Culture

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spokane developers launch Kickstarter for Ebola Attack, a "game for good"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 12:59 PM

The game is set to launch for iOS and Android platforms. - EBOLA ATTACK KICKSTARTER
  • Ebola Attack Kickstarter
  • The game is set to launch for iOS and Android platforms.

Two Spokane developers are asking for public support via Kickstarter of a mobile game they designed as a fun, interactive way to raise awareness and financial support for one of last year's biggest world issues — Ebola.

Ebola Attack is a mobile (to be launched on both iOS and Android platforms) arcade-style game, by Anna Czoski and Lance Hughes, in which players take on the role of "hero" white blood cells, rushing to defend against the Ebola virus and immunize red blood cells. The game uses tilt mechanics, with the option of an on-screen joystick, to control the playable character.

Ebola Attack's developer duo each have impressive backgrounds writing games and applications — Hughes worked on the popular Adult Swim game Robot Unicorn Attack, and locals walking down west Main Avenue have likely seen Czoski's latest project, a digital installation at Laboratory. Both attended SpoCode's 24-hour Game Hackathon last October, where the idea for Ebola Attack was generated. During that short time, the two were able to produce a working prototype of the game.

Now that its development is mostly complete, the team is looking for public support in the amount of $5,500 to cover various development and marketing costs. The recently launched Kickstarter campaign runs through March 6, and as of this posting a total of $435 had been pledged.
When Ebola Attacks is available to download, plans are for all profits from a paid version to be donated to organizations working on the ground in Africa to fight the virus, like Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the International Medical Corps. 

Even though national concern over Ebola's spread has largely diminished — with the U.S. measles outbreak taking its place in the media spotlight — the disease is still prevalent in West Africa. Support to treat and prevent its spread is still needed, the developer team says. 


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Monday, February 2, 2015

Best of the Inland Northwest Readers Poll voting is open

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM


It's that time of year again, when Inlander readers furiously fill out ballots or online polls to determine the best of the best in the Inland Northwest. 

You can find the 2015 ballot in the current issue (Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or vote online, meaning that voting on your favorite local places, personalities and activities couldn't be easier. We have 48 categories on this year's ballot that weren't there last year; some are brand new, and some are old favorites making a return appearance. 

Many of the new categories reflect changes in and around Spokane, such as "Best Distillery" and "Best Retail Marijuana Shop," and we're expanding the opportunities to vote on your favorite area athletes, giving readers the chance to pick a favorite from Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Washington State. We have a special focus on Sandpoint this year as well. We even included some questions suggested by readers on last year's poll, including "Best Pho," "Best U-Pick Farm/Orchard" and "Best Place to Take Photos in the Inland NW." Check out last year's winners if you need a reminder of 2014's reader favorites.

A few things to keep in mind as you consider your votes: 
1. We only accept one ballot per person.
2. Ballots must include your full name and a verifiable email address. We won't share your information, it's just to make sure you really exist when you vote for "Best Local Cat." 
3. You must answer at least 40 questions for your ballot to count. 
4. Paper ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 9, and you can only send one ballot per envelope. 
5. We'll reject any ballots that appear to violate the spirit of the poll. 

You'll read all about the winners in our Best Of issue hitting the streets March 19. Happy voting!
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Friday, January 30, 2015

CAT FRIDAY: Vote for best local cat in our 22nd 'Best Of' Poll

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 4:03 PM

Make sure to get your votes in by Feb. 16!
  • Make sure to get your votes in by Feb. 16!

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 unarguably Spokane's most famous feline.
  • Bento the Keyboard cat is unarguably Spokane's most famous feline.

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.

Maddie keeps her officemates company at Design Spike.
  • Maddie keeps her officemates company at Design Spike.

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 greets clients at the Cat's Meow in South Perry.
  • Alfred greets clients at the Cat's Meow in South Perry.

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.

Kiera (right) cuddles the late store cat Mouse, of NW Christian Thrift.
  • Kiera (right) cuddles the late store cat Mouse, of NW Christian Thrift.

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.    

Gertrude became NW Seed's Sprague location mascot after life as a shelter cat.
  • Gertrude became NW Seed's Sprague location mascot after life as a shelter cat.

Wallace the Scottish Fold keeps an eye on things at the Division NW Seed store.
  • Wallace the Scottish Fold keeps an eye on things at the Division NW Seed store.

His counterpart Django covertly keeps an eye on things from the store's plant department.
  • His counterpart Django covertly keeps an eye on things from the store's plant department.


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Monday, January 26, 2015

Calling all 12s! Fresh Brewed Tees rolls through Spokane tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 12:40 PM

This Fresh Brewed Tees apparel truck rolls through Spokane as part of its #TwelveTour to the Super Bowl.
  • This Fresh Brewed Tees apparel truck rolls through Spokane as part of its #TwelveTour to the Super Bowl.

You could head over to the Grocery Outlet parking lot on West Third for some knockoff Seahawks Super Bowl swag, OR you could meet up with the Fresh Brewed Tees Seattle truck this evening. The producer of super soft and sassy (licensed) sports-themed T-shirts is stopping in Spokane from 5 to 7 pm at the Swinging Doors in its blue and green apparel truck — the whole idea being to rally the 12th Mans together before heading to Super Bowl XLIX.

“Anytime the 12s are gathered, it’s going to be a party,” says Fresh Brewed Tees partner Jamie Munson, who runs the Seattle branch.

Boutique trucks aren’t a new thing, as reported on earlier this year, but one 
_TwelveTour_Flyer-Spokane.jpg

that’s road-tripping through the country en route to the Super Bowl is certainly different. The six-city tour kicked off in Seattle this morning and continues through Spokane, Boise, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas before arriving in Phoenix on Friday just in time to gear up for the big game — where the Seahawks are set to deflate the Patriots’ huge-ass egos and repeat sweet victory.

Originally from Cleveland, a city that’s had its unfair share of sports heartbreak (although Mariners fans may beg to differ), Fresh Brewed Tees started a Seattle branch after owner Tony Madalone experienced last year’s NFC Championships, when the Hawks beat the 49ers.

“Tony was blown away by the city of Seattle and its fans,” explains Munson, while stopped at a Jack in the Box to eat before taking on Snoqualmie Pass in the company van. “He decided he wanted to expand the company to the Seattle market too.”

A recent (slightly trippy) Fresh Brewed Tee design.
  • A recent (slightly trippy) Fresh Brewed Tee design.
Finding Munson, a Seattle native, on Twitter, the Madalone's company has successfully expanded. This week, the Fresh Brewed Tees caravan includes Munson and Madalone as well as five other people and one other vehicle. They don’t have Super Bowl tickets yet, but are still open to going if anyone is offering.

Tonight, expect various drawings, $100 worth of giveaways and no Patriots gear. While there won’t be any tees not already offered online, there will be shirts autographed by Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane. 

And if the Cleveland Browns ever met the Seahawks in the Super Bowl? 

"We'd root for our respective teams," Munson says with a laugh. "Our company would be able to handle it." 
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Friday, January 23, 2015

CAT FRIDAY: Purringtons, the first Northwest cat cafe, opens this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:53 PM

One of the cafe's first ever residents, Begonia, stretches in front of an amazing space cat mural. - PURRINGTONS FACEBOOK
  • Purringtons Facebook
  • One of the cafe's first ever residents, Begonia, stretches in front of an amazing space cat mural.

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:

A Look Inside Purringtons, Portland's First Cat Cafe (VIDEO) from wweek.vimeo on Vimeo.


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Inlander's new booze series: Distilled

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 11:03 AM

JESSIE SPACCIA
  • Jessie Spaccia
The point of "Distilled" — the booze-related series of articles we launched on Jan. 1 — isn't simply about drinking. That's just the backdrop. The broader goal is to tell regular people's stories in simple, little moments, with insight and whimsy that often chase a raised glass. It's not about celebrating alcohol, exactly, because not every drink is downed joyfully.

So far, we've told the story of a family of tailgaters united on Saturdays. Then there was the scene at DUI court after New Year's Eve. And the painter creating art, song by song, for a live audience.

This week, Samuel Ligon — the novelist and professor behind the literary event Pie & Whiskey — writes about today's booze trends and the commodification of cool.

Much more is yet to come... If you have an idea for Distilled — about a person, place, thing or drunken rant — please tell us. Cheers!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

The Modern Theater announces its 2015-16 season lineup

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 4:25 PM

roll-out-blur-page-main-all-clear1.jpg

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


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spokesman-Review runs the controversial Charlie Hebdo cover

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Today the Spokesman-Review joined the growing number of newspapers to have published the controversial cover of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two heavily-armed gunmen stormed the offices of Hebdo, long known for its provocative covers taking aim at French politicians and world religions, last Wednesday, killing 12 people. The paper had previously been firebombed due to its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
Screen_Shot_2015-01-15_at_4.27.44_PM.png

The resulting anti-terror demonstration after the massacre drew leaders from across the globe, and became possibly the biggest rally in French history

Very few mainstream US media outlets republished the more provocative Charlie Hebdo covers, including one of Muhammad french-kissing a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, after the attacks. Many Muslims consider illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad to be offensive, though the Koran does not explicitly forbid them, and several Muslim paintings from history have depicted him.

Some news outlets pixelated the covers, while others selectively cropped them. Some explained they censored the covers were for reasons of tact, while others cited concern for their freelancers in vulnerable places around the world. 

Yet most US papers did choose to publish Charlie Hebdo's latest cover, compiled with surviving staff members in the offices of the French daily Libération. In the image, a crying Prophet Muhammed holds the now-iconic slogan of solidarity "Je Suis Charlie," while "All is Forgiven" is written in French above.  

Yet Dean Baquet of the New York Times was an exception, drawing salvos from media critics and the paper's own ombudsman, who pointed out double-standards.

Political cartoonists, including Matt Bors at The Nib, have drawn their own cartoons of Muhammad in response, while others have drawn cartoons detailing their fear. Others, like the The Lego Movie directors, created their own homages to classic Charlie Hebdo covers. 
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Spokane Civic Theatre debuts "pay-what-you-can preview night" tonight

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Mallory Ware as Smeraldina and Preston Loomer as Truffaldino in the Civic's  The Servant of Two Masters. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Mallory Ware as Smeraldina and Preston Loomer as Truffaldino in the Civic's The Servant of Two Masters.

The arts should be accessible to everyone, which is why the Spokane Civic Theatre is debuting a new, budget-friendly preview night ahead of its next production, The Servant of Two Masters.

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.


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Friday, January 9, 2015

Help Gonzaga's Mark Few win some cash for the Community Cancer Fund

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Few.jpg

Regular readers know that the Inlander is diligently tracking the Gonzaga men's basketball team led by coach Mark Few as they barnstorm through the season, including last night's thumping of San Francisco. The team is currently in the Top 10 in the nation, and we check in with them weekly in our Monday Morning Placekicker blogs

Few isn't too busy coaching 'em up to skip helping out a worthy cause, in this case ESPN's Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge. There are 48 head coaches competing in an online click-off, with the winner earning cash for a charity of their choice. For Few, that's the Community Cancer Fund. There are multiple rounds, just like March Madness, and the farther Few gets, the more money he can win to fight cancer in Spokane. 

You can go right here to VoteCoachFew.com to vote, and as long-time partners with Community Cancer Fund and its predecessor Coaches vs. Cancer, the Inlander hopes you vote often. 
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