Tag Archives: People

Hilltop’s First Snowmen of 2012

The joy a snowman (or lady) can bring is so fleeting. It only lasts as long as the cold and around here, that isn’t very long. Yesterday we saw neighbors all over the hill creating new snowpeople. Here are the ones we were able to capture.

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If you have a picture of a Hilltop snowman in your neck of the hood, send it to us at hilltoptacoma@yahoo.com and we’ll add it to our slideshow.

Happy snow days!

Tacoma teachers, while you were out. . .

We were having our second summer. We did some of the things we wished we had done before September 1. We ate sporadically and drank too many pops. We slept in, visited our aunties and uncles, and had sleepovers. We had a fun time. Now we are ready to be back in school.

Ethan, JorjaAnn, and Shane toured the city during the Tacoma teachers' strike.

Today we realize how important you all are to us. We are excited to see you, wear our uniforms, learn, and talk to our friends. We’re also happy for you and proud of the work you did to secure your contract. Happy teachers make learning fun.

Hot Hoopin’ on Hilltop

Last night Hilltop's L. Lisa Lawrence lit up her new fire hoop for neighborhood fans.

Hilltop’s Psychopath Chick Retires Her Wheels

Saturday night we ventured down to the Foss Waterway Seaport building to watch our Hilltop neighbor, Keri Parker, skate in her final Dockyard Derby Dames roller derby bout. Parker, also known as Psychopath Chick #365, was decked out in purple and skating for the Marauding Mollys. It was quite an experience for us, as it was our first (but definately not last) time watching a bunch of fearless local chicks compete in a bout. 

We found ringside seats at the June 25 Marauding Mollys vs. Femme Fianna bout.

Parker’s retirement from Tacoma’s Dockyard Derby Dames comes after almost six years of practice after practice after practice, an injury here and there, hours put into supporting the league, and fun. . . lots of it. “The average Dame skates for somewhere around three years,” she says. “Six years is a long time.”

Before her involvement in the roller derby, Parker used to skate all around town just for the fun of it. Then a friend recommended she check out the Tacoma league he’d heard was just starting. Parker joined the league in 2006 and has worked hard to help build it through promotion and lots of volunteering. “I’ll have lots of free time now,” Parker says. She has some ideas about how to spend her newly-found time, but isn’t quite sure what she’s going to do with it yet.

By day, Parker works at Total Living Concept in Auburn where she is a Community Guide for adults with developmental disabilities. She would like to continue volunteering her time to the Dockyard Derby Dames by creating a street team that skates around town hanging posters and handing out promotional materials for the league. She’s also planning an event for later this summer, but we’ll talk about that later. Parker’s a fun-loving, energetic gal who we’re sure won’t rest for long.

In her final bout, Parker (with the pink helmet) blocks with teammate MzSNOWmer.

We look forward to attending more derby bouts in the future. It’s a fun crowd and the announcers are hilarious. Plus that, where else can we go to watch ladies knock each other over for points and the fun of it? For more information about the Dockyard Derby Dames, check out their website. There you can see many pictures and even pick up a tee shirt, hoodie, or two.  

A Rose for Eliza

Eliza Mae could get a free rose from Hilltop's Farley's Flowers if she were here.

Makah Artist Alex McCarty at B2 Gallery

Alexander Swiftwater McCarty is a talented man whose life is interwoven with his culture, family, art, and the lives of the students he inspires. He is a member of the Makah Nation, a skilled artist, and an art teacher at Chief Leschi Schools in Puyallup.

Now through June 18, some of McCarty’s work is on display at Tacoma’s B2 Fine Art Gallery in its “Coyote Forward” exhibit. “Coyote Forward” is a contemporary Native American art exhibition and also includes the work of other Native American artists, including Joe Feddersen, Lillian Pitt, and Gail Tremblay.

“My mother is an accomplished artist and she taught me advanced art techniques as soon as I could hold a crayon,” McCarty remembers. His interest in art has catapulted him into the position of a modern-day preservationist: His cultural heritage influences his work and through his teachings, everything he knows about Native American art gets passed down.

McCarty lived and grew up in Neah Bay, Washington, the home of the Makah people. His father taught him how to fish when he was fourteen. “I got in trouble one year,” he says, “And my father grounded me to the boat for the summer.” This is where he learned to be a fisherman–something that he does each summer. McCarty says his brother still teases him over that incident.

“I really enjoy being out on the ocean,” he admits. Fishing is his summer gig. When school gets out each year, he returns to help his family with the salmon fishing season. He doesn’t see himself moving back permanently anytime soon, though. He has grown to love the city.

In 2002, McCarty earned his Master of Teaching in Visual Arts degree from The Evergreen State College. Following that, he ran the Gifted and Talented Program and taught students how to draw, paint, mono-print, and carve at Olympia’s Wa He Lut Indian School. In 2007, McCarty moved to his current position at Chief Leschi Middle/High School. At Chief Leschi he is a full-time art teacher and also works with students almost every day after school for Chief Leschi’s 21st Century After School Program.

McCarty first learned about Tacoma’s B2 Fine Arts Gallery from their “Beyond Crayons and Finger Painting” exhibit in October, 2010. It was a community outreach art collection and workshop provided by B2 Gallery, celebrating the artistic skills of youth. Some of McCarty’s students from Chief Leschi had the opportunity to show their artwork there. He knows the importance of giving young artists a chance to exhibit their work. “I have been an exhibiting artist since 1995,” he notes. “Some of my first pieces are part of the permanent exhibit at the museum in Neah Bay.”

At B2 Fine Arts Gallery, McCarty displays both contemporary and traditional work as part of the “Coyote Forward” exhibit. “I am always torn between traditional carving and printmaking,” he says. Because of the large demand for his traditional carvings, McCarty spends much time carving in his studio, but is intrigued by the process of making prints.

“Printmaking is a multi-step process and I see every printing session as an exploration,” he explains. “It is always a surprise when I press the ink to the paper.” Though making prints is not a traditional form, McCarty uses traditional designs as part of those pieces. His contemporary prints, including his “Tailspin” series and “Culture Shock,” are each one-of-a-kind. McCarty used several linoleum plates to create his “Tailspin” series and brought the Northwest traditional form to its most basic element–the “U” shape. For “Culture Shock,” he used woodblock carvings and incorporated traditional Makah designs. One of the things he likes to do is to reverse his plates in order to create different effects.

For McCarty, preparing for an exhibit like “Coyote Forward” is a bit difficult. “With an exhibit, you have to hold onto all of your pieces,” he says. Usually he sells his pieces as he makes them and convinces himself, “I can always make another one.”

As far as “Coyote Forward” goes, McCarty’s favorite piece is his miniature model of a Makah seal hunting canoe. That piece is currently displayed at the entrance to the gallery on the front desk. “My interest in making miniatures was sparked when I made the 1/8″ to 12″ scale model of the Ozette Village for the Makah Cultural and Research Center.” That work, which he created after he graduated from high school, is still on display at Neah Bay.

What is the most important thing McCarty wants his students to know? “Learn your heritage with care, preserve it with beauty, and pass it on.”

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B2 Fine Arts Gallery is located at 711 Saint Helens Avenue, Suite 100, in Tacoma and is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. For more information about the B2 Gallery, call them at (253) 328-5065 or visit their website. For more information about McCarty, read “The Artist and the Whale Hunter,” a story from a travel/photography blog written by Erik Gauger, a writer from our area.

Hilltop’s L. Lisa Lawrence is a Fiery Gal

We had a chance to catch up with our neighbor, L. Lisa Lawrence, this weekend for one hot show. She’s been practicing spinning poi for several months and has recently added fire to her mix.

L. Lisa adds tricks and original choerography to each of her fire dancing routines.

L. Lisa’s performance was hot. She commanded the poi and exhibited her mind over matter fire tricks with ease. Some of her tricks brought the flaming poi just inches from her skin. . . and her fiery red hair. We felt the heat of the orbs and a bit of fear as we gazed at her skill in awe.

We had the opportunity to see three of L. Lisa’s fire spinning numbers Sunday night. The routine she did to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” was especially heated, as she brought the fiery poi super close to us, making the hair on our arms stand on end.

L. Lisa also danced to “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”  She practices much lately, after dark, as she prepares for scheduled performances next month. Her show is going to be fantastic.

For more information on L. Lisa’s fire spinning and other activities, visit her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.