Friday, December 30, 2011

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 4:02 PM

TONIGHT!

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When a band has been around as long as Charlie Butts and the Filter Tips, you’d think they would get tired of playing the same songs over and over again. But after 18 years in the Inland Northwest, the band performs with a fresh, youthful excitement. Tonight they’ll release their latest CD, More Peas. Check them out at 9 pm at Bluz at the Bend. $3. Gotta be 21.

The first of TWO nights of Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot starts tonight out at Northern Quest Casino. It's a tour, which has already been seen by huge crowds all over Europe and Japan. The show tonight is at 7:30 pm, and costs $70-$80. Tomorrow, the price goes up to $150. Gotta be 21.

TOMORROW! NEW YEAR'S!

Tired of sitting home alone on New Year’s Eve, watching the folks in Times Square have fun? Then get off your butt and head to A Club for a night of food, drinks and the Go-Go’s … well Go Man Go's, that is. The all-male Go-Go’s cover band (yes, you read that right) perform classic songs like “Vacation” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” with as much, if not more spunk, than the original group. Local favorites Whiskey Dick Mountain, rock-and-rollers the Camaros, surf rockers BBBBandits and party-starting extraordinaire DJ Jorgens. The $25-$30 tickets include access to a dessert bar, hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Gotta be 21.

Soul Proprietor, Spokane's nine-piece horn band will be rockin' on New Year's Eve from 9 pm-1 am. Doors open at 8. Full dinner available, and free champagne at midnight. Tickets: $25. The Luxury Box, 1512 E. Sprague Ave.

Head on down to Mootsy's for a show with locals Bandit Train, Summer in Siberia, Old Bear Mountain, the Soul and the Machine and DJ Bandit Bear. $10. Gotta be 21.

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How HBO can produce good comedies again

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 12:56 PM

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Last week HBO cancelled How to Make it in America,Bored to Death, and Hung. This is surprising, not because the shows had decent ratings or much of any critical respect, but because HBO is not known for canceling anything.

HBO, supposedly, is known for being premium, for producing the kind of quality programming worth paying for. The subscription base could allow HBO to escape commercial pressures and create shows that CBS and ABC audiences were too plebian to get.

And, in drama, often, HBO succeeded. It produced The Sopranos, The Wire, andTreme — all shows that, in some ways, broke ground (let’s ignore True Bloodfor now.)

But comedy, for the most part, has been pretty dismal at HBO. The days of developing shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Larry Sanders Show appeared to be over (though Curb continues to exist.)

Entourage ran entirely on smirk, and Hung ran entirely on smug. Neither were fueled by jokes or creativity or guts. The reviews ofBored to Death were mixed – but few were talking about how brave, innovative, or particularly clever it was. The praise for How to Make it In America (also from Entourage’s executive producer, Mark Wahlberg) mainly focused on its credit sequence.

In fact, the best comedy that fits HBO’s supposed brand of risk and quality is Louie, and that airs on FX.

But now HBO has cleaned house. It’s spared Enlightened, the new HBO comedy about a woman who, after a nervous breakdown leads to a New Age conversion, returns to her corporate job. Enlightened’s made several end-of-the-year best-of lists, and for good reason. It treats every character with the right degree of respect and mockery for a comedy, and the portrayal of corporate hell feels almost Office Space-worthy.

All this bodes well for HBO. With comedy, it appears to have suddenly remembered that quality matters, that lazy shows like Hung andEntourage damage their brand and shows like Enlightened help. But I’d like to see the network go further: Adopt the Louie model,adopt the model of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Give visionary showrunners and passionate comedians a small budget and total creative control. And see what happens.

The power of pay-cable is the power to take insane risks. Mark Wahlberg won’t take advantage of that. But there are many who could.

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Sing along to The Sound of Music tonight

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

If you were never shown The Sound of Music in choir or band class, now's your chance to get in on all the Von Trapp action. The classic story, based on the Rodger's and Hammerstein musical of the same name, has been transformed into a sing-along experience that both first-timers and long-time fans can enjoy.

No worries if you weren't Julie Andrews in another life; during the live portion of the show, the host will lead the audience through a vocal warm-up. There will also be a fancy dress competition with prizes for those brave enough to strut their stuff on-stage. Costumers are not required, though they do add to the fun. The host will also show everyone how to use their complimentary goody bag of props during the movie. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show but more family-friendly.

After the live portion of the show, the 1965 movie is played in Technicolor, and it's the audience's time to shine. Don't worry if you're a little rusty on the lyrics; songs like "My Favorite Things" and "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" will be accompanied by lyrics on-screen so you can belt your heart out.

The Sound of Music Sing-A-Long is tonight, Friday, Dec. 30 at 7 pm at the INB Performing Arts Center, located at 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. Tickets are $20-$30. Go to inbpac.com or call 279-7000 for more information.

Get ready for the show by watching "Do-Re-Mi" below.

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What Should Have Been Day #20

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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For a couple weeks earlier this month it seemed as though we were in the ski movie version of "Ground Hog's Day".  An extended high pressure system didn't bring any new snow but it did bring many sunny days in a row.    That Monday morning started like most others, the only difference being I was dog sitting one of my god-dogs (my friends give me this designation more as a built-in dogsitter rather than actually having godmother type of responsibilities).  I got up, washed my face, brushed my teeth, made some coffee, loaded the car and headed for the mountain.  

I cherish my ski morning process. I enjoy sipping on hot coffee while listening to the music streaming from my XM radio.   I enjoy driving through a winter wonderland, getting out of the car and hearing excited skiers and boarders as they boot up and make their way to the chairlift.  

It was just as I entered the parking lot, 11 miles away from my house, that I had an overwhelming feeling that I had forgotten something.  Knowing my morning process, I instantly recalculated my steps and sure enough with a quick glance over my shoulder, I was able to confirm what I had forgotten.  My ski boots.  

I have been a pass holder for 12 seasons.  In all the drives, walks or bus rides, I have never forgotten my boots (I did, however, lose them - temporarily - for a couple of weeks).  When I worked for the Selkirk Powder Company I had forgotten my base layer pants a couple of times but those are easily replaceable. I have always been prepared and if minor items had been forgotten, borrow or buy was always a possibility.  You may think to yourself, "Why didn't she just rent some?"  After wearing custom orthotics for 6 years, the idea of renting boots doesn't even enter the mental register.  

Without hesitation, with my tail between my legs and the acknowledgment that day would've been day #20, I turned around and drove back to town knowing that sometimes these things just happen. 

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Tweeting the swearing-in of Mayor Condon

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

David Condon was sworn in as Spokane's 44th mayor this morning in front of the clock tower in Riverfront Park. Condon spoke broadly of challenges and prosperity but didn't specifically reference any of Spokane's ills or solutions. We tweeted it, and here's the tweet round-up. (And spoiler alert: The man with the ukulele did not play.)

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Morning Briefing: Photo tickets hit roadblock, raw deals for minors

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Around Here

Appeals court won't hear Spokane photo tickets case (KXLY) 

CdA police crack major burglary ring (KXLY)

College music teacher tricked student into stripping (SR) 

Short sentence for WA woman who pimped minors (KREM) 

Out There

U.S. gains factory jobs - with lower wages (NYT)  

Occupy LA protesters build Rose Parade float (LA Times) 

Fire engulfs Russian nuclear sub (Guardian UK)  

Soon it will be free time

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Basketball Diaries

Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 12:40 PM

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The WSU men’s basketball team isn’t exactly picked to be a powerhouse this year, but they play in a powerhouse conference (the Pac-12, albeit in a bit of a rebuilding stretch) with deep rivalries and some interesting new players (Colorado and the usually basketball-strong Utah), which means their games tend to be electrifying, even when the team itself isn’t.

In a nod to Spokie fans, they open their Pac-12 season play at the Spokane Arena this weekend, hosting the Oregon Ducks on Thursday and the Oregon State Beavers Saturday. Both those teams are picked to land in the middle of the pack (WSU was near the bottom in pre-season polls), too, but all three clubs have had some good wins in pre-conference play. And, you know, even if the Cougs lose, you can at least say you saw Michelle Obama’s bro-bro. He’s the coach for Oregon State. Ballers run in the family.

Watch the Cougar men’s basketball take on Oregon on Dec. 29 at 6 pm and then against Oregon State on Dec. 31 at 3 pm at the Spokane Arena. Tickets: $15-$35 each game or $20-$60 for both

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Morning Briefing: Marijuana Santa Claus, pot petition on burner

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Round here

Pot wrapped as presents land dude in the clinker (CdA Press) 

Group to hand in petition to legalize pot in WA (KREM) 

Stuckart takes oath as Spokane City Councilperson (KXLY) 

Wherever

Can you cheat the 520 bridge toll? (Seattle Weekly) 

Romney and Santorum surge in Iowa polls (WashPo)

Who killed Homer? Oh, and the classics? (NY Review of Books) 

What beat?


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sneak peek at tomorrow's cover story

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

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A mysterious North Idaho house fire. An anti-tax lawyer hounded by the federal government for alleged tax fraud. An underground bunker with dozens of firearms. An adopted daughter from Kazakhstan who makes allegations of rape.

The story of David Jacquot fascinated me the moment I read of his mistrial on federal child-molestation charges in the Bonner County Daily Bee. For all the allegations made against him, Jacquot — our subject for the cover story of tomorrow’s edition — has yet to be convicted on either molestation or tax fraud charges.

If the allegations are true, Jacquot’s life story seems one of greed, lust, betrayal and lies. If false, Jacquot seems a man beset by his daughter’s betrayal and the misfortune of being targeted by the United States government.

What’s true? What isn’t? What do we know? What don’t we?

Why was David found 200 feet away from his house while it burned down with his wife and son inside? How did he receive the injuries that left him claiming to be unable to speak and having amnesia? Why was a single walkie-talkie and part of a handgun found outside a Quonset hut — which itself appeared to be smeared with blood — near the house? Will the Bonner County Attorney’s Office file charges once the federal charges are resolved? What do they know about the fire that wasn’t publicly released?

I got the sense while writing this story that some of these answers will never surface. Maybe Jacquot himself does not remember the fire. Maybe he does but will never talk. Maybe the strange details of the fire scene will linger on with speculators, suggesting scenarios that never were.

Regardless, the disintegration of a home — and the family inside it — are real enough.

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Why has America forgotten Vachel Lindsay?

Posted on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM

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Slate.com published yesterday a story about Vachel Lindsay, who was one of America's most famous poets in the 1920s, when he lived in Spokane. He resided in the Davenport Hotel between 1924 and 1929 and, at some point in there, my old apartment building in Browne's Addition (at least according to a plaque on one of the exterior walls).

Lindsay's imaginative, lyrical poems made him a star (the poet T.R. Hummer reads two of them in the Slate story), but his "The Congo" also made him a racist, a fact that may have led to academics disowning him years later.

He committed suicide in 1931, drinking a bottle of lye.

Find out more about Lindsay (though not much about his life in Spokane) over at Slate.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical @ INB Performing Arts Center

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