Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

WEDNESDAY PREFUNK: Craft beer before Big Band Christmas, live music and Ripley

Ron Swarner

In the Capitol Theater everyone can hear you scream.

WEDNESDAY, DEC 14 2016: South Sound events + craft beer …

Tacoma Community College + Peaks and Pints = Taste from the past

The Valley + Pint Defiance = sweaters and live music

Olympia Film Society + Pints & Quarts = Ripley and dunkelweizens


If all you want for Christmas is a beautiful, live concert, the Groovin’ Higher Orchestra is the answer and they’d prefer not to be wrapped. Rich Wetzel’s Groovin’ Higher Orchestra is a who’s who of big band musicians in the Puget Sound. Some of the musicians have played in the Air Force, Army, Navy bands, respectively, while others have seen the world while playing on cruise ships and with road bands. Yet whatever the past experiences were, they all have one thing in common from recent years: the annual Christmas show. Rich Wetzel’s “Big Band Christmas” show, a tradition that this year returns to Tacoma Community College, features vocal soloist Steve Stefanowicz. As a bonus: Wetzel offers rare out-of-print tunes such as the Les Brown “Nutcracker Suite,” sourced from a friend in Australia, and the Maynard Ferguson classic

PREFUNK: Beer has gotten awfully fancy. pFriem Family Brewers, the craft brewery overlooking the Columbia River in Hood River, Oregon, makes an imperial brown that taste like your grandfather’s den, but in the best way. In fact, pull out your wallet. Shoved it into your nose. Breathe in. That’s pFriem’s Scotch Barrel Imperial Brown — a leathery beer that wouldn’t have drawn an adverse glare resting near Winston Churchill at The Savoy. The rounded malts of this dark ale have been deepened over a year steeping in barrels that once contained single-malt from Macallan, packing 10.5 percent ABV without distracting liquor heat. It tastes like the Ghost of Christmas Present. pFriem Scotch Barrel Imperial Brown is waiting in the Peaks and Pints cooler.


Portland instrumental funk and jazz trio Radio Phoenix headline an evening of live music at The Valley, beginning at 8 p.m. Tacoma funk band Topless Pit and rockers Pacific Sunrise Quartet round out the evening.

PREFUNK: In the olden days (a.k.a. our childhood), ugly holiday sweaters were something worn once to placate the family, then hung in the back of a closet or tossed. Fortunately, irony is not a wasteful phenomenon, and allows us to laugh at the hideous things we would have otherwise forgotten or thrown away. From 6-9 p.m., Pint Defiance celebrates the ugly sweater with beer and well, more beer, at its annual Winter Beer-nanza. Expect rare and unique holiday beer releases from Bale Breaker, Block 15, Dogfish Head, Loowit Brewing, The Bruery, Portland Cider Co., Stone Brewing and others, prizes for best/worst ugly holiday sweater and the famous cookie potluck.


A lot of people prefer Aliens to Alien, but in terms of horror, the first film has the second beat, hands down. Sure, the sequel is more action-packed, but Ridley Scott’s first foray into the Alien franchise is suspenseful and surprising. From facehuggers to xenomorphs, there are plenty of nasty aliens courtesy of the twisted mind of H.R. Giger. Most importantly, though, Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is a total badass — while wearing only a wife-beater and panties. What a trooper. Catch Alien at 9 p.m. in the Olympia Film Society’s Capitol Theater in downtown Olympia.

PREFUNK: Texas craft brewery Shiner offers Holiday Cheer, an Old World dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The malty flavors of this dark wheat ale are enhanced through the use of malted barley and wheat. And Kräusening ensures a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all the more satisfying. Pints and Quarts in Lacey will pour this delightful dunkelweizen as drinkers decorate holiday stockings. That’s right, the first annual Stocking Decorating Contest goes down from 6-9 p.m. Pints and Quarts will provide the stocking and some glitter pens, but you know you’ll need more than that to win.