Arts & Culture

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pullman artist's "cat power" design raises thousands for national, local nonprofits

Posted By on Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 5:46 PM

After separate campaigns featuring this design to support Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, artist Cori Dantini is raising money for a local group. - CORI DANTINI
  • Cori Dantini
  • After separate campaigns featuring this design to support Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, artist Cori Dantini is raising money for a local group.

As the weather gets warmer with the arrival (finally!) of spring, opportunities to comfortably wear those pink, cat-ear beanies are going to become fewer for supporters of the Trump-era women's movement.

But thanks to a project by local artist Cori Dantini, feminists of all stripes can spread their message of support in the form of a tasteful T-shirt design by the Pullman artist, who's selling them via the online fundraiser platform Booster to raise money for national and local social-service nonprofits.

Dantini's T-shirt design came from this art she made for a Women's March sign.
  • Dantini's T-shirt design came from this art she made for a Women's March sign.
Dantini launched her first "cat POWER" campaign in late January, selling T-shirts with an original design she first doodled on a sign she carried in that month's Women's March. People loved her stylized drawing of a striped cat wearing a pink "pussy hat" pulled down over its eyes like a ski-mask, and with the word "power" emblazoned across its furry chest.

"People said they would wear it on a T-shirt, and I was like 'OK, I'm going to see what I can sort out,'" Dantini says.

Booster made the process easy for the busy artist, handling the product procurement, printing, shipping and payout to her chosen benefactor,  Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Supporters were able to choose from a variety of shirt colors and styles for men and women. By the campaign's end, more than 360 shirts sold, raising a total of $5,640.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Comic Margaret Cho headed to Northern Quest for June show

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Margaret Cho performs at Northern Quest on June. 1.
  • Margaret Cho performs at Northern Quest on June. 1.

Margaret Cho is a woman of many talents. She acts, she makes music, she's a noisy political activist and, above all else, she's funny as hell.

That's the role she'll be in — standup comedian — when she visits Northern Quest Resort & Casino on Thursday, June 1. Tickets for the show go on sale Saturday morning at 8:30 am through the Northern Quest website or by calling the box office at 877-871-6772.

Cho's comedy is informed by growing up in San Francisco in the late '60s and early '70s, as well as being the all-American daughter of Korean parents, and she mines everything from sexuality to family life to politics in her standup.

Yes, you can probably expect a lot of jokes at the current president's expense.

Most recently, Cho was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album for her set American Myth.
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What We've Been... Playing

Anti-social-ish party games, word puzzles, bug battles and a long-awaited follow up

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 4:43 PM


Welcome back to the Inlander staff's semi-regular rundown of the cool and worthwhile things we've been into lately: words we've been reading, shows we've been watching, music/podcasts we've been listening to, and tasty treats we've been drinking/eating. This week, we're telling you about the coolest, nerdiest games we've been wearing down our thumbs playing.

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

SPELLTOWER
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Every so often, I go on a hyper-focused game binge on my phone, playing the same app during every spare minute until I get completely sick of it and swear off phone games, for at least a few more weeks. When I do play, I gravitate toward games that are simple enough I can almost meditatively play them while watching TV or before I fall asleep.

Recently I came back to a solid standby that’s been on my phone for a few years: SpellTower. In a nutshell, you connect letters from a seemingly random jumble to create words. The longer and more complex the word, the more points you get. The game has a few modes — you might be trying to prevent your stacks of letters from reaching the top of the screen, or you might just be trying to get the most points from a single dwindling stack.

You’re reminded at the end of each round what your all-time best word was (for me, the elusive 880-point “quarantines”) and see how your best word this round compares. I play to beat my best scores, but you can also play someone you know in multiplayer mode. It’s simple, engaging and just right for this word nerd. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)

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THEATER REVIEW: Kinky Boots kicks down the door

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 3:47 PM

Lola has become a Broadway icon since first hitting the stage in 2013.
  • Lola has become a Broadway icon since first hitting the stage in 2013.

The answer to your question is, “Yes, that really is a dude!”

In a country suddenly fighting over who gets to use the restroom, drag queens and straight-laced working folks mingled just fine up on the INB stage Tuesday night for Kinky Boots’ opening night in Spokane.

This 2013 Tony-winner is definitely a case of “How’d they make a show out of that?” Based on a single episode of the BBC series Trouble at the Top (which was later turned into the 2005 Chiwetel Ejiofor-starring film), Kinky Boots follows the fate of a soon-to-be-defunct English shoe factory. When the buttoned-down owner teams with a London drag queen and begins manufacturing fetish footwear, well, that’s how Broadway magic is made … apparently.

It helped, of course, that Harvey Fierstein (Hairspray, La Cage aux Folles) wrote the book and that Cyndi Lauper (who, as we know, just wants to have fun) handled the music — a nice mix of pop, ballads and the usual Broadway move-the-story-along songs. But it’s Lola who makes the whole thing take flight — a role that seems scientifically crafted to win a Tony. And, in fact, Billy Porter did win the Tony with the original cast. It’s a barnburner of a part, with plenty of drag bombast, sprinkled with human moments — and even boxing.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What We've Been... Listening To

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 4:25 PM


Welcome back to the Inlander staff's semi-regular rundown of the cool and worthwhile things we've been into lately: words we've been reading, shows we've been watching, music/podcasts we've been listening to, and tasty treats we've been drinking/eating. This week, we're telling you about the tunes and 'casts you should be checking out right now:

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

Mike Watt, “ring spiel” tour 95
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I’ve been listening to Mike Watt’s new live album, “ring spiel” tour 95, a document of the punk legend’s first solo tour after years leading The Minutemen and fIREHOSE. Ostensibly, the tour was to promote Watt’s then-new album Ball-hog or Tugboat?, but the fact that his backing band was made up of folks like Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder brought a bunch of fans out of the woodwork for shows headlined by the burly, politically-minded bass player. When you listen to this live set of 16 songs culled from Watt’s various bands, you might not notice the influence of his more-famous backing players (except for when Vedder steps to the mic for “Against The '70s"), but you’ll certainly get a lesson in aggressive punk delivered with masterful musicianship and just the right amount of teetering-on-the-edge-of-sloppy performances driven by an enthusiastic crowd and an even more enthusiastic Watt. The guy is still at it 22 years later, and it’s a joy to time-travel back to when Watt was just getting his solo sea legs. (DAN NAILEN)

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Zuill Bailey Brings Home the Grammy

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:14 PM


The week before the Grammy Awards, Zuill Bailey says he felt like he had been “strapped to the front of a freight train” — from the build-up since the nominations were announced, to the red-eye flight from Alaska to Los Angeles, to the well-wishers popping up on his phone. So how does he feel now that he has one of those little golden gramophone statues for his mantle?
Zuill Bailey, winning a Grammy last night. Next week: his 2017 Bach Festival kicks off in Spokane.
  • Zuill Bailey, winning a Grammy last night. Next week: his 2017 Bach Festival kicks off in Spokane.


“Such exhilarating chaos… nonstop for 12 hours,” Bailey texted after winning Best Classical Instrumental Solo on Sunday night. “The Grammys were electrifying.”

Bailey has been music director of the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane since 2014; his 2017 festival kicks off next Tuesday, Feb. 21.

“Tales of Hemingway” was a Grammy darling, winning three — for Bailey’s solo cello playing, but also for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Compendium. The piece reflects composer Michael Daugherty’s “obsession,” as Bailey puts it, with Ernest Hemingway and depicts several of his novels and stories. Daugherty recruited Bailey to be his cellist for the piece and wrote it with his skills in mind. Bailey will perform “Tales of Hemingway” as part of the festival, on March 2 at Barrister Winery.

As critic Nick Barnard described it in his review on MusicWeb International, Bailey exhibits “total technical security,” in the performance, “but also a willingness to push the expressive envelope with playing of a very wide dynamic range and great tonal variety.”

“Psychologically, I am bound to this piece,” Bailey says. “Most things we play, we’re reinterpreting the past. This is new music. This was written for me. This is the present and the future, and that excites people.”

The story of the recording is a bit harrowing, as Daugherty wanted the Nashville Symphony to record the premiere performance in April of 2015.

“I only had three or four weeks to get it ready,” Bailey recalls. “In fact, I learned the piece in the Davenport Hotel, during the Bach Festival. Then, at the premiere, things were being changed right up until I walked on stage.”

Another fun fact: They had to redo the final bars of the piece.

“At the end of the performance, the audience went berserk,” Bailey says. “Michael walked out on stage, and one of us said something like, ‘Well, we’ve really got something here!’ Then they evacuated the hall so we could re-record the final 15 seconds.

“Knowing that every note I played would be forever, you have to deal with that fear,” Bailey says. “But really, I had been practicing for that moment for 40 years.”
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Friday, February 10, 2017

Local tabletop game makers find fast success for crowd-funded project Dice Throne

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 4:50 PM

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When Manny Trembley and Nate Chatellier showed up to the first day of the PAX South gaming convention in Houston last month, the Kickstarter project they set up to fund their game Dice Throne had already reached its modest goal of $15,000.

This happened in less than 48 hours.

Today, with 13 days left in the campaign, Dice Throne has received nearly $69,000 in pledges from more than 1,300 backers.

The Spokane-based game creators were at PAX (a regional version of the all-encompassing gaming convention started in Seattle by the creators of the Penny Arcade webcomic) because Dice Throne was chosen as one of eight featured games for the convention's Tabletop Indie Showcase. There, Trembley and Chatellier spent three days, Jan. 27-29, demoing their game to attendees.
Trembley, left, and Chatellier, demoed Dice Throne at PAX South last month. - DICE THRONE
  • Dice Throne
  • Trembley, left, and Chatellier, demoed Dice Throne at PAX South last month.

Dice Throne is a two- to four-player combat game using unique dice and cards that then interact with a player's chosen hero character; each hero has its own dice and cards that aid it in combat and defense. Fast-paced and quick to learn, the game's basic dice-rolling mechanics are comparable to Yahtzee, but it draws influence and inspiration from other familiar tabletop games, like Magic: the Gathering (the game's turn phases are very similar).

Each hero offers a different style of play, and their fantasy archetypes — the game's four core characters include the Barbarian (a tank-y combat fighter), the Pyromancer (spells and fast direct damage), the Shadow Thief (a poison-flinging rogue), and the Moon Elf (ranged, with damage deflection skills) — will be familiar to anyone who dabbles in such realms.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

National Geographic photographer encourages Spokane audience to understand the oceans' plights

Brian Skerry's work celebrates the sea and highlights its major problems

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 11:51 AM

Skerry has photographed sharks of all species for the magazine; here is an Oceanic Whitetip next to a biologist. - BRIAN SKERRY
  • Brian Skerry
  • Skerry has photographed sharks of all species for the magazine; here is an Oceanic Whitetip next to a biologist.

Audiences at Wednesday's National Geographic Live! event took a trip around the world's oceans without having to leave the icy streets of Spokane. For the third installment of the series' third season at the INB Performing Arts Center, award-winning underwater photographer Brian Skerry mesmerized with his tales of encountering sharks, whales, seals and other denizens of the world's vast ocean landscapes from behind his camera lens.

For those who missed it, Skerry has been photographing underwater landscapes and its inhabitants for three decades; his work has been widely published in National Geographic, and most recently for the cover story of this February's issue on the centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Parks Service.

This thresher shark is one of countless unintended victims of gillnet fishing. - BRIAN SKERRY
  • Brian Skerry
  • This thresher shark is one of countless unintended victims of gillnet fishing.
Beyond regaling us with tales of how a great white shark ripped apart his camera equipment, and coming face-to-face with a Southern Right whale that had never before encountered humans, Skerry emphasized an important message: ocean conservation works, and we need to protect at least 30 percent of the world's oceans if we want them to survive and thrive for future generations. (Right now, he says, about 3 percent of the ocean is protected from commercial operations like fishing and oil drilling.)

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture has its new executive director

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 4:46 PM


The ups and downs of the leadership of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture have been well documented, from the firing of its former executive director Forrest Rodgers nearly a year ago, to its hiring of an interim director who happened to be married to a then-board member — and was a former U.S. ambassador to boot.
Wesley Jessup, the MAC's new executive director
  • Wesley Jessup, the MAC's new executive director

Now, the MAC has apparently found its permanent replacement for Rodgers in Wesley P. Jessup, who the board of trustees announced Thursday as the museum's new executive director, effective March 1.

Jessup's background includes working with a Native American corporation in his home state of Alaska to develop a cultural center in the Bering Straits region, working with tribal leaders from 20 communities there. In a press release announcing his hiring, Jessup said that experience has him excited about working with the MAC's extensive collection of Native American artifacts.

"I look forward to working with local tribal leaders and the museum staff to ensure that this world-class collection of of more than 22,000 artifacts, photographs and documents from the Plateau Indian tribes continues to not only be preserved, but also utilized to educate people about this region's rich Native American culture," Jessup said.

The new hire has also worked at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and, most recently, as the director of the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center in Colorado, where he led a $4.6 million fundraising campaign for a new auditorium, and developed programs and exhibits that more than doubled the museum's attendance, according to the MAC's statement.

Jessup received his M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies at City University of New York, attended the Getty Museum Leadership Institute, where he received his Arts Management Certificate.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Spokane Civic Theatre's 2017-18 season lineup is out!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 3:56 PM


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The Spokane Civic Theatre just hit mid-season, with six productions to go on its 2016-17 schedule — including this weekend's opening of the popular contemporary drama Vanya and Sonia and Mash and Spike — but its leaders are already looking ahead to the 71st season this fall.

At an announcement party Friday, the Civic announced the shows it'll be staging in 2017-18. As usual, the season starts out with bang via a big production of a classic musical; this year it's going to be West Side Story. For the holidays, A Christmas Story is 2017's pick, while the season finale next spring is set to be the romantic-comedy musical Hello Dolly! Other mostly contemporary choices fill out the rest of the season, on the main stage and in the intimate Firth J. Chew studio theater, including the dramatic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Here's the full list:

Main Stage
West Side Story, Sept. 22-Oct. 15
A Christmas Story, Nov. 17-Dec. 17
Cactus Flower, Jan. 12-28, 2018
10 Nights in Barroom, Feb. 16-March 4, 2018
Dial M for Murder, March 23-April 8, 2017
Hello Dolly!, May 18-June 10, 2018

Studio Theater
Psycho Beach Party, Oct. 13-Nov. 5
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Jan. 19-Feb. 11, 2018
2.0 (TwoPoint_Oh), March 2-25, 2018
Misalliance, April 27-May 20, 2018

Season tickets go on sale March 1, with single tickets on sale July 5.
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