Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Best Wine and Food Event in Seattle

Taste Washington


Billed as the “most delicious event of the year,” Taste Washington is four days spreading the virtues of the state’s very best wine and food. It also boasts of being the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event. Sip exclusive pours from world-class vintners, eat gourmet bites from some of the nation’s most-talented chefs and even partake in private food and farm tours – all for the pleasure of your taste buds. Running from March 22-28, 2018, Taste Washington features over 235 wineries, 65 restaurants and 60 culinary exhibitors with most of the events happening at CenturyLink Events Center.

This year’s lineup includes:

Red and White Party: Thursday, March 22
Held at the renowned AQUA by El Gaucho on Seattle’s waterfront, this event features top Washington winemakers pouring only their top bottles. And to make the night extra special, everything you’ll taste is exclusively available at the Red & White Party only, which means you won’t find these wines anywhere else at Taste Washington. Guests are encouraged to wear red and white as well.

On the Farm: Friday, March 23
Learn how Seattle’s restaurants come to serve some of the freshest bounty the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Explore the region’s best products alongside local chefs, winemakers and farmers as they lead you through a carefully curated farm excursion where you’ll have the chance to tour the property and then hear directly from chefs and winemakers as they serve a sensational lunch made from farm-fresh ingredients.

The New Vintage: Friday, March 23
Sample exquisite Washington wines and discover new favorites as you chat with celebrity chefs and sample gourmet bites. Grab your closest friends and dance the night away, but don’t forget to pay a visit to the popular Rosé Lounge for a tasty glass of pink before the evening ends.

Taste and Savor Tours: Saturday, March 24
Eat your way through Pike Place Market, during this early morning food tour tasting locally-made specialties and meeting one-on-one with eight market vendors. Nibble on breakfast biscuits and maple-bacon donuts, catch a fish at the famous Pike Place Fish stand, and discover hidden gems even locals don’t know about.

Grand Tasting: Saturday & Sunday, March 24-25
Watch celebrity chefs flaunt their culinary skills on the Alaska Mileage Plan Chef’s Stage, slurp freshly-shucked oysters at AQUA by El Gaucho’s oyster bar, and of course, sip and savor tastes from the region’s best wineries and restaurants during this two-day event.

Seminars: Saturday & Sunday, March 24-25
Enhance your knowledge of Washington wine with insight directly from the experts. Hear from top winemakers, Master Sommeliers and national wine personalities at these engaging and educational seminars, which explore what makes Washington State a world-class winegrowing region.

Sunday Brunch: Sunday, March 25
A brilliant Seattle musician will be paired with two amazing chefs to create a very special event, exclusive for festival goers. Join us at Quality Athletics before the Grand Tasting on Sunday to see what happens when music and food collide. Our three celebrities will collaborate on a menu and a playlist – served up with Grey Goose Bloody Marys and St~Germain Brunch Cocktails.

Naturally, this is a 21 and over event and tickets range from $45 to a whopping $585 depending on your “tastes.” Tickets can be purchased online. The CenturyLink Field Events Center is located at 1000 Occidental Ave. S. in Seattle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Running of the Green

The F5 St. Patrick's Day Dash


The F5 St. Patrick’s Day Dash 5k has been a tradition in Seattle since 1985 where they say, “Run, Walk, Jog or Crawl! To Celebrate the Arrival of Spring and the Irish in us all!” This year’s race will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018 Beginning from the Seattle Center, the course winds down through downtown and back. Simple right? As motivation, there will be a giant bear garden waiting for you at the end. And the event is not just for adults either. There will be a special “Leprechaun Lap” 1 K for kids age 10 and younger too.

The F5 St. Patrick’s Day Dash benefits the Detlef Schrempf Foundation in support of Northwest children’s charities. Funds are directed to local organizations which provide critical support and services to youth in our community.

“If you haven’t been to the St. Patrick’s Day Dash before, get ready for a big party where everyone is Irish for a day! You could be passed by a human pot of gold, a 6ft 10in leprechaun, a group of beer cans, or a grown man in a tutu. With all of the costumes, the Dash is like an Irish Halloween in spring. The Post Dash Bash features live music, plenty of sponsors, great giveaways, a Costume Contest, plus the biggest St. Patrick’s Day beer garden in the region,” boast the race’s website.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Seattle Bike Show and Outdoor & Adventure Expo


Held at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, two shows come together for one exciting time. The Outdoor Gear & Adventure Expo combines some interactive fun with more than 100 exhibitors from the Pacific Northwest. Here you can try out a 250’ Zip Line, climbing wall, bike pump track, beer garden and take in a number of great speakers and presenters. Meanwhile, the Seattle Bike Show features the best of biking with over 75 different exhibitors promising to offer some of the lowest prices for various gear along with some well-known speakers and presenters. You’ll be able to test out new bikes in the test ride area (there’s one for kids too!), enjoy a performance by Ride & Glide Professional BMX Stunt Team and more. It’s all happening Saturday, March 3 (9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) and Sunday, March 4 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) at the CenturyLink Field Event Center which is located at 800 Occidental Ave. S., 98134. Tickets are $12 and those age 17 and under get in free. Tickets are good for both shows.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Emerald City Never Looked So Green

Seattle's St. Patrick's Day Parade


Seattle's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will be marching along the newly green striped path on Saturday, March 17, 2018 beginning at 12:20 p.m. for the Irish Flag Raising at the King County Administration Building (located at 500 5th Avenue) where both Irish and the U.S. National Anthems will be played. Then the parade will proceed from Jefferson up 4th Avenue to Westlake Park. Then, the party continues all weekend long (March 17-18, 2018) at the Seattle Center Armory at 305 Harrison St. for the annual Irish Festival featuring  Irish music, singing, dancing, workshops, lectures, cultural displays, Irish art exhibits, children’s activities and traditional Irish food and beverages too. You could even win a free vacation to Ireland. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Both events will save you some green as admission is free!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Take a Chance on 'Mamma Mia!'

Review of "Mamma Mia!"
Sarah Rudinoff, Kendra Kassebaum and Lisa Estridge in Mamma Mia! (Photo: Mark Kitaoka)


It really shouldn’t be a surprise that Mamma Mia 2 will be coming to movie theaters this summer. It is the sequel to the 2008 movie which was a huge hit mainly for the music and secondly for the cast. (It certainly wasn’t because of Pierce Brosnan’s singing.) Of course, this all came about after the stage musical that made its debut in London in 1999. Since then, the musical has had many tours around the world, but the current 5th Avenue Theatre production is the first in the Northwest to receive the rights to create its own refreshed version of the show. Many of us are only familiar with the film version, and for those, just know that this is a lot better.

Mamma Mia is different from a lot of traditional musicals in that all of the music comes from the pop rock group ABBA music library of hit tunes. There’s not a bit of new music added to the show and ABBA fans couldn’t be more satisfied.

Mamma Mia begins on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Sophie (Eliza Palasz) is preparing her wedding to Sky (Jordan Iosua Taylor) and would very much like to have her father walk her down the aisle. The problem is, she doesn’t know who he is. But she has a pretty good idea after reading selections from her mother’s diary. She invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding and to stay at her mother’s taverna in hopes of finally meeting her dad.

Review of "Mamma Mia!"
Eliza Palasz and Jordan Iosua Taylor (Photo: Tracy Martin)
The story is set sometime in the 1990’s taking place twenty years after the “time of the flower power” and the birth of Sophie. For a story centered on a wedding, the institution of marriage is questioned a lot. Sophie’s mother, Donna, is played by Kendra Kassebaum (a real stretch since Kassebaum looks too young for the role!) who struggles to make ends meet on her little island paradise. The show hints of her strict Catholic upbringing and the shame she must have felt being an unwed mother in the 1970s. Her friends and former backup singers Tanya (Lisa Estridge) and Rosie (Sarah Rudinoff) share in her pain. Tanya has had at least three failed marriages and Rosie has never found a husband. The three (possible) fathers don’t fare much better. Sam Carmichael (Paolo Montalban) is divorced and Bill Austin (Matt Wolfe) would rather travel the world. Only Harry Bright (Cobey Mandarino) has a “better half” that he leaves at home.

At first it appears that Donna and Sophie have a great mother/daughter relationship, but then we quickly learn that mom would just like to keep her past in the past and not discuss details on who Sophie’s father is with her daughter. Though Sophie is determined to get married, she hasn’t had any real role model of what a real marriage looks like. Donna thinks Sophie is rushing things and Sophie thinks Donna is against all marriages in general. Though not so blatantly expressed, questions like “Do you need to be married to be happy?” and “Can you stay happy if you are married?” do arise throughout the show.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fee Free Days at the National Parks

Jump for joy for "Fee Free Days" at national parks!


The National Parks Service just turned 101 years old and still looks great for its age. To celebrate, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission the following days in 2018:
  • April 21: First day of National Park Week
  • September 22: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Rod Serling Would Be Proud – Maybe

Twilight Zone Unscripted
Twilight Zone UnScripted (Impro Theatre)


From the darkest corners of reality to the land of the unexplained, Impro Theatre’s Twilight Zone UnScripted is a complete improvised show in the style of the classic ‘60s sci-fi gems. Using little more than their razor-sharp imaginations, quick wits and audience suggestions, this show's talented performers will create an improvised parody in the style of the unforgettably mind-bending and classic television hit. Step into the Pantages Theater each for a hilarious night of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas created in an instant.


Twilight Zone Unscripted
will be presented on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Pantages Theater is located at 901 Broadway, Tacoma 98402. Tickets range from $19-$49 and can be purchased online.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bungy Jump Naked for Mental Illness


The Naked Bungy Jump for BCSS is an important fundraising event for the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, Victoria branch. Now in its twelfth year, the weekend continues to be a leading contribution of funds that help individuals living with schizophrenia and psychosis. During the event at WildPlay Element Parks in Nanaimo – participants will leap 150-­‐feet wearing nothing but a show of support.

Get more than $200 worth of pledges and you can jump for free! Money raised during the jump will go toward helping British Columbia Schizophrenia Societies of Victoria and Nanaimo give mental health assistance to more than 2300 people this year (half* of whom may not have other support from friends, co-workers, or family). That includes all kinds of youth, advocacy, and awareness programs about schizophrenia – as well as individual and family support.

The event will be held February 17 and 18, 2018 at WildPlay located at 35 Nanaimo River Rd., Nanaimo, BC V9X 1S5. You must be 18 years of age or older and NO PHOTOGRAPHY will be allowed on site during the event to ensure the privacy of participants. However, those participating can receive photos of their jump from a professional photographer for free afterward via email if you dare. Snacks including s’mores will be available to purchase on site.

Click here for full information.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An Improvised Week: Seattle Festival of Improv Theater

(Photo: Todd Gardiner)


While the Super Bowl gets all of the attention this time of year, Seattle is home to another great competition that you might not know even exists. Groups from all over North America (and sometimes further) descend here for the 16th annual Seattle Festival of Improv Theater.

This year the festival takes place for five days from February 14-18, 2018 with 25 improv comedy groups featuring 102 performers from nine cities around the world performing in 12 shows at 2 venues!  The week includes tons of improv shows, a variety of improv workshops and master classes, parties and what they affectionately call, The Dust Up which has been described as an “improve jam.” While all members of the family could enjoy the shows, the festival states that the performances are not exactly family-friendly and parental guidance is suggested at most SFIT performances.

With that said, SFIT strives to:
  • Serve our audiences with the highest quality and variety of diverse performances possible.
  • Educate the audience as to the depth and variety of improvisational theater that is being currently produced.
  • Provide the highest quality performing and teaching experience for our attending improv professionals.
  • Provide opportunities for growth and networking to all participants.
All performances will take place at Jet City Improv (5510 University Way NE, 98105) and SFIT Second Stage (3940 Brooklyn Ave. NE, 98105). Tickets start at $18 and can be purchased online.

Groups and performances appearing this year include:
  • Black Don't Crack
  • Cast of One
  • Death Hammer
  • Death & Taxes
  • Devin & Sarah
  • The Dust Up
  • Dystopia! The Musical
  • Fistful of Kicks
  • The Future
  • The Gloomwhisper Entrancement
  • In Every Life
  • Manacle
  • Marcia & Jill
  • The Monster Hunters
  • The Next Generation Gap
  • The Nightmare Society
  • Orange Tuxedo
  • The Perks of Being a Misfit
  • Price/Nixon
  • Rock Bottom
  • Scenic Detour
  • Schrampflin Falls
  • The Shrieking Harpies
  • A Tribe Called Yes
  • Wet Bus