August 20, 2006

Taboo Revue and Broken Oars at Hell’s Kitchen

Filed under: photography,rock,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 11:50 pm

Man, I had a busy Saturday. I also popped into Hell’s Kitchen on 6th Avenue to catch Vancouver, BC’s Taboo Revue and caught the Broken Oars playing their version of anthemic punk rock. The show got off to a slow start with some karaoke with made up drunken harlot lyrics, but revved up and ended up being quite entertaining. Watched some uncomfortable squirming when the boylesque started. I didn’t finish the show, Seattle’s Neutral Boy also played, but I just couldn’t hang any longer.

There are photos of Taboo Revue here and Broken Oars here.

South Tacoma Auto Show

Filed under: photography,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 10:35 pm

Took the dogs down to the South Tacoma Auto Show on South Tacoma Way yesterday afternoon to get them some exercise. The street was blocked off to auto traffic from about 50th St S down to around 58th. The streets were lined with mid-century classic american automobiles the entire way. In particular, I picked up on emblems as a lost design element that is for the most part missing from modern vehicles. There are a bunch of photos from the event on Flickr.

An interesting parallel note, we met a group of people from the Edison neighborhood who were participating in the Edison C.A.R.E.S. Action Team program who were working on their initiative sponsored by the City of Tacoma’s Community Based Services program. The group meets once a week to focus on creating solutions for local issues like clean up, street trash, curbing and lighting maintenance and speeding. All things that have come up in conversations I’ve had with Dionne about what it would take to improve our neighborhood. They’re focusing on the Edison neighborhood, which is south of us, Oakes to Washington, 56th to 66th. If they succeed in simply slowing the traffic on Oakes it would be a major improvement for the area. According to the city’s website, a recent speed sting in Edison netted $2,700 in tickets issued for speeding violations.

Oakes has a 30 mph speed limit, though routinely people buzz through here like it’s a the freeway. It’s scary sometimes. In spite of my usual support for privacy, I’ve even said aloud we should go the Lakewood route and install cameras, as long as a proper appeal process is in place. 5 mph over? Yeah, too bad. Ticket. Slow down. The volunteers told me most of the speeders were from other neighborhoods around the region. Well… duh? Who would speed into their own driveway?

While not without it’s share of issues, South Tacoma is still an affordable option for living in the city without paying exorbitant prices North End homes pull in. Especially as projects like this succeed in polishing up the area. A while back, I ran across a Tacoma city map circa 1887 (via which indicates that the entire area of Tacoma was formerly connected via cable car lines. While the light rail system downtown is nice. It doesn’t do much for connecting the entire community of Tacoma. (Or much of anything for anyone for that matter. Every time I’ve been on it, it’s been almost empty.) It might be an interesting proposition to connect all the areas of Tacoma in a manner similar to what Portland has done with it’s MAX light rail.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that downtown Tacoma is getting lots of attention, but there are other areas in town that could really use some love too. By romanticizing the idea that downtown Tacoma is going to become an urban utopia, and in doing so is going to auto-magically make Tacoma the greatest city ever, collectively we may be unable to see the forest for the trees.

I guess this post is not just about the auto show, but it was still pretty cool.

IPA Festival at the Parkway Tavern

Filed under: tacoma — sparkrobot @ 1:46 pm

Parkway Tavern IPA Festival 2006Bounced into the Parkway Tavern on Saturday afternoon to check out the IPA Festival their blog post described as “An all-day celebration of hops featuring 18 of the finest regional IPAs.” Who doesn’t love India Pale Ale? There was a crowd of already quite rowdy people in the Parkway when we popped in about 5 in the afternoon. India Pale Ales are notorious for being just chock full of alcohol, up to around 10%. The Parkway was bumping. I picked up the scent a block away, there was a bbq out front and kielbasa sausage was being grilled. I haven’t been there in quite a long while, it’s all been redone inside and it looks great. On our first trip to the bar, an outwardly lit older woman instructed me to “try the erection beer”. Okay, guess I will.

She was talking about the Walking Man Homo Erectus Imperial IPA brewed in Stevenson, WA by the Walking Man Brewery. The brewery describes the beer as “An Imperial IPA brewed in celebration of being erect for two million years.” I ordered a 6 ounce glass. This was a bold IPA containing 10% alcohol by volume. Very nice. Even after several libations and cloudy judgement, she had recommended a stellar beer.

I sampled two more IPAs before leaving, the Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery’s Inversion IPA and Denver, Colorado’s Great Divide Titan IPA. Deschute’s makes killer beer. Already a big fan of their beers, especially the excellent Mirror Pond Pale Ale, it came as no surprise to me that this was my favorite of the afternoon. The Great Divide was also very tasty.

My faves in order:

  1. Inversion IPA
  2. Titan IPA
  3. Homo Erectus Imperial IPA

Eavesdropped the table behind us: “I’ve been listening to Dead Kennedys again recently. I haven’t listened to it since I was about 13 years old, but I realized their musicianship was amazing”. To which I leaned over and injected “Welcome back.”.

The Parkway was still going strong when we left around 6:30. They were giving out tickets to win novetly bar prizes (tee shirts, hats, etc.) and the boisterous crowd roaring and cheering with every glass broken behind the bar. Like I said, IPAs are strong as hell. Better to leave early in the evening than be that guy at the bar who’s lost his pants and is crying uncontrollably at 9:30 PM. You know? Not like I’ve ever done that. I’m jus’sayin’…

August 17, 2006

Urban Forest Project

Filed under: design — sparkrobot @ 10:36 am

Graphic Design project observed on ye ol’ Intarweb.

The Urban Forest Project brings 185 banners created by the world’s most celebrated designers, artists, photographers and illustrators to New York’s Times Square. Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement.

August 13, 2006


Filed under: photography,rock,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 1:53 am

Tranlation: Let’s go. I lived in a house next door to a guy Russ before I bought my house in South Tacoma a couple of years back. He started a band called the Vamanos. They have a bluesy rock n’ roll sound and their songs—while fun are typically—um, how you say? …long. I’ve been recording the band in a combination of spaces lately (their basement, my basement) and they’re nearly finished with about 7 songs which they intend to release independently. They dropped a last minute show tonight at O’Malley’s on 6th Avenue. O’Malley’s is weird. I wouldn’t typically think of it as a live venue. It’s just, kind of… a bar. While it wouldn’t be altogether a bad idea to host more live shows, patrons might be better served if there were a few tables moved out of the way and there was room for people to move around.

In contrast to my last post on film shooting, these shots are digital. While they’re not entirely bad shots, I can’t help but think they’re a bit flat. Err… digital. Don’t listen to what I say, take a look for yourself and let me know what you think in comparison with the previous shots of the Boss Martians. Or not.

August 12, 2006

Boss Martians at the Sunset Tavern

Filed under: photography,rock,seattle — sparkrobot @ 8:57 pm

Nick on the KeyboardsMade a trek up to Seattle on Thursday night to see the Boss Martians play at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard. The Hot Rollers played first, but I missed the majority of their set. The Boss Martians played a strong set of songs, some of which I was familiar with and some of the newer songs I hadn’t heard. This was the first outing I had seen them play with former Midnight Thunder Express & ex-Valentine Killer Scott (the Machine) Myrene on the bass, who seemed to easily lock it in step with newer drummer Thomas Caviezel. Playing for about an hour, they blasted through their set of pop-tinged punk rock n’ roll. It was loud & fast(how it should be, duh?). Evan Foster has been a busy man lately, writing tons of material for the Martians’ forthcoming record (demos on myspace) and evidently also co-writing songs with Iggy Pop. What a job? That does NOT suck.

As far as the photography goes, I did things a little differently than usual. Recently, I’ve decided if I was really going to learn to shoot photos, I was going to have to learn how to shoot them on film. Sure digital is easier, and I’d probably get better results, but it’s akin to recording music to tape. Neither method is without merit, but learning the way everyone else did can offer some insight into the craft. Anyway, I removed the crutch. I didn’t bring my Nikon D50. I took 2 rolls of Kodak BW400CN black and white film, a roll of Kodak Ektachrome P1600, a 50mm 1.4 lens and the Nikon N80. I figured this way, I’d have to pay more attention to what I was doing and not just let the camera do the heavy lifting.

I was kind of stoked to see the depth in some of the shots. I shot 108 frames—most of them totally sucked, but I expected that. The shot in the lede of this post is the only (of 37) from the Ektachrome roll that made the cut. Enough of my blabberin’, the frames that did not suck are online. Go on, take a looksee there, punk rocker.

August 4, 2006

Chihuly settles copyright lawsuit

Filed under: art,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 2:31 pm

“I guess the most important thing I realized is something I probably knew all along,” he said in a statement released Thursday night. “At least among artists, it is best to resolve our differences one on one. I am pleased that Mr. Rubino and I were able to do that.”

Link to the Seattle PI where you’ll see an incredibly goofy photograph.

August 2, 2006

Bottle Up and Explode

Filed under: tacoma — sparkrobot @ 11:04 pm

Bottle Up and Explode

Observed at the Spar in Old Town earlier tonight.

Bottle Up and Explode? Punk Rock.