Recent local blog posts

Oly Freakdown Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 11:00am

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!

Motion (Tour Homecoming!)
Vessels (Tour Homecoming!)
Bréag Naofa
A God or an Other
Countless The Dead
For the Likes of You
Lo’ There Do I See My Brother
Mi Amore Cadenza
The Lion in Winter
Redeem the Exile
The Further
A Friend
Sorrow’s Edge
Heathen Washington


Buy tickets at:
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 2PM!

We are accepting band submissions for consideration. Please contact Joey Cristina

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oly Freakdown Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:00am

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!

Motion (Tour Homecoming!)
Vessels (Tour Homecoming!)
Bréag Naofa
A God or an Other
Countless The Dead
For the Likes of You
Lo’ There Do I See My Brother
Mi Amore Cadenza
The Lion in Winter
Redeem the Exile
The Further
A Friend
Sorrow’s Edge
Heathen Washington


Buy tickets at:
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 2PM!

We are accepting band submissions for consideration. Please contact Joey Cristina

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Eric Ayotte and the Gadabout Film Festival

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00pm

Thursday, September 25th, 8pm

Eric Ayotte and The Gadabout Film Festival will be touring together this fall for 3 months going to over 75 cities in the US before continuing to Europe for shows in 15 other countries. Presenting a special evening of music and film in each town for one night only.

The Gadabout Film Festival has had a long standing tradition of DIY ethics matched with really cool filmmaking. Since 2002, the Gadabout has been touring with a new batch of films each year, brining film to non-film settings, screening an extremely inspiring and talented program of short films. Growing out of a DIY music scene, the Gadabout seeks to prove that “Do It Yourself” doesn’t have to mean any lack of quality. With equipment and technology more accessible, filmmaking is a more attainable medium, and yet we typically consume it through very tiny screens with poor audio. So, not only is there a curated element, but there is also respect given to these fantastic short films as they are presented on a big screen with good sound!

Eric Ayotte has been touring and releasing music for over a decade. His sincere songs bring a political message as well as an emotional truth. Thistour will be supporting his 4th full length record “Transparency”, a full band album that explores the concept of honesty, and wanting more open communication from his community, government, friends, religions, and himself.

Gadabout 2014 poster

Eric and Charlie promo 2

Luminaris STILL

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Film Tour

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 3:00pm

Sunday, September 20th, Doors open at 6:15, show starts at 6:45

For one night only, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) invites you to celebrate the wonder of the outdoors through film.

The first annual NOLS Exploration Film Tour features two and half hours of exciting short films based on themes of wonder, discovery, curiosity, and the timelessness of the wilderness experience. Share this community experience with fellow and aspiring outdoors people and walk away with sweet door prizes–including a chance to win a free NOLS course!*

Space is limited—reserve your FREE ticket now HERE:

*Ticket and attendance at the event are required for eligibility to win the free NOLS course. A post-event survey form will be emailed to all ticketed attendees after the event. The completed survey finalizes entry to win the free NOLS course. One winner will be selected from total attendants of all NOLS Exploration Film Tour events. The winner will be notified via email and phone by November 30, 2014 and announced on the NOLS Facebook page.
*NOLS course will be 30 days or shorter. Course is not cash redeemable. Winner is responsible for $65 application fee and associated course equipment deposit. Winner is subject to NOLS admission policies and screening guidelines. Course may be transferred by notifying NOLS.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Upcycle Style: Fashionable Fife

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:54pm

The Diva of the Olympia Dumpster Divers, Ruby Re-Usable, and Darcy Anderson (Team Tinkertopia in Tacoma) presented a trash fashion show on 9/13/14, as part of the Valley Ballyhoo Performing Arts Show in Fife, WA.  This was a first time collaboration between Ms Re-Usable and Ms Darcy, but as Ruby (and Jacqueline Susann) likes to say, “Once Is Not Enough,” so we look forward to more of these events in the South Puget Sound region (and beyond) in the future!

Ruby wearing a bag from Mason County recycling that reads "Once Is Not Enough"

Ruby Re-Usable is wearing a bag from Shelton/Mason County Recycling that once held recyclables

Ruby was introduced to Trash Fashion through Robin Worley/Rayona Visqueen of Haute Trash; she has since participated as a designer in trash fashion shows such as Trash Fashion Futures, Icicle Arts Trash to Fash Runway & Awards Show, Trashion at the Indiana Welcome Center, Seattle RE Store’s 10th Trash Fashion Show, and Seattle RE Store’s 9th Trash Fashion Show, among others.  She really wanted to work with Ms Darcy after seeing her as a “Daffodil Princess” in the window of Tinkertopia (where she is co-proprietress), so when the Fife Arts Commission asked Ruby to participate in the Valley Ballyhoo, she invited Darcy to join her, and a Trashionista was born!  Darcy got her talented Tacoma friends to work with her on Team Tinkertopia, thus inspiring even more creative folks to discover their inner trashion designer.

Ms Darcy as a Daffodil Princess in the window of Tinkertopia

Ms Darcy as a Daffodil Princess in the window of Tinkertopia, wearing brown paper packaging trimmed with yellow plastic lids and yellow duct tape

Trash Fashion is meant to be an “edutainment” event, combining information about recycling and other environmental issues with art and humor to create a show that is both entertaining and educational.  We also aim to be inclusive and body-positive, utilizing our friends and local volunteers as models.  The Upcycle Style show in Fife was no exception: our models ranged in age from elementary school to fifty-something, and we wowed the crowd with some of our classic trash fashions, along with some exciting new creations.  This show was also a learning experience for Ruby … like, how the show must go on, even if the microphone and pedestal disappear right before you go on stage (yes, this happened), along with other stuff (don’t ask).  We regret that we did not have any professional photographers to document this show, but we do have some pics on Flickr HERE and a cell phone vid posted on YouTube HERE

Upcycle Style trashionistas backstage

some of the Upcycle Style trashionistas backstage


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Family Theater Presents Busytown

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:43pm


Submitted by Olympia Family Theater Produced with permission from Plays for Young Audiences.  Dinea de Photo

OFT’s Lowly puppet was designed and created by Jamie Jenson. Photo Credit: Dinea de Photo

Busytown is always buzzing with activity. Just like the beloved and busy books of Richard Scarry, Busytown the Musical gets at the question on everyone’s mind: “What do people do all day?”

That’s where Huckle Cat comes in—he’ll take us on a tour of his great neighborhood while Huckle’s best friend Lowly the Worm has his own adventure. Not over the river and through the woods but rather; to the post office, hospital, airport, aboard Captain Salty’s pirate-y ship, and on a railroad journey with the help of the audience and Train the Dog, until finally reaching Grandma’s house. This musical radiates with simple, silly joy while bringing to life the impossible physics and interspecies harmony of Richard Scarry’s world. In this bustling musical, your favorite Busytown characters will sing and dance the answer, as we follow Huckle the Cat and Lowly through the winding maze of bakers, farmers, grocers, police officers, fire fighters, cars and trucks and things that go, and so much more! The busyness starts September 26. This musical is recommended for 3 & up. Special Dates:
  • Thursday Oct. 2 at 7pm Thrifty Thursdays  (Pay What You Can Tickets available day of show at box office starting at 1pm, cash or check only)
  • Friday Oct. 3 from 5-9pm No Show! Fall Arts Walk Preview Party & Kid Disco
Single tickets are available from our website.  Full and Partial Season Subscriptions also available. Ticket Prices:
  • Adults: $19.00
  • Senior/Student/Military: $16.00
  • Kids (Under 12): $13.00

Capital’s Payton McGuin Leads By Actions and Encouraging Words

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:23pm



By Gail Wood

little caesars logoPayton McGuin was surprised by the teammate’s compliment and didn’t know what to say.

Her teammate had called her an inspiration.

“I don’t really think of myself in that way,” said McGuin, a senior and team captain on Capital High School’s girls cross-country team. “I just feel like I’m on the team.”

She’s a modest leader. McGuin and Lauren Pierson, Capital’s top two returning runners off a team that placed second in state last year, are the Cougars team captains. With that title comes responsibility. They can’t just be self-absorbed, focused only on their times.

capital cross country

Capital High School senior, Payton McGuin, is called an inspiration by her teammates.

“They’re both amazing,” said Lauren Frasier, a sophomore at Capital who is turning out for cross country for the first time. “They really help. They’re always making sure we’re doing good and they’re always encouraging you.”

McGuin has reinvented herself as a runner since she first turned out for cross country as a sophomore. After growing up playing basketball, McGuin got her first taste of running her freshman year when she turned out for track.

“I ran sprints,” McGuin said.

On the advice of her coach, Kevin Wright, she ran a “distance” event – the 400 meters. Showing promise – she ran it in 62 seconds – she showed up at cross country practice that fall. And she discovered that running, which is usually punishment in other sports when you do something wrong, was actually fun.

“She’s not a super star in anything,” said Wright, who is also Capital’s girls cross country coach. “But she’s great in everything.”

Whether that’s in the classroom, where McGuin has a 3.7 GPA, or turning out for cross country or track, McGuin has a give-it-your-best-shot approach. That attitude is why McGuin knocked a minute off her time her sophomore year. And it’s why she’s grown into being Capital’s No. 2 runner this season. She was her team’s No. 5 runner last year on a team that placed third in state for the second year in a row.

capital cross country

Cross country runners from Capital High School and Olympia High School join together before the Capital Invite race this month.

“Last year, as a junior, you could see that she was way tougher,” Wright said. “Way stronger. Way more confident in herself.”

By her junior year, McGuin had made a startling discovery. She could finish a race keeping a fast pace.

But despite all her success, McGuin nearly didn’t turn out for cross country this season. That’s because her mother, Sheri, died of an illness in August at age 51. With some prodding by her coach and teammates, McGuin showed up for the first day of practice. She’s found being around friends, laughing and talking with them, working hard at a workout, pushing herself in practice, setting goals and trying to make it to state again to be good medicine.

“For me, at first it was a little hard for me to turn out,” McGuin said. “But it’s been really helpful. It helps a lot.”

McGuin’s heart, her hard work at practice, her encouraging words to teammates, are even more inspirational for her teammates under the circumstances.

While McGuin gets satisfaction from dropping her times, getting a personal best in a 3.2-mile race, it’s doesn’t trump the experience of being on a team.

“That’s the one thing I really like about the Capital team,” McGuin said. “Your own times are important, but in the big scheme of things it is nice to be able to encourage your team and have that team push you and be behind you.”

McGuin isn’t just the encourager. She’s also the encouraged.  “If you’re having a bad race, there’s going to be somebody on the course cheering for you,” she said.

capital cross country

Payton McGuin, wearing #4232, lines up at the starting line for the Capital Invite cross country race.

McGuin and Pierson are the veteran returners for the Cougars.  After finishing third last year at state as a team and after McGuin finished 25th, the expectations are big for this season as Capital has 18 runners returning and there are 40 turning out.

But McGuin isn’t getting caught up with this having to be her best ever season. She’s not obsessed with dropping her times, and she’s not fretting about great expectations.

“For me, this season is more about just enjoying it,” McGuin said. “I’m still going to try to do my best and get PRs. But for me it’s just making sure I have a good time.”

At the recent Capital Invite, which drew 38 schools and an all-time high of 1,500 runners, McGuin and her teammates were on target. The Capital girls had a number of top 10 finishers. In the girls freshman race, Sarah Paquet placed 10th with a time of 15:37, just behind Olympia’s Ariel Wilhite, who placed ninth in 15:33. Mountain View’s Savanna Craig won in 14:05.

In the girls senior race, Pierson finished fourth in 13:57, just 16 seconds out of first place. Henry Jackson’s Brooke Kingma won in 13:41. McGuin placed 11th with a time of 15:05.

On the boys side, North Thurston’s Peter Allegre had the area’s fastest time as he placed second in the junior race with a time of 11:58. Olympia’s Kyle Rapacz placed third in the boys senior race with a time of 12:11 and teammate Ben Parke was sixth in 12:24. North Thurston’s Tyler Reece was seventh in 12:27.

Northwest Christian’s Luke Schilter won the boys sophomore race in 12:03 and Tumwater’s Evan Groat finished fifth in 12:53.


Olympia’s Gingerbread Village coming to Downtown for the Holidays 2014

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:05pm



Submitted by Mary Ann Thompson

gingerbread house photoBack by popular demand is the Gingerbread House Extravaganza.  In Cooperation with Olympia Downtown Association, Washington Center for the Performing Arts and SideWalk – the houses are back!

This year’s gingerbread cottages and castles will be on display at the newly renovated Washington Center for Performing Arts as part of the “Downtown for the Holidays” celebration on November 29 and 30.

Your visit to the Gingerbread Village this year will benefit SideWalk of Olympia.  SideWalk is a successful grassroots organization with a mission to end homelessness in Thurston County. The proceeds from this event will help 100 homeless adults find housing and the support needed to stay off the streets.

Have some fun by becoming a baker, contractor, and architect all at once.  You can even eat your mistakes! Register now to build a house.

You can sponsor a cottage or castle and feature your business as a prominent part of the village as well

Call Kelly Thompson at 360-402-9999  or email to register and answer your questions.

Northwest Christian High School Announces Changes for the 2014-2015 School Year

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:49pm



Submitted by Northwest Christian High School

NCHS Hall chatNorthwest Christian High School has had another successful start to the school year and staff and students alike are excited by the many changes for 2014-2015.  Highlighted below are some examples of the progressive, rigorous and in-depth educational advances happening at NCHS.

AP Courses and STEM: New Advanced Placement (AP) courses in biology, chemistry, math, and US history. We are planning more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related course work as well. Read an in-depth review of STEM offerings here.

Concurrent Credits Available: Did you know that NCHS offers classes that not only earn credits toward a student’s high school diploma, but also credits at Northwest Nazarene University? Your student could graduate from NCHS with a diploma and a transcript from NNU to apply to nearly any college they choose to attend.

College Scholarships: Beginning with the graduating Class of 2015, Northwest Nazarene University is offering a scholarship established at $5,000 per year for every year a student attends NCHS full time between grades 9 and 12. The student must also graduate from NCHS with a cumulative 3.0 GPA and be in good academic standing at the time of graduation.

Grand Canyon University: Northwest Christian students who are accepted to attend GCU will receive a $5,000 (on-campus housing) or $2,500 (off-campus housing) scholarship at GCU per year for each year of attendance at NCHS (students must also meet the eligibility requirements).
Both of these scholarships could save students up to $20,000 on college tuition over the course of four years.

Career Center: To equip our students to reach their God-given potential, NCHS is in the process of researching, developing, and implementing a Career Center that will help students NCHS COmputer studentsidentify their talents/calling and assist them to establish a career path. We will also work with them to strengthen ACT & SAT skills by offering training, support, and practice exams. Stay tuned for more information about our new innovative career center—especially in the area of financial planning and potential scholarships for college.

Robotics Club: Dr. Norm Neilsen is forming a new robotics club at NCHS. Dr. Nielsen taught robotics last year and is expanding his teaching to a new innovative robotics club this school year.

New Staff members: NCHS welcomes several new teachers this year. National board certified teacher Mrs. Michelle Whittaker joins regional science teacher of the year Dr. Norm Nielsen in our science department. Mrs. Whittaker is a published scientist with several years of successful teaching and industry experience.

Mr. Josh Burdick is teaching Bible and Public Speaking this year at NCHS. Mr. Burdick holds a Master’s degree in Theology and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communication from Liberty University in Virginia. Mrs. Lauren Hendrickson is teaching an array of subjects including English and Academic Proficiency. Mrs. Hendrickson earned her degree in English and History from Seattle Pacific University. Our new technology teacher Pam Summers is a graduate of Humboldt State University in Computer Science and spent over a decade in industry as a successful computer programmer and consultant.

You can learn more about Northwest Christian High School in Lacey at our website or feel free to call us at (360) 491-2966.

TCTV Opens High Definition Studio

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:41pm



Submitted by Thurston Community Television

Thurston Community Television (TCTV) has spent the past six months renovating and upgrading the community media center it operates in Thurston County.  A state-of-the-art High Definition television studio is now available for use by community members to make video programs that are aired on the TCTV channels and shared through the Internet.   The new facility will be unveiled to the community during an open house on Saturday, September 27, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities this new facility offers,“ says Deborah Vinsel, TCTV CEO.   “Our community can now create beautiful high definition video programs in our studio.  The graphics (titles and credits) are beautiful.   We can stream programming from the studio directly onto the Internet and import media from web services (like SKYPE) to include participants from other places.  It’s an exceptional facility and it’s available to anyone who wants to become a member and take our classes. “

The TCTV studio is located at 440 Yauger Way SW, Suite C, Olympia, in the same building as Comcast Cable on Olympia’s west side.   There are lots of hands-on activities planned for the September 27 Open House.  Attendees can take a tour, make an animation, shoot a video message, or record a voice-over to name a few.  There will also be refreshments and door prizes.  At 3:00 PM there will be a brief program in the studio to officially re-dedicate the facility.

TCTV has been managing the public, educational, and governmental cable access channels and production facilities since 1986.   The resources are made possible through service contracts between TCTV and Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County.   TCTV services include video production training classes, studio and editing facilities, and portable equipment that can be checked-out by TCTV members.  Membership is open to any individual, nonprofit organization, government agency or school.   Members have access to low-cost classes and can gain unlimited access to the equipment and facilities by paying a small annual fee.

Programming created through the TCTV facilities is seen on four local cable channels on the Comcast Cable system in greater Thurston County and on three channels on Fairpoint Cable system serving the area around Yelm.    More than 20,000 hours of programming is scheduled by TCTV on these channels each year.  Programming is also available through the TCTV website,

TCTV is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Saint Martin’s University Fosters Student Exchange between Washington and Brazil

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:35pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

brazil exchange studentsSaint Martin’s University will be hosting an international conference designed to promote student exchange for the first time between Washington and Brazil.

“The Washington State and Rio de Janeiro Conference on U.S. and Brazilian Student Exchange” will be held November 17-21, during International Education Week, on the University’s Lacey campus.

The conference is being planned in response to President Barack Obama’s “100,000 Strong in the Americas” signature education initiative that was launched in January. The goal of 100,000 Strong is to increase the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000, as well as boosting the number of Latin American and Caribbean students studying in the U.S. to 100,000.

“By 2060, the  population in the Americas is projected to be greater than that of China, and more deeply linked to the U.S. by trade, culture and family ties than any other region,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of State when 100,000 Strong was introduced. “Against this future landscape, 100,000 Strong will deepen relationships across the hemisphere, enabling young people to understand and navigate the rich tapestry of shared values and culture, and lead the process of greater commercial and social integration that is key to our region’s long-term security and prosperity.”

The Brazilian government has also launched an initiative to send its students to higher-education institutions in the U.S. to study for STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics) professions. Saint Martin’s has been hosting its first cohort of 28 Brazilian students since last summer as a result of the STEM initiative and through the Institute of International Education and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. The BSMP provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students from Brazil for study in the STEM fields at colleges and universities in the U.S.

“I’m pleased that the conference is finally happening,” says Josephine Yung, vice president of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s.  “The outcomes of the conference will undoubtedly strengthen the social, economic and cultural ties between our two regions.  Active student exchanges with our neighboring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are long overdue.”

“Presently, the number of Washington students studying abroad in Brazil is very low. Similarly, the number of Brazilian students studying at Washington State higher educational institutions is equally low,” Yung says. “We hope our conference will change that.”

Representatives from 11 Brazilian universities so far plan to attend the conference. To date, delegates from 15 Washington state colleges and universities plan to attend, including Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle Pacific University, University of Puget Sound, University of Washington Bothell, University of Washington Tacoma, Western Washington University and The Evergreen State College. The state’s two-year colleges have also been invited to be part in the conference.

Brazilian dignitaries who plan to attend the conference include Cristina Russi, professor at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, and president of a network of 11 universities of Rio de Janeiro known as REARI-RJ; Pedro Augusto Leite Costa, honorary consul of Brazil in Seattle, and Marco Aurello M. Casimiro, chief advisor for international cooperation for the Executive Office of the Governor of Rio de Janeiro.

State Sen. Karen Fraser, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and Schuyler Hoss, director of International Relations and Protocol for Washington, will be among the Washington dignitaries attending the event.

“The conference will provide an opportunity for representatives from both regions to learn about each other’s institutions and to discuss the possibility of establishing student exchange partnerships,” says Yung.

During the conference, government representatives from the states of Washington and Rio de Janeiro will be invited to sign a “State-to-State Student Exchange” agreement to cement the fostering of the Washington/Brazilian student exchange and educational cooperation between higher educational institutions of both regions.

The conference will kick off with a presentation about the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program by representatives from the BSMP and the Institute of International Education.

Other activities and events to be held during the conference include panel discussions addressing topics such as understanding Brazilian culture; understanding U.S. academics; how to address limited Portuguese language skills for students studying in Brazil and opportunities in Brazil for faculty-led, study abroad programs.

In addition, a Washington universities expo will be held during the conference, as well as a presentation by REARI-RJ.


Lisa Sweet’s Painted Images and Objects at Salon Refu

South Sound Arts - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:34am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 18, 2014
Madonna of the Austerities, oil on boardI have long been fascinated by Lisa Sweet’s paintings. They are bizarre, pop-surrealist images of torture, death and martyrdom painted with skill and quirky humor. Lately she has added painted wood sculptures to her repertoire and along with that an amazing amount of playful depth, both literal and illusory.
Sweet teaches art at The Evergreen State College. Among the classes she teaches is art appreciation with an emphasis on medieval art; her love of medieval art is clearly evident in her paintings. These paintings combine traditions and styles from today and from the 13th and 14th centuries, including diptychs, triptychs and cross-shaped paintings. Her figures, mostly women in combinations of contemporary and medieval styles of dress, are comedic-surrealistic and painted with precision and smooth blending of colors. They are thought-provoking and constantly surprising.
Grateful Limb, oil on boardOne of the most astounding paintings, due to a new twist I’ve never before seen in her work, is “Doubt,” a painting of a woman in a blue dress reaching out to touch a man with long hair and a robe of the type depicted in biblical illustrations. The man appears to be Jesus, and her gesture is that of Doubting Thomas touching Jesus’ wound of after the crucifixion. The new twist is that Jesus has no face. The face is cut out to reveal a flat board an eighth of an inch below the surface. The cut-out face provides an interesting spatial play with surface and is a metaphorical puzzle.
Pincushion (detail)“Spilled Milk (Catherine of Alexandria)” is a standing polychrome and wood female figure. Her head is detached and hangs from her neck by a thread. The Roman Emperor Maxentius had Catherine tortured and ordered her to be put to death on the spiked “breaking wheel.” After the wheel mysteriously fell apart, failing to kill her, Maxentius had her beheaded. In Sweet’s Catherine the spiked wheel is painted on her robe.
There is a cross-shaped painting of the crucifixion with, instead of nails driven into the body there are Post-it Notes attached with push pins.
Another favorite is “Before and After,” oil and gold leaf and sgrafitto on paired wood panels. Sgrafitto is a technique used in murals in which contrasting colors are layered in coats of plaster. This diptych shows two versions of the same woman holding an oil can. In one the can is red and realistically painted, and in the other the can is flat gold leaf, as is the background. Spatially it is interesting because the gold leaf advances visually bringing the background up to the edges of the figure. It is also interesting that the painted red can is almost as bright and shiny as the gold leaf.
Another of her painted wood sculptures, “Ambulation,” is a woman in a green robe holding her upside-down head in her hands.
This is an intriguing show. I recommend seeing it on Sept. 19 when the artist will give a talk at 7 p.m.
Ex Voto: painted images and objects, Thursday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. through July 27, Salon Refu 114 N Capitol Way, Olympia,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Nicaraguan-Native Dana Creswell Starts a Swing Dancing Club at Olympia High School

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 7:30am



By Tali Haller

dairy queenEvery Tuesday and Sunday, the Eagles Ballroom hosts a Swing Dancing Night, where adventurous Olympians come and lose themselves in the 1920’s-like atmosphere of lively music and old-fashioned spins, dips, and two-steps.

The evening starts with a quick Beginning Swing Dance Lesson at 7:00 p.m., hosted by Christine Corey, with dancing following from 7:30 – 10:30pm.

swing dancing olympia

Always a fan of dancing, Dana plans to start a swing dancing club at Olympia High School.

Dana Creswell, a senior at Olympia High School and a regular at the Eagles Ballroom, hopes to grow the youth attendance at these events by starting a swing dancing club. “I absolutely love swing dancing,” Dana exclaimed. “It’s a part of America’s culture that many teens aren’t familiar with. I think it will be fun to show people what real dancing is like. Plus, when people recognize how fun this type of dancing can be, it might help with some of the inappropriate dancing at Homecoming and Prom.” A

lready she’s been talking with the Eagles Ballroom staff, who plan to cut the club a group deal from the regular $5 admission since they want to increase the number of young people who attend.

Along with the actual nights of swing dancing, the OHS club will also practice dancing together during the Wednesday morning “school club” hours. “Hopefully the club will host our own dances as fundraisers,” said Dana. But recognizing that the club isn’t officially formed yet, she doesn’t want to get too far ahead. Instead, she’s leaving the intense brainstorming to club meetings where all the members can contribute ideas.

Fortunately for the club, Dana has plenty of experience with event planning and organizing dances. As of this year, she is officially one of three hosts who run non-school-related dances for the students in the greater Olympia area.

dana creswell

Dana moved to Olympia, Washington when she was 13 and fell in love with the independence this country has to offer.

She first got into the dances her sophomore year. “I thought they were super fun and it was great to see everyone from school come out and let loose a little,” she said. This past year, as a junior, she helped the two previous hosts run the music, even DJ-ing on stage from time to time. When it came time for the previous hosts to pass down the responsibility of running the dances, Dana was an obvious choice.

“My main job is to make all the arrangements: I book the venue, handle the money, greet people at the door, etc.” explained Dana. Not only is she making a nice profit (admission is $5 to $7 depending on the venue), she’s also acquiring a myriad of skills, ranging from managing a small business to customer service and public relations – all while having fun among friends. Read about one of the other hosts, Levi Bisonn, who handles the technology, lights, and sound here.

Dana’s love for dancing stems from her rich cultural history. Born and raised in Nicaragua, Dana moved to Olympia just over four years ago when her family relocated. “Nicaragua and the United States have very different cultures,” she said. “One of my favorite things about the States is being independent. Down in Nicaragua, I would never be able to drive my own car, have my own job, or be able to spend time by myself. It’s very dangerous there so you spend every single second of your life with somebody, whether it’s your maid, your parents, or your friends.”

Coming from a well-off family, she often felt as though she was treated as royalty. “We had drivers, maids, guards, and you never did anything by yourself or for yourself. If you were hungry, someone would cook for you. But the difference between the classes was ginormous. Some people had houses that were washed down by the rain each year because they didn’t have the materials to build a sustainable home,” Dana explained.

dana creswell

Dana (middle) still makes the occasional trip to her home country Nicaragua.

All of this has contributed to her outlook on life today. “I feel like some people complain too much about their conditions and they don’t realize how lucky they are. My family used to be very poor. We used to live in this tiny little house together and struggled to make ends meet. I never had toys when I was little. I remember I used to go out and play with the lime tree, or the sticks, or the rocks. You just had to make do with what you had. But that’s all you knew so you were perfectly fine,” Dana emphasized.

Despite the constant threat of violence, Nicaraguans manage to be some of the happiest people Dana has ever come across. “Down there, people will just pop on some music, put out a lawn chair, and sit outside without a worry in the world,” she said with a smile. “The thing I absolutely hate about here is how stressed out everyone seems to be. It’s almost like you feel guilty if you’re not doing something, if you’re not working for money or going for a run.”

Although Dana wasn’t born in America, she’s quickly adopted our “always-busy” attitude. Aside from running the dances and starting a swing dancing club, Dana is on the Budd Bay Rugby Team, maintains a rigorous academic schedule, and holds down a part-time job with the Department of Revenue. Working as an office assistant, Dana writes up fraud reports and does other secretarial tasks. What’s more, this job is preparation for a future in which she plans to be an accountant. “Accounting is definitely not my biggest passion but I definitely enjoy doing it,” said Dana. “I’ve always had this urge to organize things – even though on the outside, I may seem like a messy person (just look at my room) – and accounting satisfies that feeling. Plus I like being precise and I like money,” she said with a smile.

With all these activities, Dana is extremely busy. But rather than complain, she immediately sought out a solution, one that may even seem overly simple: she bought a planner. “It’s the planner and sleep that I owe my sanity to,” she confessed with a laugh.


Thrifty Thurston Eats Out (On the Cheap) with Kids

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 7:20am



By Megan Conklin

duncan sponsorAs the parents of four small, but decidedly hungry children, my husband and I make the decision to take the family out to dinner very rarely. In addition to the incendiary chaos my brood tends to bring to any dining establishment, it is usually too expensive.

But there are those nights. The ones where I feel compelled to leave home at night simply to avoid my inevitable laundry “situation.” The ones where the idea of other people preparing and serving food to my family, and cleaning up afterwards, feels almost too good to be true.

Fortunately, here in Thurston County we have a variety of delightful restaurants that cater to families by hosting either a “kids eat free” or a “kids eat cheap” night during the week.  Check out the following five, super kid friendly eateries.  A few are ones my family has enjoyed of late and a few are ones we hope to try soon.


cheap family restaurant olympia

The wood fire in Farrelli’s pizza ovens has been burning continuously for over sixteen years.

Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza – Kids eat free on Mondays with every $10 spent by a paying adult.

While our kids were already big fans of Farrelli’s Thursday night Balloon Man (he can craft an Ariel from The Little Mermaid that will blow your mind), their Monday night’s Kids Eat Free event was new to us.  The added benefit of the Monday night deal are the pizza artisans who venture out from behind the ovens to help kids toss and shape their own do-it-yourself pies.  The wood fire pizza oven at Farrelli’s on Yelm Highway has literally been burning for 16 years. It doesn’t go out – ever. And they have used the coals from this same, original fire to light the pizza ovens at their additional six locations around Western Washington. Farrelli’s Monday night extravaganza was very entertaining and interactive – well worth the time and money spent.

Peppers Mexican Restaurant – Kids Eat free on Sundays (one kid meal for each adult meal purchased).

Peppers is a locally owned Mexican restaurant that has been an institution in Olympia for many years. Peppers has always been our family’s go to take-out and delivery option – we virtually lived on their food throughout the course of our kitchen remodel a few years ago. But, what we didn’t know was that, at Peppers, kids eat free every Sunday evening with the purchase of an adult entrée item. This offer is dine in only, but the amazing salsa bar – that my children manage to visit at least twenty times throughout the course of the meal – makes the dine in experience more than worth it.

The Mayan – Kids eat for $1.49 on Tuesdays and Sundays.

cheap family restaurant olympia

Kids and The Mayan Mexican Restaurant go together like rice and beans.

When my family visited the Mayan for their “Kids Eat for $1.49” Tuesday night special, we received exceptional service and didn’t even get dirty looks when my boys made several trips to the candy/toy machines at the front of the restaurant. While this is not a true kid freebie night, The Mayan’s “kids eat cheap” night proved to be even less expensive that most “kids eat free” options. This was due to the fact that any number of children can eat for $1.49 at the Mayan on Tuesday and Sunday nights.  Most establishments have a one free kid meal to one adult meal ratio, which works well for families with two adults and two children, but not as well for larger families, like ours. My kids loved The Mayan’s “Little Amigos” menu choices and we had very few leftovers to tote home.

Dickey’s BBQ – Kids eat free on Sundays (one kid meal for each adult meal purchased) – Free Ice Cream Every Day!

If your family has a hankerin’ for BBQ, Dickey’s in West Olympia is the place to go. Dickey’s has a plethora of tasty food options such as pulled pork, beef brisket, and ribs. The many traditional BBQ side dishes like coleslaw, mac-n-cheese, beans, and fried okra round out an indulgent and comforting family meal. In addition to feeding kids for free on Sundays, Dickey’s serves free ice cream with meals every day.

The Ram – Kids eat for $1 per adult entrée ordered on Mondays.

If your family is having a case of The Mondays, try the kids eat for a dollar menu available at The Ram in Lacey.  The options are plentiful and the atmosphere casual and fun. Additionally, The Ram has a Kids’ Birthday Club for youngsters and a monthly drawing that your youngsters can enter to win a free bike.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  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, click here.


Beau coup Bluegrass goodness this Saturday

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:42am

It starts at 6pm September 20 at the State Capital Museum's Coach House where the Oly Mountain Boys will play their new album White Horse with readings of the literary contributions and a short presentation on the Washington history backdrop of the album. It's a special event for a unique album - don't miss it! ($7 or with purchase of White Horse)

Then you can head on down to Rhythm & Rye where at 9pm the twang continues with Patchy Sanders, The Pine Hearts and The Blackberry Bushes. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Body and Mind: How Massage Connects Both

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:00am



olympia massage

Relax and escape to paradise during a massage at In Touch Therapy.

Does it ever feel like your mind and body are in a state of disconnect? Founder and Clinic Director of Olympia’s In Touch Therapy, Kenton Stuth, says this is a common problem that many people experience. “The body speaks to the mind using two languages: pain and pleasure,” says Stuth.

If you’ve just been in a bad accident, your mind and body may not be as trusting of one another as they were previously. Enter In Touch Therapy. Stuth and his experienced team of massage therapists work hard to bring the mind and body back together so that the body can start trusting the mind, and you can start feeling like yourself again.

So how exactly does massage therapy repair this state of disconnect? “During massage we work on a muscle group or a specific muscle and put it in a slightly painful, yet controlled, position,” says Stuth. “Because the position is controlled, the body knows it’s safe. This then forces the brain to pause what it’s doing so that it can correspond with that muscle,” he explains.

“The brain is busy with other stuff. It’s not thinking about a specific muscle or organ,” says Stuth. But, by applying controlled pain to a muscle or muscle group, the brain is forced to acknowledge the activated muscle. Stuth says that this is where the mind and body start to come back together again. “We force the brain to connect to a muscle. Once the mind acknowledges that muscle, it starts thinking of ways to make it better,” he explains.

Stuth calls this the mind taking the body on a date. “The disconnect between the mind and body is like a bad relationship. The body wants to have a good relationship with the mind, so the mind has to start taking the body out on dates. After a while, the body starts to trust the mind again,” Stuth says.

In Touch Therapy can help connect the mind and body through facilitating recovery, providing clients with simple exercises to try at home, and working with the client’s health care provider. “Once we get the body back into a nice balanced structure, the body will intuitively start to heal and repair itself,” says Stuth. Sometimes the mind and body just need a little nudge in the right direction.

For more information about the restorative powers of massage therapy, visit In Touch Therapy’s website here, or contact In Touch Therapy’s Office Coordinator, Shannon Monahan, at 360-866-8940, to schedule an appointment.


All a place (Olympia in my case) needs to be is No. 1 in your own heart

Olympia Time - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:22am
Olympia is Americ'a's #3 Friendliest Small City!

Olympia is America's #55 Most Liveable City, and #3 in allllll of Washington!


Olympia is the town I love best, but seeing these lists being spread around always leaves me empty.

The problem with these rankings, is that they're subjective in the mix. Sure, they're usually pretty clear about what criteria they use to make up their rankings. But, the conclusions to me seem a stretch.

At least a stretch in that they should matter to any particular person. That friendly list up there especially. What makes a person friendly in Olympia is totally different that Grapevine, TX. We have a different history, different social structure and different culture. So, how can you really determine if we're any more of less friendly?

You really can't. People come up here from the deep South and find us off putting and cold. We go down there and find people overbearing and rude. But, both are considered friendly in their own context.

Or exciting. Someone considered Olympia exciting.

Its interesting to look back at this cottage industry of place rankings. David Savageau and Richard Boyer wrote the first "Places Rated Almanac" in 1983. The Almanac marked nearly the 20 year anniversary of the beginning of the Big Sort, a large demographic change.

According to the great book, Big Sort, Americans began unhinging themselves from diverse and deep rooted communities in the 1960s. They would find new homes in politically and socially homogenous communities.

It makes sense that book suggesting The Best Places, creating an idea that divergent communities could be objectivity ranked (and ranked and ranked) is a centerpiece of the idea of demographic sort. People who began shifting back and forth across the country began looking for rational reasons to pick one place over another. But, this rational sorting of communities lacks a coherence of place.

Toronto found itself on this lists regularly, and a local committee there decided to take a close look at what it takes to put these lists together. The committee (which focused on economic development) wrote a report that poked holes in how these reports are written.

Are they comparing apples to apples?

Is the data old? Has it been massaged?

Is the ranking consistent? Meaning, is #1 really one spot away from #2. Or is #2 really #432?

The lists really try to make what is a series of complicated and human topics clean and easy. We should never do that. It is too subjective.

So, as long as we're talking subjective, we might as well go all the way. What determines what is the best place should be inside of you. You might as well rank cities in America by "Top Cities Where My Friends Live" or "Top Cities Where My Kids Are Growing Up."

Doc "Moonlight" Graham in Field of Dreams put it best:
"This is my favorite place in the whole world," Doc says quietly. "I don't think I have to tell you what that means. You look like the kind of fellow who has a favorite place. Once the land touches you, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel the land like it was your child. When that happens to you, you can't be bought."A place may be a good place based on a series of what look like objective criteria, but these can all end up being baloney if a place doesn't mean anything to you.
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