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Washington native and world traveler Rick Steves is coming to the Bellevue Club Thursday, Feb. 21, to a host a travel talk, focusing on Europe with a side trip into Islam.

Rick is known the world over, and he'll use his travels to guide you through a presentation to get your family set for a spring break trip that'll help you become true travelers—not tourists.

REFLECTIONS caught up with the guide guru to learn the difference between a lifetime experience and a tourist trap.

REFLECTIONS: Are you constantly looking for new places to explore because of all the tourists who now visit previously
"low key" spots after reading your guides?

RS: Yes, but the real coup is to go to the best places (which are now "discovered"), and do them in a way that lets you experience them in a candid, backdoor way. Rather than find a non-touristy French city, do Paris in a non-touristy way.

REFLECTIONS: What are you specifically looking for in locations, hotels and attractions to recommend to your many fans and readers?

RS: Mom-and-Pops rather than chain hotels, restaurants and pubs; and hands-on experiences rather than sitting in an auditorium with lots of tourists to see clichés on stages.

REFLECTIONS: How do you think traveling Europe benefits Americans' everyday lives and thinking?

RS: If you never leave America, your worldview is shaped by our local media, which has an agenda to have us fearful and ethnocentric. When we travel, we gain an empathy with, and understanding of, the other 96 percent of humanity. What's not to like about that?

REFLECTIONS: How do you transform from a tourist to a traveler?

RS: A tourist sees spectacles on stage, collects souvenirs and leaves for home with no desire to come home changed. A traveler becomes a temporary local, collects experiences and goes home with more empathy for people who have different cultural baggage and see things differently than he or she does. A traveler wants to grow.

One's not right while the other is wrong, and they aren't mutually exclusive. It's two different kinds of activities, which both involve travel—one recreational and/or hedonistic—the other transformative.

REFLECTIONS: Why is it important to you to make Americans more thoughtful, curious world travelers?

RS: There are powerful forces in our society that would prefer we all just stayed home and lived out our lives as mindless producers/consumers. They'd prefer we had no interest in challenging our societal norms by hanging out with people who find different truths to be self-evident and God-given.

In a globalized world, we need a global outlook or we, as a society, will be victims of change rather than shapers of change.

REFLECTIONS: Any new projects in the works?

RS: I'm planning on researching and producing shows on Egypt, Israel and Palestine this year. My big challenge will be producing an hour-long special on the Holy Land that sorts out cultural and historic foundations of the stress and strife between Israel and Palestine today, similar to the way we tackled Iran a few years ago with a public television special.

Raising awareness of the context and roots of the problems in the Middle East from a sightseeing and a traveler's perspective, which humanizes the region rather than gets bogged down on specific political controversies, is a challenge I am eager to take on.

To attend Rick Steves' Europe travel talk Thursday, Feb. 21, from 6-9 p.m., email Membership Director Kaarin Keil at Tickets are $15.

By Allyson Marrs

It's that time. Hollywood is in a full frenzy, digging through piles of Spanx and cuff links, and practicing those humble loser smiles. The Oscars are here!

For movie nerds, this is huge. You spend all year going in and out of theaters, munching on buttery popcorn and weeping at the lives of fictional characters. For the cinephile, the Oscars are as much for you as they are for the actors and Hollywood pioneers.

The Club will be hosting its own Oscars party of sorts on Tuesday, Feb. 19. From Everett's newspaper, "The Herald," film critic Robert Horton will talk about 2012's best movies, especially those on the Oscars ballot. He'll also indulge in the year's movie events, scandals and the fun had along the way.

During the event, film fans can gather and gossip while enjoying light appetizers—just like the A-list when they sit down to a meal that takes a year to plan. You can discuss your favorites with fellow fans, learn a bit about the biz and talk like the Academy, all while preparing for the big night.

As a movie non-expert, but enthusiast, I have my own predictions, which function more as a wish list. However, there's always buzz, and the real experts have their guesses too.

The final voting begins Feb. 8, with winners announced at the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24. As of press time, the final list of nominees was only speculated, with bids announced Jan. 10.

Seth MacFarlane is set to host, so even if your favorites lose, you're still in for a good show.

Best Picture
Sights are set high for "Argo," because as one funny Huffington Post writer put it, its message is that Hollywood can save lives, and the folks with the Academy can really get on board with that.

Also expected to be big contenders: "Les Misérables," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Life of Pi," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Cloud Atlas," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and, perhaps, even "The Dark Knight Rises."

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Again, Ben Affleck is the talk of the town for his role in "Argo." Can he multitask, or what? But if he wants to take this Oscar, he'll have to fight off John Hawkes' virginity in "The Sessions," Daniel Day-Lewis' top hat in "Lincoln," Joaquin Phoenix's questionable faith in "The Master," Hugh Jackman's iron lung in "Les Misérables" and Denzel Washington's alcoholism in "Flight."

Best Actress in a Leading Role
This could be a battle between the young and the old. Leading ladies Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Quvenzhané Wallis for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Keira Knightley for "Anna Karenina" and Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour" are all top contenders.

Best Director
His name is synonymous with great directing, and Steven Spielberg is sure to be nominated for "Lincoln." Also likely to make a run for the podium are Ben Affleck for "Argo," Michael Haneke for "Amour," Tom Hooper for "Les Misérables" and Ang Lee for "Life of Pi." There are about 10 fantastic possibilities for this category, so Quentin Tarantino may surprise everyone for his film "Django Unchained."

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nowadays, just about every movie was once in hardcover form, or inspired by true events, like the frontrunner. "Argo" is again leading this category, but it'll most likely battle against "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Les Misérables."

The Rundown of Academy Events
Monday, Feb. 4: Nominees Luncheon
Friday, Feb. 8: Final voting begins
Saturday, Feb. 9: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 24: 85th Academy Awards presentation

To attend the Bellevue Club's Oscars party, contact Membership Director Kaarin Keil at The fun begins Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.


Member Events Director: Kaarin Keil | 425-688-3384 |
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