenue Market in Tacoma near the Red Hot and O'Reilly's Auto Parts. In February, the Tacoma Food Co-op made a goal of reaching over 400 members (it had just over 300 to start with) - a drive designed to raise $10,000 in earnest money to help acquire the 6th Avenue Market location.

Today, the Tacoma Food Co-op updated members and supporters on the progress in an official press release. In a demonstration of the support the co-op has within the community, the goal of surpassing 400 members was met easily in just three weeks.

However, while the necessary $10,000 earnest money was secured by the Tacoma Food Co-op, John Loesch, current owner of the 6th Avenue Market, is reportedly still mulling his options.

An official Tacoma Food Co-op press release below:


March 7, 2011 at 5:56pm

Way to represent, Will Hamel!


Hopefully you heeded our advice and checked out Saturday's Poetry Out Loud State Finals at Broadway Center's Theater on the Square.

If you did, you no doubt already know Stadium High School's Will Hamel walked away victorious, this year's Poetry Out Loud state champion. He's surely being hoisted on someone's shoulders or being doused with Gatorade at this very moment.

If this is all catching you by surprise, the official press release is below ...


Filed under: All ages, Tacoma,

March 8, 2011 at 6:56am

It's Fat Tuesday!


With so many Mardi Gras parties to choose from tonight, you'll most likely find yourself in a bit of a party-picking pickle. Sometimes, when making decisions like these, the advice of your friends, family and Charlie Sheen just doesn't cut it. You may want to consider consulting some outside help - of the occult persuasion.

Personally, I completed its eight easy installments of $12.95 to join Tee Hee's Psychic Alliance back in 2002 (who helped Larry King pick out his last six wives). But whichever feral, esoteric higher power you choose to consult (Magic 8-ball, Ouija board, etc.), remember to use the knowledge from beyond wisely.

I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met. 

If consulting a higher power is not your thing, come down to our level. Here are a few Fat Tuesday parties-ish to consider:

FARRELLI'S WOOD FIRE PIZZA: The Sixth Avenue pizza joint amps up its 9 p.m. trivia night with $2.50 Coors Lite and $3 Blue Moon drafts.

MASA: The Mexican restaurant and club hosts a Mardi Gras party with $5 Hurricanes, Bacardi drink specials, giveaways, all day happy hour and a DJ spinning at 9:30 p.m.

THE MIX: Johanna is hosting a Super! Duper! Phat! Pisces Masquerade party at The Mix beginning at 9 p.m. Grab your feathers, beads, masks, freak flags and get ready to dance to DJs Broam and dAb and you throw back drink specials.

MORSO: The Gig Harbor wine bar celebrates Fat Tuesday from 4 p.m. to close with an authentic New Orleans menu featuring red beans and rice, shrimp and grits, crawfish gumbo and King Cake flown in from Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans.

PEABODY WALDORF GALLERY: This space nestled in Tacoma's Antique Row hosts an all-ages Mardi Gras party with The Fun Police, Kevin Heiderich, Kevin Shulz at 7 p.m. The cost is $12, which includes drinks and food by Chef Frying Ryan.

SURREAL ULTRA LOUNGE: The downtown dance club injects its Tuesday College night with prizes, beads, $5 AMF drinks, Dee Jay Strawberry and a special performance by the Fly Boyz. Ladies are free until 10:30 p.m.

VARSITY GRILL: The downtown sports bar will be hosting an all-day happy hour with $2 drafts, $3 wells, $4 wines and food specials.

What Fat Tuesday parties did I miss?

March 8, 2011 at 7:17am

5 Things To Do Today: "Rango," links and drinks, Young Professionals Network and more ...

"Rango: is a gorgeously produced kiddie tale, with shades of "Chinatown."

FAT TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2011 >>>

1. "When - in the first five minutes of an animated film - there is a cameo from Hunter S. Thompson, I think it's safe to say you are not dealing with your standard kiddie fare," writes our own Rev. Adam McKinney of the film, Rango. Discover where the film is screening today here.

2. Culture, culture, cultures, there has to be some culture on Fat Tuesday, culture culture ... here we go: Weekly Volcano art critic Alec Clayton digs the group show at American Art Company, which happens to be open today from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. "There's something very comforting about seeing familiar works and something very nice about seeing slightly new directions from familiar artists," states Clayton. Read his full review here before heading to the show.

3. So you just shot a triple bogey to end the round at 29 over. Who cares if you lost six balls off the tee? Who cares if your dream of becoming a scratch golfer is slipping faster than Tiger Woods' endorsement deals? Set down your clubs, brush off your shoes and head into Capital City Golf Club's FireCreek Grill & Ale House. There you'll find everyday happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to close. During happy hour they have cheap well drinks and draft beer. Half off pizzas, too. A slice to fix your slice. Now if only they had something to cure your short game.

4. The Young Professionals Network of Pierce County claim they're the next generation of community leaders valuing leadership, philanthropy, networking and fun. And you can experience all four of their values tonight as the group scheduled their Prospective Members Mixer from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Varsity Grill, during the downtown Tacoma sports bar's Mardi Gras party. See the YPN LEAD you through the restaurant in a conga line. Try to resist their GIFT of upside down margaritas. MEET new people at the Quarters Table. Ah, youth ... and leaders.

5. Harmon Tap Room hosts Gold Fish Races beginning at 8:30 p.m. Winner receives $50. Expect $2 Rainer pints and $3 jumbo pizza slices, and some pissed-off fish.

We posted a list of several Fat Tuesday parties early today. You're welcome.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

March 8, 2011 at 11:59am

Thursday Night: Rhum pa pum pum

Stonegate Pizza Rum Bar: There's a 92 percent chance a Nosh League member will speak pirate below this wall of rum.


Hemingway drank it in doubles and Bluebeard pirated the seven seas fueled on the stuff. It's rum, and it's on a comeback in the South Sound, thanks to Stonegate Pizza and its Rum Bar.

Stonegate sounds like an awesome spot for the next Nosh League gathering. ...

The Weekly Volcano's foodie/sloshy Nosh League will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10 to taste rums, throw back appetizers and draw raffle numbers.

Rocky Weh from Martinique Distributors will lead us through the variant spellings and tastes of rum - from French-speaking Caribbean islands (Guadaloupe, Haiti, Martinique) to English-speaking ones (Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica). We know for sure bottles of Rhum Clemente and Dos Maderas will be tipped.

The rum tasting costs $15 a person.

There will be a raffle, too.

Flaunting your sugar plantation-style in tropical threads earns admiring glances/batted lashes.

So let's flip the fan on, elevate the feet and sip the night away.

TO RSVP, jump on the Nosh League's Facebook page, and click the links at the bottom.

Filed under: Nosh League, Food & Drink, Tacoma,

March 8, 2011 at 12:38pm

MOVIE BIZZ BUZZ: “Slam Town” hits T-Town

LUCAS SMIRALDO: He's on the left, and he's the driving force behind the shorts featured on screen Saturday at the Grand


Though every film results in a sequence of images, nearly all start life as a story, a script - words on a page. Authors, and particularly poets, use the page as their sole means of expression. But recently, a small band of poets from this area have begun incorporating cinema's visual dimension to their oral/written medium. This Saturday, March 12 from 8-10 p.m., The Grand Cinema will project two shorts created by artist and man about town Lucas Smiraldo (not a complete stranger to the screen - he's made appearances in a few Tacoma event videos I've produced).

Smiraldo's latest pieces, to be shown Saturday, actually belong to a larger work in progress, a film series destined for the Web called Slam Town. The first two episodes introduce viewers to an ensemble of artists living and working together in the titular town. Lucas and head director Adam Utley staged the scenes in Tacoma, imbuing this imagined landscape with traces of home.

Fellow poet Elijah Muied, a collaborator of Lucas's for over ten years, plays a character he wrote called simply, "The Messenger." The moniker fits nicely for a man eager to tell others about our town's inviting arts scene. Compared to his former home, Seattle, Muied says, "It's a little more close-knit here...more support from fellow artists."

To RSVP, send an email to vanillasoul@clear.net. The filmmakers request a donation of $10.00 at the screening.

Filed under: Arts, Screens, Tacoma,

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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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