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Movies, music, art, puppets, poetry and comedy mark Pierce County READS 2016

// Countywide events showcase Sherman Alexie’s broad creative range

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Sherman Alexie’s portrayals of modern life as a Native American invite a wide range of reactions – laughter, sadness, anger, wonder, disbelief and consternation among them. An outspoken poet, novelist and screenwriter, Alexie is the featured author of the ninth annual Pierce County READS. The range of events planned for this year’s Pierce County READS explore his work from different angles this March and April.

Pierce County READS encourages everyone to read the same book at the same time and then come together to talk about it. This year, instead of one book, we’re reading and discussing a spectrum of Alexie’s work with four signature events held at notable locations throughout the county. Pierce County Library and community partners also are presenting a slew of regional events, including a poetry slam, a puppet show, indigenous music, film documentaries and even stand-up comedy. In addition, 22 book and film discussions of Alexie’s and others’ work take place at Pierce County Libraries. Pierce County READS culminates in a personal evening with Alexie speaking and signing books.

Pierce County READS event schedule

All events are free.


Meet Sherman Alexie

Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m.

McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College

4500 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., Lakewood 98499

A talented and irreverent performer and comic, Alexie will speak and sign books. Books will be available for purchase. No tickets required. Live streaming of this presentation available at Bonney Lake, Key Center and Orting Pierce County Libraries.


Museum of Glass

Made at the Museum: Native American Artists

Thursday, March 17 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

1801 Dock St., Tacoma 98402

A lively presentation about Sherman Alexie’s art and relevant works by Native Americans on display in the Hot Shop. The exhibit will be on view through the summer. Admission is free on Third Thursdays.

The Grand Cinema

“Smoke Signals”

Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m.

606 S. Fawcett, Tacoma 98402

Watch the award-winning film “Smoke Signals,” written by Sherman Alexie, and participate in a discussion led by Puyallup tribal member Danica Miller, Ph.D., a UW Tacoma assistant professor of American Indian Studies. Free tickets are available one hour before the film at the box office. Seating is limited.

University of Puget Sound

Unless the Indians Are Willing: Flathead Resistance in the 1905 Journals of Abby Williams Hill

Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

Collins Memorial Library

1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma 98416

Abby Williams Hill was a landscape painter who visited the Flathead Indians in Montana. Presented by Laura Edgar, M.A., curator of the Abby Williams Hill Collection, and Tiffany Aldrich MacBain, Ph.D., University of Puget Sound associate professor of English.

Tacoma Art Museum

(Re)Presenting Native Americans exhibit and book discussion

Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m.

1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 98402

What is the “American identity,” and how has the artwork of the American West affected your ideas of American identity? This exhibit explores how artists of different eras and backgrounds represent indigenous cultures. Join the book discussion of Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and guided tour of the exhibit. Registration required at The exhibit is on view through 2016. Admission is free on Third Thursdays.


Banned Books: Sherman Alexie

Monday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Pierce County Library Administrative Center and Library

3005 112th St. E., Tacoma 98446 • (253) 548-3300

Sherman Alexie is one of the most frequently banned authors in America. ACLU lawyer Patrick Gallagher talks about censorship in the context of Alexie’s work.

The Art of Jeffrey Veregge

Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m.

Gig Harbor Pierce County Library

4424 Point Fosdick Drive N.W. 98335 • (253) 548-3305

Jeffrey Veregge’s art blends modern superhero icons with tribal features. A member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Veregge is the cover artist for Marvel’s “Red Wolf” comics and will discuss his art.

Pierce County READS Poetry Slam

Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

Urban Timber Coffee

6621 166th Ave. E., Sumner 98390

Compete for prizes and the prestige of being the Pierce County READS Poetry Slam champion. Rules at

“Reel Injun”

Saturday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m.

University Place Pierce County Library

3609 Market Place W., Suite 100 98466 • (253) 548-3307

The award-winning documentary “Reel Injun” by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond examines the portrayal of Native Americans in film. Claudia Gorbman, Ph.D., UW Tacoma film professor, leads the discussion.

Stories and Music by Paul “Che oke ten” Wagner

Saturday, April 9 at 2 p.m.

South Hill Pierce County Library

15420 Meridian E. 98375 • (253) 548-3303

An award-winning flutist, storyteller and member of the Saanich Nation of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Che oke ten shares traditional songs and stories of his Coast Salish tribal ancestors.

Laugh Like Alexie: Stand-up Comedy

Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

Lakewood Playhouse

5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd SW, Lakewood 98499

Enjoy an evening of comedy featuring local stand-up and sketch comedians.

Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest

Saturday, April 23 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sumner Pierce County Library

1116 Fryar Ave. 98390 • (253) 548-3306

See what happens when Raven steals the sun in this children’s puppet show based on the Caldecott Award-winning picture book by Gerald McDermott. Craft activities follow each performance. All ages.


“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (2007)

Fourteen-year-old Arnold decides to travel 22 miles each way to attend an affluent white school off the rez. The only other Indian is the school mascot. His family and friends feel betrayed and deserted. Arnold learns that maybe he can be part of both worlds. This young adult novel won a National Book Award.

Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m.

Orting Pierce County Library

202 Washington Ave. S. 98360 • (253) 548-3312

Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library

900 Meridian E., Suite 29, Milton 98354 • (253) 548-3325

Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m.

Steilacoom Pierce County Library

2950 Steilacoom Blvd. 98388 • (253) 548-3313

Thursday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m.

Graham Pierce County Library

9202 224th St. E. 98338 • (253) 548-3322

Thursday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library

13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma 98444 • (253) 548-3304

Thursday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m.

Gig Harbor Pierce County Library

4424 Point Fosdick Drive N.W. 98335 • (253) 548-3305

“Flight” (2007)

Zits is a 15-year-old Native American orphan failed by the foster care system. He participates in a violent act. But just as he pulls the trigger, he begins a time-travelling flight into different eras and settings where he discovers the depths of history, violence and a post 9/11 world.

Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Lakewood Pierce County Library

6300 Wildaire Road S.W. 98499 • (253) 548-3302

Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m.

DuPont Pierce County Library

1540 Wilmington Drive 98327 • (253) 548-3326

“Reservation Blues” (1995)

Winner of the American Book Award and Murray Morgan Prize, “Reservation Blues” begins when legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson wanders onto the Spokane Indian Reservation. Music, magic, misadventure, deals with the devil and self-discovery are in store for the Native American band Coyote Springs.

Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Buckley Pierce County Library

123 S. River Ave. 98321 • (253) 548-3310 or (360) 829-0300

Thursday, April 14 at 11 a.m.

Key Center Pierce County Library

8905 KPN, Lakebay 98349 • (253) 548-3309

Monday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Fife Pierce County Library

6622 20th St. E. 98424 • (253) 548-3323

“The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” (1993)

A precursor of “Reservation Blues,” this book of inter-connected short stories contains many of the same characters. The Lone Ranger and Tonto symbolize the cultural duality of life on and off the reservation. Sherman Alexie’s screenplay “Smoke Signals” is based on stories in this book.

Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m.

Summit Pierce County Library

5107 112th St. E., Tacoma 98446 • (253) 548-3321

Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m.

Sumner Pierce County Library

1116 Fryar Ave. 98390 • (253) 548-3306

“War Dances” (2009)

Sherman Alexie shares moments from the lives of Native Americans living in non-reservation settings and blended neighborhoods and the resulting negotiations made when living among two cultures. Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

Thursday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m. and

Friday, March 18 at 10 a.m.

University Place Pierce County Library

3609 Market Place W., Suite 100 98466 • (253) 548-3307

Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m.

South Hill Pierce County Library

15420 Meridian E. 98375 • (253) 548-3303


“Dance Me Outside” (1994)

This Canadian drama, directed and co-written by Bruce McDonald, is based on a book by W.P. Kinsella, in which a young girl is murdered on a First Nation reservation. Overt racism leads her tribe to demand justice.

Wednesday, March 23 at 5 p.m.

Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library

13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma 98444 • (253) 548-3304

“Smoke Signals” (1998)

Sherman Alexie’s screenplay “Smoke Signals” is adapted from a short story in “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” The film received the Sundance Filmmakers Trophy and the Sundance Audience Award. The San Francisco Chronicle called it "unpretentious, funny and soulful."

Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m.

Graham Pierce County Library

9202 224th St. E. 98338 • (253) 548-3322

Saturday, March 19 at 1 p.m.

Eatonville Pierce County Library

205 Center St. W. 98328 • (253) 548-3311 or (360) 832-6011

Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Bonney Lake Pierce County Library

18501 90th St. E. 98391 • (253) 548-3308

Saturday, April 16 at 2:30 p.m.

Summit Pierce County Library

5107 112th St. E., Tacoma 98446 • (253) 548-3321

Tuesday, April 19 at 2 p.m.

Tillicum Pierce County Library

14916 Washington Ave. S.W., Lakewood 98498 • (253) 548-3314


March 28-April 1

Throughout the week, advance copies of Sherman Alexie’s forthcoming picture book, “Thunder Boy Jr.,” and other age-appropriate Native American books will be read during Story Time sessions at all Pierce County Libraries. See for times.