Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bartfest 2016 is canceled, as promoters cite low ticket sales

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Twin Peaks are still heading to the Bartlett this fall. - DANIEL TOPETE
  • Daniel Topete
  • Twin Peaks are still heading to the Bartlett this fall.

In a day and age where music festivals continue to pop up like dandelions, some festivals are now struggling to compete (this year's Sasquatch! and Paradiso festivals didn't even sell out). Today, the Bartlett owners announced they would cancel Bartfest, a two-day music festival they had scheduled to run the last weekend of September/first of October at their venue and neighboring nYne. 

Although a two-day pass was listed at $30 (a far cry from the first Bartfest's $90) for a lineup consisting of up-and-coming indie acts Twin Peaks, TOPS, Tangerine, White Reaper, Soft Sleep and the Echolarks, the pre-sales were not enough to keep the 3-year-old festival afloat. Although Spokanites are notorious for not purchasing tickets until close to a performance/event date, owners Karli and Caleb Ingersoll had been burned before when their first Bartfest outing only sold a third of tickets needed to break even. 

"Canceling is definitely a self-protective move," the Ingersolls wrote in a Facebook post today. "If people don't buy tickets, our venue is put at risk because festivals are based on guarantees only and not percentages of ticket sales. So, when people don't show up, we suffer."

But all is not lost. Twin Peaks is still booked to perform at the Bartlett that weekend and TOPS will play at the Observatory, both on Sat, Oct. 1. The owners plan to keep moving forward. 

"Bartfest may re-emerge at some point, but for now we are going to focus on what we feel the most confident in — bringing in really great bands weekly and giving them a great space to play in," the Ingersoll's wrote. 

Read the full Facebook post below: 

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Brett Dennen bound for Spokane on Tour Por Favor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Brett Dennen brings his folky acoustic style to Spokane come September.
  • Brett Dennen brings his folky acoustic style to Spokane come September.

Brett Dennen has known some degree of stardom ever since he released his self-titled debut album in 2004. The folk singer/songwriter was born in Oakdale, California, and spent his early homeschooled days basking in creative freedom and learning to play the guitar and write music. A social activist at heart, Dennen led anti-smoking campaigns during his time at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is still involved with The Mosaic Project, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to fostering peaceful intentions in youth of different backgrounds and ethnicities. 

Following the release of his first album, Dennan has put out five subsequent records, including his most recent, Por Favor, which hit shelves in May. Over the course of his musical career, he's toured with John Mayer and Pete Murray, and collaborated with Jason Mraz on a song included on the compilation album Songs for Survival, the proceeds of which went to charities focused assisting tribal peoples in the Amazon.

Now, Dennen is on tour to promote his latest album's release — a tour that will take him to Spokane's Knitting Factory on Friday, Sept. 30. It's not the first time Dennen has graced the Inland Northwest with his presence, but a number of years have passed since his last visit.

At the show, the artist is likely to focus on songs from his newest record, one that he strived to imbue with raw honesty and some degree of looseness. It's an album with a generally uplifting sound despite the seemingly somber nature of some of its subject matter, which includes Dennen's grappling with feelings of loneliness and loss.

Tickets to the show go on sale Friday, Aug. 26, at 10 am on the Knitting Factory's website, and will cost $20 before fees. At the door, the base price will increase to $22.

Here's Dennen performing one of the songs on Por Favor, titled "Cassidy," live:

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Police chief confirmation stalls, wildfires continue and news to start your day

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 9:07 AM

Craig Meidl has not yet been confirmed as Spokane's police chief - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Craig Meidl has not yet been confirmed as Spokane's police chief


NEWS: A Spokane County Sheriff's Office detective has been sharing memes, videos and articles on Facebook that trash the Black Lives Matter movement.

: We thought Spokane City Council would vote last night on Mayor David Condon's pick for police chief, but then we found out Meidl's fate would not be decided until later. He will now go through the same interview process as the other candidates.

: Spokane Arts director Laura Becker is leaving Spokane for Santa Monica, California. 


Eastern Washington fires
The Yale Road fire 15 miles south of Spokane has now burned 4,000 acres and destroyed at least 10 homes. The Hart Road fire northwest of Spokane has burned 10,000 acres and nearly a dozen buildings and forced evacuations of the town of Wellpinit. Both fires are at 0 percent containment, according to firefighters.  (Spokesman-Review)

Smoke in the air
You may have noticed Spokane is filled with smoke. The air quality is now somewhere between "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" and "Moderate," according to Spokane Clean Air. Check for yourself here. (KHQ)

Clinton's emails
A federal judge has ordered that the State Department accelerate the release of nearly 15,000 Hillary Clinton emails, meaning they could be released weeks before the election. Meanwhile, Republicans allege that emails released Monday from Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State show that Clinton traded favors for donations to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton and the foundation deny the charge. 

Trump on immigration
Donald Trump says he has an immigration plan, and it apparently no longer involves deporting 11 million people using a "deportation force." Rather, it will be similar to what Obama is doing, but with "a lot more energy." 
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Actually nevermind, the city council probably won't vote on Craig Meidl's appointment tonight

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Meidl's confirmation will have to wait, mayor agrees. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Meidl's confirmation will have to wait, mayor agrees.

Earlier today we posted a blog about the impending decision before the Spokane City Council tonight — whether or not Craig Meidl will be Spokane's next police chief. 

Well, about that... 

We just got word that Meidl's fate likely will not be decided tonight. Instead, he will go through the same process as the 10 semifinalists considered by the selection committee, according to a press release from the city. That means Meidl will answer the same written and video questions that other outside candidates were required to answer.

"We appreciate the Mayor's willingness to take this additional step in the process of finding Spokane's next police chief," Councilwoman Lori Kinnear says, who along with Councilman Breean Beggs submitted a letter with this proposal to Mayor David Condon. 

"We want to be clear that our call for completing the promised public process with a comparison between candidates is in no way an indication of a negative judgment on Craig Meidl's ability to perform the job," the letter reads (embedded below). "We have worked closely with him over the last few months as he has performed his duties of acting chief and found him to be very cooperative, talented and sincere."

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City Council to vote tonight on Mayor David Condon's pick for police chief

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 2:41 PM

Craig Meidl addresses reporters following his nomination as chief of police - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak Photo
  • Craig Meidl addresses reporters following his nomination as chief of police

Tonight is the night. 

The City Council is scheduled to vote to approve or reject Craig Meidl as Spokane's next chief of police. 

In interviews leading up to tonight's vote, City Council President Ben Stuckart says he intends to vote against Meidl's approval. 

"I'd be doing a great disservice to all the citizens involved ... if I discounted all their work," Stuckart says. "Two of the [Police Leadership Advisory Committee] recommendations are very specific to involving the public from the beginning." 

Two weeks ago, Councilwoman Karen Stratton indicated to the Inlander that she hadn't yet been convinced to vote in favor of Meidl's confirmation. Councilman Mike Fagan has come out in support of Meidl.

Councilman Breean Beggs did not say whether he's decided either way, though he articulated potential compromises — such as appointing Meidl for a "test period" and allow for more vetting. 

Councilmembers Amber Waldref and Candace Mumm have not publicly stated which way they're leaning. Last week, Kinnear indicated that she was still sifting through the public comment before making her decision.

The vote comes three weeks after Mayor David Condon discarded two outside candidates for chief and appointed Meidl, sparking outrage among those who participated in the vetting process.

In the aftermath of former Chief Frank Straub's forced resignation, Condon hired a recruiting firm and assembled a selection committee of nine city leaders and community members to help whittle down the original list of 31 candidates. He also arranged four interview panels, totaling more than 40 people to vet the finalists.

Those who participated in those events expressed frustration with Condon's unilateral decision to appoint a man who did not apply for the job and initially stated he did not want to be chief. 

In February, Condon had reiterated his commitment to using an outside firm to recruit a police chief through a national search. 

"We will do a national search and the citizens will have the best person to fill the job," Condon said then. "One of the key things the PLAC suggested was to use an outside firm ... As they provided feedback on what would be their prerogative, the vast majority of them thought we should use a recruiting firm to recruit nationwide."

Following the announcement earlier this month, Condon also announced that he would not, at that point, seek approval from the City Council, as is required by the city's charter, "out of an abundance of caution and concern for [Meidl] and his career." 

That prompted the city council to schedule two community forums followed by tonight's vote.

"Had Craig Meidl gone through the process and come out as the top candidate, we'd be having a very different conversation," Stuckart says. 

Daniel Walters contributed reporting
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Spokane Arts director Laura Becker to leave the citywide arts nonprofit this fall

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 2:09 PM

Outgoing Spokane Arts director Laura Becker, in a photo illustration from the Inlander's 2015 Fall Arts issue. - KRISTEN BLACK / CHRIS BOVEY
  • Kristen Black / Chris Bovey
  • Outgoing Spokane Arts director Laura Becker, in a photo illustration from the Inlander's 2015 Fall Arts issue.

After a little more than a year and a half at the helm of the city's nonprofit arts fund/commission, Spokane Arts executive director Laura Becker is leaving her role there later this fall.

In a recent email letter to the organization's supporters, the Spokane native expressed sincere appreciation for the opportunity to lead the organization since the start of 2015, and being able to contribute to the growth of the local arts community, which has been building positive momentum for several years now.

Becker has accepted a position as cultural affairs supervisor for the City of Santa Monica, California. In her resignation announcement, she writes:
There were several factors informing my decision to move on. First, my partner is wrapping up his time here in Spokane and is moving back to his home state of California. This is a move that I have delayed for as long as possible but ultimately, I needed to consider this relocation a reality for us. In addition, I have been offered and have accepted an incredible opportunity to serve as the Cultural Affairs Supervisor to the City of Santa Monica’s public art program, a role for which my background and experience make me an ideal candidate.

Looking forward, I must prioritize my family and manage my professional life with greater balance – this position and a move closer to my family are a clear path for me. I have great love for Spokane and am honored to have led this organization for as long as I have and with so many accomplishments to account. I am immensely hopeful that Spokane Arts will attract an extremely qualified and passionate leader who can continue the work that we have all contributed to this organization’s young life. Given this decision, I have heavily considered plans for a sound and harmonious organizational transition. 
Becker was hired in fall 2014 to take on the role as Spokane Arts' executive director after the departure of its first leader, Shannon Halberstadt, who left after just a year to relocate back to Seattle with her husband. Becker brought years of experience to her role with Spokane Arts, having worked in administrative positions for several Seattle arts groups since 2001.

During her tenure at Spokane Arts, Becker helped bring in thousands of dollars of grant funds, assisted with the implementation of numerous public art projects like the downtown Mobile Murals project and the traffic signal-box art, and continued to grow October's Spokane Arts Month, along with many other initiatives. 

Until a new director is hired, starting on Sept. 23 Spokane Arts will be led by interim director Ellen Picken, who currently serves as its program manager. Karen Mobley's duties as public art program contractor will also expand, along with those of other staff members.

A search committee for Becker's replacement has been formed, and the job posting for Spokane Arts next executive director is posted online.
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Spokane deputy's post about Black Lives Matter sparks debate among local law enforcement

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 1:09 PM

A Spokane County sheriff's detective's Facebook page is dotted with memes, videos and links to articles that trash the Black Lives Matter movement, espouse an "us vs. them" attitude and at times diminish the role of race in police interactions.

Damon Simmons, an African American detective for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and a former officer in Great Falls, Montana, recently shared a meme on his public Facebook page from the Operation Officer Down — A program of the NAIDW page. Over an aerial photo of the recent flood in Louisiana are the words:


This post — and others on Simmons' page — offer a peek into conversations about Black Lives Matter and community and police relations among some local law enforcement, both active and retired.

Under the Louisiana flood meme, NAACP Spokane President Phil Tyler (who was a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Office as a corrections officer) commented that Simmons' post was "distasteful," and that "professionals should be more professional."


The meme pits the police against Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers over a tragic natural disaster that has nothing to do with police shootings of black people. However, Simmons says the post is meant to express his frustration that the Black Lives Matter movement is only concerned about black lives when they're taken by police officers. When African Americans are victims of intraracial violence or, say, the victims of a natural disaster, Black Lives Matter protesters are silent, Simmons argues.

"If we're going to say black lives matter, well, we're all one race," Simmons tells the Inlander. "All lives should matter. There needs to be a wake-up call there."

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Wildfires rip through region, woman survives shooting and other morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 9:12 AM

Wildfires are surrounding Spokane
  • Wildfires are surrounding Spokane


THIS WEEK: Tons of tunes, Gathering at the Falls PowWow, Jim Jefferies and more
MUSIC: The Spokane Symphony's new season features Harry Potter, a scary silent film and romantic Rachmaninoff
NEWS: Why Raise Up Washington believes it's worth ditching the exemptions from Spokane's sick leave policy
NEWS: People keep stealing the giant toy eggs from Spokane Valley's Discovery Playground


Wildfires in Spokane 
Three fires surrounding Spokane burned more than 13,000 acres, destroyed homes and forced evacuations yesterday and continue today. (Spokesman-Review)
  • Firefighters say the Hart Road Fire near the town of Wellpinit, northeast of Spokane, erupted overnight and has grown to 10,000 acres, prompting level 3 evacuations in the town. (KHQ)
  • As of last night, the Yale Road Fire near Spangle, south of Spokane, tore through multiple homes Sunday and grew to 2,500 acres in size. Both that fire and the smaller fire near Beacon Hill in northeast Spokane are now being referred to collectively as the Spokane Complex Fire. (KXLY)
Woman shot in the head
A woman was shot in the head at a Spokane motel on Sunday night but is expected to survive, according to police. The suspect is at-large. (Spokesman-Review)

Cyclist injured in Idaho
A 65-year-old cyclist was seriously injured when hit by a car in Kootenai County on Sunday afternoon. (KHQ)

End of Olympics
The Rio Olympics are over, and Team USA, by far, took home the most medals. But that was expected, and these games may actually come to be defined by the lies of Ryan Lochte, the swimmer who can't even endorse Speedo anymore. (Washington Post)
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

THIS WEEK: Tons of tunes, Gathering at the Falls PowWow, Jim Jefferies and more

Posted By on Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Hometown boy Ryan Lewis (left) and Macklemore play a sold-out gig at the Bing on Tuesday.
  • Hometown boy Ryan Lewis (left) and Macklemore play a sold-out gig at the Bing on Tuesday.

Barreling toward September we are, so you better take advantage of all that August has to offer while you still can. I'd recommend using our massive event listings and Staff Picks for guidance. 

Here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, Aug. 22

LIVE BANDS | The Steve Miller Band entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year with a splash, or maybe a volcano, courtesy of the classic-rock dude's rant that the Hall doesn't treat artists well. Who know the man behind smooth hits like "The Joker" had it in him? He'll headline a show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino that includes Foghat opening. 

Tuesday, Aug. 23

COMMUNITY | It's Community Shred Day at the Spokane Arena, so bring in your personal papers and financial flotsam and get rid of it for a mere $5 donation to Project Hope. 

LIVE BANDS | It's a huge night for live music in the ol' town on Tuesday. At the Bing, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are headlining a show that sold out in mere minutes, so if you don't have a ticket, good luck with that. 

At the Knitting Factory, you have the opportunity to dance up a storm with the mighty fine Fitz and the Tantrums, joined by Phases for a show full of soulful sounds and bombastic performers on stage. Here's a taste of the band's style: 

And at Chateau Rive, it's an awesome lineup for the Roots on the Rails show, a tour traveling by train that includes roots-rock and folk legend Dave Alvin along with the incomparable Eliza Gilkyson, Cindy Cashdollar, Christy McWilson and more. 

Wednesday, Aug. 24

FOOD & DRINK | The bounty of summer is soon to be a memory, so you might want to brush up on (or learn for the first time) your preserving skills. Head to the Medical Lake Library for a free session on Preserving Food in Jars

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Friday, August 19, 2016

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Rage-Apalooza, Fruit Bats, Wimps and Steam Plant Block Party

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 3:24 PM

The Hoot Hoots headline Saturday's Steam Plant Block Party.
  • The Hoot Hoots headline Saturday's Steam Plant Block Party.

It's another weekend full of tough musical choices. Too bad it's impossible to be in multiple places at once. 

The thing about bands that say they are breaking up is that they normally are telling the truth, or at least the truth in that moment. Back in 2013, the Fruit Bats played their "final show" as a band in Portland. Yet last year, lead singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson announced he was back at it. Absolute Loser is the act's first album in five years and you can hear much of those sweet, sorrowful tunes at tonight's Spokane show at the Bartlett. The show starts at 8 pm and is $17 at the door.

Tonight, the first-ever Rage-Apalooza (a combination of the All Age Rage and Octapalooza music festivals) continues at the Viking, and the lineup playing the two outdoor stages includes all local acts. Get a load of this list of bands: Invasive, Soblivios, Seven Cycles, Concrete Grip, Cold Blooded, Hexxus, Children Of the Sun, Thunder Knife, Project-X and Catalyst.

The show is $15 at the door for a single-day ticket. Be sure to check out the lineups for Saturday and Sunday as well as read the Inlander's full event preview right here. We're most looking forward to Portland's own metal act Red Fang closing out the festival Sunday evening. 

Wimps are back! While the Seattle trio did play Sasquatch! this year, they haven't been in Spokane since last August. This time, the punk rockers will take on the Observatory with the help of local artists Peru Resh and S1ugs. Cost is $7 at the door and you should probably arrive around 9 pm. Check out the band's new album below. 

For those on the hunt for yet another cool festival/block party, look no further than the all-ages Steam Plant Block Party. Held in the parking lot between the Steam Plant and Baby Bar, the lineup kicks off with DJs Ca$e and Pauliday at 2 pm and ends with Seattle’s own wild indie rockers the Hoot Hoots. In between? Local acts including Flying Spiders, Von the Baptist, Summer in Siberia and Lavoy. On top of the music expect a handful of vendors, food trucks, a T-shirt screen-print booth, even a dome to hang out in. The party doesn’t end there, moving inside Baby Bar after 10 pm for even more sweet tunes. See the full lineup right here. Tickets are $10. 
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