If you aren’t privy to the world of video games and emerging technology, you might not think about virtual reality very often. In fact, you might have never given it a thought. Anna Czoski and Lew Strachman of NovaWake Studios are giving Spokane, along with the rest of the world, a reason to consider the exciting new technology that is virtual reality.
“One misconception that we run into is that [virtual reality] is for gamers or only people who like video games. It’s a new medium just like TV, just like movies, or Broadway shows. You don't have to be a certain demographic to watch a movie,” says Czoski.
The founders of NovaWake Studios, a local Spokane startup, aim to transform the way we consume media through the endless possibilities of virtual reality. They have been operating with a small team out of the Turner Mansion building on East Illinois Ave. since April, developing new virtual reality experiences for the local community and a broader audience as well.
“We’re thinking local and global all at the same time,” expresses Czoski. “We’re making experiences for everybody across the globe and in Spokane. It’s exciting to be able to introduce this new medium into the city.”
Strachman adds, “There’s no question that this medium is a new way of viewing material, a new way of viewing content and it’s even difficult to understand what it is because there are ways of communicating that we’re just experimenting with right now.”
These experiences are made available to the Spokane community in what the team is calling the Time Traveler Lounge, which, according to Fandango, is the first virtual reality theater in the entire country. “They had to create a new category for us just so they could post us,” Strachman proudly exclaims. “Virtual reality doesn’t really exist yet in the sense that nobody can see it, except here at the lounge.”
Upon entering the lounge, viewers have the opportunity to purchase drinks and snacks before settling into their virtual reality experience, and can then choose their desired escape. Engage in a full body immersive experience, dodging missiles, shooting asteroids while floating in a cosmic-colored galaxy in the game Nova Asteroids. Or, sit back and explore radiant glimmers of light within a dark and mysterious cave to the sound of an original composition in Gravity Compass. Czoski and Strachman once again reiterate that these are experiences that anyone, not just gamers, can enjoy. “At Terrain 8 we showed Gravity Compass, and it was a more relaxing meditative experience, mostly passive but there are still interactive elements, and so those people maybe have never played a game before, but they loved it because it was an escape.”
A short escape from our own realities is an enticing offer of virtual reality, but this escape isn’t available without the creative talents and hard work of developers working on the other side. While Strachman has roots in the technology industry and Czoski in 3D graphics, both express a deep appreciation of art as being the heart and soul of what they do.
In this week's Inlander, online and on stands Thursday, the arts and culture section features a profile on the up-and-coming, Spokane-based jewelry business Millianna. The women-owned company's handmade pieces are made mostly by women artisans in Spokane, including some local refugees who've resettled here with support from World Relief Spokane.
Since the story in tomorrow's issue also includes a mention of a same-day, once-a-year "friends and family sale" at the jewelry house's studio and office in downtown Spokane, we wanted to give readers a heads up so they don't miss out by the time they pick up a copy of the Inlander.
While fashionistas can purchase Millianna's high-end pieces online, the holiday sale tomorrow offers local shoppers first dibs on discontinued and sample pieces — many are one-of-a-kind — and items from the current season's collection at wholesale prices. Retail stores typically mark up Millianna's necklaces, earrings, cuffs and hairpieces by as much as 2.5 times the wholesale price, so do the math. It's also an opportunity to get a start on holiday shopping while supporting a local business, or to pick up a piece for yourself to wear throughout the season and beyond.
The holiday sale is open to the public, and happens tomorrow, Nov. 19, from 3-7 pm, at Millianna's offices on the sixth floor of the Empire State Building (yes, Spokane has its own version of the NYC tower), at 905 W. Riverside.
When our new issue's content is live online tomorrow morning, we'll update this post to include a link to the story. For now, get a peek at the edgy, feminine and statement-making jewelry on Millianna's website.
UPDATE: Here's the link to this week's profile on the Spokane-based company.
Scenes from Windstorm 2015
On Tuesday, winds exceed 70 miles an hour, blowing down trees, ripping off roofs and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people.
Click here for an outage map and here for a map of the downed trees in Spokane.
This is the largest crisis in our 126 year history. Our latest update is on our Facebook page. https://t.co/NiNA846UH2— Avista Utilities (@AvistaUtilities) November 18, 2015
Spokane's food scene is in the midst of a renaissance, with more chef-owned eateries popping up than ever. Ripe for growth, the industry is even drawing top talent from major culinary cities who are eager to get back to their small-town roots. The latest personality to enter the Inland Northwest food scene is San Diego's Chef Chad White — also a contestant on the 13th season of Top Chef, Top Chef: California — who's coming home to Spokane to open a planned eatery called Native Post & Provisions. The Top Chef season White is competing in premieres on Bravo on Dec. 2-3, and will feature 17 chefs from across California.
Eater San Diego reports that upon his return to Spokane, Chef White is planning to open a 40-to-50-seat restaurant featuring a Northwest-centric menu, with most dishes cooked over a wood fire. The projected opening date is spring 2016. It's not yet confirmed where Native Post & Provisions is to be located.
White, an award-winning chef who trained in French and Mediterranean cuisine, has an eclectic, urban food style that's heavily Baja-influenced, but his tagline is "borderless flavor" — he doesn't box himself in to only cooking in region-specific styles.
Though he's coming back home, White said he plans to keep operating two restaurants in the San Diego-Tijuana area: La Justina in Tijuana and Craft Pizza Co. in San Diego. His Comun Taqueria in San Diego will close.
Pendleton, STFU. The only thing lower than you is whale shit.
Time for a recall!
I agree #Bullshit indeed
What a stud
I wish they would start later. I even switched districts to avoid the new start…