It doesn’t really matter how old you are when you first experience Lucha Libre: you’ll be screaming like the 10-year-old kid inside of you regardless.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gerald the Giant Marionette
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
As featured in City Arts
Monday, August 28, 2017 | by AMANDA MANITACH
On a sunny day in late August, a once-derelict building in Tacoma is swarming with workers in hard hats. The Carpenters Building—a 23,000 square foot complex built in 1954 to house multiple unions—is perched on a high point on Fawcett Avenue. From the rooftop, the view takes in a sweeping panorama of downtown. Nested amid an ever-expanding urban sprawl, the shimmering white of the Tacoma Dome is visible.
The Carpenters Building is home to the soon-to-launch Alma Mater, a monster-sized, multi-use venue that opens to the public early next year. The enterprise is ambitious enough to be laughable and visionary to the point of delusion. But while many a utopian daydream of sustainable, artist-driven space flounders in the imagination, this one is happening, and with an inspired urgency.
“At its heart, it’s an incubator,” says Jason Heminger, a resident of Tacoma for the past 14 years and one of the artists spearheading the project. “We’re designing this place to orchestrate connections, offer up resources, generate mentoring opportunities.”
Heminger is sitting on a couch in a spacious-yet-cozy, light-infused recording studio, flanked by Alma Mater co-directors Aaron Spiro and Rachel Ervin. The low-key setting serves as HQ for now, as the rest of the building is carved up in various stages of construction. Unlike most boxy, soundproof recording studios, this one feels more like a giant living room peppered with analog synths, drum kits, vintage organs and dashes of smile-inducing kitsch. An oversized statue of a gilt cat, fitted with matching vintage gold shades, is perched on a plinth like a funky totem. Despite the duress of construction all around, the studio is functional; Motopony has been recording an album here.
“This project has pretty much taken over our lives,” says Ervin, laughing. Formerly a writer and makeup artist, she was most recently plucked from her job in the advancement department at UW Tacoma—where she also earned her undergraduate degree—so when the three principals were brainstorming a name, the tenor of “Alma Mater” fit.
“It’s like everybody’s a part of the collegiate spirit,” she says. “This is a new kind of school.”
Heminger’s background is in experimental education; he developed agricultural projects for a Montessori school in Colorado. Late in his creative life he began collaborating with Spiro, a seasoned musician and producer. Working with Spiro, he learned the building blocks of writing music and making albums.
“The developmental path of typical artists can be ambiguous, confusing,” Heminger says. “A lot of the motivation for this comes from looking at alternative education models, talking with some investors who were also excited about figuring out more expedited ways for artists to get resources, to get connected. To finds ways of navigating all the confusing art world stuff.”
Investors responded. (Heminger calls it lucky; his charisma suggests otherwise.) A few regional angel investors swept in to purchase the Carpenters Building, otherwise on a track to be razed and replaced by condos, and set the redesign in motion.
The first floor is a labyrinth of interconnected public spaces that will include a cafe, restaurant—they’ve brought on an as-yet unrevealed chef to design the menu—cocktail lounge and art gallery. The beating heart and centerpiece of the space is “a huge-ass music venue,” per Heminger, with a 500-person capacity. Upstairs, the second floor will be additional recording studios, rentable private work studios for artists and a communal space outfitted with kitchen, lounge and other perks for working artists. Seattle-based design firm Lead Pencil Studio, helmed by artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, have overseen the rebuild, retaining elements of the mid-century, industrial vibe and enhancing the deco-cum-brutalist bones of the space, like the curved concrete facade framing the main entrance and foyer.
When finished, the disparate elements of the complex will be intertwined, connected by halls and common spaces that flow into one another. The main stage will be wired to the recording studio, as will be the green rooms, back stage and work lounges.
“There will be some spaces designed for privacy,” says Heminger, “but overall the idea is to create a fluid space that inspires collaboration, where, say, recording artists will be working around people who are making video, graphic design, illustration.”
On the way out, Spiro stands on the rooftop, accessible via the street behind it, as the building is built into a hill. He reminisces about one of the early events they threw on this very roof: a paella-themed dinner party.
“There were around 400 people up here, surrounded by the light of the city as a backdrop,” he says. It was one of the most magical Tacoma moments I’ve been to. It’s not like we’ve built it and it’s gonna happen. We’ve already seen this beauty happening. We’re just going to continue that.”
view the article here: http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/ridiculously-ambitious-art-space-rises-tacoma