WEEKEND HUSTLE: Olympia Love Panel & Dessert Party, "The Phantom Tollbooth," Styx at the EQC, Tacomapocalypse II, ScrapArtMusic, "Two Trains Running," & more (plus the boring lives of our writers)

By Volcano Staff on February 2, 2012



Friday: Partly sunny, hi 54, lo 34

Saturday: Partly sunny, hi 54, lo 30

Sunday: Partly sunny, hi 54, lo 32


Very few of us fully comprehend the intricacies of love and relationships. Dessert, on the other hand, is something most have a firm grasp on. Friday in Olympia both aspects of our existence will be combined for the scrumptious (and enlightening) sounding Love Panel & Dessert Party at the Olympia Mahayana Buddhist Center. According to event hype, "[t]he evening begins with a decadent dessert and appetizer party featuring an array of irresistible treats," before "The Love Panel" - consisting of three Buddhist teachers (Olympia's Kelsang Tsoglam, Portland's Kadam Heather Rocklin and Seattle's Patrick Meagher) - answers the crowd's questions about love and relationships "from a Buddhist point of view." Should you hit that? Let Buddha guide you.


The Phantom Tollbooth, a children's adventure novel by Norton Juster published in 1961, is loved to this day by children and adults alike. While it's easy to see why children connect to young Milo's tale, it also doesn't take much pondering to see why many adults still harbor a soft spot for the book. Luckily for all parties involved, Olympia Family Theater opens a three-week run of the stage version of The Phantom Tollbooth this week at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts - Black Box.


Derailed, like many things, by snowmaggedon 2012, the opening reception for South Puget Sound Community College's Wish You Were Here postcard exhibit has been rescheduled for Friday. As Volcano arts critic Alec Clayton noted in his review of the show, "There are a lot of artist-made postcards in the Wish You Were Here postcard exhibit at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery at South Puget Sound Community College. More than 75 local and regional artists submitted more than 250 works. ... [T]hey run the gamut, from sweet and sentimental to corny, wise, clever, beautiful, stupid and amateurish. The postcards include paintings, prints, photography, drawing, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media. A few of the postcards in this show are clichéd, and there are some that are badly done; but for the most part the works are very inventive and skillfully executed." Wish You Were Here runs through March 2 at the SPSCC Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery.


Screwing something for profit gets a negative connotation when taken in its most basic form, but - if you think about it-it's also the American way. Or at least the American Capitalist way. Friday at Orca Books in Olympia, local author and television producer Elaine Smitha will delve into her recent book, Screwing Mother Nature for Profit. (But what about fun?) According to event hype, "Ransacking pristine forests, vandalizing sacred lands and exploiting nature the world over: there are no limits to what Big Business will do to turn profit. But in this revelatory book, renowned businesswoman Elaine Smitha takes on the corporations and governments, showing them how to clean up their act by adopting the characteristics of the one thing they are damaging the most: Mother Nature herself. Will they listen? Only time will tell. The one thing that's certain is you should listen to Smitha in person at Orca Friday.


We'll be frank. Apocalypse-like events usually only happen once. If an apocalypse-like event ever returns, it's either really bad news, or a sign that things weren't that apocalyptic in the first place. The good news about the Treefish Studio-produced Tacomapocalypse II, set to inhabit Amocat Café during the month of February starting Friday, is neither statement is true. A collection of two and three-dimensional art that's heavy on the zombie, and designed to offer a gruesome alternative to the usual Valentines-style lovey-dovey crap that's everywhere else this time of year, Tacomapocalypse II is the sequel to last year's successful Zombie Tacomapocalypse. Stuart M. Dempster of Treefish Studio in Tacoma spoke to the Volcano prior to last year's event, saying, ""While other shows will be talking about how they want you for your heart or your body, we're only out for your brains." We imagine the same, or something very similar, holds true this year. Friday's opening party will include snacks, live electronic music from Gibson Starkweather and quite possibly a zombie horde.


Styx will never fucking die. The band is like a dated, long-haired, tight-jeaned, effeminate Energizer Bunny, stuck in a era long gone but still chugging along like nothing has changed. And, for many of the band's fans, as those in attendance Friday night at the Emerald Queen Casino will see firsthand, nothing has changed. Especially when it comes to fashion sense. Sing along to the hits or just revel at the bald spots when Styx hits the EQC. Later, blow a few dollars on the slots.


Like banging on s***? So do the folks behind ScrapArtsMusic, a Canadian performance outfit coming to Olympia this week to blow your mind. On the group's website, ScrapArtsMusic is described thusly: "An earth-friendly, Vancouver-based company that creates unforgettable percussion performances using kinetic instruments skillfully crafted from industrial scraps. 2. An entertaining contemporary invented instrument ensemble. 3. Five extraordinarily virtuosic and innovative drummers. 4. The result of transforming ‘scrap' into "art,' and ‘art' into'"music.'" Intrigued? You should be. The brainchild of percussion freak Gregory Kozak and designer Justine Murdy, ScrapArtsMusic may well prove to be the week's grandest spectacle.


Playwright August Wilson is best known for his Pittsburgh Cycle - a series of ten plays each set in a different decade recalling the struggles and comedies of the African American experience in the Twentieth Century. That's what happens when you win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for something. Saturday, the Broadway Center, Northwest Playwrights Alliance and Washington State History Museum bring us Two Trains Running, part of Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle recalling Civil  Rights Era Pittsburgh in 1969.Hype on the Broadway Center website describes the play, saying "In spite of the political and social change that sweeps through the nation, many of the characters are too cynical and down-trodden to experience hope for the future or even rage for the ongoing tragedies."


Olympia's Harlequin Production's celebrates the opening of Conor McPherson's The Seafarer Thursday, a production running through Feb. 18 at Harlequin's home, The State Theater. According to hype, McPherson "has a stunning ability to remind us that logic and reason are but weak weapons against the myth and magic that permeate our lives," and The Seafarer, "is an incredibly beautiful and rewarding story of redemption that may put people off initially, because who wants to watch a bunch of alcoholic losers celebrating Christmas?" We do! We do!


I'm seeing The Phantom Tollbooth at Olympia Family Theater, followed by a trip to Seattle on Saturday. I'm feeling Lunchbox Labby this weekend.

I will be the emcee at the St. Mary's Church and School on Saturday so I have my tux all  ready to go. Other than that, I have some kiddo plans for geocaching around T town if we don't need a canoe to get around.

JOANN VARNELL Theater Critic
Sleep. Wake. Hang out with the toddler and document new words and funny moments with video/pictures. Sleep. Wake. Church. I'll also eat whenever and wherever I can fit it in. Maybe shower. You know, the usual.

ALEC CLAYTON Visual Arts Critic
It's going to be a great big weekend full of theater. The Seafarer at Harlequin, Hair at Capital Playhouse and California Suite at Tacoma Little Theatre.

NIKKI TALOTTA Music and Features Writer
My house is officially becoming a ranch. This weekend I'm getting two more chickens, a pretty white dog, and some neon fish to go along with the existing chicken, koi fish, tom cat and two barefoot children. Wish me luck.

JENNI PRANGE BORAN Arts and Features Writer
Saturday, pizza and cake to celebrate my son's 5th birthday.  Sunday, babysitter permitting, Super Bowl at the Harmon Tap Room where my husband and I will enjoy discount food and beer during the game, and a lovely cab ride home afterwards.

REV. ADAM MCKINNEY Music and Features Writer
Venturing up to Ballard on Saturday to catch Derek Kelley and the Speedwobbles at the Sunset Tavern. The performance will apparently be broadcast on KEXP, so maybe listen for me girlishly creaming Tristan Marcum's name from the crowd.

JOSH RIZEBERG Tacoma Hip-Hop Writer
I'll be teaching my spoken-word/poetry class at the D.A.S.H. Center for the Arts on Friday from 6-7 p.m. Saturday I'll be recording two verses for Jon Salt's new album at Remedy Recording with DJ Phinisey and I'll be hitting Illizm's video shoot in Everett to make a cameo.

NIC LEONARD Olympia Hip-Hop Writer
I'm going to the Andre Nickatina show on Saturday at the capitol theatre then probably go get drunk at the Brotherhood afterwards.

MOLLY GILMORE Olympia Arts and Features Writer
I'm going to see The Seafarer at Harlequin and taking a day trip to Port Townsend.


JENNIFER JOHNSON Food & Lifestyles Writer
Friday date night, Saturday gym and homework, Sunday church and potluck dinner.

LINK: Even more local events that we recommend

LINK: Comprehensive South Sound Arts & Entertainment Calendar