Happy Belated Earth Day -- Although today, April 22, is Earth Day proper, a plethora of environmental groups, plus several other activist organizations, celebrated on Saturday in Riverfront Park. Local bands played while families enjoyed hands-on displays and activities. Though we all know that every day is Earth Day, there's only one day on which adult Spokane professionals -- devoted to protecting the environment -- dress up in elaborate caribou, salmon, blue jay, octopus and other animal costumes and dance in what's called "The Procession of the Species." Eight-year-old Somer Rice, who watched the dancing from a spot on the grass, found the scene entertaining enough to drown out the rain. "I like the blue jay," Somer said. As for learning anything new about the environment, Somer had plenty to share.
Asked if she could say anything to the leader of our country about why we should protect the environment, Somer thought dutifully for a minute. "Well," she said, "the earth is just a great place to live." Right on, Somer.
Let the Games Begin -- If you've ever thought stand-up comedy was missing something -- namely the element of competition -- keep reading. ComedySportz, Spokane's own brand of improvisational, interactive and competitive comedy, celebrates not only its 250th performance but also the grand opening of the group's new digs at 227 W. Riverside Ave. this weekend. A bevy of local celebs has been invited, including the mayors of Spokane and Spokane Valley and even media professionals such as those you are reading right this very moment. The grand opening takes place Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24, at 8 pm, featuring free popcorn, prize drawings and other gala hijinks. For more information or to make reservations, call (509) 363-1279 or visit www.spocomedy.com
Maasai in Motion -- If you've ever met Nicholas Sironka, Fulbright scholar and assistant professor of art at Whitworth College, you know how passionate he is about sharing his Maasai culture with the world. You probably also know that he's an accomplished dancer. Next Thursday, April 29, he returns to the Met with the "Friends of Sironka" dance troupe, comprised of talented young dancers from his native Kenya. The Friends of Sironka have just completed a three-month American tour.
Check it Out -- Starting this week, we're adding a new feature to our Film section. It's a quick review of a film that has already opened here or has played in a different city. "Take Two" will be written by our own local film critic, Marty Demarest. This week, it's on page 32. Since studios don't screen films for critics in Spokane, we use two out-of-towners as our regular critics -- Ed Symkus in Boston and Ray Pride in Chicago. With Take Two, we can offer a local perspective on whether a film is a gem, a turkey or something in between.