But Is It Art? -- You've no doubt heard about "chick lit" (those foofy pastel books with curly titles and shopping bags on the covers) and for the boys, "dick lit" (featuring lovable cad protagonists with obsessive hobbies). Now, thanks to Saddam Hussein, there's "dic lit." The most recent issue of Utne reveals that Hussein, in prison and busily at work on his fifth novel, is just one of a number of dictators - from Hitler to Gaddafi - who have parlayed their political zeal into artistic expression. What's even more surprising is that Hussein's writing tends to fall into that most scoffed at of scoffable genres: romantic fantasy fiction. While there's no telling when, if ever, his fifth novel will ever be published, we were amused by one British romance novelist's (JoJo Moyes) take on his work: "Once I knew who it was, it all made sense. His writing was the literary equivalent of those lurid fantasy murals he had painted all over his palaces." Yow! To read the article in its entirety, check out the Jan./Feb. 2005 issue of Utne.
Doppelgangsters -- Interplayers will attempt a casting stunt for its production opening Jan. 20, Sam Shepard's True West. For a Cain-and-Abel story about two brothers -- one a straight-laced screenwriter, the other a funny but insidious small-time crook -- Seattle actors Sean Cook and Nathan Smith will swap the roles of Austin and Lee from night to night. Don't just begrudge your brother, inhabit him -- it's one way to deal with sibling rivalry.
Party With Your Boss -- Friday night at the E.J. Roberts Mansion was all about the sweet things in life for us Inlander cronies. The Browne's Addition historical site was the setting for this year's holiday get-down - and, boy, did we get down. Aside from plates of delectable holiday grub and happy-go-lucky holiday cheer, we enjoyed giving Chadwick, the resident butler, a hard time - even though we couldn't have asked for a better wine garcon. And in our books (and probably most of yours), nothing could have been sweeter than seeing our buttoned-down boss toss back cup after cup of Northern Lights. We highly recommend it all: the mansion, Chadwick, and the getting-your-boss-tipsy part. To learn more about this venerable manse (and Chadwick) visit www.ejrobertsmansion.com.
Gingerbread Feelings -- During this weekend's holiday pops concert, Eckart Preu -- resplendent in a cherry red jacket -- was kind enough to compliment audience members on their off-key sing-along singing. The actual highlights, however, involved hearing members of the Spokane Area Children's Chorus and (later) members of the Symphony's brass section doing their Yuletide thing while positioned up on the Opera House mezzanine. Made us feel all warm and fuzzy and John Williams-y.