Coming Attractions -- It has taken years, but the area near the intersection of First and Monroe is starting to look like a bona fide arts district. Starting with Art By Yourself, the block has grown to include Far West Billiards, the Brooklyn Deli, Bitters Company, the Good Works Gallery and more. This spring, the newest resident of the Arts Block, CenterStage, debuts in the old Odd Fellows Hall (1017 W. First) as a lively new performing arts/dinner theatre/cabaret venue. Actor Tim Behrens helms the organization as Managing Artistic Director and their first show -- A, My Name is Alice -- is scheduled to open April 24 in dinner theater format. This is all very cool, but the thing we're really excited about is that former Quinn's executive chef Kile Tansy is coming on board as Executive Chef for all CenterStage functions. We'll keep you posted on further developments!
Scenes from the Peace Rally -- Over the weekend we got a little taste of what those PJALS folks go through every Tuesday night when we headed down to River Park Square to join the peace vigil, sponsored by the Move On organization. Roughly 150 people, most holding candles, gathered on the sidewalk in front of River Park Square at 7 pm as part of a vigil being similarly marked all over the world. While the crowd was quiet and friendly, it was amazing to see the responses of the people driving by. Many honked and waved in support but there were also passers-by shouting things like "support your country." One woman drove by in an enormous SUV and flipped us off with a perfectly manicured fingernail while talking on her cell phone. A particularly enraged guy in a Bronco screamed at us as he sped past. Luckily, there were lots of nice families with kids, a guy with a golden retriever, your usual Peaceful Valley peacenik types and some people who stopped and joined the vigil instead of continuing on to wherever they were going. Folks, let's all take a moment to remember that you can be against the decision to go to war and still support both your country and its troops.
Good Community Theater -- At Kaleidoscope 2003, the Washington State Community Theater Association's biennial "Best in State" competition held last weekend at the Civic Theatre, Spokane-area winners came in pairs. Co-winners of Best Production were I Never Saw Another Butterfly and National Pastime. Best Actors were David Casteal and Robert Wamsley of National Pastime. Best Actresses were Laura Kohler of Butterfly and Liz McAlpine of Having Our Say. Best Directors were Troy Nickerson of Butterfly and Jack Delehanty of National Pastime. Clearly, when stacked up against entries from acting troupes in Bellingham, Tacoma, Richland and elsewhere, Spokane's theatrical organizations perform with distinction. Congrats to all!