OLY ARTS is your leading guide to Thurston County entertainment. This newsletter features The Oly Old Time Festival, Or, and the best local arts and culture for Feb. 16-22.
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Double Your Fun With OLY ARTS!

(Note: In an earlier version of this email newsletter,
we inadvertently left OFT information in the entry for The Oly Old Time Festival.
OLY ARTS sincerely regrets this error, which has now been corrected.
In addition to South Bay Grange, the festival will also hold events at
Arbutus Folk School and Oly's First Christian Church.)

There's so much terrific live entertainment in downtown Olympia this week, we simply can't fit it into our usual three columns! In addition to the events featured below, check out Ups and Downs: An Aerial Valentine at Rhythm & Rye, a faculty art show at The Evergreen State College and Project 562 at the Minnaert Center gallery. This double-decker OLY ARTS newsletter is your cultural digest for Thurston County, February 16-22.

The Bow Weevils
The Oly Old Time Festival

In 2008, a group of people who enjoyed music played with fiddle, banjo and other traditional stringband instruments began jamming in Olympia homes. At one of those monthly jams, the idea for a local, winter festival was born. The originators of The Oly Old Time Festival organized a limited schedule of eight workshops at The Evergreen State College. Dancers packed the floor into the wee hours, and there was jamming in every corner. It's since become a much-loved annual event. This year's performers include Anna & Elizabeth, The REDS, The Bow Weevils, The Canote Brothers, Uncle Wiggily and Touloulou.

When: Thursday - Sunday, Feb. 16-19
(See events schedule for details.)

Where: South Bay Grange,
3918 Sleater Kinney Rd. NE, Olympia

How much: free-$20

Learn More
Nell Gwyn
Playhouse Creatures

Most theater fans are aware women were banned from the stage during the Elizabethan period, which meant all female Shakespearean roles were played by men in drag. This 1993 script by April De Angelis looks both onstage and behind the scenes at London’s first theater to showcase female actors. The cast comprises Lanita Grice as Doll Common, Jesse Morrow as Nell Gwyn, Kate Ayers as Mrs. Betterton, Heather Christopher as Mrs. Marshall and Dana Winter as Mrs. Farley. Gwyn was a controversial star of the 1660s, famous for her acting and an affair with King Charles II. Christopher says Gwyn and her fellow actors were the Kardashians of their age, albeit with greater lasting impact.

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 17 – March 4;
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26

Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space,
113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia

How much: $12-$15

Learn More


Olympia Little Theatre’s latest production, entitled Or, (including the comma), involves an invitation to tune in and turn on. “It’s a bedroom farce with a more serious message of love and tolerance,” said director Toni Holm. It's set in the 1660s, when King Charles II was restored to the throne of England. He reopened the theaters, which had been closed by the Puritans. “A new era of hopefulness was dawning,” Holm said. “I was a child of the Woodstock generation, and I see a lot of resonance.” The action centers on Aphra Behn, the first woman to become a recognized playwright. Liz Duffy Adams’s play imagines Behn as the lover of both the king and Gwyn, the king’s mistress.

When: 7:25 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Feb. 16-18 and 23-25;
1:55 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 and 26

Where: Olympia Little Theatre,
1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia

How much: $11-$15

Learn More
Valerie Veils

Sealed With a Kiss: Love Letters From Tush!

More than love will be in the air when Olympia’s Own Tush! Burlesque takes the stage four days after Valentine’s Day. A highlight of the show will be the first-ever aerial burlesque performance by Valerie Veils. “I’m excited. I’m pretty nervous, though,” Veils admitted. “The piece is actually dedicated to my significant other.” We asked Veils about the difficulties of performing burlesque while hanging on for dear life. “I made a costume,” she said. “I had some see-through underlayers. I just ripped my skin apart. It was not enough, so I have some extra bruises that weren’t there before. I kind of have to rethink my approach with my costuming…I can’t rehearse in my living room.”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

How much: $16.50-$45.50

Learn More
Sarah Vowell

An Evening With Sarah Vowell

To read Sarah Vowell’s bestselling nonfiction works or hear her frequent appearances on public radio is to experience our history through the eyes of, in her words, a “partly cloudy patriot.” Her most recent book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, is a quirky biography of a French marquis who arrived in the colonies at age 19 to turn the Revolutionary War around, then went home to cowrite the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen with Thomas Jefferson. When Vowell visits The Washington Center, she’ll read from Lafayette and her other works, then field questions from the audience. “They sort of propel that conversation,” she says. “No dancing. No magic tricks.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17

Where:  The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

How much: $16-$45

Learn More
Elizabeth Lord

StoryOly: Freedom

On the third Tuesday of each month, Rhythm & Rye hosts StoryOly, Olympia’s most beloved “story slam” event. Half the suggested donation to compete or listen goes to Olympia SafePlace. Starting at 5:30 p.m., volunteers throw their names in a hat, and 10 are invited to tell an eight-minute autobiographical story on a pre-supplied topic. A judging panel chooses the winner. On September 19, 2016, the first 10 winners battled it out in a round of grand-slam finals.” “It’s going amazing,” says Amy Shephard, co-founder and production manager of the event. This time around, contestants will relate personal anecdotes about special occasions when they tasted freedom. Your host for StoryOly is its other co-founder, famed raconteur Elizabeth Lord.

When: 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21

Where: Rhythm & Rye,
311 Capitol Way N., Olympia

How much: $5-$10 suggested donation

Learn More

Give a Listen to The OLY ARTS Podcast!

We post new episodes four times a week, with even more in the works!

StoryOly, sponsored by Rhythm & Rye, appears on Tuesdays.

Oly Amplifier, a guide to local music, appears on Wednesdays.

Sound Stages, a guide to local theater, appears on Thursdays.

Oly Update is our preview of the weekend to come, appearing every Friday.

Special thanks to Alan Fuller of Windermere Real Estate Olympia, the sponsor for these episodes!

Find your copy of OLY ARTS' holiday print edition at every local theater, Batdorf & Bronson, Bread Peddler, Olympia Farmers Market and many live-arts venues!

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