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Archives: Dec. 2009


Magical Strings work their Yuletide magic this weekend

If reels are more your thing than the “Messiah,” then you’ve got a great musical alternative this Friday: Magical Strings. The Northwest family of musicians, singers and Irish dancers will shimmer their way through Celtic Yuletide music this Friday in Tacoma, Saturday in Seattle  and Monday in Mt. Vernon. Here are the details:

What it is: A multigenerational family troupe with violins, harps, hammered dulcimers and more, together with singing and Irish dancing, produce their 31st annual Celtic-flavored Yuletide concert.

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 (also Seattle Dec. 19, Mt. Vernon Dec. 21)

Where: Urban Grace Church, 902 Market

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Miss the Luzon? Revisit the landmark building at the Luzon Memorial Show this week

6a00e39331754e88340120a5fdc791970c-800wi“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.” 

Daniel Burnham? Perhaps. It’s certainly attributed to that famous architect who, with partner John Root, built one of the world’s first skyscrapers (Chicago’s Masonic Temple Building) and who developed the Chicago School of classical revival. Burnham and Root’s last remaining Tacoma building – the Luzon, at South 13th and Pacific –  was no little plan, one of the first buildings whose light steel frame allowed much greater height than masonry alone.

Equally big was the City’s plan to tear it down last September, protested hotly right up until demolition.

At the Luzon Memorial Show this week you can join with local artists to mourn the graceful, decrepit structure. Read more »


Need gifts? Try an art show (Traver, Proctor, ArtStop, White River Valley Museum)

Okay, admit it – you haven’t bought all your holiday gifts yet. Never fear, though, as there’s a great alternative to hitting the mall that will not only get your loved ones a handmade, unique gift but soothe your soul in the process. I’m talking about art, of course. Buying art doesn’t have to be a multi-thousand-dollar, big-investment kind of decision. At this time of year, artists and gallerists realize that what people are looking for is affordable, approachable gifts, and they set up shows to fit the bill – group shows of lots of small works.

In Tacoma, there

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Critic’s Picks: Pantomime at Centerstage, Tacoma City Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” glass sale at HART and art jewelry at Sandpiper

Centerstage Theatre does English panto in “Jack”

Make the trek to Dash Point’s Knutzen Theatre, and you’ll be rewarded with two hours of silly slapstick, funny songs and groanable jokes in Centerstage’s annual pantomime, “Jack and the Beanstalk.” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 20. $25/$20/$10. Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way. 253-661-1444, www.centerstagetheatre.com

 It’s back: Tacoma City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

There are many “Nutcrackers” around town, but this one combines the original Petipa choreography, the Tchaikovsky score played live by the Northwest Sinfonietta, and the glory of the huge

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Kristie Worthey, director of Tacoma’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, to be panelist at London’s Globe

Tacoma’s only Shakespeare company is hitting the Globe Theatre, London! Kristie Worthey, director of alt-venue company Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, has been chosen as a panelist at the 2010 Shakespeare Theatre Association of America’s annual conference at the Bard’s own historic theater. 

On Jan. 9th, Worthey will speak on the topic “Shakespeare Outside of the Box,” talking about what SITPL does. Never seen a SITPL production? You lily-livered scoundrel, you! Since 1999, Worthey’s crew have done modern takes on the Bard (Macbeth as a presidential candidate, Juliet as a texting teen) in venues from bookstores to

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New guest artists, same wonderful sets and dancing at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

PNB-Nutcracker8It’s always a dilemma – do you support local Tacoma ballet companies dancing “The Nutcracker” or do you make the crowded-freeway/nightmare-parking/expensive-ticket trek to the Seattle Center to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s highly acclaimed version with sets by Maurice Sendak? This year, I’m trying to do both.

On Saturday night I did PNB. For 23  years now our nationally-famous Seattle company has done this version, and it’s still marvellous. Thanks to the new film of “Where the Wild Things Are,” the sets by kids’ author Maurice Sendak take on a whole new look: the Stahlbaum’s pink-and-blue Rococo Christmas party where Clara gets her Nutcracker toy, the pale snow scene with lacy stage wings, Clara and the Prince’s magical boat trip (with a Wild Thing peering out from behind an island) and finally the lush palace of the Pasha where all those exotic candy dances are performed.

The dancing, too, is always excellent at PNB. Read more »


The Rainier Ringers’ shimmering carols; the Revels’ joyful songs

Okay, shameless self-promotion coming up now: Here’s a preview of two excellent (of course) things to see this weekend – the Rainier Ringers handbell choir, and The Christmas Revels. I’m performing in one, my daughter in the other.

First, the Rainier Ringers. This is a terrific 11-person handbell choir that I first rang with two years ago, in a Wary Neophyte story. I was a former professional musician but a rookie ringer, and boy, handling two bells in each hand while reading any number of crazy-looking instructions (swing, damp, hit, thwack) is NOT easy. But, lovely

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Critic’s Picks: “Iggy Scrooge” at Theatre Northwest, Lakewood/TLT’s “Tuna Christmas,” Tollfest and Old Town Tango

“Iggy Scrooge” comes to Theatre Northwest

Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” gets a rock musical reworking in “The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge,” with Elvis and Buddy as Christmas ghosts and a female punk rocker as the infamous Scrooge, courtesy of Theatre Northwest. Opens 7:30 p.m. tonight, then 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 11,12, 18, 19; 3 p.m. Dec. 6, 13, 20. $39/$49. Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894, www.broadwaycenter.org, www.theatrenorthwestgroup.org

 Have yourself “A Tuna Christmas” at Lakewood/TLT

Lakewood Playhouse and Tacoma Little Theatre get together for a co-production of “A Tuna Christmas,” a two-man, 22-character mayhem set in Texas’

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