Tell It on the Mountain -- During the winter months, Schweitzer is the place to go for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and all sorts of downhill alpine amusements. This weekend it's the place to go if you're wanting to get your hillbilly freak on. The Schweitzer Bluegrass Festival takes place this Saturday from 1-7 pm, featuring all the fiddlin' and banjo-pickin' you can handle. The Monarch Mountain Band, the Barbed Wire Cutters and Jim Hurst and Missy Raines are the scheduled acts so far, with additional bands being added as we go to press. Tickets are a low, low $5, and you can also investigate everything else Schweitzer has to offer right now. Hiking and mountain biking are de rigeur, as are chairlift rides ($10 a person or $30 for a family of four). Visit www.schweitzer.com/summerevents for details.
Minors in Possession? -- British novelist A.S. Byatt isn't going to win any friends with this one. In a recent piece for The New York Times, the author of Possession, Angels and Insects and A Whistling Woman blasted not only fellow Brit J.K. Rowling and her five Harry Potter novels, but also the adults who read them. Whether you're a Potter fan or not, some of Byatt's observations are hilarious, for instance "Harry's first date with a female wizard is unbelievably limp, filled with an 8-year-old's conversational maneuvers..." and "Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip." Her main argument, it seems to be, is that we adults should all be reading much more complex, challenging fare, perhaps something along the lines of, well, Possession or A Whistling Woman...
Okay, so she might be protesting too much and wrongly criticizing readers (never a good idea for a novelist), but isn't it refreshing to see that criticism of the whole Harry Potter phenomenon can extend beyond the tedious parameters of the Christian/un-Christian debate?
Adventure Capital -- With the MAC opening not one, not two, but three new shows this week, now is probably a good time to bring up their new fundraising program, MAC Ventures. Folks can bid on a number of exciting and educational packages, including a bike tour of Walla Walla wine country (complete with accommodations and wine tasting), a Spokane Indians Family Baseball Party, fine cooking classes and even a week at a Lake Tahoe cabin getaway. Tickets are limited, and proceeds go to benefit various MAC programs. For more information, call 363-5323 or visit www.northwest museum.org