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  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 21, 2023

    Whether you're looking for childish flights of fancy in the cinema or suspenseful spy thrillers on streaming, this week's reviews have you covered. "Wonka" smartly seeks to appeal chiefly to those who know of its title character through 1971's "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder, rather than Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in 2005, starring Johnny Depp, or Roald Dahl's original 1964 novel. Wilder's Wonka shared some of the less-than-kid-friendly edge...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Dec 14, 2023

    The groups Runaway Train Bluegrass Band, the Union City Council Bluegrass Band and The Rank Strangers perform at the ninth annual Bluegrass from the Forest Midwinter Celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 29 in the Shelton High School Performing Arts Center, 3737 N. Shelton Springs Road. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door and at bluegrassfromtheforest.com. People ages 15 and younger are admitted for free. Kristmas Town Kiwanis hosts the concert. The group also presents the 19th annual...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 14, 2023

    It was one of the most daring moves on what would become one of the most popular shows on television, and it started because the actors were delivering their lines so quickly that the episodes were running short on time. By reader request, we're reviewing the second season of "Moonlighting," which originally aired from the fall of 1985 through the spring of 1986, and which is now streaming on Hulu. Even though it boasted more lines of dialogue per episode than any other hour-long scripted show...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Dec 7, 2023

    Beth Bradley's church's Christmas pageant is predictable every year - the angel choir members wear too much lipstick, shepherds wear their father's bathrobes and the minister's son is always cast as Joseph. But when the authoritative pageant director breaks her leg, Beth's inexperienced mother Grace steps in. That's when the rambunctious Herdman children descend on the production, lured by the promise of free dessert at Sunday school and determined to win all the lead roles. During the frenzy...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 7, 2023

    Too many of my fellow critics of cinema have a long and unfortunate history of refusing to acknowledge the artistic validity of any number of specific genres of film, until they're forced to do so by an emerging popular consensus that proves so broad and strong that it threatens to render their perspectives culturally irrelevant. Once upon a time, gangster flicks were considered as soulless and formulaic, as fine folks such as Martin Scorsese have deemed the majority of modern onscreen superhero...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 30, 2023

    Welcome to the Disney era of "Doctor Who." Once upon a time, there was a globally popular, decades-spanning sci-fi TV series about a mythic alien trickster who changed into different lead actors every few years and who traveled through space and time in a disappearing blue box that was bigger on the inside than on the outside. As the narrative became less accessible to casual viewers, due to the compounding complexity of its many backstories, it only took a handful of ill-considered revisions...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 23, 2023

    For its annual holiday production, The Harstine Island Theatre Club is bringing to life two O. Henry short stories - "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Cop and the Anthem" - at 7 p.m. Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 at the Harstine Island Community Club. Admission is free. For the third time, Pam Mueller is directing the group's holiday play. She also directed "Velveteen Rabbit" and last December, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." "The Gift of the Magi" is one of O. Henry's most beloved short stor...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 23, 2023

    The Apple TV+ streaming service delivered a couple of solid sci-fi series these past few weeks. Nov. 17 saw the premiere of the first two episodes of "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters," which is slated to last at least 10 episodes total, running weekly through Jan. 12. "Monarch" is set in Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures' "MonsterVerse," and I'd recommend having seen at least 2014's "Godzilla" and 2017's "Kong: Skull Island" before starting this one, which I suspect might also soon encompass the...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 16, 2023

    "The Nature of Community" is the theme of Shelton High School's annual "Night of Musical Theater," staged by the school's choir and stagecraft students beginning tonight in the school's Performing Arts Center. "Night of Musical Theater" is presented at 7 tonight and Friday, and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the school at 3737 N. Shelton Springs Road. The doors open a half-hour before the show. Admission is the suggested donation of $15, with proceeds helping the students travel to festivals. The...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 16, 2023

    Two very different films showcased the standout acting talents of their young supporting performers in theaters this past weekend. Dominic Sessa made his film acting debut in "The Holdovers," by two-time Academy Award-winning director Alexander Payne, and Sessa holds his own in spite of sharing the screen with seasoned performers Paul Giamatti and Da'Vine Joy Randolph. This unlikely trio forms the backbone of a Christmas character study, set in a fictional Massachusetts boarding school in 1970....

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 9, 2023

    Veterans of the armed forces can celebrate, and be celebrated, at three Veterans Day events in Mason County. Disabled American Veterans Chapter 60 of Shelton hosts a breakfast and Veterans Day ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at Memorial Hall, 210 W. Franklin St., downtown Shelton. Trevor Severance of the Mason County Sheriff's Office is the guest speaker, and members of the Shelton NJROTC will participate in the ceremony. Veterans will be honored at a ceremony from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m....

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 9, 2023

    It's the most influential television show that multiple generations of TV viewers have never seen, and it ended an entire season of simmering sexual tension with a free-for-all food fight. Because I'm faced with slim pickings for recent theatrical releases, I'll try an experiment by reviewing the first season of a show that made its streaming debut on Hulu in October, after originally airing from 1985-89. You can tell me if you want me to continue. "Moonlighting" wasn't the first romantic...

  • Comics - Flash Gordon

    Nov 9, 2023

    ERROR... Full story

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 2, 2023

    Thousands of chum salmon are returning to Johns Creek on the Bayshore Preserve to spawn. Learn about their journey when Capitol Land Trust and Puget Sound Estuarium host Salmon Experience from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and Nov. 10, 11 and 12 at the preserve at 3800 state Route 3, 3 miles north of downtown Shelton. Admission is free. Patrons can learn about salmon from knowledgeable volunteer docents, view salmon via underwater cameras and take tours of Bayshore Preserve, the site...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 2, 2023

    I saw "The Bowmakers," by director Ward Serrill and producer Rocky Freidman, as part of the 2019 Port Townsend Film Festival, back when Freidman still co-owned the Rose Theatre. Even as one of 15 films I saw that weekend, "The Bowmakers" stood out for Serrill's deft weaving of multiple nations' cultural histories, its detailed view of workpeople's processes and its idiosyncratic first-person biographies. I shouldn't be surprised to find that same alchemy in Serrill's follow-up collaboration...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Oct 12, 2023

    Halloween in Mason County begins this weekend. Simpson Railroad hosts its Halloween Event starting this weekend at the former Simpson sorting yard 10 miles west of downtown Shelton at 10138 W. Shelton Matlock Road. Climb aboard the Pumpkin Pickers Special between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22. Ride the rails though the sorting yard and visit the haunted coach. Children can enjoy activities at the destination and pick a pumpkin at the patch. Tickets...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 12, 2023

    Between the Oct. 5 premieres of the second seasons of "Loki" on Disney+ and "Quantum Leap" on Peacock, plus the Oct. 6 premiere of "Totally Killer" on Amazon Prime Video, it was a banner weekend for time-travel capers on streaming media. Before you dive into "Loki" Season 2, it's best to refresh yourself on Season 1, in which the Norse god Thor's trickster brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) - or rather, an alternate timeline variant of Loki who didn't die fighting Thanos - was recruited by the...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 5, 2023

    Spending the week after the Port Townsend Film Festival in quarantine due to COVID allowed me to catch up on old and new streaming series. "Reservation Dogs" After three seasons and 28 episodes, "Reservation Dogs" went out without a single misstep, wrapping up its multigenerational saga of the oddball everyday lives of the fictional Native American reservation of Okern, Okla., by bidding a farewell to Old Man Fixico, the medicine man who served as the glue holding the community together. The...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 28, 2023

    My first Port Townsend Film Festival was in 2016, and my first marathon review of the film festival for the newspaper was in 2017. This event has evolved yearly, but this year has brought welcome changes. The festival now allows attendees to make digital reservations for their chosen shows and the festival's handouts include guides to all the places to buy snacks and drinks between screenings. My goal was to watch as many as a dozen films in four days. Sept. 21: Day 1 "Red, White & Brass"...

  • GETTING OUT

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 14, 2023

    After nearly half a century, the rock band Foreigner is in the middle of its “Historic Farewell Tour,” which began in late 2022 and is set to conclude in 2024, but not before appearing at Little Creek Casino on Sept. 23. Keyboardist Michael Bluestein, a band member since 2008, admitted to bittersweet feelings about the band’s last tour even as he appreciates the chance to feed off the fans’ energy, live and in-person, during the band’s cross-country tour. “It’s thrilling that the band’s catalog...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 14, 2023

    Meet Ray Shoesmith. He's a fascinating animal. Australian actor, writer and director Scott Ryan spent the better part of 20 years honing this character, and the results impressed no less than actress Helen Mirren and her husband, director Taylor Hackford. Ryan's first draft of Ray's character came in a low-budget but critically acclaimed 2005 independent film called "The Magician," streaming on Amazon, which established Ray in Melbourne, before Ryan transplanted the character to Sydney, for...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 7, 2023

    When it comes to sources of casually consumable storytelling, polymath scholar Umberto Eco isn't the first name anyone thinks of, which is a shame, because while he produced challenging, data-dense novels such as "The Name of the Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum," he was playful for an intellectual, as director Davide Ferrario reveals in his documentary, "Umberto Eco: A Library of the World." Before Eco died in 2016, he gave Ferrario a tour of his library, which has since been donated to the...

  • Jazz in the Barn Sept. 16 supports Great Bend

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 31, 2023

    The Union-based Great Bend Center for Music has nabbed the jazz stylings of the Kareem Kandi World Orchestra, which will be featured at the center’s second annual “Jazz in the Barn Gala” fundraiser Sept. 16. Kandi recently announced his impending stint as the new host of the “Jazz Northwest” show, which can be heard at 2 p.m. Sundays on KNKX 88.5 FM. The show highlights the jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver, so Great Bend Center for Music General Director Matthew Melendez touted this particu...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 31, 2023

    After watching the first two episodes of "Ahsoka" on Disney+, my reaction was this: "So this is what 'Star Wars' feels like for those who aren't already fans." I grew up with "Star Wars." I saw the original trilogy when each film premiered in theaters, and I saw each installment of the prequel trilogy on its opening night, too. But there's a generation for whom the prequel trilogy was their first "Star Wars," just like the original trilogy was mine, and they didn't just watch the live-action...

  • Getting Out

    Gordon Weeks|Aug 24, 2023

    The Abbott and Costello comedy routine "Who's On First?," a dramatic telling of the song "You Got Trouble" from "The Music Man" and an original monologue by a local author are among the offerings at the Harstine Island Theatre Club's staging of "The Short Show II" this weekend at the Harstine Island Community Club. Directed by Daniel Frishman, "The Short Show II" is presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at 3371 E. Harstine Island Road N. Tickets are $5 and are available...

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