Hooked by Salman -- OK, first things first -- a huge round of applause to EWU Press and Get Lit for pulling off another year of their spectacular and nationally recognized literary festival. From sending regional writers to schools in the Inland Northwest's rural areas to bringing the likes of Robert Bly, David Sedaris and Rita Dove to town, it was truly like Mardi Gras for (as EWU's Tony Flynn so hilariously put it): "the literati and the cognoscenti."
But now for why we're really here: Salman Rushdie. We admit we weren't so sure last spring when Get Lit first announced he was coming. Wasn't he, we wondered, awfully serious? Well, as his talk at the Met last Saturday night evidenced, he is quite serious, but also one of the funniest, most astute and passionate observers of the political, literary and social realms. He riffed on the "Dixie-Chicking" of America, the egregious popularity of The DaVinci Code and even made jokes about the fatwa that put a price on his head for more than a decade: ("I won't say much about that little disagreement with the Ayatollah, but I will point out that one of us is still alive...") When he wasn't being hilarious, he wooed us with perhaps one of the most effective erotic passages yet written (notable for its complete lack of verbs) and offered opinions on everything from Jane Austen to the frightening state of affairs in the Kansas educational system. For those who forked over Manhattan prices for a reading in Spokane, Mr. Rushdie was worth every penny.
Lots of Cash in That Fountain -- CenterStage has extended its run of Forever Plaid through June 11. (The show scheduled for the theater's final slot, The Spitfire Grill, has been postponed until next season.) Darin Jones, Max Kumangai-McGee, Greg Pshirrer and Russell Seaton must've caught that falling star -- now the four '50s crooners in plaid jackets will be able to toss a lot more into that fountain than just three coins. For tickets ($35; $17 for show only, $13 for students), visit spokane-centerstage.com or call 747-8243.
Paul Bunyan and Brahms -- If you haven't yet checked out the Coeur d'Alene Symphony you still have a chance to do so next week. Why not mix it up a little, stop by the Paul Bunyan for din-din and then head over to NIC for some culture, darlings? The orchestra, under the direction of David Demand, finishes off their 2004-05 season with the Brahms Violin Concerto, Beethoven's First Symphony and the O'Connor Fiddle Concerto. The closing concert features Chicago violin virtuoso Rachel Barton (who also appears with the Spokane String Quartet while she's in town). Visit www.cdasymphony.org.