Wednesday, December 31, 2008

VIDEO: See you at First Night

So much fun, so much to do.

Here's a video that shows a bit about what last year was like.

My favorite discovery last year: Local band Deborah Page. Last year Deborah and her partner Paul Uhl played Sanford & Son and the Pythian Temple, this year you can catch them on the main stage (outdoors on Broadway, across from LeRoy's Jeweler) at 6 p.m. Deborah's lyrics and vocals are haunting and range from heartfelt ballad to total rockout and a bit o' fun with the children's rhyme "Mary Mack."

Here's a few clips of one of their last year's First Night performances.

Of course, that's just the beginning. There's Valentine's Performing Pigs, Motopony, Girltrouble, Steve the Good Enough, firedancers, pipe bands, ethnic bands, art, Lynn DiNino's "Hi Jack" art experience at 8 p.m. at 9th & Broadway and so much more.

Come out, come about and enjoy!

WHAT: First Night Tacoma-Pierce County
WHERE: Downtown Tacoma's Theater District (along Broadway, approx. between S. 7th & S. 11th)
WHEN: Dec. 31, 2008 (downtown fun begins at 6 p.m., museums free to button holders all day)
HOW MUCH: $10 gets you into museums all day, all the stages and more. 7 & younger are free.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's a Triple Threat of Poster Fabulousness: Beautiful Angle, Pearl Jam and Victory Gardens ... oh my!

If you enjoy interesting and artsy posters, this is your week! See some greats, get some goods, and enjoy an art form that seems so simple -- until you see the pros in action ....

1. Pearl Jam vs. Ames Brothers: 13 years of Tour Posters. The Tacoma Public Library kicks off this exhibition at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Main Library's Handforth Gallery. The show features 82 posters designed by the Ames Bros, Barry Ament and Coby Schultz, who will be onhand to sign copies of their book, a compendium of the band's 1995-2007 gig posters by the two artists and Brad Klausen, Pearl Jam's exclusive print-designers.

2. Beautiful Angle Holiday Party & Benefit Poster Sale: Come join the fun at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at Black Water Cafe. Tacoma's underground postermakers combine words and images as they challenge notions about Tacoma, religion, and the way we think. Get to see all the lovely letterpess in one place, sit back and listen to the music -- and if you're one of the first 50 folks to bring in a cash donation of at least $5, you'll get a commemorative Beautiful Angle poster. (Donations benefit the Layla House, an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)

3. "Victory Garden," featuring Eleanor Roosevelt. The gals behind Anagram Press and Springtide Press team up again for a second poster, which they're half-jokingly referring to as part of their "Dead Feminists Set." This broadside poster is in honor of the recent election and the timeliness of sustainability issues, and features a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Get 'em while they're here! Only 76 were printed, and they're already half gone. The duo's first collaboration, "Come, My Conservative Friend" are already sold out.

Halloween might be a month gone, but the spirits ... they do linger

The holiday season is a bit rough this year. Last year, between July and December, I lost three grandmothers. Within less than a handful of months, my husband had lost his remaining grandparents as well. But sometimes you're not so sure how it's going to hit you. You're not sure how you're going to remember. And when you're hit with back to back sadness, you react a little different. You get a little numb. Well, at least I did. And it takes a little while to let go again.

It was a year ago Friday that the third of my grandmothers died. This one, she was also my second mom. I grew up with she and my grandfather down the hall. She was there to offer advice, a nightly hug, offer perspective, critique my writing, understand my poetry and so much more. Did I mention she was also the third grandmother to die within 6 months? I was in a bit of a daze of death by this point. Cried out. Griefed out. It still hit me ... but I kind of felt that the tears of the third were somehow less than the first. Each just as missed, me just as sad ... but simply dried out. In a daze. Or perhaps, I rather wonder, I was just unwilling to believe it was true.

But I'm making up for lost tears this last week or so ...

It started just before Thanksgiving.

I was minding my own business. Working. Working. Working. Listening to the radio online as I worked. And then it stopped.

It just stopped.


For some folks, the internet going down might be a regular thing. But for us, it's a blessedly rare thing. But early in the afternoon, it went down. But I needed to focus, I needed some tunes to block out the background.

And so I plugged my headphones into my iPhone and clicked on the Dixie Chicks. All was swell and good until a certain song. A song about death. And grief. And missing loved ones. A song about a Silent House. A song that hits a little close. And I started to cry. Freeflow cry. And then it hit me ... Thanksgiving was later this year, and the last time I saw my grandma was just after 2007 Thanksgiving. Could it be? No. That would be too weird ... and yet it was true. It was the anniversary of the last time I saw my grandma alive. Perhaps even down to the hour. It totally snuck up on me. In a busy time of year where I can barely keep track of the days, my subconscious ... or the spirits ... wouldn't let me forget. I was a wreck the rest of the day. Good thing I didn't have any meetings ...

I managed through Thursday, the actually anniversary of her death. I was a bit nostalgic. A bit sad. But not a crying wreck. But then there was Friday ... I took Dec. 5 off. The kids had the day off school. The husband was out of town for training. The friend needed help with making her fundraiser chocolates. It was a good day to take a break. It wasn't until I was mid-light-crying in between chocolate batches, as I shared the pre-Thanksgiving tale, that I was reminded by a dear friend that, oddly, it was exactly a year ago that I was in her kitchen ... also making chocolates. And also crying. After this grandma's death last year, I took a day off to get it together. Quite dazed, I was in no shape for work. But didn't want to be left with my mind's thoughts uninterrupted, either, and so last year I was a last-minute volunteer. And this year, apparently I was back for a coincidental anniversary encore.

At least I was in a house where eerie grandmother moments were not foreign ...

I feel like the spirits decided to stay and play after this year's All Souls Day.

Friday, December 05, 2008

VIDEOS: Viral marketing took me to a crazy-awesome place

This week I was introduced to the fantabulous singer aka self-described "girl from another plant" Janelle Monae ... thanks to a cameo-heavy GAP Christmas music-video marketing campaign that appeared on my Facebook page.

Amid a conversation with friends about the celebs we could and couldn't name, a female singer I did not know at all made me WANT to know who she was. The few bits that she was featured in made me think: That is an amazing singer. With crazy hair. Amazing crazy hair. And a crazy amazing voice.

Here's the video that caught my attention.

I went to the site to see if there was more, and there was. Including one featuring this intriguing singer ... with an interpretive dance by Napoleon Dynamite star John Heder.

Click here to see this video. (I had it embedded, but then both the GAP videos would play at once ... figured I'd spare ya'all. But it's really good ... so I recommend clicking.)

Yup. She was still good in long form. And now I had a name. And so I further explored and found one of her music videos, which further shocked the hell out of me. I was NOT expecting a very theatric, sci-fi, surrealist, retro, funk/ska-like piece of wow.

Yet again: Damn that girl's got chops.

I will be following the evolution of the Wondaland Arts Society, fo' sho.