Makin' Wookiee -- The rumors are true - there's a familiar face in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Only problem, is you can't really see it. Axel Dench, who played for the Gonzaga Bulldogs from 1997 to 2000, is not only one of the Wookiees, but as he reported in an e-mail to ESPN founder and Spokane resident Stuart Evey, that's him "on the barricade leading the army into battle." The 6-foot-11 former center apparently was just the size the Wookiee wranglers were looking for, and Dench took a break from playing basketball in Portugal and Italy to make the film. Dench currently lives in his native Melbourne, Australia.
The ArtFest Curse? -- It's widely known that Spokane has been living with a gypsy curse on its collective "Near Nature, Near Perfect" head for more than a decade. But we're beginning to wonder if perhaps ArtFest has also in some way offended somebody somewhere - in fact, perhaps someone responsible for the weather. In our 11-year history with ArtFest there has not yet been one perfect weekend. There was the year of the wet windstorm - which dismantled our booth as fast as we could reassemble it. Then there was the year of the "Big Electric Storm Over Coeur d'Alene Park." This year, it was all about one perfect and misleading Saturday (sunshine! warmth!) followed by the "Up Yours, Art-lovers" of Sunday's torrential and cold day-long downpour. Good times, that.
In Honor of Anderso -- You should considering being there this Sunday, June 12, down at Riverfront Park when they unveil a memorial bronze statue of Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, who died when the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003. The event takes place in the breezeway between the Opera House and Convention Center, and members of Anderson's family will be present, as will sculptor Dorothy Fowler and representatives of NASA. Money for the project came from a variety of sources, but most of it was generated by such grass-roots efforts as grade-school class projects and community group fund-raisers. Anderson graduated from Cheney High School in 1977 and from the University of Washington in 1981, but called Spokane home even while his work for NASA took him all over the world. The dedication ceremony begins at 2 pm and is free and open to the public.