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It’s bound to be chilly as Anuhea takes the stage in Bremerton on Saturday, but she’ll be bringing a little Hawaiian warmth with her.

Bremerton is the second stop on Anuhea’s “All is Bright” tour, which sees the performer getting into the holiday spirit. In that vein, she and friend and fellow musician Kimie Miner, who is performing on the tour, recently dropped a new Christmas song called “Red Gold & Green.”

The song references the colors red, gold and green as representing “the love in our hearts for red, the light that we shine for gold, and the leaves of peace, which talk about the land and our love of our land,” Anuhea said. 

“It’s like a reggae-inspired song because red, gold and green are definitely traditional reggae colors.” The song also has a bit of an ‘80s vibe, she added. “It’s a really special song. But we always throw our own twist into our Christmas music,” she said.

The show will feature Christmas music, and the stage will be decked out with Christmas decor. But Anuhea will also be playing fan favorites. “It’ll be a nice mix of the hits, and also some holiday joy,” she said.

Anuhea singing while playing guitar
Anuhea (Photo courtesy of Anuhea)

Coming from tropical Hawaii to rainy Washington will be quite the contrast, but Anuhea — who’s no stranger to the Pacific Northwest with a mom from Oregon and former manager from Seattle — said she’s prepared for the Washington waterworks, although she said she’d enjoy it if the rain would give way to snow.

“I actually am super excited about it,” she said. “I get to bust out the cute outfits and hopefully it snows and I can see my breath — that’s so exciting for Hawaii people to be able to do that kind of stuff.”

Although Washington’s weather could provide a nice change of pace, Hawaii’s sunny clime — along with its breathtaking natural beauty — is a major source of inspiration for Anuhea’s music.

“It’s almost impossible to not be inspired by the beauty that is around us in Hawaii,” she said. “It’s just so easy to write about. And I’m inspired every day by stuff as simple as the beach, the sunshine, and that kind of stuff.”

Not all her music is sunny, however, and some songs serve as calls to action, informed by Hawaii’s culture and history. That sentiment was showcased recently by the Maui wildfires and how the response was handled — or mishandled, in the view of many — by the government.

“The native people are protesting and living on the beach because they’re getting kicked out of hotels,” Anuhea said. “The people who have generational homes in Mahina are not being treated right. So there’s a lot of people writing songs about that movement and just trying to get Hawaiians taken care of and trying to take care of each other.”

Another struggle is the tension between the native populations who want to preserve the island paradise they call their home, and the interests of tourists and developers. Hawaiians have protested construction of a large telescope on the Mauna Kea, a mountain on the island of Hawaii.

“Hawaiians are protesting and camping out … and barricading the entrance for the construction vehicles to go up there, because it’s part of our culture,” she said. “They wanted to show people, no, you can’t do this, this is our sacred land.”

Although Anuhea can’t turn a blind eye to such struggles, the dominant vibe of her music is positive and uplifting.

“We’re so proud of our culture and all the positive stuff that we have to show and that we’ve learned,” she said.

Anuhea at the Redwood Theater

Anuhea performs 7:30 pm, Dec. 9, at the Redwood Theater at Tracyton Movie House, 1520 NE Riddell Rd, Bremerton. Doors open at 7 pm. All ages. Special guests: Kimie Miner, E.N. Young, and Stay Grounded.

Tickets are $30; buy tickets here. Meet and greet tickets are $75; buy them here.

Follow Anuhea on Instagram and Facebook, or visit her website.

COVID-19 shut down roller derby in Kitsap County, but now it’s back and more raucous than ever.

West Sound Roller Derby originally formed in 2012 as Northwest Derby Company, said team co-captain Kendra Schaff, who goes by the derby name Cypher when she plays. The team was founded by three skaters who were also part of Slaughter County Roller Derby.

Join Kitsap Scene+ to watch our video feature on West Sound Roller Derby

The team practiced at Skateland in Bremerton until it closed in 2019. They started practicing at Chico Alliance Church until COVID forced them to go on hiatus for two years. When they came back, they moved from the church facility to the sheep barn at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

“We finally feel like we found a pretty stable location for us to be able to skate and continue to grow the program,” Schaff said.

Members of West Sound Roller Derby skating during a recent practice
Members of West Sound Roller Derby skate at a recent practice (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

Roller Derby players wear quad roller skates, Schaff said, and the game is played on an oval flat track. There are five players on each team; one is designated the “jammer,” indicated by a star on their helmet, and they’re tasked with scoring points. The four other skaters are “blockers” — they prevent the other team’s jammer from getting through and play offense to help their own jammer get through the opposing team’s defense and score points.

“It’s a full contact sport. It’s very similar to rugby or hockey, just played on roller skates,” Schaff said.

Amber Humphries (derby name: Lazer) had seen roller derby depicted in popular media and often found herself thinking it would be cool to participate in the sport someday. A Facebook post for one of West Sound Roller Derby’s new skater trainings made her think her errant daydream could become a reality.

“I was like, you know, I think I’d like to give that a try,” she recalled. “And it started out pretty difficult and it took me a full year, but I stuck with it and here I am.”

The beauty of roller derby is it’s meant for everybody

Her first three months consisted of simply learning how to stand on skates, fall safely, and scooch forward instead of falling, she said. She was in the program for about a year, and it took her that long to get skilled enough that it was safe for her to compete, safety being one of the sport’s core tenants.

“It can be discouraging if you start like I did and you start the program and you can’t even move forward … but you stick with it and you push through and everybody’s really supportive and encouraging and you just keep going,” she said.

Getting better is a gradual process that slowly pays off, but the realization of that payoff can come on suddenly.

West Sound Roller derby team members line up at a recent practice
West Sound Roller derby team members line up at a recent practice (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

“You miss a moment and then you turn around and you look back and you think, I couldn’t do this two months ago,” she said. “And it’s like when you’re a kid and you’re growing taller and you’re like, ‘Oh, I guess I have grown.’ And so you get people encouraging you along the way and you don’t believe them and then you realize, ‘Oh, they weren’t just stringing me along or just giving me platitudes. I really have grown.'”

Katrina Dunn (derby name: Kategory 5) started skating during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I got laid off … I needed an outdoor hobby that I was excited about,” she said. “There’s just something about moving fast on wheels. It creates a rush, and I just got really into it.”

While out skating one day she was approached by a member of West Sound Roller Derby who encouraged her to try the sport on for size. She participated in the team’s new skater program in 2021.

Dunn has nothing but good things to say about roller derby.

Members of West Sound Roller derby lined up at a recent practice
Members of West Sound Roller derby at a recent practice (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

“It’s an adrenaline rush; it’s exciting,” she said. “For me, it’s also a new way to make friends, so good camaraderie. … I feel empowered when I play. It’s awesome. It’s an awesome game.”

There was a steep learning curve when she started. Other than playing soccer as a child, she’d never gotten much into contact sports.

“This was a good way for me to exercise again, get some aggression out and just have fun at the same time,” she said. “It’s difficult going from being on skates on your own, just kind of playing around, and then moving on wheels while duking it out with other people. It is hard, but you get really good core strength … [and] get more comfortable with it.”

There’s an inclusive sense of community surrounding roller derby, and anyone who wants to play the sport is welcome, Schaff said.

Watch the video feature on West Sound Roller Derby with a Kitsap Scene+ subscription

“The space of roller derby has traditionally been for women identifying folks or gender expansive identifying folks and also a lot of folks in the LGBTQ community,” Schaff said. “A lot of the time it’s the first team sport that most of us have played. And so it provides us opportunity to find community and to also find strength and learn how to build confidence and take up space in our own right in ways that we never really felt comfortable doing.

“A lot of the people that are on here are folks that are a little bit more weird, a little bit more on the fringe. And so being able to find like-minded people I think in itself is always really helpful. And I think also the beauty of roller derby is it’s meant for everybody. And we truly mean that: No matter how you identify, no matter what size your body is or any kind of other issues you might have, we’re all in this together and this sport truly has a spot for everybody.”

West Sound Roller Derby

West Sound Roller Derby’s next bout is 4 p.m., Dec. 2, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 1200 Fairgrounds Rd NW. Tickets are $12 – $15; buy them here

Learn more about the team on their website, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

A new indoor simulated golf experience is opening in Bremerton, just in time to give golfers a respite from rainy outdoor courses.

Pin Seeker Indoor Golf is opening in east Bremerton off of State Route 303. The establishment specializes in simulators offering 18 holes of golf, but also offers simulated driving ranges and arcade games. The exact opening date is still to be determined, but people can get updates on the business’s website.

That’s all according to Pin Seeker General Manager Theo Miller, who said the business aims to be a home for every kind of golfer.

The exterior of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf in Bremerton
Pin Seeker Indoor Golf in East Bremerton (Photo courtesy of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf)

“It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting, or if you’re really, really good,” he said. “You’re going to get something out of your time on one of these machines. Whether you’re just looking to have fun or you’re just learning how to swing a club or you want to dial in very specific statistics about your game, you’re going to find something in here that’s useful for you, or that’s fun or that you’re going to enjoy.”

Miller said he worked at a different golf simulator business more than 10 years ago, but that the technology has come a long way since then. Pin Seeker’s simulators are created by Korean company Golfzon, specifically the company’s TwoVision model. Miller said Pin Seeker is the only commercial facility in the state to offer these specific simulators, which feature articulating swing plates that simulate the uneven terrain of a golf course for an added sense of realism.

The simulators use cameras mounted in the ceiling and in front of the golfer to take accurate measurements of the golf ball. “It’s an infrared camera and it’s measuring the impact of the club face, the path of the club, as well as the spin of the golf ball,” Miller said. “And it’s kind of making an instantaneous calculation and projects that calculation onto the screen as your shot.”

The inside of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf in Bremerton.
The inside of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf in Bremerton (Photo courtesy of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf)

The business is owned by James Fisher, a lifelong golfer who was looking for a new business venture, Miller said. He had a golf simulator set up at his house and liked the idea of offering such technology to the public.

Although the idea of renting golf simulators to the public is not unique, Pin Seeker’s unique take is that it’s trying to emphasize the golf itself over related frills, Miller said.

“There’s other simulators in the state that kind of act as restaurants and bars that have golf,” he said. “We’re very golf-forward.”

Although Pin Seeker does serve food, it’s inspired by the fare one would find on a golf course. Typically golfers can get food like hot dogs or sandwiches to take with them between holes nine and 10, Miller said.

A person taking a swing at a golf ball at a golf simulator.
A golfer takes a swing at a golf ball at Pin Seeker Indoor Golf’s simulator. (Photo courtesy of Pin Seeker Indoor Golf).

“That’s kind of what we wanted to create from our menu, is things that are more handheld or more portable, more fast casual, because we didn’t want to go down the whole rabbit hole of creating a restaurant menu and having cooks and all the kitchen appliances you need for that. We wanted to keep it more focused on golf.”

They also serve draft beer through a unique self-serve system.

“The customer actually just buys a card that has a dollar amount on it,” Miller said. “And at the draft system, you tap the card and pour it yourself, and it just deducts by the ounce. So if you wanted to do a tasting flight, you could do that yourself. If there’s one on there that you like, you can just fill up 16 ounces and it’ll deduct the cost per ounce off your card. So it’s something pretty unique — there’s nothing like that in this area and we think it’s pretty cool. And you don’t have to rely on waitstaff to get a beverage; you can do it at your own leisure.”

Miller said he thinks golf is the most beautiful game in the world, and he’s excited to see Pin Seeker make the game more accessible to beginners. 

“You can play holes in under two hours without spending a fortune,” he said. “The cost doesn’t change if you add more players. You own the booth for the amount of time that you rent it for, so it can be one to six people per booth. Cost doesn’t change. Anybody that can swing a club can use it and not feel embarrassed that they’re slowing the course pace of play down. You’re playing at your own pace. … It’s just more enticing to any golfer, because you make the rules: It’s your booth and you can do what you want with it.”

Golf has taken off post-COVID, so Pin Seeker is well poised to help meet the growing demand for the sport, Miller added.

“It was the perfect pandemic activity, social distancing activity,” he said. “And I think more people now than ever are starting to play golf. But … more people are picking the game up in what they call non-green grass settings. So whether it’s indoor golf like us, or it’s driving ranges, or it’s Topgolf, more people are starting here because of the accessibility and because of the easier commitment to your time, and also the repeatability of swinging the club instead of hitting once and then walking 100 yards and then trying to do it again. You can repeat your swing over and over and over again within seconds. So it’s really conducive to developing a foundation for your golf swing for beginners.”

Pin Seeker Indoor Golf

Pin Seeker Indoor Golf is located at 5960 State Route 303, No. 190, Bremerton. The opening date is forthcoming; the best way to get updates is to subscribe to the company’s email list on their website.

There’s currently no FDA-approved diagnostic screening for ovarian cancer. A Bainbridge Island company working with the University of Arizona is hoping to change that — and thanks to a $25,000 grant, they’re closer to achieving their goal.

Bainbridge-based medical manufacturing company Glannaventa was one of 20 companies to receive a $25,000 healthcare innovation grant from Life Science Washington Institute in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce. The grants prioritize entrepreneurs and companies located outside King County, as well as women-led and/or socially or economically disadvantaged companies throughout the state, with a goal of supporting early-stage companies focused on developing healthcare solutions that improve lives, according to a news release from LSWI.

“Life Science Washington Institute is proud to announce the grant recipients as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the next generation of life sciences innovators,” said Richard Giersch, Life Science Washington Institute’s executive director, in the release. “In addition to the funding, the Life Science Washington Institute will offer technical assistance to all of the applicants and award recipients as they work to improve the health of Washington residents.”   

“As a top life science hub, sufficient funding is essential to the success of Washington-based biotech companies,” said Alison Beason, Director/Sector Lead, Life Science & Global Health, Washington State Department of Commerce, in the release. “By partnering with LSWI, this funding provides continuous support to advance innovations by early-stage startups, that have potential to improve health outcomes.”

John Black
John Black

John Black, founder of Glannaventa, said the company has been working with colleagues at the University of Arizona for about 10 years on developing a device, called GEODE, to screen for ovarian cancer by imaging the fallopian tubes, where ovarian cancer is believed to originate.  Professor Jennifer Barton at the University of Arizona just completed a 20-patient pilot study of the device, Black said.

How does the technology work? For comparison, Black pointed to autonomous cars, which have sensors that send out a pulse of light or radio waves that reflect off of a target and come back to the car. They’re called time-of-flight sensors, and they measure the time difference between light going out and coming back.

“The car basically says, OK, what’s the time difference between when the pulse left the car and when it came back from the target?” Black said. “And if you know that time interval, and you know the speed of light, you can calculate the distance based on that.”

University of Arizona Professor Jennifer Barton holding device to detect ovarian cancer in fallopian tubes.
Jennifer Barton, director of the University of Arizona BIO5 Institute and Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering, holds the device developed with Bainbridge-based Glannaventa to detect ovarian cancer in the fallopian tubes. (Photo courtesy of University of Arizona, Chris Richards/UA Communications)

“We do something very similar inside the fallopian tube,” he said. “We send out a pulse of light, it goes out and it reflects off the wall of the fallopian tube and comes back to the catheter. And that light doesn’t just reflect off the surface, it goes into the tissue and then comes back out again, and by measuring the time of flight — the time it took the light to go out to the tissue and come back — we can build up an image of the inner structure of the wall of the fallopian tube at the five micron level over a few millimeters.”

The technique is analogous to colonoscopies, in which a colonoscope about three meters long is inserted for video imaging.

“They’re looking for polyps and lesions that are on the order of several millimeters,” Black said. “And then the colonoscope is equipped with a biopsy device so they can reach out with the wire and snag a piece of tissue for the pathologist to look at. So we envisage our technique as being something similar to a colonoscopy in that the endoscope will be introduced into the fallopian tube and run the full length … [and] look around.”

If the device detects early-stage lesions, doctors can recommend follow-up action such as a detailed CT or MRI that could lead to early treatments like surgery or prophylactic chemotherapy, Black said.

Endoscope device being developed by Bainbridge Island-based company Glannaventa and the University of Arizona (Image courtesy of University of Arizona, BIO5 Institute, Courtesy of Professor Jennifer Barton)
Endoscope device being developed by Bainbridge Island-based company Glannaventa and the University of Arizona (Image courtesy of University of Arizona, BIO5 Institute, Courtesy of Professor Jennifer Barton)

The kind of cancer the company is targeting, called high-grade serous ovarian cancer, has a five-year survival rate after diagnosis of less than 25 percent, Black said. But if their diagnostic device can manage to identify the cancer earlier, when it’s only a few cells thick, that 25 percent survival rate could shoot up to more than 90 percent, he said.

There are currently no FDA approved diagnostic or screening techniques to detect ovarian cancer, Black said. “The current ones have a false positive rate that’s just way too high, and they also tend to bias toward the kinds of cancers that are less lethal, so the FDA actually discourages their use.”

Although the device, which is still in development and not yet for sale, has not been evaluated by the FDA, Black said they’ve had a conversation with the agency and that it supports the work they’re doing.

 “I was kind of fully expecting them to say, ‘No, too many people have failed here. It’s just not worth it.’ But they looked at what we’ve done; they were supportive.”

The $25,000 grant will have a profound impact on the company’s ability to continue bringing its diagnostic tool to fruition, Black said. Previous funding, which included funds from the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, was helpful, but the research is expensive and the money goes fast. The grant money was a “huge shot in the arm in an engineering and technical sense,” Black said.

It was also a psychological boost, he added. “I’ve been working on this for a long time and there’s been a number of times when I thought, you know, I should really stop banging my head against this wall,” Black said. “And I just loathe to give up on this problem. It’s definitely a calling as opposed to a career move. So getting that grant … was huge psychologically as well as just financially.”

In addition to receiving grant funds, the awardees join the LWSI Commercialization Support Program, which “ensures life science entrepreneurs and early-stage companies have access to the mentoring and resources required to start and grow in Washington state,” according to the news release.

“By providing access to resources such as a nationwide partnering network, free consultants, mentors, grant writing workshops and networking events, companies have a guide to ensure success, work with other emerging companies and secure funding opportunities. All Washington Competes applicants will receive a gap analysis from LSWI’s expert panel with suggestions for other activities that entrepreneurs may consider to move their company initiatives forward.”

If there’s a patron saint of travel advice, Rick Steves is arguably the heir to the role. The Edmonds-based travel guru brings his advice on European travel for two lectures at the Admiral Theater in Bremerton this Sunday, his first appearance in Kitsap County in a long time, he said.

Some of Steves’ advice is timeless, such as how to craft a good itinerary, or how to identify the most important places to go and things to do on one’s trip, he said. Other advice is timely and changes depending on current conditions: What’s it like this year? What are the crowds like? What’s new?

I’ve been back to Europe five or six times since COVID and the energy is there

“I only have about an hour and a half to share these ideas,” Steves said. “So my challenge is to figure out what’s the most practical and helpful hour-and-a-half that I can share with all these people that go to the theater in Bremerton.”

For the past few years, COVID-19 has been the biggest issue affecting travel, but that’s beginning to change, Steves said.

Watch the full interview with Rick Steves on Kitsap Scene+

“We’re coming out of COVID and I’m looking at my slideshow and I’m realizing that’s kind of old news,” he said. “I’ve been to Europe on three different trips this year and I just want to share for people what’s going on. What are the challenges? What’s the impact of the war in Ukraine? What’s the impact on crowds? How do you manage getting into museums when they want a reservation, and so on?”

Steves said after returning to Europe for the first time after a COVID-imposed hiatus, he wasn’t sure what he’d find. He was worried the mom and pops, bed and breakfasts, and cafes he loved would be boarded up.

Thankfully, his fears were unwarranted.

“That’s the good news to me, is the energy in the streets is there,” he said. “In fact, it’s there with gusto because people just said, hell no. We’re going to be embracing life like we did before COVID.”

Steves referred to the “revenge travel” phenomenon, with people making up for travel opportunities lost during the pandemic. And, due to the nature of social media and crowdsourcing information, everyone is going to the same sites and complaining about the crowds, Steves noted.

“As far as I’m concerned, you can get rid of the top 10 percent of all the sites where 90 percent of the travelers are going, and Europe would still be a great place to travel,” he said. “So you’ve got to decide, are you going to go to Anne Frank’s house and wait in that line and suffer through all those crowds? And maybe the answer is yes, and that’s great. Or are you going to say, I’m going to leave that to the mobs, and I’m going to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum — which is actually a better site and nobody goes there? There’s alternatives if you want to avoid the crowds.”

One of the biggest changes people should be aware of is that more places are requiring reservations. That was a practice that started during the pandemic, but has become permanent for many sites. “They realized this is a very handy way to control the crowds,” he noted.

Join Kitsap Scene+ to check out the full interview with Rick Steves

Steves said he’s excited to impart his knowledge with those attending his lectures at the Admiral Theater. 

“If people are enjoying travel, if they’re dreaming about travel, if they’ve got a trip coming up in the next 10 or 15 years, there’s one place to be, and that’s the Admiral Theater this weekend in Bremerton, because I’m going to be going over there. I’m excited to be venturing over to Bremerton,” he said.

Rick Steves at the Admiral Theater

Rick Steves’ For the Love of Europe at the Admiral Theater, 515 Pacific Ave., Bremerton.

  • 3 p.m. Oct. 8. Doors open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Buy tickets.
  • 6 p.m. Oct. 8. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Tickets are $20. Buy tickets.

Featured photo: Courtesy of Rick Steves

You don’t need to sneak into a sex shop — you can walk in with your head held high. At least, that’s the idea behind Aphrodisia Boutique, a new store in Port Orchard.

Owners Daniel Baron and Fox Grocutt moved to the area in 2019, drawn by the picturesque water and mountains, as well as the culture here, Daniel said. Sexuality has always been important to both of them and they quickly began hunting for a local sex shop to patronize, he said.

But they didn’t find one they liked.  The ones they encountered were too seedy, used heavily gendered advertising, or sold products that are, in the couple’s words, “unsafe for use in a real human body.”

Sexuality really touches every single part of our lives as human beings. It gets just so integrated into who we are as people, how we interact with each other, how we build our societies, that it’s impossible to ignore.

So they decided to open their own store that conformed to their values. Fox said their store is committed to only stocking “body safe” toys and lubricants. Because the sex toy industry is unregulated, it can be difficult to determine the safety of each product, but they’ve taken pains to vet the items in their store. As far as they know, there’s no other store in Kitsap that has made such a stringent commitment to safety.

Storefront for the Port Orchard sex store Aphrodisia
Aphrodisia in Port Orchard (Photo courtesy of Aphrodisia Boutique)

Fox said another way she and Daniel, who both identify as queer, is trying to distinguish the shop is by being a resource for the queer community.

“We want to make a place that feels nice; that’s something that from day one was really important … a store that is welcoming and pleasant to the inside for everyone,” Daniel said. “We want to encourage people to think of sexuality as a normal, healthy, happy thing.”

Fox is currently training to be a sexuality educator; she hopes to have the training completed by the end of the year, she said.

“One thing that I’ve noticed again and again in the courses that I’ve been taking is how sexuality really touches every single part of our lives as human beings,” she said. “It gets just so integrated into who we are as people, how we interact with each other, how we build our societies, that it’s impossible to ignore.”

A book display at Aphrodisia
A book display at the Aphrodisia shop in Port Orchard (Photo courtesy of Aphrodisia Boutique)

People are often raised in sex-negative environments and end up feeling ashamed about their sexuality, she said.

“They think they’re alone in their desires or their kinks or whatever it is,” she said. “And we want to have a space where you can feel normal and accepted. So we talk very matter-of-factly about everything. We’re not going to judge anyone for asking whatever questions they have about our products or what we might have in stock or anything. That’s kind of our aim — that we just want people to know that whatever they’re feeling about themselves, it’s OK.”

Although they’ve had a lot of positive feedback since the store opened, they’ve also had their fair share of pushback, including harassing phone calls. Daniel said most of the harassing calls were from non-local phone numbers, from people who don’t live in the area.

Daniel Baron and Fox Grocutt standing in the window of their store, Aphrodisia Boutique
Daniel Baron and Fox Grocutt stand in the window of their store, Aphrodisia Boutique (Photo courtesy of Aphrodisia Boutique)

“The overwhelming response from people has been, ‘Thank you for being here. We’re so glad that the store exists here in Kitsap, in Port Orchard,'” he said.

“We’re outwardly sex-positive and we’re outwardly queer and unfortunately there are bigots that don’t like that,” Fox added. “And that’s always going to be the case, unfortunately.”

Of course, not every community member who bristles at the sight of a sex shop in their area is going to make harassing phone calls. To them, Daniel says,  “The first thing I would say is, come on in and say hi. And if you have questions or concerns, just ask us, because we both love what we do. We’re really happy to talk about why we’re here and we hope to be an asset for the community. Just come on down and look at our store and see that it’s not anything shameful, it’s not scary. We have a nice space. We’re welcoming. I think people might be pleasantly surprised if they actually came and checked us out.”

In addition to adult-oriented toys, the store offers art, books and other assorted products. “They’ve been really popular and they’re not things that you see so much in other sex shops,” Fox said. “I think people just have been excited to be in here.”

Aphrodisia Boutique

Aphrodisia Boutique is located at 1014 Bay Street, Suite 4, in Port Orchard. Construction of a new roundabout has created traffic problems, but Daniel recommends coming in the back way by driving down Rockwell Avenue.

People can also order online, and get more information about the store, at Aphrodisia.boutique.

A new Port Orchard business promises to be on the cutting edge of fun.

PenAxe opened its doors this summer and offers patrons the chance to hone their axe-throwing skills.

If you haven’t heard of axe-throwing before, you’re behind the times: The axe business is booming. Consumers reportedly spent $6 million at axe-throwing businesses through the Square payment platform in 2019, and between 2018 and 2019, there was a 319 percent increase in such businesses, according to Xola, an entertainment booking company.

PenAxe’s owners, Greg and Julie Randall, were introduced to axe-throwing in February 2020, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when some friends took them to an axe-throwing business in Wenatchee.

Greg Randall, far right, and Julie Randall, second from right, cut the ribbon on their axe-throwing business, PenAxe. (Photo courtesy of PenAxe).
Greg Randall, far right, and Julie Randall, second from right, cut the ribbon on their axe-throwing business, PenAxe. (Photo courtesy of PenAxe).

“We were throwing the axes down there, but we couldn’t get them to stick into the target,” Greg recalled. “After a little while we started becoming successful in getting the axe to at least stick in the target, and just had a really great time — a lot of laughter and fun with our friends, and it was a very enjoyable evening.”

Later, when they were driving back home, the couple got to talking.

“We weren’t aware of anybody that had an axe-throwing business open in western Washington, particularly here in Kitsap County,” Greg said. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if this is something that we could offer the community, something that’s different, that’s a bit more unique, that provides people an indoor activity that’s a little bit edgy and fun?’ And so we came back and we started doing some market research.”

They found that, at the time, there was just one axe-throwing venue in all of western Washington, in Seattle. It seemed like a wide open market and a golden opportunity, and they began looking for spaces that might accommodate such an activity. But the COVID pandemic hit and disrupted the momentum they’d built.

An axe sunk into a wooden target at PenAxe in Port Orchard WA. Photo courtesy of PenAxe
An axe sunk into a wooden target at PenAxe in Port Orchard WA. (Photo courtesy of PenAxe).

In the summer of 2021, they discovered that the new owners of Town Square Mall in Port Orchard were working on renovating the building and were eager to find interesting new tenants. They talked to mall management about their idea to start an axe-throwing business and they were open to the idea, said Greg.

“It was something they’d never heard of, and so they wanted to go back and do a little research themselves and figure out, one, is this something that’s safe, and two, is it really an industry that’s growing — is it something people would want? And they came back and said, we did our research and we agree that this could be a really fun thing for the community.”

The business serves snacks as well as beer. There are strict rules governing the consumption of alcohol on the premises to ensure safety. The Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board passed regulations a year ago enabling axe-throwing businesses to obtain liquor licenses and serve alcohol, according to Axios

Safety is a huge priority for the business. There are 14 axe-throwing lanes, and each lane is individually divided with a partition wall and safety wire to ensure an axe can’t travel into somebody else’s lane. Each lane is allowed only one thrower at a time. Safety coaches are on hand as well, both to monitor for safety and to give people pointers.

“We work very hard to provide an incredibly safe environment that everybody’s going to be able to go home in the same condition that they arrive in,” Greg said.

PenAxe throwing coaches Brady and Ashton. (Photo courtesy of PenAxe).
PenAxe throwing coaches Brady and Ashton. (Photo courtesy of PenAxe).

The establishment uses an interactive computer system that allows people to play a variety of games. There’s the traditional iteration in which people are awarded more points the closer they are to the bullseye. But there’s also games that project onto the target, such as zombie or duck hunter games. People can also compete within a lane, or against other lanes.

Participants must be 14 or older, but the business features a kid-friendly play space with plastic axes and targets, as well as other games including giant Jenga and a giant checkerboard.

Greg said it’s been exciting to see people having fun as they participate for the first time and see their skills improve.

“It’s exciting to watch your friends — ‘Oh hey, they just got their first one! Awesome, good job!’ — and then they get progressively better,” he said. “And it’s a very social thing because you’ve got one person up throwing, you’ve got several of you hanging back, and so now we can just talk and have fun. And so there’s a real social aspect to it in a casual, laid-back atmosphere. … We just saw it as the modern day bowling. Bowling’s been around for generations and it’s a fun game, but this adds a whole new level of something to do.”

Greg said there’s plans for a “phase two” expansion that would include adding a full service restaurant and the addition of new throwing lanes. They hope to launch those improvements sometime in 2024. 

PenAxe

PenAxe is located at 1700 Mile Hill Dr., Suite 261, in Port Orchard. For more information, follow them on Facebook or visit their website.

A wealth of DIY creativity was on display Saturday at the first ever Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival.

Dani Gray, founder and organizer of the Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival, stands at her booth with a wealth of zines on display
Dani Gray, founder and organizer of the Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival, stands at her booth with a wealth of zines on display (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

Dani Gray, the founder and organizer of the event held at Evergreen Rotary Park, is a lover of zines and alternative art. She noticed a lack of events in the area celebrating those things and wanted to bring one here, she said.

Gray started investigating what it would take to put on a zine-focused event in May and ended up teaming up with the city of Bremerton, Kitsap Regional Library, Ashley’s Pub, Pier Six Press, and various partners to bring her idea to fruition.

Zines are noncommercial, short-run magazines. They are typically handmade and self-distributed, and focus on alternative culture topics outside the mainstream. They’re often associated with the punk DIY scene, although they’ve been around long before that; for example, they played a role in the American civil rights movement, and have been used to distribute science fiction, Gray said.

In a world that’s increasingly online, the tactile sensation of holding a publication in one’s hand can be deeply satisfying.

“Because everything is so digitized and online, having a piece of art that you can take with you and that is physical … there’s something special about something that someone poured their heart into,” Gray said. “And the zine culture is very much welcoming and inclusive and it’s less about making money and more about passion.” The festival was a buy-sell-trade event, she added.

People visit booths at the Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival
People visit booths at the Bremerton Zine & Small Zine Festival (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

One artist, who goes by the name Judith M., said she started getting into creating artwork after she graduated from college. She’s been creating art for around five years, she said.

Learning about zines inspired her to be more creative with her artwork, she said. She learned about the zine fest from Gray and said she was excited to participate.

West Sound Roller Derby, Kitsap’s only adult roller derby league, had a booth at the festival. The team created a zine from scratch to distribute at the event. Called “Roller Derby Is,” the publication features input from each of the team members offering their ideas about what roller derby is, said team member Micaela Petrini.

A row of West Sound Roller Derby's "Roller Derby Is" zine
A row of West Sound Roller Derby’s “Roller Derby Is” zine (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

“We got input from all the team members who contributed a word for a page,” she said, such as “empowering,” “strength,” “community,” “restorative,” and “for everyone.”

Team member Kirstie Williams found photos to accompany the text, and the back of the publication features the rules of roller derby gameplay. “So it’s … what is the game like outside of the game, and then what is it like in the game,” Petrini said.

Karen Sawyer is owner of Bremerton’s Pier Six Press, a letterpress print and design company that creates paper goods of all styles, she said.

“I went to school in Portland, and Portland has a pretty large zine community,” she said. “Letterpress is very associated with book arts, which is very associated with zines, and I just kind of fell in love with letterpress and through that fell in love with small press.”

A display of zines at a booth at the Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival
A display of zines and small press books at a booth at the Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival (Photo by Kitsap Scene)

She said it was cool to have an event like this in Bremerton. 

“This is something Bremerton totally needs,” she said. “Zines are accessible and they don’t have to be expensive or super complicated. Anyone can put one together and I think that Bremerton and zines go hand in hand really well.”

Gray said she was pleased with the event’s turnout.

“I love that people are chatting with the artists and getting to know each other,” she said. “Bremerton is full of really cool, quirky people and I’m thrilled to see everybody out and getting to know each other and building community.”

Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival

Stay up to date on future Bremerton Zine & Small Press Festival events by following the festival on Facebook and Instagram.

A new addition to Kitsap’s nightlife scene opens later this week.

EDEN Nightclub & Lounge in Bremerton opens its doors Aug. 25 and 26. The brainchild of local residents Chloe and Zachary Beach, the club is the culmination of considerable effort — and passion.

Chloe said entrepreneurship runs in her family. She and Zachary own a roofing company — Next Level Roofing — and her parents and grandparents have owned various businesses as well. The couple had been brainstorming ideas for opening a new business — “always good to have more eggs in different baskets,” Chloe said — when she began to wonder why there wasn’t a nightclub in Silverdale or Kitsap County.

A group of people enjoy the atmosphere at EDEN Nightclub & Lounge during a pre-opening event.
A group enjoys the atmosphere at EDEN Nightclub & Lounge during a pre-opening event. Photograph courtesy of Chloe Beach.

“There has to be some kind of law that doesn’t allow you to open up a nightclub at all,” she figured. “Because otherwise, somebody would have done it.”

It turns out there was no such law but, as the pair discovered for themselves, taking the idea from fleeting thought to an up-and-running business wasn’t an easy process.

They started by trying to find a suitable space for a nightclub. An old pawn shop on Callow Avenue seemed like a perfect space, Chloe said, but it turned out it didn’t have a sprinkler system — a must-have for a nightclub — and she was told putting in a new system would cost around $150,000.

That was a no-go, so they kept looking. Chloe said her real estate agent told her about a space that wasn’t on the market — a former pool hall with nearly 7,000 square feet, a wide open area and both a bar and a kitchen. It was perfect and, after getting in touch with the owner of the property, they were able to lease it.

Chloe said she and Zachary initially wanted to open the club for spring break, but acknowledged that was ambitious. It took four months just to get the liquor license, she noted, and it’s taken a lot of work to design the club’s interior to give off the vibe they’re going for.

“As soon as you go in, it’s like a neon jungle,” Chloe said. “Almost every single wall is floral: ivy walls, fern walls; everything is just to the max.”

“I really wanted to make it feel like a very peaceful atmosphere,” she added, noting that they’re seeking to invoke “PLUR” — which stands for peace, love, unity and respect — a concept developed in the rave scene. “The whole vibe comes from that — just to keep the vibe really light and fun,” she said.

A DJ spins music at a pre-opening event at EDEN Nightclub & Lounge.
A DJ spins music at a pre-opening event at EDEN Nightclub & Lounge. Photo courtesy of Chloe Beach.

The club will enforce a dress code, both so people can feel comfortable dressing up for a night out, and to avoid any of the problems that may accompany gang-affiliated wear, Chloe noted. Generally, the dress code requires “cocktail attire,” she said. The full dress code is available at the club’s website.

So how will the nightclub be different from the current crop of nightlife venues in Kitsap County?

“The vibe is a lot more outgoing,” Chloe said. “A lot of the people I’ve had in there for private events have said they feel a lot more comfortable on the dancefloor because that’s what’s expected — to go and have a good time, and not feeling like you’re being watched by the people at the bar.”

The dress code also lets people feel comfortable dressing up, she said. Outside of the nightclub environment, “if you’re a female and want to wear a nice cocktail dress or something fun, you get all the eyes on you like you’re a piece of meat,” she said. “Everyone else is wearing jeans or a T-shirt or whatever, and it makes you feel uncomfortable.”

The club’s interior aesthetic also takes things up a notch, she said.

“A lot of people feel like they enter a whole different world; an oasis,” she said. The furniture lights up with LEDs, and there’s an expansive lounge where people can relax apart from the dance floor.

A recent staff training event that served as a test run for the club confirmed the versatility of the space, Chloe said. 

“People were able to go with their group and sit … there’s always a spot for you to go and not feel overwhelmed in the crowd,” she said.

Security for the club is a priority: Staff will perform checks upon entry and will be equipped with wand-style metal detectors, Chloe said. Security will patrol the parking lot to make sure people aren’t doing things there they shouldn’t be, she added.

And the club will feature several live DJs per night, each doing different genres of music, Chloe said. Some are local, but have moved here from scenes like Las Vegas, she said. As the club grows, they hope to attract more nationwide DJ talent.

In addition to drinks, food is available at the club courtesy of its full kitchen. Eventually they’d like to expand to include a more extensive menu, but for now the offerings are typical bar food, Chloe said.

The club recently passed its final inspections and is ready to open this weekend.  “It’s been quite the journey with it all and we’re really excited to finally be open to the public,” Chloe said.

EDEN Nightclub & Lounge

Eden Nightclub & Lounge’s grand opening starts 8 p.m., Aug. 25, at 2817 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, and continues on Aug. 26. $10 cover until 10 p.m. $15 cover after 10 p.m. 21+.

Stay up to date by visiting the club on Facebook and Instagram, or on its website.

Flyer reading: EDEN Nightclub & Lounge Grand opening Friday August 25 and Saturday August 26, 21+, $10 cover before 10pm, $15 cover after 10 pm, Dress code and VIP booking info at www.edennightclub.beer

For many people, there are fewer things nicer than curling up with a warm drink and snuggling with an adorable cat. The owners of a new café opening in Bremerton agree.

A new cat café called Ziggy’s Cat Lounge opens this Saturday.

A cat café, for those not in the know, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: The café is divided into two parts: The café side, which offers a variety of drinks (including coffee, cocoa and even beer), and the cat lounge side, which features fluffy felines ready to be adopted.

Kittens playing on a chair
Photo courtesy of Ziggy’s Cat Lounge

The café teamed up with the Humane Society of Mason County to foster nearly a dozen adoptable kitties, said Shannon Gabel, who owns the café with her husband, Shane.

The first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998; the concept expanded to Japan in the early 2000s and it’s now a worldwide phenomenon. The Gabels got their first look at a cat café in action when they visited one in Seattle.

“It was packed,” Shannon recalled, adding that it was heartening to see that so many people wanted to be there. The couple hung out with the cats for 45 minutes to an hour, and they were struck by how happy everyone there was to be playing with their new feline friends, she recalled.

Other than just being a fun place to interact with cats, Ziggy’s gives potential pet parents a chance to evaluate adoptees up close.

A cat playing on a cat toy
Photo courtesy of Ziggy’s Cat Lounge

“We want to let their personalities shine through,” Shannon said. “It makes sense for them to be able to be out and play with each other, and us,  instead of just being in a cage and being timid about that. Cats aren’t the same in their cages compared to being able to roam around and interact with you.”

New pet parents are in great demand currently, she added.

“There’s so many people that have a cat, but it’s not fixed and the cat gets out or escapes one night, and then that cat has babies,” she said. “If we can at least adopt them, then you know they’re fixed already, so you know you’re not going to have that kind of mishap if they do end up escaping one time.”

Shannon grew up with animals, so it’s not surprising that she gravitated toward a business venture that features them so prominently. Their family always had cats and dogs growing up, she said.

“I always seemed to bring the cats home,” she said. “My dad, of course, was the guy that says ‘no, you’re not bringing that cat home.’” But bring them home she would, and he would begrudgingly accept it, she said. Shannon got her cat Ziggy, the café’s namesake, when she was living in Texas. “I had him forever. He was just a lovable big guy,” she said, adding that he sadly passed away a couple years ago.

The interior of Ziggy's Cat Lounge in Bremerton
Photo courtesy of Ziggy’s Cat Lounge

Shannon said she and Shane are happy to alleviate some of the strain on local animal shelters, which can easily become overwhelmed. 

“They have too many cats and not enough people to adopt, so being able to have a lot of them here is great,” she said. “Hopefully we can get more eyes on them and get them adopted.”

Ziggy’s Cat Lounge

Grand opening: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Aug. 19. The lounge is located at 3627 Wheaton Way, Ste. F, Bremerton.

Get the latest updates by visiting the lounge on Facebook and Instagram. Schedule a time to visit the cats on the lounge’s website.