There's still plenty of time to kick back and lose yourself in this year's selection for Spokane is Reading, the 14th annual community reading program.
This year's selection is Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic best-seller by Emily St. John Mandel. The highly acclaimed, award-winning book is Mandel's fourth, and was nominated for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; it also won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Station Eleven was named one of the 10 best books of 2014 by the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, and a screen adaptation is reportedly in the works.
Station Eleven is a dystopian tale set in the near future, after a pandemic flu kills off most of the world's population. It follows a traveling band of Shakespearian actors and examines the types of relationships that sustain us and the nature of fame. Here's more on the book (which we've just placed an order for) from its jacket:
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”
Mandel is set to give two presentations in Spokane is Reading's tradition of bringing the authors it features to Spokane — one at CenterPlace Event Center in Spokane Valley at 1 pm, and a later presentation at the Bing Crosby Theater, at 7 pm, both on Thursday, October 29. Both events are free. Auntie's Bookstore will be on hand selling copies of the novel, and the author will meet fans and sign copies of her work following each talk.
A joint effort by the Spokane County Library District, Spokane Public Library and Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane is Reading began back in 2001 as a community-wide effort to encourage local adults to read and make connections through literature. Last year's book selection was Karen Russell's fantastical Swamplandia! and 2013's event highlighted Seattle author Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette.
After watching a scene where the cast is welcomed to Northern Quest, the Inlander had a chance to catch up with Co-Executive Producer Jodi Binstock. She gave a rundown on what to expect in Season 2.
“Some of the episodes you won’t even believe, they’re so insane,” she says. Here’s a brief episode-by-episode preview, courtesy of Binstock. SPOILERS: Don’t read if you want to be surprised!
A lightly-edited Q&A, including insider info about selecting Northern Quest Resort & Casino, setting fires and shooting the series in Spokane, is included below.
He’s the controversial pastor who famously questioned his belief regarding the traditionally held Christian view of hell in his 2011 book, Love Wins, causing many in the religious community to label him a heretic and worse. This Friday, Michigan megachurch founder/Oprah-approved spiritualist/gay marriage advocate Rob Bell comes to the Knitting Factory. Yes, the Knitting Factory, where people often arrive wearing little, drink a bit too much and listen to music with lyrics not always compatible with righteous teachings.
As part of his Everything is Spiritual speaking tour, Bell uses the TED Talks approach to discuss the how and why of existence in a fascinating and inclusive way. While he’s toured under the Everything is Spiritual moniker since 2006, he says this 2015 tour is new, full of fresh ideas and includes a different-shaped whiteboard behind him to better illustrate concepts.
Also note: For just $101 tomorrow, you can score some pre-show conversation with Bell, priority seating and a signed copy of The Zimzum Of Love, the most recent book he wrote with his wife Kristen about marriage.
We caught up with Bell earlier this week.
INLANDER: Instead of asking why you’re coming through the Knitting Factory of all places — I’m turning this around — why aren’t more pastors coming through this place or places like it?
ROB BELL: I can’t answer for other people. But I can tell you that I was in a band at Wheaton College that broke up because of the usual problem — we all had to get real jobs (full story on that here). And somewhere I stumbled into an art form called the sermon. What happened to the sermon?! Like Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which was a sermon, it’s the ultimate provocative art form where you’re inspired and convicted and moved. And I got into pastoring because of the art form. I started a church, but I felt the art form needed to be freed for all people. A particular religion over others was never interesting to me. I wanted to talk to people about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human. How do you worry less? These are questions that all people have. The first Everything is Spiritual tour was in 2006 and I thought there was a way to take this further — to take this to this place where I hang out, where I see my favorite bands. It felt like a homecoming to places like the Knitting Factory.
Are you still a pastor? Does that ever go away?
Four years ago, I left Mars Hill Bible Church (different from the now defunct Mars Hill Church founded in Seattle by Mark Driscoll) and moved to L.A. with my family. I feel like more of a pastor than ever, now that I’m no longer carrying an institution on my shoulders. I don’t have a local flock, either, if that’s what you’re asking.
Yes, it's really true. George R.R. Martin is coming to the Lilac City later this month.
The murmurs have been quiet unless you've looked for them, but Spokane's own Auntie's Bookstore is leading the charge to get the acclaimed author to come visit the bookstore in person.
Although there isn't a major mention (we had to dig to find it) of Martin's guest appearance at the World Science Fiction Convention, happening Aug. 19-23 — also known as Worldcon; this year the event is going by the name Sasquan — on the event's website, we can confirm it via info on the author's site, and his personal Live Journal account.
This following except from another blog post by Martin also refers to his Spokane visit:
Truth be told, six months ago I was seriously considering skipping Sasquan. Not something I do lightly, given my history, given how much I have loved worldcon over the years. But I've been to Spokane, and while it seemed a pleasant enough town I wasn't dying to see it again... and I do have a lot on my plate right now. But that was before Puppygate. Once that kerfuffle broke, I knew I could not possibly stay away. When your family is being attacked, lied about, and threatened that's not the time you want to skip the family reunion.
Okay, so what the heck is Puppygate? Without going too much into the incredibly complex details and backstory, the controversy concerns the annual Hugo Awards, which recognize the best science fiction and fantasy works of the previous year. Considered to be one of the premier accolades bestowed upon sci-fi/fantasy writers, the honors are presented each year at Worldcon. Winners of various categories are voted upon by paying members who attend the event or who register to support it, but maybe otherwise can't attend in person.
But, this year, the Hugos were rigged. A voting bloc called "Sad Puppies" led a campaign to get a specific list of "anti-progressive authors, editors and fans" to the top of the ballot. Here are the resulting top nominees in each category.
To sum it up, the Hugo Awards' Puppygate is really similar in its warped ideology to Gamergate.
Martin's presentation schedule at Sasquan includes a reading on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 3 pm — the description for the event is "an excerpt from The Winds of Winter," the long-anticipated sixth novel in the GoT series. On Friday, Aug. 21, at 11 am, Martin and author Robert Silverberg host a panel to talk "about whatever they'd like to!" On Saturday, Aug. 22, Martin hosts an autograph session at 2 pm. The last panel featuring the author is on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 1 pm, titled "Colleagues as Family," and is a conversation between Martin and fellow fantasy writers David Gerrold, Connie Wills and Vonda N. McIntyre.
Okay, now how do we, the public and avid fans of Martin's, attend? Worldcon offers one-day membership rates to allow locals to check out this international event that's been touted as a super big deal for Spokane since it was announced over a year ago. The ticket prices are a little steep ($40-$70/day, depending on the day), but until recently, the only way to attend was to purchase an attending Worldcon membership for $240.
And it should be noted that there is tons more to see, do and learn from at the event beyond the panels and signings featuring the incredibly popular GoT author. Check out the complete schedule for the event here.
Calling all urban designers: submissions are now open for the 2015 Spokane Mayor’s Urban Design Awards.
The awards, which began in 2007 and take place every other year, celebrate the architecture, urban and landscape design which, Mayor David Condon says, help shape the Spokane experience.
“Spokane is defined in part by how it is experienced through its many varying lenses and attractive features that include beautiful architecture, historical buildings, plazas, parks and landscapes,” Condon said in a press release. “The Urban Design Awards encourage and recognize the talents of those who add to this sense of identity and place by sharing their creativity in the public places we all enjoy.”
This year’s awards are also unique in the partnership between the City of Spokane and Spokane Arts, to facilitate further awareness and knowledge of how excellent design and city planning make Spokane even more, to steal from the motto, “near perfect.”
As for the award-giving process, the call for entries is open until midnight August 14 on smuda.spokanearts.org, which includes a 15-point summary of design qualities sought.
Winners from the last time the awards were given, in 2013, include the SIERR/McKinstry building, the new Westview Elementary, the SFCC Music Building renovation, and the Fountain Cafe at Riverfront Park.
The submissions are first assessed by the City’s Design Review Board which recommends entries to the Mayor’s office, which will present the awards in late October at the closing party for the second annual Create Spokane Arts Month.
In need of some inspiration on what calls for good urban design in Spokane? Look no further than the current issue's cover story, on the Lilac City's rich architectural history.
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