Arts & Culture

Friday, January 13, 2017

REVIEW: Pippin soars as high-flying journey of discovery

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Naysh Fox stars in the title role.
  • Naysh Fox stars in the title role.

In the late 1960s, around the time Pippin was first conceived, the notion of "finding yourself" had begun to infiltrate the popular imagination. The job that you were expected to hold from graduation until retirement, the dull routine of domesticity, the strictures of the nuclear family — in the minds of many, these came to be regarded as atavistic barriers to self-actualization. Free yourself from them and, now unencumbered by convention, you give yourself the opportunity to discover true fulfillment. Or even greatness.

Although it's largely (and inexplicably) set during the reign of Charlemagne, Pippin's plot—not to mention its songbook—bears the indelible timestamp of the era that gave rise to it. A young boy finishes university, questioning his identity and his place in the world. He ventures off to war in pursuit of glory. He takes part in orgiastic sex in pursuit of pleasure. He overthrows his father, a powerful leader, in pursuit of fairness and justice. Finally, exhausted by the futility of his quest for contentment, he winds up on a country estate with a young widow and her son. He comes to enjoy it, but he can't shake the feeling that he's destined for something extraordinary. After all, the high-flying troupe of players that encircles the action keeps telling him that.

Pippin's ultimate choice for his life runs counter to the troupe's wishes, of course, and puts paid to some of the more hedonistic stereotypes of its period. In that way, it makes for a refreshing homage to simplicity and anonymity, even though developing an appreciation for those qualities takes a lot of contrasting spectacle.

The nationally touring Broadway production of Pippin at the INB Performing Arts Center offers that spectacle in abundance. It has the acrobatics, illusions, ensemble routines and shameless glam for which this show is renowned, complemented by a top-notch and multi-talented cast of young singers, dancers and actors that is hard to fault. Naysh Fox plays a springy, charismatic Pippin who's delightful to watch; Housso Semon is a commanding Leading Player with a rich singing voice and a graceful, sensual execution of the Fosse-inspired choreography.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What We've Been... Reading

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:38 PM

Welcome back to the Inlander staff's biweekly rundown of the cool and worthwhile things we've been into lately: words we've been reading, series we've been watching, music/podcast we've been listening to, and tasty treats we've been drinking/eating. This week, we're nerding out about the great blogs, books and journalistic works we've come across lately.

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here.

Capsule wardrobe bloggers can show you how freeing decluttering your closet can be.
  • Capsule wardrobe bloggers can show you how freeing decluttering your closet can be.
Every two weeks, I get obsessed with something different. Scroll through my Internet history and you’ll find the everyday Google searches then stumble upon 65 entries over three days wondering, “How to breathe properly” or “Best way to sleep.” Well, lately, it’s all about a capsule wardrobe: a compact, versatile collection of 30 items or fewer, typically to save money, closet space and reduce time spent looking through the contents of your closet, 90 percent of which you have no intention of wearing ever again. There are blogs upon blogs offering advice on how to streamline your wardrobe — that is, the “magic number” of items per season, 3, 5, 10, 20 basics you “must have” in your capsule, or “buy our $5/mo app or you’ll fail,” etc.

Be More with Less has been my go-to blog. It has a veritable ton of methods to declutter everything, positive posts on how to de-stress in general, and the ever-present reminder from blogger Courtney Carver that she is there to help, but no one knows what will work for you better than yourself. I have found I care less about the magic number of clothes, and more that nowadays I can actually remember every piece of clothing I own, so that’s a step for me.

If you’re ready (and it may hurt a little), also check out Tokyo-based organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a best-selling decluttering and organizing guide that took the world by storm in 2014. (RAVEN HAYNES)

Sports Illustrated is best known (duh) for its photography, but the weekly mag has had its share of excellent writers and ripping good yarns during its decades of existence. And while the magazine is constantly trying new things to stay relevant in the modern media environment — hello fitness columns and ever-increasing dose of “charticles” — the Jan. 9 issue presented a new-ish feature called "SI True Crime" that really is just another name for what the magazine does best — combining some compelling storytelling with stellar photography and some interactive features online.

Continue reading »

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Share your West Central stories for a new, interactive art installation

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 12:31 PM

Payphone booths are a relic of the past — yet another victim to technology's rapid advances — but an upcoming community art project seeks to give the booths new purpose through storytelling.

The West Central Dial-A-Story Project is spearheaded by the Kendall Yards literacy and resource nonprofit Spark Central, with support from Spokane Arts, Laboratory Spokane and the Spokane Civic Theatre. But before this exciting, original project can become a reality, contributors of all ages are invited to submit their West Central-centric stories.

February 19 is the deadline to submit true, first-hand experiences set in or associated with the neighborhood. Then, 30 stories will be chosen and made available for public listening at three phone booths installed in the historic West Central neighborhood.

Project organizer and executive director of Spark Central Brooke Matson says the project seeks to share stories from West Central residents past and present, as well as students, employees, business owners and anyone else who spends time there. You don't have to be a resident of West Central, however your story should have an obvious connection to the place. Specific requirements for Dial-A-Story submissions are outlined in more detail online.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

January's First Friday arts events happening tonight — and next week

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 3:21 PM

If you missed seeing David Wang's pastels last month, the artist's work is displayed through January at Liberty Ciderworks, which hosts a second reception Jan. 13. - DAVID WANG
  • David Wang
  • If you missed seeing David Wang's pastels last month, the artist's work is displayed through January at Liberty Ciderworks, which hosts a second reception Jan. 13.

Today is the first Friday of the month — and the new year — but tonight's events as part of downtown Spokane's First Friday monthly arts walk are happening a little differently this time.

Although several of First Friday's regularly participating venues are indeed hosting receptions this evening for the artists' they're hosting, event organizer Downtown Spokane Partnership has moved the "official" event to next week, on Friday, Jan. 13. Because of the recent holidays, many businesses that usually participate had asked DSP to hold off one more week to give them (and all of us) a break from the hustle. Others, however, have agreed to host two weekends' worth of receptions to celebrate participating artists, with events tonight and again next Friday.

Because of this change, the Inlander is running a listing of all First Friday venue and artist information in next week's paper, on stands Jan. 12. However, we have also listed as much of this information as is now available on our website, at our permanent First Friday event page:

Artists like Carol Schmauder are looking beyond winter for Avenue West's January show, "Thoughts of Spring."
  • Artists like Carol Schmauder are looking beyond winter for Avenue West's January show, "Thoughts of Spring."
We'll continue to update our listings with more information as we receive it from DSP and the venues. For those who plan to wait to make their monthly arts stroll next weekend, the good news is that the weather forecast is looking to be a little less icy cold.

Also, next month's celebration breaks format again, when the big new Spokane Arts event (taking the place of the winter Visual Arts Tour) called SATURATE takes place the first weekend of February, the 3rd through the 5th. The redesigned event seeks to showcase the city's diverse yet under-recognized artists of color. Venues and artists are encouraged to apply to participate on Spokane Arts' website.
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Celebrate the Inlander poetry issue with us at Marmot Art Space Jan. 5

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 3:06 PM


The new issue of the Inlander has a decidedly literary bent, as we recruited former Spokane Poet Laureate Thom Caraway to help us put together our first-ever Poetry Issue.

Caraway ended up reading more than 500 submissions from throughout the Inland Northwest, an the range of subject matters and styles was pretty incredible, as was the sheer number of poets who submitted (264) and their age-range (5 to 90). You can read Caraway's thoughts on putting the issue together before you delve into the poems.

We're confident you'll be as impressed with the local talent — both the familiar names and unknowns-til-now — that you'll read in the issue, so much so that we decided to throw a little party to celebrate it and, more importantly, the poets presented in its pages and online.

The party will be on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 pm at the Marmot Art Space, 1206 W. Summit Parkway in Kendall Yards, right near Inlander home base. It's free and family-friendly since a couple of our poets are under 21.

Who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to write some poems and submit for the next poetry issue.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Modern Theater Spokane to close this week, Coeur d'Alene stage remains open

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 10:18 AM


A little more than two years after Interplayers Theatre — having long faced financial struggles— merged with Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse to become the Modern Theater, the nonprofit theater's downtown Spokane stage is closing at the culmination of 2016. The last night for the Modern Spokane is this Saturday, Dec. 24, featuring the final show for its current production, All is Calm.

News of the theater's closure was shared in an announcement on the Modern Spokane's Facebook page Monday morning:


As the above post mentions, the Modern Theater's Coeur d'Alene stage is set to remain open. The next show there, however, isn't opening until June; a production of Titanic.

In the comments of the above Facebook announcement, it was noted that season ticket holders will be contacted after Jan. 1.

Before Interplayers and Lake City Playhouse merged to become the Modern, Interplayers' building lease had been renegotiated with owner and downtown real estate developer Jerry Dicker of GVD Commercial Properties, who also owns the Bing Crosby Theater, the Montvale Hotel and the Montvale Event Center adjacent to the hotel. At the time, Interplayers was struggling financially, making an announcement that its 2013-14 season would be contingent on raising $150,000. The theater only managed to raise about half that, and things remained uncertain until the merger with Lake City.

Its not clear yet what building owner Dicker plans to do with the 250-seat theater moving forward.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture's interim director is a retired US ambassador

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Since the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) fired its executive director, Forrest Rodgers, in February, the organization has been looking for a new head.

After making an offer to a candidate this fall, a three-month contract to lead the museum, a non-profit organization overseen by the state of Washington, was offered to former diplomat Tim Carney, who now lives in the Spokane area, according to a museum spokesperson.

Carney's wife, Victoria Butler, was a member of the MAC board. She also helped bring in an exhibit of contemporary art from the United Arab Emirates, which reportedly became a point of contention between Rodgers and the board.

Alison Highberger, who does public relations for the museum, says that Butler recused herself from any discussion of Carney's hiring and resigned from the board before her husband took on the job at the beginning of this month.

Carney has an extensive resume in foreign affairs, including time as an ambassador to Sudan and Haiti. In 2007, then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice named Carney in charge of overseeing reconstructions efforts in Iraq. He also served as vice president of the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

"The ambassador has experience in managing public and private programs, and [the museum's board] felt his ties in Spokane would provide him with the necessary expertise," says Highberger.

She adds that the museum plans to have a permanent director in place by the end of Carney's tenure.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What We've Been... watching

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 3:43 PM

A while back, we Inlander staffers started a blog series called "What We've Been..." in which we thoughtfully suggested and raved about our current obsessions, whether that be a great new book, album or beer we couldn't stop thinking about. For this newly revived series, we'll do our darnedest to introduce readers to a wide range of modern culture elements that you may or may not have heard about. Consider it our random review of all things cool, and a complementary feature to our weekly "For Your Consideration" series in the Arts and Culture section.

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here.

To my own satisfaction, we do eventually learn why Greg is wearing a teapot on his head.
  • To my own satisfaction, we do eventually learn why Greg is wearing a teapot on his head.
This gif recently spotted on a friend's Facebook page first sent me on the quest to discover Over the Garden Wall, a charming storybook-style miniseries from Cartoon Network, released back in fall 2014. With just 10 11-minute episodes, in one sitting you can enjoy this very worthwhile dark fantasy about two brothers — Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) and Greg — lost in a fairytale-esque land and trying to find their way home. With their silly costumes and quirky personalities, the brothers encounter a host of unusual characters along the way, including the talking bird Beatrice and a foreboding Woodsman (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) who warns them of the ominous "beast." (Note: While OTGW is indeed kid-friendly, there are some terrifying creatures that are likely to scare the littlest fans.)

Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale (a former writer/director for Adventure Time) was directly influenced by Americana art, folklore and 19th century children's storybooks when creating the show's beautiful, enchanting art style. Viewers with a careful eye will notice many direct and loose references to traditional fairytales in the scenes and story; some may also sense hints of the delightful and emotional reveal in the final episode. If you missed this lovely series during its original or subsequent airings, find all 10 episodes on Hulu.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Adopt a local family for the holidays and give back to the community

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Most of us look forward to the holidays — time spent with loved ones, gift exchanges and religious celebrations. Yet, many families in our community also view the holidays as an incredibly stressful time as they struggle to make ends meet while trying to provide holiday joy for those they love. These families need help to make their children’s wishes come true, as well as their own. If you feel grateful for your own blessings this season, consider helping provide hope and joy to other families through the following programs:

YWCA Adopt-a-Family Holiday Giving Program
This holiday giving program supports women, children and families that have been affected by domestic violence and abuse. Each mother and her children provide a list of items needed/wanted for the holidays, as well as some details about the situation the mother is in and details about her and her children’s lives. Individuals or organizations can choose to sponsor one or more of the families' wish lists. For more information, contact program coordinator Melanie Wilson, at [email protected]

Christmas Wish
Started by 92.9 ZZU’s Ken Hopkins and Dave Sposito in 1995, this program seeks to help local families in need around the holidays. You can buy a raffle ticket, donate new toys or buy a paper ornament; all gifts directly support Christmas Wish and help a family in the community have a brighter and more hopeful Christmas.

Tree of Sharing
This long-time annual program provides gifts for children and families who may not be able to receive gifts otherwise. Pick up a gift request tag at River Park Square, Spokane Valley Mall or Northtown Mall. Each tag lists the age, gender and needs of the particular child and the deadline for returning the gift (this Sunday, Dec. 11!). For those financially unable to adopt a whole family, this is a way to make a difference in a family’s Christmas that will bring joy and laughter to the children provided for.

Project Hope
This program of the Spokane County Jail Ministries seeks to provide gifts and bibles to families with children who visit the jail at Christmastime to see family members serving time there. You can adopt a family and buy the children gifts, with the option to deliver items in person to the family, or donate cash so that someone else can buy and deliver gifts. The program is a way to provide gifts to children who may have one or both primary caregivers in the jail, not able to be home with their loved ones for the holidays.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lewis Black brings his standup tour to Northern Quest March 19

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Lewis Black performs at Northern Quest Resort and Casino on March 19.
  • Lewis Black performs at Northern Quest Resort and Casino on March 19.

Chances are decent that you're already exhausted by all the chatter surrounding our president-elect. But if there's one guy who might inspire you to willfully — even gleefully — take in a full night of Trump Talk, it just might be the perpetually outraged comedian Lewis Black.

Well, lucky you, because The Other Man In Black is returning to the Inland Northwest for a show at Northern Quest Resort and Casino just a couple months after Trump takes office. Who knows what kind of shenanigans the country will have witnessed by then?

Black has plenty of material beyond politics to stoke his outrage, but it's hard to imagine the longtime Daily Show regular will be able to resist focusing on the election's various characters, from candidates to media pundits to the so-called "basket of deplorables."

Black performs on March 19. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 8:30 am through the Northern Quest website; they cost $45, $55 and $75.

Black last performed in Spokane in 2014 on his The Rant Is Due tour, when frustration at the midterm elections had him up in arms.
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