Arts & Culture

Monday, October 24, 2016

Local holiday hijinks to celebrate Halloween throughout this week

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:50 PM

If you're looking for something to do to celebrate Halloween other than trick-or-treating or carving pumpkins, check out one of these local events — if you dare!


The Rocky Horror Show
This cult classic fave is brought to life this season at the Spokane Civic Theatre. Full of sexual escapades, boisterous humor and unconventional relationships, this fantasy tale is rated for mature audiences. Through Nov. 5 • Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm; Fri-Sat at 11 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $25 • Spokane Civic Theatre • 1020 N. Howard St. 


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
This show by the Theater Arts for Children takes a fun look at an adaptation of the play by Washington Irving. With a goofy schoolmaster and the Headless Horseman, this is a spooky tale not to miss. Through Oct. 30 • Thu-Sat at 7 pm; Sat at 3 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $10/adults; $8/student, military, senior • Theater Arts for Children • 2114 N. Pines Rd.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Spokane artists receive Artist Trust grants to complete art, music, poetry projects

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Spokane Arts Month continues for another week, but the local arts community has another reason to celebrate the vibrancy of our creative minds.

Earlier this week, the statewide arts advocacy nonprofit Artist Trust announced a long list of recipients for its 2016 Grants for Artist Projects (GAP). On that list of 61 grant winners, chosen from an applicant pool of nearly 400, are five names familiar to those who keep close eyes on the local arts scene:

Brooke Matson, a poet and the executive director of the nonprofit Spark Central literacy center in Kendall Yards, received Artist Trust's Centrum residency. The award allows her to spend a month at Centrum, an artist retreat in Port Townsend, Washington, and also comes with a $500 stipend. Matson plans to use the time to work on her ongoing project Impossible Things: A Poetic Interrogation of Matter, which melds poetry, chemistry and physics to examine the nature of "human trauma, both personal and societal."

Julie Gautier-Downes, a photographer and installation artist who relocated to Spokane a year ago, plans to use the $1,500 GAP visual arts grant to create an installation that examines fractured connection with her childhood home, called "Dislocated Memories."

Ellen Welcker, a Spokane poet, received a $1,500 GAP literary grant for her project called "The Pink Tablet," a 29-page poem in the theme of a modern fairy tale.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

How movies and TV shows boost a conspiracy-minded "rigged!" mentality

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 1:42 PM

You say the election can't be rigged against Trump, but then how come the Springfield election was rigged against Sideshow Bob opponent Joe Quimby? Huh? Didn't think about that, didja? - THE SIMPSONS
  • The Simpsons
  • You say the election can't be rigged against Trump, but then how come the Springfield election was rigged against Sideshow Bob opponent Joe Quimby? Huh? Didn't think about that, didja?

The big headline made by the debate last night, beyond the claim that nobody respects nasty women more than Donald Trump, was that Trump would not promise to concede the election if — and let's be honest, probably when — he loses.

No spoilers, the TV showman promises. You'll have to wait for the series finale to see what zany stuff he'll do if he loses.

This, of course, comes after more of week of Trump claiming that the election was "rigged." And while surrogates have tried to explain that, now, now, he's just talking about media bias, Trump himself has come out to say, no, no, he's actually talking about rigging happening at the polling places.

It's turned into a blame game between liberal and conservative pundits, with many arguing that a presidential candidate making claims that the election would be rigged before the election is unprecedented, and many conservatives citing the Diebold voter machine conspiracies in 2004 and noting that Al Gore did not exactly concede immediately after the razor-tight 2000 election.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New security measures at Spokane Arena, INB PAC; here's what you need to know

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Arrive early for events at the INB PAC to get through new security measures in ample time. - INBPAC.COM
  • Arrive early for events at the INB PAC to get through new security measures in ample time.

Guests attending events at two of downtown Spokane's busiest venues may notice some new security measures the next time they head to a Chiefs game, concert or Broadway show. 

A few weeks ago both the Spokane Arena and the INB Performing Arts Center rolled out new security measures, including walk-through metal detectors at entrances, as part of ongoing efforts to create a safer environment at the two facilities managed by the Spokane Public Facilities District.

Public Facilities District CEO Kevin Twohig says the new protocols have been implemented not in response to any specific local or national event, but "certainly in response to what is going on nationally and internationally."

"We pay attention to events on an international basis, and when sports and entertainment venues have become the target of attacks, we felt that we needed to step up and prevent that from happening in Spokane," Twohig continues.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Montvale Event Center and Ella's Theater open to bring history to life

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 12:41 PM

Montvale Event Center/Ella's Theater building view - EMILY GOODELL
  • Emily Goodell
  • Montvale Event Center/Ella's Theater building view

Something old and something new is coming to Spokane’s Entertainment District. Located on the 1000 block of West First Avenue, the Montvale Event Center and Ella’s Theater are open for business, in the former site of historic treasures like Ella’s Supper Club and the Odd Fellows Hall.

Montvale Event Center has multiple floors and venues that can be used singularly or as a whole, according to event coordinator Erin Hojnacki. She explains that when the center hosts weddings, the ceremony is held on the second floor, Ella’s Theater, while the first floor, Montvale Hall is used for the reception.  

The spaces — which add to developer Jerry Dicker's downtown hotel and entertainment collection — can also be utilized individually, which is typically the case with Ella’s Theater which is often used as an entertainment venue, hosting cabarets, music and comedy, Hojnacki says.

Montvale Hall - EMILY GOODELL
  • Emily Goodell
  • Montvale Hall
Although the space has been renovated and updated, careful attention was paid to preserving the building’s original features, the group behind the project says.

"The biggest changes are the commercial kitchen that was installed installed on this first floor, which we call Montvale Hall, [and] the exposed brick,” Hojnacki says. 

Hojnacki also noted that the elevator has been completely redone and brought up to code and a professional sound system was installed in the theater.

When the building was purchased in December 2015 by Jerry Dicker of GVD Commercial Properties, a press release noted: “his vision was to preserve the original speakeasy spirit of Ella’s in the second floor theater space, while also creating an elegant event space on the first floor.”

The press release also mentions that coming soon is Ella’s Bar, “a unique haven where guests can see a comedy show or listen to a local band while sipping something special and watching the revived projections playing on the wall of the Fox Theater across the street.”

Although the center has not had an official grand opening, it has already hosted multiple weddings, as well as events in the upstairs theater. The venue is currently booking events for 2017 and 2018.

"We have had reunions, weddings, comedy, theater and we're getting inquiries for all sorts of different events daily,” Hojinacki says.
Ella's Theater - EMILY GOODELL
  • Emily Goodell
  • Ella's Theater

Ella’s Theater recently wrapped up presenting [title of show] (yes, that's the actual title) by the Modern Theater, and is currently hosting the Friends of the Bing event series [email protected] Coming up is the special comedy event Reel Horror, a sketch show spoofing horror movies, set for Oct. 21.

According to a building history provided by the Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office and the Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission, the former Odd Fellows building was opened on January 1,1909. It was originally known as the Odd Fellows IOOF Lodge and was designed by renowned Spokane architect Albert Held.

Piano at Ella's Theater - EMILY GOODELL
  • Emily Goodell
  • Piano at Ella's Theater
According to the Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows website, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) began as a response to the trials and tribulations of living in 17th century England. Sickness, death and a very low life expectancy were hardships of the times. A group of people came together and pooled some of their income into a fund to be used for emergencies in their community, such as illness, unemployment and death.

They were called “odd fellows” because people found it odd that they would be selfless and impractical in giving up their time and money to help others. The organization was founded in North America on April 26, 1819 in Baltimore, Maryland, which is the location of the first lodge, gaining its charter through Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.

IOOF became the first national fraternity that included women. Today there are men and women in 10,000 lodges in 26 countries, according to the Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows website, where their mission statement reads, "visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan."

The building history from the SHLC and Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office notes that the ground floor was originally home to Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company and Turnbull undertaking rooms. The floor became host to the Riley Candy Company from 1917 to the mid-1940s. Metronome Dance Hall was on the first floor from 1950 to 1953 and became Hi-Spot Dance hall from 1945 to 1956. The Lodge Room was on the second floor, while the third floor was banquet hall, parlor and kitchen.

The historic building has been mostly vacant since the closing of the jazz club Ella’s Supper Club shortly after its opening in 2004.

"The quality of work, uniqueness of the space, the history of the building, I think those are the main things that set it apart. There's nothing else like it," Hojinacki says.

For more information, contact Erin Hojnacki at 509-534-5805, or visit the Montvale Event Center website.
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Spokane's Sharma Shields wins Washington State Book Award for debut novel

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 11:53 AM

Spokane's Sharma Shields took home top honors for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Spokane's Sharma Shields took home top honors for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards.

With four Spokane authors named as finalists for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards, the odds were ever in our favor. And during a ceremony Saturday the top prize in the fiction category went to celebrated Spokane author Sharma Shields for her debut novel set in the Evergreen State, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac.

Shield's fantastical book tells the life story of Eli Roebuck, whose mother runs off when he's 9 years old, with a man believed to be a Sasquatch. He spends the rest of his life trying to prove that the cryptozoological beast is real, and to discover why and how his mother could abandon him like that. Naturally, this obsessive quest taints every decision and relationship in Eli's life, the majority for worse.   

Finalists with Shields in the fiction category included fellow Spokane authors S.M. Hulse, for her stunning debut Black River, and Shann Ray, for his historical account American Copper. In the history/general nonfiction category, Spokane writer Jack Nisbet's Ancient Places: People and Landscapes of the Emerging Northwest was also a finalist.

Writing on Facebook this morning, Shields expressed gratitude for the recognition:
"THE SASQUATCH HUNTER'S ALMANAC is a Washington State novel, through and through, and it is such an honor to win the Washington State Book Award. As a woman who grew up in Spokane, went to college in Seattle, and eventually returned to her hometown, this means so much to me. Thank you to the Washington Center for the Book, The Seattle Public Library, the judges, the sponsors; thank you to all of my friends and family for the support here, the messages, the texts, the phone calls, the in-person hugs and tears. I could not be more stunned and elated and grateful. And congrats to the finalists, incredible writers all. The biggest honor was seeing my book up there next to yours."
The awards are sponsored by the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library, and presented "based on the strength of the publication's literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality."

Finalists are judged by a panel of Washington-based English instructors, librarians and book store owners. Separate categories for children's literature are also presented.

Shields' win marks the second consecutive fiction category win for the Spokane writing community, following up on last year's recognition of Bruce Holbert's The Hour of Lead. Spokane poet and sitting Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall also took home in 2015 the top prize in the poetry category for his collection Bugle.  
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Check out the Inlander's local photographer showcase for the Fall Arts Tour

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:40 PM

The scenery and landscapes of the Inland Northwest are beautiful sights to behold no matter the season. These western vistas are one of the many reasons we choose to live here.

The phrase "why we live here" is the theme of this year's Annual Manual, the Inlander's yearly guide to arts, culture, entertainment, the outdoors, food, shopping and more; all the things that make our home special. To illustrate that sentiment, we asked local photographers to submit images that encompass why we live here, as part of a contest to choose the cover image for the 2016-17 edition of the Annual Manual

Megan Kennedy's winning cover image of a local couple at the Spokane River.
  • Megan Kennedy's winning cover image of a local couple at the Spokane River.
In the end, it came down to the winning photograph submitted by Megan Kennedy, of a local couple she photographed in Spokane's High Bridge Park. 

But so many of the submissions we received — nearly 200 — were just as worthy, capturing all the other facets of the region's diverse urban and rural landscapes. So for this weekend's Fall Arts Tour, (get the details on all the other things to see, hear and do at that link, or in this week's issue) and the ongoing Create Spokane Arts Month, we're showcasing some of our favorite photographs submitted for the contest at the Marmot Art Space just across the street from the Inlander offices. 

This Friday, Oct. 7, from 4:30-8 pm is the artist reception, and on Saturday, Oct. 8, the gallery is open from 5-9 pm. If you can't make it this weekend, the show is on display through the month of October, with gallery hours on Friday and Saturday, from 5-9 pm, or by appointment.

In the show, you'll see about three dozen images that were submitted for the Annual Manual cover contest by the following photographers: Nick Brommer, Megan Kennedy, Stuart Danford, Valerie Fink, Jennifer DeBarros, Alan Birdsell and Joanie Christian. 
  • Joanie Christian

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Submit your creative verses for the Inlander's first poetry issue

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 2:54 PM

Well-known Spokane poet and past city poet laureate Thom Caraway guest edits the Inlander's upcoming poetry issue. - SARAH PHILP
  • Sarah Philp
  • Well-known Spokane poet and past city poet laureate Thom Caraway guest edits the Inlander's upcoming poetry issue.
For many years, the Inlander invited local penners of prose to submit original short stories for publication in a special, themed short-fiction issue in December. This year, we're switching things up by inviting poets of all ages, styles and experience to send us their best lines for consideration in a poetry-themed issue.

And because we journalists are not exactly poetry experts, we've enlisted former Spokane Poet Laureate and Whitworth University professor Thom Caraway to guest-edit the issue. Other local names in poetry, including sitting Spokane Poet Laureate Laura Read, and Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, may also contribute some thoughts or verses.

Here are all details to know if you're feeling inclined to send us some thoughtful lines:

• Poets are invited to submit 1-3 unpublished, original poems 
• Submissions should be sent in a single document to Thom Caraway, at [email protected] (not the Inlander) with the subject line "Inlander Poetry Issue"
• Deadline is Sunday, Nov. 20
• Poets should live in the region: eastern or central Washington, north Idaho, western Montana, or northeast Oregon
• Work should not have been previously published
• Poets whose work is accepted will be compensated $40 per poem
• Approximately 10-12 poems will be selected for publication in the Dec. 29 issue of the Inlander

For those who are curious to check out the aforementioned short-fiction issues, some links:

2012: "The End"
2013: "Bridges"
2014: "Spirits"
2015: "Holiday Noir" (This edition featured stories directly solicited from regional writers.)
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Friday, September 30, 2016

Get your draw on at the inaugural 24 Hour Comics & Art Day

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 1:58 PM


Break out your pens, colored pencils and sketchbooks, and don't forget a stock of caffeinated beverages. This Saturday, starting on Oct. 1 at 10 am, a newly-founded group called the Inland NW Association of Sequential Artists is hosting its first ever 24 Hour Comics & Art Day event at the Spokane Art School.

While the event is geared toward local artists, organizer Derrick Freeland emphasizes that the public is welcome to come meet participants, learn about their work and make some art of their own. 

Local graphic novelist Manny Trembley will offer printed sheets of his work for all ages to color. Meanwhile, participating artists are also working to create a collaborative 24-page comic.

"It's all art-based stuff that people can come contribute to, or do their own things," Freeland explains. "Anyone is welcome to come and see the artists work, but we're also hoping to get people who want to work on something, or need and want inspiration, to come out."

The free event runs from 10 am Saturday to 10 am Sunday, Oct. 2, with artists hanging out at the Spokane Art School studio through the night. Artists who plan to stay for the full event are encouraged to take on the challenge to create their own 24-page comic, from conceptualization to completion.

Freeland has participated in similar 24-hour comic art events in other cities.
  • Freeland has participated in similar 24-hour comic art events in other cities.
Freeland says he's participated in several other similar events in past cities he's lived, and thought hosting one in Spokane would help to unite and showcase the region's comic and graphic artist community.

"There is a pretty big scene here, this is just my perspective, and it seems to be sort of new or revitalizing itself right now," he notes. "There is a lot of potential and a lot of projects that are just getting started," including some of his own.

Freeland is the founder of Bottlecrow Publications, and through that venture is working on a series of graphic novel-style short stories set in fantasy and sci-fi universes of his own making. That series can be found locally at Second Look Books, Book Traders, and the Comic Book Shop.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Not funny: Steve Martin and Martin Short cancel Spokane show

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 3:21 PM

Martin Short (left) and Steve Martin will not be getting wild and crazy in Spokane after all.
  • Martin Short (left) and Steve Martin will not be getting wild and crazy in Spokane after all.

Ah, what might have been. 

The musical-comedy combo promised by the tour featuring a couple of legends — Steve Martin and Martin Short — looked like it was going to be one of the cultural highlights of fall in the Inland Northwest. Instead, it's one of the biggest disappointments after word came Monday that the show is cancelled. 

You'll get an automatic refund if you bought them with a credit card. If you bought tix at a TicketsWest outlet or the INB Performing Arts Center box office, you can take them back to the Spokane Arena box office for a full refund, or mail them to: Spokane Arena, Attn: Ticket Refunds, 720 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane WA 99201. 

The announcement stated the show will be "canceled due to scheduling conflicts," which typically means the potential audience members "scheduled" themselves to do something else that night rather than buy tickets for this particular show. For this gig, the cheapest seats were set at $85, with a top price of $350. 

It's still a bummer, though, because the combo of Martin and Short promised a night of top-notch entertainment, abetted by bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers, regular collaborators on Martin's music albums and tours. 

On the bright side of life: the show featuring Monty Python veterans John Cleese and Eric Idle slated for Oct. 28 is still on. 
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