Monday, October 12, 2015

Tonight, the return of Fargo, the poetic, gorgeously untrue detective drama

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:01 PM

So you’re the novice showrunner of a critically-acclaimed anthological detective drama heading into your second season, with an entirely new cast. You’ve got Hollywood ringers in your cast and a whole lot of expectations.

You can go the True Detective season two route, and disappoint your fans and leave critics smirking that True Detective’s flaws were always there, they were just hidden by a few great actors and some fancy directing.

Or you can go the Fargo season two route, premiering tonight on FX at 10 pm, and prove that the phenomenon was not just a lark.

A great TV show is somewhat of an incredible stroke of luck. A great TV show reinventing itself almost entirely, with a new story in a new time period with a new cast, and remaining great? Well, that’s something more like a miracle. But Fargo is all about miracles. 

"And then, Molly, that's when the man started up his wood chipper..."
  • "And then, Molly, that's when the man started up his wood chipper..."

Each episode of the second season of Fargo, like the movie that inspires it, begins with a disclaimer of sorts: "This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1979. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."

That is, of course, an untrue statement. Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley likes to say the based-on-a-true-story claim grounds the series, forces it to be more believable. Ah, but that’s not a true story. either.

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Monday Morning Place Kicker: Cougs hunt down Ducks, Seahawks collapse in epic fashion

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 11:48 AM

The sports weekend sure started off great for football fans across the Inland Northwest. If college football was the only thing we thought about, we'd still be sky-high after the wacky overtime thrillers in Cheney and Eugene on Saturday. 

But then, of course, Sunday NFL action happened. Uggh. More on that in a minute — let's start with the positives...

A TD pass to Dom Williams on the final play of regulation propelled WSU to overtime and a victory against Oregon Saturday. - WASHINGTON STATE ATHLETICS
  • Washington State athletics
  • A TD pass to Dom Williams on the final play of regulation propelled WSU to overtime and a victory against Oregon Saturday.

Okay, they came a little close, but Washington State came up with a signature win at Oregon on Saturday that maybe — just maybe — can propel them to a bowl game this year. 

The lowdown: WSU, led by quarterback Luke Falk and his insane 50 completions in 74 attempts, led for big chunks of the rainy Saturday afternoon game, then found themselves behind and scrambling for a last-second TD that put the game into overtime. Once there, they outlasted the Ducks for a monumental win for coach Mike Leach and the team. Along the way, the team displayed a running game that up to now was largely missing from their offensive arsenal, as well as a defense far more stout than the team's had in recent seasons. Yes, the Ducks aren't as good this year as the dominant squad they've had in the past — this was the team's third loss, and second straight in Eugene — but this is still a quality win against a bunch of really talented, highly recruited players, on the road. 
After the game, someone on WSU's Twitter feed had a little fun at the expense of the Ducks and their Lewis-and-Clark themed helmets.
  • After the game, someone on WSU's Twitter feed had a little fun at the expense of the Ducks and their Lewis-and-Clark themed helmets.

Oregon finds themselves outside the Top 25 after the loss, but what might this win mean for the Cougs and their fans? They have seven more games to get three wins that would make the team bowl-eligible, and this Saturday they will be favored against the scuffling Oregon State Beavers. After that game — which we could assume they will win if it weren't for, you know, them being the Cougs — the going gets tough for games against Arizona, Stanford, Arizona St. and UCLA. They won't be favored in any of thhose matchups. They might go into their final two games against Colorado and UW in the Apple Cup needing two wins to make a bowl. Not impossible — but that loss against Portland State earlier this year looms large. 

The Cougars' game against the Beavers will air on the Pac-12 Network Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Some holiday: More cities oust Columbus Day this year

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Centuries — 523 years, to be exact — after Columbus’ accidental arrival on the shores of North America, U.S. cities are beginning to question the celebration of such an event.

With major cities Minneapolis and Seattle announcing last year that local governments were choosing not to recognize Columbus Day — instead celebrating Indigenous People's Day — even more local governments are joining the movement. Portland just last week proclaimed it, too, would follow suit and celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

Columbus Day became a federally recognized U.S. holiday in 1937 as the Italian-American population pushed for it. Many false assumptions come with the holiday, however, including the notion that Columbus was the first person to discover the Americas, which completely disregarded that the indigenous populations already present had discovered the Americas about 14,000 years prior.

An artist's early rendition of Columbus' first encounter with the native populations of North America. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • An artist's early rendition of Columbus' first encounter with the native populations of North America.

The original idea of celebrating Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus day first arose in 1977. Activists and indigenous populations alike were outraged over the celebration of a man responsible for the truly barbaric enslavement and death of what some historians say were entire populations of indigenous tribes he encountered. 

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EWU Recap: The Eagles' utterly bonkers overtime battle vs. Cal Poly was one for the ages

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 9:41 AM

The Eagles and Mustangs head to the locker room at half-time - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • The Eagles and Mustangs head to the locker room at half-time

On a sunny Saturday that was supposed to belong to Cooper Kupp, the wind changed Eastern Washington Eagles head coach Beau Baldwin's game plan as the Cal Poly Mustangs visited the Eastern Washington Eagles at "The Inferno." Despite two weeks to prepare for the Mustangs' triple-option attack, the 122-ranked Eagles rush defense was no match for the top rushing offense in the nation. 

After just one half, quarterback Chris Brown and the Mustangs amassed 298 yards on 44 rush attempts, en route to a 21-13 lead over the Eagles. Unbelievably, Cal Poly passed only ONE TIME in the first half for a three yard gain. But as the second half began, the question in everybody's mind was the same: Where is Cooper Kupp?

With the wind picking up to 20-25 mph as the second half began, it was becoming more and more clear that the rushing game would be what decided this contest. Amazingly, Cooper Kupp was hardly a factor, and it had nothing to do with the Cal Poly defense.

What everybody expected to be an offensive shootout had evolved into a ground-and-pound defensive scuffle. After complete domination by the Mustangs' rushing attack in the first half, the Eagles threw up two crucial defensive stops to open the second half, grabbing some momentum back from Cal Poly. It wasn't enough though, as Mustangs fullback Joe Protheroe hobbled into the end zone for his second score despite an ankle injury. And as the third quarter came to a close, the Eagles had the ball on the Mustangs' 26 yard line, facing a 15 point deficit. 

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Here's what you need to know to start your day

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 9:16 AM

Spokane artist, Ben Joyce found a new fan in hip-hop star The Game

And despite what an Idaho District judge might have you believe, the Founding Fathers did not dream of an unbiased press, Quite the opposite actually.

More school shootings: In case you missed it last week, two universities reported fatal shootings eight days after a student opened fire on classmates at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. 

Last Friday, a Texas Southern University freshman was shot and another person was wounded. Earlier that morning, a physical confrontation outside a dorm on Northern Arizona University's campus ended in the death of one student with three others injured. The two incidents were not "active-shooter episodes," like the shooting in Oregon, the New York Times reports. Rather, they stemmed from disputes turned violent. 

The University of Texas has since planned a protest to recent state legislation that allows concealed carry on university campuses. They're calling it #CocksNotGlocks, and some people are not happy about it

The Death of Columbus Day: John Oliver (see video below) asks why the federal holiday celebrating a conquistador's discovery of North America (like they weren't going to find that anyway) is still a thing, considering it resulted in death and slavery for thousands of Native Americans. 

This year, Portland, Ore. and Albuquerque have denounced the holiday (which is today). Seattle and Minneapolis did the same year — replacing it with Indigenous Peoples' Day — and Berkeley, Calif. did it before it was cool back in 1992. Here are some suggestions for other Italians we could celebrate instead.  

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Spokane artist Ben Joyce finds a new fan in hip-hop star The Game

Posted By on Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Ben Joyce at work in his Spokane studio. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Ben Joyce at work in his Spokane studio.

You might remember Spokane artist Ben Joyce from the cover story we did about his unique "Abstract Topophilia" painting style and his growing popularity in the Inland Northwest and beyond. Or perhaps you know him simply through his seemingly ubiquitous work that can be found in the Spokane Convention Center, on the Gonzaga campus in the business building and in homes and businesses throughout the area. 

Thanks to appearances at art festivals all over the country, Joyce's work has found its way into a lot of places he never would have imagined when he got started as an artist. And now he has a new fan after rapper The Game encountered some of Joyce's work in the studio for Los Angeles radio station Power 106, where Joyce's childhood best friend, Vinrican, works as a producer. 

The Game, a Compton native who made his name on a throwback style reminiscent of classic gangsta rap, fell for one of Joyce's San Francisco pieces (pictured), and contracted with him to do a piece of his old Compton/South LA stomping grounds. Here's the photo Vinrican sent to Joyce: 
The Game, left, checking out one of Joyce's San Francisco paintings, along with Joyce's friend Vinrican. - BEN JOYCE
  • Ben Joyce
  • The Game, left, checking out one of Joyce's San Francisco paintings, along with Joyce's friend Vinrican.

Joyce says his buddy has several of his pieces dotting the Power 106 studios, and has sent along several photos of hip-hop royalty doing interviews and on-air appearances right in front of his work. He'll be posting some of those to his Facebook page down the line. 

As an artist, Joyce says it's really cool that his work can be appreciated by someone like John Travolta and someone like The Game, who grew up in gangs. "They're completely different, but they both connect with it," Joyce says. 
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The Shack author William Paul Young visits Spokane for release of his new novel

Posted By on Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM


Before Canadian-born author William Paul Young published his first novel in 2011, he was living near Portland, Oregon, and working three different jobs. Now, four years later and a well-established writer, Young visits Spokane to discuss his newest novel, Eve, released in September.

While Young was raised by a Christian missionary family living amongst a primitive tribe in the former New Guinea, his novels reach far beyond a religious audience. The Shack, Young’s first work, has sold over 22 million copies. The controversial yet absorbing piece of fiction shared a story of grief and loss, and further served as an invitation to readers into a more personal, non-religious understanding of God. Both The Shack and Young's 2012 novel Crossroads are New York Times bestsellers.

Eve is a vibrant investigation into the Creation narrative that challenges beliefs about our beginnings. The novel centers on John the Collector, who discovers a young woman washed ashore on an island — sick, battered, and barely surviving. While nursing her back to health, he discovers that she has a unique genetic makeup, connecting her to every single race. Through Eve, Young not only poses compelling questions regarding the equality of men and women by exploring our beginnings, but also aims to freshen our take on a familiar tale. Young questions, “Is it possible to craft a space for community and conversation free of the divisiveness of politics, or religion or ideology... a space for you to explore life, God, the world and what it is to be fully human?” Through his novels, Young seeks to create such a space.

Auntie's Bookstore hosts Young's reading at the Bing Crosby Theater, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 pm. Admission is a suggested $5 donation. 

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

5 fall/winter movie trailers to get you in the mood

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM


… In the mood for good movies, of course. After the big budget madness of the summer, it’s time to actually use your brain again while at the multiplex. With film awards season just around the corner, these are some of the movies we’ve been waiting for all freaking year. Naturally, we can’t wait for the Hunger Games finale, new James Bond picture or the return of Star Wars, either. But here are a couple more to get on your radar.

5. CRIMSON PEAK – October 16
As a self-diagnosed horror film scaredy-cat, this Guillermo del Toro-directed film looks like just the right amount of gothic horror, mystery and romance. What lives in the basement? Are these people vampires or ghosts? I must know immediately.
4. SPOTLIGHT – November 6
Yes, a film about journalists making a difference made the list. Roll your eyes all you want, but this is one of the films coming out about journalists later this year — the other being Truth — and that's exciting. It probably won’t be the next All the President's Men, but it sure is trying. 
3. MACBETH – December 4
Shakespeare wrote this one, duh. In this version, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard take over Scotland, and nothing goes well. But at least the cinematography is beautiful.
2. THE BIG SHORT – December 23
Someone put Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt in a movie together? Steve Carell and Christian Bale are there, too. Stop everything and watch (even if it is a heavy handed premise).
1. THE HATEFUL EIGHT – January 8
Sometimes, you just need a little bit of ridiculously good in your life. That’s when you turn to director Quentin Tarantino. With him, there will always be blood, wit and a ramshackle cast worthy of your time. His newest flick continues his Western obsession.
Also, although there's no release date yet, who's excited for this? 
Speaking of movies: Make sure to mark your calendars for the Inlander’s upcoming Suds and Cinema, Oct. 21. This time we’ll be showing Back to the Future II. Hover boards are optional. 
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History Lesson: No, Judge Williamson, the Founding Fathers didn’t dream of an unbiased press

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM


When powerful Idaho political donor Frank VanderSloot went to court to sue the lefty magazine Mother Jones, it resulted in an expensive trial that lasted over two years and cost literally millions of dollars. And ultimately, it resulted in vindication for Mother Jones. (There’s also a lengthy discussion about the meaning of “gay-bashing” and an aside about Anderson Cooper’s sexuality.)

But VanderSloot didn’t take it as a loss. If anything, he seemed energized by the verdict, promising to start a fund to sue more liberal papers that attack conservative figures like himself.

He may have found inspiration in Idaho Judge Darla Williamson’s analysis that the lawsuit was not frivolous, and in her passages critiquing Mother Jones, a famously liberal magazine, for being too biased.

Mother Jones, in particular, leads the way in demonizing, rather than fairly discussing, those whose points of view differ from its own,” Williamson wrote. She condemned the magazine for mudslinging, “sophomoric bullying and name-calling."

And toward the end, she concluded with this passage:

“True fearlessness in reporting would allow the readers of this nation to decide the issues for themselves by being given a well-rounded picture of the issue at hand. Slanted journalism fuels only divisiveness. Unlike the Founders’ dreams for this nation, such journalism does not act as the guardian of the democratic republic that gave the press its freedom.”

Now, to any student of history, this is a particularly silly statement. Talking about the “Founders’ dreams for this nation” implies that the Founders had the same set of dreams for this nation, as opposed to arguing in bitter partisan ways about those dreams in, well, newspapers full of divisive, slanted journalism.

It’s not much of exaggeration to say that America was fundamentally founded on deeply partisan newspapers.

The British and the colonists clashed heavily over freedom of the press, long before the Revolution. Even James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s older brother, was arrested and imprisoned for offending the local government, and barred from printing. Benjamin Franklin himself espoused a printers-should-print-both-sides philosophy but wasn’t above using his publications to push his personal ideology.

In the Philadelphia Gazette, he created the most famous political cartoon in American history: A woodcut of a sliced-up snake, representing the colonies, with the slogan “JOIN, or DIE.”

This was hardly an attempt to be objective: It was propaganda, urging the colonies to unite during the French and Indian War. Similarly, when Franklin was lambasting the Stamp Act, he created another political cartoon “MAGNA Britannia: her Colonies REDUC'D" portraying Britain with her arms cut off, a metaphorical warning for what could happen if Britain lost her colonies.

Slanted, divisive propaganda, published by printers, written by anonymous firebrands, was crucial to the American Revolution. No joke: In this case, anonymous comments of "WAKE UP, AMERICA!" actually woke America up.

Here’s Todd Andrlik, author of Reporting the Revolutionary War.

If you think MSNBC and FOX News are notorious for their bickering and biases, media partiality and propaganda were perfected during the American Revolution with Patriot and Loyalist newspapers fighting to keep their respective populations engaged.

Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, for example, was published in full in the Connecticut Courant newspaper. Far from chiding Paine as a biased journalist, General George Washington had his troops read Thomas Paine’s famous "These are the times that try men’s souls” The American Crisis pamphlet before crossing the Delaware River. Paine later used partisan newspapers to show his ardent hatred of Washington.

In fact, from the Revolution, through the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, through the first half of the 19th century, partisan newspapers were practically the only newspapers. Si Sheppard lays out a few examples in his book, The Partisan Press: A History of Media Bias in the United States, showing that the founding fathers were instrumentally involved in partisan newspapers.

Alexander Hamilton, under the pseudonym “Phocion,” wrote 25 different essays full of personal attacks against Thomas Jefferson in the Federalist Gazette of the United States. One of them went even so far as to accuse the honorable Mr. Jefferson of having an affair with one of his slaves.

Jefferson lambasted the Gazette as a paper of pure Tory-ism, disseminating the doctrines of monarchy, aristocracy, and the exclusion of the people.”

So was Jefferson a Founding Father dreaming of an unbiased press that would act as the guardian of the democratic republic that gave the press its freedom? Nope. He wanted a paper biased in the other direction.

You can find plenty of examples of the Founding Fathers channeling VanderSloot, condemning and trying to punish newspapers that attacked them. But they didn’t want objectivity. They wanted newspapers that agreed with them.

Jefferson and James Madison started their own paper (the Philadelphia National Gazette) and filled it with attacks against Washington and Hamilton. Where Washington opposed political parties, the National Gazette actively pushed for them.

Jefferson and Madison helped fundraise for the Aurora, the newspaper of Benjamin Franklin Bache (Ben Franklin’s grandson). That’s the newspaper that called John Adams "old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled [and] toothless" and referred to George Washington’s address as the "loathings of a sick mind."

Mother Jones and National Review — or even Breitbart and Salon are better analogs to the Founding Fathers’ understanding of the press than the modern New York Times and Washington Post.

If you want a strong case for a Founding Father ostensibly fighting against partisanship in the press, you might point to President John Adams, and the Alien and Sedition acts introduced under his administration. The acts punished those who would “write, print, utter, or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing” critical of the government.

But far from being non-partisan, this was partisanship at its most obvious. Hilariously, defamatory speech against the president was outlawed, but not speech against vice president Thomas Jefferson. Twenty newspaper editors were arrested, and they were almost all Democratic-Republicans. The guy who literally wrote the book on John Adams said the laws were “...rightly judged by history as the most reprehensible acts of his presidency."

Jefferson and Madison, of course, absolutely hated these acts. Madison called them “a monster that must forever disgrace its parents.” James Madison, while fighting against these acts, waxed poetic about the necessity of even awful biased newspapers.

Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided, by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any one who reflects that to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression?

In other words, Madison argues that slanted journalism doesn’t imperil liberty; it’s inseparable from it. It brings to mind the most famous passage from Madison in the Federalist Papers:

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

Anytime anyone says, “the Founders believed…” ask which founders. Above-the-fray Washington? Aphorism-generator Franklin? Censorious Adams? Philosopher-statesman Jefferson? Cynical romantic Madison? Hip-hop megastar Hamilton?  Far from being a troupe of noble, like-minded fellow travelers, the founders fought each other, insulted each other, slandered each other, and even killed each other. This country is a product of bitter, slimy, partisan disagreement leading to ramshackle, jury-rigged compromise.

As that country has aged, media critic Jack Shafer notes that advocacy journalism has played a key role at every critical juncture: Abolitionism! Labor rights! Women’s rights! Temperance!

That’s even true today, where the single biggest blow to Mitt Romney’s campaign was a secretly-taped video showing him dismissing 47 percent of the country. That story was broken by a partisan journalist at a “mudslinging… sophomoric bullying and name-calling" publication called Mother Jones.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Spokane Arts Month's many events continue this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 4:18 PM

The second ever Spokane Arts Month kicked off with two of its biggest events — Terrain and the Visual Arts Tour — last weekend, but that doesn't mean things are dying down. Here's a roundup of artsy things to see, hear and do this weekend:

Legends and Landmarks
Check out the newest murals brightening up two of downtown Spokane's many train overpasses, and joining the four murals installed last summer. The two newest additions are at the Post Street underpass, between First and Second Avenues, by Justin Gibbens, an Ellensburg-based artist. The second is along Railroad Alley near Barrister Winery, and was created by Karl Addison, of Bremerton, Washington. You can check out the completed murals anytime.

Spokane Throw
Another sight to see that doesn't require much planning ahead, as it's being displayed all month each night, is the second annual Spokane Throw light installation on the side of River Park Square. The community arts project accepted submissions of handwritten, 25-words-or-less letters and is projecting one of them onto the side of the mall after dark through Oct. 31. Tonight, the Garland District is also unveiling a second Spokane Throw letter, to be projected on the side of the Spokanite Cleaners building at 718 W. Garland. After tonight, you can see that light projection daily after dark, too.

SpoYo! Spokane Youth Book Festival
The kid sibling of Get Lit!, spring's annual literature festival organized by Eastern Washington University, the new SpoYo! fest is aimed at kids who love to read or are just developing an appreciation for books. The first-time event's slate of guest authors is pretty impressive. Along with many of the Northwest's own children's and YA writers, SpoYo! has snagged the author of the popular Bad Kitty series, Nick Bruel, and Amulet graphic novel creator Kazu Kibuishi. The keynote author presentation at the Bing this Saturday evening caps off a day of workshops and features S.E. Grove, who wrote the middle-grade bestseller, The Glass Sentence.

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