Recent local blog posts

Fruit plate for one (+ one) : sponsored post

The Plum Palate - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:33pm
Thank you to Lesley Stowe Fine Foods for sponsoring this post. My mom put that first meal in front of me, not an hour after we first brought our daughter home. She knew what to do in that blissed-out moment, when I was so distracted by my girl’s crumpled baby skin and endless, shifting micro-expressions […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Volunteer at the Family Support Center!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:28am

If you are concerned about homelessness and working together to strengthening families, this volunteer opportunity could be great for you!

The Family Support Center envisions a community where all families are valued and nurtured and have the resources to be strong, healthy, and self-sufficent.  

We are the largest emergency shelter in Thurston County, and moved to a brand new, renovated building on July 1. Pear Blossom Place offers 30+ beds for homeless families with children, and is now open 24hrs a day, 365 days of the year. It is staffed by 100% volunteers from 5pm-7am every night of the year.

We have opportunities for greeters (5:30-7:30pm), **REALLY NEED overnight hosts! (7pm-7am), daytime weekend shifts (9am-1pm, or 1pm-5pm)...we're also looking for volunteers who wish to facilitate an activity once per week! Do you like to do arts/crafts with kids? Help lead gardening activities? Organize a family game night? Want to just come help kiddos with their homework afterschool? We want to hear from you!

*We welcome college and high school students in need of internship credits, community service hours, or experience in the human service field! Also, children can volunteer alongside their parents; this is a family friendly place!

All volunteers are given; a 3-hr training prior to volunteering and at least one training shift, access to supportive and knowledgeable staff, 24-hr on call support while on shift.

Interested? Have questions? We would love to hear from you!

Contact Katherine, AmeriCorps VISTA at or call 360-628-7343 ext 1

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Time remaining: 78%07/10/2014 (2 weeks) logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

YWCA of Olympia Announces 2014 Women of Achievement

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:22am


Submitted by YWCA of Olympia

20th Annual Gala Honors South Sound Women Making Positive Impact in the Community

The words are powerful, the impact broad, the commitment unquestionable.

“She is an incredible representation of female empowerment, strength and sense of self.”

“Her professional achievements and her personal experiences have influenced so many people in our community to face the reality of racism and sexism.”

“She has held a strong belief in giving women and girls educational opportunities to step themselves out of dangerous or poverty driven situations”

“She believes in the power of education to open doors for people from all walks of life, particularly those who have lacked access to systems of power”

The YWCA of Olympia is pleased to announce their 2014 Women of Achievement:

Dr. Rhonda Coats, Racial Justice Award 

Dr. Rhonda Coats, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Dr. Rhonda Coats

Vice President for Student Services at South Puget Sound Community College, Dr. Coats is a long-time advocate for access, retention, and success for students of color and other underrepresented student groups and she led efforts to establish and maintain the SPSCC Diversity & Equity Center.

Rev. Marti Ensign

Rev. Marti Ensign, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Rev. Marti Ensign

Minister and Humanitarian, Rev. Ensign has helped women locally and internationally for the last 60 years. Marti received her BA in pre-med in 1958 followed by graduate degree, was the first woman to be fully ordained as a Free Methodist Minister, and served on the task force to begin the medical program at Hope Africa University in Burundi.  As a member of Soroptimist of Olympia International she implemented the Hope Africa Scholarship to help women obtain medical education.

Lynn Grotsky, LICSW

Lynn Grotsky, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Lynn Grotsky

Co-founder, Board President, past volunteer Executive Director, Facilitator Consultant and Event Coordinator of Pizza Klatch. Lynn, a clinical social worker, also was one of the founders of Thurston County’s Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center where she established and directed a therapy program for abused children and their families. In 1989, she and her wife, Lisa Brodoff, won a landmark lesbian second parent adoption case in Washington State, paving the way for same-sex parents to legally adopt here and throughout the nation.

Dr. Leticia Nieto, Racial Justice Award

Dr. Leticia Nieto, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Dr. Leticia Nieto

Dr. Nieto is a Psychotherapist, Certified Psychodramatist, Accredited Playback Theatre Trainer, and Anti-Oppression Educator and Author specializing in cross-cultural communication, motivation and creativity. Dr. Nieto is a Professor in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program at Saint Martin’s University.

Christy Peters

Christy Peters, 2014 Women of Achievement Winner

Christy Peters

Currently, the Administration Chief at the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Christy has also served as former President of Junior League of Olympia, past President of the South Sound Reading Foundation, and currently serves on the Boards of NOVA School, the Olympia Youth Chorus, and the Olympia Downtown Rotary Club.

Nominees were selected for their professional achievement(s), peer recognition, personal growth, demonstration and inspirational involvement in the community, and/or how she models her life in accordance with the YWCA of Olympia’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.

The 20th Annual Women of Achievement Gala, Presented by Titus Will, will take place on Thursday, November 6th from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets ($80) will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at under Events. Once again Titus-Will has stepped up as the Women of Achievement Gala Presenting Sponsor with WSECU and Lucky Eagle for serving as our Sustaining Sponsors.

The agency will release the name of their Young Woman of Achievement and Business of Achievement later this week.

All photos courtesy of the YWCA of Olympia.



Capital Heating and Cooling: Three Generations of Keeping the Community Comfortable

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 8:49am



capital heating and cooling

Pictured from left are Bill, Chuck and Dean Schmidtke, the third generation owners of Capital Heating and Cooling.

Successful family businesses require dedication, expertise in a craft and relentless hard work. Transferring the business through the generations is challenging.  Most family businesses dissolve rather than get passed on through the family. Statistics indicate that only 12% of family owned businesses survive until the third generation. The fact that Capital Heating and Cooling has been in business for 77 years and currently owned and operated by the third generation Schmidtke brothers is testimony to their dedication to customer service, expertise in their craft, and commitment to quality work.

Capital Heating and Cooling started in 1937 by Bill Schmidtke and his business partner Helmut Klein.  They purchased the existing Tobin Sheet Metal and founded their company as Capital Sheet Metal in downtown Olympia. Over the years, sheet metal fabrication led into the building of ductwork and eventually a comprehensive heating and air conditioning company. Currently the three Schmidtke brothers – Bill, Chuck and Dean – own and operate Capital Heating and Cooling.

capital heating and cooling

Capital Heating and Cooling believes in “being there for our customers for generations.”

Dean Schmidtke shares, “We grew up always doing something with the company whether sweeping the floor in the shop or washing the trucks.”

“We run the business with modern day technology and techniques but remain committed to the ‘old fashioned’ values in which the company started,” Dean continues. “We are honest, straight forward and concerned with helping our customers.”

“We literally will be there for our customers for generations. We will keep the tradition of Capital Heating and Cooling’s integrity and quality going. We will continue the good work that my father and grandfather have done in homes, schools and office buildings,” Dean adds.

The Schmidtke brothers have been successful in growing Capital Heating and Cooling partly due to their insightfulness in allowing each other to follow their respective areas of strength within the company. Each pursued education, training or jobs outside the family business prior to taking over ownership in 2007.

Helping in the family business while growing up and then gaining experience outside the family company likely has served as part of the company’s continued success and growth. Bill received an engineering degree at Saint Martin’s University and now leads the large commercial projects at Capital Heating and Cooling.  Chuck originally attended the Washington State Explorer’s Academy from 1995 – 1998 before starting with the company full-time to run the service department. Dean, also a graduate of Saint Martin’s University worked in the industry throughout the country before returning home to Olympia.

capital heating and cooling

Larry Schmidtke, pictured in the late 1980s, was the second generation to own Capital Heating and Cooling.

Dean comments, “Bill has always had the mechanical engineering mind so it makes sense that he leads our big projects while Chuck is an expert at juggling company resources. And I tend to have more of the broad ideas. We use our natural strengths and talent in working in different departments but then come together as a team to lead the company.”

And of course the elder Schmidtke is still involved. “Dad still swoops in to give his two cents,” Dean says with a chuckle.  “He stirs things up and then he is gone. He is always giving advice or telling fun stories about things that happened in the past. He enjoys reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ like when the company used to do hot tar roofing and the crew accidentally set one on fire.”

Hot tar roofing is a bygone era but part of the company’s origins – custom sheet metal continues as an integral part of the business. The sheet metal division fabricates the custom ductwork, as well as builds stainless steel and copper countertops, kitchen hoods and much more.  Capital Heating and Cooling now specializes in residential and commercial Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, air duct cleaning, and repair and maintenance of systems.

capital heating and coolingThe installation of any heating and cooling system is paramount to its success. Capital Heating and Cooling supports extensive and ongoing training for its technicians.

Capital Heating and Cooling is well known in the area for its highly experienced installation teams for both large commercial projects and residential homes both for new construction and remodels. And their reputation for service and maintenance systems is impeccable.

Many of us have worked with Capital Heating and Cooling for systems within our own homes or offices but if not it is likely we have experienced the comfort of a home or business in which they have installed a system such as Meconi’s Restaurants, the Governor’s Mansion, Olympia Federal Savings in Hawks Prairie and the O’Grady Library and Worthington Center at Saint Martin’s University.

To learn more about Capital Heating and Cooling click here or visit them at 1218 Carpenter Road SE in Lacey.


Volunteer Meeting!

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:00pm

Hey high school and college kids! Why not give yourself a break from studying for your many classes by volunteering at Northern? All work and no play, etc.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Port Blakely Tree Farms’ Forests Closed Until Further Notice Due to Extreme Fire Danger

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:44pm



Submitted by Port Blakely Tree Farms 

Prolonged hot and dry weather conditions have raised the risk of forest fires in the region. Until further notice, PORT BLAKELY TREE FARMS’ forestland in Washington and Oregon is closed to ALL public access. This closure applies to foot, horse, motorized and any other form of access.

While we regret any inconvenience this may cause to recreational users, our decision to prohibit access reflects our priorities: safety and the protection of our forests. Port Blakely employees and security officials are monitoring the weather conditions and unauthorized access.

This closure to all traffic is temporary. Regular allowable access will be permitted once the risk of forest fires decreases and forest conditions are considered safe.

For updated land closure status, go to

To report fires call 911.

Talking Food with New Market Culinary Arts

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:11pm
Event:  Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm At the Tumwater Timberland Library: Join New Market Skills Center culinary arts students for a discussion of the Timberland Reads Together titles "Closer to the Ground" by Dylan Tomine and "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson. The students will share recipes related to the books and discuss seasonal foods. This program is part of Timberland Reads Together, Timberland Regional Library's one book-one community reading initiative for 2014. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Delicious Dining for Diabetics

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:10pm
Event:  Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Frustrated planning meals for yourself or a family member with diabetes? Join Diabetes Educator Sharon Furrer from the Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Center for an interactive evening at the Tumwater Timberland Library. Discuss easy ways to plan meals and learn tasty recipes. Make diabetic meals delicious and simple to prepare! You don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy. This program is part of Timberland Reads Together, Timberland Regional Library's one book-one community reading initiative for 2014. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Harvest to Home - Canning and Food Preservation

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:09pm
Event:  Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:30am - 12:00pm At the Tumwater Timberland Library: Are you new to canning or need a refresher course? Join Denise Brownlee, educator from Washington State Extension for a workshop in home food preservation. Topics discussed include how to select and care for jars, pickling and fermenting, jams and jellies, how and when to use a pressure canner, freezing and drying foods and factors affecting processing times. Denise will be available to test pressure gauges after the main presentation. This program is part of Timberland Reads Together, Timberland Regional Library's one book-one community reading initiative for 2014. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Lacey Historical Commission to Consider Nomination of Saint Martin’s “Old Main” to National Historic Register

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:02pm


Submitted by The City of Lacey saint martins university

This photograph depicts the 1913 building. The signature statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, designed by Seattle artist Charles Biber would be added in 1919, commissioned to commemorate the first layman’s retreat in Washington which was held at Saint Martin’s in 1918. Photo courtesy Saint Martin’s University collection, Ted Yearian photo.

The City of Lacey Historical Commission will consider the nomination of Old Main Building on the campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey to the National Register of Historic Places at its September 17, 2014 meeting.  The meeting will be held in Lacey City Hall, 420 College Street SE in Lacey beginning at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and comment on the nomination.

Old Main was constructed in 1913 with a side wing added in 1923. The building, now considered a Lacey landmark, is an example of Collegiate Gothic architecture and contains 120,000 square feet in an “L” shape. The nominated historic resources include the second generation of the original campus building, a statue, and formal entry stairs. After the Lacey Historical Commission acts on the nomination, the Community Relations and Public Affairs Committee will be briefed at their normally scheduled meeting on October 6. The nomination will then be passed to Mayor Andy Ryder and Lacey City Council for a final motion at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m. The Chamber’s Prairie-Ruddell Pioneer Cemetery is the only other property in Lacey that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery was listed on June 30, 1995. For those unable to attend the Historical Commission meeting that wish to provide input on any agenda item, please contact Lori Flemm, Lacey Parks and Recreation Director, at  (360) 491-0857 or by email at

Used Outdoor Gear and Consignment Shop Opens in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:26pm


Submitted by Centro

centro olympia

Centro is a new retail store concept in downtown Olympia.

The partners at Centro have created the Olympia Gear Exchange, a used outdoor gear and consignment shop, that will share space with Centro, The Bike Stand, The Olympia Footwear Company and the Warehouse Rock Gym in the Historic Hyak Building in downtown Olympia. The Olympia Gear Exchange, Olympia’s first outdoor recreation consignment store, will focus on seasonal adventure sports including cycling, climbing, camping, hiking and winter sports.

The shop will be open for consignment and intake of equipment beginning Tuesday, September 16, during Centro’s normal business hours.  Our expert appraisers will help determine value, set price and explain our commission structure.  We are keenly interested in winter sport products now – Alpine Ski, Snowboard and Snowshoeing.  We will also be accepting camping, hiking, and cycling  equipment, as well as apparel and footwear.  So clean out your closets and storerooms, and let us sell you gear.

Says Joe Hyer, Centro President, “The Olympia Gear Exchange is not only a great idea, it’s also a great way to show our values of community and sustainability.  Now we just hope the community responds by bringing us gear to sell.”

A grand opening is set for Friday, September 26, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, where customers will get first crack at the best deals around.  In addition to used equipment, the shop will sell close-outs, clearance, samples and other opportunities.

The Olympia Gear Exchange will be located in the North Side of Centro, 408 Olympia Ave NE in Downtown Olympia.

About Centro:

Centro, a locally owned urban lifestyle store with an outdoors influence, in downtown Olympia, Washington. Located diagonally from the Hands on Children’s Museum in the historical Hyak Building on Olympia Avenue, Centro currently features The Bike Stand, The Olympia Footwear Co, everyday essentials, a seasonal ski-shop and The Gear Exchange.

Greene Realty Group Welcomes Back Mike and Sheila Bueche, Karen Huff

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:18pm



Submitted by Greene Realty Group

Greene Realty Group is excited to welcome back several new Realtors to their Olympia office.

Mike and Shelia Bueche have returned to the Pacific Northwest and joined the Greene Realty Group.

Mike and Shelia Bueche have returned to the Pacific Northwest and joined the Greene Realty Group.

Sheila and Mike Bueche have been licensed Realtors for over 12 years. They began their real estate careers right here in Olympia. Working with both buyers and sellers and specializing in residential new construction, traditional home sales, short sale, and  foreclosures.  After spending 10 years helping clients buy and sell homes, Mike and Sheila decided to move to Arizona. They arrived in Arizona and jumped right into the Arizona real estate market, specializing in REO/Foreclosure, short sales and traditional sales. They were successful in closing many properties with their clients. After making a couple moves in Arizona they have moved back to the Pacific Northwest and now realize “there is no place like home!”

Today, they continue to help their clients as licensed Brokers at Greene Realty Group on Olympia’s Westside. The Bueche Team has built their business on referrals from both past and present clients and look forward to meeting new clients.

Karen Huff became a licensed realtor in 2002. As a real estate professional, she works with both buyers and sellers and specializes

Karen Huff brings personal service and experience to her Olympia clients.

Karen Huff brings personal service and experience to her Olympia clients.

in our local market place. Karen’s philosophy is based on building lifelong relationships with her clients by putting their needs first, effective communication, and diligence to provide great customer service.

Karen has built her business on referrals from both past and present clients and looks forward to meeting new clients. The following things are the cornerstone of what Karen believes

are most important in providing great service to her clients:

  • Customer service means timely communication and keeping her clients best interest in mind.
  • Quality education to keep up with today’s ever changing market including short sales, foreclosures, and traditional sales.
  • Knowledge of cutting edge technology and staying current in both her local and national real estate markets.
  • Integrity, honesty, and being available when needed.

Karen and her husband have raised two boys and two girls here in Olympia. Karen believes in giving back to her community and is involved in local charities, as well as charities at her church.

Clybourne Park

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:15pm
Event:  Thu, 10/02/2014 - 8:00pm - 10:30pm

Clybourne Park is an outrageous modern comedy that fearlessly, and hilariously, tackles some of the most challenging social issues of our time. Act One takes place in an all-white neighborhood in 1959 Chicago, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house 50 years later as a white family attempts to move into the now predominately African-American neighborhood, which is struggling to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play offers fascinating and original insights into issues surrounding race, political correctness, and what truly makes a community. Bruce Norris’ incredible script brilliantly balances humor and heartbreak to deliver a powerful and enlightening experience. “Vital, sharp-witted, and ferociously smart.” ~The New York Times

 WHO:             Harlequin Productions

WHAT:            Clybourne Park

WHEN:            October 2nd –25th; Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sunday matinees as 2:00pm logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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John Erwin Remodeling Answers, “How Much will my Remodel Cost?”

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:00pm


Submitted by John Erwin for John Erwin Remodeling 

“How much will my remodel cost?”

olympia home remodel

John Erwin Home Remodeling creates beautiful homes.

That is a question that I am asked frequently. It is one of the hardest questions to answer.  Without more information it’s about like calling your favorite car dealer and asking them how much a new vehicle will cost you, without clarifying that you’re looking for a truck with all the options or a new sub-compact economy car.  Like a new vehicle, there are countless variables and options in almost every remodel or home renovation project and each one of them have a dollar sign next to it.

The first thing you have to know and understand is: the older your home, the more you should budget for your project. Because the older the home, the more it will cost.  If your home was built in the 50’s, you might still have galvanized water pipes behind old lath and plaster walls which take longer and cost more to renovate compared to a home built in the mid 80’s with copper pipes and sheetrock.  Another factor in price based on age is what I call the “curve ball.”  That is– the hidden damage or code violations that are discovered when walls are opened up such as water damage or electrical wire connections buried in the wall that will have to be repaired or replaced.

That said, I can clarify and give you some insight on three very typical popular home improvement projects, and what the average cost you can expect when you hire an experienced professional remodel contractor.  Keep in mind that the actual cost of your remodel can vary greatly with countless variables and the below average cost includes everything and nothing at the same time. It’s simply the average cost of the projects without any details.

Bathrooms:  Bathrooms have long been one of our most popular projects with our clients.  A typical hall bathroom built in the mid-80’s will cost on average about $15,000.  That would include a new acrylic tub/shower, flooring, vanity, countertop and plumbing fixtures.  The biggest variable on this type of project will be in the quality and price of the product selections.  If you choose to upgrade to tiled shower and floor along with granite counter tops you could easily spend closer to $20,000.  If it’s a 5 piece master bathroom the average cost comes in right around $25,000 when using the better quality products.

olympia home remodel

A kitchen remodel can add function and value to your home.

Kitchens:  Kitchens have always been the best investment when you consider the cost vs. value aspect, but more than that, the kitchen is what I call the heart of the house.  Your whole family use the kitchen every day. When done right, you not only get the biggest bang for your buck, you get the most enjoyment and use out of a kitchen remodel.  Kitchen cabinets have come along way over the years with almost limitless bells and whistles that help maximize the storage and usability, and of course you guessed it, they come with a dollar sign next to them as well.  Our typical kitchen remodels where we remove and replace all the cabinets, install new flooring, laminate countertops with tile backsplashes prices out right around $25,000.  That number does not include the cost of appliances that can easily add another $5,000.  Take that same exact kitchen layout in the same exact space but include the nifty roll outs, tip outs, and a quartz or granite countertop the average jumps up to $35,000.

Additions:  Additions can really vary in cost not only based on the age of your home, but with the architectural style and with your existing homes building components.  The most important aspect of any addition is to have it blend with the existing home olympia home remodeland the best way to do that is to match the type of foundation, siding, windows, and roofing.  There is nothing worse than an addition that does not blend. Sometimes you have to invest more money to ensure it will look seamless.  Our typical room addition is $135 per sq. ft. or $40,000-$54,000 when it is around 300-400 sq. ft.  However, if you add hardwood flooring, vaulted ceilings, skylights and French doors in that same space, the price may jump up another $15-$20 dollars per sq ft.  The addition also has to be large enough to be cost effective as well, because the smaller the addition the more the price per sq. ft. will be. When someone who is thinking about a little 8’x8’ bump out for a walk in closet, that will price out more like $350 per sq. ft. and that just never pencils out when considering cost vs. value.

So there you have it– a good old fashioned non-answer to, “How much will my remodel cost?”  In other words, it’s almost impossible to truly answer that question with limited information. These are just typical average costs which include everything and nothing at the same time.  To get a detailed accurate estimate on your project, start out with good designs and plans, make your product selections, and call John Erwin Remodeling Inc.– We would love to talk to you about your project.    


The Maxines & Calvin Johnson Play Girl Trouble!

K Records - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:21am
In celebration of the new Girl Trouble documentary Strictly Sacred!, here is the Maxines with Calvin Johnson playing a song from the debut Girl Trouble album Hit It or Quit It [KLP229], “The Skin”, at Dub Narcotic Studio. Sweet rhythm of mercy.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Working Class Theatre NW School for Lies

South Sound Arts - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:29am

Robert McConkey as Clitander, Mariesa Bus as Celimine and Luke Amundson as Frank. Photo by Kate LickI can’t remember when I’ve laughed so much as I did at Saturday night’s performance of David Ives’ School for Lies presented by the new fringe company Working Class Theatre NW. Wait, yes I can. It was the first time I saw The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). School for Lieshas a lot in common with Shakespeare (Abridged) — the time period, the irreverent slapstick and word play, the language and poetry. But School is more intellectual and more biting — biting, naturally, because the source material is scathing satire.
April Nyquist as Eliante and Robert McConkey s Clitander. Photo by Kate LickIves, perhaps most well known for the hit play Venus in Furs, has updated Moliere’s classic The Misanthrope with contemporary language, including reams of inventive cursing and even one monologue sung as a rap song. He mashes it all together with a mixture of Elizabethan and contemporary comedy. The writing is brilliant. Expect to be astonished at Ives’ dizzying explosion of puns, curses and alliteration spouted in rhyme. It is a scathing slap in the face of the upper classes disguised as a romantic comedy — a masterful mock on a master of comedy.Working Class Theatre NW is a brand new company and the creation of two South Sound theater professionals, Tim Samland (producer and technical director of this show) and Christina Hughes (costume designer). School for Lies is their first show. It is being produced on a shoe-string budget. The only expense seems to have been on elaborate costumes, many of which I suspect came from thrift stores or were borrowed or cobbled together from scraps; and on the few pieces of ancient, beat-up and often-repaired furniture that Samland scavenged from his parents’ barn. I happen to know this because his parents sat behind me and his father told me so. Since I’m talking about production values, I might as well mention the wigs and makeup, some of which are fabulous. Bruce Story-Camp as the arrogant poet Oronte sports a curly, long-haired wig and an upturned moustache, and he has a disgusting mole on his nose. It takes guts for a handsome man to make himself so ugly and Story-Camp does it unabashedly. As for handsome made ugly, that goes triple for Jenifer Rifenbery as the devious and flirtatious aristocrat Arsinoe. Rifenbery is a beauty who has successfully milked her looks to play sexpots such as Lily in Annie and the ditzy blonde who runs around in her underwear in Noises Off. In School for Lies she is absolutely hysterical. She is adorned in the clownishly garish makeup of an ageing whore with painted Cupid ’s bow lips. I was told by director Tom Sanders that Rifenbery designed her own makeup, and she gets points for doing it so well. With little or no money spent on sets, props and (probably) costumes, the entire production rests on the script and the acting, both of which are marvelous.Not all of the acting is top-notch, but the major characters are spot-on. This may be the best role ever (or yet) for Luke Amundson, who plays Frank, Ives’ version of the lead character in Moliere’s The Misanthrope. He definitely has the best lines, and he delivers them spectacularly, equally believable as a harsh and spite-filled cynic and as a man smitten by love. He doesn’t need fake beard or hair because his everyday beard and hair are perfect for the role. Equaling Amundson in no-holds-barred acting is his love interest and antagonist Mariesa Bus as Celimine. Everyone is madly in love with Celimine — Frank, a trio of dunces including Oronte, Clitander (Robert McConkey) and Acaste, the Lord of Stupid (Ryan Cullitan), and possibly even her cousin Eliante (April Nyquist). Everyone, that is, but Frank’s cross-dressing friend Philinte (Bryan Bender) who is in love with Eliante. Celimine knows that practically every man in France longs for her, and she revels in it. And she matches Frank’s cynicism barb-for-barb. Great acting on the part of Bus.A few random thoughts:·         Words cannot express how adorable Nyquist is with her big eyes and long, fluttering lashes and a smile that lights up the world.·         I lost count of how many times the tray of canapés goes flying through the air.·         Few can resist calling Clitander Clitoris.·         When Arsinoe lets loose with anger and frustration we see unadulterated, fearless acting at its finest; and the same holds true when Eliante aggressively tries to seduce Frank.·         Speaking in rhyme can be disastrous if it is sing-song; it never is in this production.·         Despite Clitander’s gay and foppish demeanor and Philinte’s cross dressing they are both, it seems, heterosexual. There is some question about Oronte as well.·         And finally, it is a shame that audiences for risky, out-of-the-mainstream plays like this are so small. They should be able to do this at the Broadway Center and fill every seat – although there is some advantage to this smaller and more intimate space for this production.·         The play is set in France 1666 but it is relevant to the U.S.A. in 2014.Tickets are dirt cheap, by suggested donation only. I hope you will see this show and donate as much as you can to support such a worthy company.Remaining performances September 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, and 27 at 8 p.m.
733 Commerce, Tacoma, 3rd floor ballroom. Suggested donation $10-$12.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Your regular fortnightly blog links. At least something is fortnightly anymore. Wink. (Olyblogosphere for September 15, 2014)

Olympia Time - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:06am
1. Best blog at Olyblog in a long time: Olympia Then & Now. Awesome.

2. They're working to put Old Main on the list of national places of historic importance. I would've assumed it was on that list already, but there you go.

3. Sort of a meta post from the Plum Palate. But, it is important to keep up with your local bloggers.

4. Big News for the People's House. Which isn't a new proposed location to fight about, by the way.

5. I think the Percival just realized the Weekly Volcano died.

Dance Oly Dance House Party October 4th Arts Walk - Halloween Theme

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:05am
Event:  Sat, 10/04/2014 - 10:00pm - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 2:00am

Dance Oly Dance, Olympia’s local dance TV show, invites you to yet another televised dance party on Saturday, October 4th, 10pm to 2am. Dance in front of video cameras at a downtown house party. The one-hour episode will air in January on TCTV.

Get down to an hour-long beatset by DJ PhilosoBoy.
TV recording goes from 11:00pm to midnight.

Party continues with DJ's N SO and Dove Boy

Again, that’s Saturday, October 4th at the Track House, 511 7th Ave SE.

And don’t forget to become a fan of Dance Oly Dance on FaceBook

Here's the FaceBook event invite page for this episode: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Welcome to the The Evergreen State College Art Lecture Series, 2014-2015

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 10:20pm

The series takes place in Lecture Hall 1 at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, on 4-5 Wednesdays per quarter, from 11:30-1:00 pm. Free to the public, Evergreen’s visual arts programs offer an opportunity to hear local, national and international interdisciplinary artists, writers and art workers speak about their work.

The Art Lecture Series is facilitated by Shaw Osha,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Centralia Steam Plant

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 7:56pm

Back in April I posted some photos of the steam plant. I visited the plant again last week, at night, and thought the night scene was interesting, so I will post a couple more versions, including another day time photo. I also got photos (and video, currently working on that,) of coal trains running North. Both were loaded, presumably heading for Roberts Bank, Vancouver B.C.. Empty coal trains also run North, after unloading at Centralia, or perhaps the Boardman (Oregon) plant too? The trains are truly awesome. It is too bad that they being used for such a narrow and short-sighted, reckless, wanton, dangerous, and environmentally destructive purpose as burning fossil fuels as fast as physically possible!!! Of course, all the benefits, for those of us in the 20% (or whatever it is) of the world's privileged population, are just great! (---sorry future generations.): And of course, if you're in the royal class of the 1%, it's never been better! Burn away! Full speed ahead! Pity on those poor desperate pawns.

Centralia Steam Plant

and day:
Centralia Electric Generating Station Steam Plant I

Large size versions below: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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