Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: January, 2013 (148) Currently Viewing: 101 - 110 of 148

January 22, 2013 at 8:51am

CLAYTON ON ART: A conversation with artist William Quinn

WILLIAM QUINN: "Advance Upward" painting. Photo courtesy of B2 Fine Art Gallery


I met painter William Quinn at an art opening and we talked a lot about art. Quinn is 83 years old. He's been around the block a time or two and knows of what he speaks. It's nice to talk to a painter about painting - a painter who is knowledgeable and sensitive and perceptive. I've found that there are very few around. I can think of only one other of my acquaintances who can carry on a long and detailed discussion about what makes a particular painting work or not, and that is Olympia artist Ron Hinson. Two or three times a year we get together and converse over coffee, and I always learn something from Ron. Even through college and when I was teaching, I met very few fellow artists with whom I could have enlightening talks. One was Thornton Willis, a successful New York artist who was my mentor and studio mate back in the '60s. The other was Jim Meade, a fellow teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The opening where Quinn and I met was for "Azul: Contemporary Interpretations In Primary Blue Mood" B2 Fine Art Gallery. We looked at some of the other art on display and discussed it in depth. I pointed out a painting by Judy Hintz Cox that I thought was one of her best. I particularly liked a dark shape at the bottom of her painting that had a triangle wedge cut out of it with a blue dot nestled in it like moon in the sky that by happenstance lined up perfectly. He agreed that he liked that too but pointed out a circle with a dot in it, the only other point of color on a white background, and called it an eye, saying it was a gimmick. I just saw it as a circle and a dot, but now I'll never be able to look at it again without seeing an eye, which really detracts from an otherwise excellent painting.

We looked at moody and atmospheric landscapes and seascapes by Susana Rodriguez that I kind of liked but felt not fully engaged with. He said they looked unfinished and too safe. They needed something audacious. And he was right.

I wondered as a critic how critical I should be. I talked to him about being perhaps overly careful when subjecting local artists to criticism. I said that sometimes I see an artist as outstanding in relation to others in local galleries, but if I compare them to a Rembrandt or a Titian they're pretty weak. He responded with a baseball analogy saying they can't all be Babe Ruth but maybe they can be pretty good in the minors. You have to take them where you find them.

When I mentioned the concept of painting intuitively he said underneath intuition must be a lifetime of studying and learning. This is so true.

He also expressed some disappointment in the current art scene and disdain for the art magazines, grousing that young artists and the hip scene seem to be all about photography and installations and that painting is not respected. My take on that is that art nowadays seems to be all about content, with little appreciation for the visual aspects. The critics all talk about what it means instead of what it looks like. He said that's because it's easier to write about what it means. Formal visual analysis ain't easy.

It was refreshing to talk to another painter who has reasoned and educated opinions.

Please note that I am paraphrasing his statements, not quoting, and I am relying on memory; I didn't take notes. I hope I didn't misinterpret any of his ideas.

LINK: Alec Clayton's Visual Edge Column

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma,

January 22, 2013 at 10:30am

Sipping Out coffee opens on South 12th in Tacoma

SIPPING OUT: Those who miss the Mandolin Cafe's coffee have another option in the neighborhood.


The specialty coffee trade was born in the Pacific Northwest during the '60s. Since then, the region has been saturated with joints pouring the black gold. The South Sound certainly has its fair share of coffee houses, coffee stands and embedded coffee counters. In fact, coffee joints can be found everywhere. We're saturated. The Weekly Volcano is surprised there isn't a coffee stand in each pothole. If Crispix cereal was invented in the South Sound, one side would be corn; the other side would be a coffee stand.

Good news. Another coffee stand opened Saturday in Tacoma. Flipping Out Burgers & Fries on South 12th Street opened a café inside its burger-flipping business. It's called Sipping Out, and it has a drive-thru option. All your favorite espresso drinks are available, as well as smoothies, Italian sodas, hot chocolate and chai lattes.

The only morning nibbles are breakfast sandwiches. Pastries will be added later.


LINK: More coffee on South 12th Street

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

January 22, 2013 at 12:02pm

Masaala wowie!



Some bosses shell out boring, tedious tasks. Mine, lucky for me, sends me on culinary explorations that entice my taste buds.

When I received a message from Pappi Swarner to check out Masaala Chai Cafe in Lacey, I smiled and off I went.

Masaala Chai Cafe opened its doors Monday, Jan. 7 offering flavorful concoctions such as Indian espresso and coconut lattes.

Upon entry, you're greeted with a warm, contemporary cafe setting and a friendly staff. I was pleasantly surprised given that the cafe is hidden away in the rear of a small strip mall and connected to a salon.

Pappi raved of Masaala's Indian espresso stating some wonderful hyperbole madness and something about seeing Ganesha. Clearly this had to be my potion of choice.  

Wowie. The man wasn't kidding. The Indian espresso is a steaming concoction of espresso, sugar and milk. The milk was delightfully whipped into a velvety foam and sprinkled with dark chocolate powder. The coffee itself was a vivid balance of nicely roasted beans and sugar. Not syrupy sweet. It reminded me of warm comforters and watching television with my Granny.  

Though the door states the open hours as 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, I was informed that permanent hours might shift to 7 to 7.

Friendly, helpful staff and wonderful coffee drinks paired with premade pastries makes this tucked away gem is a must visit.

MASAALA CHAI CAFÉ, 9323 Martin Way E., Lacey, 360.915.9032

LINK: Vote for the best in Thurston County

Filed under: Food & Drink, Lacey,

January 22, 2013 at 4:32pm

Puyallup is where the harp is

ENCHANTED HARP: Have you walked harp row? Photo credit: Mckenna Snyder


On the corner of North Meridian Street and West Stewart Avenue sits the quaint Enchanted Harp. It is one of a few harp shops in the Northwest.

Right off the bat you will notice its eloquent atmosphere and, if you are lucky, one of the workers will be playing the harp.

The harp, as you know, is a multi-stringed instrument much like a piano, but is played perpendicular. It is a beautiful instrument most often found at classical or Celtic music concerts, but sounds cool in jazz and pop rock songs. In fact, I have seen an electric harp played in a heavy music performance.

The Enchanted Harp carries a variety of harps - pedal harps to electric harps and everything in between. They also have a wide selection of used harps that, from what I saw, are in fantastic shape.

Why do I care about harps?

True, I don't know how to play the harp. But, I'm thinking of taking lessons. To my delight, Enchanted Harp offers lessons. It is only $25 for a single, half-hour lesson. If you are interested in monthly lessons (four weeks a month) the prices ranges from $80-$160. I think those are reasonable prices to learn how to play such a unique instrument.

Colin Nelson, a friend who resides in Paris, told me all about her experience with the harp. "Harp is more easy than people think," she says. "Actually, it's like the piano - one string for one (do re mi ...). There is different type of color to recognize which one is which. The red string equals do and fa is blue, the rest are white. Playing the sharps is more difficult to do because you have to press something with the foot. Everybody can play it. I started at 6. I chose this instrument when I was 6 years old because I wanted to do like the princess."



Filed under: Classical music, Music, Puyallup,

January 22, 2013 at 6:42pm

PHOTOS: C.L.A.W.'s Great Yearly Ceremony at Tacoma's Pythian Temple

C.L.A.W. GREAT YEARLY CEREMONY: We have no idea what R.R. Anderson is doing, but EXCITING! Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger


Cartoonist's League of Absurd Washingtonians, or C.L.A.W., held its ultra secret "Great Yearly Ceremony" at the Knights of the Pythias Temple in downtown Tacoma Monday, Jan. 21. The purpose behind the ceremony was a departing of its Eyes (officers) and the installation of its new Eyes, as well as the "Remembrance of the Declawed." During the ceremony the members praised the robot Overlords through songs and rites.

Oh, there was booze and funny hats. And of course, cake. There is always room for cake.

To learn more about C.L.A.W., check out its website. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

LINK: More photos from the C.L.A.W. ceremony

Filed under: Community, Arts, Photo Hot Spot, Tacoma,

January 23, 2013 at 6:09am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Home & Garden Show, Sportsmen's Show, Science Dome and more ...

JOHN AND SHERRY PETERSIK: The husband-and-wife duo behind the DIY design blog Young House Love will be at the Tacoma Home & Garden Show. Press photo

WEDENSDAY, JAN. 23 2013 >>>

1. Judging by the looks of John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love blog fame, this annual prompt for spring cleaning - the Tacoma Home & Garden Show - is aiming for the young market. The Petersiks are one of those likable young couples that drives you nuts. Not only are they hopelessly photogenic (and charmingly self-deprecating) but they've managed to turn their love of fixing up their old house into a bankable career. If you're mad about keeping up with the Young Joneses, then this congregation of 750 trendy exhibitors will inflame those covetous inclinations from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. The popular Vintage Market returns this year as repurposed and shabby-chic items for the garden and home are spotlighted by more than 20 local vendors.

2. It's a busy day for O'Laughlin Trade Shows - the juggernaut behind today's Tacoma Home & Garden Show at the Tacoma Dome, AND the 26th annual Washington Sportsmen's Show and Sport Fishing Boat Show at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. Wednesday through Sunday, the Washington Sportsmen's Show will offer the best in dudes wearing flannel and exaggerated fishing stories. But, best of all, check out what's billed as the "one-of-a-kind" indoor "Steelhead River." It's hard to go wrong with an indoor river.Check it from noon to 8 p.m.

3. Vaughn Sherman's career as a fisheries biologist in the Pacific Northwest was cut short when he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. Such is life. At 7 p.m. inside the Wheelock Library, Sherman will read and sign his book Sea Travels - Memoirs of 20th Century Master Mariner, the autobiography of Sherman's uncle, J. Holger Christensen.

4. There's a public program tonight at the newly opened Science Dome at Pierce College. At 7:15 p.m. an interactive tour of our current night sky will be explored followed by the 25 minute fulldome movie, Two Small Pieces of Glass, a story about telescopes, Galilean Moons, Saturn's rings and spiral structure of galaxies set to music by the London Symphony Orchestra.

5. The Northern Pacific Coffee Company is the quintessential college hangout. Located on Parkland's Garfield Street - one block away from Pacific Lutheran University - this coffee shop hosts an open mic every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Though much more casual than the other open mics I've mentioned, I have seen incredible talent the last six years. The NPCC also has resident musicians throughout the week that perform traditional jazz music for the regulars. And much like the Antique Sandwich Company, the NPCC features a great selection of food and beverage options.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 23 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 23, 2013 at 7:09am

REVIEW: Darby's Cafe on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"

"DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES": Host Guy Fieri and the Food Network crew filmed at Darby's Cafe in early November. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy


Around 300 people packed Capitol Theater in Olympia Monday night to view the premiere of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode "Hometown Haunts," featuring Oly favorite Darby's Café.

Regulars of the café, neighbors, family and friends whooped and hollered as the familiar friendly faces of owners Sara and Nate Reilly as well as Chef Johanna Vasseur filled the big screen.

Three dishes were featured while Vasseur and celebrity chef and DD&D host Guy Fieri joked about ingredients - she called the breading on the oysters "crustafarian" in true Olympia fashion - gave high fives and goofed around.  Fieri complimented Vasseur's Oysters Creole, the Blueberry Crunch Roller and the Winter Squash and Apple Hash.

"I'd come back to Olympia for that," Fieri said about the Oysters Creole, to which Vasseur replied, "We'll take you."

"It was like working with employees," said Vasseur on filming with Fieri and his crew. "It was just fun."

After the screening, Sara jumped up on Capitol Theater stage to announce the night's event brought in more than $1,500 for the Thurston County Food Bank, and to express gratitude to everyone who supports Darby's.  

"We want to thank our entire crew ... they really, really helped us out and lots of our friends and family too," said Sara. "It's actually a lot of work ... just thank you."

It's been a wild six months since the Reillys received news they'd be on the show, and the couple is grateful they can get back on track with the restaurant.

But, they admit, the 15-minutes of fame may turn into something bigger. After talking to other restaurant owners who have been on the show, the Reillys expect to see an influx of regulars, and to serve fans of the show that will come in to order exactly what they saw on television.

As for Vasseur, she's already prepping her video auditions for culinary TV shows Chopped and The Next Food Network Star.

"She's an incredibly talented cook," said Sara.

Darby's Cafe and the "Hometown Haunts" episode will replay on the Food Network at 9 p.m. and midnight Feb. 1 and 4 p.m. Feb. 2.

DARBY'S CAFÉ, 211 FIFTH AVE., OLYMPIA, 360.357.6229

LINK: Guy Fieri visted the South Sound

Filed under: Food & Drink, Screens, Olympia,

January 23, 2013 at 9:00am

Tacoma's GIVINGtrax helps businesses manage donations

GIVINGTRAX TEAM: Lance Hungerford, Karrie Hungerford, Courtney Titus and director of development Kai Sounthala. Courtesy photo


Tacoma has brought many wonderful products, resources and people into this world: Almond Roca, Dale Chihuly and the 253 Heart. Now, there is one more side of awesome to serve up - GIVINGtrax. Never before has giving or receiving donations been so nifty.

Originally founded in 2010, but officially launched at Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, GIVINGtrax was co-founded by Tacoma businesspeople Karrie and Lance Hungerford, and Internet marketer Courtney Titus of the Bruce Titus Automotive family.

"GIVINGtrax provides web-based and mobile-based tools for managing donations, corporate giving, cause marketing, volunteerism, and fundraising," says Titus. "In a way, GIVINGtrax.com plays matchmaker to local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who otherwise may have never met."

Along with managing your own giving, the service is all about connection and awareness - simplifying and consolidating the donation receiving and giving processes. Among the system's many capabilities, it allows nonprofits to thank their donors or business partners, ask for donations, or submit donation requests to a cloud and find others who are likely to give to their cause. Individuals can join and affiliate themselves with their employers, and both keep track of their donations as well as get notifications about employee-matching programs.

"We have launched our GIVINGtrax BETA here locally in the Puget Sound and will be rolling out the product Nationwide and hopefully globally," says Titus. "As we expand we will continue to keep the local aspect of GIVINGtrax - giving the businesses, nonprofits, and individuals that use GIVINGtrax the ability to see their social impact in their community."

Already, several Tacoma businesses and nonprofits are on board, from the Harmon Brewery to Round Table Pizza to the Tacoma Art Museum.

Filed under: Business, Web/Tech, Tacoma,

January 23, 2013 at 11:07am

Join Murray Morgan Bridge Week in Tacoma

YAY! >>>

Murray Morgan Bridge is the proper name of what some people call the 11th Street Bridge or City Waterway Bridge. It's that old steel bridge over the Thea Foss Waterway. Yeah, the one that has been shut down since 2007. The one that has spent the better part of 2012 under a big white tarp. The one that got tens of thousands of wire stolen from it in 2009.

And it's going to reopen next month. With a new pedestrian path. And a bike path. And an elevator connecting it to Dock Street.

Who was Murray Morgan? He was a Tacoma historian, author and columnist. He passed away in 2000.

The city of Tacoma and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the bridge's opening with what they call Murray Morgan Bridge Week, which include a fun run across the bridge Feb. 14 and an officially opening ceremony Feb. 15. The city and chamber sent out a letter yesterday to Tacoma business asking them to join the fun. Part of the letter is attached below.

One of the businesses joining the celebration will be the Harmon Brewing Co. "We're brewing a special beer with 11 different hops and 100 IBUs in celebration of the bridge's 100 year anniversary," says Harmon co-owner Pat Nagle.

A list of businesses participating in Murray Morgan Bridge Week can be found here.

What will you do?

January 23, 2013 at 6:53pm

Take a trip to My Cheese Shoppe

MY CHEESE SHOPPE: The friendliest customer service in Puyallup. Photo credit: Mckenna Snyder


During my trips to Paris I have discovered the joys of lounging on a nice summer evening with a hunk of cheese and a glass of red wine. You could say I have grown accustom to it. Naturally, I'm thrilled there's a cheese shop in Puyallup. My Cheese Shoppe - it's actually not mine but rather a shop opened by Laurie Sanders-Pole - has been the been the talk of the town since it opened June 15, 2011.

From the friendly service to the cute decorations, I could spend hours tasting the vast variety of cheeses. In fact, most customers do! "Try before you buy" is the shop's motto. Sometimes the staff spends 20-30 minutes with its customers for the right cheese. My Cheese Shoppe takes its cheese seriously. From cheddars to goat, strong to light tasting, the staff will match the perfect piece to a meal or party.

There's nothing better than cheese and crackers with a nice glass of wine. Thankfully, Corkscrew Cellars is just down the street. The two businesses have paired up for many events. Wednesday, Jan. 30, a cheese and wine tasting event will be held between the two shops.

Also, every Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., Corkscrew hosts a wine tasting.  

If you are a first time cheeser, Laurie suggests the New Moon cheese made at Mt. Townsend Creamery. If you are a cheddar person, I would suggest the Wookey Hole signature Cave Aged cheese. Laurie and her daughter, Ashlynn, who also works at My Cheese Shoppe, helped me find the perfect cheese for my younger brother who had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. To my luck the cheese they picked was low in carbs. My brother was able to eat it without any shots! And on top of that, he loved it, which is rare for him since he is the pickiest of picky eaters.

I highly suggest you visit My Cheese Shoppe. It has been such a pleasure getting to know them. With such a wide selection, I grantee you will find the perfect cheese for you and your family.


Filed under: Puyallup, Food & Drink, Health,

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