Monthly Archives: June 2012

5 Question Friday With Barry Watson From Pint Defiance

Up until now, Tacomans had to go all the way up to the awesome 99 Bottles in Federal Way (pictured here) to find specialty beers. The Watsons’ Pint Defiance promises to be just as much fun.

Beer. It’s one of the foundations of civilization. At the end of a long day there are  few things better than an ice cold beer.

Beer lovers in Tacoma know of the handful of places throughout the city that have a better than average beer selection. I’m not talking about a place with Red Hook ESB. I’m talking about a place they might carry Old Engine Oil. The bottom line is that Tacoma simply doesn’t have a specialty craft beer store. This fall that will all change when Barry Watson opens Pint Defiance.

As soon as I heard about this, I tracked down Barry Watson who is co-owner with Renee Watson and asked him if he’d like to be part of 5 Question Friday and tell us all about this new venture. Here’s Barry.

1. What is Pint Defiance?

A retail store and taproom dedicated to the love of great beer. We will stock hundreds of labels & have draft taps also. You can purchase bottles, fill growlers, enjoy a pint & attend tasting events.

2. Why do you think Tacoma is a good place for a Craft Beer Store?

I have always felt that a store solely dedicated to craft and quality beer has been something missing from Tacoma business landscape. Good beer has become such an integral part of northwest culture and lifestyle that we wanted to celebrate it.

3. What is the most underrated beer out there?

I’m not sure if they qualify as underrated, but I have really been enjoying some of the smaller Hood River breweries. Everybody’s Brewing, Country Boy IPA & Double Mountain, Vaporizer Pale are super tasty right now.

Also, Shane Johns & Sean Jackson at the Engine House #9 have really stepped up the quality and variety of beers that they offer.

4. What other projects are you involved in?

I recently sold the restaurant that I opened back in 2003. This is my main focus right now. My wife Renee and I are building this from scratch, so it takes a lot of time and effort. (Although the fine folks at the Red hot let me make a guest appearance behind the bar from time to time.)

5. When you’re going out for a beer, what Tacoma bars do you like?

Both the Red Hot & the Parkway Tavern have an unmatched selection & range of beer. Not just in Tacoma, but in the region. Either bar can easily hold its own against any pub in Seattle.  Also, you can’t beat a enjoying a fresh pint in the beer garden at 7 Seas (I know it’s not Tacoma, but my palate does not discriminate geographically).

I’d like to thank Barry for taking the time to join me on 5 Question Friday. Rest assured that when Pint Defiance opens you’ll be reading more about it here. 

If you or someone you know would like to be part of 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

- Jack Cameron

The Life And Death of Hell’s Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen 2002-2012

Hell’s Kitchen announced today that they would be shutting their doors for good after this weekend. Originally on Tacoma’s 6th Ave., Hell’s Kitchen moved to downtown Tacoma a few years ago to a spot on South 10th and Pacific. In both locations it was a loud, rude, and interesting bar. It’s the sort of place where you really had no idea who you might meet there. In their decade of existence, they hosted all sorts of acts from Rancid to Hank Williams as well as a steady line up of local bands.

On any given Saturday night you could hear the music blasting out of Hell’s Kitchen. The building itself is located under a parking garage and next to a tunnel of steps that homeless people sleep in on rainy nights and that leads to the 10th and Commerce Bus Station. Hell’s Kitchen is a dive bar in the best possible sense.

The demise of Hell’s Kitchen is much like the death of any other business in that it was simply no longer profitable to run it. But of course there’s more to it than that. Recently, they had to pay over $180,000 in plumbing costs thanks to ancient plumbing that failed and thanks to some tree roots. The landlord agreed to let them take the money from the rent, but that sort of expenditure made difficult to get back on top. If they hadn’t been forced to spend the money on plumbing, they could have been spending that money on getting more acts, marketing, and other things that could have improved business. Unfortunately, though they’d managed to pay everything off, things haven’t improved enough for them to continue as a business.

This isn’t the first time that this particular location has had problems. Before it was Hell’s Kitchen, it was a Southern food place called Stephanie’s which kept on trying to open but had a near constant problem with cockroaches which caused them to close down multiple times.

Before that it was a transsexual Mexican bar where they had a Thursday night striptease. And before that it was a somewhat upscale Mexican restaurant. Now that Hell’s Kitchen is leaving, it’s anybody’s guess what will fill the place next, though judging from the other empty store fronts nearby, we may have a while to wait before we find out.

-          Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Market On Market’s Patricia Lecy-Davis

A couple of weeks ago I met up with my friend Clay Richart who you may remember from Fingerprint Confections. He told me that his famous caramel candies were going to be sold in a new place up on Market street called Market on Market. I was immediately interested. He suggested I talk to Patricia Lecy Davis. She was only too happy to join me this week for the return of 5 Question Friday. Here’s Patricia.

1. What is Market on Market?

Market on Market is a year round local producer collective, showcasing unique goods made by people in our region. It will be open Tues-Thurs 2-7, Fri-Sat 10-7. Adam Martin will be the market concierge facilitating ongoing sales beyond what sits on our shelves for each vendor. It will be a dynamic space that changes constantly, and growing in offerings. We will be educating folks on what is local and what is not, along with why certain things may or may not be available at certain times of the year, or from this region.

2. What other projects are you a part of?

I am the Vice President and Co Founder of an organization called Go Local that supports independently owned business. We currently have around 300 members.

3. Why do you like doing business in Tacoma?

I love the connectivity between business owners and the community. We share common goals and customers as well.

4. How can people help if they’re interested in Market on Market?

Spread the word. Let folks know that they can get quality goods that will feed their body and soul, as well as support our local economy.

5. What do you think downtown Tacoma is missing?

Good public transportation, connectivity of neighborhoods and organizations, self esteem.

Market On Market is having its Grand Opening this weekend on Saturday, June 16th from 11am – 5pm. They are located at 1122 Market Street, Tacoma, WA 98402. 

I’d like to thank Patricia for joining me for 5 Question Friday and Clay for helping me get in touch with her. If you or someone you know would like to be part of 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

- Jack Cameron

Vicci

Funny story. About two weeks ago, I was contacted by someone representing Vicci Martinez. They gave me a link to download her new album a couple of weeks its release date in the hopes that I’d write about it. I downloaded the album, listened to it, and wrote a review. I was going to post that review this past weekend but somehow my computer ate it. So I had to start over.

This turned out to be a good thing. After listening to the album a bit more, my opinion of it has changed. Last year, when Vicci Martinez was on the Voice she was nice enough to participate in a 5 Question Friday interview. And they’d been nice enough give me an early preview of her new album. I didn’t want to make Vicci and her people mad at me but I wanted to be honest.

So my first review talked about how Vicci used to be a barefoot girl with a guitar belting out songs on a small stage in various local venues and how her new album, ‘Vicci’, has such a high production value that you kind of lose that girl behind a bunch of processed music. It was a somewhat easy thing to write. I mean it’s a story we’ve already heard a hundred times where the little indie artist gets signed to a big record label and loses all her indie cred.

I can’t really say how happy I am that I lost that review because I wasn’t really paying attention. This isn’t an artist selling out. This is an artist buying in. Sure, there aren’t a lot of things I like better than a girl with a guitar and a song, but even though there’s production value dripping from every track on ‘Vicci’, each of the songs would easily work acoustically. And the songs themselves are solid.

I know that these days people tend to just pay attention to singles and not the entire album, but I’m going to briefly talk about each of the songs on the album in the order they are on the album. I’m not really a music reviewer and I don’t read music reviews so I have no idea if this is the sort of thing I’m supposed to do or not. Luckily, I don’t care.

‘Vicci’ starts off with ‘Come Along’ which features her costar from The Voice, Cee-Lo Green. It’s catchy as all hell. It’s one of those songs that just sinks into your head and you find yourself singing along without even meaning to.

Next up, is a song called ‘Run, Run, Run’. Vicci has said that this song had a lot to do with her moving from her hometown of Tacoma to LA in pursuit of her music career. I can hear that in the song. And it definitely has a California vibe to it.

‘Out of Control’ is a song about a spiraling relationship. It’s a bit clichéd and not really the sort of song I enjoy.

Luckily, the next song, ‘I Can Love’ is probably my favorite song on the album. Vicci says, “Sometimes we don’t feel our best, and we can let things and people bring us down.  This song is about empowerment and to remind us that we do have hearts and we should use them.” That sounds about right. If you’re looking for a song to lift you out of a bad mood and remind yourself what you’re capable of, this is just what you’re looking for of. On top of that, Vicci’s voice knocks this track out of the park. Great stuff.

After a power track like that, Vicci follows that with ‘Hold Me Darlin’, a sad song about just wanting to be held. I’m a lyrics guy so what I noticed most was that the chorus not only says “I’m sorry.”, it also says “I’m weak.”  That right there is a vulnerable line. I think anyone who has been in a dying relationship can relate to this song.

It’s nice to have some girl-power songs and love songs, but sometimes you just want a song about sex. “Not Washing You Off of Me” is just that. It’s raw, sexy, and just a bit fun. Though there’s a couple points in the song where it sounds like R2-D2 is doing backing vocals. But the nerd in me has no problem with that.

“I Want Your Kiss” is exactly what it sounds like. It’s not so much about sex as it is about wanting and fantasizing. It’s fun and gets points for using the word ‘superfly’ if nothing else.

“Let Go” is a sad ballad that is just heartbreaking. I’m not entirely sure if it’s about a dead lover or just dead love. Either way, it’s sweet, powerful, and sad. I’m betting this is the most personal song on the album. The line “If you could see me all grown up, would you be proud, who I am now?” is haunting to me.

“Touch That Fire” is one of those songs that I’m sure a lot of people like but it’s just not my style. I can’t point out anything wrong with it. It’s a solid pop song. I just don’t like it.

The album ends with “Little Faith” which almost sounds like something from the poppy mall music of the 1990s. I was a teenager in the 90s so it gives me this nostalgic vibe that makes me smile.

So is ‘Vicci’ the barefoot girl with the guitar that you remember from way back when? Kind of. Early Vicci Martinez music is to the new ‘Vicci’ album what Avengers comic books are to the new Avengers movie. It’s clear that a lot of money has been well spent taking something many people love and turning it into something even more people will love. It’s not my favorite album I’ve listened to this year, but every time I listen to it, I like it more. And I’ve still got ‘Come Along’ stuck in my head.

‘Vicci’ will be released on June 19th.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

- Jack Cameron

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2012: Hector Hernandez-Valdez

On the afternoon of Friday, June 1st, 15-year-old Hector Hernandez-Valdez went over to a 16-year-old acquaintance’s house in the 800 block of E. 52nd. He was two blocks away from his home. Court papers say he went over there to smoke marijuana. While going upstairs, the two of them got into a fight. The older boy had a knife and stabbed Hector in the head. The older boy’s 14-year-old brother heard the fight and joined in, stabbing Hector in the neck with a large nail. The two brothers then moved Hector to a bathtub, slashed his throat, and stabbed him a total of 34 times.

The boys’ mother arrived home while the boys were cleaning up. She found bloodstained towels in her living room. Initially her sons told her they were cleaning up chili, but eventually showed her Hector’s body. The boys’ mother drove to the police station to report the murder. When she and the police arrived, Hector’s body had been moved to inside a recycling bin. The police questioned the boys and then took them into custody. It is likely they will both be tried as adults. Hector had on him $166 and less than 40 grams of pot which was taken by his killers.

This is the sixth homicide in Tacoma this year and the third one with a teenage victim in the past twelve months. As the father of a teenager, these deaths are particularly tragic to me. I’d love to say that back in my day we didn’t do things like that, but the truth is Tacoma’s crime rate for teenagers was worse when I was a teenager in the mid-90s. That doesn’t lessen the tragedy of deaths like Hector’s. These are our children. The last thing in the world they should have to worry about is being murdered.

And all too often, like in this case, the killers are also young. It’s relatively easy to point fingers at society, video games, music, or parents, but the bottom line is this crime was committed by two teenagers who are responsible for their actions and are being held responsible. My heart goes out to all of the families involved.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew and remember Hector. It is moderated by me and no negative comments will be accepted. There are plenty of other places on the web for that unfortunately.

- Jack Cameron