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Black Alliance of Thurston County Has Message

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 8:50pm

Above: Karen Johnson of Olympia is spearheading the Black Alliance of Thurston County.
by Janine
Many individuals and community groups are working harder than ever on issues and conversations about race, racism and police issues ever since the Olympia police officer involved shooting of two young African American men on May 21.
An Olympia Police Department shooting review board issued its conclusion earlier this week that no policies had been violated by Officer Ryan Donald during the incident. Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts reviewed the board’s decision and concurred.
The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office is pursuing assault charges against the men, Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin. Subject to change, their pre-trial date is scheduled for November 4.
Along with over 30 other community members, Dr. Karen Johnson, Olympia, spoke out in front of the Olympia city council about the shooting on May 26.
“I was invited to come to that meeting to speak about these issues from my perspective. So, I accepted the invitation. I went to listen to what others had to say and spoke my truth.”
Johnson read the poem, “The Cold Within,” by James Patrick Kinney, and said that she fundamentally believed that she was there to speak because of unconscious bias on the part of Officer Donald. She referred to a book published in 1952 called, “The Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison, which talks about the phenomena of not seeing or hearing people of color.
“….We, in this city, have an opportunity…. In the words of a book by Dr. King, ‘Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?’ I would encourage us to go ‘community.’ Build a place where people are heard, valued, and respected, and then it doesn’t matter what the color of our skin and we can really live out the content of our character,” concluded Johnson.
Later, she and a group of African American community leaders formed the Black Alliance of Thurston County. 
The Black Alliance of Thurston County has met with Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts several times since the officer involved shooting and issued a press release on September 2 calling Thurston County Jon Tunheim’s decision to not charge the police officer as “lawful, yet unjust.” 
Drawn by her faith to a life of service, Johnson is also president of the Olympia Capital Centennial Rotary Club, whose vision is to reduce homelessness in Thurston County by 50 percent by 2020 and to put a book in every child’s hand.
The Rotary motto is to put service above self and Johnson lives out that motto. The Rotary group has given substantial financial support to the Family Support Center, SafePlace, South Sound Reading, Madison Elementary School for after school enrichment programs, and more.
For her day job, Johnson is employed as a strategic initiatives executive for Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services.
“Chief Roberts asked me, probably towards the end of July, to set up a meeting with Black leaders of Olympia and Thurston County to discuss with plans for holding community conversations about race and racism, more than just within the police department. In that meeting, we also talked about addressing implicit and explicit bias and the use of body and dash cameras,” she said.
“Fundamentally, while body and dash cameras will be helpful to record excessive use of force, cameras alone won’t solve the problem.  Case in point, in July 2015, we watched Eric Garner get beaten to death in 2015…and the Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the officer. Recordings alone won’t stop the behavior. We have to deal with the unconscious bias that automatically and unconsciously results in the merciless beating, unjustifiably shooting and killing of Black and brown boys and men at a higher rate than white boys and men.”
Asked whether or not the Black Alliance is commenting on Officer Donald’s actions, Johnson said the Black Alliance officially informed Chief Roberts that the comment he made after the shooting, that race was not an issue, was not helpful.
“Since our subconscious controls 96% - 98% of our perceptions and our behaviors, and since we live in a country where it was once lawful to enslave, lynch, beat and kill Black men simply because they are Black, we can only wonder whether Officer Donald’s behaviors and perceptions would have been the same if he had encountered two young white males. It is time to have the public dialogue since this behavior has been occurring across the nation,” Johnson explained.
“We’ve had several conversations with Chief Roberts about addressing implicit and explicit bias among the police officers….We envision police officers and community members participating in fair and implicit bias training. We will use the information we learn from these trainings to frame community conversations around unconscious bias, institutional and structural racism and concrete steps police officers can take to systematically ensure that their behavior results in Black and brown people receiving ‘guardian’ instead of ‘warrior’ treatment from police officers, ” said Johnson.
In a May press conference, the Thurston County Prosecutor Attorney Jon Tunheim stated that police officers cannot be prosecuted for excessive use of force under Washington State law when they operate in “good faith and without malice.”  In a statement issued on September 2, the Black Alliance called the standard imprecise, immeasurable, and impossible to prove. 
Johnson said the Black Alliance will work to change the state law.
“Now is the time to set precise and provable legal standards when dealing with human life.  It’s time for us to speak up and step up to change this law and other laws, statutes, polices, procedures and practices until it becomes self-evident…to all…that all people are indeed created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights: the opportunity to live an abundant life, liberty without oppression, and the opportunity to pursue happiness.”
Asked about the internal review process by the Olympia police department, Johnson said, “We plan to question the whole police review process, especially as it relates to deadly force. The recent internal review process led by the Olympia police department basically requires law enforcement officers to sit in judgment of each other.  This does not provide the public with true police accountability.  It is time to change the relevant laws, rules, and civil service procedures governing police conduct.  It is time for independent oversight and review of police conduct in cases where excessive use of force may have occurred.”
Little Hollywood noted that Johnson has not attended any meeting of the city’s Ad Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations.
“There are many voices and many groups addressing the issues they see as important. The Ad Hoc group has its charge and we have defined our charge. We will connect with them when it makes sense to do so,” she said.
“Soon, we will hold a community meeting to talk about why we formed, what we are about, what we seek to achieve, and invite others to partner with us to take action and be a catalyst for change. The May 21 incident may have been the catalyst that brought the Black Alliance of Thurston County together…but it is not what keeps us together.
“….Just look at any statistic…educational achievement, suspension and discipline rates, incarceration rates, home ownership, employment, health disparities, board rooms…Black people are either disproportionately, adversely impacted or severely underrepresented or non-existent. So, although all lives do indeed matter, this is a situation that we believe is our responsibility is to change…to be that village that helps Black people achieve optimal excellence and prosperity.
“Now is the time and Thurston County is the place…We’re not doing this work for show, for the press, or for personal ambition. We’re doing this work because our foremothers and forefathers have shed too much blood to get us where we are…We must take up the mantle for this generation and the generations yet unborn,” said Johnson.
As for next steps, Johnson said, “We’ll be meeting with Chief Roberts to discuss the internal review process, to define the parameters of a deadly use of force citizen advisory board, connect with the facilitator who will be conducting the fair and impartial trainings and to schedule our police and community forums around race and racism.”
“It is time for the people of Thurston County to help the Olympia police department achieve its mission: to consistently earn the trust of the residents and visitors to our community. The department will need ongoing investments in training, technology, and solid community partnerships. The Black Alliance of Thurston County stands ready to support them in this important work.”
The Black Alliance of Thurston County is committed to building trust and promoting fair and impartial policing in Thurston County.  They support courageous and respectful conversations between communities and law enforcement about race, ethnicity, and income status.  
For more information about the Black Alliance of Thurston County, email Dr. Karen Johnson at
Above: Karen Johnson carries the United States Constitution with her at all times. Here, she is reading the 13th Amendment.

The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney
Six humans trapped by happenstanceIn bleak and bitter cold.Each one possessed a stick of woodOr so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logsThe first man held his backFor of the faces round the fireHe noticed one was black.
The next man looking ‘cross the waySaw one not of his churchAnd couldn’t bring himself to giveThe fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes.He gave his coat a hitch.Why should his log be put to useTo warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thoughtOf the wealth he had in storeAnd how to keep what he had earnedFrom the lazy shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revengeAs the fire passed from his sight.For all he saw in his stick of woodWas a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn groupDid nought except for gain.Giving only to those who gaveWas how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death’s still handsWas proof of human sin.They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.

Oliver at Tacoma Musical Playhouse

South Sound Arts - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 7:42pm

Published in The News Tribune, Oct. 2, 2015
Nancy Hebert-Bach (red dress) with the cast of Oliver. Photo by Kat Dollarhide.The British musical Oliver has been entertaining audiences for well over half a century, and it never goes out of style. The 19thcentury setting and Cockney accents (done with style and wit by the Tacoma Musical Playhouse cast) make it just foreign enough for American audiences to not be put off by the horrors of poverty, cruelty and murder in the story. Indeed, many of the scoundrels and thieves are presented as comical characters, Fagin (Sam Barker) and Mr. Bumble (Brian Cox) being prime examples of hateful guys you can‘t help loving. The nastiest of all, however, is not played comically but as a straight-out, bad guy who is proud of being the biggest, baddest man in town. That would be the club-wielding Bill Sykes (Johnny Neidlinger).Oliver is based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, with book and lyrics by Lionel Bart. Oliver (Liam Loughridge), an orphan boy, is not only kicked out of the orphanage but sold like a slave to the undertaker Mr. Sowerberry (Joe Woodland) for the offense of asking for a second helping of gruel. He escapes and ends up living with a troop of boy pickpockets working for Fagin, who provides them with a hovel in which to live and takes all the loot they steal. There he is befriended by the Artful Dodger (Helene Minassian) and Nancy (Nancy Hebert-Bach) the live-in girlfriend of the dreaded Bill Sykes. On his first pick-pocketing foray, Oliver is caught but set free and taken in by the wealthy and kindly Mr. Brownlow (Andrew Fry).For the sake of readers who may not already know the story I will not say any more about the plot.The storyline is just complex enough to be difficult to handle in a musical format, and the exposition drags a bit in the middle of the second act, but that is forgivable because of the great music and entertaining characters.Loughridge is a young boy with, according to program notes, little theatrical experience outside TMP youth programs, with the exception of appearing in A Christmas Story, the Musical at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre –quite a coupe for any young actor. He plays Oliver as a sweet and innocent boy and sings beautifully with a soft voice that I wish could be amplified a bit more.Cox as Mr. Bumble and Selleigh-Mairi Ferguson as the Widow Corney are fabulously funny in their opening scene when they appear looking like the Thénardiers in Les Misérables. They are big, bold and funny. Their seduction scene with the song“I Shall Scream” is hilarious.Minassian is captivating and brimming with energy as the Artful Dodger. Her performance marks the second time I’ve seen a girl play the part, and a Google search tells me it’s not an uncommon practice, but not so common as a female playing Peter Pan. Minassian is great. Her broad gestures and exuberance are infectious. I hope to see more of her in the future.Barker’s portrayal of Fagin is comic gold. What a repertoire of facial expressions!By far the most affecting and most powerful performance of all is Hebert-Bach’s Nancy. She is the most complex character in the play, desperately in love with a man who abuses her and asks her to do things she knows are wrong. Hebert-Bach makes us feel Nancy’s inner turmoil. Interestingly considered how long ago the play was written, her psychology is typical of what we now know about spousal abuse victims. Her breathtaking solo on “As Long As He Needs Me” is the most emotionally draining song in the play. There is some business going on behind her, however, that is terribly distracting at the worst possible time as stage hands move sets while she is still singing. They should have waited, even if it meant delaying the next scene.Overall the acting and the music are outstanding, as is the set by Bruce Haasl and, as always, the great orchestra directed by Jeff Stvrtecky.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday,  2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, through Oct. 11WHERE: Tacoma Musical Playhouse at The Narrows Theatre, 7116 Sixth Ave., TacomaTICKETS: $22-$31 INFORMATION: 253-565-6867,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Capitol Chiropractic Looks At The Big Picture For Lasting Results

Thurston Talk - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 9:58am



By Giovanna Marcus

capitol chiropractic

Don Lathrop’s gentle approach makes a big difference in the patient’s experience. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Patients often come to Capitol Chiropractic for the first time in pain and full of questions. They wonder if they will ever heal and be able to return to the activities that they love, or even, in some cases, their job. For many, their health issues have begun to interfere with their normal lifestyle, energy levels, and freedom they once had.

“Patients want to know if we have seen anyone with problems like theirs, and we’re able to tell them. Yes, we are able to help people with conditions like theirs,” says founder, Dr. Don Lathrop.

The eight practitioners are experts in their given field of chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture care. They all share the understanding that the state of optimal well being is a balance between their physical, mental and spiritual health.

Capitol Chiropractic’s group of practitioners also share the goal of creating the correct alignment between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. When a person’s spine is in proper alignment, the nervous system has the capacity to function at its optimum level and increases overall wellbeing.

Capitol Chiropractic, founded in 1990, is a place where the inter-disciplinary approach is highly valued. “There is more than one way to treat a condition and having multiple therapies is sometimes necessary to resolve certain conditions,” says Dr. Lathrop.

capitol chiropractic

For many, their health issues have begun to interfere with their normal lifestyle, energy levels, and freedom they once had. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

His vision was to create a network of providers who get to the root cause of their patient’s pain or problem. “We ask what they want to be able to do that they can’t do right now and we make that our goal,” he says.

What makes Capitol Chiropractic stand out is a true collaborative spirit. At their office a chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist often work together to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for a shared patient. A pain in the shoulder can start in the neck, low back, or even the feet. One or all therapies may help in resolving the pain.

Patients today have good questions and are very informed. They are also looking for solutions without drugs. Dr.Lathrop and his team attend seminars regularly to stay apprised of new ideas and to improve upon their experience in their specific field. Their continuing trainings include injury prevention, extremity care, manual therapies, stretching and exercise protocols, nutrition, Bio-Cranial, Kinesio Taping, Sports Medicine, Traction, and Decompression.

Additionally, Dr. Lathrop and his team are passionate about nutrition and overall self-care. Inflammation is a common cause of patient issues, and this often starts with what the patients put in their bodies.

Many patients’ problems can be traced back to diet or chemicals in the home. The team sees firsthand how the negative effects of chemical and environmental toxins create a cascade of ill health.

capitol chiropractic

When a person’s spine is in proper alignment, the nervous system has the capacity to function at its optimum level and increases overall well being. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

“Corn and oats inflame cows’ stomachs, causing their milk and the beef to contain inflamed properties, so when we turn around and eat it, we can become inflamed ourselves. Cows naturally feed on grass, so it’s critical that the products we purchase from cows should be non GMO and grass fed,” says Dr. Lathrop.

As for the employees who make Capitol Chiropractic so special, theirs is an assemblage of committed practitioners who have dedicated their lives to help others enjoy life again. Each practitioner at Capitol Chiropractic has a unique gift that they bring to their patients.

Julia Lea, massage practitioner, practices Zen Bodywork, a form based off the teachings of Ida Rolf. Julia integrates her energy work into her treatment sessions which enhances the outcome of her care. Julia’s grounded demeanor comes from her commitment to spirituality and meditation, a practice that she integrates into her massages.

During a visit with Patricia Winters, LMP, she comments that my muscles feel dehydrated, and explains how that causes other problems that we don’t normally identify with. Patricia’s massages help the body move away from pain.

Laura Johnson-Sweeney, LMP, has been doing massages for twelve plus years. Laura’s goal is treating people who have been injured in an accident, to reach pre-injury health and educate them on the long term benefits of preventive care.

capitol chiropractic

A patient receives “traction”, state of the art technology to decompress the spine. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Lyndsie Holmes, LMP, is passionate about assisting athletes in balancing overdeveloped and underdeveloped muscles. Her goal is to keep the athlete in their game, having good recovery so they can train and compete with minimal down time.

Suzie Sund, LMP, is trained in Zen Bodywork, a whole body treatment. She also has a specific niche working in collaboration with her clients’ dentists and orthodontists treating those who have TMJ and symptoms such as facial pain, headache, jaw pain, dizziness, ringing in the ear, and neck pain. Utilizing her experience with trigger point therapy, Suzie sees dramatic long term benefits using Zen Bodywork.

Danette Bakewell, LMP, enjoys helping resolve issues with her deep tissue massage. Danette is skilled in injury cases, understanding that after an accident injuries are often slow to appear and can take weeks to make themselves known. With massage, the body relaxes so the issues can be resolved.

Judy Bernard, EAMP, L.Ac, has a healing technique that extends beyond acupuncture, incorporating sound healing with gongs and Acutonics® tuning forks to raise her patient’s natural vibrational frequencies. The tuning forks are applied to acupuncture points, creating flow within the body and removing stagnation. Her treatments balance the person, reduce pain, and reconnect people with themselves.

capitol chiropractic

At Capitol Chiropractic, they see patients get better everyday. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Judy first came to acupuncture for her own symptoms of severe sinus headaches that were not alleviated by her medical doctor. She also recommends Acupuncture/ Acutonics® treatments for a variety of issues including the flu, digestive issues, menopause symptoms and body pain.

The team of providers have the philosophy that the body was designed to heal, especially if we listen to the clues it sends us. They believe and know that most people will get better because they see that happen every day.

To make an appointment with Capitol Chiropractic’s team, call (360) 352-2488. The office is conveniently located at 1728 State Ave NE in Olympia. You can also visit them on the web at


Even Without a Win Mark Rubadue’s Softball Team is Still Smiling

Thurston Talk - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

hawks prairie casinoIt’s the season opener for the Pints and Quarts Co-Ed Softball League and Mark Rubadue is running late.

The league, which is organized by the Lacey Parks and Recreation Department, runs from late August through the end of September with games being played at the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC).

Rubadue isn’t significantly tardy, but he knows getting there by the end of the first inning is out of the question.

He quickly turns to technology in an attempt to track down a score update. A short text goes out to Sean Finney, the Park and Rec’s Sports/Fitness Recreation Supervisor, asking how his team is faring.

Finney, who is at the RAC watching the game, immediately fires back a reply. It is not the message Rubadue was anticipating.

“All Sean’s text said was, ‘Your team is horrible,’” Rubadue stated.

lacey parks rec

Can’t Catch a Cold includes teammates (from left) Gordon Bragazzi, Shanna Labranch, Carmen Luce, Noel Rubadue, Mark Rubadue, Travis Sugarman, Lance Yount, Tony Doughty, Kim Doughty and Sherry Larson.

Looking for a little less vagueness, Rubadue presses for details. Finney’s second text proceeded to give his initial response plenty of weight.

“His second text says we are down 12-0 in the first inning,” Rubadue said with a chuckle. “His first text was pretty accurate, I guess.”

This year marked the first time Rubadue and his team, which includes wife Noel and a group of long-time friends, turned out for co-ed softball.

The team’s core had played soccer together in co-ed rec leagues since the early 1990s when they were all in their early 20s. And they were good.

“They were always one of the top soccer teams,” Finney remembers. “They finished either first or second, it seems, every year they played together.”

Softball, however, is apparently a different type of beast. The team spent the last two decades mastering a sport that does not allow a participant the use of their hands and now find themselves in the middle of something that centers around the simple aspects of throwing a ball and swinging a bat.

“We just thought we would give softball a try this year,” said Rubadue, a health and fitness teacher at Timberline High School. “I think there were only four of us on the team who had played baseball or fastpitch before.”

Rubadue was one of the few who did have a past on the baseball diamond, and it was a successful one.

During his senior year of high school, Rubadue helped North Thurston’s baseball team finish fourth in state in 1990. He went on to play at Centralia College before moving on to the coaching side of the sport, first severing as an assistant with the Rams and later becoming Timberline’s head coach.

Rubadue coached the Blazers from 2004 to 2010 and began his second stint as the team’s coach this past season. The program has enjoyed some of its biggest success under Rubadue’s watch, including a fourth-place finish in state in 2009.

So, directing a group of close friends to a couple of softball triumphs shouldn’t be too tasking. After all, how different can softball be from soccer?

“I think when we showed up with our soccer cheats and bright clothes, people were wondering, ‘Who are these guys?’” Rubadue said. “We’re playing against some teams that take this really serious. They are all decked out in uniforms and have roller bags for their bats. We had to ask around to get a couple extra gloves. We had to borrow some bats.”

The team, saddled with the name Can’t Catch a Cold, lived up to its self-applied handle by finishing the regular season with a record of 0-11-1.

lacey parks rec

For friends (from left) Noel Rubadue, Shanna Labranch and Kim Doughty playing together on Friday nights make them smile, regardless of the final score.

“We were able to get that one tie in,” Rubadue said. “We are celebrating if we made it to the seventh inning because we usually don’t make it out of the fifth. We get 10-runned.”

In addition to Rubadue and his wife, the team consists of Gordon Bragazzi, Shanna Labranch, Carmen Luce, Travis Sugarman, Lance and Shannon Yount, Tony and Kim Doughty, Tory and Sherry Larson and Cory and Jen Redman.

“The funny thing is we are all really pretty athletic,” Rubadue said. “We just can’t play softball together. We are all competitive, but playing is more about being together on a Friday night as a group of friends. I don’t think anyone pays too much attention to the record. I think we would if we weren’t such close friends.”

Lacey Parks and Rec offers a variety of softball leagues throughout the year, featuring a large range of talent levels.

“Active is active,” Rubadue said. “I don’t care what you are doing, as long as you’re being active because if you’re not there will come a time were you wish you had been. This allows a great group of friends the opportunity to be active together. Plus, those of us who have kids, they are out playing at the RAC when we have games. I know with my kids that, if they could, they would sit in front of the computer all day. I think it’s a positive for them to see their parents be active.”

Rubadue doesn’t anticipate the group’s activity level to decrease any. It just may surface next fall in a different pursuit.

“Right after that first game ended, we were all in the dugout and Kim said, “Let’s think about doing bowling next year instead of this,’” Rubadue said. “So, I think we are going to give that a try instead of softball.”

Hey, active is active.


Hoptoberfest Combines Fundraising and Fun

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 4:00pm




Drink a beer at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino during a Hoptoberfest fundraiser.

The sports culture is strong in Grays Harbor. We love Seahawks, Friday night football, spring baseball, and community soccer teams. Eleven-year-old twins Isaac and Isaiah Pierce fall into that pattern and are incredibly talented baseball players. Upon tryouts in Tacoma, these boys were selected by the Northwest Elite Baseball Organization as two of thirteen players chosen from Washington State to participate in their national program for elite players. The honor was great and the boys were thrilled to represent their community.

Unfortunately, as deadlines drew near, the boys were short the funding needed despite efforts to raise money for the trip. Seeing the importance of the opportunity, the East Grays Harbor County Rotary Club stepped in to make up the difference, paving the way to an amazing summer experience in Wisconsin. Isaac and Isaiah won some and lost some, but ultimately the experience and the lessons in teamwork were what made the trip so worth it.

Impacts like these are what the Rotary Club thrives on and it is only with continued support that they are able to make them. But the members want fundraising to be fun for everyone, which is why they are hosting their 7th annual Hoptoberfest at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino on October 10.  The original intent behind the event was to create a fundraiser people would enjoy and that would also benefit students in East Grays Harbor. This fundraiser idea sprouted wings and a scholarship fund was started which is now completely funded by Hoptoberfest.

To date, the event has helped to academically sponsor 20 kids – about three a year. These kids are not evaluated solely by their academic achievement, but rather on their willingness to give back to their community. Donna Rosi, Hoptoberfest’s event coordinator, explains, “We are willing to fund higher education, even if it’s only to a trade school. We want to fund kids interested in returning to the community and investing in it.”


Plenty of fun is planned for the October 10 Hoptoberfest fundraising event at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

Not only does the fundraiser promote education, the dollars earned also go toward community programs like Shop-With-A-Cop that help provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids in East Grays Harbor County. The Children’s Advocacy Center, United Way, the Backpack Program, and kids like Isaac and Isaiah all benefit from this annual event.

This year, the Hoptoberfest is boasting over 30 different microbrews from well-known breweries like Dick’s Brewing Co, Iron Horse Brewery, Astoria Brewing Co, Red Hook Brewing, and New Belgium Brewing, just to name a few. Upon arriving, every guest will receive a ballot. By doing various tastings, they can then vote for their favorite beer. The People’s Choice last year was a stout brewed by Iron Horse. They will be defending that vote again this year, but with increased competition. A few of these breweries, like Dick’s Brewing Co, have been helping out with the Hoptoberfest from the beginning. “Dick’s Brewery has been a part of the event from the beginning,” says Donna. “They are great people and have been such a huge help.”

The guest host for the 2015 Hoptoberfest is pretty retro. His name is Erik Estrada, but you probably know him better by his role as Frank “Ponch” Poncharello on the popular 70s television show, Chips. Also on the stage will be local stars like Ericka Corban, Driftin’ Harbor Rats, Electric Eye with Phil Luce, and others. The silent auction will also have some great items to show off including sports equipment, beer paraphernalia, and Seahawks tickets.

It’s not often the desire to have a rip-roarin’ time and the desire to serve the community collide in a common event, but the Rotary Club has managed it. Grab a beer, take a selfie with Erik Estrada, and listen to some great local music from afternoon to evening. The venue for the Hoptoberfest event is the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. So if you get bored (not likely), need a place to stay, or just a moment to escape the noise, you will have plenty of space to explore, relax, and have a great time.

Tickets may be purchased at the Quinault Beach Resort, at Aberdeen Office Equipment, Umpqua Bank in Montesano, and at Foothills Massage in Elma.

Admission is $10 and includes a souvenir mug, and a starter drink scrip. Hoptoberfest will be held at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino on October 10, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Fall Arts Walk Delights Visitors

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 6:45am



Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Downtown Olympia merchants opened their doors to artists during the 2015 Fall Arts Walk.  Performers took to the streets to entertain visitors on a crisp fall weekend.  For a complete story about what to expect when visiting downtown Olympia for Fall Arts Walk, click here.

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Cassie Thornton at Evergreen

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 7:30pm
Event:  Wed, 10/07/2015 - 11:30am - 1:00pm Cassie Thornton at Evergreen
Recital Hall of the Communications Building
The Evergreen State College
11:30 - 1:00, Wednesday October 7th

Cassie Thornton is a social practice/interdisciplinary artist. She's interested in debt and privacy, and in industries that promote individual liability, deny trust and interdependence.Her work investigates and reveals the impact of governmental and economic systems on public affect, behavior and unconscious.

Her website ("a wild place with a boring facade") has brief descriptions of lots of her recent work - visualizing debt, using sound to express and manipulate debt, dramatizing the dirt that still lingers in clean bank lobbies, repurposing an old activist video to critique education as an instrument of social control and subordination through student debt, and so on.... logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Cassie Thornton: Wednesday, October 7, 11:30-1:00 pm in the Recital Hall

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 5:59pm
Cassie Thornton is a social practice artist and is collaborating with Evergreen students as part of the exhibit, Sensations that Announce the Future in the Evergreen Gallery.  She is Cassiealso known as the Feminist Economics Department (The FED). The FED works with imaginary financial limitations. On earth, we have amassed excessive public, private and personal debt, justifying an inability to provide shelter or food, education, or healthcare for many, and much less, go to space. Collective fear of debt is so strong that when we look at the sky we see the debt ceiling where the ozone used to be, rather than an expansive universe with infinite possibility. Thus, The FED’s materials are in themselves financial forms– debt and its accomplice, security. On earth, The FED constructs situations where members of the public observe and confront financialization– in order to see it as an idea that can be manipulated rather than the absolute way of living and being. Through producing experimental moments in public spaces, participants test and extend what can be considered ‘real’. This work involves ordinary people doing extraordinary things— dancers touching the surfaces inside financial institutions, actors selling their nervous breakdowns to pay off debt, security guards protecting public vulnerability by reciting poetry written on the job, and people screaming their debt to space over the radio.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Jeff Galloway to Help Capital City Marathon Association Celebrate 35th Year

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:32pm



Submitted by the Capital City Marathon

Olympian Jeff Galloway will visit the South Sound in May to help the Capital City Marathon celebrate its 35th year.

“We are proud to be the area’s oldest marathon and can’t think of a better way to celebrate 35 years than by inviting Jeff Galloway to meet our amazing community of runners,” said CCM Race Director Nona Snell. “He is not only a phenomenal athlete, he has also made distance running a reality for so many people who didn’t think they were capable of completing marathons.” Galloway is the inventor of the popular, and effective, Galloway Run Walk Run Method and motivational speaker.

Details of Galloway’s visit to the Capital City Marathon events will be announced as they become available, but a free running clinic with Galloway will be included in race registration this year.

Registration for the May 15, 2016, marathon, half-marathon and 5-mile opens October 1. Between October 1 and 5, the Capital City Marathon Association will offer early registrants a discount.

  • Marathon: Oct. 1-5: $80; beginning Oct. 6: $85
  • Half-Marathon: Oct. 1-5: $60; beginning Oct. 6: $70
  • 5-mile Race: Oct. 1-5: $30; beginning Oct. 6: $35

The 1.2-mile kids’ run is set for the afternoon of Saturday, May 14. It will be free again this year and is open to kids in the 8th grade or younger.

Beginning on Oct. 1, runners can register for any of the events online at

For more information contact Nona Snell at 360.561.7874.


Recent Tragic Events: An Interview with Harlequin Director Scot Whitney

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:10pm



Submitted by Harlequin Productions

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1 - 24 at Harlequin Productions.

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1 – 24 at Harlequin Productions.

The latest show to hit the stage at Harlequin Productions is Recent Tragic Events, a comedy by Craig Wright, the Emmy-winning writer of such TV shows as Six Feet Under and Lost. I sat down with Scot Whitney, the show’s director and Harlequin’s Managing Artistic Director, to discuss what goes into directing a play that features a sock puppet and is set on a blind date…on the day after 9/11.

Recent Tragic Events 2 - Harlequin Productions

Yes, a sock puppet is a character in this play and it works.

So, this is a comedy taking place the day after 9/11?
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but Recent Tragic Events does manage to examine the event and how it affected everyone in the world, but especially in this country, from within the trappings of a comedy. The event itself is treated with profound respect, but people didn’t stop behaving in ridiculous ways as a result. They have never stopped being ridiculous, and I don’t expect that they ever will. It’s in our nature, don’t you think?

What about this story makes it worth telling 14 years later?
I first found this play in 2005. I loved it the first time I read it but thought it was probably too late to produce it. It had premiered in 2002 and ran in New York in 2003. I was afraid it might have lost its relevance by 2005. But I’ve re-read the play every year since while trying to put together the new season, and last January it dawned on me that we, as Americans, are still suffering the traumatic effects of those events 14 years later. This play provides an empowering perspective that serves as a kind of healing balm. I think that audiences are going to love it. In fact, we held a free, open-to-the-public first read through of the play several weeks ago. We had strong attendance, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone was a bit blown away by what they experienced. How could a comedy about a blind date the day after 9/11 ever get us to the place we land? Answer: A brilliant idea, fantastic writing and a great cast.

With just 5 actors in this show, what’s it like to have such a small cast?
Smaller casts generally have many advantages. It’s easier to find four or five great actors who are all available at the same time than to find 18 or 25. Scripts with small casts also tend to be less complex, so you’re able to focus more on details, which I enjoy. It becomes a more intimate process.
This particular show turned out to be a wonderfully breezy experience but not just because of the small cast. Stick one bad attitude into even a two-person show, and the whole thing becomes miserable for everyone. This cast turned out to be as close as I can imagine to perfect. Everyone understands the play, their character, and their position in the story. They all love the play and have brought a huge amount of excitement and commitment to the project. And they’re all sweethearts! Rehearsing was like playing games in a friend’s living room.

Recent Tragic Events is set on a blind date the day after 9/11.

Recent Tragic Events is set on a blind date the day after 9/11.

There is a saying that 90% of the director’s job is casting, and believe me it’s true. In this case, however, it was more like 99%.

What’s it like to direct a sock puppet?
Not much different from directing an actor, if it’s cast right. We chose blue, which I think was a good choice. The hair was a bit difficult to control at first, but so are big egos, so they kind of cancel each other out.

What is most exciting for you about this directing project?

  1. I love the play and get to direct it.
  2. I have an impossibly perfect cast, so rehearsals have been a breezy pleasure.
  3. I love watching the play over and over again.

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1-24 at Harlequin Productions. Tickets and more info available at 360-786-0151 or at


The Gift Gallery in Tumwater Celebrates Fall

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 3:58pm



Submitted by The Gift Gallery LLC

Gift Gallery Fall-001Fall – one of the most beautiful seasons here in Washington. Although most of us can agree, every season is beautiful in the Pacific Northwest. With fall brings the leaves changing color, cool crisp mornings with the fog rolling in, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween and of course, holiday shopping.

What is one of our favorite things about the holidays? Food! The Gift Gallery in Tumwater starts the season off with food tastings.

Once a month from September through April, we feature a sampling of food from our specialty food section. We have soups from Thorpe, mustards from Pasco, Washington raw honey, dips from Colorado, pepper jellies from Oregon and Chehalis mints. We also have Ravensbrew coffee, a variety of tea and more!

To keep informed on when our food tastings are, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, bookmark our website or, send us your email to receive our monthly newsletter. Our next tasting will be in October. Our local appraiser and gemologist Randy Caverly will also be here on the same day as our food tastings to give free jewelry appraisals.

October Special: $5.00 coupons all month long!

Gift Gallery Fall 1-001The entire month of October you can earn $5 coupons for every $50 you spend before tax. You can redeem the coupons from November 1 thru January 16. A great way to start your holiday shopping!

The Gift Gallery would like to welcome 6 new vendors to our store: Pete Whiting & Alan Gruse with Pappycraft rustic wood décor; Gail Yenne with her rustic art; Corrine LaVasseur with Knotty Girl Crochet and paintings; Day Jackson with his handcrafted wooden boxes, chess & cribbage boards and more; Kristen Burton with her re-purposed yard art, jewelry and antiques; and Tammy Repine with her home décor including wreaths and wooden signs.

We have about 40 talented local vendors with a wonderful variety of items. Everyone loves a handmade gift, so remember The Gift Gallery for all your holiday shopping. It may not be handmade by you, but you can tell them it was handmade right here in Tumwater, Washington!


Story Writing in the Age of the Internet

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 3:16pm
Event:  Mon, 10/05/2015 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

The Internet has created new ways of reaching an audience, making story-writing more complex and challenging than ever. Has the nature of story changed? How can a writer be read? Writer/editor Tom Maddox, former Director of Writing at The Evergreen State College, will help aspiring writers answer these questions. This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.

This event takes place at the Olympia Timberland Library.

313 8th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501
360-352-0595 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

The Evergreen State College Welcomes new President George Bridges

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:57pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The new president of The Evergreen State College, George Bridges, is welcomed by students and the school mascot, the Geoduck.  Photo by Shauna Bittle, The Evergreen State College

The new president of The Evergreen State College, George Bridges, is welcomed by students and the school mascot, the Geoduck. Photo by Shauna Bittle, The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College thanks:

  • Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
  • Calm Cove Oyster Co.
  • Chelsea Farms
  • Kamilche Sea Farm
  • Little Skookum Shellfish Growers
  • National Fish and Oyster
  • The Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • Taylor Shellfish Farms

Students at The Evergreen State College were treated to an all-campus clam bake welcoming George Bridges, on his first day as Evergreen’s new president.

Bridges, accompanied here by Evergreen Shellfish Club member Emily Dunn-Wilder, meets a geoduck, which is Evergreen’s mascot.


Cultivating Readers, Planting Seeds of Reading and Heathy Eating during Food Literacy Month

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:42pm



Submitted by The Thurston County Food Bank

First lady Trudy Inslee visits Meadows Elementary School in Lacey.

First lady Trudy Inslee visits Meadows Elementary School in Lacey.

Monday morning First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd  graders in a food literacy story time.  Washington’s First Lady read two books about the joys of growing, eating and sharing healthy food.  She also talked to the students about the importance of reading. After story time the students received a healthy and delicious snack of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, spinach and grapes.

“We know that reading is essential  for school success, but so is healthy eating,” says Reading Foundation Director Jennifer Forster.  “Healthy foods build strong brains and bodies and make it possible to read and learn.”

“If kids come to school with healthy food in their tummies, they can and do learn. We want that for all of our children,” says Michaela Winkley, School Gardens Program Manager for the Thurston County Food Bank.

September is Food Literacy Month in Washington. To continue building awareness about food literacy, the Thurston County Food Bank, Readers to Eaters and the South Sound Reading Foundation are partnering to provide a collection of children’s food literacy books to area elementary schools and public libraries. Once funds have been secured, all elementary schools and public libraries in the North Thurston, Olympia and Tumwater will receive a beautiful collection of food literacy books for children.

The following donors have generously given to support this effort:

First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd  graders in a food literacy story time.

First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd graders in a food literacy story time.

The partnering agencies would like to encourage health care providers and other community members to contribute to this effort so that every library and elementary school in our area can receive a book collection.

The Food Bank is passionate about providing those in need with healthier food choices and educating families about ways to bring more nutritious food into their homes. They have several nutrition-focused programs, such as SNAP-Ed and our school gardens program, that target youth to address the adverse affects of hunger and poor nutrition.

The South Sound Reading Foundation is a natural partner for this mission. Focused on promoting literacy and reading, the Reading Foundation has made a tremendous impact on youth and education in Thurston County.  The Foundation leads reading and literacy based activities and volunteer programs.

For more information visit:, and


Beginning Genealogy Workshop

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:09pm
Event:  Sat, 10/24/2015 - 9:00am - 3:00pm

Olympia Genealogical Society members will help workshop participants gain the skills they need to begin their family history research. Participants should check in at 9 a.m., before the library opens, at the 9th and Adams Exit Only doors to the library in the SE corner of the parking lot. Registration is required and walk-ins will not be accepted. Register online, in person, or by phone at 360-352-0595 beginning Tuesday, October 13.


Location: Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia, WA. (360) 352-0595. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Olympia Zine Fest Panel at the Library

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:00pm
Event:  Fri, 10/23/2015 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Come and celebrate the start of the first ever Olympia Zine Fest, an event centered on small scale, alternative, do-it-yourself print media! The panel will include V. Vale of RE/Search Publications, Author and Maximum Rock'n'roll contributor Imogen Binnie, Queer Zine Archive Project founder Milo Miller, and facilitator Joaquin de la Puente. This event will occur after regular library hours and no other library services will be available.

Location: Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia, WA. (360) 352-0595 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Circle of Friends at Fulcrum

South Sound Arts - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 12:53pm

 Jeremy Mangan and Friends Shine at Fulcrum
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 1, 2015
“The Siege of Syracuse” painting by Jean-Pierre Roy. Photo courtesy Fulcrum GalleryIf there are noticeable similarities between the works by the half-dozen artists now on view at Fulcrum Gallery, it is because they are friends who met while living in New York in the early 2000s and have continued to influence each other since — Patrick Berran, Ben Grasso, Jean Pierre Roy, Ryan Scully, Shintaro Okamoto, and Jeremy Mangan, all pulled together by Mangan for this show.What these artists share, beyond skill, inventiveness and an obvious shared love of art, is a kind of post-modernist surrealistic mindset. Mangan’s whiskey barrels tumbling over a cold waterfall and his luminous treasure chest caught up in tree roots are like modern day René Magrittes; and Roy’s “The Siege of Syracuse” is like a Salvador Dali painting if Dali had expended more energy on art and less of performance.Berran and Grasso are the exceptions. There is little trace of surrealism in their paintings. Berran is showing three small abstract paintings of overlapping and interlocking squares and rectangles in acrylic and toner. Within each geometric shape is a pattern of squiggly, splatter-like shapes. His color schemes are simple: blue and red in one painting; blue, red and red-orange in another; and a third in tones of brown with overlapping greenish blocks and super-subtle gray and peach transparencies. There is great complexity hidden within the apparent simplicity in Berran’s paintings.Grasso is showing excellent paintings of leaves and flowers with cheery colors in deliberate dabs of paint. They’re like close-ups of tiny sections of Monet landscapes.Scully paints rock formations and an avocado-like plant in the desert which are realistic in appearance but highly unlikely to exist in nature. They are classically balanced, smooth as sanded wood, and nuanced in color modulations. “Okamoto has two drawings of pod-like formations that are like slightly more abstract versions of Scully’s impossible plant. There’s something evocative and eerie about these. Roy’s single painting, “Siege of Syracuse” is a small picture of a man seated in grassy mountains with a copy of Hieronymus Bosch’s “Christ Descent Into Hell” held in his lap. But the Bosch is painted on glass and the man’s knees go into and through it. This is the most surrealistic painting in the show. It is amazingly luminous with intricate details that are hypnotic.Luminosity is also a hallmark of Mangan’s paintings, which are realistic scenes that are highly unlikely to ever be seen in this world. “Point Marker” pictures a platform standing in water with a huge splash of water behind it (one can’t help but wonder what made the splash) and a broken ladder leading from the water to the top of the platform. “Sending the Barrels” is the one mentioned earlier of wooden whiskey barrels tumbling over a waterfall, and “Treasure for the Taking” is the one with the treasure chest caught up in the roots of a tree. It is believably realistic and natural except for the rays of light shining out of the chest. There is not a bad painting in this show, and every one is thought-provoking and intriguing.
Circle of Friends, Wednesday & Friday noon to 6 p.m., through Oct. 14, Fulcrum Gallery, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Tacoma W
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

A “Try Before you Buy” Experience with Boggs Inspection Services

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 11:20am



boggs home inspection

Tom Hitchman (left) and Dwayne Boggs offer comprehensive home inspections for home buyers.

I like to try before I buy as much as I can. Yes, I love shopping online and for a lot of things (lunch boxes, curtain rods, copy paper) purchasing sight unseen works just fine. For others, I like to see the product in person first – to feel the sheets, try on the shoes, fire up the lawn mower, test drive the car.

When purchasing services, though, you can’t really “try before you buy.” It’s in these situations we rely on trusted sources for recommendations and advice.

A home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Yet you can’t book an overnight stay in the home before you buy it, no matter how cool that sounds. But, you can get pretty close. Your home inspection allows you several hours to poke through all the nooks and crannies, open the drawers, and try the faucets in your soon-to-be new home. It also gives you a comprehensive picture of the home’s condition and any potential problems. This critical process should be led by an honest, straight-forward professional. But how do you know who to hire?

Well, I actually did get to “try before I buy” with Boggs Inspection Services. I shadowed an inspector, buyer Julia Lovelace-Johnson and agent Kimberly Rucker during the entire process. My conclusion? Boggs’ inspector Tom Hitchman is not only a great guy to spend a few hours with, but he knows what he’s doing and makes sure you know, too.

boggs home inspection

A full exterior inspection is the first task during a Boggs home inspection.

The inspection started with a meet and greet in the sunny front yard. Tom reviewed the inspection process and asked Julia if she had any initial questions or concerns. More than anything, I noted Tom’s calm, competent demeanor and clear explanations of the inspection process. This set the tone for the entire day and Julia was put visibly at ease.

I opted to follow Tom around the outside of the home, his first action item, while Julia and Kimberly headed inside to take another tour of the home. As we walked, Tom explained, “The main thrust of the inspection is to educate the buyer on the home and any issues, or potential issues, it has.” The scope of the inspection includes the outside, inside and all systems in the home. “The nature of a home inspection is visual, not invasive,” Tom notes. This means he will, to the best of his ability, check all areas and components, but will not open walls, pull out appliances, or move furniture.

As we walked around, Tom checked for the presence of dry rot, inspected windows, examined siding, caulking, gutters and drainage. He surveyed concrete areas and tested external doors and electrical. He took notes as he went, ensuring nothing was missed. “The main things we look for on the exterior are issues with siding,” Tom noted. “In the Northwest, we have lots of issues with decay due to moisture.”

boggs home inspection

Inspectors with Boggs Inspection Services take the time to explain each step of the process to buyers ensuring they understand the inspection report.

Tom noted only minor maintenance issues for the buyer, but no major concerns. An inspection of the roof is included in each Boggs Inspection Services report. However, this home’s roof pitch was so steep, a careful visual inspection with binoculars was substituted.

After donning clean booties over his shoes, Tom made his way inside and reviewed the exterior inspection with Julia. After answering questions, Tom explained the comprehensive inspection packet included with each Boggs inspection. “We review the warranties and extras that come standard with our inspections,” he explained. And the extras are many, making a Boggs inspection a high value for your dollar.

While Julia and Tom discussed the packet, I chatted with Kimberly Rucker, a 24-year veteran realtor with Berkshire-Hathaway Home Services on Martin Way. “I work with Boggs Inspection Services a lot and I’ve known Tom for a long time,” she shared. “The guys are good with people, have a great rapport with my clients, and really explain things well, especially to first time buyers who are new to the process.”

Before transitioning to the interior inspection, Tom pulled out his laptop and logged the items he and Julia had discussed from the exterior. By recording findings directly, Boggs inspectors make sure nothing gets missed. “We like to document as we go to ensure accuracy and get the best level of detail in our reports,” explained Tom.

boggs inspection services

Boggs Inspection Services inspectors document their findings as they go on a laptop or tablet, ensuring accurate information in the final report.

Next up was the garage. Tom inspected the electrical panel, removing the entire face and checking each breaker, noting details as small as the variety of brand names on several breakers. His careful explanations to Julia ensured she was part of the process yet not overwhelmed by information. After thorough exams of the HVAC system and hot water heater, all while noting his findings electronically on a tablet, Tom lead Julia into the home for a room by room walk-though.

In each room, windows and doors were checked. Faucets and drains were reviewed. Drywall cracks were noted and outlets were checked for proper amperage. Through it all, Tom chatted with Julia and Kimberly, keeping the entire inspection personal and comfortable. We all cheered when storage was found under window seat cushions and we all attempted to latch a faulty bathroom door (without success).

It was a team effort, but Tom was definitely our captain.

If we stick with the “try before you buy” metaphor, I feel confident saying the Boggs Inspection Services “shoe” fit for me. It was comfortable, fun (yes…I promise it was!), professional, and achieved exactly what it promised: a comprehensive home overview from top to bottom ensuring you know exactly what you are buying. And if the shoe fits…well, you know the rest.

To schedule an inspection, call 360-480-9602 or visit the Boggs Inspection Services website.

Calendar Girls at Olympia Little Theatre

South Sound Arts - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 8:24am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 1, 2015 Erin Quinn Valcho as Celia and Jon Lee as John. Photo by Austin Lang.
Calendar Girls, adapted by Tim Firth from the movie of the same name, is a sweet and frothy comedy with a heartfelt underlying theme of self-acceptance and caring for others.Chris (Kathy Harris) and her best friend, Annie (Jane Brody) are fed up with the leadership style of the president of the Women’s Institute in North Yorkshire, England, Marie (Kendra Malm), and of the club’s bland slide lectures and uninspired fundraisers. After Annie’s husband, John (Jon Lee) dies of leukemia, the women decide to raise funds for the hospital in his memory. Calendar Girls doing "aerobics?" Photo by Austin Lang. Chris seems to be the only one of the women with an original thought in her head or a bit of daring in her soul — except perhaps Celia (Erin Quinn Valcho), the only one who dares to be slightly risqué. Inspired by something John said: "The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire" and "The last phase of the women of Yorkshire is always the most glorious," Chris proposes that instead of the proposed calendar celebrating local bridges they should make a calendar of themselves — middle age women — posing in the nude with strategically placed props such as flowers and cupcakes or pots and pans in a kitchen setting. Naturally, the other women are horrified yet somewhat titillated by the idea. Eventually they come around.It’s a silly idea but delightful, designed to be as titillating to audiences as the calendar they produce. Jon Lee as John and Jane Brody as Annie. Photo by Austin Lang.
According to the actor biographies in the program, one of the actors has no prior experience on stage and a few of the others have very little. The biggest drawback to their lack of acting experience is that some of them fail to project their voices or clearly articulate. This was so much in evidence opening night that I failed to hear possibly as much as a third of the words. The only actors who came across as fully experienced were Malm, who also directed; Lee, whose character died less than halfway through the first act; and Diana Purvine as Jessie, probably the oldest of the women; and Austin C. Lang in the double role of Lawrence the photographer and Liam (I could not tell exactly what his job was, but I think a producer or stage manager for a TV show the girls were to be on).  Lang was absolutely believable as the nervous photographer who was more embarrassed by the nudity than were any of the women, with the possible exception of Ruth (Jean Kivi Thomas) who had to get drunk before posing for her shot. Thomas acted the part nicely but was one of the most difficult to hear. Harris and Valcho were among the most expressive of the actors. Harris portrayed Chris with joyful flirtatiousness, and Valcho played Celia with natural restraint. There are a lot of costume changes, including some ridiculous animal costumes and holiday costumes, as per example Ruth’s bunny rabbit costume that the other women took to be a mouse or a hamster, and Celia and Chris competing for the sexiest Santa Claus costume. Plus the everyday wardrobes of the women that ranged from Marie’s bland business attire to some ludicrous sportswear (costumes by Allison Gerst).The funniest scene in the play was the photo shoot in which the women comically and skillfully managed to strip naked (or “nude” as Chris insisted on calling it) without exposing so much flesh as to make audience members uncomfortable. The program and advertising warns of “burlesque-style nudity.” Not to worry, there’s much more to be seen on network television every night of the week.Calendar Girls, Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 4,Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave., NE, Olympia, tickets $10-$14, available at Yenney Music, 2703 Capital Mall Dr., Olympia, 360).786.9484,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 6:20am



batdorflogoHello, Olympia!  It’s October.  It’s fall.  It’s the season for outdoor sports and fingers crossed that you don’t get rained on.  (We’ve had a perfect record for sunny soccer game days, so far.)  And now that the calendar has flipped over to October, we can also say it’s time for pumpkins.  Check out our great list of local pumpkin patches and watch for more fall activities stories.

Here’s what is going on around town this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our events calendar.

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