Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spokane is Reading with author Anthony Marra tonight

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 10:02 AM


On Wednesday evening, friends of the Spokane County Library District and fans of this year’s Spokane is Reading featured author Anthony Marra met at the Moran Prairie branch to see him in conversation with local author Jess Walter

“I don’t think Marra is a Russian surname,” Walter joked at one point, referring to Marra’s choice to focus on the former Soviet Union in his recent work.

The following conversation wove in and out of Marra’s writing and into his life, occasionally revealing a surprising frankness regarding his audacity in writing about something he isn’t personally attached to.

The special limited attendance event (only 25 spots were available) revolved mostly around Marra’s last two books, his short story collection chosen as this year's Spokane is Reading book, The Tsar of Love and Techno, and his novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon.

While in college, Marra said, he fell in love with the “wealth of Russian literature,” and became fascinated with absurd stories that evolved out of the broken systems of the Soviet Union. Moments from his books, such as the painting censor in Tsar, are real historical details, a result of years of research on Russian history.

Marra spoke at length about the moments in his Russian travels which impacted the books. In response to a question from Walter about the use of humor in the book, Marra recalled his Russian friends using humor to diffuse legitimate fear, joking about threats to throw him in the trunk of a car to alleviate his fear of being kidnapped.

Perhaps my favorite part of the conversation was something that the two initially tried to shy away from; Walters started the night with an anecdote about “shut up” talk, which is what his wife calls intense literary talk. It was truly a pleasure listening to the two men, both incredible craftsmen, opine on what makes for effective structure, what the difference is between short stories and novels, the undervalued role of humor, the “audacity of ignorance” and so much more.

Ultimately the conversation returned to audience questions, and folks were able to ask Marra about particular characters and moments from the books. Though Marra said “it’s never good to interpret your own work,” he was gracious and patient, and attentively gave each of his explanations.

Marra and Walter both assured the small audience that each of the coming events happening this Thursday will be different, and I would highly recommend going to see Marra speak. The free public events today are at 1 pm at the Spokane Valley Event Center, and at 7 pm at the Bing Crosby Theater.
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Spokane's lost and found, missing man found dead and more headlines

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 9:24 AM


NEWS: The mayor and Spokane City Council have called a truce two months after the fiery Frank Straub/public records fallout.

Ben Folds
  • Ben Folds
MUSIC: Ben Folds is in Spokane this weekend. If you're lucky, he'll teach you a little piano before the show.

LOST AND FOUND: BB guns, single gloves, paperbacks and undocumented weed. These are just some of the items occupying the Spokane Airport's lost and found. Staff writer Laura Johnson went scratching through other wastelands of unwanted and forgotten things. Click here to see what she found.


• A missing Coeur d'Alene man was found dead
near Hayden Creek, Post Falls Police confirmed yesterday. William "Bo" Kirk went missing last Saturday following a shift at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, where he was a radiology technologist. Authorities found Kirk's burning truck at 9:43 p.m. Saturday. His body was found about 8 miles from the blaze. Click here and here for video of what appears to be two individuals in Kirk's truck withdrawing money from his bank account. (Spokesman-Review, KXLY)

One juror in the Ammon Bundy trial was dismissed yesterday after being accused of bias. Bundy is facing charges for his part in the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. (Seattle Times)

• WSU nose tackle Robert Barber did not practice yesterday, which could indicate that his suspension for his involvement in a fight at an off-campus party will stand. (Spokesman-Review)

If you missed Fox News' Megyn Kelly putting former House speaker Newt Gingrich in his place, it's worth a click (below). Kelly's relentless challenging of Gingrich has some media critics speculating about a new era for the conservative network. (New York Times

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spokane producer returns to premier documentary about skiing in national parks

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 4:42 PM


There is a tradition in the snow-sports industry that's been around for a couple decades now, and it pops up around this time of year. It's the ski film — a collection of guys and gals tossing themselves down treacherous terrain and untouched powder fields to fuel the excitement for the impending season. 

You've probably seen these — and seen a lot of them — and many look the same, have nearly identical indie hip-hop soundtracks and feature the same ski-porn shots of young athletes ripping it up and saying "stoked" in every sentence.

John Stifter, a native Spokanite and former editor of Powder magazine who now heads up Powder Productions, had seen enough of them, too. He loved to watch big-time skiers do their thing, but when he set out to executive produce his company's first film, produced along with KGB Productions, he wanted to make a documentary that featured skiing, and not just another "ski film."

The result is Monumental: Skiing our National Parks, a film that takes you deep into the history of not just the Parks Service on the occasion of its 100th birthday, but also brings us back to the early days of skiing at these protected lands. The film's premier tour brings it to Spokane on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 pm at the Fox Theater in Spokane.

"It’s not a hype film. It's not going to make you excited to buy a season pass, but I would hope for people to take away an appreciation and an acknowledgment of our public lands, specifically our national parks, and to advocate for their protection," says Stifter, who grew up in Spokane, graduated from Gonzaga Prep and spent some time working at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

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Dreamed of penning a novel someday? Get ready to start NaNoWriMo!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 4:19 PM


NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.

Maybe you've been hearing about it, or already Googled the phrase and its accompanying hashtag. But you're going to see a lot more about NaNoWriMo in the coming weeks. (If you're saying the abbreviated version out loud, it's pronounced "nan-o-rye-mo.") 

The 18th annual event challenges writers of all ages and abilities to work toward the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel between Nov. 1 and 11:59 pm on Nov. 30. This year's theme is "Your Novel, Your Universe."

The first NaNoWriMo event was held in 1999, and in 2005 the program received nonprofit status. Since then, hundreds of books written during the month have been published, including some major bestsellers. Sounds crazy ambitious, right? But talk to any local writer you know, and they've likely participated in a past NaNoWriMo and would encourage anyone else to do the same.

NaNoWriMo's executive director Grant Faulkner sums up why the program is for everyone:
“Too many people think they’re not a ‘creative type,’ but to be human is to be a ‘creative type.’ NaNoWriMo teaches you to believe that your story matters, to trust the gambols of your imagination, and to make the blank page a launching pad to explore new universes. That’s important because when we create, we cultivate meaning. Our stories remind us that we’re alive, and what being alive means.”
To get inspired and fired up about the daunting yet doable task, the Spokane County Library District is offering two days of National Novel Writing Month prep workshops this weekend: Sat, Oct. 29, from 10 am-6:30 pm and Sun, Oct. 30, from 1:30-4 pm.

The following list of local writers and authors administer workshops on both days at the library's Moran Prairie branch: Mary Cronk Farrell, Kelly Milner Halls, Maureen McQuerry, Stephanie Oakes, Kris Dinnison, Bruce Holbert, Rachel Toor, Eli Francovich, Claire Rudolph Murphy and Sarah Conover. 

Workshops on the schedule
cater to all genres, offering a range of tips and techniques that may be effective tools for you. Attendees can learn how to interview sources for nonfiction work, or discover whether or not to outline an idea before putting words on the page. Both days of workshops are free and open to all, but participants are asked to register online in advance.

So, what's your NaNoWriMo story going to be about? Get ready to write!
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Broken bells, broken hearts and other breaking headlines

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 9:58 AM

How did Encyclopedia know who broke the bell at McEuen Park? Turn to page 45 for the answer!
  • How did Encyclopedia know who broke the bell at McEuen Park? Turn to page 45 for the answer!


Ski Free — or at least reasonably close to free 
The Inlander's Snowlander guru walks you through how ski obsessives can get the best deals. 


Valley Guy
Spokane Valley has a new city manager. [Spokesman-Review]

Brewster's Millions

Developer Rob Brewster, who sputtered out in Spokane four years ago, has returned with a new project revitalizing an old school. [Spokesman-Review]

Bell Basher

Who vandalized the Veterans Bell in McEuen Park? [KXLY]


Like some kind of... Sexmonster!
Newt Gingrich, who has been married three times and doggedly pursued Bill Clinton during his sex scandal, accuses Fox anchor Megyn Kelly of being "obsessed with sex." He also tries to get her to call Bill Clinton a "sexual predator." [Washington Post]

The Trump Tapes... but not the one you're thinking of

Tapes reveal Trump's deep insecurity about losing his status. Like, imagine how humiliating it would be for him to lose the election. 

Tears and Laughter
What happens when you're celebrity comedian Patton Oswalt — and you suddenly lose the love of your life. [New York Times]
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Join the Alliance: Getting more bang for your skiing bucks

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Matt Gibbs taking in the view while using the Powder Alliance beneft at Bridger Bowl outside of Bozeman, Montana.
  • Matt Gibbs taking in the view while using the Powder Alliance beneft at Bridger Bowl outside of Bozeman, Montana.

Three years since its inception to local skiers and boarders, the Powder Alliance is constantly growing. Currently, there are 15 resorts over nine states and three countries. Regionally, Schweitzer Mountain and Whitewater in British Columbia are among the elite list.

The basis of this "add-on" season-pass benefit is that you get three days* of skiing at partnering resorts with your unlimited pass if your home resort is in the program. This year, Kiroro in Japan was added, and that resort boasts some of the best snow on the planet.

Dig Chrismer, marketing manager at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, says “having the flexibility to get out an explore other mountains outside our region is fantastic.”

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WSU student found dead, Wiltjer finds NBA home and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Kyle Wiltjer
  • Kyle Wiltjer


ARTS & CULTURE: Are you too old for trick-or-treating, but too young to have kids to take trick-or-treating? There are other options


Tragedy at WSU
A 21-year-old Washington State University student was found dead inside the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity in his bed yesterday. The student, Brock Lindberg, was a junior studying business administration. The death is still under investigation. (KHQ)

Bridge celebration
Local officials are excited about a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will connect the University District with the East Sprague Avenue area. "This is a project that will change the landscape of the east part of Spokane," says Mayor David Condon. (Spokesman-Review)

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Local holiday hijinks to celebrate Halloween throughout this week

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:50 PM

If you're looking for something to do to celebrate Halloween other than trick-or-treating or carving pumpkins, check out one of these local events — if you dare!


The Rocky Horror Show
This cult classic fave is brought to life this season at the Spokane Civic Theatre. Full of sexual escapades, boisterous humor and unconventional relationships, this fantasy tale is rated for mature audiences. Through Nov. 5 • Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm; Fri-Sat at 11 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $25 • Spokane Civic Theatre • 1020 N. Howard St. 


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
This show by the Theater Arts for Children takes a fun look at an adaptation of the play by Washington Irving. With a goofy schoolmaster and the Headless Horseman, this is a spooky tale not to miss. Through Oct. 30 • Thu-Sat at 7 pm; Sat at 3 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $10/adults; $8/student, military, senior • Theater Arts for Children • 2114 N. Pines Rd.

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Monday Morning Place Kicker: 'Hawks make history, Eags and Cougs roll

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 11:13 AM

If you managed to stay awake through Sunday night's Seahawks/Cardinals OT non-thriller, congrats! You witnessed a little history, although not necessarily exciting history. Thankfully there were some better games through the weekend to make up for that prime-time clunker. 

Let's break it all down: 

Even Pete Carroll can't believe what he saw Sunday night. - SEAHAWKS.COM
  • Even Pete Carroll can't believe what he saw Sunday night.

The Seahawks traveled to Phoenix to take on their division rival Arizona Cardinals, and the result was a 6-6 tie — the first tie in Seahawks franchise history! That's pretty much the most exciting aspect of a game that featured a lot of great defense, particularly by the Seahawks against the Cardinals relatively competent offense. The 'hawks, though, looked downright anemic on offense, and quarterback Russell Wilson just doesn't look himself with that leg injury. Oh, and both team's kickers missed potential game-winning chip shots, so that old adage about special teams being just as important as offense or defense certainly rings true today. 
The big takeaway: The Seahawks are still in first place in the NFC West, and head to New Orleans for a game against the Saints Sunday. 
What to say to your Seahawks-loving friends today: "Of course I stayed awake for the whole game!" 

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Walking Dead, Seahawks, Dakota protests and other news to start your week

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 8:56 AM

• THIS WEEK: Monty Python vets, genius poets, rhinos, Soul Pimps and more
• CONCERT REVIEW: The 1975 sparks energetic frenzy at sold out Spokane stop
• NEWS: More than a quarter of all Spokane County jobs fall below the Initiative 1433 minimum wage threshold

During last week's Trump Wall rally at WSU, a protester knocked a phone out of the hand of a Trump supporter. The protester, an as-yet-unnamed student, could face criminal charges.  

Who will die? Answer: viewers, a little bit.
  • Who will die? Answer: viewers, a little bit.


The Walking Dead premiered its seventh season last night with a gory, brutal episode, picking up at last season's cliffhanger, with the newest warlord, Negan, threatening to bash someone's head in with a barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat. He kept his word, and we all got to see the hamburger-y result. More than one critic (and fan) likened it to "torture porn." Nevertheless, the show's cycle continues: After beginning to feel safe, our favorite characters have been reminded that there's always someone worse out there, someone who actually enjoys the new world.  

The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals battled it out Sunday night in the desert. It was about defense, pass rushers, punters and kickers. The game would go into overtime, where each team added a field goal, bringing the score to 6-6. That's where it'd end, in a tie. There were no touchdowns, but hey, no one lost.

William "Bo" Kirk (seen at right), 41, was last seen Saturday night leaving work at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls. His truck was later found on fire. (KXLY)

A homeowner claiming a trespasser refused to leave his yard shot the man in the leg, and when the authorities arrived, the wounded man wouldn't cooperate with first responders, according to KXLY. The man died at the scene. 

A bus returning from a casino crashed into a tractor-trailer on Sunday near Palm Springs, killing 13 people and injuring 31, according to CNN

More than 100 activists were arrested over the weekend while protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Law enforcement also shot at a drone flying overhead after a helicopter pilot monitoring the protests felt threatened by it.
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