Category Archives: Entertainment

Banana Hammock still hanging in there

Speaking of bikini barista stands, did you catch the reference in our recent story on Port Orchard’s downtown banner? Public Works Director Mark Dorsey noted that since a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sign content, the city could be opening itself up to hosting photos of bikini baristas on Bay Street. My guess is the usual customers — like The Cruz car show, Fathoms O’ Fun summer festival and the Rotary Crab Feed — will snap up all the slots when banner booking opens March 1.

In other sexpresso news, the Banana Hammock of Port Orchard recently was featured in a Zagat video in People Magazine online. That’s owner Adam Lovejoy in the feature shot.

The video largely focused on controversy over the opening of a bikini barista stand in Spokane. The title, “Topless Baristas Have Taken Over Washington State,” makes it sound like the sexpresso trend is something new. Whereas we, at the Kitsap Sun, reported on the first stands to serve coffee with a view near five years ago.

By comparison, Lovejoy’s Banana Hammock, open in April 2014, was a latecomer, but he did have the the niche of being the only such stand in Kitsap County with male baristas (baristos?). And BTW, they don’t wear banana hammocks (I had to look it up when I reported on the business). Think muscular, mostly shirtless guys, sometimes in costumes like fireman, cowboy etc.
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The Banana Hammock seemed to be going out on a limb, especially with its location on Highway 166, outside Port Orchard and off the beaten path. Nearly two years later, however, and “business is great,” said Lovejoy. “We made it the past two years doing what I love. … Business has been great. We’ve been growing every day.”

Banana Hammock is billed in the video as the only male topless coffee stand in the state, which is true to the best of Lovejoy’s knowledge.

The location hasn’t hurt him any. People have beaten a path to the little yellow shack with the cheeky monkey logo, Lovejoys says. “A lot of people will travel the extra mile to come see us because of our product. We offer something different that other people don’t have.”

Lovejoy, 26, who saved up money to open the business by working construction, employs five guys, not counting himself. The stand is a full-time gig for this father of two young children.

The video, which published Jan. 14 and has millions of views on YouTube, has been a boon to the Banana Hammock. “I think I’ve seen some new faces since then,” Lovejoy said.

Education stories on a lighter note

In today’s Kitsap Sun, we ran a roundup of top stories on the education beat for 2016.

Teachers’ walkouts, McCleary madness, the Kennedy flap over school prayer, the end of No Child Left Behind … It was a whirlwind year.

Not all the education news coming out of Kitsap County was serious, however. Here are a few of the stories that still make me smile.

In late January, a fourth-grade class at Mullenix Ridge Elementary in South Kitsap decided to do their own scientific investigation of De-flategate, the uproar over allegations the New England Patriots weaseled their way into the Super Bowl using underinflated balls in the AFC championship game.
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Ashton Smith, the lone Patriots fan in the class, defended quarterback Tom Brady, but quickly became a bitter old man, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld a four-game suspension imposed on Brady for his part in the scandal. A federal court later tossed the suspension, for lack of due process in the investigation.

In February, acting students at South Kitsap High School made a regional ripple on social media with the hashtag #SKvsFallon. The students and their coach Scott Yingling issued a video challenge to late night host Jimmy Fallon for an “Improv-off.” The video racked up 30,000 views shortly after it posted and SKvsFallon was briefly a trending topic on Facebook in Western states.

In March, Brownsville Elementary School Principal Toby Tebo kissed a goat for a school fundraiser. “Kissing goats, it’s a good idea. It’s going to be fun, and I can’t wait to pucker up,” Tebo said, before giving Peanut the pygmy goat 21 kisses, one for each goat the students sponsored for an African village.

In December, we asked students at Pearson and Vinland Elementary schools what advice they’d give Santa. Here’s Rachel Seymour’s video with their response.

So many stories of where we’ve been

Since October I’ve been fortunate to host storytelling events here in Bremerton. Over five months we did three at the Manette Saloon and since March, thanks to a partnership with the Friends of the Kitsap Regional Library Sylvan Way Branch, we’ve been going monthly at the Cloverleaf Sports Bar and Grill. At the bottom of this post I’ve left a few samples of what we’ve heard at the most recent two.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 6.48.21 PMOn Thursday, in addition to hearing great stories around the theme, “The Great Outdoors,” the library will hand out something to prepare you for a special Story Night in October.

Each year the library hosts a monthlong event in October called “One Community, One Book.” The library’s program is designed to get the entire community reading a single book together.

This year’s book is “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” by Bainbridge Island author Jonathan Evison.  In October Story Night will center on the themes found in the book. Over the next couple of months I’ll get a discussion going on those themes over at the Story Night main page under the Events tab, and on the Story Night Facebook page, which you should go “like” right away.

To prepare you for the One Community One Book event, on Thursday the library will hand out one copy of Evison’s book per household at Story Night. The idea is once you read it, pass it along to someone else. It’s a chance for members of the community to bond over a single story. I’m glad we can do our part.

I’m a believer in our stories. I wanted to start Story Night in some part because I wanted to get better at live storytelling. I’m not sure that has happened for me personally, but what has happened is I have managed to get connected to a part of our community I might not have otherwise known. We understand each other better through our stories. We find ourselves more willing to shed our judgment through our stories. We empathize. We don’t always agree, but we see someone we might have discounted as an enemy as a teacher. We relate in ways we didn’t know we could.

And we have fun.

Thursday’s event begins at 7 p.m. Most Story Nights are on the first Thursday of the month, but September’s will be on Sept. 2, the first Wednesday. Even our best storytellers have to cede the room to the Seahawks for a preseason game. The theme that night will be “Offended.”

Want a taste? The first story below was told at our June event by Alison Loris. The theme that night was “Advice,” and Alison told us a story about the advice she received from her former husband Jesse Bernstein, a Seattle poet and performer.

The second recording features two stories on the “Summer or temp jobs” theme from July. Scott Park explains the story behind why he wears long sleeves at work even on the hottest of days. Rosi Farley details the grueling work of laughing for pay.

 

Welcome to Pork Orchard

It started as a joke at a meeting last year of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association.

Clancy Donlin, a contractor who was chairing the Taste of Port Orchard 2014, asked Mayor Tim Matthes if they couldn’t change the name of the city for the day to Pork Orchard. Everybody laughed, then the subject of barbecue came up. Donlin, a self-described “crazy foodie” and barbecue aficionado, later was chatting with his friend Don Ryan (involved in the Port Orchard Public Market among other ventures) and they cooked up the idea (pun intended) of an event centered on barbecue.

Hog Fest 2015 is set for Sept. 20 on the Port Orchard waterfront, and will include a “competition, meat tastings, beer garden, root beer garden for kids, ALL DAY MUSIC with several bands, half-time events for kids and family, Hog Rally with (Harley riders), a professional butcher shows you how pork meat is cut into chops and more to come…,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
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Planning began last fall for the event, which is sanctioned by the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association. The Port Orchard Bay Street Association is sponsoring Hog Fest and has put up the $5,000 in prize money, to be divvied up among contestants in various categories, Donlin said. The judging is double blind, with judges provided by the association, according to their website.

Sanctioning by the association means points for professional barbecue chefs, who compete at local events like Port Orchard’s Hog Fest 2015 to qualify for regional and national events. Like rodeo, only for meat. There will be an amateur division. More on that later.

The nonprofit PNWBA has a mission “to provide education about barbecue,” according to its website. The organization has about 700 members (one need not be a member to participate in sanctioned events) and hosts about 40 shindigs, like Hog Fest, each year, mostly in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, California and western Canada, but sometimes farther afield. Top chefs and judges have participated in events such as the Jack Daniels World Invitational, The American Royal
and the Great American BBQ.

But back to Pork Orchard (has a nice ring, doesn’t it?). Organizers are inviting amateurs to preliminary “satellite” barbecue competitions, where they can qualify for Hog Fest itself. The first one is 10 a.m. Sunday at the Red Dog Saloon in Port Orchard. Here’s the rest of the schedule:
Aug. 8: Whiskey Creek Steakhouse, Keyport; McCloud’s Grill House & Saloon
Aug. 9: New Way Vapors, Port Orchard
Aug. 15, Al’s Market, Olalla
Aug. 30, Wig Wam Pub, Gorst
Sept. 5, McCloud’s again
Sept. 12, The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Bremerton

Hog Fest will start out small, compared to some of the other PNWBA-sanctioned events, Donlin said. They’re not going to go whole hog, so to speak. The thought being to keep it manageable the first year of what organizers hope will become a beloved Port Orchard tradition.

“With Hog Fest, combined with our other food events, the Chocolate Festival (held in November and sponsored by Fathoms ‘O Fun) and Taste of Port Orchard (held as part of the town’s Labor Day festivities), we plan to turn Port Orchard into the culinary capital of Kitsap County,” Donlin said.

And, yes, the event has been the butt of many jokes and puns, like “praise the lard,” a phrase on one Facebook post.

Oh, wait, I’ve got one, “Hog Fest, it’s nothing to swine about.”

Think you can do better? Of course you can! Have at it.

Peninsular Interning: The best of Kitsap

Peninsular Thinkers, you know your towns better than anyone else. So what are the things you’d recommend to someone who’s never set foot in the Pacific Northwest before? If your relative came into town (and you liked that relative) what are the places, attractions and restaurants you would insist they experience?

That’s the position that I’m in. My name is Miranda Davis and I arrived in Kitsap County about two weeks ago to spend my summer interning at the Sun. The plot twist? I’m from Kansas. I’m a senior studying journalism at the University of Kansas and I drove two thousand miles at the end of May and before that, I’d never been west of Denver. Everything I thought I knew about the area before arriving was from Grey’s Anatomy and Starbucks. I know, I’m awful.

When I tell people I’m new here they say I’m so lucky, because summer is the best time to experience the area, and I completely agree. It also appears as if I brought my pink rain boots for nothing.

So send in the things you think I have to see, eat and experience before August 1st, and I’ll give them a try. Ideally, I want to experience the things that you think of when you think of the word “home,” so hopefully that includes a mix of tourist attractions and things that are off the beaten path.

My rules:

  1. I am willing to drive up to two hours each way if It’s something I can do for the majority of the day. I also like taking the ferry to Seattle but I plan on trekking it on foot once I get into the city.
  2. I’ve already been to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market (It was so busy! There was too much happening around me! I ate a really good grilled cheese!)
  3. I have no diet restrictions and I will eat almost anything. Seafood is growing on me every minute I’m up here. (However, bonus points if you recommend an awesome cheeseburger, and double bonus points if you recommend barbeque)
  4. I’m not afraid of heights but I really dislike roller coasters. Please don’t make me go on a roller coaster.
  5. While mountains and large bodies of water are new to me, I like hiking and swimming, but do not expect me to run a half marathon.
  6. I want to attend festivals and events and I’m 21 years old (so yes, I would really like to know what craft beer I should be purchasing at the grocery store)

I’ll post about the best of my experiences on the Peninsular Thinking blog, where you can see what I think of the best Pacific Northwest and weigh in from the comments section or on social media.

Send all ideas to Miranda.Davis@Kitsapsun.com, or find me on Twitter @MirandaDavisUDK. That’s also where I’ll be posting photos, videos and unrefined thoughts from my adventures.

#SKvsFallon: High school acting group challenges Jimmy Fallon to an Improv-off

… And they’re serious.

We at the Kitsap Sun aren’t sure what Scott Yingling, South Kitsap High School’s acting ensemble coach, put in his coffee Friday, but it clearly got him buzzed. Or is he always like this?

Regardless, an idea hit him, a rather gutsy idea, some might say.

“I’m a huge Jimmy Fallon fan, and my kids are, too,” Yingling said. “We were just talking one day, and I said, ‘You guys, you know what would be fun? Let’s challenge Jimmy Fallon to an Improv-off!”

The kids were down with it. Of course they were, they’re kids … with plenty of chutzpah of the kind kids in acting ensembles have in abundance, probably like Fallon himself at that age. The group of 17 juniors and seniors also has considerable experience with improvisation, since SK high hosts not one but four wildly popular Improv Nights each school year. I can say the “wildly popular” part is true, because my son, who graduated from South in 2013, attended quit a few and described a packed house every time. Granted it’s not NBC studios, but whatevs!

In a YouTube video shot at the school Friday and produced by South Kitsap High School’s video production class, Yingling — in a suit and tie, his minions mugging behind him — issues his challenge.

He calls Fallon “James.”Yingling

“You host a show that is very popular, and I host a show that is very popular,” Yingling says. “We have an Improv Night here in South Kitsap, and behind me is my crew, and basically right now what we’re saying, James, is that we are challenging you, OK? Yeah, bring it!

“You can come to my house or we’ll go to your house. Either way, you’re going to lose.”

Did we mention that Yingling, too, has chutzpah with a capital “B?”

Maybe, but if in some alternate universe Fallon actually hears the online yammering of the students, who have posted memes like this
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If Fallon’s own minions, perhaps, pick up on the chatter and buzz (the video has nearly 30,000 views since Friday) and, let’s imagine in our wildest dreams, they nudge the Emmy winning comedian and say, “Hey, this could be a good shtick.” Let’s say that happens. And let’s say Fallon says, “Why not, I’m already on the West Coast this week.”

What if Fallon and his film crew walked right through the doors of South Kitsap High School into the commons in the middle of lunch, the smell of chicken nuggets pervading? What if he walked up to Yingling, mano e mano, and said, “You’re on.”

What then?

“I’d be ready right now,” Yingling said. “I honestly have that much confidence in my kids. They’re an amazing group of young people. They use intelligent comedy. They’re smart. They look out for one another. Nobody in the group is all about themselves. They’re all about the group.”

Oh, and Jimmy Fallon, if you actually do take them up on their offer. Here are few things you should know. The acting ensemble is the school drama equivalent of the varsity football team. As in years past, the troupe will be taking part in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, which honors the late, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. The preliminary round is Feb. 21 and 22 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, with which South Kitsap’s acting program is affiliated through a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts grant. South Kitsap’s acting ensemble has participated in the competition since 2010, and each year has had students make it into the top 10 for the final regional competition (to be held this year on March 17). Two of Yingling’s students went on to the national competition, Drew Benning (2011-2012) and Alexandra Hope (2012-2013).

Most of these kids hope to go into show business themselves some day. So, Kitsap County and beyond, if you’re so inclined, let’s augment this trend on the social media platform of your choice, #SKvsFallon.

Jimmy Fallon, can you hear us now?

One voice will be missing from Hal Champeness memorial Saturday

Friends and family of Hal Champeness plan a memorial from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town Bistro, 3388 NW Byron St.
Hal Champeness
Champeness, 90, originally from Bainbridge Island, was a local music legend who died in a house fire in Poulsbo April 10. He played stand-up bass and sang with local bands, including Don Alverson & Friends.

At an informal gathering at the Old Town Bistro shortly after his death, Champeness was lauded as “the little Giant with the sharp wit, golden voice and seductive smile.”
The pictures below the picture of Hal are from that get-together.
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Below, you can read a detailed biography of Champeness by his friend Gerald Elfendahl. Campeness was born Aug. 9, 1924. He lived on Bainbridge. He started out singing and playing violin at school. On the football team, he was a 5-foot-3-inch tall, 140-pound quarterback, who earned “most inspirational” award.

In 1940, Champeness heard of a band that needed a bass player, and for the remainder of his life, he and that instrument were “joined at the hip,” as Elfendahl says.

Champeness served as a Navy radio operator in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Later, after the war, he joined up with Stan Boreson, a Seattle entertainer known as the “King of Scandinavian Humor.”

Later yet, he continued his musical career playing and singing at Whiskey Creek Steak House and other venues. His CD “The Champ” was issued in 2010.

He was married and widowed three times, and he leaves behind his son Hal Jr.

Even after he finally set aside his bass, Champeness continued singing, mostly at the Bistro, where he and Hal Jr. stopped in regularly.

Anyone attending the memorial is asked to bring instruments, voices, cookies and memories of “The Champ,” whose own voice at the event will surely be missed.

* Photos, except the picture of Hal Champeness, courtesy of Brei Rasmussen-Dodd.

Hal Champeness, 1923-2014

BHS, KSS bands plans marching marathon

Marching bands from Bremerton High School and Klahowya Secondary School in Central Kitsap plan a marathon of performances on Saturday, starting in Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade and ending in Spokane for the Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.

KSS band director Lia Morgan, new to Klahowya this year, wanted to resurrect a tradition from years past by bringing the marching band to Spokane. The band will play recently composed music by the a cappella group Pentatonix. In the Torchlight Parade, they will crry glow sticks for effect.

On Sunday, the marathon will continue when the KSS jazz band plays at Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. Many jazz band members also play in the marching band. The rest of the band will “support them as members of the audience,” Morgan said. Afterward, all of the students, Morgan and a number of parents who are going along as groupies will take a well deserved break by enjoying the rides.

Morgan is proud of her musicians, a number of whom have performed in and won awards in solo competitions this school year. “We have had an exciting and busy year at Klahowya this year and I’m looking forward to more years and activities to come,” she said.

This is the first time Bremerton High’s marching band has played in the Torchlight Parade.

“I thought that would be kind of fun, to do two parades in one day,” said Band director, Max Karler, who is in his first year as director of instrumental music at BHS. Before then, he taught band and orchestra at Mt. Tahoma high.

The Spokane parade starts at 7:45 p.m., but the BHS band’s staging time is 8:15 p.m. Karler figures his group will have time to make the roughly six-hour drive to Spokane in between parades.

No, it’s not by school bus. They are renting charter buses, so the kids can snooze or watch movies as long as it’s “not something I hate,” Karler said. As a student, he once got stuck on a band road trip where the flute section had this obsession with a particularly bad Bollywood movie. But I digress.

Luckily, BHS is near the front of the Armed Forces parade, so they expect to be done by noon-ish.

“When we get done there (Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade), we’re going to get out of our clothes (band outfits), eat some lunch, hop on the bus and go over to their torchlight parade,” Karler said.

Karler is impressed with the group’s can-do attitude and eagerness to try new things.

“It’s totally awesome, just lots of support,” Karler said. “The kids are very capable, lots of strong players and strong leaders.”

Karler let the students suggest the playlist. They’re going with the top three tunes: the BHS fight song (to the tune of “Anchors Aweigh), “Take on Me” (by The A-ha) and “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.

“I’m really excited for it. I think they’re going to do really well,” Karler said.

BHS performed earlier this month in the Sequim Irrigation Festival and won first place for AA and AAA school bands. Go Knights!

Bremerton-born blues man performs locally Friday and Saturday

So, got any plans at 4 p.m. today (April 4)?

Bremerton-born blues man TJ Wheeler will present a free workshop today at the Opal Robertston Teen Center, 802 7th St. in Bremerton. He’ll also give a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Island Center Hall on Bainbridge Island, 8395 Fletcher Bay Rd NE; donations welcome. A 6 p.m. potluck precedes Saturday’s entertainment.

Wheeler graduated from an alternative school on Bainbridge Island and found music to be a grounding influence in his early life, which was full of challenges, according to Jerry Elfendahl, who is helping publicize the musician’s visit to the Northwest. He has earned many awards and accolades, including the W.C. Handy Keeping the Blues Alive Award in education.

Wheeler’s workshops combine music and inspiration. His educational program Hope, Heroes and the Blues, which started with a small grant from Ben & Jerry’s, has reached more than 450,000 students nationwide.
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The concert/workshop in Bremerton is sponsored by New Life Community Development Agency. Although the workshop is aimed at youth, everyone is welcome. There is no cost.

Wheeler’s calling his Saturday concert a 50th Jubilee, since he’s been playing guitar for 50 years.

“The next week the Jimi Hendrix Museum AKA EMP / (Experience Music project) have booked me to do a ‘Blues to Hendrix’ BITS (Blues in the School) residency and concert,” Wheeler wrote in his blog. “It is a blessing to be coming home and I hope I see all of you at one site or another.”

Dr. Who: the video

Here’s our video of a replica of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), made by Fred and Jordan Rabinovitz in their South Kitsap garage. The TARDIS, of course, is the spaceship (in the form of a British police call box) that allows the Doctor to travel through time and space.