New Spring Menus and Meet the Chefs!

Chef Mike Parker of Honey strikes a pose!

Chef Mike Parker of Honey strikes a pose!

Tapsilog, Filipino tapa sirloin steak, fried chicken egg, fresh cucumber and cherry tomatoes with garlic fried rice. A new spring dish!

Tapsilog, Filipino tapa sirloin steak, fried chicken egg, fresh cucumber and cherry tomatoes with garlic fried rice. A new spring dish!

Chef Roger Weatherhead of Matriarch Lounge.

Chef Roger Weatherhead of Matriarch Lounge.

Tagliatelle with asparagus, pine nut butter sauce, black garlic, and pecorino.

Tagliatelle with asparagus, pine nut butter sauce, black garlic, and pecorino.

Spring is in full force around around Alma Mater. We’ve spotted the bunny that lives in our parking-lot-turned-green-space and and the red clover in front of the building has bloomed in a vibrant display of crimson. The bees are hovering around the wildflowers on the roof and we’re all savoring the warmth of the sun showing its face here and there. As spring hits its stride, we’re embracing its fruits with new menus!

Honey, our coffee shop and brunch cafe, has some exciting flavors rounding out the spring menu. There’s a monster breakfast burrito with all the fixings (with a vegan option!), house-made breakfast sausage hash, and a fresh, seasonal berry dutch baby for your sweet tooth. On the coffee and beverage side of things, there’s some new, bright flavors for your latte or cold drink. Did you know we make all our latte syrups in-house? Jena Stedtler, Honey’s leading coffee wizard and FOH extraordinaire, tests and re-tests recipes until she finds the right flavor profile. New spring syrup flavors include hazelnut and lavender (lavender cold brew, anyone?) and Honey now has matcha!

As in all spaces around Alma Mater, creativity and expression are paramount in our kitchen. Our chefs have tirelessly worked to prepare menus that speak to the seasons and offer a glimpse into their personal story. If you’ve enjoyed a thoughtfully delicious meal at Alma Mater, you have our two chefs (and their staff) to appreciate. Let’s meet them!

Honey’s brunch and dinner night menu is helmed by Mike Parker, an Arkansas farm boy who made his way to Tacoma many years ago. He used to watch his grandma cook in Arkansas where everyone gathered around food. He started out peeling potatoes for grandma and eventually learned enough to make his brother food when his mom wasn’t home. Soon he developed a fire within himself to make the best casserole anyone had ever tasted to bring to the constant communal potlucks of the South. He hopes this story comes through in the food you try in Honey. There’s a definite lean to Southern comfort food while drawing influence from international cuisine. We asked Mike what dish this season he’s most excited about and here’s what he said:

-Tapsilog- Filipino tapa sirloin steak, fried chicken egg, fresh cucumber and cherry tomatoes with garlic fried rice

-Vegan Wet Burrito- Vegan chorizo, potatoes, pepper mix, vegan eggs, pinto bean purée, salsa verde, avocado, pico de gallo and vegan crema

You can try these dishes NOW through mid-summer when new seasonal flavors evolve once again.

On the night side of things, Matriarch Lounge offers seasonal craft cocktails and small and entree size dinner fare. Megan Henson, Matriarch’s cocktail guru, included a magical drink called Signed with Love on the spring menu. It has mezcal, apricot liqueur, and cocci americano. Other drinks on the new menu feature a housemate kiwi cordial and even a house-made cereal milk. Happy hour has also expanded for spring and now offers discounted drinks in addition to small plates. Be sure to try the house tonic made with hibiscus and lemongrass! New food menu items include a beautiful spring crudite of cucumber, radish, beet, peas, greens, egg with a sesame vinaigrette. Another decadent meal to try is the tagliatelle with asparagus, pine nut butter sauce, black garlic, and pecorino. So delicious. Hot tip: don’t skip dessert.

In Matriarch’s kitchen, a new chef is steering the kitchen to carefully balanced flavors that allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. Roger Weatherhead brings a soul-filled story to the kitchen of Alma Mater.

Roger’s grandma owned a greasy spoon diner and he fondly remembers being stowed away in the manager’s office in his playpen there. The memories of the diner culminated to a fresh perspective on his childhood culinary experience when he caught an episode of “Great Chefs of the West, Great Chefs of the World.” That exposure to the refined version of the joy and love of cooking forever changed his outlook on the possibilties that existed in the culinary world. From then on, he started his career as a dishwasher, food truck chef, Point Defiance Zoo chef, sous chef at various hotels and some of Seattle’s great restaurants like Tilth and Art of the Table and ultimately to executive chef.

Chef Roger’s culinary vibe is interpretive and he loves to let ingredients sing. The New American palate is his powerhouse where bold flavor isn’t a stranger while the taste of fresh, responsibly sourced, seasonal ingredients are allowed to bloom.

We asked Roger what ingredients or favors he’s most excited about for spring and here’s what he said:

-Key City wild, troll caught salmon

-Brassicas- cauliflower and romanesco

-Fresh berries-strawberry and blueberry

Both spring menus are out now! Visit almamatertacoma.com to view full menus. Don’t forget that any purchase made at Alma Mater supports arts and community programming in our building. Happy Spring!





Party for the People

As Eazy_EQ reminds us, it’s summertime in Tacoma, which means it’s time for our favorite (inter)national holiday: PRIDE. This Saturday in Fawcett Hall, Tacoma gets a slice of Pride that we’ve been waiting for.

Hosted by Kiki Jean Williams of the Seattle Majestics (one of the top women’s tackle football teams in the nation), with performances by NEna KapONE, Celina Graves, and Eazy_EQ, and dj sets by LadyVtheBarber and Yaddy Ye, The Warehouse, Alma Mater Tacoma, and Goody Gang Productions present a lineup that is 100% female and 100% queer.  

“Most people don’t really understand how big of a deal it is to have not just an all female hip-hop show, but a queer hip-hop show on top of that,” LadyVtheBarber says, noting that the genre of hip-hop hasn’t exactly had a buddy-buddy relationship with the LGBTQ community over the years. But this Saturday witness that trend being bucked as we come together to drink, dance, and get summertime-sweaty in the Hall. “We’re not out here to be intimidated,” says V, “ we’re out here to celebrate the way we want to celebrate; we’re out here to show the world that we’re tearing the walls down and spreading the love that needs to be spread.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15, $20 at the door day of, and will feature a $40 VIP ticket that also provides a meet and greet with host and performer Celina Graves.





 

 

Not Just a Laughing Mat(t)er

As it is with most things in Tacoma right now, the stand-up comedy scene seems to be quickly on the up and up. Until very recently there have been a limited number of venues catering to or featuring stand up in the area - a simple truth that also implies that it's hard to get stage time as a local comedian. But with the emergence and cultivation of spaces like Alma Mater, which will be introducing a regular stand-up event Laughing Mater - produced and hosted by Jill Silva, Diante Neagle, Erin Crouch, Isaac Campbell-Smith, and Amanda Biddle the third Friday of every month, it seems like that all could change.

Local comic Rachel Laurendeau, who jumped into comedy while attending Evergreen State College down in Olympia, vibes with that building excitement. “The fact that so many independent places are starting their own open-mic and comedy nights is going to be huge for beginner-comedians,” she says, “I mean, how can anyone expect to get better if they don’t have places to practice?” And to Laurendeau it’s not simply about added space, it’s about creating a sense of consistency that has been lacking in Tacoma. “Most nights if I want to go do a random open mic, I have to jump in a carpool with some friends and drive out to Bremerton,” she says. “It definitely throws a wrench into your day if every time you want to go perform you have to drive 45 minutes away to find a spot.”

A lack of space means a lack of consistency and time, all too valuable resources for any individual trying to get involved in any scene or activity. On the bright side, this gap means that there is ample opportunity for creating such spaces, opportunity that newcomers and veterans alike sorely need. Count Bob’s Java Jive on South Tacoma Way and Shakabrah on 6th Avenue as places that have begun their own comedy specific events, with Bob’s hosting an open mic called Bob’s Comedy Jive every Thursday, and Shakabrah hosting an open mic every Friday with a showcase performance once a month. Just like any bar or venue, each space draws its own unique audience and provides a different feel for comedians, another important quality to the development of a performer. These independently produced, comedian-centered shows are vital to strengthening the scene and allowing each new venue that does pop up form its own identity.

When it comes to what Laughing Mater will be bringing to the table, host and producer Jill Silva is excited for the fresh opportunity, calling it a clean slate. “Ethically, Alma Mater aligns with how we’d like to do business,” Silva says, noting that Alma Mater is more about providing exposure and creative space rather than focusing on profit. “Their model is all about fostering community and creativity in Tacoma, and with that comes the chance for diverse voices that normally wouldn’t have the platform to speak,” an all-too-important quality of the kind of culture that Alma Mater is trying to incubate and harbor. Silva hopes that with Laughing Mater they can instill a sense of inclusiveness and produce a show that is not just artist friendly, but plays to the “gregarious” nature of audiences in Tacoma. “Compared to other places around the Sound, Tacoma is a pretty forgiving audience,” adds Silva, which she thinks emphasizes why Tacoma comedy could grow so quickly.

Silva and team are excitedly optimistic of the opportunity to bring these voices into the woodwork, while also hopefully attracting big names and voices to the City of Destiny.

Laughing Mater’s inaugural show will take place Friday June 15th in Honey Coffee + Kitchen. Expect big laughs, warm vibes, and a lasting impression. Tickets are $5 and it's an 18+ event.


 

Homecoming : Meet the Artists

Homecoming is about embracing and celebrating where we're at - right now - and finding ways to tell truths about the reality of home in hopes of a better future. It's about being unafraid to excavate where we're from and having the courage to return. Homecoming is a parade, a dance, a smear of oil paint on glass, an homage to the past, and a bubbly toast to what's to come.

Experience Homecoming through the lens of 14 artists from our home, Tacoma on April 19th, 2018.

neighbors

tiffanny hammonds and lourdes jackson

Glass, collage photographs, and paint within a wood frame

When you think of home, most think of four walls they can return to. The scents, memories, aesthetics and personality captured in a place which is a part of your identity.  Home for some is a combination of cardboard boxes and plastic bags, home is the Safeway cart missing the label containing the last photos you have that remind you of your identity, home is a wet comforter in the doorway of a building after hours, the sidewalk after walking all day. Home for some is shelters; the forest underneath the highways and byways. Home is where you return, because the Tacoma police department has yet to raid it. Home is where you walk with your head down and avoid stepping on used needles 'cause your shoes are wearing. Residency is what many find in the streets, so I don’t think there is anything such as homelessness, anyone can have a home, where ever you go. But not everyone has the privilege to have a home inside a house.

Tiffanny Hammonds  is an Oakland Born and Hilltop Tacoma raised artist, who creates to provide a space for the voiceless to speak. Willing to make uncomfortable topics into something reflective. Her work can be found here.

Tiffanny Hammonds is an Oakland Born and Hilltop Tacoma raised artist, who creates to provide a space for the voiceless to speak. Willing to make uncomfortable topics into something reflective. Her work can be found here.

Lourdes Jackson  has been drawing since the age of five. At the age of 19, Lourdes entered a Washington State Correctional Facility where he spent two prison terms and honed his craft drawing family portraits for fellow inmates. He is now free and residing in Tacoma, where he is a full time artist and father. His work can be found  here.

Lourdes Jackson has been drawing since the age of five. At the age of 19, Lourdes entered a Washington State Correctional Facility where he spent two prison terms and honed his craft drawing family portraits for fellow inmates. He is now free and residing in Tacoma, where he is a full time artist and father. His work can be found here.

On the Ave of Temporality & Memory

nicole mccarthy and caitlin obom

Video projection and mixed media

Through city streets, this project explores how home can be made and found through ever-shifting time and place.

 

Nicole McCarthy  is an experimental writer who earned her MFA from the University of Washington Bothell. Her work has appeared in  Glass: a Journal of Poetry ,  The Shallow Ends ,  Dream Pop Press ,  B(o)ink ,  Crab Fat Magazine ,  Ghost Proposal ,  FLAPPERHOUSE ,  Tinderbox Poetry ,  The Fem ,  Memoir Mixtapes,  Civil Coping Mechanism's  A Shadow Map  anthology, and forthcoming in the  2018 Best American Experimental Writing  anthology. In addition to readings and installations around the city, Nicole has also taught creative writing workshops to teens for Tacoma's Write253 youth program. She can be found on Twitter @GarbytheSass and her work can be found at  nicolemccarthypoet.com .

Nicole McCarthy is an experimental writer who earned her MFA from the University of Washington Bothell. Her work has appeared in Glass: a Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Dream Pop Press, B(o)ink, Crab Fat Magazine, Ghost Proposal, FLAPPERHOUSE, Tinderbox Poetry, The Fem, Memoir Mixtapes, Civil Coping Mechanism's A Shadow Map anthology, and forthcoming in the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing anthology. In addition to readings and installations around the city, Nicole has also taught creative writing workshops to teens for Tacoma's Write253 youth program. She can be found on Twitter @GarbytheSass and her work can be found at nicolemccarthypoet.com.

Caitlin Obom  is a writer, performer, and videographer from the Seattle area. Her work has been performed at Seattle Fringe Festival, Bumbershoot, and Sketchfest Seattle.

Caitlin Obom is a writer, performer, and videographer from the Seattle area. Her work has been performed at Seattle Fringe Festival, Bumbershoot, and Sketchfest Seattle.

the port

peter berkley and jason heminger

Video projection and mixed audio

The Port is a gentle sensory bath providing users a safe harbor to unplug and recharge. The guided experience relies on natural patterns of light, color, and acoustics to refresh one's home screen.

Peter Berkley  is a multimedia visual artist whose work has been published and produced in the forms of music videos, album covers, poster art, photo essays, video art, and paintings.

Peter Berkley is a multimedia visual artist whose work has been published and produced in the forms of music videos, album covers, poster art, photo essays, video art, and paintings.

Jason Heminger  is a musician, painter, and magic maker. You can find him running around Alma Mater with a hammer or yellow sketchpad, depending on the day. 

Jason Heminger is a musician, painter, and magic maker. You can find him running around Alma Mater with a hammer or yellow sketchpad, depending on the day. 

reassembly

lisa fruichantie and christopher paul jordan

Canvas, woven Burmese fabric, spray paint, and acrylic paint on foam core

Woven Burmese fabric and canvas cut and re-sewn using traditional Seminole patchwork design. This project explores the entropy and re-manifestation of our migrating cultural histories. Integrating our personal journeys with textiles and design. We stitch, restitch, join, and break apart physical and emotional fractures in order to transcend and reassemble.

Lisa Fruichantie  (Seminole/Creek)   was born in Grand Junction, Colorado (1980), and has worked as a fashion designer, stylist, costumer, community organizer, film projectionist, event and festival planner. Raised predominantly on Kenatize land in Alaska, Fruichantie moved to Washington in 1998 and to Tacoma in 2001. Her designs have been featured, vended, or showcased in gallery exhibitions, stages, runway shows and powwows between Alaska, Washington and Oklahoma.

Lisa Fruichantie (Seminole/Creek) was born in Grand Junction, Colorado (1980), and has worked as a fashion designer, stylist, costumer, community organizer, film projectionist, event and festival planner. Raised predominantly on Kenatize land in Alaska, Fruichantie moved to Washington in 1998 and to Tacoma in 2001. Her designs have been featured, vended, or showcased in gallery exhibitions, stages, runway shows and powwows between Alaska, Washington and Oklahoma.

Born in Tacoma Washington (1990),  Christopher Paul Jorda  n  integrates virtual and physical public space to form infrastructures for dialogue and self-determination among dislocated people. Jordan's paintings and sculptures are artifacts from his work in community and time-capsules for expanded inquiry. Jordan's work has been recognized by the 2017 Neddy Artists Award for painting, the Jon Imber Painting Fellowship, the GTCF Foundation of Art Award, the James W Ray Venture Project Award, and the most recent summer commission for Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park

Born in Tacoma Washington (1990), Christopher Paul Jordan integrates virtual and physical public space to form infrastructures for dialogue and self-determination among dislocated people. Jordan's paintings and sculptures are artifacts from his work in community and time-capsules for expanded inquiry. Jordan's work has been recognized by the 2017 Neddy Artists Award for painting, the Jon Imber Painting Fellowship, the GTCF Foundation of Art Award, the James W Ray Venture Project Award, and the most recent summer commission for Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park

Jack's Epitaph, Part II       

lisa kinoshita, john carlton, and quinn honan

Mixed media and video              

"Jack the Tacoma Bear" was a real-life black bear who lived at the grand Tacoma Hotel in the 1890's. He became known nationwide for his habit of escaping his pen and heading to a local tavern where he would enjoy hoisting a mug of beer with his paws. Beloved by Tacomans, Jack one day wandered into the financial district where he startled a policeman, and was shot. Jack's Epitaph, Part II is about dislocation, loss, the provisional relationship between humans and nature, and the shadow figures that exist at the periphery of memory.

Lisa Kinoshita  is a Tacoma-based visual artist and independent curator. Her instincts have led her in many directions from collaboration with prison inmates practicing longstanding forms of Western craft, to building steel sculptures that support living canopies of sedum plants using greenroof technology. Kinoshita’s artwork has been shown at Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, Vetri, and other art venues. She is a recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant.

Lisa Kinoshita is a Tacoma-based visual artist and independent curator. Her instincts have led her in many directions from collaboration with prison inmates practicing longstanding forms of Western craft, to building steel sculptures that support living canopies of sedum plants using greenroof technology. Kinoshita’s artwork has been shown at Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, Vetri, and other art venues. She is a recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant.

Gerald the Giant Marionette

jason holland

Metal, stabilizer fabric, paper, wood, Styrofoam, and acrylic

In 2010, Gerald the Giant was born a 15-foot tall marionette fashioned from paper mache’  and from Jason's desire to give back to his home through public participatory art. GTG has since been reinforced with sturdier materials so that he may be a long-term gift to the citizens of Tacoma.

Jason Holland  was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. He is a painter, sculptor, and multimedia artist. His work has been featured at Art on the Ave, Downtown Tacoma Block Party, First Night, Wayzgoose, and more.

Jason Holland was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. He is a painter, sculptor, and multimedia artist. His work has been featured at Art on the Ave, Downtown Tacoma Block Party, First Night, Wayzgoose, and more.

At the age of six,  Deane 'Dutch' Benninghoven  created 10 Play-Doh figures and got paid 10 bucks. From that day he was determined to be an artist, and since then has found a world of delight in creating all kinds of things. This passion has led him on a circuitous path, working in architectural sculpture, ornamental plaster, monumental sculpture, museum exhibitry, watchmaking, anaplastology, and jewelry. Currently living in Tacoma, WA, Dutch focuses on small scale sculpture and jewelry, as well as automata, oil painting and hand engraving US coins. To see what he is up to right now, check out his Instagram: Dutch Benninghoven.

At the age of six, Deane 'Dutch' Benninghoven created 10 Play-Doh figures and got paid 10 bucks. From that day he was determined to be an artist, and since then has found a world of delight in creating all kinds of things. This passion has led him on a circuitous path, working in architectural sculpture, ornamental plaster, monumental sculpture, museum exhibitry, watchmaking, anaplastology, and jewelry. Currently living in Tacoma, WA, Dutch focuses on small scale sculpture and jewelry, as well as automata, oil painting and hand engraving US coins. To see what he is up to right now, check out his Instagram: Dutch Benninghoven.

constellations

sarah gilbert and megan stelljes

Glass, neon, mirror, and wire

the long walk (home)

ben wildenhaus and ellen ito

Single channel video with performance accompaniment

The Long Walk (Home) utilizes found footage and live performance to traverse the meaning of home, exploring the shifting paradigm of our own sense of place and ever evolving definition of "home."

Ben Wildenhaus and Ellen Ito  are multimedia artists currently living and working in Tacoma, Washington.

Ben Wildenhaus and Ellen Ito are multimedia artists currently living and working in Tacoma, Washington.

 

Dance a Day

devon urquhart and aaron hartzell

Video projection and mixed media

Dance A Day was started on November 1, 2017, with a one-year commitment to record in reverse a 15-second dance routine. Devon believes there is  meaning in this reversal process: "Not only do I think it makes me look cooler,  but the fact is that the end of something, even a brief dance, is always the beginning of something else—something new in life." You can follow along @devondanceaday.

of infinity

aaron hartzell and devon urquhart

Photograph on back light paper and led lighting

This image of sun light reflecting off of water and sand mirrors the appearance of star fields. It’s intent is to draw a connection between earth and sky and to remind us where the structure of our home and ourselves comes from.

Devon Urquhart  has been living and working in Washington State for 15 years. Originally from Louisiana, she works in a variety of creative media, including drawing, painting, ceramics and most recently, performance art. She has several small businesses that market ceramics, sculptures, and prints. Her work is sold in multiple  venues, including the PNW and online.

Devon Urquhart has been living and working in Washington State for 15 years. Originally from Louisiana, she works in a variety of creative media, including drawing, painting, ceramics and most recently, performance art. She has several small businesses that market ceramics, sculptures, and prints. Her work is sold in multiple  venues, including the PNW and online.

Aaron Hartzell  grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he attended the University of Washington in Seattle earning a BFA in photography. His work has been shown in galleries all around the North West including The Blue Sky gallery in Portland, Oregon. For the past several years He has been working as an Instructional Tech for the photo department at Green River college in Auburn, Washington.

Aaron Hartzell grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he attended the University of Washington in Seattle earning a BFA in photography. His work has been shown in galleries all around the North West including The Blue Sky gallery in Portland, Oregon. For the past several years He has been working as an Instructional Tech for the photo department at Green River college in Auburn, Washington.

artist spotlight 02: Sarah Gilbert

artist spotlight 02: Sarah Gilbert

We look for signs wherever we go: navigating the freeway, exploring a restaurant destination, searching for the bathroom. We seek out ‘signs of life,’ we talk about ‘telltale signs,’ and excavate our past for missed signs — red flags. We are obsessed with signs and signifiers as a species, always on the hunt for the visible that signals that we are on the right track. We believe, intrinsically, in right tracks and wrong tracks, and any song, poem, or proverb that speaks of paths or tracks will tell you that the right way always leads you home. 

October Update

So, we've been quiet for a while.

Online, that is. Things have been anything but quiet at the Carpenters Building. We've been working to the sweet sounds of nail guns, jackhammers, and the back-up 'beep beep beep' of forklifts. It's getting closer, everyone, and the countdown has officially begun.


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If you've passed by the building

on your way to work, or home, or for dinner, it may not look like much has changed. But we have new windows now, and sparkling steel frames for our future elevator, and ducts, and fire sprinklers, and a two-story skylight. In the next two weeks, the view will shift again, and if you peer closely enough, you may see our smiling faces through our windows, because we know what comes next.

 


:if you lived here you could be home now:

:if you lived here you could be home now:

This is a rendering of what our green space will look like. Today, it is piles of broken up concrete and rubble; container-sized trash bins and construction office-trailers; people in hard-hats and high-vis yellow vests. But in a few more months, it will be you. And me. And hopefully some trees. And a good amount of ferns. 


Our recording studio has a new name.

Introducing Gold Cat Studios. Home of All Her Children Productions and our talented engineer, Mr. Aaron Spiro. You can follow the Golden Caton Instagram.
 

Upcoming events

Celebrate the 2017 Amocat Arts Award winners at a F R E E event on October 4th called Kaleidoscope; featuring music from some of our faves, art-making, movie-screenings, and dance. More info here

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