By Dan Nailen
on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 2:53 PM
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."
By Chey Scott
on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 12:30 PM
Get out your notebook
Pen some pretty rhyming lines
Don't miss the deadline
This embarrassingly terrible haiku (hey, at least I got the syllable count down) is evidence of why we here at the Inlander are better off sticking to hard facts and narrative prose. But that's where all you poets out there can help. For an issue coming out next month, we'll be publishing selected poetry submissions from readers out there like you!
The rules/details are simple, and can all be found here, but I'll list them below, too:
Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems to guest editor (and former Spokane Poet Laureate) Thom Caraway, at [email protected].
Use "Inlander Poetry Submission" as the subject line
Include your contact info (name, phone, email) and a two-sentence bio about yourself (less than 50 words).
Eligible poets must be from eastern or central Washington, north or central Idaho, western Montana, or northeastern Oregon.
There is no specified theme, so find inspiration wherever you'd like!
When the Magic Lantern quietly closed in early August, there was an initial promise from the business' owner that the boutique movie theater in the Community Building on a busy stretch of Main Avenue in downtown Spokane was just going through a remodeling. Soon, though, it became clear that the closure was permanent, as the owners of the building confirmed that they wanted to go in a new direction.
Now, though, the little-theater-that-could is already making a comeback. The Magic Lantern is set to reopen with a celebration on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 pm. The following day, the theater is set to screen A Man called Ove, a hit Swedish language comedy that's making plenty of award noise.
Former Magic Lantern manager Jonathan Abramson is back at the theater in an interim role and says they'll begin announcing more films in the weeks to come.
Katy Sheehan with the Community Building says that the reopening is due, in part, to the loud response they got from the public after the theater closed a few months ago.
"The Magic Lantern Theatre is a vital connection point for arts and culture in our city," says Sheehan. "The theater is a place for independent movies that make your head think and your heart grow, and we are excited to continue this tradition."
By Chey Scott
on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 1:22 PM
Millianna's founders Sharmilla Persaud and Arianna Brooke, pictured in their Spokane studio last fall.
Almost a year ago, we introduced readers to the sparkly, eye-catching pieces made by Spokane-based jewelry house Millianna. A lot has happened since then, and as the holiday shopping season ramps up, the women-owned business is bustling and busier than ever.
Last fall, Millianna opened up its downtown office and studio for a special friends and family shopping event, offering its high-end, handmade, cut crystal collections to local trendsetters. Unfortunately, this year's version of the event had to be postponed because Millianna owners and lifelong best friends Sharmilla Persaud and Arianna Brooke were invited to a huge holiday market event in New York City that kicked off this week.
Before we tell you more about that event and what it means for the growing business, locals should know they can still visit Millianna's studio to shop and place custom orders to give as gifts — or treat themselves — in the coming weeks. Orders can also be made online. Almost all of the studio's pieces are handmade by local artisans, many of them women who came to Spokane as refugees. Millianna's office (905 W. Riverside, Suite 608) is open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. The company expects to schedule another special shopping event and party sometime in the spring.
By Chey Scott
on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 2:58 PM
Spokane Arts' new Executive Director, Melissa Huggins.
After learning this summer of the pending departure of Spokane Arts' Executive Director Laura Becker, the citywide arts nonprofit needed a new leader. Becker, a Spokane native who ran the organization for a little more than a year and a half, announced in August that she'd be leaving the position for a job in Southern California, mainly to be closer to family.
Spokane Arts sought Becker's replacement through a national job posting, but ended up tapping a local arts leader to take over the helm. Melissa Huggins, who's directed Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! Programs for the past five years, officially transitions into the role Dec. 1.
In the weeks since accepting the position, Huggins says she and Becker have met several times, along with Spokane Arts Interim Director Ellen Picken, to prepare for the transition. As executive director, Huggins will manage Spokane Arts' small staff of five, and oversee the organization's mission to support the arts community through grant funding, programming, public art projects and many other areas.
"Being more directly involved in a broad range of disciplines and working with a wider range of artists is something I'm looking forward to with this position," Huggins says.
"I think one of the things that is so wonderful about the writing community is that people have bought into a 'rising tide lifts all boats' philosophy, and I would like to do as much as I can to get that attitude across all disciplines in the arts community."
Huggins also looks forward to working on the acquisition and installation of new public art as part of the Riverfront Park redevelopment project, as well as kicking off the new Spokane Arts Grants Awards (SAGA) program in January.
SAGA is funded by a portion of Spokane's 5 percent admissions tax. Two upcoming community forums to discuss how these grants should be administered are set for Tue, Nov. 15; one at 11 am and a second at 4 pm, at the Fox Theater. Artists, community organizations and anyone else interested is invited to learn more about SAGA, and to offer insight on how and to whom the grant funding should be distributed. Both forums are free and open to the public, but reservations are requested.
After Huggins leaves Get Lit!, an interim director (yet to be announced) will take over the program until EWU hires her replacement sometime early next year.
Standing in line for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, at the INB Performing Arts Center on opening night of its Spokane run (Nov. 9-13), I overheard a middle-aged woman tell her early-twenties daughter, "Through this, I hope you understand Carole," expressing the sentiment that she was missing something by not knowing her as intimately as the baby boomer generation.
And certainly, if you weren't aware of the breadth of music produced by King and her writing partner/ex-husband Gerry Goffin, as well as the team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, you would be after seeing this. You would know that King was 16, and had skipped two grades, when she met Goffin at Queens College in New York City. You would know that he wrote many of their popular songs in the sixties, including "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and "Locomotion." And, finally, in Act II, you would witness the creation of her most famous album, Tapestry, which won four Grammies and Album of the Year in 1972.
The choreography was smooth and punchy, the lights bright, the costume design era-appropriate and flashy. Patrons were having a great time, laughing at the sexual jokes barely hidden in innuendo, loving the theatrical way King's songs were played, emotionally responding to the moments when King's life starts to become more complicated. By the end, the crowd was proudly singing along to "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." This enjoyment comes as no surprise: as principal cast member Suzanne Grodner, who plays King's mother, Genie Klein, said to the Inlander in our preview of the show: "We have people coming to see the show in their 50s, 60s and 70s who grew up with Carole as the soundtrack of their lives."
Whether or not you grew up with the music, Beautiful is a show that represents it as well as Broadway can. I was missing some of the emotion, some of the angst, of King's Tapestry. I was missing any mention of Goffin's bipolar disorder, and more than a little perturbed at his representation as "just another guy in the sixties." I wanted less Locomotion, and more of the King who knew and loved James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. Less of famed producer Don Kirshner and more of Carole King alone at her piano. Some of these complaints stem from the inability for modern Broadway to respectfully do justice to the rebellion during the time King wrote Tapestry; an attempted Bob Dylan musical failed miserably because it's hard to incorporate those kinds of stylings on a national touring stage.
Beautiful is a celebration of all the incredible music the Goffin-King and Mann-Weil pairs created together, their competition and their strife. It's the story of King's growth into an independent lyricist, a strong and liberated woman (at least through 1971, when the musical ends.) It's a celebration of Tapestry, but not necessarily a well-woven, emotionally complicated tapestry of its own.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical • Through Nov. 13: Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm; Thu, Sat at 2 pm; Sun at 1 and 6:30 pm • $27.50-$77.50 • INB Performing Arts Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • wcebroadway.com • 279-7000
Dust off your best costume and come out to emulate your favorite artist! This Saturday, Nov. 5, Spokane Arts is hosting the third annual Arts Awards & Costume Ball at the Washington Cracker Co. Building as a culmination of Create Spokane Arts Month.
This event is designated for those age 21 and over, with catering by Sante Restaurant's Jeremy Hansen and beverages from River City Brewing, Tinbender Craft Distillery and Overbluff Cellars. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the event or at the door.
The 2016 nominees for the Spokane Arts Awards, competing for awards in imagination, inclusion, leadership and collaboration are:
Last year's Art Awards festivities were held at the McKinstry Innovation Station. The owners of the Bing Crosby Theater and the Modern Theater Jerry and Patty Dicker took home the leadership award, while the inclusion award went to co-founder of Terrain and Window Dressing Ginger Ewing. The award for collaboration was presented to Saranac Art Projects, and Sharma Shields, author of The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac, took home the imagination award.
Last year's awards ceremony also featured a new award, the Mobley Arts Impact Award which is given to those who embody the spirit of Spokane artist Karen Mobley, who has dedicated her life to arts advocacy. In 2016 the award honors Steve Gibbs, owner of the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d'Alene.
FILM | You have a lot of options for your Halloween frivolity, but if you don't want to walk the neighborhood or hand out candy, let me suggest hitting the movie theater for RiffTrax Live as the funny dudes tackle creepy classic Carnival of Souls. Here's a trailer of the flick that will be mocked heartily on Monday:
Tuesday, Nov. 1
LIVE BANDS | Robbie Fulks is a mighty fine songwriter out of Chicago, capable of blending rootsy blues and folk into compelling tales of life on the fringes. A real treat having him come to town, where he'l be joined at the Bartlett by Marshall McLean. Here's a taste of Fulks:
WORDS | Washington state Poet Laureate Tod Marshall hosts "Poetry to Inspire" at the South Hill Library. Expect some readings and intriguing discussion of the form.
Wednesday, Nov. 2
WORDS | Bestselling author Jack Weatherford shares knowledge gleaned while writing Genghis Khan and the Quest for God, his latest book on the ruthless leader, at a free chat at The Fox. While on one hand calling for the atrocious slaughter of the civilizations he conquered, Khan also was a champion of religious freedom; some of his ideas on the subject later influenced Thomas Jefferson.
A fitting work to explore before McHugh's upcoming visit is the poem “The Size of Spokane," originally published in Hinge and Sign: Poems 1968-1993 (1994), a collection named a "Notable Book of the Year" by the New York Times:
“The baby isn't cute. In fact he's
a homely little pale and headlong
stumbler. Still, he's one of us—the human beings stuck on flight 295 (Chicago to Spokane)...”
“...So! it's light
amazing him, it's only light, despite
some three and one
half hundred people, propped in rows
for him to wonder at…”
McHugh was first published in the New Yorker before she became a graduate student at the University of Denver. Her first book, Dangers, now one of 13 titles from McHugh, was published when she was 29.
In addition to poetry, McHugh has published books of essays on poetry, and translations of famous writers. Throughout her career, she's accumulated many awards, grants, and fellowships for her works, including grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Guggenheim fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant," and one of the first United States Artists Awards.
Currently, McHugh is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and teacher at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also teaches in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College as a visiting faculty member.
“I don’t think Marra is a Russian surname,” Walter joked at one point, referring to Marra’s choice to focus on the former Soviet Union in his recent work.
The following conversation wove in and out of Marra’s writing and into his life, occasionally revealing a surprising frankness regarding his audacity in writing about something he isn’t personally attached to.
The special limited attendance event (only 25 spots were available) revolved mostly around Marra’s last two books, his short story collection chosen as this year's Spokane is Reading book, The Tsar of Love and Techno, and his novelA Constellation of Vital Phenomenon.
While in college, Marra said, he fell in love with the “wealth of Russian literature,” and became fascinated with absurd stories that evolved out of the broken systems of the Soviet Union. Moments from his books, such as the painting censor in Tsar, are real historical details, a result of years of research on Russian history.
Marra spoke at length about the moments in his Russian travels which impacted the books. In response to a question from Walter about the use of humor in the book, Marra recalled his Russian friends using humor to diffuse legitimate fear, joking about threats to throw him in the trunk of a car to alleviate his fear of being kidnapped.
Perhaps my favorite part of the conversation was something that the two initially tried to shy away from; Walters started the night with an anecdote about “shut up” talk, which is what his wife calls intense literary talk. It was truly a pleasure listening to the two men, both incredible craftsmen, opine on what makes for effective structure, what the difference is between short stories and novels, the undervalued role of humor, the “audacity of ignorance” and so much more.
Ultimately the conversation returned to audience questions, and folks were able to ask Marra about particular characters and moments from the books. Though Marra said “it’s never good to interpret your own work,” he was gracious and patient, and attentively gave each of his explanations.
Marra and Walter both assured the small audience that each of the coming events happening this Thursday will be different, and I would highly recommend going to see Marra speak. The free public events today are at 1 pm at the Spokane Valley Event Center, and at 7 pm at the Bing Crosby Theater.