Books and Words

  • Teeny Tine Zine Fair Celebrates the Subversive, Alternative and Unlikely World of DIY Publishing
    “One of the cool things about zines is that there aren’t really any rules,” says Aggie Burstein, curator of Timberland Regional Library’s Zine Library and chief organizer of the Teeny Tiny Zine Fair, whose own definition doesn’t go further than “an independently created publication that anyone can make, about anything, for any reason.” 
  • South Sound Reading Foundation Benefit Brings Ethan’s Smile
    The South Sound Reading Foundation will host its annual benefit breakfast fundraiser, “Readers are Leaders,” at the Lacey Community Center on Thursday, April 11. Keynote speaker Stacy Chapin’s son Ethan is one of the four University of Idaho students murdered in Moscow, Idaho on the night of November 13, 2022.
  • Sitting Down with Three Poets Featured in Mud Flat Verse (an anthology)
    From the low tides of Mud Bay in the Pacific Northwest to the lush greenery of Mississippi and beyond, 81 pieces by 19 poets including seven from Thurston County are joined in “Mud Flat Verse (an anthology).” The anthology, published in late 2023, is a creation of Olympia publisher Mud Flat Press.
  • Hal Schrieve Writes About Getting Over the End of the World
    Hal Schrieve, reading from “How to Get Over the End of the World” on Wednesday, October 25th at Browsers Books, grew up in Olympia, now lives in New York City, and works as a children’s librarian. Hir says, “I hope it resonates with people from Olympia! It is very inflected by my own teen years 2010-2014.”
  • Entertainment Center
    “We’re going back to cabaret style. … There’s something about the community feel,” Center Salon organizer Bryan Willis explains. “You’re talking with other people at your table. … There’s just more rapport (between) the actors and the audience.”
  • Mud Flat Shorts Celebrates Creative Collaboration and the Local Writing Community
    By Molly Walsh After Gabi and Alec Clayton packed up their home in Mississippi to start a new life in Washington State, one of the first sights they encountered when they drove into the Olympia area was the exposed tide flats of the South Puget Sound. This landscape would eventually serve as inspiration for the …

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  • The Return of the Celebratory Center Salon
    “I’ve been doing salons for about 20 years through the Northwest Playwrights Alliance,” playwright Bryan Willis explains. “I really love the format.” Happily for Willis, executive director Jill Barnes was eager to host a salon in The Washington Center’s black box theater, a utilitarian space adjacent to its main auditorium. It returns this May after a three-year hiatus.
  • Excellent Gift Ideas for Olympia Book Lovers
    Consider the gift of a fictitious Olympia or Thurston County: a story set in our home, a gift that supports a local author. What’s great about such a gift is showing out-of-state friends and family a part of our home as only a writer can capture it.
  • Local Author Teams up With Puppeteer Troupe for One-Night Outdoor Performance
    By Alec Clayton Update August 23, 2021: “Moss Covered Claws Live!” has been rescheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Sept 12. More details are below. A one-of-a-kind literary and performance event is happening one night only in Lions Park in the Eastside Olympia nieghborhood. Blue Cactus Press is set to present Olympia author Jonah …

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  • Reptiles, Fairies and Gremlins, Oh My! Local Author Releases PNW Horror Collection
    By Molly Gilmore Jonah Barrett wouldn’t be insulted if anyone said their first book was monstrous. That’s because Barrett’s short-story collection “Moss Covered Claws,” dropping March 18, is all about monsters. Barrett of Olympia, a filmmaker, fantasy writer and OLY ARTS contributor, is launching the book with an online reading and talk at 7 p.m. …

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  • Olympia Searches for New Poet Laureate
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Poet laureates have a unique job of melding the ethereal magical art of poetry with the very real struggle of the world around them, the one we all inhabit. By definition, a poet laureate is “a poet appointed to, or regarded unofficially as holding, an honorary representative position in a particular …

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  • Finding a Sense of Belonging Through Writing Communities
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Artist communities have been around since artists have been creating. It is what keeps many artists going through the rough patches in their craft or career. Take the Harlem Writers Guild for example — the longest running forum for Black writers aimed at helping them develop their craft to the point …

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  • Jonah Barrett and the Race to Debut Moss Covered Claws
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Every writer, and possibly every creator, knows the stress and joy of having a debut work premier. Tireless work is spent on the project in hopes that a personal vision of the world will resonate with at least one person. In a way, it is an attempt to spark in someone …

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  • A Londoner and a Local Walk Into a Theater…
    By Lucy Volker Transformation is the theme for Harlequin’s 2020 season. They begin the New Year with Noises Off and The Highest Tide. Riffing on the season’s theme, Noise’s Off is said to be “one of the funniest plays ever written, offering the community some much-needed comedic relief.” The Highest Tide is a coming of …

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  • OLY ARTS Presents Wordsmiths Episode Three: “Buying The Book.”
    By Editor Wordsmiths was filmed with independent writers in mind over the period of three episodes. Each interview focuses on a different stage of a manuscript’s journey, using literary organizations and businesses in the South Sound as an example. The series was created by Jonah Barrett, marketing director at Olympia Film Society and OLY ARTS …

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  • Tumwater Foundation Presents an Afternoon of Local Authors
    By Adam McKinney As autumn rolls along in Washington, the days getting shorter, the air taking on that familiar bite, more folks will be choosing to stay indoors and curl up with a good book. While readers can surely find many good selections on The New York Times Best Seller List, the question bares: why …

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  • Fifth-Annual Olympia Zine Fest to Feature Female Zinemakers
    By Alec Clayton The fifth annual Olympia Zine Fest comes to town this month. The three-day event celebrating DYI publishing takes place in multiple venues in downtown Olympia. This year’s festival brings to town special guests Hope Amico and Artnoose. Both zinemakers have long histories of incorporating the art of letterpress into their zines. They …

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  • Updating Volpone for the 21st Century
    By Alec Clayton Actor, director, writer and educator Christian Carvajal has written a play that will have a reading at La Vida Wine Bar in Lacey. Carvajal’s brand-new, comic script is loosely based on Volpone by Elizabethan and Jacobean playwright Ben Jonson and features the talents of actors Heather Christopher, Michael Christopher, Gabe McClelland, Scott …

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  • Celebrate Local Poetry at First Ever Laureate Fest
    By Molly Walsh On September 21, all five past and present Washington State Poets Laureate will gather for a day of poetry-centered conversation and celebration at Laureate Fest. Organized by the Olympia Poetry Network, Laureate Fest is the first event of its kind in the state and the first time all five Washington State Poets …

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  • The Mueller Report at Washington Center
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL On April 18, 2019, after almost four weeks in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the subject of foreign involvement in the election of President Donald J. Trump were released to Congress and the public — albeit heavily redacted — by the Department of Justice. …

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  • StoryOly Hits Another Grand Slam
    By Alec Clayton The storytellers at StoryOly are at it again. The fourth-annual StoryOly Grand Slam competition will be held at Rhythm & Rye Saturday, September 7. StoryOly is Olympia’s premiere story-slam event. Community members come together every month to share, compete and tell true stories based on a monthly theme. Past themes have included …

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  • Once Prosaic, Shaped Into Poetry
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Alejandro de Acosta, philosophy faculty member at The Evergreen State College, is the essayist and translator responsible for a Texas micro-press called mufa::poema. Born in Argentina, de Acosta translated poetry collections by Jorge Carrera and Carlos Oquendo de Amat. His wife, Elise Dressler, is the poetry coordinator who leads a modern-poetry book …

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  • Sisters of Element
    By Billy Thomas Local author, entrepreneur and community activist Olivia Salazar de Breaux has written a new book that pays homage to family and her hometown of Olympia. She recently sat down with OLY ARTS to talk about her journey along the creative process. “The idea came to me in an English course a couple …

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  • New Orca Books Cooperative Welcomes Readers
    By Ned Hayes In February, the Washington Post reviewed the state of the American bookstore and discovered two key, distinguishing characteristics that are keeping bookstores afloat. “How do indie bookstores compete with Amazon?” said the Post’s headline. “Personality — and a sense of community.” Orca Books has been a bookstore with personality for 27 years, …

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  • Arts and Culture Events This Memorial Day Weekend
    By Billy Thomas As the weather continues to warm up, and the sun — that’s that bright thing in the sky, for those of us who have forgotten, due to its infrequent presence — begins to shine brighter, the promise of a long weekend is a reprieve from the slog. For readers who are looking …

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  • Op-Ed: The Language of Identity
    By Kirk Ericson, special contributor I am 59 years old, and I only recently learned that I am a cisgendered straight male. It seems late in the game to learn such a fact about one’s self, but awareness of such matters sometimes comes late, especially if you’ve failed to pay adequate attention to changes in …

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  • Out of Salem: a Teen-Zombie-Werewolf-Witchy-Faerie Fantasy-Murder-Mystery
    By Tom Simpson Hal Schrieve is well known to Olympians as a local word nerd, ardent reader, University of Washington graduate and trans activist. Schrieve, 22, is about to be well-known for hir—Schrieve’s preferred pronoun—powerful, debut novel, a transformative murder mystery that features teen zombies and werewolves. “I tried to imagine a modern fantasy world …

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  • A Glittering Night of Art at The Center Salon
    By Alec Clayton Washington State’s Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna offered up a fitting end to a glittering night of art at the Washington Center‘s “Center Salon” on Friday, April 12. Castro Luna called her suite of poems “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” as inspired by the Tina Turner song of the same …

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  • Local Artists Highlighted at Center Salon
    By ALEC CLAYTON  The Washington Center for the Performing Arts celebrates local artists of all stripes in its fourth-annual Center Salon. This year’s event will be headed by playwright Bryan Willis, OLY ARTS’ contributing editor and founder of the Northwest Playwrights Alliance. It features music, poetry, short stories and theater. “We’re looking forward to featuring Washington …

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  • May’s Olympia Design Month: We Build This City
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Janae Huber and other citizens launched the group Olympians for People-Oriented Places in 2015. Their goal was to support a compact, diverse Olympia designed around attractive public spaces. Abbreviated O-POP, the organization recognizes the challenges of housing an estimated thousand new residents each year without sacrificing environmental protections or civic beauty. Toward …

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  • 2018 State of the Arts
    By Billy Thomas and Lydia Boss, special contributor Artist Trust is a nonprofit dedicated to helping Washington State artists of all disciplines thrive. Its mission is to support and encourage artists working in all disciplines to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Founded in 1986, it was formed by a group of artists and arts lovers who …

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  • Olympia Teens Deliver Verses Louder Than a Bomb at Tacoma Event
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) is a month-long competition for poets aged 12 to 19. It was founded after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Kevin Coval and Anna West of nonprofit organization Young Chicago Authors. Michael Haeflinger, a poet who volunteered with LTAB in Chicago, moved to Tacoma a few years …

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  • New Olympia Poet Laureate Sady Sparks
    By NED HAYES Sady Sparks, a current undergraduate at The Evergreen State College, has been named Olympia’s poet laureate for 2019-2020. Sparks is the second writer to serve in this position after inaugural poet laureate Amy Solomon-Minarchi. At 24 years old, Sparks is at the perfect age to rise as a poet. Audre Lorde started …

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  • Ira Glass and His American Life
    By NED HAYES At the age of 19, Ira Glass began his career in public radio. Over the 39 years since, he’s held nearly every production job at National Public Radio including desk assistant, editor, newscast writer, producer, reporter and tape cutter. He’s hosted multiple shows including Talk of the Nation and Weekend All Things …

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  • Measure for Measure? (Full Script)
    By William Shakespeare,Adapted by Christian Carvajal First presented at Tacoma Little Theatre, 31 January 2019 We are in Vienna, an amoral city of ostentatious wealth. CHARACTERS (in order of appearance) DUKE VINCENTIO: a Viennese big shotESCALUS: an aged lordANGELO: Duke Vincentio’s deputyLUCIO: a “fantastic,” or flamboyant bachelorFIRST GENTLEMAN / JUSTICESECOND GENTLEMAN / BARNARDINE: a convictMISTRESS …

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  • Well-Told Tales at StoryOly
    By Christian Carvajal Professional storyteller Elizabeth Lord has been the host of StoryOly since she and Amy Shepard launched that raconteurial showdown in Nov. 2015. It fills Rhythm & Rye the third Tuesday of almost every month. The annual exception arrives each September, when the previous 11 winners come together for a weekend finals round. …

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  • A Deadly Wind at Browers Bookshop
    By Alec Clayton John Dodge, longtime columnist for The Olympian, has published a book about the most powerful windstorm ever to hit the West Coast. That book is A Deadly Storm: The 1962 Columbus Day Storm. On Oct. 12, 1962, winds in this region topped 100 miles per hour. The Naselle Radar Station in southwest Washington clocked gusts of …

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  • Upcoming Events at Orca Books
    By Alec Clayton September promises to be a stellar month for events at Olympia’s Orca Books. Richard Robbins will read from his book Body Turn to Rain: New & Selected Poems. Other readings include Atrophy by Jackson Burgess, joined by musical guests Jesse Branch and Mortimer, and Craig Holt from his Hard Dog to Kill. …

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  • StoryOly Grand Slam
    By Christian Carvajal As StoryOly completes its third season of raconteurial entertainment, host (and professional storyteller) Elizabeth Lord is busily making plans for 2018’s “Grand Slam” finale. Winners from the preceding 11 monthly events compete head to head for the votes of celebrity judges. (Disclosure: This writer was among those monthly winners.) StoryOly is a …

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  • Upcoming Events at Browsers Bookshop
    By Alec Clayton Browsers Bookshop has a full schedule of art exhibits, book readings and book-club discussions in its newly remodeled event area upstairs. The art exhibit for August will feature paintings by Olympia’s Brett Rude, a self-taught artist whose work relates to the color-field artists of the mid-20th century. Browsers hosts, not one, not …

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  • Wordsmiths: new local literary interview series
    OLY ARTS brings to the South Sound Wordsmiths, a new local literary interview series. Wordsmiths features local literary groups in the Pacific Northwest and their impact on their local communities. In Chapter One, Wordsmiths interviewed Jackie Casella and Joshua Swainston of Tacoma’s Creative Colloquy – a nonprofit where writers come together and read their work …

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  • Authors of Swimming Holes Guide – in Olympia
    by LUCIA VOLKER Swimming Holes of Washington authors Anna Katz and Shane Robinson will be in Olympia next week to talk about their new book. The two of them spent time investigate 68 swimming spots in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, and share their findings with us in a new guide book, published by Mountaineers Books. …

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  • A Pride Reading List — From Orca Books
    The following recommended reading list was provided by Orca Books in Olympia for Pride Week coverage in OLY ARTS. Orca Books is the largest independent bookstore in Olympia, Washington, located in the heart of downtown’s vibrant shopping district.   Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseBenjamin Alire Saenz   As two young loners start …

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  • Top Actors to Perform The Eagle Tree on Stage at Lakewood Playhouse
    By Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS In June, Lakewood Playhouse will host a staged reading of a play based on the best-selling novel The Eagle Tree by Olympia novelist Ned Hayes as a special presentation of the Northwest Playwrights Alliance. (Hayes used the royalties from his novel to found this publication, OLY ARTS.) * Set in …

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  • Olympia Celebrates 18th-Annual Comics Festival
    by Billy Thomas for OLY ARTS On Saturday, June 2, 2018, comic book creators, readers, and collectors will once again gather in downtown Olympia to celebrate the Olympia Comics Festival. The annual festival celebrates and showcases the medium to bring awareness to its artistic and literary quality. This year’s festival is set to offer a …

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  • Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna at the Lacey Library
    by Bryan Willis for OLY ARTS Washington State’s new Poet Laureate, Claudia Castro Luna, will be featured at the Lacey Library Monday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. at a free event for the public. Castro Luna will be joined by Olympia poets Dawn Pichón Barron and Emily Van Kley. All three poets will read from …

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  • Center Salon To Welcome Jess Walter
    by Bryan Willis for OLY ARTS Two of the Northwest’s most well-known novelists will be featured in events April 12 and 13 in Olympia. Jess Walter, the National Book Award nominee and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, will join Olympia’s own Jim Lynch as featured literary artists at the Washington Center Salon. They’ll …

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  • Brian Reed, Award-Winning This American Life Voice, Speaks Live at The Washington Center
    By Christian Caravajal and Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS For over 20 years, “This American Life” has given public-radio airwaves an unusual perspective on current events, offering insightful commentary from such writers as John Hodgman, David Rakoff, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and of course, the inimitable Ira Glass. Recently, “This American Life” has taken steps …

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  • The Fall Cookbook Club at Browsers Bookshop
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Few people associate bookstores with intimate potluck dinners, food blogging or local food critics. Yet Browsers Bookshop has been quietly building a reputation for just that with its seasonal Cookbook Club: an intimate dinner event where lovers of the culinary craft gather to share delicious food, recipes and insightful …

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  • Tales Told in Ten: A Theater Festival
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Gather three dozen creative people. Give them a prompt and some help with props. The following day, they’ll serve six fresh bite-size plays, each 10 minutes or less and suitable for all ages. That’s the recipe for Olympia Family Theater’s Tales Told in Ten, the theater’s second annual festival …

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  • Poet Nikkita Oliver Returns to Olympia for 2017 Women of Achievement Celebration
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS In November, YWCA Olympia is welcoming back nationally known slam poet Nikkita Oliver to Olympia. Last spring, Oliver was keynote speaker at the YWCA’s inaugural Racial Justice Summit. This fall, Oliver returns for the Annual Women of Achievement Celebration at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. The event will …

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  • Zines for All
    by Jonah Barrett for OLY ARTS For those wanting to find an escape from mainstream media, zines provide a type of oasis. Olympia Zine Fest celebrates its third year this October, and everyone is invited. What are zines? They’re little, self-published pieces of literature, with topics ranging from short-story collections to activist manifestos to lists …

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  • Amy Solomon-Minarchi at Fall Arts Walk 2017
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Olympia poet Laureate Amy Solomon-Minarchi is doing everything she can to change the perception of poetry as a stuffy, elitist art form. “Poetry is accessible,” says Solomon-Minarchi. “We do not need to be in a fancy school, have advanced equipment and technology or have a small window of opportunity …

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  • Writer Keith Eisner Wins an O. Henry Award
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Olympia actor, teacher and writer Keith Eisner has won an O. Henry Award. His short story “Blue Dot” was one of 20 chosen for publication in the anthology The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017, published this month. Past winners of the prestigious award — named for the late O. …

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  • Olympia Author Brings Mobster Back to Life
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Were there really mob bosses in the sleepy city of Des Moines, Iowa? According to Matthew Randazzo V, a true-crime author and leading authority on American mob history, there absolutely used to be, and their stories are meant to be told. Randazzo’s readers will be delighted to learn the …

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  • Bus Stop Poetry
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Bus stops are not very interesting places. Because of that, most of us spend our time at bus stops with our heads buried in a book, looking down at our phones, or staring off into the distance to avoid contact with strangers. But this Fall, Olympia’s inaugural poet laureate, …

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  • Unraveling the Mystery Behind Arrington de Dionyso
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Despite building a vast body of work including experimental music, painting, directing and collaborating in Olympia for the past 25 years, Arrington de Dionyso is still somewhat of a mystery to many Olympia residents. There’s something about the experimental musician and painter’s work that draws audiences in but, chances …

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  • Rhythm & Rye: Funk, Folk and Fun
    by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS As the dog days of summer descend on the Pacific Northwest, eyes look to a time when layers and long sleeves will return and it’s even more enticing to venture outside; and in any city worth its salt, there ought to be venues that feature consistent bookings showcasing a …

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  • Books by the Bay: A Party at Port Plaza
    by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS “Books by the Bay,” an annual music-and-literary party, will fill the Port Plaza on July 28. The event, which expands every year, is a fundraiser for the activities of the 16-year-old South Sound Reading Foundation. Three years ago, the Reading Foundation moved Books by the Bay to the plaza. …

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  • A Paper Narrative: Art at Browsers Bookshop
    by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Browsers Bookshop is going into the art-exhibition business. On August 12 it opens a show of works on paper by five local artists: Arrington De Dionyso, Aisha Harrison, Evan Horback, Nikki McClure and Madeline Waits. The show is called A Paper Narrative. De Dionyso is an artist and musician …

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  • StoryOly Seeks Icebreaking Storytellers
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS StoryOly bills itself as Olympia’s premier storytelling event. On the third Tuesday evening of each month since November 2015, amateur storytellers have braved the stage to regale full houses at Rhythm & Rye with meaningful anecdotes from their own lives. Tales range from movingly confessional to outrageously frank. Each …

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  • Alec Clayton: Artist, Author, Critic
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS When artists stop creating art in one medium, they most likely start in another. Whether the transition is from painting to sculpting, drawing to writing or dancing to photography, the chances of an artist being truly “done” with art are slim to none. When talking about Alec Clayton, Olympia’s …

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  • Bringing the Mountains’ Stories to Life
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Mother, nursing student, mountain climber, author, search-and-rescue leader … the list of job titles for Bree Loewen gets longer the more one gets to know her. This month, Olympia community members can listen as Loewen interweaves these skills at an author reading at Browsers Bookshop. She’ll present her newest …

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  • Local, Satirical Author David Scherer-Water
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There are unique and quirky aspects of Olympia that are hard to put into words for even the best of authors, yet writer and social commentator David Scherer-Water rose to the challenge earlier this year as he published Olympia, a comedic, nonfiction book combining local history with humorous observations …

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  • Weekend Preview: June 9, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week, there’s enough live music in Olympia to keep your toes tapping all night long, not to mention author readings at some of your favorite bookstores. Click here to listen to our podcast version of Weekend Preview, sponsored by Shur-Kleen Car Wash. Follow the links …

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  • Stephen Holgate: Author, Diplomat and Traveler
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS “And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Written by T.S. Eliot, this sentiment is particularly well-suited to the life and writings of author Stephen Holgate, who’ll give an author talk and reading from his …

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  • Weekend Preview: June 2, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week promises even more folk, bluegrass and fiddling fun than the last as Olympia gears up for Steamboat Stringband Jamboree. Let’s not forget the Olympia Comics Festival, either, which promises a weekend packed with a comics expo, stage show and author signings. We …

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  • LaPlantz Book Art Given to UPS Library
    by Rosemary Ponnekanti for OLY ARTS When it comes to book art, Shereen LaPlantz didn’t just write the textbook, she also made the books inside the textbook: handmade, paper sculptures with pages in concertina, diorama star or tunnel form. And thanks to a generous Tacoma couple, the University of Puget Sound’s Collins Memorial Library now …

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  • The ARTery Performance Art Festival
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There’s something unique about the Olympia arts community, especially when it comes to cross-genre collaborations. The arts community is constantly pushing its members to hone their craft, whether through music, theater, writing or dance. This June, that spirit of encouragement and growth will be showcased at the ARTery Community …

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  • Saint Martin’s Summer Creative Writing Institute
    by Nora Kovacs for OLY ARTS Saint Martin’s University will open its doors to 15 local fiction writers for the second installment of its Summer Creative Writing Institute. The small, week-long intensive invites writers of all ability levels to live and work on campus, collaborate with peers, learn from professionals in the field and develop …

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  • Kendra Tanacea Poetry Reading at Browsers
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS For some people, reading and writing are creative outlets that allow them to tap into the extraordinary without being hindered by “reality.” For Kenda Tanacea, a San Francisco-based poet and attorney, poetry is that outlet, and it gives her the chance to let the mundane aspects of everyday life …

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  • 2017 Olympia Comics Festival
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Once a year, comic book creators, readers and enthusiasts around the Puget Sound converge on downtown Olympia to immerse themselves in the vibrant world of comics. You might think we’re talking about Comic Con, the famous, yearly comics and pop-culture convention, but the event in question is very different, …

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  • Casey Bruce and Frank Hussey: Heroes of Danger Room
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Occasionally, we all stumble across real places that make us feel like we’re in a fictional world, places where we can do or be anything we want. Olympia has at least one of those places tucked right into the heart of the downtown area. You can feel the shift …

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  • Capital Indie Book Con 2
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Inspired by the sci-fi and fantasy conventions where she promotes and sells her work, Olympia author Lee French started her own convention focused solely on books. “I go to a lot of science fiction and fantasy conventions because that’s what I write,” French said in a phone interview Monday. …

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  • Weekend Preview: May 11, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week, there’s no shortage of theatrical performances, classic dance and musicals to keep you out on the town. The only question is whether you’re in the mood for heart-pumping fun or looking a chance to relax as the curtain opens.   Click here to …

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  • Capital Indie Book Con
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Inspired by the sci-fi and fantasy conventions where she promotes and sells her work, Olympia author Lee French started her own convention — focused solely on books. “I go to a lot of science fiction and fantasy conventions because that’s what I write,” French said in a phone interview …

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  • Jennifer Finney Boylan Author Talk
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Jennifer Finney Boylan, the author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, will speak at the Minnaert Center for the Arts on May 18. Boylan is the author of 15 books and is an advocate of the LGBTQ+ community. During her author talk, she’ll speak about transgender …

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  • YWCA Olympia’s Racial Justice Summit: Intent Vs. IMPACT
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There are times when a community must come together and rally for social justice, awareness and inclusion, though the issues at hand should’ve been resolved long ago. Over the last year, racism has proven to be one of those issues, on both a local and a national level. This …

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  • Young Arts Ambassador Youth Showcase
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS The arts are for everyone to create and to enjoy. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’s Young Arts Ambassadors are learning about the arts from the inside out, and they’ll share their knowledge and creations at a showcase this Saturday. A benefit for the program, the showcase features …

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  • Center Salon at The Washington Center
    by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Billed as being “much like Parisian salons of old,” Center Salon at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts will fill the intimate space of the Black Box with art, literature, music and theater. Amy Shephard, actor, singer and co-founder of StoryOly at Rhythm & Rye, will emcee the …

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  • Use Your Words at Saint Martin’s Summer Creative Writing Institute
    by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS Fiction writers will spread their creative wings at the Summer Creative Writing Institute at Saint Martin’s University this summer. If you apply before April 29, you could be one of only 15 writers who are chosen as participants. The second-annual Summer Writing Institute takes place at Saint Martin’s University …

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  • Fiddling Around With Poet Ken Waldman
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS “Good satire has its place.” That’s a simple, yet timely point made by fiddler and poet Ken Waldman about today’s tumultuous political climate. Like many poets and musicians, Waldman uses his storytelling craft, not only to process his reactions to politics, but to create meaningful art as well. This …

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  • Pamela Rotner Sakamoto Reading
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s Midnight in Broad Daylight is the sweeping and true tale of a Japanese-American family divided, fighting on opposite sides in World War II and suffering tragedy when the United States bombed Hiroshima in 1941. “This is an American story of immigrants and somewhat like a Civil …

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  • Sam Miller’s Letters From Jail
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS This Thursday evening, comedian Sam Miller is getting serious. Miller, host of the weekly open-mic event Vomity (9 p.m. Wednesdays at Le Voyeur), shares the story of his time in jail in The Jail Letters Project, based on letters he exchanged with mom Mary Soehnlen. If you know Miller, …

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  • Weekend Preview: April 21, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about debut author readings, hilarious plays and stunning art exhibits around Olympia. The only question is how you’ll pick from this week’s stellar lineup of events.   Click here to listen to our podcast version …

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  • 2017: Corinna Luyken at Captain Little
    by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Most kids love to draw. The difference between artists like Corinna Luyken and many of us is she never stopped when she grew up. Luyken’s first book, The Book of Mistakes, was inspired by her young daughter crumpling her own artwork for the first time, declaring its imperfection. Luyken …

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  • Olympia Poetry Network Celebrates the Dead (Poets)
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Once a month, the lights at Traditions Café dim and the noise of a room packed with poets and novelists dies down to a hushed whisper. The crowd anxiously awaits one of Thurston County’s highest-regarded and longest-standing literary events: the Olympia Poetry Network’s monthly reading and open-mic session. This …

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  • Garrison Keillor: Our Prairie Home Companion
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota…” With those familiar words, listeners to A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio have delighted for decades to the small-town shenanigans related by master writer and storyteller Garrison Keillor. Keillor hosted the show from 1974, when it was …

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  • The Battle of Tumwater Library
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS What happens in the library after the lights go out? Friday night at Tumwater Timberland Library, the answer sounds like something out of a fantasy novel: The library will become a battlefield, with intrepid teens forming teams to play capture the flag—or in this case, capture the glow wand—and …

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  • Writing in the Rain With Olympia’s Poet Laureate
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Olympia’s first poet laureate, Amy Solomon-Minarchi, is already hard at work promoting poetry within the community with her call for Writing in the Rain poems. Solomon-Minarchi is accepting short-poetry submissions until April 10, when she’ll select short poems of three to six lines to be “painted” onto city sidewalks …

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  • Tom Rawson at Traditions Café
    by Nora Kovacs for OLY ARTS Northwest favorite Tom Rawson is part folksinger, part storyteller and all about bringing people together. Rawson got his start as a peace activist, and that positivity still shines through in his work. Whether he’s singing a classic folk tune, recounting an old story or simply cracking a joke, Rawson …

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  • Alexander Boldizar Author Reading
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Few authors can boast having worked as a porter, jujitsu fighter, lawyer and translator in their short lifetime, nor can most say they’ve lived in such diverse places as Indonesia, Japan, Nepal or the Czech Republic. Throw in having written a bestselling fiction novel and you’ve narrowed it down …

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  • Megan Snyder-Camp Poetry Reading
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Each month, Olympia poets, authors and literary enthusiasts gather for an evening of poetry and camaraderie. It’s a chance to let their guard down and simply enjoy the spoken word. Seldom do featured readers have much in common with each other in the way of theme, style or poetic …

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  • Sarah Vowell: Learning From Dead People
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS To read Sarah Vowell’s bestselling nonfiction works or hear her frequent appearances on public radio is to experience our history through the eyes of, in her own words, a “partly cloudy patriot.” Her most recent book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, is a quirky biography of a French …

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  • Pacific Northwest Book Picks for 2017
    Olympia bookseller Andrea Y. Griffith of Browsers Bookshop provided readers of OLY ARTS with her book recommendations for Pacific Northwest authors for our winter 2017 edition.  THE HIDDEN LIVES OF OWLS Leigh Calvez Bird books are huge in Olympia, and Seattle-area author Calvez recently held a jam-packed reading at the Olympia Library. A beautiful book …

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  • The Thunders Have a Passion for Books
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS In “Playback Theatre,” the action on stage comes, not from books or scripts, but from the minds of audience members who are invited to tell their stories and see them come to life on stage. But at a Playback performance Feb. 10, books and personal stories will share the …

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  • Last Stop on Market Street
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Lacey Loves to Read aims to get kids fired up about literature. This Thursday, the program will introduce them to theater, too, with a free performance by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre. The acclaimed theater will bring its adaptation of Seattle author Matt de la Peña’s Newbery-winning Last Stop on …

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  • Chaucer Comes to Life on Stage
    by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS In mid-January 2017, Olympia Little Theatre will produce a staged reading of A Lollard in the Wind: Chaucer’s Dilemma by local actor-turned-playwright John Pratt. Pratt was most recently seen in the leading role, Arthur Putnam, in OLT’s An Act of the Imagination. Based in part on Chaucer’s stories from …

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  • Seasons Readings From Olympia Poetry Network
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS What would the holiday season be if it didn’t include a bit of winter poetry, read under the warm glow of a lamp in a cozy room? The Olympia Poetry Network (OPN), a nonprofit organization with 25 years of history in the South Sound, invites community members to join …

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  • Author Reading and Letterpress Artist
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Local letterpress artists and authors Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring have taken an active role in keeping feminism strong in their new book, Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color. O’Leary and Spring will be celebrating their book at “Pressing Matters: Lacey,” an upcoming artist talk, pop-up show and …

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