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Friday, September 4, 2015

Spokane's first parklet popped up overnight this week

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 2:56 PM

The new parklet on west Main outside of Wollnick's went up overnight on Wednesday, Sept. 2. - CHEY SCOTT
  • Chey Scott
  • The new parklet on west Main outside of Wollnick's went up overnight on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The passersby are gawking and stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to check out the unusual sight, but not for the typical rubber-necker reasons. They're just wondering what, exactly, the rectangular wooden structure is, how it got there and why.

Just days after the Spokane City Council voted to pass a resolution to allow a 60-day parklet demonstration downtown, the parklet — a patio-esque park about the size of two parallel parking spaces on the edge of the street — materialized overnight. Situated in a loading zone (and no, it's not taking up metered parking spaces that were otherwise open to the public) just outside of Wollnick's General Store, the city's first-ever parklet was set up by the local nonprofit Yes (You Express Studio), which has been championing the idea since last year. For the past two years, Yes has set up parklets at August's Garland Street Fair to show the public how functional and welcoming the spaces can be. There was also a demo parklet at last year's Terrain arts showcase.

Tonight, the parklet will transform into a performing arts space for First Friday's arts walk around downtown; the event is being hosted by Wollnick's.

Around lunchtime today, Yes event coordinator and a board member Cara Forsman had donned an apron and pair of gardening gloves to spruce up some of the greenery in box planters lining the top of the outside wall of the parklet.

Forsman says Yes was waiting for approval from the city to set up the parklet, so when they got the go-ahead at Monday's city council meeting, a team of volunteers set up the structure within hours this past Wednesday. It's been the talk of the town since. 

Wollnick's has offered to help manage the parklet, and takes the table umbrellas and chairs inside its store at night. The staff there also locks up the box-style benches and tables, and have agreed to help keep the parklet tidy and welcoming. 

While the parklet is currently scheduled to stay open on west Main through October with its 60-day permit, Forsman says there is interest in opening another near the Saranac Building and possibly outside the Nudo Ramen House on west First Avenue. 

"If the weather is nice, and next spring businesses want it outside their location, we'd like to continue what we've been calling this social experiment," she says.

The parklet's construction and materials were funded privately and by donation. Moving forward, Forsman says Yes hopes local businesses that want a parklet near them would help sponsor one since the cost to build one can run into the several thousands of dollars. Another issue the group also faces is finding a place to store the parklets once disassembled for the winter.


The parklet is set up in a little-used loading zone, not public parking spaces. - CHEY SCOTT
  • Chey Scott
  • The parklet is set up in a little-used loading zone, not public parking spaces.


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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Find the Inlander's Annual Manual on stands now

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 5:18 PM

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With the bittersweet end of summer comes many other exciting things: football, cooler weather, fall harvests, scarves, pumpkin spice everything (if you're into that) and the Inlander's Annual Manual

Yep, our huge annual guide to all things Inland Northwest is on stands now, so get out and pick one up before your local Inlander rack runs out. If yours does, don't worry — you can still come grab a copy of it and the latest issues of the Inlander and InHealth magazine at our handy dandy rack just inside the front door of Inlander HQ in Kendall Yards. We'll try and keep racks filled through September, but don't wait too long.

Inside the 2015 edition, you'll find the typical AM fare, updated to include all that's new or has changed in the past year: a statistical overview of the region and its people in our annual report section, a snapshot of the growing local education scene and guides to all our region has to offer in food, drinks, arts, shopping and recreation. 

This year's issue also features an all-new design — we think it looks pretty classy and streamlined. So pick up an Annual Manual and go discover all the awesome experiences and places that makes the Inland Northwest special. 


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Kevin Hart bringing his standup tour to Gonzaga Sept. 9

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 4:05 PM

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The Kennel should get ready to howl, as one of the hottest standup comics working today is coming to town. 

It's not every standup comedian who can take his act to arenas and have it translate as well as clubs or theaters, but the diminutive Kevin Hart — arguably the biggest comic on the planet right now — is doing just that on his current What Now? Tour. On Sept. 9, he'll bring the tour to Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center. Tickets are on sale now via TicketsWest.com

Those tickets won't come cheap; they're $95.92 a pop, plus a $15 service charge. That's a grand total of $110.92. Yowza. 

You have to be pretty damn popular to ask for that sort of coin for one ticket, but there aren't many comics out there with the kind of hot streak Hart is enjoying. When he's not filling arenas with standup fans, he's starring in feature films like The Wedding Ringer, Get Hard and Ride Along, a $100 million blockbuster that has a sequel coming in 2016. None of them are exactly Oscar bait, but they generally make money, and largely do it on the strength of Hart's presence.  

Here's a bit of Hart doing standup: 
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Friday, August 14, 2015

A brief history of skateboarding in Spokane

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 12:36 PM

Vince Zimmer in his office at Alpine Haus Marina
  • Vince Zimmer in his office at Alpine Haus Marina

The demolition of the Under the Freeway Skatepark last week leaves Spokane skaters with two options for public skateparks: Hillyard and Joe Albi in the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. In the winter, local skaters say, they'll probably resort to shredding in parking garages because UTF was the only covered park in town. 

When the city finally decided to flatten the beloved skatepark under I-90, it was but a phantom of its former glory. Scores of skaters of all ages showed up the weekend before its demise to show their support and to skate the poorly designed park one last time. Older skaters also came to show their support. 

Josh Yandell, owner of Pistole Boardshop, says he used to skip a lot of class at nearby Lewis and Clark High School to skate at UTF. That was before the city installed ramps in the late '90s. Instead, Yandell says, they skated on old washers and dryers, cars and ramps they built themselves. (Check out part of the video screened at UTF Skatepark the Saturday before the demolition. Courtesy of Justin Marko).

But skating in Spokane started way before UTF, according to Vince Zimmer, who owns the Alpine Haus. Here is his story: 

Weeks before Zimmer first opened the Alpine Haus at its original location in Lincoln Heights in 1976, two young kids smushed their faces against the store's front window. They were looking at the skateboards on display.

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CAT FRIDAY: More Insta-cats to follow, and the world's oldest living cat

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Cat Friday, now an occasional feature here at the Inlander, is back, and this time we have not one, not two, but three cats on Instagram — Insta-cats, as we call them — to share today. Because we all need more cats in our feed to balance out those obnoxious selfies. 

Lil' Bunny Sue Roux

Roux was born without front legs, making her the cutest little T-rex/kangaroo cat in the history of cats. The New Orleans tabby doesn't let her disability hold her back one bit, as evidenced by her bunny-hopping antics on Instagram. Roux's lack of front legs is due to a congenital birth abnormality. She's still got little nubbins where her legs would be, and a short tail. But powerfully strong back legs and Roux's adapted walking pose — using the flat part of her back feet to balance like a bunny, and by positioning her center of gravity backward — allows her to get around just as well as any four-legged kitty.

Roux gets around with no issue on just two legs. - INSTAGRAM/LILBUNNYSUEROUX
  • Instagram/lilbunnysueroux
  • Roux gets around with no issue on just two legs.

Alien Cat Matilda 

Just when we think we've seen it all, the Internet pulls another one on us, as it did with the introduction of a cat whose eyes are truly otherworldly. Miss Matilda's peepers resemble one of those classically creepy big-eyed, green-skinned aliens but (as far as we know) she's not actually from another galaxy. The reason for her cartoonishly bulbous eyes is due to a rare condition called "spontaneous lens luxation," which was also diagnosed in Matilda's littermates. Since surgery to fix the condition likely wouldn't benefit her, Matilda's owners have opted to let her eyes stay as they are, but remain vigilant in her care to make sure she's healthy and free of pain. 

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Four scenes that will convince you to watch Hot Rod with us next week

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 1:34 PM


A week from today, Thursday, Aug. 20, we're going to be pulling a big-ass stunt at Kendall Yards and you guys are all invited. You do not need the spirit of a dolphin and/or hawk to attend, but it is suggested.

Yes, we are showing Hot Rod, perhaps the best movie ever made about the worst stuntman ever to walk to the planet. It marks the first time we've taken our Suds and Cinema series outdoors and, well, we're pretty excited. Also, the movie is totally free and, again, outdoors at Kendall Yard's Nest. This is the plaza next to Central Food. For the more visually inclined, it's this place.

Beer will be provided by River City Brewing and served up by The Tap Mobile, Spokane's only mobile beer bar. Beers are $4, like usual, and we'll get those frosty bronsons served up to you at 6:30 while you set up your politely sized chairs and/or blanket for a movie to start shortly after 8. Again, be polite with your set up, don't do this.

If you've never seen Hot Rod, here are some things that might make you realize the awful truth that every moment you've spent since this movie came out has been wasted.

A reason to never say "cool beans." Not ever.


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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is coming to Spokane

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Yes, it's really true. George R.R. Martin is coming to the Lilac City later this month.

The murmurs have been quiet unless you've looked for them, but Spokane's own Auntie's Bookstore is leading the charge to get the acclaimed author to come visit the bookstore in person.

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Although there isn't a major mention (we had to dig to find it) of Martin's guest appearance at the World Science Fiction Convention, happening Aug. 19-23 — also known as Worldcon; this year the event is going by the name Sasquan — on the event's website, we can confirm it via info on the author's site, and his personal Live Journal account

This following except from another blog post by Martin also refers to his Spokane visit:

Truth be told, six months ago I was seriously considering skipping Sasquan. Not something I do lightly, given my history, given how much I have loved worldcon over the years. But I've been to Spokane, and while it seemed a pleasant enough town I wasn't dying to see it again... and I do have a lot on my plate right now. But that was before Puppygate. Once that kerfuffle broke, I knew I could not possibly stay away. When your family is being attacked, lied about, and threatened that's not the time you want to skip the family reunion.

Okay, so what the heck is Puppygate? Without going too much into the incredibly complex details and backstory, the controversy concerns the annual Hugo Awards, which recognize the best science fiction and fantasy works of the previous year. Considered to be one of the premier accolades bestowed upon sci-fi/fantasy writers, the honors are presented each year at Worldcon. Winners of various categories are voted upon by paying members who attend the event or who register to support it, but maybe otherwise can't attend in person. 

But, this year, the Hugos were rigged. A voting bloc called "Sad Puppies" led a campaign to get a specific list of "anti-progressive authors, editors and fans" to the top of the ballot. Here are the resulting top nominees in each category.

To sum it up, the Hugo Awards' Puppygate is really similar in its warped ideology to Gamergate

Martin's presentation schedule at Sasquan includes a reading on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 3 pm — the description for the event is "an excerpt from The Winds of Winter," the long-anticipated sixth novel in the GoT series. On Friday, Aug. 21, at 11 am, Martin and author Robert Silverberg host a panel to talk "about whatever they'd like to!" On Saturday, Aug. 22, Martin hosts an autograph session at 2 pm. The last panel featuring the author is on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 1 pm, titled "Colleagues as Family," and is a conversation between Martin and fellow fantasy writers David Gerrold, Connie Wills and Vonda N. McIntyre.

Okay, now how do we, the public and avid fans of Martin's, attend? Worldcon offers one-day membership rates to allow locals to check out this international event that's been touted as a super big deal for Spokane since it was announced over a year ago. The ticket prices are a little steep ($40-$70/day, depending on the day), but until recently, the only way to attend was to purchase an attending Worldcon membership for $240. 

And it should be noted that there is tons more to see, do and learn from at the event beyond the panels and signings featuring the incredibly popular GoT author. Check out the complete schedule for the event here.


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Monday, August 3, 2015

VIDEO: Keith Urban played a Spokane backyard party over the weekend, for a good cause

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 3:20 PM

Keith Urban evokes his inner Steve Miller at a backyard benefit concert in Spokane. - JER MCGREGOR
  • Jer McGregor
  • Keith Urban evokes his inner Steve Miller at a backyard benefit concert in Spokane.

Spokane had one of the biggest stars of the music world drop by over the weekend, but it wasn't for a show at the arena or the Festival at Sandpoint. 

Rather, Keith Urban — country superstar, American Idol judge and husband of Nicole Kidman — stopped by the Lilac City for a concert in the backyard of a local businessman. The mini-concert raised more than $500,000 for the Community Cancer Fund, which is dedicated to battling cancer in the Inland Northwest.

We have a little video of Urban performing a little Steve Miller tune. Enjoy: 

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VIDEO: Scenes from Spokane's KuroNekoCon 2015

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 AM


The KuroNekoCon took over a large part of the Spokane Convention Center over the weekend to host fans of Japanese anime in a family-friendly environment. Among the programming were costume contests, speed-dating rounds, dance lessons, foam-sword battles and all manner of arts and crafts opportunities for cosplayers to learn some new tricks. 

Inlander intern Erin Robinson checked out the scene, and came back with this video: 

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Driving Mr. Jackson: Behind the scenes look at chauffeuring Samuel L. Jackson in Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:36 AM

Officer Gordon Grant in "baby blue," his unmarked patrol car. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Officer Gordon Grant in "baby blue," his unmarked patrol car.

Gordon Grant, the almost-30-year Spokane police officer, is somewhat of a local celebrity. Grant grew up in Spokane (he went to Ferris High School), and despite his youthful ambitions to find a law enforcement job elsewhere, he landed back in Spokane after a year playing football in Canada. Ask a long-time Spokanite about Officer Grant, and they might tell you about having him as a D.A.R.E officer or talking with him at Cops 'n Kids, the community event he's organized for the past 22 years. But one story you might not know about Grant starts with the desktop image on his computer.

It's of Grant with his arm around Samuel L Jackson. 

"Just chillin' with my homeboy," Grant says, showing off the picture one June morning. 

When Jackson was in Spokane filming 2006 flick Home of the Brave, he needed someone to drive him and his crew around town. He specifically asked for someone who was intimately familiar with the city. He wanted someone who knew where to go and, more importantly, where not to go. 

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