After-School Special -- Summer's never really been known as prime time in terms of the author and lecture circuit. But an upcoming reading at Auntie's defies that logic as G.U. alum and current best-selling author Brent Hartinger comes to the Inland Northwest to promote his new Young Adult novel, Geography Club. The subject sounds angsty enough -- gay teen struggles to find others like him in the dangerous waters of your typical American high school. But Hartinger has crafted a truly hilarious and original novel that is every bit as complex and engaging as the last good adult book you read. His readings on this summer's book tour have been standing room only, and there are plans in the works for both a stage play and a possible film. It's a credit to Hartinger that you can be straight as uncooked pasta and not remember anything of high school beyond your school colors, and still find this book thoroughly enjoyable. Check him out at Auntie's on Wednesday night, Aug. 20, at 7:30 pm.
Organ Grinders -- You see a lot of press conferences in this business, that's for sure. But you don't always see the kind of press conference we witnessed on Monday. Seriously. There we were with our little notepads and pencils when two buck-naked Australian guys stood before Spokane's journalistic elite and proceeded to twist their penises into shapes such as "the hamburger," "the Eiffel Tower" and -- our personal favorite -- the "Loch Ness Monster."
In town to promote their standup comedy show, Puppetry of the Penis (Sept. 9-13 at the Met), Simon Morly and David Friend explained how their "installations" work. Think balloon animals and you'll get the drift. The antics are projected onto a huge screen, so Friend promises a great view from every seat in the house.
"We'll show you a three-story tall penis," he said, with a chuckle. "Does size matter? Well, we like to say that the more clay a sculptor has, the more he can create."
A Dinner before Dying -- In Murder on Mount Spokane, the latest dinner-theater offering up at the Bear Creek Lodge (through Aug. 22), diners mingle with six "suspects," each of whom has a debilitating phobia. After the corpse topples under the table, even some of the audience members will be subjected to the fifth degree by Detective Malcolm Slybolt (played by director John Brooks). Physical clues will be scattered about the dining room in this mostly improvised show. For the sake of verisimilitude, in fact, the actors draw names out of a hat to determine who each night's murderer and victim will be. Thirty bucks brings you dinner and a mysterious experience. Call: 238-9114.