Sniffing Out Good Cinema -- Seattle may have its gargantuan SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival), but here in the Inland Northwest we can boast of our own film festival, the SNIFF. Spokane's Contemporary Arts Alliance presents the 5th Annual Spokane Northwest International Film Festival (SNIFF) from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2 at the Met, featuring seven different programs. Scheduled films -- as yet unnamed -- include documentaries, shorts and full-length features by filmmakers from the northwest United States and Canada. From now until Dec. 31, the CAA is offering an early bird SNIFF Pass for only $25, good for all festival screenings. It would make a great stocking stuffer for the cinephile on your list, especially as such previous SNIFF film festival offerings as American Gypsy and The Business of Fancydancing have been either packed to the rafters or sold out. For more information or to purchase, call (509) 624-2615. Passes go up to $40 after the first of the year.
Foot Fetish -- Perhaps you recently heard about it on NPR's weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, but in case you missed it, the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award has been awarded to British author Wendy Perriam. Presented by the Literary Review magazine, Perriam won for an excerpt from her novel, Tread Softly. Here reprinted for your reading pleasure is Perriam's award-winning prose, in which a patient fantasizes about her foot surgeon:
"The jargon he'd used at the consultation had become bewitching love-talk: ... dislocation of the second MTPJ... 'titanium hemi-implant .... 'Yes!' she whispered back. 'Dorsal subluxation ... flexion deformity of the first metatarsal ... 'Oh yes!' she shouted, screwing up her face in concentration, tossing back her hair. 'Yes, oh Malcolm, yes!'."
And here we get just as excited by the prospect of being given a handful of pharmaceutical samples at the doctor's office.
At Last -- We've always wondered why Cheney, home to Eastern Washington University, has always lacked the vibrant college town feel that's so palpable in Moscow, Pullman and even Walla Walla. They're smallish towns tucked away in rolling wheat fields, too, but they seem to have left poor Cheney choking in their cultural dust. Well, maybe not anymore. Kafka Coffee has finally arrived on the scene, offering Cheney what it's always needed -- a bona fide coffeehouse with late hours, funky d & eacute;cor and live music. Situated in a five-story brick building at 410 Second Ave., the Rob Brewster-owned and -designed joint has brick arched doorways, mahogany walls, Internet access, antique furniture and a fireplace. Live music starts again in mid-January, and you can't beat the hours: during the week and on Saturdays, they're open until 10:30 pm. Check it out!