Almanac

There’s a lot happening in Tacoma.

Music, visual arts, literature, printmaking, performing arts, public art, treasure hunting, found object-finding,

and more. The Almanac brings them all together as a weekly digital publication.

Make It To The Show: Mt Fog Aeroplane Icon
Adam McKinney
January 31, 2023
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Mt Fog | Saturday, February 4

Seattle’s own Mt Fog describes her music as “forest folktronica,” evoking the push-and-pull relationship between the natural and the inorganic. Truly, it’s easy to listen to Mt Fog and imagine the swirling synths, insistent beats, and alien vocals reverberating around a misty Pacific Northwest wood. Mt Fog is the work of Carolyn B., an artist whose adventurous, elastic vocal style hit the sweet spot for fans of Bjork or Joanna Newsom, serving as the perfect accompaniment for her largely minimalistic electronica. Her voice phases in and out of recognition, warping and wrapping itself around chiming keyboards.

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While her sound may be otherworldly, though, Mt Fog keeps her feet firmly planted on the ground, as evidenced on songs like “Waiting Through These Years,” lamenting that the drudging obligations of everyday life interfere with an idealized existence of purpose – that getting a job doesn’t always give one the time or resources to save the planet. On February 4, Mt Fog will sweep through ALMA, along with two other wildly unique voices: Maya Marie’s soulful, powerful voice rides high atop a bed of ragged rock ‘n’ roll; and Cullen Cochran recalls T. Rex’s Marc Bolan by way of nocturnal, jazz-inflected psychedelia. This is a night of strong personalities – artists with styles as distinct as the seasons.

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Make It To The Show: Ruckus in Tacoma - Summer Smoke Out

SATURDAY JULY 8th at THE VALLEYThe Valley has quietly (and, frequently, not-so-quietly) become one of the most reliable music venues in Tacoma, thanks in large part to the eclectic stream of bands that come through its doors. At its heart, though, the Valley is most suited to bringing in the kind of barroom bands that fit the venue’s classic Tacoma aesthetic – which will surely be represented when PNW record label Ruckus In The Boonies presents the Summer Smoke Out. Along with barbecue and vendors, the Summer Smoke Out will feature a cavalcade of bands; at the time of this writing, there are 10 in total, perfect for partying throughout the humid day and into the night.Valley regulars like Stoned Evergreen Travelers, Old Dirty Buzzards, Ghost Train Trio, and James Hunnicut are just some of the acts that will be performing, but the event is unofficially a celebration of the Pine Box Boys and their 20th anniversary. The San Francisco-based outfit has been practicing doom-laden, murder-obsessed alt-country for two decades, honing their craft to a razor-sharp edge. Few modern country acts have the same flair for storytelling that the Pine Box Boys have, spinning blood-drenched yarns packed with a kind of charismatic foreboding. With nine other bands performing – most of whom also make their homes at the intersection of country, rock, and punk – and the sweet smell of barbecue smoke perfuming the air, the Summer Smoke Out seems like the perfect way to kick the hot months off in style.SATURDAY JULY 8thThe Valley:Summer Smoke Out, w/ the Pine Box Boys, Old Dirty Buzzards, Stoned Evergreen Travelers, James Hunnicutt, Blood Fire & Rainwater, Ghost Train Trio, Emery Villains, The Selfish Bastard, Yotes, The Hoods Open Mic Challenge with Billy HoodDoors at 4pm, $151206 Puyallup Aveinstagram.com/ruckusintheboonies

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Umi Wagoner’s Tacoma: Content for A King

King's BooksFor a city with a focus on the arts you would think books would be a larger part of that focus and growth. Books unceasingly inspire the arts while also being art. The old adage stands true that art begets art. The literary arts are as difficult and often fruitless as any other art form when it’s your profession. I’d wager that a solid 20-30% of the “starving artists'' demographic are writers. It’s not easy to do and in turn it’s not always easy to sell, especially in mid major markets, where independent bookstores are often overlooked for the sake of convenience. It was shocking to search and find that in all my years there has been only one addition to the city able to make it last and that is King’s Books. 

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Make It To The Show: Them

THEM | Thursday, Dec. 15There’s a sense of timelessness to THEM that belies the young age of the band members, all women in their late teens and early ‘20s. The Seattle four-piece has an innate ability to recall ‘70s Laurel Canyon, ‘80s synth-pop, ‘90s slacker rock, mid-00s twee, and all manner of decades of teenage pop heartache.

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The Grand Cinema - The People’s Popcorn

There’s almost too many good things to say about the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. At its core function, it stands for art with a hyper focus on cinema in the best way. It’s a nonprofit, providing a pathway to pop culture while keeping its doors and programming open to local and international film enthusiast, supporters, directors, and film industry professionals. All of that speaks to and sticks to the heritage that began at the Grand Cinema, once the Grand Theatre, in 1997. Two years prior in 1995 the cinema was closed after being freshly built, but was saved and turned into a nonprofit by to Tacoman film enthusiasts. Since then it’s functioned well, and only continues to stay head of the curve culturally while doing its civic duty, provide entertainment and service, at a high-level.