Recent local blog posts

My Wandering Mind – Smart Fiction

South Sound Arts - Wed, 11/02/2016 - 11:30am

I’ve noticed that many of the great writers fill their works with cultural and historical references, puns, double entendre, and other sneaky stuff. I suspect they know full well that only a fraction of their readers will get all their bon mots, but they put them in there anyway, I assume for the sheer pleasure they get from it and perhaps in hopes that some their references and word play will give some readers a delightful ah-ha moment.
Salman Rushdie is a master of these literary devices. His books are crammed with puns and other forms of word play, and pop-culture, historical and literary references. I have thoroughly enjoyed those I’ve caught, and I know there must be many that pass me right by.
In Nabokov’s Lolita, almost every paragraph contains some esoteric reference to history or literature—or sex. I know I would have missed almost all of them if my friend Larry Johnson had not loaned me an annotated Lolita. The index was almost as long as the book. Wading through it was hard work but worth the effort. My friend Larry is a great poet, and his poetry (Veins and Alloy) is so crammed full of literary and historical references that I spent almost as much time looking things up as I did reading his poems. As with Lolita, it was worth the effort.
I remember reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and thinking how ludicrous it was that tiny little Owen was obsessed with trying to dunk a basketball. It was funny but ridiculous that Irving (never shy about excessive repetition) kept bringing it up until finally it paid off grandly, and suddenly the reader understood. There was also the clever naming of the town Gravesend. By-the-way, speaking of excessive repetition, how many John Irving novels does one have to read before one gets the idea that he likes writing about bears and wrestling?
The thing that made me start ruminating on these things was Christian Carvajal’s novel Lightfall, which I am reading for the second time. Both Lightfall and his second novel, Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride, written under the pen name Lynn Savage, overflow with clever names and witty pop-culture references. I’m sure I can’t fully appreciate all his nerdy references to sci-fi and fantasy, because my delving into these genres has been limited. But the ones I have grasped are brilliantly-sneakily funny.
Reading smart fiction sure is fun. Even for those of us who may not be as smart as the fiction we read.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

A Piece of My Heart at Dukesbay Theater

South Sound Arts - Wed, 11/02/2016 - 8:19am
Jermaine Lindsay playing all the American men, and Sissy (Erin O'Laughlin, all photos courtesy Dukesbay Theater
LeeAnn (Helen Martin) and Steele (LaNita Hudson),

A Piece of My Heart at Dukesbay Theater is the real deal. It is the horror and the heroism of the Vietnam War brought to life, not with action and special effects but through the troubled memories of six women who lived through it — true stories mostly told by those who remember, but also acted out to the background of rock and roll. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the songs that reverberate in our ears and in our memory along with the sound of helicopter blades. Martha (Kathryn Grace Philbrook), Whitney (Jill Heinecke) and Steele
MaryJo (Melanie Gladstone), Martha and SteeleThe play was written by Shirley Lauro based on a 1986 oral history by Keith Walker in which 26 of the estimated 1,500 American women who went to Southeast Asia recounted their experiences, whether as nurses, civilian do-gooders or entertainers. The women of A Piece of My Heart are Army, Navy and Red Cross nurses, an intelligence officer, and a singer/guitarist from an all-girl band who was sent to Vietnam to entertain the troops. They are: Martha (Kathryn Grace Philbrook), an idealistic military brat who follows in her parents’ footsteps by becoming an Army nurse; MaryJo (Melanie Gladstone), the lead singer in Sugar Candies from Beaumont, Texas; Sissy (Erin O’Loughlin), an idealistic but fearful Army nurse; Whitney (Jill Heinecke), a Red Cross nurse; LeeAnn (Helen Martin), an Asian-American hippie who becomes an Army nurse thinking she’s going to get to serve in Hawaii; and Steele (LaNita Hudson), an Army veteran of 18 years who joined wanting to be in the Army band but was told Negroes couldn’t be in the band. She works in intelligence and is probably the smartest and most accomplished of all the women.The one man in the cast, Jermaine Lindsay, plays all the American men, from hard-partying soldiers to double amputees in the field hospital to a succession of officious officers. Vietnam is a shock to all the women, and coming home (the entire second act takes place back home) is just as big a shock. All but Steele are young and naïve when they go to ’Nam. They are horrified by the conditions and by the severity of the wounds they must treat. They are forced to grow up in a hurry, and when they come home they no longer fit in with their old friends or their families. Every one of them suffers from post-traumatic stress.It is a horrible and destressing story, but thankfully it ends on an uplifting note. About that ending — it takes place at the wall in Washington, D.C., long after the women come home, and it plays on the audience’s emotions in a way that a more cynical reviewer would probably dismiss, but I am a sucker for just that kind of play to the heartstrings as, it seems, most of the opening night audience was.The acting by the ensemble cast is outstanding. The pacing and blocking is like a carefully choreographed dance throughout. And the set designed by Burton Yuen is a simple grouping of risers and a long ramp that is perfect for this presentation. The only problem with the set is that occasionally actors speak from spots that are hard to see, depending on where you are seated.Finally, the rock ‘n’ roll sound track (a combination of recorded and live music) is the music not only of the era, but specifically of the Vietnam War — a combat veteran friend of mine said ‘Nam was America’s rock ‘n’ roll war.Opening night sold out, so get your tickets early. A Piece of My Heart, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m., Sunday through Nov. 13, $15, Dukesbay Theater, Merlino Arts Center, 508 S. Sixth Ave., Tacoma, online tickets at http://dukesbayheart.bpt.me/

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Tumwater Firefighters Strive to Keep Kids Warm this Winter

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/02/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

For most people autumn is a beautiful time of year with all the bright colors, festive events, and crisp air. But what if you couldn’t afford a warm coat for your child to wear to school? The change in the seasons might take on a whole different meaning. You might spend your days stressing over […]

Mathnasium of Olympia Fills in the Math Learning Gaps

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/02/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Homework is seldom fun, for either the student or their parents. But one subject causes more foot-dragging, procrastination, and frustration than all the others combined: math. Whether it’s learning a new skill or brushing up on decades’ old memorization, numbers make our head spin. Reports out of Stanford University explain that “Math anxiety can have […]

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Delivers Authentic Flavors to Your Table

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/02/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Gina Young gently places brisket inside a smoker with hickory smoke flavors, letting indirect heat gently turn the raw meat into tasty morsels over the course of many hours. The owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in West Olympia, Young appreciates the long-held, traditional recipes that create authentic, slow-cooked barbecue. Four year ago, Young opened the […]

Tracing Genetic Inheritance

South Sound Arts - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 10:34am

Geraldine Ondrizek installations at The Evergreen State College
 “Chromosome Painting Edition II 1-X,” by Geraldine Ondrizek, photo by Becky KnoldWorks from three major installations by Geraldine Ondrizek come together in the show Tracing Genetic Inheritance: Recent Work by Geraldine Ondrizek at the art gallery at The Evergreen State College. This is a highly unusual, beautiful and intelligent exhibition that combines science and art in ways that should open the mind and tease the eye.

Read the complete review in Oly Arts.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Veterans Day Marked with Saint Martin’s Flag Pavilion Ceremony

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 7:08am

ThurstonTalk

A Veterans Day ceremony November 11 at Saint Martin’s University will pay tribute to veterans, living and dead, and will thank the University’s many veterans, active-duty military and their families for their service to this country. The ceremony, sponsored by the University’s Veterans Committee, will begin at 10 a.m. at the University’s Flag Pavilion, which […]

Readers’ Choice: ThurstonTalk’s Most-Read Stories in October

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 5:41am

ThurstonTalk

October has come and gone in a cloud of pumpkin spice, pumpkin patches and a whole lot of rain. ThurstonTalk followers, however, have been busy reading positive stories about our community between soccer games and Arts Walk and have made their favorites known. Check out ThurstonTalk’s most-read stories for October, plus our Editor’s Pick, below. […]

Reflecting on 17 Years of Friendship, Starting with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 5:01am

ThurstonTalk

Submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington Eighteen years ago Heather decided she didn’t want to be like every other twenty-something she knew, she wanted to do something meaningful with her spare time. She decided to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington by becoming a Big Sister. Not long after completing the […]

No Stranger to Adversity – Black Hills High School’s Football Team Heads to Playoffs

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Kyler Nygren figured he was just too small to be a running back. At 5-foot-7, 155 pounds, Nygren, a senior on Black Hills High School’s football team, doesn’t exactly fill the definition of “big.” “We were generous when we said 155 pounds,” said Kirk Stevens, the head football coach at Black Hills High School for […]

Olympia Foreign Exchange Students Gain New Understanding, New Appreciation

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

A little over a year ago, Karli Reiter, a current senior at Olympia High School, boarded a plane to Barcelona, Spain. Reiter participated in Rotary International’s Exchange Student program during her junior year and stayed with a host family in Vilanova del Valles, Spain for nine months. During this time, she attended a Catalan school, met […]

Hope for Diabetics: Dr. Estelle Lin on Preventing and Reversing the Disease

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Want to improve your health? Turn off the television while you eat and savor every bite. This simple suggestion is just one of the ways Dr. Estelle Lin says people can change their lifestyles to prevent or combat diabetes. She practices Internal Medicine and works with diabetic patients at Pacific Medical Centers to ease and […]

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:37am

ThurstonTalk

My name is Abby, I am 6 ½ years old, and I love everyone and everything!  I enjoy walks, car rides, playing in the play yards with other dogs & volunteers!  I also like kids and cats. I am currently looking for a family that is willing to work with some of my environmental, climate, food […]

CopsForHire Launches Online Marketplace Managing Seattle Police Department’s Off-Duty Work

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:21am

ThurstonTalk

Submitted by CopsForHire As Seattle experiences unprecedented growth, the Seattle Police Department fields an exploding number of inquiries seeking off-duty police resources.  CopsForHire was selected as an off-duty solution by Seattle PD after months of vetting by its leadership. CopsForHire is an online marketplace that allows individuals and businesses to hire off-duty cops to secure […]

A Prescription for Managing Seasonal Depression from UW Neighborhood Olympia Clinic

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

With the days growing shorter and the sky darkening, the UW Neighborhood Olympia Clinic is starting to see patients whose moods match the gloomy weather. They are tired, sleep long hours and have trouble getting out of bed or leaving the house. If these complaints sound familiar, they may mark the onset of winter seasonal […]

New Sweet Treats on Division – Phoebe’s Pastry Café Opens Second Location

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Phoebe Martinson gets to have her cake and eat it, too. “I’m doing exactly what I wanted to be doing,” she said glowing radiantly. Her vision was to operate her own shop, which happened in December 2012 when Phoebe and Dan Martinson opened Phoebe’s Pastry Café. Tucked away in Westhills Business Park (adjacent to the […]

Thurston Energy Offers You Cold Ca$h for POW&R Energy Rebates

Thurston Talk - Sun, 10/30/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

In Thurston County the cold, wet season is upon us and that means higher energy costs for residents as heating bills rise. This year, combat winter’s chill, and your rising utility bill, with Cold Ca$h for POW&R rebates through Thurston Energy. Due to the popularity of these rebate offers, Thurston Energy has relaunched their incentive […]

Olympians Stand with Standing Rock Water Protectors

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 7:07pm
Above: Benjamin Sitting Bull, Oglala Lakota Sioux, a sixth generation grandson of Sitting Bull, spoke to Olympians in solidarity with Standing Rock Water Protectors on Saturday afternoon in downtown Olympia.
Clothing Donations Accepted in Olympia for Water Protectors

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
At the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, the direct descendent and grandson of Sitting Bull, Benjamin Sitting Bull, Oglala Lakota Sioux, spoke to Olympians on Saturday afternoon in downtown Olympia.

About 65 people gathered in solidarity with the water protectors blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline route at Standing Rock, North Dakota.

A harbor seal in Budd Inlet approached Percival Landing beneath The Kiss statue near Sitting Bull, also wanting to listen.
Sitting Bull lives in Olympia, and said that he is choosing to raise his two year old daughter, Josephine, here because it is safe and warm. As she sat on a little scooter wearing a monarch butterfly costume, he acknowledged the wide range of emotions community members are feeling about the tense situation at Standing Rock. 
....Those feelings are valid…. That’s why we’re standing up as indigenous people, because we’re called upon. Our grandparents that are no longer living - our elders - have tapped on us and come to us in our dreams and are saying, ‘Get up and say something to the people around you. These songs and these ways that are given to you – put them out in the public right now....’
As her father spoke, Josephine listened. When he began singing a prayer song, she closed her eyes, put her head back, and started bouncing to the beat of his drum.  
Although the protest in Standing Rock continues to be ignored by corporate media, a wide variety of social media sources and Native news sites feed constant, live streaming videos and disturbing updates. Reports of police brutality, including reports of intrusive bodily searches of the protesters, called water protectors, are rising.

The proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline would move 470,000 barrels of domestic crude oil a day through four states and run through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, threatening water, the environment, and Native American burial and prayer sites.
Law enforcement has escalated their response and have arrested at least 141 protesters. Efforts by journalists to document what is happening is being hampered and criminalized.
A local prosecutor had charged Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! with rioting after her crew filmed an assault on protesters on September 3. A judge threw out the charges against Goodman on October 17.
Documentary producer Deia Schlosberg was arrested for filming protesters who broke into a pipeline valve station near Walhalla, North Dakota on October 11. She was charged with three felony conspiracy counts, and could face as much as 45 years in jail.
The Society of Environmental Journalists wrote law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels on October 19, objecting to the prosecution of journalists who have been covering the protests.
Recent visits by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and actor Mark Ruffalo and others have helped raise awareness of what is transpiring, and several Olympians have traveled there, will travel there, or are there now, experiencing police brutality.
Caro Gonzales of Olympia has been at Standing Rock since August as an organizer for the International Indigenous Youth Council, and was arrested and released on Friday. All her gear has been impounded.
“They snatched me while I was praying…then dragged me to the burial grounds to handcuff me and stomped on my arms till I dropped the tobacco offering and sage. They kept us in dog kennels. We were put in solitary and refused medical attention,” she wrote on social media.
She reports that she was charged with a felony and released. She is currently seeking anyone who may have video of her arrest to prove she was praying while taken away by law enforcement.
Amnesty International USA issued a press release on Friday saying they have sent a delegation of human rights observers to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, to monitor the response of law enforcement to protests by indigenous communities.
AIUSA also has sent a letter to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department expressing concern about the degree of force used against the protesters. The organization will also call on the Department of Justice to investigate police practices. 
Sitting Bull continued:
“....Don’t hold hatred in your heart for those officers (at Standing Rock) because that’s not what we do in the Sun Dance way. I want to say, turn that around on them, just hope that they start looking at their human consciousness that’s been stolen from them…that they may have a spiritual awakening, a personal experience. They might say, ‘What am I doing? What am I doing to this person, this human being that I’m pulling out of prayer, pulling his naked body out of the womb. What am I doing? What am I doing? I can’t do this anymore, for money….’ In that way, he might transition back to those birds, those trees. All the natural things around him might start talking to him again. The birds might say, ‘Hey, come back, come back and talk to us, stop what you’re doing. Let’s live together in hope....
Above: As rain clouds loom, Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia addressed the group gathered in Olympia on Saturday.
Lydia Drescher, California Band of Mission Indians, Tongva, of Olympia, has already been to Standing Rock and said she will leave again on November 20 to deliver much needed community donations gathered in Olympia.
There are three locations where individuals can make clothing donations. Although there was an initial abundance of clothing sent to Standing Rock, those items, including tents and teepees, have recently been taken away by law enforcement.
The request is being made now to donate earplugs, goggles, heavy socks, long underwear, gloves, and other warm items that are not too bulky.
A donation box is located at the Westside Co-op at 921 Rogers St. NW, but donations can also be taken to the Eastside Coop at 3111 Pacific Avenue SE. Other donation box locations are at The Longhouse at The Evergreen State College, and Traditions Fair Trade, 300 5th Avenue, in downtown Olympia.
Financial donations made at either branch of the Olympia Food Co-op will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1,000. In addition, the Co-op is asking patrons to “round up” their grocery bill to the nearest dollar or more to donate to the Standing Rock water protectors.  
Above: Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia, held an Honor Treaty Rights sign, addressed the group gathered in Olympia on Saturday.
“This is a long fight that has been happening. This fight is old. It never stopped. It’s been going on forever…It’s our turn now to be strong in the way our ancestors have been strong…It is our time to go back to the old ways. Now is the time to reclaim them because the Mother Earth needs you. Your ancestors are singing to you. Now is the time to unite and remember our ways….It will be hard…but we have to be strong. Talk to the land, talk to each other….Pray for accountability, pray for healing, justice, and long term systemic change. Pray. Take the time to remember the sacredness in you and around you. Love yourself unconditionally and love those around you unconditionally, even though we may not agree….Hold compassion in your heart…because that’s the only thing that will keep us strong and get us through this. All my relations….” said Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia. 

For more information, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at www.standingrock.org and is accepting financial donations online that will go toward legal, sanitary, and emergency purposes.

Olympia High School Steps Up Student Senate

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 6:03am

ThurstonTalk

At this year’s first student senate meeting at Olympia High School, attendees were asked to share their name, grade level and something they love about their school. The answers varied, ranging from OHS’s inclusive and accepting community, to its music program, to its sports. But the students all shared one common interest – contributing to the […]

Olympia’s May 1882 Fire Contained from Spreading by Shrewd Bar Owner

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 5:00am

ThurstonTalk

Most cities in Washington State within a decade of statehood in 1889 were touched by fire. The urban cores of these communities had been built with wood and in a somewhat haphazard and tightly packed manner. If fire did come, it was able to spread quickly and decimate blocks of downtown cities before antiquated fire […]

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