Only a couple months into its merger, and leaders at the Modern Theater — the new-ish name for the combined incarnation of what formerly was Interplayers Theatre and Lake City Playhouse — are busy planning for the future.
This past Saturday, the nonprofit theater group officially announced the lineup of shows it's staging at both its Spokane and Coeur d'Alene theaters. Season tickets for the 2015-16 season go on sale Sun, Feb. 1. Following is the production schedule; find descriptions of each performance on the Modern Theater's blog.
The Modern Theater Spokane:
Other Desert Cities (drama), Sept. 25-Oct. 11
Wild Parties (musical), Nov. 6-29
Lucky Me (comedy), Jan. 1-17, 2016
Last of the Boys (drama), Feb. 19-March 6, 2016
Next to Normal (musical, April 7, 17, 2016 — this show is to be a special co-production with the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, and is performing at the Bing Crosby Theater.
The Ladies Foursome (comedy), May 13-29, 2016
Man of La Mancha (musical), July 8-30, 2016
The Modern Theater Coeur d'Alene:
Rock of Ages (musical), Sept. 11-Oct. 10 — we're assuming based on their site listing A Rock Show for the Ages, since the Modern can't really say til Feb. 1)
The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, Nov. 27-Dec. 20
All My Sons (drama), Jan. 22-Feb. 7, 2016
Maybe Baby (comedy), March 4-20, 2016
A Bright New Boise (dark comedy), April 22-May 8, 2016 — a play by Moscow, Idaho-native Samuel D. Hunter.
Anything Goes (musical), June 3-26, 2016
Dogfight (musical), July 29-Aug. 14, 2016
Though opening night is officially this Friday, the public can catch a preview performance tonight, paying what they can afford at the box office.
Suggested entry is $5 per person, and seating availability in the 335-seat main stage theater is on a first come, first served basis, says the Civic's marketing coordinator Miranda Larson.
Doors tonight open at 6:30 pm, with seating starting at 7 before the curtain rises at 7:30 pm. Thursdays typically serve as a production's final dress rehearsal, with the previous night designated as "friends and family night" for the cast and crew members.
The idea to open up the Thursday night rehearsal came from the Civic's artistic director, Keith Dixon, whose former theater, Theatre Baton Rouge, offered a similar program.
"It helps with accessibility to the community theater because some people can't afford it," Larson says. "We're doing it for every production [going forward] to let people who otherwise wouldn't be able to come. We want the community to be a part of local theater."
Though the suggested entry is $5, Larson says those attending can pay more or less, depending on what they're comfortable giving.
For the Civic's next Studio Theatre production, Orphans, pay-what-you-can night is set for Thursday, Jan. 29, a week from today.
While the new preview night is open to the general public, the Civic has for some time been offering student rush tickets when a production on the main stage has at least 30 open seats, or there's at least 10 seats in the studio theater. Rush tickets are generally half of what regular student pricing is, but tickets at that rate are only sold 30 minutes before the performance, and only when the minimum number of seats are available. For Servants, rush night tickets are $9.
Not halfway into its current, 68th season, the Spokane Civic Theatre has already announced the lineup of shows it plans to produce for its 69th year, starting in the fall of 2015.
Right now, the theater is staging a musical version of the classic Dickens' tale A Christmas Carol, running through Dec. 20. Read Inlander theater writer E.J. Iannelli's take on it in this week's issue, out a day early, on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.
For the 2014-15 season, the community theater kicked things off with a bang, opening with an impeccable production of Fiddler on the Roof. And those who saw it won't soon forget the previous season's sold-out run of Les Miserables.
Keeping with its theme of musicals and other familiar favorites, the Civic's 2015-16 season opens on the Main Stage with Catch Me If You Can, The Musical, Sept. 18-Oct. 18, 2015.
It will be followed by these shows, on the main stage:
Downstairs in the cozier Studio Theatre, the 69th season features:
Ten days, folks. TEN DAYS. That’s all the time remaining to get your stories in for this year’s Inlander Short Fiction Contest. We’ve seen submissions pick up in the last couple of weeks, but we know you’re just putting the finishing touches on those gems.
Remember, we’re looking for unpublished stories of less than 2,000 words based on the theme of “spirits,” however you want to interpret that. Stories must mention an Inland Northwest landmark, and must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Nov. 21 (again — 10 days away!).
And there’s the $500 in cash prizes for our top stories. Additional details here.
We’ve also set up a fiction contest Facebook page to answer questions and invite friends. Feel free to help spread the word.
If you need some last-minute inspiration, renowned regional author Sharma Shields is hosting a Flash Fiction Workshop on Saturday on how to craft “ultra-short stories” that leave a strong impact. It’s over at the South Hill Library.
And feel free to read through some of our previous top stories from years past. We’re looking forward to going through this year’s entries. Good luck.
The downtown Spokane interactive art space Laboratory is looking for applicants for its new artist residency program. The program calls for artists with a particular interest in interactive art, or "art that responds to the presence of interaction of the viewer," says Laboratory founder and director Alan Chatham.
Chatham founded Laboratory in 2013 as an alternative space for artists to create and show interactive pieces.
“Interactive art as a fine-art medium is really just kind of beginning to take off,” Chatham says. “So right now there’s not a whole lot of support for it. That’s why we’re kind of hoping to be one of those first organizations to really support and help interactive artists produce work.”
Successful applicants to the residency are to begin working there next month. Laboratory will house the two artists in a recently renovated downtown apartment (located above The Bartlett, at 228 W. Sprague; residents also get free access to all Bartlett concerts during their stay) for 1-3 months, in addition to access to a 200-square-foot studio, mentorship from Chatham, and a monthly stipend. In return, resident artists are expected to produce at least one piece of art for display in the storefront gallery, located at 301 W. Main. While Chatham is personally funding the project for now, he's also starting to look for donations.
So far, applications for the residency have been light, with the majority coming from Europe.
"The [interactive art] scene in Europe is a lot more vibrant, I think," he says.
Artists can apply for one of three focus areas, or "tracks," that provide themes for the residency. The production track is "for people who have a really cool idea and want to make something," Chatham says. The research track includes brainstorming new tools and techniques for interactive art, while the learning track is designed for artists who want to take part in the residency but need to hone their skills. All three were developed with the development of interactive art in mind.
Interested applicants can apply at the residency's website before the first residency slot deadline of Saturday, Nov. 1.
Dialogues on sin and redemption, the intersection of politics and religion, and the experiences of religion in the everyday life in the American South are depicted in Amen, Amen: Religion & Southern Self-Taught Artists, currently featured at Gonzaga University's Jundt Art Museum.
Upon entering the gallery, guests are confronted with contrasting displays on both sides: devils on the left and angels on the right, establishing the battle that takes place throughout the exhibit.
R.A. Miller, an illiterate folk artist, uses plywood, old window shutters and meat packing trays as materials for these representations of good and evil. In fact, much of the art in the exhibit is made up of simple, found objects, from tin and cardboard to framed posters that have been painted over. The exhibit's featured artists were mostly uneducated, and some created their pieces in prison, or for rustic art booths at gas stations. Those on the fringes of humanity often have a unique ability to comment on the human experience and thus spur controversy and debate amongst the broader public.
The 117 pieces on display in Amen, Amen are borrowed from a larger private Carl and Marian Mullis art collection in Atlanta. Since the pieces have been twice removed from their context, once from the settings in which they were created and the again from the American South to the Inland Northwest, extended biographies are provided for each piece, familiarizing us with their backgrounds.
Gonzaga has chosen to focus on the exhibit's theme of religion and spirituality because of the university's Jesuit affiliations, but other specific subtopics within the collection include creationism, narratives from the Old and New Testaments, examples of faith in daily Southern life, politics and religion, the crucifixion, and of course, expectations of the apocalypse. River baptisms, country churches and haunted houses are among some of the everyday scenes of the American South depicted in the exhibit. Commentaries range from 9/11, the presidential election of 1992, the Contract with America, and capitalism. New Jerusalem is imagined as high rise apartments in a post-apocalyptic depiction.
Each artist in Amen, Amen is distinct in their art styles through repetition. Such trademark images are what make folk artists so identifiable. It's why Howard Finster, featured in the exhibit and who became somewhat of a folk art celebrity in the 1980s, caught the attention of bands like REM and Talking Heads and was asked to create their album art (right). It's why Minnie Adkins was requested to create a nativity scene specifically for this exhibit, making her piece the most contemporary one in the show. Even though the aesthetics may be simple, the symbols and meanings have the potential to be incredibly complex.
Amen, Amen runs through Jan. 10, 2015 at the Jundt Art Museum, at 200 E. Desmet, on the Gonzaga campus. Gallery hours are Mon-Sat, from 10 am-4 pm.
Attend a public walk-through of the exhibit with Jundt director and curator Paul Manoguerra on Fri, Oct. 10, at 10:30 am.
Gonzaga hosts several writers and poets annually as part of the series, organized by the university's English department and College of Arts and Sciences. Featured artists read their works aloud, take questions from the audience and discuss their careers and creative processes.
The Visiting Writer Series this academic year also hosts poet Brenda Hillman (Oct. 21), writers Joanna Luloff (Nov. 20), Douglas Kearney (March 25) and Michael Gurian (April 15); and Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson (Feb. 18).
Butterworth's writing has been published by Algonquin Books and Lost Horse Press. Radium Watch Dial Painters, a compilation of his poems, is a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Tonight, he reads excerpts from this book in the Cataldo Globe Room at 7:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Our annual, massive Fall Arts Preview issue hits stands today. It’s one of the biggest Inlanders we put together each year, and by far the largest special section focusing on the local arts community. As listings editor, the task of putting together the massive, 13-page calendar of arts events in this section is all mine. It’s a doozy for sure, but it always gets me excited as I sort through all the amazing, innovative events that roll in.
And with this year’s Create Spokane Arts Month happening through October — which is already the busiest month for the local arts scene — this year’s season is more robust than ever. I suggest getting your calendar out now, because there are too many events you won’t want to miss. Here’s a peek at what those of us who worked on the Fall Arts issue are looking forward to most. — CHEY SCOTT
INLAND NW CRAFT BEER FEST
As a newcomer to Eastern Washington, I don’t know (yet) how locals think of the beer scene. But as someone coming from a place (Salt Lake City) with a rather, um, limited number of native breweries, let me just say that navigating the wide array of craft brew options here in Spokane is daunting. Delicious, but daunting. So this Inland NW Craft Beer Festival seems like a godsend of a crash course with its promised 30 regional breweries pouring more than 100 beers. (DAN NAILEN)
I’ll admit it. I bought my ticket back in May, the moment I heard Conor Oberst was set to play the Knitting Factory this fall. Since high school, I’ve been following Oberst’s discography around like a puppy — whether it was Bright Eyes albums, him and the Mystic Valley Band, solo releases or a collaboration with his fellow indie stalwarts in Monsters of Folk. His new solo album, Upside Down Mountain, has everything that’s great about Oberst: folksy rhythms, raw vocals and gnawing questions (“Say the engine failed when that plane was flying/If you were the pilot, would you curse or would you pray?”). This time around, his usual sad-soaked melodies have a hint of cheer, but — best of all — the storytelling is still poignantly beautiful. (JO MILLER)
For this year's Fall Arts Preview issue we enlisted local model Brynne Gadbury as our cover model. We wanted to make this a dynamic, vibrant cover, so we thought of splashing our model with color powder — the same stuff they use at color runs. Amazingly, she didn't mind it. Thank you so much to all of the people who make this arts scene such a vibrant one.
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