Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: January, 2013 (148) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 148

January 7, 2013 at 1:42pm

University of Puget Sound celebrates 125 years in 2013

PRESIDENT RON THOMAS: He has a big year planned for the University of Puget Sound. Press photo


The University of Puget Sound will blow out 125 candles on its birthday cake March 17, 2013. One hundred and 25 years!The university was founded around the time the Convention of Constantinople was signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace. The English Football League was also established in March 1888. The Weekly Volcano also believes that was the year people started complaining about the Tacoma streetcars, wishing they had cars to move around more freely.

Anyway, 125 years is a big deal, and the university intends on partying hard this year. You may check out the university's plans at its 125 Anniversary Hub.

Weekly Volcano scribe Nikki McCoy caught up with President Ron Thomas — the university's 13th predident - to discover his favorite memories from his past 10 years as president. Read those memories in Thursday's issue of the Weekly Volcano.

McCoy also asked Thomas what upcoming UPS anniversary happenings thrill him the most.

"It's hard to choose, because there are so many things exciting about the year ahead," Thomas says. "I am pretty excited about the new residence hall now under construction that will be completed this year - a beautiful new building from one of the world's top architects - AIA Gold Medalist Peter Bohlin. It will house upper class students in ‘houses' dedicated to international affairs, environmental policy, the humanities, entrepreneurship, and spirituality and social justice - with great views of Mount Rainier, too."

Thomas also says he's thrilled Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist Wole Soyinka will visit Feb. 7, among a stellar group of artists and intellectuals scheduled to visit the campus in 2013.

"As we celebrate our first 125 years, we look forward to continuing to innovate at Puget Sound, as we always have, to become a leader among the best liberal arts colleges of the future - real, relevant, and always true to ourselves," Thomas says. "I am excited by our $125 million campaign to make sure that happens.

"And what always excites me most is the amazing (and unpredictable) achievements of our students, who surprise me every year in the distinctions they earn. I am looking forward to that," he says.

By the way, he's excited to cheer on the Logger teams and tracking their progress as they make their Drive for 125 wins this year.

"I'm never happier than when I can cheer on our student athletes as they light up the scoreboard," he adds.

Filed under: Schools, History, Tacoma, Arts, Word, Sports,

January 8, 2013 at 5:43am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Roasted at Trago Mexican Kitchen


Yesterday's comment of the day came from Chef Michael Beierle of Trago Mexican Kitchen in Olympia in response to Nikki McCoy's "first bite" review of his restaurant.

Beierle writes,

I added roasted jalapeno to the strawberry sauce for the cheesecake and I also added cherry tempura fried ice cream with a gran marnier cream sauce, so come check it out!

January 8, 2013 at 6:16am

5 Things To Do Today: Teardropcity, "Teddy Bear," Geeks Who Drink, Classical Tuesday and more ...

TEARDROPCITY: Bringing 400-year-old hip-hop to Olympia. Photo courtesy of Facebook

TUESDAY, JAN. 8 2013 >>>

1. To reductively describe what Matt Wheeler, AKA Teardropcity, does, his music sort of sounds like a hip-hop/country hybrid with vocals that sound straight out of Beat Happening. But let's let the Olympia local describe it himself. "I have several catch-phrases that I use to describe it, the first being ‘music for late nights and early mornings,'" says Wheeler. "The second being ‘contemporary American music from the future past,' the third being ‘400-year-old hip-hop,' the fourth being ‘avant garde music for the masses.' ... I think that's all of them. Sort of a combination of those."Teardropcity joins No Sky Project at 10 p.m. inside Le Voyeur in Olympia. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Teardropcity in the Weekly Volcano's Music section.

2. It's Tuesday, which means another bonus film will be screened at The Grand Cinema. Today's film is Teddy Bear, an Austrian film about a weightlifter at the waning end of his career who still lives at home with his overbearing mother, a tiny woman who tells him exactly what he can and can't do. All he really wants to do is find a girlfriend, but he's painfully shy. Discover what happens at 2:05 and 7:05 p.m.

3. Conventional wisdom dictates that you'd rather spend Tuesday night watching the ION Channel and sharing a big bowl of prune whip with your great aunt Martha than venturing out to hear a band comprised of drums, marimba, congas and found sounds. But in this case, conventional wisdom would be wrong. Unless, of course, you're a big fan of Criminal Minds. Tonight, Saxophonist Erik Steighner will perform on alto, baritone and soprano saxes as part of the Classical Tuesday series at the Slavonian Hall in Old Town Tacoma. Trumpeter Zachary Lyman will join him for the 7 p.m. concert.

4. Located in the heart of Tacoma's Sixth Avenue, Metronome's open mic is where you will see old Sears/Roebuck guitars and tight corduroy pants. A very dynamic open mic, you will hear a wide variety of music, and will be among an attentive audience of listeners. Hosted every Tuesday from 7 p.m. until closing, Metronome Coffee is a great place to spend your midweek night out and enjoy some great coffee.

5. Tacoma Cabana tiki bar will host the Geeks Who Drinks trivia game at 8 p.m. The game consists of eight rounds of eight questions and is played in teams of up to six people. Questions are read aloud by the quizmaster; teams write their answers on provided sheets and turn them in at the end of each round. The team with the most points after eight rounds is the winner. Read Pappi Swarner's interview with Quizmaster Holland Hume on the Weekly Volcano's blog, Spew.

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 8 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 8, 2013 at 7:33am

CLAYTON ON ART: SPSCC - the good, the bad and the meh

"WISH YOU WERE HERE": This untitled piece by Gail Ramsey Wharton was on exhibit last year.


I don't remember the exact dates but I know that for two or three years the Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery at South Puget Sound Community College was by far the best art gallery in the South Sound. Their annual juried shows featured some of the best artists from Olympia to Tacoma and surrounding areas. I loved Steven Suski's one-person show, and I thought the two-person show featuring Ron Hinson and Barlow Palminteri was one of the best painting exhibitions ever. Other outstanding shows over the past five years included Betty Bastai and Shilo de la Cruz, Gail Ramsey Wharton, and an elegant installation involving bathtubs and salt called"Depletion 2009" by Amy Johnson, just to name a few.

And then in what I assume must have been a money-saving move, the college relinquished their arts center to the management of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts and its director, Cassie Welliver, was laid off, and the quality of their exhibitions went south. There have been times when I looked into the gallery with an eye toward possibly reviewing their shows and walked away shaking my head. The only things they have done since Welliver was let go that I thought worthy of reviewing were the Native American show in 2011 - some nice baskets, weavings and wood carvings, but the paintings were weak; the postcard show, "Wish You Were Here," a year ago this month - lots of clever and humorous stuff; and the more recent abstract painting show, "Drawn to Abstraction," with paintings by Laura Ahola-Young, Lois Beck, Becky Knold, and Mia Schulte.

They've also had student and faculty shows that say to me this may not be the place to study art. I hate saying that because there are some good art teachers on the faculty, but the quality of these shows has not been anything to brag about, and the student shows looked like high school.

But there is hope. The second installment of the postcard show opened this week. It's called "My Kind of Place...a Fine Art Postcard,"and I have high hopes for it being as good as the last one.This exhibit features more than 200 postcard-sized artworks crated by 58 local and regional artists. Postcards will be sold in a month-long silent auction beginning at 7 p.m. during the opening reception Friday, Jan. 11. The opening reception will take place from 6-8 p.m. Bidding ends at 7 p.m. during the closing reception on Friday Feb. 15.

On another hopeful note, the gallery is now accepting solo and group exhibition proposals. Established and emerging artists may submit proposals to fill two to three vacancies available September of this year through April 2014. Information on submitting proposals can be found at http://www.spscc.ctc.edu/community-and-business/entertainment/gallery. I'm thinking some of Tacoma's Foundation of Art nominees should apply, or maybe Olympia's Kathy Gore Fuss.

Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment. It will be closed on Jan. 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Filed under: Arts, Olympia,

January 8, 2013 at 10:46am

South Sound filmmakers head to Hollywood

"UPON THIS ROCK": The short documentary shot during a research trip to the Republic of Georgia in September of 2011 is headed to Hollywood.


"Exploring Extreme Christianity Lands Two Locals a Spot in Hollywood."

Normally, it seems the opposite behavior is what draws headlines and brings people to one of the world's most notorious sin cities.

But, Hollywood is also know as a land of opportunity, and two locals - writer/director Stephen Riehl of Olympia and composer/sound designer Shawn Kelly of Tacoma - will be presenting their newest film, Upon This Rock, at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, Calif. for the NewFilmmakers LA showcase Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Upon This Rock is a nod to the duo's in-the-works feature length documentary The Stylite: a matter of faith, and is being shown in hopes to raise money for the continued traveling completing The Stylite will entail.

"The film as I envision it now will require four, two week trips to the Republic of Georgia," says Riehl.

The Republic of Georgia is where Upon This Rock was filmed and where The Stylite's main character resides.

The Stylite tells the story of Father Maxim, a monk in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who hopes to live atop a 140-foot rock outcrop near the remote village of Katskhi. If he realizes his dream he will be the first stylite there in 600 years.

"About five years ago while reading a book about the history of Christianity I came across stylite asceticism," says Riehl. "For some reason I liked the idea of these hermits in remote areas that tried to disconnect from the world, but their act of such extreme asceticism actually brought pilgrims and the world back to them."

This attraction got Riehl's gears cranking, and he and long-time friend Kelly got to work on the two documentaries.

"My proudest moment in Upon This Rock is probably the time-lapse shot we captured of the sunrise on the pillar," says Riehl, "For three days, Temo Bardzimashvili - our director of photography - and I perched on the cliffs overlooking the pillar for three or four hours trying to capture the perfect sunrise. The last day was absolutely clear and the receding shadow sharp as a razor. I really like the effect and Shawn was able to create the perfect soundscape for the image."

LINK: The Stylite Facebook

January 8, 2013 at 2:57pm

PHOTOS & VIDEO: SweetKiss Momma on Ice

SWEETKISS MOMMA: Sweet Home Polar Plaza!


The Weekly Volcano fired up its Electric Salchow Stage Saturday night for the last time this season, hosting local rock band SweetKiss Momma for a night of Southern rock and couples skates. That's right. Besides rocking the Franciscan Polar Plaza louder than the previous five bands, SweetKiss Momma called for two couples skates, one funky skate and actually reversed the flow of the skaters during its two-hour set at the downtown Tacoma ice rink, which ended its run Sunday.

SweetKiss Momma will release its sophomore album in March — an album recorded in Nashville with accomplished producer Ken Coomer. SweetKiss lead singer Jeff Hamel smiles ear to ear when discussing the finished product. A record release show will happened, but it's not on the books yet.

Below are pictures and videos from the SweetKiss Momma performance.

Note: Apologies to BODYBOX, the band that rocked the Polar Plaza Dec. 29. I'll post photos and videos from that show if I can figure out how to open my locked hard drive.

LINK: More SweetKiss Momma on Ice photos

January 9, 2013 at 6:25am

5 Things To Do Today: Danny Barnes, "Caustic Compositions," Kareem Kandi, Sublime LBC and more ...

DANNY BARNES: He uses the banjo as his "weapon of choice" to play non-traditional music like rock, fusion, and jazz with electronic percussion and loop elements.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9 2013 >>>

1. Long revered as a visionary in American music, Danny Barnes is joining with mandolinist Matt Sircely at 8 p.m. inside Olympia's Pig Bar. Placing poetic songwriting alongside instrumental mastery, Barnes and Sircely together form a powerhouse duo that conjures great traditions in American music right before launching into some of the most innovative acoustic music that's never been heard. Friends for 10 years, most of their collaboration has taken place in Barnes' kitchen, including recording for Danny's Minner Bucket Records, and now they invite audiences around the Northwest to witness what they've been cooking up.

2. Burnished metal art is like glass art in this respect: It's natural beauty can be so enticing that the artist doesn't really have to do much of anything. It's so easy to get by with just a nice surface. Luckily for visitors to Fulcrum Gallery, artist Devin Reynolds brings a nice aesthetic sense to his brushed metal work in his show, "Caustic Compositions" from noon to 6 p.m. Read Alec Clayton's full review of "Caustic Compositions" in the Weekly Volcano's Arts section.

3. Many associate the banjo with The Beverly Hillbillies - or rather, bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs strumming its theme song. Vince Brown certainly knows his way around a bluegrass banjo, but he also explores jazz with his banjo, which isn't a big leap from progressive bluegrass. Blending bluegrass, folk, jazz, and other genres, Brown is considered one of the South Sound's foremost banjo virtuosos. The upbeat Brown - who adds his talent to Hot Club Sandwich, Tune Stranglers, Greta Jane Quartet, and plays and teaches guitar, banjo and ukulele in Olympia - strums everything every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. inside the Swing Wine Bar & Café

4. Love 'em or hate 'em, Sublime is a legendary band. Die-hard fans of the Long Beach-based ska punk rockers with the signature skater brand may argue that the group is not the same without front man Brad Nowell after he died of a heroin overdose in 1996. At 7 p.m., Sublime tribute band Sublime LBC will rock "Smoke Two Joints," "Crazy Fool" and other favorites at Jazzbones. Bonus One: They are playing with Long Beach Rehab, featuring members of Sublime LBC and Bad Brains.

5. Saxophonist Kareem Kandi's sound is virtually unrelated to the roomy traditions of soul saxes, honking saxes or deep-chested boudoir ballad saxes. It derives from the classic, free, often enthusiastic tradition of Joshua Redman as filtered through Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, all of whose shadows can be traced-Redman in Kandi's funky organicism, Gordon in his dynamic harmonics, Stitt in the intensity that coats his every note with a Gritty City finish. Kandi has been hanging with organist Delvon Lamarr and drummer Adam Kessler, which has added groovy innovation to Kandi's sound. The Kareem Kandi Band heads back to The Swiss at 7 p.m. for another Wednesday open jam session.

LINK: Wednesday, Jan. 9 arts and entertainment calendar in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

Filed under: 5 Things To Do, Arts, Music, Olympia, Tacoma,

January 9, 2013 at 8:39am

Engine House No. 9 adds Greek dishes

PANO'S PASTA: It's a delicious Greek dish at Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma.


Since X Group Restaurants took control of the historic Engine House No. 9 in June 2011; we've seen many subtle changes - in ambiance and its stable of nibbles and libations. The dessert menu received one of the initial changes. E-9 went from serving premade frozen sweet treats to housemade pastries, courtesy of its sister restaurant, Masa. Its carrot cake must - delightfully well balanced, moist, and not too sweet while the icing was fluffy and light.  It was like biting into a cloud.

The most recent change to E-9's menu, albeit temporary, is the addition of Greek cuisine. Greek entree specials will be served during January in honor of the ownerships' Greek heritage.

Sitting in front of E-9 bartender Ramona Sizemore - fully involved with my carrot cake - I asked her what Greek entrée rocks. She gives nod to the My Big Fat Greek Pizza ($15.50). Topped with a pesto sauce, mozzarella and feta cheeses, and adorned with kalamata olives, halved cherry tomatoes, gyro meat and artichoke hearts, I do believe I spied Sizemore drooling a bit as she described it. Having dined alone this visit, I didn't opt for the pizza; it's a healthy size and can feed two or three people easily.

Also featured this month is the St. Nicks Gyro ($8.75) - a pita stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, shaved onion and gyro meat drizzled in a tzatziki sauce and served up with your choice of salad, fries or tater tots. Again, tempting, but not what I had my eye on.

E-9's Pano's Pasta ($14) - that is what I'm talking about. A lovely mix of linguine perfectly coated in olive oil and a citrus sauce then tossed with chicken, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. This dish is earthy, and surprisingly light and refreshing as compared to other pasta dishes.

Since I'm on a "new changes" roll - as of Friday, E-9 now pours bourbon and whiskey flights. You may choose between rye, bourbon, moonshine, Northwest whiskey and a premium flight - each highlighting thee different types of each spirit in tasty, one-ounce pours. E-9's whiskey selection has grown to an impressive array of options. Adding a bourbon and whiskey flights allows drinkers to sample the selection with little commitment.

If it's been a year or more since your last visit to Engine House No. 9, I'd recommend you pull in.




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Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

January 9, 2013 at 9:12am

Reading - It's all in the Wrist


Wrist Magazine provides an outlet for the literary minds of Tacoma, for self-expression and for writers to seek true connection to the masses. Friday night, the magazine will host its first ever literary event, which will take place at Metronome Coffee.

On this evening, at least seven contributors to previous issues of Wrist will read from their works. The event is free and punctuated by the deliciousness that is Metronome's selection of coffee, beer, wine and baked goods. After all, can you really get into the full literary experience without a libation of choice?

Readers will include Nick Stokes, Melissa Thayer, Vince Genna, Darryl Small - local actor in the film Rockabye Deadman that premiered late last year at Washington State History Museum - Titus Burley and Weekly Volcano's own Joshua Swainston.

Why should you get up off your cozy couch and go to this event?

"It's substantial," says Wrist publisher Chris Arthur. "Authors are natural storytellers and the chance of hearing them speak their own words out loud gives a sort of buzz to any listener. It also inspires others to be brave and to write."

Wrist Magazine hopes to launch more coming events, perhaps even more in January.


Filed under: Arts, Word, Tacoma,

January 9, 2013 at 10:02am

Rainy Day Records celebrates 40 years

WILDMAN JAMES MAEDA: He's there for you at Rainy Day Records. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy


The year was 1973. Music was in it's arguable hey-day: Elvis Presley performed in Hawaii as the first worldwide telecast and was watched by more people than watched the Apollo moon landings, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was released and Rainy Day Records opened in Olympia, Wash.

That's reason to party.

Celebrate 40 years of records, skateboards, rock shirts and nag champa at Rainy Day's birthday celebration Sunday, Jan. 20 at The Brotherhood Lounge. The next day is a holiday, students and state workers, so no excuses to not come down and boogie.

Former and present Rainy Day employees will be spinning tunes. DJ Action Slacks will take a break from her regular gig, Sugar Town, at The Spare Room club in Portland, to give the soul people of Olympia some good tunes. Wildman James Maeda and Chris Sutton will also spin the jams.

Maeda reflects on what he loves about working at Rainy Day, "I'm always excited about helping people in their quest for music."

Maeda says the store will have other celebrations throughout the year, including an all-ages event.

Another notable event that celebrates 40 years is Roe v. Wade - the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that overturned state bans on abortion. In celebration, 100 percent of the proceeds from the $3 cover will benefit Planned Parenthood.


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