Recent local blog posts

Psycho Mama Art Opening with Emma Kohlmann and Sonya Sombreuil Cohen

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 5:00pm

Sunday, August 17th, 8pm opening.

Emma Kohlmann
Sonya Sombreuil Cohen

With a conceptual DJ set by Alex Coxen.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Hardcore Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 08/09/2014 - 4:00pm

Saturday, August 9th & Sunday, August 10th- varied locations. Save the dates- more info coming soon.

Tercer Mundo (Monterrey, MX) Best 7″ of 2013
Ooze (Chicago/NW Indiana) American Hardcore
Nudes (Seattle, WA) Filthy Hardcore Punk, US Tour Return Show
Gag (Olympia, WA) Kings of Rock
Bad Blood (Olympia/Chicago) Members of GAG, Raw Nerve, Strangers
Vexx (Olympia, WA) Too Talented For This Fest
Snob (Vancouver, BC) Better Than You
G Spot (Fountain Valley, CA) Snotty and Fast, Think Gang Green
Big Zit (NW Indiana) Best Band In America
Dirty Work (Kansas City, MO) Punk Done Proper
Beta Boys (Kansas City, MO) More Kansas City Insanity
Bricklayer (Seattle/Olympia, WA) New Grimace
Provos (San Francisco, CA) Franciscan Soldiers
Convict (Olympia, WA) Raw, 80s, Pissed Off, Ol’ School, Crucial Response
A Priori (Oakland, CA) Kiss Your Posteriori Goodbye
Burial Suit (Olympia, WA) Birthday Suit Rockers
PMS 84 (Portland, OR) Lace Up Your Boots
Turtle Neck (Olympia, WA) High Voltage Rock N Roll
Mercenaries (Olympia, WA) Oly’s Answer to early 80s Ohio
Nerv (Iowa City) On Tour and Ready to Rock
US Disorder (Olympia, WA) New Hardcore Punk

Facebook invite and more info:


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

CABANA + Dorotheo + Francisco & Madero

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 5:00pm

Friday, August 8th, 8pm. More info soon!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Violent Vickie // Garlicman & Chikn // Vibrissae // Nightspac3

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 5:00pm

Thursday, August 7th, 8pm. More info soon!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment


Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 08/02/2014 - 5:00pm

Saturday, August 2nd, 8pm

CONVICT – loud fast bitchin’

Heatwarmer – sonic wizards from Seattle playing shred heavy synth rock dance jams and electric clarinet

GURAM GURAM – Duran Duran covers played backwards and half speed on the harp

And local support from our friendsWHELP


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Yonatan Gat (ex-MONOTONIX) + Calvin Johnson + Arrington de Dionyso

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 5:00pm

Friday, August 1st, 8pm

YONATAN GAT (ex-Monotonix)
w/ local support from CALVIN JOHNSON

A masterful guitarist, Gat recently won Village Voice’s “Best Guitarist of 2013″. His power trio is experienced on the floor inside the audience, tearing through “a wholly fresh fusion of psychedelic sounds and rhythms from around the globe, with nods to free jazz and served with an unabashed punk spirit”. Gat’s genre-bending and border shattering (quite literally) guitar assumes simultaneous lead and rhythm duties blending punk rock with Middle Eastern styles, backed by Gal Lazer’s hard-hitting African-influenced grooves and Sergio Sayeg’s (of Brazilian psychedelic rockers Garotas Suecas) melodic anchor.

“Monotonix guitar virtuoso Yonatan Gat has reinvented himself as a world-music riff maven” – Time Out New York

“Tropical psych-pop shredding” – Orlando Weekly

“Kaleidoscopic” – SPIN

“Gat’s Jimi-Hendrix-meets-Godzilla guitar tone is the instrument by which the band brings the arena-rock experience within your immediate reach and, because of the energy level relative to the scale, makes it more explosive and cathartic than anything you could ever see on a bigger stage” – NY Press

“While Monotonix exploits every cubic inch of a venue with vigor, Gat seems to want to scour every corner of the world, with equal intensity” – Chattanooga Pulse

Facebook invite!


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Stephen Steinbrink + Whales Whailing + Johanna Warren

STEPHEN STEINBRINK … OLY contemporary yet nostalgic alt-pop

WHALES WHAILING … PDX devotional psych-folk GROUP

JOHANNA WARREN … PDX psych-folk SOLO/acoustic

Facebook invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Steve Jensen’s Art Boats

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:50pm

Last Friday, Olympia Dumpster Divers attended the Percival Landing sculpture exhibit kick off party here in Olympia, WA.  It was a lovely little reception at the Harbor House, where chips and dips and non-alcoholic beverages were served and ballots passed out for the People’s Choice 2014 Percival Plinth Project.

Steve Jensen and Viking Bot at Percival Landing

Steve Jensen and Viking Bot at Percival Landing

Several of the thirteen pieces on display are made from recycled materials: Bil Fleming‘s “Basin of Quenched Fire” is a reclaimed sea buoy mounted on a tractor cog; in one of its previous reincarnations, it also served as a backyard fire pan.  Don Freas made “OPENING (Ring Dance #9)” out of a scrap length of heavy channel iron, some three inch and six inch pipe, a salvaged sprinkler pipe, and a cast-iron table base.  John Vanek used repurposed metal for “Dignity in Labor.”

But our vote for best sculpture (made out of recycled materials, of course) is Steve Jensen‘s “Viking Bot.”  We admire the elegant simplicity of repurposing railroad spikes (found by our mutual friend/fellow upcycle artist Russ Morgan while walking the tracks) into a vessel full of symbolism.  Steve, a Seattle native, comes from a long line of Norwegian fishermen and boat builders.  The image of the boat is meant to symbolize a voyage to the other side, or the journey into the unknown:

My best friend Sylvain did a drawing of a boat. When he gave it to me, he asked if I would make a carved boat for his ashes when he passed. He died a month later and I carved a boat as close to Sylvain’s drawing as possible. My mother came to Sylvain’s funeral and was so moved by the boat I had made for Sylvain that she wanted my father’s remains placed in a similar vessel when he passed. Since he was a Norwegian fisherman and boat builder, we buried the boat at sea, like a Viking funeral. Two years later when she passed, I created a boat for her and buried it at sea with my father. The day before John, my partner of twenty years, passed, he asked me to make a boat for his ashes. His wish was to be buried at sea with my parents. In the course of eight years I had tragically lost and buried everyone close to me.

Since that time I have created funeral boats for friends, family and pets. Art school never prepared me to work with human or animal ashes, but I feel honored to be asked and to have this opportunity. When I work with them, I feel transformed to another time or another place, an artist who has been asked to be both craftsman and mortician.

I began the Voyager Series to help me deal with my own grief and loss, and with hope to provide relief for others dealing with their own sorrow. I made this work as personal as possible because death is such a sensitive subject for many people. I felt that by exposing myself and my family, the viewers of this work might feel more at ease. Hopefully, for those who may be dealing with their own personal grief and loss, perhaps solace and insight can be found in this series.

I created the boats in this series approximately the same size as the actual boats used for burial. Carved in wood, painted, or sculpted, this work is a direct result of these experiences. Death is the one final thing we all have in common. The universal image of a boat in many cultures and civilizations symbolizes a voyage, perhaps the voyage to the “other side”, or the journey into the unknown.

- Sven (Steve) Jensen

Viking Bot by Steve Jensen

Viking Bot by Steve Jensen

You have until August 31 to vote for your favorite 2014 Peoples’ Choice Award Percival Landing Sculpture.  Read more in the 0lympian HERE
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Animal Fire’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona

South Sound Arts - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:02am

Animal Fire Theatre uses terms like “raw” and “ferocious” to describe their brand of theater. They perform Shakespeare in the park at various outdoor venues with makeshift sets, no microphones and no lights. This is theater on the edge and on the cheap, and it is always highly entertaining. I missed their first outing, which I believe was four summers ago, but over the past two summers I thoroughly enjoyed their productions of Hamlet and Julius Caesar; and this summer they switch gears for the outlandish comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
This early comedy is generally believed to be Shakespeare’s first play; it is also one of his least critically acclaimed plays, criticized for inaccuracies such as ships docking at landlocked cities and for what many critics have considered to be sexist attitudes (although there is disagreement on this). Historically the importance of The Two Gentlemen may be that it is a precursor to many of Shakespeare’s later plays with many of the devices he became famous for such as cross dressing and mistaken identity.
Like many great comedies, this one walks a fine line between sophomoric stupidity and comic greatness. Director Kate Arvin wrote for the program: “Like Master Shakespeare, we too have invented this land and this time period using research and conjecture as opposed to empirical data. . . We have invented costumes out of bedsheets and Grocery Outlet show curtains, a set made of electrical conduit and props from our neighborhood ‘free piles.’” And “We hold these texts so sacred and yet, let’s face it, Shakespeare was wrong! He made mistakes like the rest of us and knowing that the show is full of obvious gaffes made it easier for me as a woman to face the chauvinism in the text; it is as wrong as sailing a ship on dry land.”
There is an amateurish, let’s-put-on-a-show-in-the-back-yard aspect to the production, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they don’t know what they are doing. Arvin is a talented and well-seasoned director, and the cast is made up of some of Olympia’s finest actors. Morgan Picton as Proteus, Korja Giles as Julia, Amy Shepard as Silvia and Maddox Pratt as Valentine are outstanding. And I cannot praise Kate Ayers enough for her over-the-top portrayal of a multitude of characters or for Scott Douglas’s nuanced and underplayed portrayal of Don Antonio, the Duke and others. His interaction with the dog Crab, played by Douglas’s pet dog Tonk is precious. Tonk seems to be an amazingly well trained animal — and patient as can be with the crazy carryings-on of these actors.
There is some inspired dialog (after all, it is Shakespeare) but many of the funniest scenes take place in mime to accordion accompaniment. Other moments of insane hilarity included the bit where Picton runs out on the set wearing a mask. It happens so fast that I can’t explain it and shouldn’t anyway. No spoilers here.
At approximately two hours with no intermission, it does seem a little long. For a little while during what would have been the middle of act 2 if there had been an intermission I found myself wishing they would just get it over with, but then it picked up liveliness heading toward a satisfying conclusion.
There are the expected distractions that come with all outdoor performances: passing traffic, airplanes, kids and animals running around — one small child had to be kept from climbing a tree that was used as part of the set. It is recommended that you come as if to a picnic. Bring folding chairs and quilts, unscented mosquito spray and snacks, and be prepared to put up with some distractions.
One pet peeve I have about all outdoor performances, including this one, is that they seem to feel that since they have the whole of the great outdoors as a stage, they might as well use it all. The stage area is too big and there is too much distance between the actors and the audience — although I have to admit that Silvia climbing a tree was a cool use of the great outdoors.
The show goes on tour during its second weekend, with two 7 p.m. stops on July 31 and August 1 at the Tumwater Farmer's Market, at the southwest corner of Capitol Boulevard and Israel Road, plus a 2 p.m. matinee at the Griswold Building in downtown Olympia, 310 4th Ave E. The troupe returns to Priest Point Park for closing weekend, with 7 p.m. shows August 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. matinees on August 9 and 10.
All shows are free but donations are welcome.
A note on Animal Fire Theatre taken from their press release:
Animal Fire Theatre is the Olympia area's free Shakespearean company. Founded by Austen Anderson, Animal Fire's mission is to bring classical texts to life with energy and ferocity and then deliver them to the community, free of charge. The troupe uses unorthodox rehearsal methods to unlock their instincts, awareness and animal understanding of themselves, their characters and one another. The growling, barking and howling involved with these exercises sometimes attracts curious park goers to rehearsals and only very occasionally the attention of law enforcement.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Ahmed Bashir Davis - two days only

South Sound Arts - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:50am

Ahmed Bashir Davis will have a two-day-only show at Salon Refu.

Davis made the first giant mural on the outside wall of the building in 2012s. As guest curator, he will show his own photographs and works of the artist Isrek.   

Show dates are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 2 and
2 to 7 p.m. Sunday August 3.

Salon Refu is located at 114 N. Capitol Way, Olympia.

Pictured above:
"Why Are You Confused"  and "Clear As Day."  And yes there is a third picture. Your assignment is to decide which one is "Clear As Day" and make up a suitable title for the other one.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Summer archive post: Aunt Sally and the Sounders naming contest

Olympia Time - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 5:42am
This piece ran in GoalWa just about two years ago now. I really like it. People disagreed with me, but I think the name was going to be Sounders all along. It worked better if we owned it.

My main takeaway from the recent Forbes blog series on the Sounders (E Pluribus Sounders) was how well-considered the move from the minors to MLS was. At every point, it seemed like the current Sounders ownership group made the right decisions, from marketing, to branding to player personnel.

Forgive me if I’m off base, but the blog series rang true to me. I really do remember things going pretty smoothly from the USL to kick-off in the MLS. Which, made me think hard about the one time it seemed like the Sounders owners were about to make a mistake: when they were deciding on the team.

In spring 2008, the club announced a web-based vote on the name of team, and that “Sounders” would not be among the choices. But, when the actual vote took place, there was a chance for fans to write in a vote. Most people wrote in “Sounders” or something close, and the rest is history.

But, why does it seem strange to me that an ownership group that seems to have done practically everything else right, might have gotten something so basic so so so wrong? I mean, Seattle Republic? Really?
Is it possible that the Sounders proposed purposefully bad names like Alliance and Republic to raise the interest (and ire) of the fan base to force the issue on the Sounders name?

This sort of proposal has some relations in the real business and real estate planning world. This sort of thing is called a straw man proposal (not straw man argument) or an Aunt Sally.

A straw man proposal is used in business settings as a rough document to kick off a discussion. Everyone is in the loop, so no one thinks the original proposal is a possible end to the discussion.

On the other hand, an Aunt Sally is disguised as a serious proposal (we want to Build a 20 story building!) when a much more reasonable goal (no really, just a 10 story building) is desired. So, you’re able to walk back the large building for a not so quite large building. A 10 story building may have been equally opposed as a 20, but its much easier to swallow than a 20.

So, in our case, the ownership really didn’t try to pull a straw man proposal (since we obviously weren’t in on it) or an Aunt Sally (since we would’ve gone for the Sounders in the first place.)

So, the real end of the false dilemma was probably to further engage and connect the fan-base in the name and the overall brand. It worked on me, I certainly remember feeling a sense of massive relief and pride when the result of the vote was announced.

The original context of the naming process seems particularly out of sync:
“The three naming options will be announced Tuesday, March 25, and were chosen through fan focus groups, internal committees and fan suggestions, but will not include Sounders.”

“I have great respect for the Sounders and the club’s history,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “While we should celebrate the past, we believe the MLS Seattle team should be about where we are headed tomorrow and help position the club globally.”
For one, I’m not sure how they could have conducted real focus groups on naming the team and avoided finding Sounders at the top of the heap. The end result of the process was 49 percent of all voters writing in “Sounders.”

Also, while the MLS has a bad reputation for respecting its NASL roots, it had been ten years since the San Jose club had first rebranded to its NASL-original Earthquakes. Also, by the time the Sounders started ramping up in 2008, the MLS Earthquakes 2.0 had already hit the field.

Also, since the Quakes and Sounders, both the Whitecaps and Timbers have come back with their NASL names with no discussion.

Lastly, two of the proposed names — Alliance and Republic — seem to indicate that it was more about the voting process and the fans actually choosing than anything else.

Any serious person would know that Sounders was a powerful name locally, it was unlikely to carry any bad feelings from the NASL days because the Sounders had been so well supported in those days. To me, the point of the vote was to give the fans the chance to put their own stamp on the team when the first game was still over a year away.

Mere Mention Comedy Show- July edition

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 4:30pm

Mere Mention Comedy show- Sunday, July 27, 7:30pm

GUYS, It’s back! Mere Mention, Northern’s beloved but little seen comedy show, the Buzzcocks of comedy shows, is back! And this month is going to be stellar!

We are proud to be welcoming Ryan Kruse, Nathaniel Wolf, Taylor Rae Sikorski, and Sam Miller to our stage. Each have been killing it at the local comedy rooms and I am excited to see their feature sets. I will be hosting and I’m going to work really hard to be funny, but also charming, but also grateful to have you there.

We are also happy to have, as sort of the 5th act of the night, SUMMER ITSELF. Shining in through the windows, making our comedy show seem like some Emersonian speech on the grass.

So bring some sod to sit on and a jar of sun tea to drink, and enjoy some of the finest comedy Olympia has to offer!

Facebook invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Listen to the Elephant!

K Records - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 4:23pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast has been rockin’ for a couple of weeks now, with Calvin Johnson sharing all of the latest cultural artifacts that are uniquely K. The response has been fabulous. Thanks for listening! The above “thumbs up” comes our way courtesy of listeners Dylan McDonagh and Richard Davis of Seattle, Washington. The below […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 005

K Records - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 3:23pm
The Pink Elephant’s Graveyard is where we store all the cultural artifacts which are uniquely K. Host Calvin Johnson (The Hive Dwellers) and Ian Vanek interviews Peter David Connolly of the Mona Reels (see above photog), Olympia’s long-running purveyors of pop perfection. Peter shares music from previous incarnations of the band and a few samples […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Lovers without Borders at What-the-Heck

K Records - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 1:51pm
This is Lovers without Borders caught live at the What-the-Heck festival in Anacortes, Washington, July, 2011. Karl Blau sings and plays the sax, Allen Peril plays electric guitar and Jessica Bonin is on drums. Their new Volume in our International Pop Underground series, Detective [IPU142], is a four song EP recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Party at Percival – Third Annual Olympia Brew Fest

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 12:00pm



By Kate Scriven

oly brew festThe Olympia Brew Fest returns to the shores of Budd Inlet on August 2 for what promises to be another terrific party.  For the past two years, the fledgling festival has grown in size and popularity with over 2,500 people attending last year.  This year promises to be bigger and better, both in size of venue and variety of offerings for those attending.

The brain child of local businessman Mike Mahron, the Olympia Brew Fest began in 2012 as a way to celebrate Olympia’s brewing heritage, showcase the best regional craft brewers, and have fun at one of the most beautiful outdoor venues around – the Olympia Port Plaza.  “I’ve been to a lot of brew fests,” share Mahron, “and I haven’t seen a better location than this one.”

This year, festival-goers can look forward to the beautiful Budd Inlet view being even more appealing now that the Port of Olympia cranes have come down and the event will expand towards the dock area.  “Last year it got a little crowded at the peak of the event,” explains Mahron.  “We want people to have plenty of room, so we are expanding the footprint of the event space along with putting a cap on number of tickets sold.”  And with a sell-out crowd predicted, now is the time to purchase tickets online.

oly brew festAlong with the increased venue size, the festival has streamlined entry with bar-coded tickets, allowing for quick admittance.  Once inside, you’ll enjoy the same great quality beer, food and live music as in the past along with a few new faces.

In response to requests for gluten-free options, the Brew Fest has invited three area cider makers including local favorite Whitewood Cider.  The number of breweries is up as well with 30+ options to choose from.

“This year I attended the BC Beer Awards and The Great Canadian Beer Festival,” says Mahron.  “I had hoped to include more Canadian brewers in our event this year, but crossing the border with beer is apparently a little tricky.”  He did however secure Central City Brewers from Surrey, B.C. as an international guest along with several new Oregon and breweries and even one from California.

oly brew festMahron is dedicated to including and supporting the local craft brewers here in Olympia and the event boasts four local breweries and one cidery including Top Rung Brewing, Whitewood Cider Company, Kastellan Brauerei, Fish Brewing and downtown new-comer Three Magnets Brewing Co.  While still keeping the local brewer focus, Mahron sees the event growing in the coming years to include the entire region.  “It would be ideal to have brewers representing Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and maybe even California.  It would be a true Pacific Northwest Brew Fest,” he shares.

Casey Sobol, Operations Manager at Top Rung Brewing shares, “This is a great local event that certainly celebrates the wonderful brewing history of the community.  The Olympia Brew Fest in a great location and in a region that embraces local and craft beer. This festival celebrates that.  The craft brewing scene is picking up in the Thurston County area and we are proud to be a part of it.”

What should you expect if you attend?  First and foremost expect a great party.  The event is purely about fun and enjoyment of great food, drink, and company.  However, all that fun is also for a great cause.  The event is in support of the Thurston County Chamber Small Business Development (Incubator) program, helping small businesses get off the ground, adding value to the economy and community right here where we all live, work and play.

oly brew festYou can also look forward to high quality beers at each and every booth.  “I personally sample and approve each entry into the Brew Fest,” laughs Mahron, a true lover of a well-crafted beer.  Options will be plentiful and suit every palate with favorites like 7 Seas Brewing’s Life Jacket Session IPA , at 4.4% ABV and Top Rung Brewing’s Hose Chaser Blonde, at 5.0% ABV and more unique offerings like Brickyard Brewing’s SW Green Chili Blond Ale, at 5.0% ABV  and Narrow’s Brewing’s Cardamom Coffee Stout at  8.0% ABV.

Along with the brews you’ll be entertained by three different live bands throughout the event along with delicious food from Marv’s Marvlus Pit BBQ, O’Blarney’s Irish Pub, The Blend Café and Hawks Prairie Restaurant.  As in years past, the Lucky Eagle Casino will join together with the Chehalis Tribe to prepare traditionally cooked salmon for festival-goers.

oly brew festThe Olympia Brew Fest starts at 1:00 p.m. on August 2 ending at 8:30 p.m.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, although a sell-out crowd is anticipated so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.  (Ticket information can be found here.) Your ticket buys you a commemorative mug and six, 5.5 ounce tastes.  A $5 military discount is available at the door.  Drink cards for six additional tastes can be purchased inside for $8. All designated drivers pay only $5 to enjoy the event.  Ages 21 and over only and no pets allowed.

Come thirsty, come hungry, and come ready to have fun.  The Olympia Brew Fest is quickly becoming one of the premier events on the Olympia summer calendar and one you don’t want to miss.

All photos courtesy of the Olympia Brew Fest.

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Harbor Days Maritime Festival & Tugboat Races

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 7:55am



Submitted by Harbor Days

Olympia Harbor Days 2013 (30)For four decades, Olympia has celebrated its long maritime heritage — and the big-shouldered working boats that made it happen — with the Harbor Days Maritime Festival and Tug Boat Races.  The 41st annual festival fills the last weekend of August with a fascinating mix of seafaring, food and fun you won’t want to miss. Brought to you by the Olympia Kiwanis

As many as 15 vintage and modern tugs are expected to participate, and most will be open for tours at Percival Landing all day Saturday, August 30th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Be on hand Sunday at noon to watch the procession, as the tugs get underway for the big race up Budd Inlet.

All weekend long, enjoy live entertainment and over 250  arts and crafts, commercial, and nonprofits booths. See the “Tiny Cabin” craze at Lopka Logs.  Taste cuisine in the food court from around the world and our own back yard.  Exclusively, the Chehalis Tribe’s Lucky Eagle Casino will be preparing Pacific salmon in the traditional tribal way, using alder wood and hot rocks.

Lenny Lekanoff, the tough deckhand from the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” will be a special guest aboard the tug Galene, where you can also meet the oldest crew member aboard — well into his 90s and going strong.

Cummins NW, one of the leaders in marine engines will be on hand.

This year, Harbor Days also celebrates Tacoma Rail’s long history with the Port of Olympia and combined working relations with tugs. It’s Tacoma Rail’s Centennial Celebration at Port Plaza. Come see a live engine and caboose at Port Plaza by Anthony’s restaurant. Tour a real working train.

Kitsap Live Steamers will be joining us as well, with over 100 feet of track and a small train you can ride. There will be lots of other activities for the kids, too:  A giant slide, trampolines, trains, model tugs (viewing Olympia Harbor Days 2013 (27)only), and much, much, more.

Each year Harbor Days honors one tugboat, and its silhouette becomes the centerpiece of the festival’s logo.  This year’s logo tug is the Reliable, a former Army tug built in 1945 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin as ST-908.  It’s been through several names and several owners, and its still hard at work.  It’s been a harbor tug for the Army, an oceanographic research vessel, a gill-netter, and now a tug again.  Skipper Cliff Center gave Reliable a major overhaul in 2006, including sandblasting, new fantail steel, bow thruster, new accommodations, head, shower and galley. She has worked for the navy at Bangor, Bremerton, Everett and Indian Island towing port security barriers between bases and to Port Gamble for haul out and maintenance. A few weeks each year, she gets a vacation hauling Cliff and his wife, Wanda, to the San Juan Islands and Canada.

The Reliable is one of the many tugs that will be open for tours all day Saturday.

We extend a special thank you to Olympia Federal Savings for their financial and staff support. There is great synergy and appreciation supporting our community

Thank you to all of our community sponsors, together we make Harbor Days happen.Olympia Harbor Days 2013 (33)

For more festival information log onto

We look forward to seeing you Labor Day Weekend!


What:   Harbor Days Maritime Festival and Tugboat Races

When:  5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, August 29; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 30 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 31

Where: Percival Landing 405 Columbia St NW, Olympia, WA 98501. From the Oyster House to Port Plaza


Rani Hong Creates Global Change from Olympia with the Tronie Foundation

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 7:52am



By Gale Hemmann

providence medical group sponsorDid you know we have a local resident who is truly changing the world direct from Olympia?

She’s been on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s spoken to the United Nations General Assembly. Her work has been featured on CNN World News and international media. She has worked with hundreds of thousands of human trafficking survivors. Rani Hong’s work with the Tronie Foundation might have a global sweep, but she is based right here in Olympia.

rani hong

From her home base in Olympia, Rani Hong’s work with the Tronie Foundation has had a global reach, changing many lives.

Rani Hong’s life story is amazing. Born in rural India, she was sold into human slavery at age seven. She managed to survive, and has since dedicated her life to helping other survivors and changing the global consciousness about human trafficking.

Rani and her husband Trong Hong, also a trafficking survivor, live here in Olympia with their four children. They co-founded the Tronie Foundation in 2006. What Rani has been able to do since then is truly astounding.

She reaches out to survivors around the world, empowering them to become leaders. She also works with policymakers to raise awareness of and enact new laws about human trafficking. Whenever funds allow, she travels globally to do her work. (She has already visited 20 countries and reached many more through broadcast media.) She spends the rest of her time working from her office in Olympia to raise awareness of the issue. Hong also serves as special advisor to the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) initiative.

I was honored to speak with Hong. She told me about her current projects, and the past accomplishments and future goals of the Tronie Foundation. At the end of July, she’ll be traveling to Colombia, for the first-ever international conference on human trafficking. She also traveled to the United Nations in New York City this summer to celebrate the first ever world day against trafficking in persons which she helped to establish.  It marks the success of progress on human trafficking issues and a direct result of Rani’s outreach efforts

In Olympia, Rani is involved in the local community through her children’s schools. She attends sports and other activities at Centennial Elementary. She is also involved in her church.

Hong also partnered with Centennial Elementary last year to create an initiative to educate kids in the United States about slavery. They held a fundraiser and raised over $4,500 to help educate former child slaves and at-risk young people in India. She has also given presentations to several civic organizations, such as Rotary clubs, Zonta groups, and Soroptimist International, about human trafficking issues. Hong shares that her major funder is a local Olympia business, Diamond Technologies, Inc.

Clearly, Hong’s work is an example of the resiliency of the human spirit, and an example of how the local is linked to the global.

rani hong

Rani Hong was invited to speak at the United Nations in 2010. She is now a special advisor to the United Nations GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) Initiative.

I asked Hong what she would most like to share with readers about her work. First, she said, is that human trafficking happens and can take many forms (sexual, forced labor, slavery in private households). It is shocking to learn that 2.5 million people around the world are currently enslaved. The second is that, even if we feel far removed from human trafficking in our everyday lives, it’s possible for us to be complicit in it as consumers through the supply chain of items we purchase and the policies and organizations we support.

Aside from living in Olympia, the city has also been an important starting place for Hong’s work. In 2002, Hong testified about her experience as a survivor of human trafficking in front of the Washington State Legislature at the Capitol Building. She asked them to be key partners in addressing the issue.

Washington then passed the first state-level law regarding human trafficking. (We currently have twelve laws in place, as a result of Hong’s initial efforts.) Now, a little over a decade later, all 50 states have laws on the books. You can read more about Washington State’s action on this issue here. Hong notes that she is deeply grateful to the State of Washington and local support for her work in getting the ball rolling.

Making an Impact, Changing Lives

rani hong

Rani Hong (center in dark purple) has worked with a variety of groups including these women in India.

The reach of Hong’s work so far has been truly global. She has traveled the world giving talks, speaking before prominent figures. She has spoken to the President of the United Nations, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Bollywood actors. She has also talked with American celebrities including Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Mira Sorvino. But perhaps most importantly, she has met with thousands of human trafficking survivors around the world, in shelters and schools.

She also notes an important part of making the Tronie Foundation so successful is that she incorporates survivors’ voices as leaders in the project. It is this dual ability – to network with policymakers and survivors alike – that makes Hong so effective. It is also sheer drive and determination. Hong runs the organization herself, and notes that she relies on donations and support from individuals and the community to keep it going.

How You Can Help

You might be thinking, “I’m only one person.” Yes, you are one person, but it is amazing what you can do to help make a difference. In speaking with Hong, she had many ideas for ways individuals, schools and businesses can help. While it is a very serious issue, the good news is that you can do something positive about it. Here are some of the ways, according to Hong:

  • Become aware: Educate yourself about the issue. Many people think human trafficking doesn’t really exist. Read the Tronie Foundation website, and discuss the issue with others. Parents can even talk to kids about this topic in age-appropriate ways. You can also listen to some informative videos on the website and download public school educational materials under the Take Action tab here.
  • rani hong

    Rani and her husband, Trong Hong, live in Olympia with their children. They provide easy steps on how you can take action internationally to fight human trafficking.

    Get social: Join the I Give Hope campaign.  Hong was positive about the power of social media as a way for people to connect globally and be a voice for change. Whether Twitter, Facebook, or another social media venue is your preferred platform, join conversations, re-post, and make social justice part of your online presence. Share your voice with #IGiveHope.  Follow the Tronie Foundation on Facebook or on Twitter at @TroniFoundation and @RanisVoice.

  • Donate: Even small amounts are appreciated. No matter what you have to give, Hong stressed that it is a very tangible way to help make a difference. A donation of $25 can print and deliver 240 educational comic books to those that are at risk of exploitation and human trafficking survivors around the world, to help educate them about their options.
  • Take it to work: Hong noted that she would love to have businesses support the work of the Tronie Foundation by donating, partnering, and earning a “Freedom Seal.” She noted that businesses can also help by examining their chain of supply for items they purchase, and commit to using items that are not produced by forced labor.

As I ended my interview with Hong, I reflected on our conversation. I am most inspired by her ability to put her life experience to such a positive purpose in her work with the Tronie Foundation. I was honored to speak with a global leader right here in our community.

As Rani notes in her speech to the United Nations, she invites you to join her in promoting “the universal freedom of all people, the value of equality, and the opportunity for every human to pursue his or her full potential.”


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