Experience the wines of the Walla Walla region at McCaw Hall on February 25

Wine tasting events can be one of the most fun ways to connect with a date or a friend. You don’t have to be an expert wine taster to enjoy sipping different varietals and you’ll leave with some new favorites in mind!

Taking a trip to Walla Walla specifically for wine tasting is a fun experience in itself, but if your February is as busy as mine has been, you’ll be excited to hear that you don’t have to go far at all to taste a wide range of wines from Walla Walla.

Tickets are available now for the Walla Walla Wine Tasting at McCaw Hall in Seattle Center on February 25 from 5:30pm to 8pm! Get your tickets here.

In addition to discovering wineries I’m not familiar with, I’m excited to specifically experience pours from  Dusted Valley (so good!) and Seven Hills winery.

My suggestions for a attending a wine-tasting event:

  • bring a water bottle – stay hydrated!
  • have your phone charged – take photos of labels you like the most
  • when sipping your wine when you talk to the winery folks at a particular booth, stand a bit to the side so they can answer questions while they pour wine for the next person in line
  • have a bit of food before your go – this event is just light hors d’oevres

Here’s a list of everyone who will be there:

Connect with 50 Walla Walla Valley wineries and winemakers and sample, side-by-side, the wine crafted from the unique growing sites of the Walla Walla Valley AVA and surrounding areas.

 

Participating Wineries

Abeja
Adamant Cellars
ALUVÉ
áMaurice Cellars
Amavi Cellars
Armstrong Family Winery
Balboa Winery
Bledsoe Family Winery
Brook & Bull Cellars and Vital Winery
Browne Family Vineyards
Cadaretta
Caprio Cellars
College Cellars of Walla Walla
DAMA Wines
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Valley
Elephant Seven
Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State
FIGGINS
Five Star Cellars
Forgeron Cellars
Foundry Vineyards
Gifford Hirlinger
Kontos Cellars
Lagana Cellars
L’Ecole N° 41
Locati Cellars
Maison Bleue Winery
Northstar Winery
Otis Kenyon Wine
Pepper Bridge Winery
REININGER Winery
Rôtie Cellars
Seven Hills Winery
Sinclair Estate Vineyards
Sleight of Hand Cellars
Solemn Cellars
Spring Valley Vineyard
Tamarack Cellars
Tempus Cellars
Tertulia Cellars
The Walls
Three Rivers Winery
Tranche
Trust Cellars
Walla Walla Vintners
Watermill Winery
Woodward Canyon
Zerba Cellars

Tickets here. 

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RSVP to the Facebook event page here.

Special thanks to the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance for hosting me at this event. I look forward to discovering new-to-me wines! 

 

The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a nonprofit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is to build an internationally acclaimed Walla Walla Valley wine brand among consumers, media, and trade by providing marketing programs on behalf of member wineries, vineyards, and partners. The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry.

 

 

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Review: Rock of Ages rock-concert-comedy-musical hits all the right notes (now through 2/24 at 5th Avenue Theatre)

Review by Keridwyn Deller:
If you like music from 80s bands such as Styx, Whitesnake, Poison, Foreigner, Joan Jett, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, and more, get your tickets to what will likely be one of your favorite musical productions: Rock of Ages at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

The cast of this rock-concert-comedy-musical is stunning and brings the show to life like no other production of this show I’ve seen. Sherrie is played by Diana Huey who makes hitting those notes seem easy (you may recognize her from her performance as The Little Mermaid – she’s fantastic) – Huey makes the character very likable (which isn’t always the case in how this role has been performed in other productions).

Her love interest is played by Galen Disston (from Seattle band Pickwick – now I get what all the buzz about this musician is about! Wow!  Music fans of Starship/Jefferson Starship will recognize musician Mickey Thomas in the role of Dennis. Great casting all around. The whole ensemble truly rocks.

So does the lighting and set (the set has some fantastic built-in surprises, wait for it!). And the costumes and wigs deserve their own applause: so often this type of show will feature costumes/wigs that are cartoonish – not the case here. Look for some fun details in the costumes which will delight true 80s fans (thanks to my theatre date Joy for pointing some of them out to me!).

The star of the show is Dane Stokinger who just NAILS the role of the narrator Lonny. He OWNS it. You can feel the audience get a little bit of giddy anticipation each time he came back on stage, which, lucky for us, is often. There is a balance, flow, and connection in the cast that makes the show work so well – you get the feeling that everyone truly has fun working together to create this piece of pure entertainment. Special shout outs to Brandon O’Neill for being the rock star you love to hate, Nik Hagen for bringing the charm, and Trina Mills for being so much fun to watch in every number she’s in.

My only question is: why didn’t a kiss (only a hug?) didn’t happen between two characters like it has in other productions?!

Treat yourself. Use code DOWNTOWN for performances on 2/13 and 2/14 and get a huge discount on tickets ($20 each for great seats!)

Show runs now through February 24, 2019. Tickets and info here.

Rock of Ages at The 5th Avenue hits all the right notes and will have you smiling for days.

Can I go back again before it closes? Really, I want to. This particular production has claimed a spot in my Top-10 shows I’ve seen live (and that’s saying a lot).

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Photos by Tracy Martin

Giveaway! Enter to win two tickets to “Restaurant After Hours” at Seattle Aquarium

“Eat. Meet. Repeat.” The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is bringing back one of their most popular networking & food events this month and now is your chance to enter to win two tickets to the event!
Network with other Seattle-area folks and enjoy bites from local businesses including Mt. Townsend Creamery, Honest Biscuit, The Confectional, Ivar’s, and much more. Plus, this event takes place in a dynamic venue: the Seattle Aquarium. This 2019 event is Wednesday, February 27 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. You can snag early-bird priced tickets now (price goes up on February 20).
Want to enter to win two tickets?
You can enter on Facebook and Instagram! <— Check out these links to enter.
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Giveaway ends 2/11/19 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Giveaway is not sponsored by Facebook or Instagram.

5 reasons to see “Bonbon” at Can Can in Pike Place Market – now through April 21 (NSFW show review)

Review by Keridwyn Deller

If you haven’t been to Can Can in Pike Place Market in a while, it’s time to go back. 
Their current show “Bonbon” delights audiences with a cast of five talented performers. It’s sultry and sexy with plenty of laughs mixed in for good measure. My review is for the adult-oriented NSFW version. (I haven’t seen the family-friendly version yet.)
Here are a few reasons to catch “Bonbon” at Can Can:
1) The laughs: The host Jonny Boy is delightful and truly talented at working the crowd. His smile lights up the room – he is a truly captivating performer.
2) The atmosphere: This place is gorgeous and a gem inside Pike Place Market. You truly disappear from the real world during the show – get there early and enjoy a cocktail at the bar!
3) The dancing: These are athletic performers! They are gorgeous to watch and bring their dancing out to the catwalk that runs through the center of the intimate audience area. Shout out to Shadou Mintrone for her emotive performances. I also loved her in Can Can’s “Bananas” and “Femme Fatale.” She and Madison Oliver play off each other well. This production features fabulous choreography from Fae Phalen Pink.
4) The singing: Shout out to Jordan Betchel for his rendition of “Mr. Cellophane” (WOW – he’s that beautiful and has that voice?!) and Jasmine Sim for “Bring on the Men.”
5) The vibe: I love that Can Can productions have such variety in their acts. One number will be breathtakingly sensual, the next silly and playful, followed by a visual-art piece (complete with vibrant lighting projections), and so on. You leave with a feeling of satisfaction and excitement.
I’m always surprised how many local Seattleites haven’t been to the Can Can yet. Now’s the time to start going! Sidenote:  Bananas and Femme Fatale were both incredible productions as well. I don’t want to miss any future Can Can production.
Bonbon plays The Can Can now through April 21, 2019. There are 17+ shows and 21+ shows. Tickets and info here.
Note: The family-friendly brunch Bonbon show, which I hear has almost no overlap with this production, runs now through March 24.
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Photos by Nate Watters

Review: Laughter and hijinks abound in Taproot Theatre’s Arsenic and Old Lace

Review by Joy Shumaker:
Arsenic and Old Lace at Taproot Theatre (in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood) lives up to expectations as the fantastic comedy it always has been. This timeless play and remarkable performance had audience members young and old tittering throughout the show.
The Brewsters are a truly endearing bunch! They make the community a loving priority and murder a loving gift. I am a fan of this latest rendition. Director Marianne Savell did an exquisite job executing this comedy for maximum hilarity. The Brewster sisters played by Pam Nolte and Kim Morris flawlessly deliver love loyalty and kindness as everyone’s favorite aunts. Lieutenant Rooney played by Gretchen Douma was spot on. Bring the family or come for your own laughter therapy. It’s an evening well spent.

 

Arsenic and Old Lace plays Taproot Theatre now through March 2. Tickets here.

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Photos by Erik Stuhaug

Review: M. Butterfly – The Spy Whose Desires Turned Him Inside Out (At ArtsWest now through February 17)

Review by guest blogger Joy Shumaker:

ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery has brought us many fantastic productions. M. Butterfly is definitely another one to add to the list.
It’s not every day that we get to see the internal dialogue of a complete mindset shifting. Especially because that can often take a lifetime. David Quicksall plays the main character Rene Gallimard and captures the essence of a man uncomfortable with his own feelings. Taking the audience down his recollection of how he went from a lovely harmless perch in the world to delving into his fantasies, embracing them haphazardly, and eventually losing everything to love.  Tom Dang plays supporting role Song Liling and give a lovely performance. They playfully highlight the gender roles, stereotypes, and show us how we like the blinders we keep on. 
I love the contemplation throughout this piece. The unusual tone feels more authentic to the entanglements that emerge. For an evening of unique examinations, M. Butterfly will not disappoint. Note: this production features nudity and graphic language. M. Butterfly plays ArtsWest in West Seattle, now through February 17. Tickets here.
Award-winning actor, writer, and director, Kathy Hsieh writes “5 Reasons to see M. Butterfly” here.

“With M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang joins the first string of American playwrights. This is an audaciously imaginative play, big in conception and theme, and a satisfying instance of a talented writer hitting full stride.” —Variety

“It will move you, it will thrill you, it may even surprise you. It is a play not to be missed, and it is a play once caught that will never be forgotten.” —NY Post

ArtsWest M. Butterfly

Photo: David Quicksall and Tom Dang. Photo by John McLellan

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Surreal and poignant with a touch of hope: ‘Last of the Boys’ at Seattle Rep reminds us our Vets need our continued love and support (now through Feb 10)

Review of  “Last of the Boys” at Seattle Rep by guest blogger Amanda Mitchell:

A curtain of camouflage netting overlaid with a projected American flag rises slowly to reveal one of the most amazingly hyperreal stage sets I’ve ever seen: a weathered and worn retro trailer joins a landscape of sparse foliage and rolling desolate mountains. The modest homestead also includes a few out-buildings/sheds, a collection of mismatched patio furniture and fire pit, a uniform locker and a gigantic flag pole, all upon a multi-leveled foundation of gravel and desert rock – which creates ample opportunities for interesting and dynamic movement and interactions! The two most memorable pieces of G.W. (Skip) Mercier’s brilliant scenic design, however, are a fifty-year-old Frigidaire full of beer and a full-size trash dumpster full of empty bottles, both utilized ritually by old buddies and Vietnam vets Ben (Reginald Andre Jackson) and Jeeter (humorously played by Kevin Anderson).
The two men are reunited after Ben’s father’s funeral and things start to get a little complicated when Jeeter introduces his new love, Salyer (Emily Chisholm). She has her own ties to the war but cloaks them in secrecy until she dramatically bares all. When her hardened and cynical mom Lorraine (appropriately portrayed by Kate Wisniewski) comes in search of her “delinquent daughter” some unexpected softening comes through conversation and a sea-change occurs when all four have a chance to share their personal stories and confront their ghosts from the past.
Ben Zamora’s lighting design was a bright star in this production, transforming the otherwise static (yet stunningly realistic) set into multiple dimensions of time and reality – beautiful sunrises and sunsets, moonlit shadows, glowing campfires, and ghostly yet ethereal dream states!
Set at the end of the century, Steven Dietz’s ‘Last of the Boys’ reflects on the poignant reality that nearly 35 years later our nation is still very much dealing with the grave aftermath of perhaps our most controversial conflict to date. Hug your loved ones, share your stories, catch Last Of The Boys at Seattle Repertory Theatre now through February 10, 2019.
Seattle Rep: The Last of the Boys. Photo by Alabastro Photography.
Photo by Alan Alabastro