Word on the Street -- If there's one thing we can say about putting together the 100-page, work-all-weekend, write-until-your-brains-are-goo paper behemoth known as "Best of the Inland Northwest," it's that we always walk away having learned something. This year, we learned that we don't know jack about street names.
For starters, several readers, including Jim Price and Paul Wikstrom, wrote in to let us know that Funk Street -- the winner in our "Best Street Name" category -- is not only named after one Mr. Leonard Funk, but that Mr. Funk was a popular, influential mayor of Spokane, serving from 1931-35. It was also pointed out that Mr. Funk died in office, that he also served as a city councilman prior to becoming mayor, and that Sutherlin, Pratt, Fotheringham and Belt Streets are also all named after former mayors. We even learned that Mr. Funk's home still stands not on not Funk but on East Fifth Avenue. What's perhaps most interesting, as one of our readers mentioned, is that the habit of naming streets after city leaders seems to have fallen by the wayside. Where is our Talbott Avenue? Our Powers Court? Our Geraghty Road? Our Barnard Boulevard?
We wondered also about whether the Lord's Lane was even a real street or not, as one voter wrote in, but a caller from north Spokane set us straight, letting us know that the aforementioned heavenly path exists and that it's located in Chattaroy. Thanks to everyone for their calls, e-mails and letters!
Literary Lights of the Palouse -- You've gotta wonder if the real literary action is taking place in the twin cities of Moscow and Pullman. As we go to press, we hear that WSU writer-in-residence Alex Kuo will fly to New York in a few weeks to receive his American Book Award for Lipstick and Other Stories. This prestigious award comes from the Before Columbus Foundation and has previously been awarded to such notable writers as Alice McDermott, Don DeLillo, Edwidge Danticat and Sherman Alexie. And eight miles away in Moscow, the University of Idaho's Department of English has a full schedule of visiting authors this spring, including poet Mark Doty (who read last month), writer-to-watch Terrance Hayes and Rick Moody, author of The Ice Storm and Demonology. For more information on the U of I Distinguished Authors Series, call 208-885-6489.
It's Not Too Early... To start thinking about next year's Oscars. Here in the Buzz Bin, we've already found some Web sites devoted to advance buzz on next year's race. In addition to a sure nomination for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, look for Cold Mountain, directed by The English Patient's Anthony Minghella, Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Knuckle Love and Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal.