Robert Cray comes to Federal Way PAEC

Blues is the foundation of the music of Grammy Award winner Robert Cray. But it’s nearly impossible to limit his talent to one genre when his music is also influenced by traditional American rock, soul, jazz, gospel, funk and R&B.

“When I first started playing guitar, I wanted to be George Harrison. That is, until I heard Jimi Hendrix,” explains Cray. “After that, I wanted to be Albert Collins and Buddy Guy and B.B. King. And then there are singers like O.V. Wright and Bobby Blue Bland. It’s all mixed up in there. You just never know. I always attribute it to the music we grew up listening to and the radio back in the ’60s. It’s pretty wide open. It’s hard to put a tag on it.”

With five Grammys won, 15 nominations received, millions of record sales worldwide, and thousands of sold-out performances, Cray is considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. In 2011 he was credited by Rolling Stone with reinventing the blues with the release of his Strong Persuader album in 1986. Cray’s “distinct razor sharp guitar playing” on that album, the magazine wrote, “introduced a new generation of mainstream rock fans to the language and form of the blues.”

That same year, the rock blues icon was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at the age of 57, making him one of the youngest living legends to receive the prestigious honor. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made the blues timeless through performance, documentation, and recording.

Robert Cray will bring his trademark sound and distinct style to the stage at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. With state-of-the-art acoustics, this intimate venue, seating only 700, is the perfect place to showcase Cray’s smooth vocals and expressive guitar solos. by Julie Leydelmeyer

For ticket information:

253.835.7010

Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center

31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S

Federal Way, WA 98003

Visit www.fwpaec.org

Texas de Brazil

When you walk into Texas Brazil’s brand new Tacoma location you notice the swanky, striking ambiance. Texas Brazil offer a rodizio-style dining experience, and unique blend of Brazilian culture with generous Texas hospitality.

The vibrantly decorated 5,500 square foot restaurant offers 105 seats and a unique dining experience. Featuring an open-grill kitchen, an expansive salad area, an intimate lounge, and an award-winning wine cellar, Texas de Brazil is a unique dining destination for large and small parties alike.

“We are pleased to introduce our distinct dining experience to local area and we look forward to celebrating with our guest in Tacoma,” says Carlos Restrepo, Corporate Training Manager of Texas de Brazil.  “We want to make it an uplifting experience where guests feel the beauty of the Brazilian fare and genuine service,” he adds.

At Texas de Brazil, the rodizio-style meal begins with a visit to the expansive fresh salad area that also includes hot and cold side specialty dishes. The variety includes artisan breads, imported cheeses, fresh buffalo mozzarella, steamed asparagus with marmalade sauce, Brazilian hearts of palm, spicy shrimp salad, sushi, sautéed mushrooms, feijoada (black beans), jasmine rice, Moqueca (Brazilian Coconut Fish Stew), lobster bisque and much more. Even vegetarians love this steakhouse.

For the main course, carvers expertly prepare mouthwatering cuts of meat grilled to perfection over natural wood charcoal – a gaucho tradition passed down through generations. When guests flip a two-sided disc located at each seat from red to green, gauchos parade by and carve tableside slow-roasted meats including Brazilian picanha (sirloin), lamb chops, filet mignon, leg of lamb, Parmesan-crusted pork loin, bacon wrapped chicken breast and more. When a break is needed from the unending flow of mouthwatering meats, guests simply turn discs back to red. This unique style of dining helps pace the experience to fit any timeframe. 

The expertly curated wine collection complements the varied menu with varietals from acclaimed California and South America vineyards to Texas de Brazil’s exclusive private label selection bottled in Chile. The lounge offers craft cocktails including the traditional Brazilian Caipirinha in a variety of flavors and a full selection of specialty cocktails, beer and soft drinks including the Brazilian Guarana.

Classic desserts served a la carte include Brazilian flan, deliciously rich Brazilian papaya cream and Brazilian Cheesecake plus sweet specialties such as pecan pie, carrot cake, and key lime pie.

Texas Brazil knows how to take care of guest and offers  a high level of hospitality. If you are hosting a party or special occasion they should be at the top of your list.

Texas de Brazil Churracaria

is located at the Tacoma Mall,

4502 S. Steele Street, Tacoma

253-465-3230 or visit www.texasdebrazil.com

50 Years of BMW Northwest

From a young age, Manfred Scharmach learned about work ethic and building a business from his father, Werner. “I started out playing around the repair shop on Saturdays,” recalled Scharmach. “As I got older, he put me to work with a broom and later washing cars.” The elder Scharmach, who was reported to be the best German car mechanic around, owned European Motor Service in Olympia. His reputation led to an invitation to become Olympia’s official BMW dealer and in 1968 the repair shop evolved to include a showroom.

Manfred continued learning from his father, working as a technician, in parts sales, and eventually vehicle sales, which is what he enjoyed most. “My dad and I got along great, and customers respected us because they recognized that we were technicians,” said Scharmach. The growing business relocated to Tacoma in 1979 and to its present location in Fife in 1988.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW Northwest, making it one of the oldest BMW dealerships in the nation and the only original family-owned dealership remaining in Western Washington. The achievement was recently commemorated with the presentation of a Monument Award from BMW of North America. In addition, the dealership is celebrating by donating $50,000 to local non-profits chosen by BMW Northwest employees. The missions of a few of the recipient organizations include supporting military veterans, providing food for children and seniors, and sheltering homeless youth.

“I watched my father set an example for how to run a business, which centered on taking care of the customer,” reflected Scharmach. That focus remains strong today and is being passed on to a third generation. Scharmach’s daughter, Madeleine McEntyre, works on special projects for BMW Northwest and the family’s two MINI dealerships in Tacoma and Seattle.

Learn more about the history of BMW Northwest and the Scharmach family by visiting www.bmwnorthwest.com.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For more information:

BMW Northwest
4011 20th Street East
Tacoma, WA 98424
866-843-3706
visit www.bmwnorthwest.com

Pantages Theater Returns to Historic Glory

Tacoma not only creates it also celebrates its artistic history.

Slated for the wrecking ball in the 1980s, the historic Pantages Theater located in downtown Tacoma had seen better days. Built in 1918 for vaudeville king Alexander Pantages as part of his theater empire, the beloved theater was in deep decline and neglect. Demonstrating true Tacoma grit, citizens rallied together and saved the performance space that became part of the City of Tacoma and later the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts.

Although the loss of this historic treasure had been adverted, recent patrons, staff and performers have all known that there was much more that needed to be done. Peeling paint, sound from the street and uncomfortable seats were indicators that changes needed to be made.

Completed this November, the most recent renovation returns the inside of the Pantages much closer to its original state and also consists of updates for the safety and comfort of today’s audiences and performers.

From the new color scheme, based on the forensic research of the 22 layers of paint, to the addition of rich decoration to the private boxes that feature rosettes and shells, the Pantages has returned to it’s former glory. Details that had previously been difficult to see have been revealed and the architectural elements have been enhanced.

Modern attendees will appreciate features such as wider seats, cup holders, a new center aisle, fewer stairways, new handrails and lighting. What patrons won’t see are the new seismic and safety updates that will preserve the theater’s structure and integrity should an earthquake hit. Additionally, the acoustics of the space have been greatly improved with the elimination of the carpeting that previously absorbed sound and newly built floors.

With the busy holiday season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to see for yourself the glorious Pantages while attending a live performance.  Come down to the Theater District and celebrate! Hilary Ryan

Image By: Justin John Ryan

 

A Centennial Celebration for Tacoma Little Theatre

Back in October 1918 a group of Tacoma residents gathered to form the local chapter of the Drama League of America. Its purpose was to study and promote theater and build community in the burgeoning city. The same year, the Port of Tacoma, Tacoma Kiwanis and the Tacoma News Tribune were established. So the civic-focused theater group was clearly part of something special that was transforming the town.

As the oldest community theater west of the Mississippi, Tacoma Little Theatre has been part of the lives of many local families over several generations. Throughout its history, the theater has been the starting ground for many local performers, including the magician Ray Gamble and the rock band Alice in Chains.

Recently the theater has received national and regional acclaim. In 2016 its production of Second Samuel by Pamela Parker was recognized by the American Association of Community Theatre as one of two outstanding productions in Washington state. And this year, TLT has been awarded the AMOCAT award for achievements by an arts organization.

Looking forward, TLT’s managing director Chris Serface notes some big changes are coming. “We are currently one-third of the way through our theater improvement plan, which includes new seats, new carpet and updated lighting and sound equipment. Most recently, we purchased an adjacent building, which has given the theater much-needed rehearsal and storage space as well as room to build sets.”

In addition, the theater’s lobby, which was state-of-the-art in the 1950s, will be the focus of an upcoming capital campaign to expand and update the space as well as renovate the restrooms.

“Tacoma Little Theatre exists because of our community,” says Serface. “We want everyone to feel welcome here. With continual support we hope to be sharing theater and creating community connections for decades to come.”

Join the celebration of this beloved, locally focused theater by seeing a show or two this season. Make plans to attend the 100th anniversary celebration in February 2019. The evening event will feature dinner along with songs and performances from the 1920s and ’30s. Tacoma’s oldest theater is a treasured gem. It reminds us of the power of arts to transform and unite us all.

HILLARY RYAN

For Additional Information
Tacoma Little Theatre
tacomalittletheatre.com

Doing Business with a Philanthropic Heart

Philanthropy isn’t as simple as monetary donations. At the core of philanthropic acts is a desire to improve the human condition—to make the world a better place. In Thurston and Mason counties, you need look no further than Olympia Federal Savings to find a local business with a philanthropic heart.

Oly Fed, as the financial institution is commonly called, believes in preserving, protecting and enhancing the community to improve quality of life. One way it achieves this is through its commitment to donate at least 5 percent of its revenue to local nonprofit organizations. For the last several years, it has reached 10 percent. In addition, its employees have logged countless hours volunteering their time and talents.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recognized Oly Fed for its efforts by awarding it a 2017 National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion.

“Washington is fortunate to have so many caring companies that give back to their communities in a variety of ways,” Wyman said. “This awards program is a great way to recognize companies like Oly Fed that go above and beyond to make a difference.”

The strength of Oly Fed’s commitment to its philanthropic mission is rooted in each of its eight branches and more than 110 employees. Its innovative, people-first approach to business earned it a spot on Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, for the third year in a row.

Moreover, recent federal corporate tax reductions have allowed the organization to increase profit sharing for employees, raise its entry-level wage to $15 an hour, and add new positions to better meet customer needs.

“By making these changes and investments, our hope is that we continue to create a lasting legacy that has a positive impact for everyone,” says Lori Drummond, president and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
Olympia Federal Savings
360.754.3400
olyfed.com

Exposing Children to Arts With a Matinee

What began as bringing kids to matinee performances at Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center turned into a program dedicated to children engaging in art, called Arts 4 Youth.

“School-day matinées for students are quite common in performing arts centers,” says Kate Dorr, arts education coordinator for PAEC. “So it was a natural fit. On a larger scale, engaging students in the performing arts is good for their intellectual and emotional development, as well as the larger community’s development.”

Schools and individual students can sign themselves up. According to Dorr, PAEC’s Performing Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3), supports ticket price discounts and bus grants for schools that qualify, based on their free and reduced lunch percentage.

For the past year Dorr has been involved in the program, designing guides and programs for schools. “My background is in museum education and classroom teaching. I am a lifelong lover of—and child participant in—the performing arts.” Witnessing children’s excitement when they get to see a play is “truly heartwarming,” says Dorr. She adds that research reveals how participation in the arts encourages success in other areas of education. “Everyone deserves access to these benefits.

This year alone PAEC is offering nine matinee performances for schools. The shows include New Chinese Acrobats, Toying with Science, Mariachi Sol de México and more. Dorr notes that she’s created study guides for each show for teachers to use before and after they bring their students, as well as lesson plans and guides on theater arts and PAEC in general. These study guides and lesson plans can be found online at fwpaec.org.

The matinees offer an educational experience different from what happens in the classroom, says Dorr, and exposes them to a new art form. She hopes students who attend these matinees will have an emotional connection to what they see on stage and will have their intellectual curiosity stimulated. From such experiences, she says, students gain the knowledge that there is a wide variety of ways to express yourself.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

For Additional Information
Federal Way Performing Arts Center Arts 4 Youth
fwpaec.org/student-matinees

A Half-Century of High-Performance

For almost 50 years, Desco Audio and Video has been a one-stop shop for high-performance audio and video. Based in Olympia and serving Tacoma, Gig Harbor and surrounding areas, DescoAV provides custom home entertainment and smart home solutions.

DescoAV is a second-generation family-owned business. In 1969, two friends, Dick Scott and Gene DeRousie, discovered a shared passion for electronics and dedication to customer service. At that time Scott owned and operated a TV repair and rental shop at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. DeRousie was a technician with the phone company.

What started as a TV retail and repair shop has evolved over the years and remained at the cutting edge of technology. Today DescoAV takes the best of modern technology and creates custom audio-video systems to suit your unique home and business needs.

Scott is still active in the business he helped found, while his son Jeffrey Scott, now owner and vice president, manages the day-to-day operations. DeRousie retired in 1993 and died in 2014.

“We’re proud to continue to grow and to carve out our niche as a premier custom integration house,” said Jeffrey Scott. “Our passion for technology and the relationship we develop with our customers is what sets us apart. We do more than install AV systems. We make customers for life.”

DescoAV specializes in distributed audio and video systems—music and video that play throughout your house, cinema-quality home theater, smart home technology, security, and networking solutions.

According to Jeffrey Scott, his in-house design team will work with you to identify your needs and turn your wish list into reality. Desco makes the system easy to use, and all systems are backed by the highest level of technical support, giving you peace of mind.

DescoAV is a Certified Control4 showroom—one of just two in Washington state. You can visit its Olympia showroom and experience smart home living for yourself.

BETH GARSON

For Additional Information
Desco AV
descoav.com

Holy Lamb Organics Opens New Olympia Showroom

Holy Lamb Organics has been making natural bedding products locally by hand in the small town of Oakville, Washington, for 18 years. For the first time, though, the South Sound community can access a “touch and feel” experience in Olympia. The company’s recently opened retail showroom is the only all-natural bedding store between Seattle and Portland, according to owners Jason and Mindy Schaefer.

The showroom is “new” for the company and the community, but “old” for a building. It occupies the lower floor of the historic Olympia Steam Plant. “We’re excited to be part of the downtown Olympia neighborhood, and the Steam Plant building is a great fit for our business,” says Mindy Schaefer.

Holy Lamb Organics’ manufacturing plant is located in what was once Oakville’s historic Little Bit General Store, which served the community in eastern Grays Harbor County for over 85 years. Built in 1902, the building also includes a showroom that is open to the public.

According to the Schaefers, Holy Lamb Organics bedding is handmade using the highestquality materials and forward-thinking design and innovation. Made in the USA, the products are natural and certified organic. The Schaefers add that replacing the bedding of an allergy sufferer with natural products can reduce or eliminate the effects of the allergies.

Besides promoting health and well-being, the Schaefers’ vision is to strengthen the local economy using sustainable and ecological practices in their manufacturing and selling. “We bring distinctive, comfy, healthy goods to the marketplace without ever compromising our commitment to sustainability and the environment.”

The Schaefers hope for their showroom to become a hub for the community and aim to do their part to support community events. They invite you to the new showroom to touch, feel and experience the difference in all-natural bedding.

LEAH GROUT

For Additional Information
Holy Lamb Organics
113 Thurston Ave NE, Olympia
holylamborganics.com

Ukelele as a way of Life: Jake Shimabukuro

It may be hard to imagine this small instrument creating a huge following and packed performance venues. Yet for Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele is his life. On Saturday, Feb. 2, he will perform in concert at Tacoma Arts Live.

After garnering widespread acclaim in Hawaii and Japan, Shimabukuro has become a household name as a musician around the world. What began for him as a passion and fascination with the ukulele has led him on a bountiful career in the bands Pure Heart and Colón, and a blossoming solo career in the Japanese music market.

Shimabukuro spent much of the 1990s in Hawaii with two bands, earning several Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. When the early 2000s rolled around, he devoted all of his energy to his solo music. He was brought to the world’s attention in 2006 when a video of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral on YouTube. This opened doors that would allow him to play with the likes of Ziggy Marley and Cyndi Lauper, and tour with Jimmy Buffett.

Shimabukuro’s style includes elements of blues, funk, jazz and folk. The eclectic and prolific style he’s mastered translates to spot-on covers and beautiful original songs. He also scored the soundtrack for the film Hula Girls and the Japanese remake of Sideways. He continues to tour extensively. His latest album The Greatest Day is a compilation of covers and original songs released Aug. 31 of this year.

In his review in No Depression magazine, Henry Carrigan wrote: “Shimabukuro is a musical genius at one with his instrument. The Greatest Day exhibits Shimabukuro’s dazzling musical dexterity, his canny arrangements, and his way of letting his feel for sound and structure direct him around musical corners and down unexplored musical paths.”

Shimabukuro’s upcoming show will showcase his fans’ ukulele favorites, whether they be covers or originals.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

For Additional Information
Jake Shimabukuro at Tacoma Arts Live Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 pm
tacomaartslive.org