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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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