Monday, October 27, 2014

Downtown Spokane interactive art residency seeks applicants

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 4:18 PM

A view of the Laboratory art residency unit's back deck space.
  • A view of the Laboratory art residency unit's back deck space.

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.

Spokane interactive artist Alan Chatham has worked on many public art projects, like this window display at 1011 W. First earlier this year.
  • Spokane interactive artist Alan Chatham has worked on many public art projects, like this window display at 1011 W. First earlier this year.

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. 

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

St. John's Cathedral to host massive St. John's Heritage Edition Bible

Posted By on Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM


Two volumes of the Heritage Edition of the St. John's Bible will be available for viewing this Sunday, Oct. 26, at Spokane's historic St. John's Cathedral. The Heritage Edition is a high-quality copy of the original St. John's Bible, the illuminated manuscript created by calligrapher Donald Jackson. While these may be reproductions, that doesn't mean they're any smaller than the original. Each volume of the Heritage Edition measures two-feet tall by three-feet wide, and weighs close to 20 pounds. Whew. 

An illuminated manuscript is characterized by fancy borders and colorful images in addition to the text on the page, which is usually done in calligraphy. 

Commissioned in 1998 and completed in 2011, the original St. John's Bible resides at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. According to a press release, it's the "first handwritten, illuminated Bible to be commissioned since the invention of the printing press."

While the St. John's Bible does travel for display at museums, the Heritage Edition was created to serve as more of a "traveling version," to allow for more access to the book for religious and educational institutions. The original set of tomes were handwritten using quills and ink on vellum, a paper made from calfskin, while the Heritage Edition was created using traditional printing techniques on cotton paper. For the illuminations, scribes used a combination of gold leaf, stamps and stencils and powdered pigments for color. The Library of Congress website features some pictures of the original hand-created edition.

Gonzaga University also owns a full set of the Heritage Edition, and keeps one volume on display in the student chapel on campus. 

A lecture on the creation of the original St. John's Bible is scheduled for this Sunday at 9:15 am. On display will be copies of the Gospels and The Book of Acts for viewing between 8-10 am masses at the cathedral.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fiction contest explores "Spirits," enter by Nov. 21 for chance at cash prizes

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Holiday antics, booze, ghosts — it's up to you.
  • Holiday antics, booze, ghosts — it's up to you.

Early submissions for the Inlander's 2014 Short Fiction Contest have started to roll in. You now have just a month left to knock out that masterpiece, so keep the entries coming and spread the word: We're giving out cash!

Sure, your writing is about the art — carefully crafting those soul-penetrating truths, each aching for immortality in ink. But money's nice, too.

The theme this year is "Spirits," however you would like to define or interpret it.

We try to keep the contest rules simple. Submit original, unpublished stories of less than 2,000 words by Nov. 21. All stories must mention at least one local landmark. Writers can submit more than one story. 

The Inlander will award winning writers a total of $500 in cash prizes. Top stories will also run in our Dec. 25 issue.

Send entries or questions to me at: [email protected]

For some writerly inspiration, set aside some time to peruse these interviews with influential authors on methods and motivations over at The Paris Review.

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Haunted happenings this Halloween season

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM

A scene from the King Family Haunted House, open this weekend in North Spokane.
  • A scene from the King Family Haunted House, open this weekend in North Spokane.

As you finish the details of your epic costume ensemble and stock up on goodies to give away to eager children at your door next Friday night, don't overlook the sheer number and of local haunted house events for all ages happening this weekend and next. Pretty soon, if not already, we'll start seeing Christmas decorations and holiday sale commercials on TV, so enjoy the spooky season while it lasts...

KING FAMILY HAUNTED HOUSE | An annual tradition for this Halloween-loving Spokane family, their haunted house opens this weekend and runs throughout next week. It's rated PG-13, and entry is free, though donations are always gladly accepted. Open Oct. 24-30, from 7-9 pm each night. Located at 15604 N. Freya.

WEST VALLEY CITY SCHOOL HAUNTED HOUSE | The school hosts its 6th annual haunted house event in its 100-year-old building. Proceeds support school programs and field trips. Recommended for ages 11 and up. Open Oct. 24-25, from 6:30-10 pm. $5/person. Located at 8920 E. Valleyway Ave.

VALLEY MISSION HAUNTED POOL | The City of Spokane Valley puts a fun spin on the traditional haunted house, transforming the pool deck and the locker rooms of the pool into a spooky setting. It's geared toward kids ages 12 and up. Oct. 24-25, from 7:30-10 pm. $3/person, or $2 with a canned food donation to benefit Second Harvest. Located at 11123 E. Mission Ave. 

POST FALLS LIONS HAUNTED HOUSE | This annually organized event always offers new features each year. Proceeds support the Lions' mission of providing scholarships and financial assistance through its sight and hearing programs. Open Oct. 24-31; Fri-Sat, from 6 pm to midnight and Sun-Thur, from 6-10 pm. Admission is $7/person, or $5 with two non-perishable food items. Located at Fourth and Post, in Post Falls, Idaho.

THE HOLLOW HAUNTED HOUSE | This marks the second year this locally created haunted house is open to the public. Open Oct. 31, from 7-11 pm. Admission is a non-perishable food donation to Second Harvest. Located at 1927 W. Carlisle Ave.

SCARYWOOD | North Idaho's Silverwood Theme Park goes all out for Halloween each year, transforming the otherwise cheery park into a freaky, scream-inducing site of terror. It's open on Thursdays from 6-11:30 pm; Fri-Sat from 7 pm-1 am, except Halloween weekend, (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) hours are from 7 pm-midnight. Admission ranges from $21-$40.

RIVERSIDE STATE PARK ZOMBIE HIKE | Though not a traditional haunted house, this annual event is equally creepy as the undead take to the nighttime forest during a half-mile hike. The one-night event is on Sat, Oct. 25, from 6-9 pm. Admission is $10/adults and $5/kids ages 3-12, which includes one flashlight per group and glow sticks for the kids. No Discover Pass is required. Located at 7903 W. Missoula Rd., Nine Mile Falls.

CREEPY HALLOW | The grounds of the Northwest Renaissance Faire also take on a scarier atmosphere for several nights of the Halloween season, now for the 12th year. Open Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31, from 7 pm-midnight. Admission is $5/person. Located at 6493 Hwy. 291, Nine Mile Falls.

GHOULS & GAMES HAUNTED HOUSE | A locally organized Halloween-night event, including a kid-friendly haunted house, games, a dance party and prizes, as well as live music. Oct. 31, from 6-9 pm. Free admission, or $15/family of four for an all-access event pass. Located at 11420 E. Sprague.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reforesting Spokane, one tree at a time

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM


This Saturday, Oct. 25, marks the fourth annual Reforest Spokane Day, hosted by the Lands Council in conjunction with "National Make a Difference Day."

Hundreds of volunteers are expected to help plant trees along area waterways, with the goal of creating a more ecologically-healthy city. 

Thousands of trees have been planted since the event's inception in 2011, according to Lands Council community outreach and volunteer coordinator Chelsea Updegrove. More than 500 volunteers took part in the event last year. 

“It’s a great opportunity for community members to come out and make a difference in their very own Inland Northwest,” she says.

Updegrove says planting native trees along rivers and streams helps to increase water quality, mitigate erosion, create habitat and beautifies the city. In particular, volunteers will be planting "riverside repair trees," whose roots can handle a heavier, nearby water flow, like ponderosa pines, willows and cottonwoods. 

"Essentially, the impetus was a need for the Spokane River to be more clean, healthy and viable for the future," Updegrove says. "One of the ways we can do that is by planting trees."

For this year, locations include two spots in the Latah/Hangman Creek watershed as well as Garden Springs Creek and Valleyford Park. Updegrove says this location has been the focus of Lands Council projects for some time.

"We have a grant to repair a specific number of miles in this really sensitive area, and so we tried to do this as part of projects we're already doing," she says.


While Reforest Spokane shares a date with National Make a Difference Day, there's a very specific reason the trees are planted in the fall and before it snows. Updegrove says it's better to plant trees in their dormant stage, in order to make the most of the natural precipitation in the fall. If the trees are planted in the spring or summer they can go into a state of shock as well as suffer from a lack of hydration during the Inland Northwest's dry summers.

While different species of trees have different success rates, Updegrove says "if they’re planted well and the volunteers give them enough water while planting, which usually we have very conscientious volunteers, the trees do great." 

Volunteers who sign up to help this Saturday will be assigned a location, and should meet there are the event's start at 9 am. Those helping should bring a shovel, gloves and an empty gallon jug or two for watering. Coffee and treats are to be provided.

If you can't make it Saturday, Updegrove says the Lands Council is always looking for volunteers to help water the new trees as they become established, especially in the summer.
"Volunteers are some of the lifeblood of our organization," she says. "Just give me an email and I’ll put you to work.”

Those interested can register online to help out with Reforest Spokane Day. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Z Nation gets the green light for a second season

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Z Nation, the post-apocalyptic zombie drama filmed and produced in Spokane, is being picked up for second season on the Syfy network, North by Northwest founder Rich Cowan tells the Inlander.

"We don't know all the details — we literally learned about it about an hour ago," Cowan says. "What's significant is they made the decision before the season was even over." (Episode 6 aired last week.)

Cowan says the success of Z Nation may prove fruitful for other productions. "We've shown the industry we can do episode TV in Spokane. We have a quality crew, we have great cooperation with all the government agencies. ... This is a lot of work, a lot of jobs."

The announcement may be a boost for Cowan's campaign; he's challenging incumbent state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R) and has cast himself as a job creator. Still, if the August primary is any indicator, Cowan has ground to make up. Baumgartner received 57 percent of the vote, to Cowan's 43.


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CONCERT REVIEW: Rolling the dice on the Gambler

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

When I was a kid, Kenny Rogers was in the midst of a monster run of hit songs that transcended labels like "country music" or "pop." He was basically an omnipresent musical force thanks to a parade of best-selling albums in the late '70s and early '80s like The Gambler and their affiliated feature films, TV specials, Kenny Rogers Halloween masks and the like. 

Nowadays, of course, he's more well-known for his Geico commercial, people trying to look like him and posting their pictures to the web, his somewhat frightening plastic-surgery results and his popular chicken joints, Kenny Rogers Roasters. Even though I've never lived anywhere where Kenny's restaurants reside, they did inspire a great Seinfeld episode: 

Rogers still tours quite a bit, and his visit to Spokane Sunday night offered me the chance to see how his oldies act measures up to some others I've seen — both good (Tony Bennett) and bad (Wayne Newton). Not only would it be my first time seeing the Gambler in person, but it was my first visit to the Northern Quest Resort & Casino since moving to Spokane last month. 

It being a Sunday, the dealers around the casino were all wearing football jerseys. It was a nice touch, although dropping a few bucks at a blackjack table was made all the worse by losing to someone dressed as Tom Brady.

Entering the Pavilion for the show, an usher told me to "head toward the Jack of Spades" to find my seat. I half-expected people dressed as playing cards a la Alice in Wonderland, but alas, it was just signage once I hit the ballroom-turned venue. 

Taking my seat next to a couple of excited Kenny fans downing hot dogs and talking excitedly about their high hopes for the new Dumb and Dumber sequel, I settled in and watched the old videos playing in lieu of an opening act. There was no sound, and most were taken from his early-'80s heyday. There was Kenny singing with Dolly Parton. With Sheena Easton, with Dottie West, with Kim Carnes. Other than Dolly, it was a cavalcade of "where are they now?"

Rogers hit the stage to a rather muted response from the full room of the mostly Social Security-eligible fans, and the video images we had just seen made the reality all the more striking. He moved gingerly toward center stage as his band lit into "Love or Something Like It" followed by "It's a Beautiful Life." He couldn't seem to move well at all, and even turning to face different parts of the audience seemed difficult. I started to sense the night might be a long one of me wondering if Rogers would tumble off the stage. 

Then a funny thing happened — Rogers turned his age and physical state totally to his advantage. He cracked jokes about the age of the audience — "You'll all be happy to know those are the two loudest songs I know," he announced after his first two tunes. He remarked that his limp was due to getting a knee replaced a few months back, "and they replaced the wrong knee!" He cracked wise about the men dragged to the show by their wives, and even gave one guy up front $10 for every song he could name, continually throwing bills at him throughout the show. 

He had two giant video screens on either side of the stage, so clearly he wasn't concerned with folks seeing the age on his face. This was my view of the proceedings: 


And Rogers' voice? It's actually in pretty good form. He was always a raspy guy, so the ravages of age haven't really changed it that much. Songs like "She Believes in Me," "Ruby," "Coward of the County," "Lucille" and "Daytime Friends" all sounded just fine, although he mashed some together in abbreviated form in an effort to fit as many hits into the show as possible. There were even some pleasant surprises. He covered John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me." The band added accordion for a song he recorded with Buckwheat Zydeco for his 2013 album, You Can't Make Old Friends. And he did "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)," his pre-solo hit with his old band First Edition. You might remember it from The Big Lebowski

All told, a good show, ending with his solo take on Dolly duet "Islands in the Stream." It wouldn't be shocking to see Rogers make his way to town again. As long as that knee holds up. 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Love for our ladies

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Take Back Your Life Expo's logo for their upcoming event
  • Take Back Your Life Expo's logo for their upcoming event

Spokane charities in support of women host two great opportunities to help women in the Spokane area in the coming days.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Take Back Your Life Expo this Sunday, Oct. 19, includes the second annual Stop Violence Against Women Day, providing a sense of solidarity for survivors of abuse. A free community resource fair throughout the day at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln, from 11 am to 5 pm provides women with information and resources in the area so they can continue their path to recovery. In the evening, a wine tasting event raises funds for local nonprofits through ticket sales, bringing entertainment and prizes to its guests. Advance tickets can be purchased here.

For homeless women and their children, St. Margaret's Shelter is a safe haven offering security and support. Many of the women, concerned with survival and the well-being of their kids, don't have the opportunity to buy quality undergarments, so the lingerie department at Nordstrom in downtown Spokane is hosting a donation dresser between Oct. 20-27 for anyone who would like to offer new or gently used bras for a project called "Breast Intentions." 
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WHAT'S UP TODAY? Red Fang, Matisyahu, and Acting!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

You know all about the Inlander's vast array of event listings, no doubt. But sometimes you might not have time to check through the day's doings. We get it, you're busy! And we're here to help by pulling a few highlights out of the mix for your perusal. 

When I scanned the listings for today, these are the highlights I found for Tuesday, Oct. 14: 


MUSIC | Even if you don't consider yourself a metal fan, you just might find yourself a Red Fang fan if you give the Portland band a chance. Not only are their stoner-rock tunes full of serious hooks and monster guitar riffage; they also make some hilarious videos as well. Red Fang is headlining The Hop!, with Black Mastiff and The Static Tones opening. 

Here's a taste of Red Fang: 

MUSIC | Meanwhile, at the Knitting Factory Matisyahu will be performing his blend of reggae, hip-hop and EDM. He's been an electrifying live performer when he wore his traditional Orthodox Jewish clothes on stage. Now that he's gone secular with his look, it should make for an engaging night. Something Radical and Sisco Adler join him on the bill. 

Here's a taste of Matisyau: 

WORDS | William J. Dobson, the foreign affairs editor for Slate, drops by the University of Idaho Law School for a public chat at 7 p.m., but hit this link and make a reservation to hear his talk taken from his latest book, The Dictator's Learning Curve.

COMEDY | Ever wondered if you had the chops to be an actor, or perform sketch comedy ala Saturday Night Live? Maybe you should test your improv skills with the Adult Improv Classes at the Blue Door Theatre
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Today, America both recognizes and ignores Columbus Day

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Today, Oct. 13, 2014, marks the 522nd anniversary (well, technically it was yesterday) of Christopher Columbus's landing on the shores of the Americas. Without getting too deep into the politics of the holiday, which has been federally recognized as such since 1937, we thought it appropriate to share some of today's headlines surrounding the controversial day. 

Several U.S. cities and states do not recognize Columbus Day at all: Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota, the last of which celebrates today as Native Americans Day.

This year, Seattle and Minneapolis joined Berkeley, Calif., in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. Berkeley ditched Columbus as an honorary in 1992, and was followed by several other cities.

Portland Public Schools also decided to recognize today as Indigenous People's Day. 

Local historian Larry Cebula also shares on his blog today how Columbus Day became a holiday in the first place.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Citizens Foundation hosts its 70th annual Columbus Day parade with an expected 35,000 participants marching down NYC's Fifth Avenue today.

Columbus Day may be a federally recognized holiday, but who actually gets the day off? 

As the controversy and divide over the holiday's recognition grows, school districts are looking critically at how Columbus's role in American history is being taught, along with the wide achievement gap between Native American students and their peers.

Now for some lighthearted criticism regarding today...

Famous Internet celebri-cat Lil BUB's take on Columbus Day... or rather, ColumBUBs Day.

Seattle-based (and North Idaho native) comic artist The Oatmeal's perspective

No Columbus Day would be complete without some insight from Stephen Colbert! Or some fabulous Columbus Day puns from one, to remain nameless, Inlander staffer:

"Every day is Columbus Day for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets director Chris Columbus!"

"Every day is Columbus Day in hit American city Columbus, Ohio!"

"Every day is Columbus Day for choreographer, domestic violence suspect and former Scandal actor Columbus Short!"

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