Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: New MST3K, Drunk History and Soundgarden rarities among new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM


Every Tuesday we let you know the best of the week's new music and video releases to help you decide how to spend your hard-earned cash. It's a slower week due to Thanksgiving, but there are a few things worth your consideration. Check 'em out: 

MUSIC

There are plenty of live sets, greatest-hits collections and "expanded editions" of old albums coming our way, as there always are this time of year. Two you might want to consider: 

Soundgarden, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path. This triple-disc set is broken down into sets of originals, covers and "oddities," and will surely thrill long-time lovers of the Northwest crew more than introduce many new fans to their thud-rock sound. You'll get the full version of "Birth Ritual" from the Singles soundtrack, among other goodies. 

Rick Ross,
Hood Billionaire. The second release by the gangster poet follows on the drug-slinging themes of Mastermind from the Grammy-nominated MC. 

MOVIES & TV


We're not going to lie — it's pretty slim pickings on the new release front for home video. There's the testosterone fest of Expendables 3, featuring Sly Stallone and a bevy of action stars young and old (and older). There's the sci-fi of The Giver, Tyler Perry's attempt at blending Christmas mirth and his Madea character, and the "wait, wasn't that in theaters, like, last week" flick A Merry Friggin Christmas, but I prefer to pretend Robin Williams never made that one. 

For my money, the only worthwhile releases this week come from television. 

Drunk History, the web series-turned-Comedy Central hit is one of the most entertaining half-hour shows to hit television in a long time. It's a collection of increasingly drunk comedians waxing on about important moments in history, and their rambling is then re-enacted by performers ranging from Jack Black to Winona Ryder to Kristin Wiig — it's a who's who of funny folks. The concept might leave you skeptical, but give it a shot. Now you can get the first two seasons of the show on DVD. Here's a bit of what's in store: 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection captures four episodes of the show — two from the Comedy Central era hosted by Joel Hodgson, and two from the Sci-Fi Channel era hosted by Mike Nelson. The four movies included and skewered by MST3K's Tom Servo and Crow are Jungle Goddess, The Painted Hills, The Screaming Skull and Squirm. Here's a look: 

And if you're looking to drive any lingering relatives or friends from the house after your Thanksgiving meal, consider popping in the ridiculously lengthy Lars Von Trier flick Nymphomaniac, a two-parter being released on video as a "director's cut" this week. The overabundance of Shia LaBeouf should be enough to get you some peace and quiet in no time. Take a peek: 

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WHAT'S UP TODAY? Visions of Nepal and a Griswold family Christmas

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 10:09 AM


Happy Tuesday, people! There's a lot happening in our neck of the woods, judging by our event listings and carefully curated Staff Picks. If you haven't had a chance to peruse the options, let us lend a hand. 

Here are some highlights from our listings for Tuesday, Sept. 25: 

WORDS | Auntie's is hosting a little conversation and slide show by Ric Conner, co-owner of Ganesh Himal Trading, called "Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Retrospective Slide Presentation Celebrating 30 Years of Fair Trade in Nepal." It's a long name for what is sure to be a cool look at the Himalayan country. 

KARAOKE | Got relatives in town, and the need to get them out of the house for a little while? Karaoke is a good way to delay any holiday drama, and you can get your singing on at Underground 15 Tuesday night. 

FILM | The Totally Tubular Tuesday film selection this week at the Garland Theater is the under-appreciated National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The third installment of the Chevy Chase vehicle is better than the second and the fourth, and introduced Juliette Lewis to the world before she went all bad-ass in her rock band and Natural Born Killers. Here's a look at a fine way to kick off the Christmas season on the cheap: 


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Ferguson: Calm down... for what?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 9:39 AM

A rally last night in Seattle. - TIFFANY VON ARNIM
  • Tiffany Von Arnim
  • A rally last night in Seattle.

Sadness quickly turns to madness when the loss of one of our sons and brothers is minimized and coded away in polite legal terms with no intention of returning what was taken, no attempt at apologizing for the damage done. Life meets death in the streets, where walking, shopping, driving, talking, playing on the playground or listening to music can be deadly these days… just being black in America.

The flames erupting in Ferguson are the fires burning in the hearts of mothers of black sons in this nation. We cry for the life nurtured inside us those nine months, for the years of tending and mending our child, for the brief pride we felt in his manhood before the light left his eyes. We tell our sons to walk with both eyes open, hands visible and quick feet ready to run. We advise them to keep receipts for everything they purchase, speak politely and dress sensibly. We hoped that the toil of our ancestors would have freed them from the curse of these limitations and the threat of harm, and we dreamed that we would never awake to feel this pain. 

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If tomorrow isn’t promised to my sons, to our black sons, why should they dream? What hope can we offer them tonight, the night when several hundred years of misogynoir and disrespect for black human life comes crashing in on us? I feel disconnected from my body as I write this. No words come to me as I search for promises I can’t give. Grief becomes rage as the names and faces of unarmed black boys and men recently killed scan through my mind: Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Ervin Jefferson, Timothy Russell, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Ezell Ford, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Timothy Stansbury, Jr., Aaron Campbell, Victor Steen, Steven Eugene Washington, Wendell Allen, Travares McGill, Ramarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Orlando Barlow, Alonzo Ashley… Even our heroes, Malcolm and Martin, were taken by bullets in their prime.

Where do we go from here? People who have not felt the lash of centuries of oppression beating down on their backs tell us to keep calm and carry on. What insanity makes those in power imagine they have any idea what the logical response should be? What psychosis perpetuates the myth that if we listen to “both sides,” we will somehow find the truth, as if the hunter and the hunted, the dead and the living, could be consulted with a fair and even outcome.

When my youngest son was 5 years old, an adult once asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, “A dog.” Laughing, the person said, “Oh, you mean you want to be a veterinarian?” “No,” he said, “I want to be a dog, because dogs have a life without worry.” The adult said, “Well, you know that’s not possible for you to be a dog.” Looking very serious, my son said, “Well, my mom said I can be anything I want to be when I grow up, and I think a lot of dogs have it easier than a lot of people.” Now that my son is 13, I sit him down to remind him of his early insights and, amid a swell of emotion, I tell him that, in America, a black 16-year-old who killed a dog was sentenced this summer to 23 years in prison, while a white police officer who was nearly 30 years old will not even face charges for killing a black teenager.

And, as the answers and questions blur together, I tell him that I cannot talk anymore about history or courts or reasons on this night. For a moment, I just need to hold him without words.  ♦

Rachel Dolezal, formerly of the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d'Alene, is president-elect of NAACP Spokane and teaches courses in art, Africana history and culture at area universities.


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MB: City Council passes budget and Officer Darren Wilson won't face criminal charges

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 9:18 AM


HERE


The city council passed a $600 million budget last night that blocks raises for some members of Mayor Condon's administration. (Inlander)

Ferris High School Assistant Principal Todd Bender has resigned following child molestation charges. (S-R)

The city has developed an app that allows users to pay for parking downtown through their smart phones. (KXLY)

THERE

A grand jury in St. Louis County declined to bring criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. (NYT)

Chaos and violence erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the grand jury decision. (LAT) 

The grand jury decision also sparked protests across the country. A demonstration is planned for this evening in Spokane. (NBC/KXLY)


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City Council passes 2015 budget, blocks some high-ranking employee raises

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Spokane city councilmembers held a press conference last month to criticize the mayor's proposed 2015 budget, which they amended and passed Monday. - HEIDI GROOVER
  • Heidi Groover
  • Spokane city councilmembers held a press conference last month to criticize the mayor's proposed 2015 budget, which they amended and passed Monday.

If you thought the holiday season might dampen the Spokane City Council's antipathy toward Mayor David Condon, think again.

The council passed a $600 million budget Monday night that has the potential to strip Condon's version of the budget of some of the raises for his cabinet and funds about $600,000 worth of programs and positions he'd skipped over.

The mayor drew ire earlier this year when he released his draft 2015 budget, which included raises averaging 2 percent for department heads within the city, including Police Chief Frank Straub, Fire Chief Bobby Williams and the mayor himself because the city charter says his salary should match the highest paid city employee (which, according to the new budget, would be Straub). A majority of the council took issue with the raises because other requests they'd made — including more funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, a new planner and an attorney to work for the council instead of the administration's legal department — weren't included.

"I'm committed to changing the imbalance in this budget," Councilmember Amber Waldref said at a press conference criticizing the mayor's budget in early October.

Condon argued that the raises were required by certain contract agreements (for example, Straub's salary is tied to what lower-ranking officers are paid, which is determined by contract negotiations) and "step increases" (essentially guaranteed raises that high-ranking officials get after they've been at the city for certain lengths of time). On his own raise, he later relented and said he wouldn't take the $7,000 increase he'd originally budgeted for. He also says he doesn't take the pension he's eligible for in order to save the city money.

Even so, City Council President Ben Stuckart cited a piece of the city's administrative policy that says employees "must have received a performance evaluation" in order to get their step increases. In a letter dated October 20, Stuckart asked the city's Human Resources Director Heather Lowe for copies of the performance evaluations for all exempt employees who'd been "deemed eligible for a step increase."

Two weeks later, Lowe wrote Stuckart back pointing him toward the administration's performance measures, which gauge whole departments' success based on certain types of services they provide rather than evaluating individual employees. She called the performance review process "extremely outdated and ineffective." So, how many employees did receive performance reviews and will therefore keep their budgeted raises?

"I assume none because of their answer [to my request]," Stuckart says.

In response, the council's adopted 2015 budget removes any raises for exempt employees who are not given performance evaluations by the end of 2014.

In another coup, the council defunded a controversial position within the fire department, redirecting that $108,000 salary to the department's overtime fund. The Assistant Director of Integrated Medical Services position, held by Mike Lopez, was funded through a budget transfer that some, including local fire union president and Stuckart ally Don Waller, have argued violated city code. Some on the council have also taken issue with the fact that Lopez's position, which is exempt from civil service, was created shortly before a court decision reversed the fire department's expansion of exempt positions. Stuckart told the Inlander Monday that he wasn't sure if the fire department could continue paying Lopez from its overtime fund, or whether the move would mean Lopez would be fired.

"All I know is how to move the money around," Stuckart said.

In other changes to the budget, the council funded the following:

  • a new code enforcement specialist ($68,127)
  • a new assistant planner ($86,656)
  • a new city council attorney, to work separately from the administration ($97,846)
  • a new compliance officer in the utilities department to enforce an ordinance the council will consider next month requiring the use of apprentices on city projects ($60,000)
  • $50,000 of additional human services funding
  • $50,000 of additional "neighborhood economic development" funding to be dispersed through contracts with organizations like Impact Capital
  • $108,000 for the COPS program to fund salaries, vehicle leases, IT and accounting, plus $24,427 for a half-time IT specialist to help meet the increased need from the COPS program
  • $15,000 to send the members of the newly formed Office of Police Ombudsman Commission to two trainings
  • $3,000 for bus passes to help transport people to warming centers

Stuckart says the money for those efforts came from a combination of excess revenue left over from last year's budget, money that had been directed toward reserves and savings on the implementation of the city's new emergency dispatch system. He says he didn't count on any of the potential savings from withholding the mayor's proposed raises since it remains unclear how much those savings could be. (Instead, those will go back into the corresponding departments.)

While the council's changes were dramatic in some ways, both council members and the administration's budget guru, Tim Dunivant, acknowledged that in the shadow of all $600 million in the budget, the council's changes were minimal.

After a brisk discussion and some public testimony in favor of the COPS funding, Councilman Mike Fagan cast the lone no vote. He says he doesn't support a new council attorney, the apprenticeship enforcement officer or the new planner. And while it was clear from the start he was in a very lonely minority, he remains ever the idealist.

"You stand on principle," he said after the meeting. "You stand for what you believe."


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Dialing up the past: The return of the Tiki Lodge

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 3:15 PM

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If you've driven by the discount motel across from Frank's Diner recently, you may have noticed a change on the signage out front. This Spokane landmark has been purchased by Montana native Tim Rice, who wants to restore the Tiki Lodge (1420 W. Second Ave.) to its former glory.

"We plan on repainting the roof back to bright orange in the spring and maybe even have rotary phones in all of the rooms," says Rice, but the one feature they will not be bringing back is the pool due to cost. Rice now lives in Coeur d’Alene, and says he does not have many pictures of the hotel and would love to acquire more.
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"All I have is this one postcard of a Jackie O look-a-like lounging by the pool." he says. "The hotel never had Hawaiian-themed rooms. I think the Tiki Lodge and Trade Winds were just people in cold climates wishing they were warmer."
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Spokane Civic Theatre's 2015-16 season lineup announced

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

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Not halfway into its current, 68th season, the Spokane Civic Theatre has already announced the lineup of shows it plans to produce for its 69th year, starting in the fall of 2015. 

Right now, the theater is staging a musical version of the classic Dickens' tale A Christmas Carol, running through Dec. 20. Read Inlander theater writer E.J. Iannelli's take on it in this week's issue, out a day early, on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.

For the 2014-15 season, the community theater kicked things off with a bang, opening with an impeccable production of Fiddler on the Roof. And those who saw it won't soon forget the previous season's sold-out run of Les Miserables

Keeping with its theme of musicals and other familiar favorites, the Civic's 2015-16 season opens on the Main Stage with Catch Me If You Can, The Musical, Sept. 18-Oct. 18, 2015.

It will be followed by these shows, on the main stage:

  • White Christmas, Nov. 20-Dec. 19, 2015
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons), Jan. 15-31, 2016
  • Little Women, The Musical, Feb. 26-March 20, 2016
  • The Fox on the Fairway, April 8-May 1, 2016
  • Ghost, The Musical, May 20-June 19, 2016

Downstairs in the cozier Studio Theatre, the 69th season features:

  • Evil Dead, The Musical, Oct. 16-Nov. 15, 2015
  • Sordid Lives, Jan 29-Feb. 16, 2016
  • Hapgood, March 18-April 10, 2016
  • Fiction, April 29-May 21, 2016

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: Zag Machine rolls to Top 10, Seahawks are back and it's Apple Cup week

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM

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Happy Thanksgiving/Apple Cup week, during which, as your trusted semi-responsible sports columnist, I recommend you take in an amount of sporting events that may on the surface seem unhealthy. It's your right as an American.

But first, let's get caught up on the weekend that was.

THE ZAG MACHINE IS WELL-OILED
There have been a number of Gonzaga basketball teams over the years that have had us saying, "This is the best group of Zags ever." And people are saying that again this year. But what feels discernibly different about this team in comparison to some other great Gonzaga squads is the way in which the team has won its first four games. They haven't just won, but rather dismantled, embarrassed and walked away with their opponents' sense of humanity in each of their victories.

That's why the powers that be voted them the #8 team in the country (or #10 if you're into the AP poll).

Saturday night's game against Division II St. Thomas Aquinas was no exception. The much, much bigger Zags rolled over the Spartans, doing anything they wanted with the ball, including letting under-appreciated Angel Nunez show his stuff on the way to 24 points and 11 rebounds as Gonzaga rolled to a 109-55 victory.

A remarkable stat: Gonzaga has won three of their first four games by
45 points or more. That number is almost pornographic. Their other win, over a then 22-ranked SMU, could have been a 25-or-more victory had they not emptied the bench with four minutes left.

The Zags head to New York City this week for a matchup on Wednesday against Georgia, who might give GU its first test of the season. Or, more likely if the Zags keep shooting (56%) and passing (third in the nation in assists) like they have been, it won't be a test at all. That game tips at 6:30 pm on ESPN2.

GONZAGA WOMEN ALSO KILLING IT
Don't sleep on the women's squad over at Gonzaga. They've been similarly dominant in the early days of the season and now sit at 3-0, good for a #24 national ranking.

The Bulldog women headed to Montana State on Friday night and made quick work of the Bobcats, jumping out to a 20-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game, which pretty much shut the door on the game. They went on to win 89-60, thanks to a career-high 16 points from Shelby Cheslek.

COUGARS THROW THE BALL A LOT, LOSE
The Cougs didn't "Coug It" on Saturday down at Arizona State, even if they were leading 21-7 at one point.

There needs to be another term for Cougar football that describes the phenomenon of racking up mathematically outrageous statistics in a game your team eventually loses. First it was Connor Halliday's NCAA record yards in a Hindenberg-like loss to Cal earlier in the season, and then on Saturday, it was his replacement Luke Falk who was in that dubious spot. Falk tossed for 601 yards in what turned out to be a 52-31 loss.

How do you throw for that many yards and lose the game? Well, you also throw four interceptions and fumble once.

Still, Falk has been looking good, all things considered. Check out this week's Inlander for a profile of the redshirt freshman gunslinger. The Cougars and Huskies meet in the Apple Cup on Saturday night. The game is at 7:30 pm down in Pullman.

Continue reading »

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MB: Jitterz Java robbed again; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns; and wild turkeys invade Spokane

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM


HERE


Spokane coffee stand Jitterz Java was robbed for the fourth time in less than a year on Sunday evening. (KXLY)

Inlander columnist Rachel Dolezal, former director of the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d'Alene, has been elected president of the Spokane NAACP. Congratulations, Rachel! (S-R)

Spokane attorney Robert Caruso, 76, has been charged with raping a 22-year-old woman last September. He unsuccessfully ran for  county prosecutor in 2006. (KXLY)

Beware! Wild turkeys are apparently invading Spokane. (S-R)

THERE

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned. Officials say he was forced out because he "wasn't up for the job." (NBC)

Cleveland police shot and killed a 12-year-old boy playing with a toy air gun over the weekend. The officers involved were placed on leave. (CNN)

Tensions are high in Ferguson, Missouri, where residents (and a slew of reporters) are waiting to hear whether a grand jury indicts Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting African-American teenager Michael Brown. (Reuters)
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WHAT'S UP TODAY? Canadian power-pop, cruising carolers and community concerts

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM


A short holiday week means a lot of us have some extra days off to play with, along with visiting family and friends getting ready for the Thanksgiving gorging. What a perfect time to peruse our extensive event listings and Staff Picks for something to do to keep everyone entertained and happy! 

Here are some of the highlights for Monday, Nov. 24: 

LIVE BANDS | Tonight The Bartlett is hosting the Vancouver, B.C., trio The Courtneys, delivering some uber-tasty guitar pop, along with Loomer and Friends of Mine for what should be a fine way to launch your week. Here's a little taste of The Courtneys: 


COMMUNITY | If you're in Coeur d'Alene this evening, take a quick Journey to the North Pole, a 40-minute holiday cruise that will give you the kind of look at the town's holiday lights that you just can't get from solid ground. 

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | Spokane Falls Community College is hosting its annual fall Community Concert, under the direction of Karl Mote. 
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