Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: January, 2013 (148) Currently Viewing: 131 - 140 of 148

January 28, 2013 at 9:30am

Learn about the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project over drinks

GREEN DRINKS TACOMA: Discover the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project plans over beers.


Why drink alone when you can get your drink on with cool cats who care about environmental issues? On the first Thursday of each month, Green Drinks invites Tacoma and Pierce County residents to do just that - hang out and chat with other green-minded individuals over drinks and snacks. The next session of Green Drinks - which will be held Thursday, Feb. 7 at The Office Bar and Grill - will focus on downtown Tacoma's Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project ... and drinks, of course.

Doreen Gavin, project manager for AHBL - the consulting firm hired by the city of Tacoma in 2011 to design the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project - will be main entertainment at the Feb. 7 Green Drinks session. And by entertainment I mean giving an overview of Pacific Avenue's makeover and answering questions. 

In a nutshell, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project will deck out downtown's main drag with new sidewalks, lighting and bike lanes, as well as innovative green touches from stormwater infrastructure and rain gardens to more than 3,000 new plants. When all is said and done, downtown Tacoma intends to be a leader in urban greenness - as well as a lot prettier.

I tossed a few questions at Gavin before she got her Green Drinks on at The Office.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: Why is the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project important to Tacoma?

DOREEN GAVIN: The Pacific Avenue Streetscape project has three main goals. First, economics. The project is designed to create an active, attractive and economically viable "main street" that encourages people and businesses to be downtown. Second, multimodal accessibility. The new sidewalks, intersection bulb-outs, crosswalks, bike sharrows, landscaping, street furnishings, artwork, catenary lighting and transit stops will improve walkability, accessibility, bicyclist and pedestrian safety. And third, but not least, stormwater improvements. The project incorporates stormwater treatment for this busy downtown corridor, which drains into the Thea Foss waterway. The waterway was designated a superfund site in 1983 and the cleanup was completed in 2006 at a cost of over $100 million to the city and its partners. The stormwater treatment facilities to be constructed as part of this project will improve the quality of stormwater generated within this corridor before it's discharged to the Thea Foss Waterway. This work adds to our efforts to protect the newly remediated waterway through source control, sweeping, maintenance and treatment projects. In addition, the Pac Ave corridor is a wonderful opportunity to showcase this treatment to the public in an innovative and interesting way. The goal is that these stormwater improvements will not only be functional but beautiful as well.

VOLCANO: It's a huge project. How are you going to structure your talk at Green Drinks?

GAVIN: My talk will focus primarily on green stormwater infrastructure and how the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project incorporates the goals of stormwater quality treatment in Tacoma's "Main Street" through the use of rain gardens and silva cells. I will show some sketches and images illustrating what the proposed project will look like when completed. I will also talk about the goals of the project and the construction schedule.

VOLCANO: What pairs with a Pacific Avenue Streetscape Projects lecture?

GAVIN: Green beer, if available.


January 28, 2013 at 11:26am

Dances with Schwimmer

BENJI SCHWIMMER: He'll need that scarf for Tacoma's weather. Photo courtesy of Facebook


I stalk people. It's part of my job at the Weekly Volcano. I dive deep into websites on a particular topic or person then compile it into a neat little package for you.

This week, I stalked Benji Schwimmer, a 29-year-old California native who began competitive dancing at the age of 5.  His skills landed him the title of World Swing Champ, So You Think You Can Dance winner, guest coach and dancer on Dancing with the Stars, music videos, movies and more. (Thanks Wikipedia.)

Friday, Schwimmer will be at Studio 6 Ballroom in Tacoma. If you register by today, you may dance with him.

My stealthy Schwimmer search leads me to believe the dude not only knows how to dance, he knows how to have fun. His Facebook profile shows him striking a pose in a lily-white armchair next to a lamp as tall as a tree. An interview he did with Out magazine states he did the interview via Skype naked in a bathtub. And, by some sort of mathematical property, Schwimmer is friends with Studio 6 master coach Natasha Thayer - Thayer has partied with Gloria Estefan at a salsa jam - therefore Schwimmer must be an awesome fun salsa dancer. He also has fun on planes. ...

"I have convinced my colleague to take a day out of his busy schedule to visit Tacoma and Studio 6 Ballroom," says Thayer. "He loves working with my students. He's excited to come. I would feel it a disservice to the area if we didn't spread the word and make him available for everyone to get a lesson from!"

As I mentioned, today is the last day to register for Schwimmer dance lessons. For more info or to register, click here.

I lifted his lesson plan from the Studio 6 Ballroom website and posted it below.

January 28, 2013 at 11:09pm

Soundgarden's music video for "By Crooked Steps" released

SOUNDGARDEN: A scene from "By Crooked Steps" video.


Leaked a few days ago, Soundgarden's music video for "By Crooked Steps" has officially hit the Internets. Directed by Dave Grohl, the video depicts the band riding Segways to stop a techno show and play live. The cops barge into the packed club forcing the band to escape on their Segways only to be arrested by. ...

Filed under: Music, Screens,

January 29, 2013 at 6:59am

5 Things To Do Today: "Chinese Take-Away," CCR tribute, "The Storms of Denali" and more

"CHINESE TAKE-AWAY": The film is a winsome Argentine comedy about a grumpy man who takes in a Chinese refugee.

TUESDAY, JAN. 29 2013 >>>

1. At its core, Chinese Take-Away is a familiar story - lonely people forced into a situation forge connections and reignite their suppressed humanity. The Argentine film riffs off of a character sketch of Roberto, an oddball hardware store-owning loner in Buenos Aires who encounters a hopelessly lost Chinese migrant while he's out planespotting. Throw in a language barrier, allusions to the Falklands War, and one death by falling cow, and off we go. Chinese Take-Away is part of The Grand Cinema's Tuesday Film Series, screening at 2:25 and 8:15 p.m.

2. The best bars are named after ex-wives. Or defunct rock bands. Or candy. Yep, candy. That's why we knew The Red Hot in Tacoma was destined to be a classic. How could a place known for its beer and hot dog selection not bring the noise? Especially on Tuesday's, when The Red Hot serves $3 pints all damn day. Yes, sir, The Red Hot is up there for sweetest joint in the area. That is until the Skittles moves into town.

3. Not much can be said about 1022 South that hasn't already been said. Everyone has sung the bar's praises. We mean, even a writer from New York called 1022, "home to some of the most fascinating apothecary cocktail work on the West Coast." And we agree. The cocktails are really, really good — and discounted from 4-8 p.m.

4. At 7 p.m. inside the Tacoma Public Library's Main Branch you can hear the titilating semi-fictional account of one mountaineer's epic journey to the summit of North America's tallest peak - 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley, aka, Denali. That man is 55-year-old Nick O'Connell, a Seattle native whose harrowing account detailed in his new novel, The Storms of Denali. The book, while technically fictional, brings in elements from O'Connell's personal life and the experiences of his peers in the climbing world.

5. Guitarist Randy Linder brings his Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute show to The Red Wind Casino at 6:30 p.m.

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 29 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 29, 2013 at 7:25am

CLAYTON ON ART: Variety within unity

AI WEIWEI: We wish his inventive work would be displayed in Tacoma.


CBS Sunday Morning did a segment on the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. I had never before heard of him, although I had seen some of his work without realizing whose work it was. Among other things, he collaborated on the design of the 2008 Summer Olympics stadium in Beijing. He is a sculptor, architect, photographer, filmmaker and a political provocateur. He has been imprisoned for his criticism of the Chinese government, and he grew up in forced exile in a labor camp because of his father's politics. His father was the dissident poet Ai Qing.

The narrator of the Sunday Morning show said that Weiwei celebrates "the group" (read collectivism, Communism) and the individual. Politically those are antithetical stances, but in art (and in life, like it or not) it is a sound principle. In society individuals coalesce for the good of the family or team or country while allowing individuals the freedom grow, create and shine on their own. What better example than Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.

In art, the principle of variety within unity is not an absolute necessity, but it's a damn good principle. I have often spoken of it in my art criticism. When the morning news show spoke of this principle in connection with Weiwei's art, the camera focused on a circular form on the floor of the Hirshhorn Museum and slowly zoomed in to reveal that the form comprised hundreds if not thousands of crabs. Then they showed other works by Weiwei including a large, circular cage-like sculpture made of stacked bicycles and a floating form like a giant spikey gumball made of old wooden chairs. What each of these works had in common was they were made of many similar but slightly different items that together created a single unified form. Each of the bikes was identical in that they each had two wheels of approximately the same size, handlebars and a saddle seat. But each was also unique. The same variety within unity can be seen in most good paintings or poems or musical scores. Not to mention people. Have you ever marveled at the fact that all humans look alike yet very few, if any, are identical?

Teachers in art schools often speak of contrast and harmony - same thing as variety within unity. Probably the most obvious examples are Andy Warhol's flowers and soup cans and celebrity portraits. A wall full of Marilyn Monroe portraits, each from the same photograph but no two identical.

The occasion of the Sunday Morning piece on Weiwei is his current show in the Hirshhorn in our nation's capital. The show is called According to What? It's a fascinating show, and Weiwei is a fascinating man. And by-the-way, if you look at his sculptural installations and look at photographs of the Olympics stadium you will surely notice unmistakable similarities in form.

Wouldn't it be cool if Seattle could get him to design the new home for the Sonics? Wouldn't it be cooler still if Tacoma Art Museum could do an Ai Weiwei show?

TAM did a Richard Long show a few years back, and it was hugely popular. Richard Long does essentially the same things with rocks that Weiwei does with industrial materials and found objects and crabs (among other materials), and Weiwei's work is far more profound and inventive.

LINK: "Azul: Contemporary Interpretations In Primary Blue Mood" in Tacoma

Filed under: Arts,

January 29, 2013 at 8:27am

TOMORROW: Trivia for Dorks in Tacoma


You can hate me or unfriend me or whatever, but I love the Twilight series. Edward and Bella and Jacob and sparkles and blood and fast cars are all magic to me. I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this way.

Dorky's Bar Arcade in Tacoma knows there are many who live for Twilight's gleeful decapitations and fang-on-fang showdowns. That's why last week the downtown Tacoma bar + arcade focused its weekly trivia session - Trivia for Dorks - on the vampire melodrama.

Held every Wednesday at 8 p.m., Trivia for Dorks is a free, all-ages affair with such prizes as gift certificates to Dorky's. Sure, prizes are nice, but even better is dropping your win at your next round table D & D discussion.

"I generally write questions about the kind of pop culture people really nerd-out about," says Nathan Ketzner, host and a glasses wearing nerd-extraordinaire. "I think my busiest night was when I did all Star Trek questions."

This Wednesday the categories will be Nintendo, Animal Friends/Sidekicks, The Walking Dead TV show/comics and Superheroines. Oh Emmett Cullen! I forgot that teams could earn bonus points for correctly identifying the theme.


Filed under: Games, Pop Culture, Tacoma,

January 29, 2013 at 10:24am

First Bite: My Greek in Tacoma

MY GREEK'S BAKLAVA: Each slice has honey made by God's own bees. Photo credit: Jackie Fender


The old Shari's building at Westgate Center stands vacant no longer. Puyallup eatery transplant My Greek now resides in the building, which sits off 26th and North Pearl.

In regards to the interior, it should be named My Greek Shari's. Though the place is warmer in character than it was at Shari's, as far as the interior - not a lot has changed. The booths are upholstered in the same diner fabrics and the pie fridge and hostess station await as you walk in.

That's where the similarities stop.

My Greek is about my happiness. A friendly staff greeted me, while a young man strummed mellow tunes on an acoustic guitar. A selection of bread and pita immediately hit my table, with delicious herb butter.

A quick peek in the lounge revealed a selection of wines along the counter above the kitchen window and the booze selection, though sparse, includes all of the staples. A hearty 10 chairs nestle the rail with a few tables sectioned closer to the bar section.

We began our meal with the feta bruschetta. Drizzled in olive oil and topped with fresh-diced tomatoes, garlic, basil and feta I could have easily devoured with by my lonesome and skimped on the entree course.

Greek and Italian fare represent, including souvlaki, gyros, pasta dishes and intriguing pizzas bearing monikers such as the Athenian, Roma and Maria's Great White. The latter featured an Alfredo sauce, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts and bacon. I nibbled on a small Great White ($12.95) and was pleased by the cheesy goodness. My husband noshed on the chicken and garlic shrimp ($15.95). Packing a good-sized portion of chicken and eight whopping shrimp, you can't beat the price. Surprising, it could have used more garlic.

Those who know me, know I kept an eye on the housemade baklava during my visit. Uh ... wowza! The two pastries served a la mode were heaven sent. Whoever is the mother of this recipe knows their baklava. I have a feeling this will be on my hankering list for months to come.


LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

January 29, 2013 at 11:28am

The gift of local on Valentine's Day

LE NOIR BAZAAR: The store in Tacoma's Antique Row has sparkly bangles for your sweetheart. Photo courtesy of alittletouchofmagick.com


Valentine's Day draws nigh. If you're planning on running out the night before and snagging a box of chocolates from the drug store - don't you dare! We live in a region filled with locally made items - jewelry by talented local artisans, handmade candy without nasty chemicals - even historical items. Below I offer a few locally made products for your sweetheart with the 253Heart.

The gift of local body care

"We have several body care products made in the Pacific Northwest," says Bill Evans, owner of the Pacific Northwest Shop in Proctor District. "Antoinette is a line of soaps with some special Valentine's soaps. Another option is Jenteal Soaps out of Yelm, which are largely floral scented. More unique options are our chocolate-scented soaps and candles by Chocolate Flower Farm from Whidbey Island." Eacg bar of soap costs around $6.50.

The gift of local art

"A couple might want to take one of our Try It pottery classes," says Eileen Hudak of Throwing Mud Gallery in Old Town Tacoma. "It's a two-hour class with basic instruction on the pottery wheel. We also have a lot of gift items in our store. We have several styles of jewelry. I have rock pendants, earrings and bracelets with heart shapes, along with other handcrafted jewelry from about 20 different jewelers." Classes cost $60 per person.

The gift of local history

"The gift shop here at the History Museum is a unique place to find a gift for Valentine's Day," says Kimberly Ketcham, director of marketing and communications at the Washington State History Museum. "We have a variety of items from here in the Northwest, such as Pendleton wool blankets in Native American designs, glass art and jewelry made by local artists, and a collection of great books with historical photographs from our area. All our items really let you share our Washington heritage with your sweetheart."

The gift of gothy goodness

"Le Noir Bazaar offers unique gifts this Valentine's Day," says Amanda Jones, manager of Le Noir Bazaar in Tacoma. "We have lovely fingerless gloves with a Victorian flare of hand embellished crocheted lace." The gloves cost between $9 and $20.

The gift of local sweet treats

For Valentine's, Legendary Doughnuts has a few special selections: raspberry dark chocolate truffle (heart-shaped raised doughnut filled with raspberry and topped with dark chocolate truffle), white chocolate raspberry (chocolate cake doughnut dipped in white chocolate with raspberry filling) and raspberry fritters (heart-shaped raised doughnuts). "Do-nut forget your valentine," says Shannon Patten, owner of Legendary Doughnuts. Doughnuts are around $2 a peice, or $19.99 for a heart-shaped doughnut cake.

And if all else fails ...

"For people having a crappy Valentine's Day, World Market and the Pacific Northwest Shop have our CHOC-AID chocolate Band-Aids to mend a broken heart," says Sara Evans of With Love Chocolates. The Band-Aids cost $4.50 per box.

LINK: Hipster's guide to love on Valentine's Day

January 29, 2013 at 1:48pm

Tacoma: "State of the City" address 2013

SHIFT HAPPENS 2013: Go Local Tacoma board members Derrick Rhayn and Patricia Lecy-Davis strive to bring the community together.


The words I feel best describe last night's Go Local Tacoma Shift Happens 2013 event can best be summed up by Charles Dickens from his book A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." This is especially true as the city of Tacoma continues to grapple with the reality of a decimated budget, and business owners guard their marketing dollars as if it was Bimbo's Italian Restaurant pasta sauce recipe. Regardless of how much money we earn, our education, faith, ethnicity, neighborhood we live in, or types of jobs we have, nearly all Tacoma and Pierce County residents have been impacted directly or indirectly by the downturn our economy has gone through over the past four years. People are exhausted. Business owners are logging in more hours due to staff reductions. City leaders have gone through a string of stressful budget sessions. Marketing managers wrestle with social media. Consumers are trying eek out a life with less money and longer work hours.

The mood at last night's Shift Happens event was more somber than the past two years. Handshakes were short. A few booths weren't manned. Attendance seemed down, but it was difficult to judge with the change of environment from a warm room to a gray, cavernous hall.

That said, Shift Happens is exactly what this city needs. It's an opportunity for Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland to light a fire under our asses, to push the fact more than a 1,000 new businesses opened in Tacoma last year, to brag what our students have accomplished, to boast the city's forward-thinking and global goals, and to relay Tacoma success stories. Go Local Tacoma, the organization behind Shift Happens, knows people need to be seen and heard, respected and cared for by one another. Rebuilding community at the local level can dramatically restore human well being. That, to me, is what Shift Happens tries to accomplish. It's what is needed. I get the "shift $20 to a local business a month and it will result in millions to the local economy and more jobs." And I applaud Go Local's soon-to-be released Localist savings card. But, having everyone in one room - as large as is was - rallying around the go local concept, nibbling on each others successes brings the community together, one hug at a time, and encourages local spending. That's cool.

Congratulations to this year's Shift Happens Indie Award winners: Advocacy Champion Angela Jossy, Community Steward Justin Mayfield, and Entrepreneurial Empowerment winners Robert Bunge and Teresa Springer-Grounds.

Below is Mayor Strickland's "State of the City" address from last night's Shift Happenes event, shot from my shaky hands. "Tonight I ask you, what will be your civic contribution in 2013? Will you sit on the sidelines or will you get involved? What will be your role in making Tacoma a better city?" asks Mayor Strickland at the end of her address.

What are you going to do?

Filed under: Business, Community, Tacoma,

January 29, 2013 at 4:48pm

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye ... until tomorrow

MCKENNA SNYDER: She was our governess for three weeks.


Tomorrow, Jan. 30 marks the end of my internship at the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters. I had such a great time keeping up this blog. Thank you, readers, for sticking with me in my short time here on Spew. I am grateful for all the positive feedback I have received. Your feedback has helped me improve as a writer and as a journalist.

I would like to thank the businesses that welcomed me such as My Cheese Shoppe, Anthem, Enchanted Harp and Trappers Sushi. Special thanks to my dear mother who had to drive me around everywhere since her lazy teen-age daughter refuses to get her driver's license. Also, I'd like to thank my dad who got more excited about my blog than I did.

Don't cry, dear readers, I still have one more blog coming. Tomorrow, I will visit the South Hill Mall to check out the clothes kiosk Me-ality. Apparently, I pop into a machine, it scans me and then tells me what kind of clothes I should buy, or what would be my perfect fit. I hope the machine can tell me where to find a comfy pair of jeans!

I almost forgot - a HUGE thank you to the Weekly Volcano staff. You have made my first work experience a great one! Maybe I will return one day to write for you again? I hope so. But, for now, here is your special goodbye: 

Me saying goodbye.

Filed under: Weekly Volcano, Puyallup, Fashion,

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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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