The ballots are live — let the voting begin!
But before you start, know this important fact — for its 22nd year, the Inlander's annual Best Of the Northwest readers poll has a single important question: Best Local Cat. Yes, this is real, and we are serious, however, the story of how this question came to be included on the ballot this year is a little... less serious. In fact, after a brief lapse in memory this writer (aka the only one on staff who writes the Cat Friday blog) realized she is responsible for the existence of the "best local cat" category on the 2015 poll's ballot. What goes around comes around, it seems. (Disclaimer, it was not known during ballot creation that I was the one who jokingly (sort of) nominated "best local cat" as the "best question not asked" on the 2014 Best Of ballot.)
Before you bust out that pen (paper ballots are included in the current issue of the Inlander, Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or log on to vote online for your own feline friends, hear me out. There are lots of publicly known cats around town, so perhaps choose from the following pool of nominees instead to give a local "celbri-cat" some deserved recognition!
Bento the Keyboard Cat is the reincarnation of Spokane's most famous cat, Fatso the Keyboard Cat. Fatso is also the "original" internet cat meme, and should go down in history as one of the Lilac City's most famous residents of all time. Bento may already be an obvious choice for locals who know of his important role in pop culture, but in case you didn't know, we wrote about him last year. His owner is local artist Charlie Schmidt.
A somewhat dormant Cat Friday series profiling local business's resident cats highlights a few other felines in the public eye, like the two cats of Interiors By Robin, in the Garland Business District. Dolly and KeeKee often captivate passersby by laying in the business's storefront, adjacent to the Blue Door Theatre.
While they don't actually interact with the public, the three cats of Spokane Vintage Warehouse (Zoey, Aiden and Zelda) were our first "business cat" profilees, having gained a following by photobombing pictures of the business's inventory, often shared on its Facebook page.
A very special cat often makes the rounds of downtown Spokane web/graphic design firm Design Spike. Maddie was the second profile in the business cat series, and continues to make appearances now and then (when she isn't too cozy to leave the house) at the second floor office in the Liberty Building, above Auntie's.
While we've not profiled (yet) the following kitties, patrons of their business homes should recognize these friendly felines.
Alfred, a three-legged, jet black cat, is the official mascot of Cat's Meow Feline Veterinary Clinic in the South Perry neighborhood.
In the North Monroe Business District, Laney the calico has been greeting patrons of Dan's Barber Shop for nearly the past decade.
Although Northwest Christian Thrift Store sadly lost its well-known store cat, Mouse, in recent years, Kiera the tortie has been keeping the facility under her careful watch in her stead.
Both locations of local business Northwest Seed & Pet have beloved resident kitties. Gertrude, a black, former shelter cat from SCRAPS keeps an eye on things at the East Sprague store, while Wallace and Django keep the store's animals in line on North Division.
While it's a bit far away for us Inland Northwest cat lovers to visit as often as we'd like, the nearest cat cafe to the Spokane area is opening tomorrow, Jan. 24. This weekend, Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland becomes the first such business in the Rose City, and in all of the Pacific Northwest.
Following in the steps of its forerunners — Oakland's Cat Town Cafe and the recently-debuted Meow Parlour in New York City — Purringtons is "staffed" with adoptable cats. Through a partnership with the nearby Cat Adoption Team, the cafe serves as a satellite adoption center, bringing in new cats when those on site have been adopted. To prevent impulsive decisions, all cat adoptions must be done by appointment and never on the same day an adopter becomes smitten with a kitten.
As a cafe, Purringtons serves small food plates, pastries, coffee, tea, beer and wine from an adjacent and separately accessed space to the cat lounge. On the weekend, guests can also enjoy "Meowmosas" as they pet a soft, soft kitty.
The American cat cafe trend has been steadily building since last year when the first in the U.S., Cat Town, opened in October. It's looking like the next Northwest cat cafe may be Seattle Meowtropolitan. The latest update from its owners predicts a mid-2015 opening, though they're still searching for an appropriate location in the city.
Meanwhile, you can book reservations to visit Purringtons starting this Sunday, Jan. 25. To ensure masses of hysterical cat lovers aren't overwhelming its feline residents, the cat cafe business model seems to have adopted the unwritten rule of reservations-based visits.
For tomorrow's grand opening, the cafe's website explains that it won't accept reservations, instead allowing guests in for half-hour sessions on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who happen to be in Portland, expect to see a line of really excited cat lovers stretching down MLK Blvd.
For fellow cat lovers not able to visit Purringtons in the near future, here's a sneak peak from Willamette Week:
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.
While the film has been available on other video-on-demand platforms for some time at a fee, Netflix subscribers can now watch the fantastical LARP-ing adventures of its all-star cast of characters — played by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Steve Zahn (Treme), Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Danny Pudi (Community) and Summer Glau (Firefly) — as part of their subscription package.
Knights was shot in and around Spokane by the local production studio North by Northwest back in summer 2010, and before major, breakthrough roles for some of the aforementioned actors. Due to delays in production and distribution, the film wasn't publicly released until January 2014.
Speaking of other locally filmed sci-fi adventures, Z Nation is set to release on Netflix Instant this Friday, Jan. 9. Looks like we all have some weekend binge-watching to look forward to.
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