Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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January 27, 2015 at 7:48am

5 Things To Do Today: "She's Beautiful When She's Angry," Marissa Meyer release, beer takeovers, Rick Steves ...

"She's Beautiful When She's Angry" offers a story of 1960s and 1970s feminism. Photo courtesy of IFC

TUESDAY, JAN. 27 2015 >>>

1. She's Beautiful When She's Angry tells the story of the brilliant, often outrageous women who founded the feminist movement from 1966 to 1971. They said, "the personal is political" and made a revolution: in the bedroom, in the workplace, in all spheres of life. Called "threatening" by the FBI, yet ignored in many histories, these women changed the world. Since the '60s, when a generation of activists and critics dared to argue that women should be allowed to make decisions and hold jobs of note and be paid worth a damn and not get raped, feminism has fundamentally changed most aspects of our lives today. The Grand Cinema will screen Mary Dore's documentary as part of its Tuesday Film Series at 1:45 and 6:30 p.m.

2. Bates Technical College's Culinary Arts crew threw their hat into the ring during November's 2014 World Food Championships in Las Vegas and came out on top with their Snooty Chef Burger. This behemoth earned them fourth out of 50 of those competing, advancing them to the final round where they placed in the top 10. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the citizens of the South Sound may dig into this championship burger at Bates Technical College's café for a cool $9.95 (price includes tax and fries).

3. Join King's Books as they celebrate the release of Fairest, the latest inThe Lunar Chronicles, by Tacoma's own Marissa Meyer. Fairest is a prequel to the other books in the series and tells the backstory of the dreaded Queen Levana. At the event you can hear Marissa read an excerpt, ask her questions, participate in fun activities, and, of course, buy books. Expect a large crowd. At 4 p.m., book signing tickets will be available and at 5 the doors will open. 

4. Some 20 years ago, Manny Chao was the first employee at Mac and Jack's Brewery. With Chao's help, Mac and Jack's amber ale became the third best selling craft brew in the state. Five years later, Chao left Mac and Jack's and by 2002, he and his housemate, Roger Bialous, homebrewed their first beer - Manny's Pale Ale. In 2003, Chao was the number one employee at his Georgetown Brewing Company located in Seattle's Georgetown district. In 2013, Chao and Bialous produced 52,300 barrels of beer - the second highest in the state behind Red Hook. Meet Chao at the Georgetown Brewing Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. at Pint Defiance, drink his Manny's Pale, Lovely Rieda Imperial IPA, Lucille IPA and Barrel-aged Chopper's Red Ale, learn the stories behind the beer names and maybe win a raffle prize. Over at Puget Sound Pizza, Hop Valley Brewing will unleash their Operation Vacation Extra Pale Ale and IPAs from 6-9 p.m.

4. The University of Puget Sound welcomes travel guru Rick Steves to its Schneebeck Concert Hall for a "Israelis and Palenstinians Today" chat at 7 p.m. Steves - book author, travel expert, pot smoker, global wanderer, TV host - has spent four months each year overseas for the last 30 years — including Israel and Palestine. According to pre-event hype, "Steves will share his impressions of the beauty of the Holy Land and explore legacies of the region's long history of conflicts, including the disputed settlements in the West Bank, the security wall built by the Israelis, and the long-lingering Palestinian refugee camps."

LINK: Tuesday, Jan. 27 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 1, 2014 at 10:36am

Outdoor Addict: Outdoorsy gifting guide of 2014

Patagonia Black Hole Duffle Bag = awesome

My family keeps asking the only question I hate more than "are we there yet?"

"What do you want for Christmas?"

Ugh. So in an effort to appease my own family and provide inspiration for any outdoor enthusiasts in your life, here's a list that ranges from Trump style to starving student.

REI Adventure Travel Extravaganza

I've been coveting a trip to Bhutan for quite some time now. High in the Himalayas, Bhutan is a Buddhist country largely untouched by Western influence. They only allow a certain number of tourists per year and do not have a well-developed tourism industry, so going it alone is a little more than I can handle. Enter REI Travel. They organize amazing trips with excellent guides, local connections and know how to handle group dynamics. I mean come on; the trip is called "Festivals of the Thunder Dragon". How cool is that?! Anyone want to be my Santa baby and slip this under my tree?

14 day Festivals of the Thunder Dragon: $4,999

Local Check-That-Off-The-Bucket-List

So maybe your budget isn't able to handle Bhutan. No matter. You can still help your beloveds check stuff off their bucket lists. Everything from ice climbing to paddle boarding can be done in our own backyard. Personally, I want a snowshoeing experience. Or send them white water rafting this spring. How about snowboarding lessons? Or kayaking? The possibilities are endless and I promise they will love it more than that sweater you were about to grab desperately.

Whitewater: Riverrecreation.com 

Snowsports: Crystal Mountain

Snowshoeing that is practically free: Mount Rainier 

Kayaking: Kayak Academy 


Every adventure lover needs gear. My top choice for this category is something not on my Christmas list this year. Because I already bought it for myself and lovelovelove it: a Patagonia Black Hole Duffle Bag. These things are da bomb. They hold insane amounts of stuff, take a beating beautifully and are stylish enough to not make me self-conscious when I'm outside the Pacific Northwest. (Side note: have you ever noticed that? Leave here and suddenly you realize just how different fashion perspective are? Just me? OK.) Oh, and they make a backpacks too.

The "Cheap" Stuff

Anyone who is in to outdoor pursuits will tell you how much the little stuff adds up. For rock climbers it's chalk and tape. For hikers it's good socks. Skiers and snowboarders can never have too many hats and gloves. And everybody loves granola bars and snacks. Consider loading your favorite adventurer up with the essentials they need. They aren't glamorous but they'll be thoroughly enjoyed.

September 17, 2014 at 8:14am

5 Things To Do Today: Halfway to St. Patrick's Day, Bunco, Jazz Sound Trio, Easy Star All Stars ...

Doyle's Public House parties tonight.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 17 2014 >>>

1. It is not too early to be planning your St. Patrick's Day celebration - March 17 is six months away. To help you get in the mood - and another reason to drink a bunch of Jameson whiskey - Doyle's Public House will host its annual Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Party. The party begins with Doyle's Guinness Club toast at 5:17 p.m. All the members gather before Grand Poobah Russ Heaton, who recognizes members who have hit milestones, such as 500 pints of Guinness, while the other members tear up. After the announcement, Heaton raises a glass of the Irish Mother's Milk and toasts the members. The next Dublin On Doyle's finalist will be drawn at 8 p.m., followed with the Irish drinking bluegrass band The Rusty Cleavers. From 8-10 p.m. the weekly Knowledge Night trivia contest waits for no party, with shotty rewards.

2. Thousands of people across the country, mostly women, play Bunco, which originated as a British parlor game and came to the United States as a gambling game in the 1800s. More recently, Bunco was prevalent among housewives who would play at lunchtime while their husbands worked. Today, it has evolved into an evening social event, such is the case every third Wednesday at Morso wine bar. Kicking off with a social hour at 6 p.m., the dice roll at 7 p.m. Morso will serve a Bunco Bites menu. Expect prizes for the biggest winner and loser. Space is limited; RSVP at 253.530.3463.  

3. If you'd like to see and hear what the Arctic Circle is before it melts away, as well as Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland, the World Affairs Council Tacoma hosts Beth Willis and Becky Bianco who will recount their journey to theses locales, which included encounters with reindeer, hot springs, geysers and a traditional Sami Village. Their "Places You Never Expect To Go: Crossing The Arctic Circle and Above" lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Annie Wright's Great Hall.

4. The Jazz Sound Trio, aka Pacific Lutheran University jazz faculty members David Deacon-Joyner on piano, Clipper Anderson on bass and Mark Ivester on drums, perform at 8 p.m. in Lagerquist Concert Hall.

A year ago this week the Easy Star All Stars performed their opus, Dub Side of the Moon, at Jazzbones. Replacing of the cash registers on "Money" with rhythmic bong rips was brilliant. "Us and Them" was an utter showstopper in reggae. The reggae collective is back at Jazzbones to blend reggae, classic rock, dub and indie rock into one big stone groove at 8 p.m. The band with the greatest name in the world is also holding court at Jazzbones. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad is a young group of fantastic musicians who kerplunk the one-drop pure and beautiful. Yeah sure, it's reggae, but there's no Rasta-posturing in the group's original tunes, just good, original, fun music - danceable as hell, too.

LINK: Wednesday, Sept. 17 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 24, 2014 at 7:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Alan Partridge, new visitor center, wolf lectures, Elvis ...

Any Yanks concerned that the Brits outclass us may find relief in "Alan Partridge."

TUESDAY, JUNE 24 2014 >>>

1. Before Larry David and Ricky Gervais cornered the market on cringe-inducing comedy, there was Alan Partridge. For those unfamiliar with Partridge, he is a fictional pedantic media whore portrayed by English comedian Steve Coogan, who started out as a sports reporter before graduating to a TV host. Partridge has had many ups and downs in his life. National television broadcaster. Responsible for killing a guest on live TV. Local radio broadcaster. A nervous breakdown in Dundee. The Grand Cinema screens the self-titled film portraying the events of the greatest low-to-high-ebb spectrum in Partridge's life to date - specifically how he tries to salvage his public career while negotiating a potentially violent turn of events at North Norfolk Digital Radio. See Coogan's awesome comic timing at 2:30 and 6:45 p.m.

2. The Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau is opening up a brand-spanking new visitor center and is at the ready to celebrate. From 10 a.m. to noon, the general public is cordially invited to the grand opening and unveiling of the new Tacoma Visitor Information Center at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center in downtown Tacoma. Admission is free and all are welcome. Games, prizes, personalities and a mayoral welcome are the orders of the day. 

3. Pastels have a bad rep, often deserved, but not always. The name is associated with soft and pretty colors, and pastel as a media has long been thought of as a media of sweet grandmothers who take it up as a hobby - despite the example of Edgar Degas, who revolutionized pastel art with layered and heavily textured works as far back as 1880. That influence is still very evident in the NW Pastel Society's 28th Annual International Open Exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at American Art Company.

4. Known as a premiere wolf facility in the United States, Wolf Haven is also one of the most unusual, both in its work for restoration and protection of wolves and because formerly captive wolves are not allowed to breed out of the fear of contributing to captive populations. Wolf Haven educators, Skie Bender and Cindy Irwin, will be at the Tumwater Timberland Library today to present two programs: a workshop on the wolf's role in nature and a discussion of the current status of wolves in Washington. "The Wolf Café," a workshop designed for children and families, will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Participants will learn about the wolf's diet and how the animal is adapted for its role as a key predator. The Wolves of Washington, which is geared to adults, will be from 6 to 7 p.m. The presentation covers the history of wolves in the state, what happened to them, where our wolves are coming from today, current numbers, legal status, and conflicts.

5. Usually when you go to the casino you just lose money - but tonight could be different. Danny Vernon's Illusions of Elvis will be at the Red Wind Casino. Travel out to Yelm and have a great time with the King's likeness, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

LINK: Tuesday, June 24 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 25, 2014 at 7:46am

5 Things To Do Today: Fashion show, Documentary Week, Chris Anderson, lighthouse chat and more ...

2014 Ms. Wheelchair America Jennifer Adams

TUESDAY, MARCH 25 2014 >>>

1. The Salon Professional Academy is playing host to a special benefit, hair, makeup and fashion show and silent auction to support 2014 Ms. Wheelchair America Jennifer Adams' platform, "Inclusion Revolution," at 6:30 p.m. The event, "Shine Bright Like a Diamond Hair Show and Auction" will be held at the academy, which is located at 3702 S. Fife Street in Tacoma. This special evening will feature a runway haute couture hair and makeup show that showcases the extraordinary student talent at the academy. Featured clothing from up-and-coming designer Victor Aguirre will also be featured. Adams will be on hand to serve as master of ceremonies and will wear one of Aguirre's custom creations.

2. When it comes to documentaries, it's nothing short of the Wild West out there. There are just so many, from theatrical to television to stuff that just shows up on Netflix or Hulu one day in your recommended list. And while we're a bit perturbed Pink Hearts! Yellow Moons! Orange Stars! Green Clovers! White Toe Tags! didn't make this year's list, The Grand Cinema does have quite the Documentary Week going. Check out today's screenings here.

3. Sinatra-esque crooner Chris Anderson takes his show to the Red Wind Casino at 6:30 p.m., hitting all the notes and making the ladies swoon in the process. Anderson has repeatedly proven to offer a throwback good time.

4. It's nice existing so close to Mama Nature, but living in the city - surrounded by concrete, neon, strip malls and bikini espresso shacks - it's still easy to be oblivious to the natural world. If you're looking for a little salt, breeze and fresh air action, David Kaynor's tour of lighthouses will make you see the, er, light. Washington state has a long saltwater coastline and many of its lighthouses are inaccessible and difficult to view. At 7 p.m. in the Olympia Center, Kaynor will present a one-hour slide tour that will take you to 10 of the more accessible lights starting from the south sound. Handouts include directions and maps so you can bust out of the city.

5. On any night of the week, one can meander past the main bar in Olympia's China Clipper Club Cafe, to the back room where a disco ball, stage, stellar PA system, extensive song list, savvy DJ and lively, often tipsy, crowd scribbles on tiny, colorful paper then waits ... for Clipper Karaoke. "We're different - at least that's the ambition," says Steve Yonkers, who has been hosting Clipper Karaoke since 2007. "We want to run more of a variety show. We don't just call up your name and sing. I interact with the audience. I think its more interesting. "It's not a diva contest here," he continues. "I want it to be fun and relaxing and encourage people to have a good time." Get in on the party at 9 p.m. 

LINK: Tuesday, March 25 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 20, 2014 at 9:29am

Update (video): Operation Ward 57 wins Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program

Operation Ward 57 received its free van Friday, Feb. 21 at Toyota of Tacoma after winning the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

UPDATE: Operation Ward 57 received its free van from the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program at noon, Friday, Feb. 21 at Toyota of Tacoma. We captured the ceremony on video, which you can see below. ...


February 19, 2014 at 12:15pm

Kurt Cobain Day launches Feb. 20 in Aberdeen

Nirvana, 1988 / photo credit: Charles Peterson

"People born specifically on the 20th of February are surmised to be polite, tactful team players who are highly receptive," reads an excerpt from gotohoroscope.com. "The ruling astrological planet for this particular day is the Moon - adding warmth and compassion to your list of attributes. If you have this birthday an adoration of beautiful things and music accompanies your easygoing friendly nature."


Filed under: Ceremony, Music, Travel,

December 19, 2012 at 9:56am

CLAYTON ON ART: Sean Alexander draws the South Sound

SOUTH SOUND USER'S GUIDE: Yes, that's a coffee stain. The Weekly Volcano uses the User's Guide.


By all appearances Sean Alexander is obsessed with drawing. He was a Foundation of Art Award nominee in 2008 and again in 2011. He is the former owner of the Helm Gallery. His work has been shown in many venues from galleries to books. One of his drawings can be seen in the current Foundation of Art exhibition at B2 Gallery, and lots of them can be seen in the new South Sound User's Guide, edited by Ken Miller and illustrated and designed by Alexander.

The cover illustration for the book is the South Sound's most visible icon - Mount Rainier. Most visible when it's out, that is. But on the South Sound User's Guide it is always out. It's a strong image. The mountain appears to be surrounded by low-lying clouds. Or it could be interpreted as rising out of water, which is, of course, inaccurate; but it makes for a nice image. Countless tiny vertical lines in the foreground could be seen as evergreen trees seen from a great distance or as fields of grass. Similar lines radiating from all directions indicate the rays of a glorious sun. The lines also look like swarms of sperm swimming toward an egg.  A similar radiating sun can be seen in many of his drawings.

The back cover features a drawing of an old style train in solid black with white lines. The background images and the wheels reverse that image with black on white. It's a cropped section of a larger drawing that appears in the section on Old Town Tacoma. Here again we see the ever-present mountain and the same sky.

The drawings throughout are playful and delightful, very much like children's book illustrations, with strong black and white contrasts and fine line work. His drawings illustrate scenes from all around the South Sound and nicely capture the flavor of the area.

Among my favorite drawings are:

The Elliot Air airplane on page ii of the introduction, executed with the same white-on-black line work as the Old Town train drawing.

The Bob's Java Jive drawing on page 8.

The Kiera's Kitchen duck on page 17 - love the flat duckbill.

The silly musical note illustrating Vicci Martinez' favorite live music spots in Tacoma on page 57.

The elegant little rat with his bow tie sitting on a slice of cheese on page 61.

The State Capitol drawing on page 139. Here the radiating lines from the sun are bolder, as is the heavy outline around the top part of the building. These stronger lines convey the largeness and importance of the Capitol.

Batdorf & Bronson's dancing goats in the Port of Olympia section on page 151.

The South Sound User's Guide is unique to the area and nicely different than any other travel guide. It is available at Kings Books and Orca Books and other venues throughout the area.

Full disclosure: I am one of many contributing writers, as are other Weekly Volcano scribes, and our publisher/editor, Ron Swarner, wrote the introduction.

Filed under: Tacoma, Olympia, Arts, Travel, Community, Books,

January 21, 2012 at 9:41am

South Sound guide book of a different color


To the outsider, the South Sound can seem like a sea of trucker hats, strip malls, teriyaki restaurants and traffic jams. At first glance, we may be viewed as an over-caffeinated lot with seasonal affective disorder that loves a good cover band and burger while we try to claim a more liberal definition of the American Dream.

Three talented Tacomans have a different view of the South Sound. They see the nooks. They see the treasures. They see the back trails. And they see it through a creative eye.

Civic activist Ken Miller and artists Chris Sharp and Sean Alexander have assembled a team of writers and visual artists to produce the South Sound Users Guide - a guidebook to the region's more than 3,000 square miles and its 1.1 million inhabitants.

This will not be your typical, glossy travelogue. From what I can gather, it will carry an independent tone with sass completed with hand-drawn illustrations and an out-of-the-box design.

I traded a few questions with Miller as the team generates money for the project via Kickstarter.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: What sparked this project?

KEN MILLER: I've been convinced for a long time the South Sound is a distinct cultural and economic region, and then I saw some of Sean's drawings and talked with Chris and it just sort of tumbled together.

One of my motivations really is to help us see ourselves as a distinctive place. We don't have a Pottery Barn, for example; but by population we're bigger than eight states.

Plus with LeMay and the U.S. Open, we'll need a guide of our own, and I want it to be cool, rather than glossy photos of daffodil fields.

VOLCANO: What's your definition of the South Sound?

MILLER: We're concentrating on Pierce, Thurston and Mason counties – breaking them down by locations, much like Saul Wurman's Access series.

VOLCANO: Where will the guide be distributed?

MILLER: We're finalizing a distribution agreement with Partners West, to put the book into bookstores and gift shops across the western U.S. and Canada. We'll have an e-version, too. There won't be advertising in the text, but we have the ability to offer "customized" back covers in volume - over 100 copies - for $5 per book. The retail price will be $20.

VOLCANO: You already have 32 backers on your Kickstarter.

MILLER: We're using Kickstarter to finance the front-end costs - with rewards at various levels of donations. Among the rewards on Kickstarter are three opportunities to write up one's own "feature" - a business, for example. Those rewards are at the $500 level, and are the only paid content.

For more details, to provide support or to pre-order a copy of the book, go to kickstarter.com and enter "South Sound Users Guide" in the search box; or contact Miller at krm@harbornet.com.

December 6, 2011 at 4:29pm

BLOGGING: Tacoma's Lynn Di Nino hits Miami Beach

The Art Miami Venue during Vernissage / Photo credit: Lynn Di Nino


EDITOR'S NOTE: Tacoma's own Lynn Di Nino is in Miami, Florida for the annual Art Basel Miami Beach art trade show. She was kind enough to agree to blog about it for the Weekly Volcano.

Next year set yourself on fire by buying a $40 ticket to Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), the world-class fine art trade show. Whether you're an artist, a student or an art patron - you will be intoxicated with exposure to the high level of quality and variety of work from all over the world. Much of the work this year was inventive, outrageous, clever and thought provoking. The 10th annual mega event drew an additional 21 satellite art fairs - in warehouses, hotels and public spaces all around Miami and South Beach. This year there were more than 50,000 fair attendees, breaking last year's record.

Art Basel Miami Beach scene

If you go to the Vernissage, the invitation-only party preview, you will see a lot of rich-looking clean and very well dressed couples - most definitely the art patrons, the life blood of these heady exhibitions.

Because it's warm, you might see men wearing white leather shoes with no socks.

In addition to flamboyant fashions, and trays of special appetizers with free cocktails, you will experience miles of paintings, fine line drawings, sculpture, and photographs. The sculpture will be cast and fabricated resin, bronze imitating cardboard, Carrera marble imitating a Styrofoam carving of Mona Lisa, and an abundance of highly labor-intensive, expertly crafted wall pieces made with X-Acto knife paper cut-outs, knotted very fine plastic line, and hand-sewn sequins covering surfaces larger than your couch. You will see sexually explicit work, political pieces showing banks burning, and glorifications of everyday objects.

A memorable piece in the labor-intensive category was a full-scale gramophone on a grid of hanging buttons like a 3-D pointillistic sculpture in space. This piece sold. Another work used light blue wire mesh panels that were sewn into the transparent shapes of a bathroom sink, a faucet and an electrical panel. Each was framed in Plexiglas.

Every early December Miami Beach hosts Art Basel Miami Beach (originating in Basel, Switzerland), "the most prestigious art show in the Americas. More than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa take part, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries." This is just ABMB - when you multiply the other 21 venues by the number of galleries represented within each, and the number of artworks they present, that totals approximately 5000 artworks. Looking at these quantities of curated work hones the art appreciation skills.

The shows

AQUA, a charming small scale art deco hotel, serving as a satellite venue, held a very pleasant surprise: Tacoma's own Nicholas Nyland was showing his artworks with the well-established Seattle cooperative gallery, SOIL. The spirit here was bustling yet relaxed with live music and free drinks in the courtyard. Except for AQUA's focus on West Coast galleries, there seemed generally to be no venue concentrations of art styles, locales or price ranges.

The galleries exhibiting in the biggest show pay $30,000 for 540 square feet for five days, and at PULSE - a less formal yet popular venue - the price was $20,000 for their 28-hour event. Modigliani, a framed Banksy, Henry Moore, Picasso, Chuck Close, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Keith Haring originals were for sale. A Henry Darger watercolor was for sale at $145,000, and a Diane Arbus photograph for $36,000. A Joseph Cornell piece sold during this show for $580,000, and there were many red dots.

New York gallerist Lucy Mitchell-Innes, director of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, attributed strong results to emerging collectors. "We saw a whole new generation of thirty-something collectors, seriously interested in looking and learning - and now buying as well, with many more women collectors making their own independent collecting decisions,'' Mitchell-Innes said via in a release. Even in a recession the people with money have to find safe places to put it, and right now Wall Street is not considered as safe as investments in high-end art.

The one

Out of some 5000 artworks I personally viewed, many stood out, but one in particular was compelling to me. Investigate for yourself the artists Glaser/Kunz and the gallery that represents them here. These sculptures have video-projected faces that are animated very realistically (also eerily) and they speak a poetry formulated from interviews with homeless people. To learn more about their work, click here.

The piece sells for $121,000.

How do we rate?

Is there good work like this here in the South Sound? You bet there is. Tacoma is a parallel universe to Miami in that their art patrons buy elsewhere - outside their own city (unless Art Basel is in town). World-class museums like the ones we have, and schools of higher learning contribute to the nurturing of a local art patron culture.

We've the quality art, now we need our patrons.

LINK: Lynn Di Nino's Art Basel Miami Beach Slideshow

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma, Travel,

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