Flip Fabrique in Federal Way

Flip Fabrique is bringing us on a crazy, acrobatic, and poetic journey through a winter snowstorm with their new show “Blizzard.” Met with extraordinary reviews in its original home of Québec, Canada, Flip Fabrique is kicking off their U.S. Tour at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center in Federal Way on January 24. This perfomance takes the audience into a widespread snow day, following the acrobats and artists as they create outstanding visual poetry in the theme of a blizzard.

    “What if winter had taken over? Everything, absolutely everything, buried under the snow. Would it be a catastrophe, or a chance to start over, to fix our mistakes?” This is the question that Flip Fabrique’s performance “Blizzard” seeks to ask with its music and choreography. 

Flip Fabrique, a circus company born out of a group of six friends in 2011, is composed of world-class artists with a love for fun. Bruno Gagnon, the original founder of the company, says about his love for his art, “I still play around whenever I can. Somewhere along the line, certain ones among us lose their inner child; the one who amazes us, delights us, fills us with happiness and keeps us alive.” The team that makes up Flip Fabrique share a common love for fun and connecting with the audience. “Blizzard,” under the executive and artistic direction of Bruno Gagnon, is an excellent representation of the wonder of winter and the talent of the performers.

    Don’t miss the U.S. debut of Flip Fabrique with “Blizzard” on January 24 at 8:00 pm. For more information on tickets, visit the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center’s website, or to learn more about Flip Fabrique, visit their website


Ballet Northwest Celebrates 50 Years of Dance

Ballet Northwest is celebrating an impressive milestone — 50 years of bringing ballet and the art of dance to Olympia and the greater Thurston County region. In celebration, Ballet Northwest presents the 50th anniversary gala on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. The program includes professional dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and National Ballet of Cuba. During the gala, Ballet Northwest alums will share their experiences and memories of dancing with the company, and historical ballet videos will be shown. 

“Ballet Northwest’s 50th Anniversary Gala will honor the organization’s history and alumni, as well as build excitement for its future by raising funds for scholarships and new costumes,” says Ken Johnson, co-artistic director of Ballet Northwest.

“At the gala – and throughout 2020 – Ballet Northwest will celebrate its legacy,” says Paula R. Lowe, gala coordinator. “Ballet Northwest has impacted thousands of people in the past 50 years, from the dancers, cast, crew, parents, and volunteers, to the audiences. We are inviting former Ballet Northwest dancers to celebrate with us at the gala, connect with their dance community, and support up-and-coming dancers, so they, too, will learn and grow from dance.”

Former artistic director Bernard “Bud” Johansen and his wife, Mary Johansen, will be honorary guests at the gala, along with Sam and Margie Reed. Sam was the president of the Ballet Northwest board of directors in the 1970s when the board hired Bud Johansen. Margie Reed was the first professionally-trained ballet dancer who danced with Ballet Northwest, continuing to work with them for many years.

The gala will also feature professional dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and National Ballet of Cuba. The event will highlight memorabilia displays and video interview clips from throughout BNW’s 50 years, and raise funds for BNW’s costume and scholarship funds. The evening will culminate with desserts and dancing in the black box. A limited number of VIP tickets are available, which include a pre-show reception in the black box with dinner appetizers and drinks.

Since 1970, Ballet Northwest has served as a community-based group dedicated to promoting, teaching, and preserving the art of dance in Southwest Washington. BNW is the sole nonprofit ballet company in Thurston County and the oldest in Washington state, and its 50-year anniversary will certainly be one to celebrate. For more information on the gala, visit the Washington Center website.

BMW Northwest Prize Goes to Soccer Club

Washington Premier Football Club, along with it’s sponsor, BMW Northwest, handed over the keys of a brand-new BMW 330i to the Echternkamp family. WFPC player, Isabella Echternkamp (pictured center), along with her teammates from the G08 Black team, are pictured above with BMW Northwest owner Manfred Scharmach.

Washington Premier Football Club is a non-profit organization, and all proceeds from the car raffle benefit the organization, specifically going towards complex improvements— making Washington Premier’s Complex a top tier facility in the Pacific Northwest.  

“The car raffle is our biggest single fundraiser and we could not do it without help from BMW Northwest. The partnership with Manfred and the family dealership has allowed WPFC the financial stability to improve the complex while at the same time providing players with financial needs the opportunity to play.”

The drawing for the BMW 330i was held at the 9th annual WPFC member dinner.  The lucky winner Mark and Tara Echternkamp were not present the night of the auction but were reached by phone during the event. When asked what it meant to win the car, Mark responded “This is incredible, I’ve never won any contest.  This could not have come at a better time for my family. We have 2 kids in college and was expecting to have to purchase a new vehicle within the next two years. What a blessing this is for our family and we’ll be able to continue assisting our kids in fulfilling their goals & aspirations.  To win a new BMW, it’s a dream come true.”

BMW Northwest has a real passion and dedication to the people they serve. “Giving back to the community and helping local non-profit organizations is our privilege.” stated Manfred Scharmach, President and Owner of BMW Northwest.
Photo Credit: Casey James


Soul and Gospel Legend Mavis Staples

Ready to be inspired this winter season? Mavis Staples brings her powerful and inspiring vocals to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Jan 11, 2020 at 7:30pm at Olympia’s own Washington Center Main Stage.

Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” soul/gospel legend, Mavis Staples continues to be a vocal sensation of the highest order. Since her start with The Staples Singers (“I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself”), Mavis has blazed her own trail and her voice has only gained texture and power over the years.

Staples is a once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s recognized as a Blues Hall of Famer, Grammy Award winner, a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer, a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient and a Kennedy Center honoree.

Staples has collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier. Her talent has blown away countless festival goers from Newport Folk and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, Staples wowed fans when she performed with The Band at The Last Waltz, and graced the airwaves on Fallon, Colbert, Ellen, Austin City Limits, Jools Holland and the Grammys.


For Additional Information

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts


Celebrate, Learn and Connect at Alma Mater

The green velvet furniture is heavenly. (With brass handles!) Every angle is photo worthy. Marble meets wood meets mid-century meets when-can-I-move-in. Delectable cocktails are crafted with experienced hands. (Try the House Old Fashioned or warm up with Gold Dust Woman’s brown butter washed bourbon, Belgian Candi syrup and cherry bark vanilla bitters.) Luscious banana-leaf wrapped salmon. Octopus tentacles cooked to perfection with chickpea ragout that has never tasted so good. Grandma would be so proud of Matriarch Lounge.  

People stream through the doors heading for Tacoma Night Market, a popular evening gathering of makers, artists and creators. (Think Farmers Market, but replace fresh produce and flowers with beautiful hand-painted glass vases, mandala art and succulents in llama planters.) 

Earlier in the day, across the expansive foyer housing unique displays by local artists, Honey Coffee + Kitchen bustled with meetings, conversations, pork verde huevos rancheros (or jackfruit verde for the veggies!), powdered sugar floating off Monte Cristos, the espresso and tea elevating guests. 

And this is just the beginning. Really. Fawcett Hall, a performance venue and event space hosts must-see musicians and experiences. Mothership recording studio beckons from the second floor. Or maybe it’s the buzz from The Hive Cowork space. An expansive outdoor patio comes alive in good weather. 

Alma Mater is “a space to celebrate, nurture and evolve with the Tacoma community through food, performance, work, education and social exchange.” Founders, artists and co-directors Jason Hemlinger, Aaron Spiro and Rachel Ervin have been called “ridiculously ambitious” And, their dream is flourishing. 

“Our ‘why’ is connection,” shared Jason. “Our society needs connection if we are going to survive… Alma Mater is a place to connect. Connect with our senses. Connect with our neighbors. Connect with our civic leaders. Connect with self. Connect with the whole.” 

“We believe art is a tool for connection, and when executed with intent and generosity, can bridge many of the chasms we face as a society. Alma Mater re-imagines what an arts center and cultural institution could be, redefining itself as a hub for social, economic and cultural exchange.” 

This is where ‘community’ becomes a verb.  EMILY HAPPY

For more information:

Alma Mater 

Honey Coffee + Kitchen, Matriarch Lounge, Mothership Studios, Hive Coworking Space

1322 South Fawcett Avenue, Tacoma, WA, 98402

(253) 507-7289 www.almamatertacoma.com

Oly on Ice

Celebrate the holidays by gliding into Thurston County this winter. Oly on Ice is open through January 20 in downtown Olympia at Isthmus Park. The entire family can come out to enjoy ice skating at Olympia’s seasonal ice rink. Skaters of all ages will enjoy the warm glow of activity during the busy rush of the holiday season at the tented rink.

“Bringing structured seasonal programming to the Isthmus Park builds community, supports local business, and increases the health and well being of our citizens by providing the opportunity for physical activity during the winter months, “ notes Anna Uyeda from Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation. “Not to mention, it’s fun!”

So bundle up and head down to Oly on Ice with family and friends and makes some great holiday memories. 

For information on dates, times and pricing, check out www.olyonice.com


Heroes for Housing in Thurston County

A person with a cardboard sign at intersections in most of our cities has become a common sight. More individuals are facing homelessness each day, which is an issue in not just Washington state but across the country. As the cost of living continues to increase in King and Pierce counties, the effects trickle down into the southern counties. Homes First is a solution to the affordable housing crisis.

Based in Thurston County, Homes First is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains safe, healthy, and affordable rental homes for those who need them most in the community. Currently, the nonprofit organization serves 250 tenants and owns or manages 43 scattered site properties. Homes First is entering its 30th anniversary in 2020, the equivalent of a standard home mortgage.

“Homes First is proud to be a solution to not only homelessness in Thurston County, but the affordable housing crisis that we are facing in the state and across the country,” said Trudy Soucoup, Homes First chief executive officer. “What enables Home First to do this work is our annual fundraising event, Heroes for Housing.”

Homes First’s sixth annual fundraising breakfast, Heroes for Housing, is the main fundraiser for the organization and took place on Wednesday, September 11, at the South Puget Sound Community College Lacey campus. The event raised critical funds that allow the organization to provide affordable homes in the community.

“Our Heroes for Housing event is designed to educate, uplift and inspire our community,”said Amal Joury, chair of the Homes First Board of Directors, “We are able to showcase our incredible mission and receive gifts that will directly provide healthy, safe and affordable housing.”


For Additional Information

Homes First


Give Back With A Step Ahead

It is known that the first few years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. That means the right early learning environment is important. A non-profit organization, A Step Ahead in Pierce County (ASAPC), provides such an environment by offering early intervention through home services and programs designed to assist children, ages infant to three years old, that experience developmental delays.

About 18 years ago, Candy Watkins, recently retired, began ASAPC because she recognized a need for services in the community for children with special needs. Today, ASAPC is staffed with 40 professionals including speech therapists, educators and even an infant health specialist. The organization also has a BOOST program created for foster children which gives additional opportunities for families and caregivers to practice social skills in play groups, field trips and special events through partnerships with Early Head Start, Children’s Therapy Center and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

David Pozolinski, former speech therapist and the new Executive Director of ASAPC, says that he and the rest of his staff do the work that they do at A Step Ahead because they are compassionately committed to the mission of the organization—every child with special needs can find a home at A Step Ahead.

“It’s all about the children and the families we serve. There is a definite need for early intervention and in preparing these kiddos for greater success in their future,” says David. “Everyone who works at A Step Ahead in Pierce County is passionate about what we do and the children and families we see.”

Get involved this season and help ASAPC make a difference for the youth in your community. There are many options for donations on the donation page on ASAPC’s website, or you can attend the exciting annual event that supports their CARE fund. The fund is for families that cannot afford or do not have the insurance to pay for needed services and regardless of an inability to pay, each family will receive maximum service. This year, the annual event is Casino for a Cause – License to GIVE, held at Hotel Murano in Tacoma.


For Additional Information

A Step Ahead


VIP Zoo Society Experience & Long Table Dinner

Presley Reed, Dr. Presley Reed, Dr. Kathlyn Reed

Over 150 community members gathered in support of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Attendees enjoyed the tunes of Flor de Luna, a Latin Rock & Santana tribute band, and animal appearances.

John & June Mercer

The evening featured a five-course dinner made by local restaurants including Cooks Tavern, Lancer Catering and Table 47 and featured Washington wines.

Total funds raised were $128,000 with $55,000 going to support the purchase of a new wireless digital radiography machine for animal healthcare.

Alan & Catherine Varsik, Sarah Oliver, Bill & Carol Baarsma

Summer Splash! Gala

Bob Hecht, Mayor Andy Ryder, Lynda Zeman, Becci Welsh

Summer Splash! Gala guests mixed and mingled on a perfect night outside of the Hands-On Children’s Museum on East Bay Plaza. While bidding on unique silent auction packages streamside, 500 guests enjoyed gourmet bites, signature cocktails, and live jazz. Delicious dinner selections were served family-style in the Outdoor Discovery Area presented by Anthony’s Homeport, Hearthfire, and Mercato restaurants.

Bug & Dr. Benjamin Ruder, Dr. Kyle & Jessica Winter, Sheena & Ben Paylor

Attendees enjoyed cocktail hour by The Edgewater Trio and danced under the stars to tunes from Music De-Lite’s popular DJ. The Summer Splash! Gala combined raised nearly $500,000 to provide year-round free and reduced access programs along with special guests, traveling exhibits and unique learning experiences.

Tamara Schaffert, Jessica Lindstrom, Jessica Van Fleet, Meg Soria