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Archives: Oct. 2011


World-class chamber music for Halloween at Annie Wright school, courtesy of Carpe Diem string quartet and Tacoma’s Second City Chamber Series

The Carpe Diem string quartet. Courtesy photo.

It’s a sad day in Tacoma when a world-class string quartet performs terrific music worth six standing ovations to an audience of 63. That, unfortunately, was the case last Friday night for the opening of the Second City Chamber Series season – a riveting performance of Transylvania-themed music by the Carpe Diem quartet (plus local bassist Chris Burns) in the Annie Wright School Great Hall, only half-full.

With the kind of incredibly unity of thought, emotion and sound that only a top-notch chamber group can attain, the nationally-based Carpe Diem (replacing the previously-booked Odeon) spent the night on the classical end of their indie-rock-classical reputation to whirl their way through a program of Eastern European music. Themed around Transylvania and “Castelul Dracul,” the evening went from the romantic Gypsy virtuosity of Grigoras Dinicu and Vittorio Monti to the Brahmsian Ernö Dohnányi and folk-modernist Zoltán Kodály, right up to the campy Hollywood humor of American composer Jon Deak. From start to finish, the playing was impeccable. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: Flamenco at Theater on the Square, Shakespeare at University of Puget Sound, spooky chamber music at Annie Wright and a new play Tacoma’s Toy Boat Theatre

Savannah Fuentes (front) and Saray Munoz, flamenco artists. Courtesy photo.

TOTS hosts visiting flamenco artists

Seattle flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes is joined by Spanish singer Saray Munoz and gypsy guitarist Pedro Cortes in an all-ages show “3 Glorias Flamenco en Vivo” at Theater on the Square tomorrow. 8 p.m. Oct. 29. $25/$15/$12.  TOTS, 915 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894,www.broadwaycenter.org

“As You Like It” at University of Puget Sound

Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “As You Like It” opens in a student production at University of Puget Sound tonight. The play with the famous quote ‘All the world’s a stage,’ “As You Like It” tells the story of banished lovers, family conflicts and unrequited love in a tangle of characters. 7:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 29, Nov. 4 and 5; 4 p.m. Nov. 3 and 2 p.m. Nov. 5. $11/ $7 seniors, military personnel, students, and Puget Sound students, faculty, and staff. Norton Clapp Theater, Jones Hall, UPS, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma. 253.879.3419, ups.universitytickets.com

Hear Dracula’s chamber music at Annie Wright

The Second City Chamber Series presents “Castelul Dracul,” an evening of Transylvania-themed chamber music including Jon Deak’s “Lucy and the Count” (with the double-bass as Dracula), and works by Enescu and Bartók. 7:30 p.m. tonight. $32/$29/$10/children free. Great Hall, Annie Wright school, 827 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma. 253-572-TUNE, www.scchamberseries.org

Toy Boat Theatre reads Nick Stokes’ new play “Dusk”

A work by local playwright Nick Stokes gets a reading this weekend at Toy Boat Theatre. “Dusk” explores the effects of isolation from normal life on a husband and wife and their fight for survival. 7 p.m. Oct. 30, talkback afterward. Free. Toy Boat Theatre, 1314 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. www.toyboattheatre.com

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City of Tacoma’s Art at Work month kicks off with a party at the Museum of Glass next Thursday

Hard to believe, but Tacoma’s Art at Work Month is 10 years old. That’s 10 years of studio tours, organized events, artist promotion and workshops, all courtesy of the City of Tacoma Arts Commission. This year offers more of the same, beginning with a kick-off party at the Museum of Glass next Thursday and including new Art Bus tours.

The party, from 6-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, will be held this year at the Museum of Glass, switching out from previous  years at Tacoma Art Museum. Appetizers, a no-host bar and cake are on offer, plus contemporary dance from BQDanza, fire dancing, an iron and ice pour and barbershop quartet Two Old, Two New. The AMOCAT Awards will also be presented. It’s free.

The month is full of all the usual arts events that happen in Tacoma, but the next special one is the artist open-studio tour weekend. Read more »


St. Andrew’s by the Narrows’ fourth annual Celtic Faire on in Tacoma this weekend

Bagpiper Red McWilliams will play at the St. Andrew's Celtic Faire this weekend. Courtesy photo.

There’s something about fall that lends itself to Celtic festivities. Maybe it’s the rain, just as prevalent in Ireland and Scotland as in the Pacific Northwest. Whatever the reason, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tacoma’s west end is holding its fourth annual Celtic Faire this weekend, with vendors, music and eats on Saturday and worship activities on Sunday.

“Although our church is small, we have been able to identify 40 families who have past roots in Scotland, Ireland, Wales,” says parishioner and fair organizer Marilyn Baker. Originally begun as a way to celebrate those roots, the fair has expanded, and now includes explorations into Celtic spirituality plus secular events on the Saturday. Read more »


Three Interfaith Amigos come to Immanuel Presbyterian Tacoma on Wednesday

Seattle-based religious comedians the Three Interfaith Amigos come to Tacoma this Wednesday to promote their new book, “Religion Gone Astray: What we found at the heart of interfaith.”

Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Imam Jamal Rahman have toured to national media acclaim, bringing the message of inter-religious respect and understanding via a strong friendship and good stand-up humor.
7 p.m. Oct. 26. Free, book price $18. Fellowship Hall, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 901 N J St., Tacoma. 253-951-9870, www.ipctacoma.org


“Enchanting” opening for the Tacoma Symphony season at the Pantages Theater

Violinist Maria Bachmann. Courtesy photo.

Playing a program of magic-themed music, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra spun an enchanting web of lyrical and unified music last Saturday night, despite the less-than-magical acoustics of Tacoma’s Pantages Theater. Soloist Maria Bachmann, expressive on violin, was also the catalyst for some of the most interesting music the orchestra has played in a while.

Themed “Enchanted Symphony,” the concert tied together four mostly Russian works all dealing in some way with the mysterious or supernatural, and all used in film scores as well. Opening the show was Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” the Halloween-ish piece about a witches’ Sabbath. Inevitably calling up those famous images from the animated movie “Fantasia,” where the music describes a looming demon scooping up maniacal followers, the orchestra played with energy, featuring some beautifully simple clarinet and flute solos and lyrical violins at the quiet, redemptive end. The only thing marring the performance was the absolutely dead acoustics of the Pantages – this is the only stage in town big enough for the full orchestra and its audience, but with its trick of swallowing every resonance and note-decay it makes the Mussorgsky, so replete with dramatic chords and silences, about as magical as a door slam. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: “Black Wings” at WSHM, quilts at Harbor History Museum, tango from Duo Rubicund and piano recital by Duane Hulbert

Black aviator history at the Washington State History Museum

“Black Wings,” new at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, explores the history of African American aviators past and present in a Smithsonian exhibit of stories, photographs and artifacts. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. third Thursdays through Jan. 16, 2012. $8/$7/$6/free for under-six, and free for all military, veterans and families on Veterans’ Day. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 888-BE-THERE, www.washingtonhistory.org

“Artistry of Quilts” in Gig Harbor

Just opened, “The Artistry of Quilts” at the Harbor History Museum showcases both historic and contemporary examples of

Read more »


Rich Wetzel’s big band orchestra plays free at the Harmon this weekend, plus a new jazz meet-up site

Rich Wetzel’s inspired to pack out the Harmon pub in Tacoma with jazz fans on Saturdays. After a successful debut there in July, the trumpeter’s Groovin’ Higher Orchestra will play a cover-free gig there this Saturday night.

“We want to prove that a big band jazz-rock and Latin orchestra can pack the place again, that July was not a fluke,” says Wetzel. “We know and believe that if more club owners get a chance to hear and see that booking jazz on a prime night works, it helps the whole community.”

Wetzel has also created a new community

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