Winners of Reel Life 96 Revealed

During a gala and screening event held on Saturday, March 19 at the McGavick Conference Center in Lakewood, winners of the first annual Lakewood Film Festival were announced. Reel Life 96 was a fun, short film competition for filmmakers of all ages and experience levels.

Participants wrote, shot, and edited five-minute films in just 96 hours.

A number of films were selected to honor the recently celebrated 25th anniversary of the City of Lakewood in 1996. The event kicked off on February 10 at 5pm when 38 entrants received their starting email that contained the three elements every film would need to incorporate into their story. The story had to show a dance (action), a lit candle (prop) and a line of dialogue “sometimes you have to be happy for what you don’t get.”

Following the screening of each film throughout the six-hour festival, an awards ceremony recognized thirteen award categories and eleven different teams of filmmakers. Categories ranged from Best Use of Elements (Blind Duet by Oly Film) to Best Actor (Kevin Leung for Reverse by Empower Films) and Best Actress (Sheila Luong for Reverse, also by Empower Films). Reverse continued the sweep by being selected for the Audience Choice Award.

Linda McDermott, Director of Reel Life 96 and Chair of the Lakewood Arts Commission, recently laid out the reasons for the festival this way.

“The thing about Reel Life 96 is that it is not just a great community event that brings people together from different backgrounds and experiences to tell their stories, it is the place where some filmmakers will find their inspiration to begin a lifelong career in filmmaking, that may one day propel them to the heights of their profession. Everyone gets their start somewhere in life and we would like to do our part to grow independent filmmaking in the South Sound. Films have the ability to inspire us, to connect us with characters outside our own experience, to make us laugh and to make us cry; Reel Life 96 is where audiences and filmmakers meet to share the joy of film.”

Reel Life 96 was made possible through the generous support of Twin Star Credit Union, the Lakewood Community Foundation Fund, and NWEtch.

For Additional Information
Reel Life 96


A Chorus Line at Tacoma Little Theatre 

Tacoma Little Theatre continues its 103rd season with the much anticipated, A Chorus Line, conceived by Michael Bennett with direction and choreography by Eric Clausell, and musical direction by Jeff Bell.

From the pen of legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch, comes this Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning singular sensation! Casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete, and for 17 dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime and what they’ve worked their whole lives for. A Chorus Line brilliantly evokes both the glamour and grind of showbiz, and is the musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line. The iconic score features such classics as “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Hope I Get It”, and more! With its celebration and true-to-life depiction of performers and their struggle to achieve greatness on the Broadway stage, A Chorus Line has earned unanimous praise as one of the true masterpieces of live theatre.

Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line features: Heather Adams Arneson as Lara, Ian Bartlett as Mark, Haunz Stroschein as Gregory, Mallory Carbon as Judy, Richard Cubi as Mike, Loucas Curry as Richie, Roycen Daley as Paul, Emma Deloye as Maggie, Nick Fitzgerald as Bobby, Valentine Fry as Kristine, Melanie Gladstone as Val, Anna Herron as Vicky, Keola Holt as Diana, Devin Jackson as Ensemble, Danielle Locken as Sheila, Annelise Martin as Ensemble, Allen Melo as Ensemble, Derek Mesford as Don, Rebecca Nason as Ensemble, Micheal O’Hara as Zach, Alan Plaster as Ensemble, Whitney Shafer as Cassie, Natalie Silva as Bebe, Josh Wingerter as Al, and Thea Frances Yumang as Connie.

A Chorus Line will run Friday, March 11, through Sunday, April 3, 2022.  Friday and Saturday showings are at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.  A Chorus Line is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling our Box Office at (253) 272-2281.  TLT requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the door for all audience members and masks will also be required while inside the building.  For our full COVID-19 protocols please visit

Washington Center hosts the Olympia Dance Festival! 

The Washington Center and Ballet Northwest are thrilled to announce the return of Olympia Dance Festival on March 5 at 7:00pm. This will be the 12th Olympia Dance Festival bringing together over 200 performers with dance groups participating from Seattle, Gig Harbor, Renton, Burien, Vancouver and Thurston County. These top dance groups will perform a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip-hop, musical theater, Irish, Chinese, Middle Eastern and more. “After taking a year off in 2021 due to the pandemic, we are thrilled Olympia Dance Festival is returning to the stage of the Washington Center,” says Ballet Northwest Artistic Director Ken Johnson. “This year’s festival will be our biggest yet, and will be an amazing celebration of artistry, technique, diversity, and resilience by these amazing dancers.”

This year the festival will feature guest artists Adji Cissoko & Shuaib Elhassan. Cissoko and Elhassan are dancers with the world-renowned LINES Ballet of San Francisco. They will be performing a contemporary duet by famed choreographer Alonzo King. 

Participating dance groups include:
Ballet Northwest

Debbi’s Dance Etc.

Fang Fei Dance

Haley Prendergast School of Irish Dance

Harbor Dance and Performance Center
Inspired to Move Dance Academy

Johansen Olympia Dance Center

Mas Uda Dancers & Friends

Momentum Dance Academy
Northwest Performing Arts Alliance

Random Acts of Dance Collective
South Sound Dance

Spotlight Dance Center

Studio West Dance Theatre

Tina’s Dance Studios

For ticketing questions or more information about upcoming events please visit or call the Box Office at 360-753-8586.

The Center requires proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to enter the venue. Details on the current COVID protocols can be found here:

The Negro Motorist Green Book

What comes to mind when you hear “road trip”? Joyfully cruising down a highway flanked by incredible scenery, stopping to eat or check into a hotel whenever and wherever you like, discovering hidden gems along the way? You can explore some significant aspects of American travel history through The Negro Motorist Green Book at the Washington State History Museum this spring. 

When the first Green Book was published in 1936, the American road was a metaphor for freedom. Yet, in 20th century America, this same road was a dangerous place for Black citizens. The land was divided by segregation—through policy or through custom. If you were Black, the prejudice was severe: a systematic effort to deny access to your basic human rights. And yet, African Americans created destinations and strategies that affirmed their humanity, and took to the roads with ingenuity, with community, and with the help of a Harlem postman named Victor Green.

“The Green Book” travel guide was created by Victor Green to provide African American travelers with critical information on restaurants, gas stations, stores, accommodations, and other businesses that welcomed Black travelers during the era of Jim Crow and “sundown towns.” This multimedia experience highlighting the national guide’s rich history was created by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service and curated by Candacy Taylor, a leading Green Book scholar and award-winning author, photographer, and documentarian.

Museum visitors will be transported to a time when, as a Black person, it took bravery and a Green Book to travel safely. It’s a dynamic experience shared through photographs, art installations, interactives, historic objects, and oral histories from travelers and Green Book business owners.  It also focuses on the vibrant parallel world of African American businesses, the rise of the Black leisure class, and how The Green Book facilitated the second wave of the Great Migration. 

Motor over to Tacoma to explore the Green Book!

Washington State History Museum

Ballet Northwest Present The Nutcracker

Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker, Olympia’s holiday favorite for 37 years, is returning to The Washington Center in December with breathtaking sets brilliantly created by local artist, Jill Carter. Ballet Northwest (BNW) is thrilled to be returning to live performances this season, with health and safety measures in place. The Nutcracker was last seen live in 2019. Last year due to the pandemic, BNW produced a film version of the holiday classic.

The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier will be danced by professional guest artist Lucas Horns who danced professionally with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. Ballet Northwest company dancers Elina Brein and Nina Ivanenko will be alternating in the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Both have attended Oregon Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in Portland. Brein is 20 years old and lives in Centralia. Ivanenko is 17 years old, lives in Lacey, and is enrolled in Running Start.

“Audiences from all over South Puget Sound have come to love our Nutcracker production in the beautiful Washington Center,” said Ken Johnson, co-artistic director at Ballet Northwest, the oldest dance company in the State of Washington. “Our dancers and audiences have been through so much these last couple years with the pandemic, so we’re excited to bring back this community tradition for all to enjoy at the holidays.”

Josie Johnson, co-artistic director for Ballet Northwest said, “We know that attending The Nutcracker at The Washington Center is a holiday tradition for many families in the South Sound, and we try and keep the choreography fresh and exciting. This year we have a few other surprises in store. Plus, the magic between audience and performers is something special that we’ve all missed.”

Over 150 people make up the cast, which features local dancers as young as 8 years old plus Ballet Northwest company dancers. Ballet Northwest’s dance company is comprised of over 60 dancers age 12 and older, drawn from Thurston, Pierce, Lewis, and Mason counties.

For patrons 12 and older, the Washington Center is currently requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negtive COVID-19 test provided by a lab within 72 hours for entry to the Washington Center. Patrons age 18 and older must also show a photo ID.

WHEN: 7:30pm on Dec. 10 and 17; and 2pm on Dec 11, 12, 18, and 19.
WHERE: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE Olympia, WA 98501
HOW: Ticket Office – 360-753-8586 or order online at
PRICES: Tickets are $14 to $35, plus $4.00 service fee. Student, senior, and youth discounts available.