Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: August, 2011 (204) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 204

August 1, 2011 at 9:55am

5 Things to Do Today: Open Stage at O'Malley's, DJ Melodica, Drunken Poetry, Margy Pepper and more ...

Margy Pepper will be at Northern in Olympia tonight. PHOTO: MySpace

MONDAY, AUG. 1, 2011 >>>

1. Mondays mean it's "Open Stage" night at O'Malley's on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma, hosted by Seven's Revenge.

2. Drop in on Micro Monday with DJ Melodica at Magoo's Annex and expand your musical horizons and knowledge.

3. Of course, we're predictable ... but you start talking about an event simply billed as "Drunken Poetry" and you've got our attention. See the magic of "Drunken Poetry" yourself tonight at Last Word Books in Oly.

4. Margy Pepper will perform tonight at Northern in Olympia. Support a great all ages venue while you can.

5. Get down with some beer pong at Steilacoom Pub and Grill ... because nothing says Monday night like beer pong.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight!

August 1, 2011 at 11:21am

CARV’S WEEKLY BLOG: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival



For my wife's birthday, I surprised her with a weekend trip to Ashland, Ore. and a visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I'd never been there - unheard of for a theater guy on the West Coast - so it was a treat for me as well. Thanks to the near collapse of the Angus Bowmer Theatre in the middle of a show this spring, Tracy Letts's three-hour dramedy August: Osage County was held in an air-conditioned tent better suited for a church revival than a long play. I loved the show and performances, and even the scaled-down set worked all right. I just wish my back wasn't still sore from the cramped plastic seats. The lanky dude next to me was folded into his seat like a contortionist.

As I said, the play earned its standing ovation, especially the performance of its lead actress, Judith-Marie Bergan. She was terrific, even in a tent, even late in the play's run. But I've seen performances just as good and vivid in Tacoma and Olympia. I found myself wondering how the Oregon Shakespeare Festival became, along with Vegas and New York, one of the nation's three theater destinations. Why is it that people will buy three tanks of gas for the round trip down to Ashland, plus 75 bucks a head for play tickets, plus meals, but we couldn't persuade more than 20 people a night to pay 12 bucks to see Oleanna right here at home?

It's not the familiarity of scripts chosen by the OSF. It doesn't just do comedies, and it only produces a musical or two each year. It isn't even all Shakespeare; the Bard represents less than half of the OSF's productions each year. But rather than staging only the best-known Shakespeare classics, they've performed his entire body of work at least three times. (Yes, people lined up to see Henry VI, Part 2 and Timon of Athens.) In any given nine-month season, as many as 300,000 people buy tickets to the OSF. It's not like we Olympians can't build a tent. It's not as if we don't have great actors. Granted, we're a bit short on top-notch directors, but we're even set for technicians. The OSF as we know it didn't happen overnight, of course. It took decades, and the success of the operation derives largely from its appearances on NBC, Armed Forces Radio, and Radio Free Europe. But our drive south was complicated by squadrons of buses and RVs, all full of people excited about live theater in a way seldom seen here.

So what is the missing ingredient? How do we make local theater seem cool again to more than a few dozen people? How do we make it seem special? What's the difference, in publicity terms, between an occurrence and an "event?" Both Harlequin and Capital Playhouse have active subscriber bases, and I'm sure the Tacoma companies have them as well. But how do we convey that enthusiasm to the masses? The Volcano tries each week, but I think it might be time for a new approach. We need our mojo back. I'm conducting an interview with folks from Capital Playhouse on that subject this morning, as I'm interested to see how they turned a very sharp corner last year.

Filed under: Tacoma, Olympia, Theater,

August 1, 2011 at 1:39pm

Lefty’s Burger Shack is a win



Lefty's Burger Shack opened in University Place on Saturday, July 23. Arriving at 11 a.m. last Tuesday, I had thoughts of what a fried egg might be like on one of Lefty's burgers, but quickly dashed those as my nose picked up a scent I am unashamedly fond of: a hot grill kicking up the aroma of meat.

The first customers of the day, my lunch date Angela Jossy and I stood outside for a minute or two (there's no indoor service, more on that later) a little confused. The doors on both sides were blocked, but there were people inside.

I knocked on a window bearing a hand-written sign - "No shakes today. Sorry."  The 5-year-old in me wanted to cry. Owner Pam Hubert opened the window and said they were ready to make food. That's good, I thought. We were ready to eat.

The menu at Lefty's is huge, hand-painted in simple lettering and mounted on the outside of the building above the order and pick-up windows. We had to step back to read it. Deluxe quarter-pound burgers start at $3.25. Price increases if you add bacon, cheese or extra patties. I cheekily asked what was in the secret sauce; Hubert fired right back, "It's a secret."  I instantly liked her.

We ordered burgers and sat at one of three covered picnic tables. Those and two surfboards turned benches make up Lefty's seating. Hubert says she was told she had to have two bathrooms inside the tiny building and one had to be handicap-accessible or she couldn't have indoor seating. "There isn't room for all that, so we can't have people in here and we can't use the counter or anything," she tells me. I hear her frustration, but she maintains a smile. After over two years of just trying to open the place, I imagine she'd be able to smile through a hurricane.

Within five to seven minutes our order is ready; Hubert calls my name out the window. I feel like my mom was calling me in for lunch.

Jossy's deluxe burger - no onion - was made correctly, and my bacon-blue cheeseburger was all I'd built it up to be in my mind. Both had shredded lettuce, pickle and tomato that balanced meat and cheese inside slightly toasted and still warm Kaiser buns.

Three (maybe four) pieces of freshly cooked bacon stuck out the sides of my burger. Blue cheese crumbles made melty by the hot burger patty, plus a bit of blue cheese dressing, added a mellow twang of flavor. Juicy (not too thick and with a subtle pink showing), the star, of course, was the burger patty itself. A+

Hubert offers "frings" - a half order of old-school, crinkle-cut fries and beer-battered onion rings in one bag. Nicely crisp and golden in color, the frings brought to mind being a teen at Arctic Circle and dunking bites in pink fry sauce.

Jossy and I chatted and ate in solitude until one by one cars started rolling into the parking lot. Hubert, her sons and daughter were quickly put to work as a line formed. My cell phone showed 11:30 a.m. and ten people stood patiently, waiting their turn to order a much-anticipated grub. Others milled about after ordering. Lunch for two people sans drinks was less than $11. That's a win in anyone's book.

Beyond burgers, Lefty's also has chicken sandwiches, clam strips, fish and chips, pickle chips, ice cream cones, 20-ounce milkshakes (they will have them regularly soon, we were promised), Nathan's hot dogs, corn dogs and chicken strips.

[Lefty's Burger Shack, 8317 27th St. W., University Place]

August 1, 2011 at 5:35pm



Today's comment comes from Josh in response to Brett Cihon's feature on the ECETI Ranch, part of this year's Weekly Volcano Summer Guide.

Josh writes,

I would like to say that the author is a friend of mine and I think that he had every intention of being as un biased as one could be (though there is no such thing as true human objectivity inho). That being said, I have been to ECETI Ranch and saw with my own, two usually rational eyes several entities that moved quicker and in such motions than any other sky-based crafts I've seen.

Proof is in the journey to the ranch.Why not try and dislodge all your notions on everything and "get out of the thinking mind"once in a while?

Filed under: Comment of the Day,

August 2, 2011 at 7:48am

Super Best of Tacoma is online

BEST FREESTYLE: EvergreenOne / Photo credit: Patrick Snapp


Hey folks, our Super Best of Tacoma issue, in which your humble and helpful Weekly Volcano staffers – and readers – show some love for all the things that make the City of Destiny and surrounding Pierce County cities so nifty – is now online.

Thanks for voting, and thanks for reading. Without further ado, click here. 

August 2, 2011 at 10:06am

5 Things to Do Today: Tara Jane, Perry Acker, Sigmund Freud, Summer Sounds at Skansie Park and Rafael Tranquilino ...

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum

TUESDAY, AUG. 2, 2011 >>>

1. We'll be talking about Northern in Olympia a lot this week, as the completely awesome all-ages venue is scheduled to close after this coming weekend - with a reopening in a new space planned for September. Look for a cover story by Brett Cihon and Nikki Talotta coming this Thursday. Until then, check out Tara Jane O'Neil, Nikaido Kazumi and Mount Eerie tonight at Northern and celebrate all the space has to offer.

2. Perry Acker will be a part of the Ted Brown Music Outreach Guitar Clinic tonight at Jazzbones. The band has a lot of buzz right now - see why. Also, see if they show up driving a Ford Fiesta.

3. The Karpeles Manuscript Museum next to Wright Park in Tacoma is something of a hidden gem. Most have never dropped in on the amazing collection of original manuscripts housed in the ornate aging structure. That can change today. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Karpeles Manuscript Museum is showing a collection of Sigmund Freud's manuscripts through Aug. 31.

4. In Gig Harbor it's time once again for Summer Sounds at Skansie Brothers Park, this evening with Swing Reunion Orchestra.

5.On South Tacoma Way, the Rafael Tranquilino Band's "rockin' blues" have become a Stonegate Pizza staple.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight!

August 2, 2011 at 10:39am

CRAPTACULAR: Jay Z and Kanye cancel on Tacoma


It's being widely reported this morning (we first saw it on Adrew Matson's "Matson on Music" blog) that the Jay Z and Kanye West tour -- "Watch The Throne" -- has bagged out of its scheduled Tacoma Dome date in October. As of right now it appears the date will not be rescheduled, and as close as the tour will come to T-Town is Vancouver B.C. or Los Angeles.

This news, naturally, sucks.

Back to work everyone ...

Filed under: Concert Alert, Tacoma, Music,

August 2, 2011 at 11:34am

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Captain Planet and the Planeteers pose outside the Super Best of Tacoma Party last Thursday.


Arriving fashionably late to the Super Best of Tacoma Party Thursday night at the Varsity Grill, eight individuals calling themselves Captain Planet and the Planeteers made an entrance as if they were superheroes.

Apparently, they are.

Planeteer Stephanie McCallum, a bigwig at Umpqua Bank in downtown Tacoma, came clean on the group via email:

Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an animated environmentalist cartoon that ran from 1990-1992. Gaia (Aja Pound), the spirit of the Earth, is awakened from a long sleep by human activity threatening ecosystems, taking place across the globe. Realizing that the damage is extensive, Gaia sends five magic rings, each with the power to control an element of nature and one controlling an extra element, heart, to five chosen youths across the globe. These five are dubbed the Planeteers (Stephanie McCallum, Sopang Men, Andie Farias, Alicia Carter and Kate Burrows) and given the task of defending the Earth in the case of the greatest of disasters and making effort to keep others from happening. Gaia uses her "Planet Vision" to discover where the most devastating destruction is occurring and sends the Planeteers to help solve the problem. The Planeteers use transportation (usually a flying machine called a Geo-Cruiser) based on solar power to avoid causing pollution themselves. In situations that the Planeteers cannot resolve alone, they can combine their powers to summon Captain Planet (Aaron Bryan), a magical entity who possesses all of their powers magnified. Dr. Blight (Morgan Strom) is mad scientist Eco-Villain who represents the dangers of uncontrolled technology and unethical scientific experimentation.

OK, sounds good.

August 2, 2011 at 12:45pm

CLAYTON ON ART: Farewell to Lucian Freud


Last week I wrote about sculptors who specialize in the human figure and spoke of works that were "almost too lifelike to be sitting in a gallery" - the prime example being sculptures by John DeAndrea. What I failed to mention is that DeAndrea is a pimp. His lifelike naked figures are salacious, intended as objects of erotic fantasy (my opinion, I'm sure DeAndrea would disagree).

Lucian Freud, who passed away last week, was a painter known for his uncompromising and unflattering portraits and for his equally uncompromising and unflattering naked figures. His paintings of nudes were as far from being objects of erotic fantasy as any such paintings could possibly be. Freud was known for making his subjects pose for ungodly long periods of time, working on portraits over months and even years. It was said that his subjects got so tired of posing that they eventually let their guard down, that the painter saw into their souls and bared those souls on canvas. That may or may not be an exaggeration, but Freud - grandson of Sigmund Freud in case you're wondering - certainly didn't flatter his subjects.

He painted pictures of people with craggy lined faces, uncombed hair and intense, vacant stares; naked people splayed unflatteringly across unmade beds; people with legs spread to expose genitals; and horribly obese people with their blubber hanging in folds like tires tossed on a pile. The skin of his subjects often looked bruised and discolored. His paint was slathered on in expressive globs, not quickly painted but worked and reworked incessantly and obsessively.

When I was studying art back in the 1960s and '70s, Lucian Freud was barely mentioned in standard art history textbooks. When he was mentioned at all it was as a kind of maverick oddball. His fame was slow to come, and even now when he is considered one of the world's great modern figure painters, his paintings are still very hard to take. We can admire his intensity, his passion and - perhaps somewhat reluctantly - his skill. But it is pretty much impossible to actually like his paintings.

Why? Because we're human beings and so are the subjects of his art. All too human human beings, in fact, and we're not comfortable with that.

The other artist many consider, along with Freud, to be one of today's greatest figure painters is Phillip Pearlstein. Comparing and contrasting Freud and Pearlstein can be very interesting. They are very much alike in many ways and exact opposites in others.  Their figures are painted in unflattering light, often with multiple light sources and odd cast shadows on their bodies. Both tend to use severe cropping, and neither of them makes their subjects look pretty. But whereas Freud exposes the souls of his subjects, Pearlstein dehumanizes his. He sacrifices their humanity for the sake of visual design.

Pearlstein treats his models like porcelain dolls, stuffing them in densely crowded rooms packed with ladders and mirrors and patterned rugs and stuffed animals so that the people, even while painted in a hyper realistic manner, almost vanish among the shadows and reflections and patterns.  He has spoken of himself as an abstract painter, and there is a lot of truth in that. His paintings are all about pattern and design and the interplay of light and dark; yet in the middle of all these purely abstract formal manipulations of paint on canvas it is impossible to ignore naked women with sharp hip bones and sagging breasts.

Whereas many of Freud's figures are obese, Pearlstein's tend to be boney and angular, with well defined musculature and large veins. Whereas Freud's paint is heavy and expressive, Pearlstein's is smooth and cool with hardly a brushstroke visible.

Both became famous at a time when figurative painting was reemerging after a period in which abstract art ruled the market. They resurrected figurative art and saved it from being sentimental and false and clichéd.

Freud is dead. Pearlstein is 87 years old. I wonder who the next important figurative artists will be and what direction the art of the figure will take.

Filed under: Arts,

August 2, 2011 at 1:55pm

MOVE BIZ BUZZ: Revenge of the Redub

Tim Morgan


A long time ago (meh, a few years back), in a place far, far away (Shanghai), a man entered a flea market and purchased a DVD, assuming it was one of the prequels to a certain sci-fi American franchise. It turned out to be an actual work print of the film, complete with running timecode, Chinese dubbing, and English subtitles mistranslated to a hilariously awful degree.

A copy circulated back to America, where it wound up in the hands of Timothy Morgan in Madison, Wisconsin. He knew he had something special here. 2007 marked the start of Morgan's quest to bring this horribly, wonderfully mangled transcription to life - and to the big screen. The Backstroke of the West (a title light years from the film's original English name) makes its first public appearance at the Capitol Theater in Olympia this Saturday, Aug. 6, at 1:30 p.m.

Morgan has spent almost four years on this audio epic. He cast friends and neighbors as the various voices and directed himself in the film's lead role. After recording hours of dialogue, it took him months to painstakingly reassemble the entire script and clean up the original soundtrack. "At first (my friends and I) were just trying to make something stupid, but then my perfectionist streak kind of took over, and I started really wanting to make it good," the 37-year-old Morgan says.

Let the Force guide you to Olympia this weekend to witness one man's madcap ode to a cinematic legend, heard in a new way. Morgan will attend the screening, so get ready to pelt him with nerdy questions. 

[Capitol Theater, The Backstroke of the West, Saturday, Aug. 6,, 1:30 p.m., $5-$10, 206 Fifth Ave., SE, Olympia, 360.754.6670]

Filed under: Screens, Olympia, Comedy,

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