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by Inlander Staff & r & Fractured Shakespeare -- Verona, 1609: Fourteen years after surviving their encounter in the tomb, Romeo is still looking for a job, Juliet is about to give birth to their 13th child, and the alcoholic who's showing up at dinner is ... Friar Laurence.

That's the premise of Sandra Hosking's one-act farce, Romeo and Juliet: Part II, which won Spokane Civic Theatre's Playwrights Forum Festival in 2001 and has since been published and produced from Florida to Alaska -- including performances this month at the Radiant Theatre's Women's Playwriting Festival in Portland. Hosking has written two full-length and 16 short plays, proving that "Newman Lake dramatist" isn't necessarily an oxymoron.

Hot Nights, Cool Sounds -- There's nothing like lounging in the grass while beautiful music floats through the sultry summer air to tickle your ears. Wealthy arts patrons have known this for generations, which explains why so many great music festivals have sprung up near the summer playgrounds of the rich and leisurely. But now the rest of us have a new opportunity to revel in al fresco music, thanks to Spokane-Coeur d'Alene Opera and its generous donors and underwriters. Next Thursday, Aug. 4, we're packing a picnic out to Mirabeau Meadows in Spokane Valley for A Hot August Night, a free evening concert by some of the area's finest opera and musical theater performers. Heather Parker, Derrick Parker, Max Mendez and Heather Holzapfel will sing favorites from the worlds of opera, operetta and musical theater, all accompanied by pianist Greg Presley. Tunes from South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Showboat and The Magic Flute will set the mood, with the Spokane River providing the ambiance. Not sure opera is your thing? Then here's a great chance to sample it and hear some of the area's best musicians at the same time. And did we mention that it's free? Bill Graham says the Opera hopes to make this an annual event, but that means we all have to support the effort. So mark your calendar for next Thursday at 7:30 pm. We'll be staking our place with a frayed pink blanket.

Researching WWI -- For a book on soldiers buried in the U.S. Flanders Field Military Cemetery near Waregem, Belgium, Patrick Lernout would appreciate being contacted by anyone who has addresses, information or photographs concerning Vernard Meyers of Opportunity, Wash., who was killed in action on Nov. 3, 1918. Write Lernout at Drafstaat 15, 8790 Waregem, Belgium or call or e-mail [email protected]

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