Dude Looks Like a Lady -- Remember a few months ago when the Young America exhibit first opened at the MAC, all we could talk about was that portrait of the handsome and obviously wealthy Daniel LaMotte? Well, in honor of the show's last few weeks in Spokane, we'd like to point out a portrait at the other end of the "Am I Hot or Not?" spectrum. We don't want to be unkind, but Charles Wilson Peale's Mrs. James Smith and Grandson is worth a visit, if for no other reason than to see what Ben Franklin might have looked like in period drag. (Yes, we know that isn't very nice.)
But you should also go to take in this truly impressive show (which closes on Feb. 17) and learn a thing or two about the early American mindset. It's more than worth the price of admission. Kudos to the MAC for bringing Daniel, Mrs. Smith and all the rest to town!
Free Your Mind -- The Spokane Civic Theatre's Reading Stage series continues this Sunday, Feb. 9, with a play worth listening to: Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, a gender-bending comedy that satirizes the -isms -- you know, like imperialism, racism and sexism. This dramatized play reading -- with the actors, for the most part, simply reading their lines while seated, with minimal gestures, props and lighting -- presents a couple of attractions: the script's oddities and the cast's local prominence. Marty Demarest (KPBX and The Inlander), Troy Nickerson (versatile Spokane actor, director, choreographer) and Gary Pierce (formerly of Interplayers) are just three of the men in the cast. Except that the men aren't always men in this play: Sometimes they're women.
The first act is a farce set in 1880 South Africa; the second half, more serious, takes place a century later in London. Except that the characters have aged only 25 years. And some of them have switched gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Some of them are played by dolls.
Don't fret -- you'll be able to follow along just fine. Sara Edlin (morning drive-time on KPBX) directs. The performance is at 7 pm, and tickets are only five bucks at the door. You may enter as a straight white woman, but you'll leave thinking like a gay black man.
News from the Web -- One of our faithful Buzz Bin stringers sent us this item from the British website www.ananova.com. Apparently, you can all quit holding your collective breath, because the Vatican has officially okayed magic in the Harry Potter books. A spokesman for the Pope recently said that the "good-versus-evil plotlines in J.K. Rowling's books are imbued with Christian morals." Now if only conservative evangelical Christian groups in the U.S. would follow suit!