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Gettin' neighborly 

by Mike Corrigan


One of the coolest neighborhoods in Spokane has, as its epicenter and cultural heart, the South Perry Street business district. Located on the near-east south side, Perry Street between 7th and 12th avenues is positively littered with hip, interesting and simply life-sustaining businesses and cultural centers. There's a florist, a coffee shop, a deli, an antique store, a pharmacy, a gift shop -- even a Buddhist church.


As vice president and co-founder of the South Perry Business Association, coffee brewer, metal artist and full-on arts patron, Mark Camp has been instrumental in securing grant money to beautify and unify the district. The Shop, Camp's coffee house/gallery/performance art space has been a catalyst for economic and cultural development in the area and a model for urban renewal.


This Saturday, the district is having a STREET FAIR to celebrate the release of the grant money -- and you're invited.


"The whole thing is kind of along the lines of an old-time, neighborhood party," says Camp. From 9 am to 5 pm, the neighborhood businesses will all come out to play. There will be a BBQ at Sunnybrook Farms, lunch at the Buddhist Temple and chair massages by South Perry Therapeutic Massage. Proceeds from any of the pay attractions will go to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and most businesses are doing something to benefit the local charity. Camp says the plans for the district development will be available for public viewing and that the first order of business at the street fair will be to blow a little of that brand new grant money on a bit of public greenery.


'We're going to do the first ceremonial tree planting during the festival down by Liberty Park Florist. The mayor's even going to be here to do the shovel-full-of-dirt thing."


And, yes, there will be music. Lots of it. The lineup in no particular order will include: the Friskies, a three-piece bass guitar drum combo that has a penchant for trading instruments several times mid-gig; local folk-rock songstress Janet Johnson; and multi-talented multi-instrumentalist, Don Thomsen. Other notable performers include Sidhe, the Trailer Park Girls, Brad Keeler, Nancy Bright and the Snake Oil Huxters from Coeur d'Alene, who employ a slide guitar, a washtub bass and washboard.


"That just sounds wild," says Camp. "I'm really looking forward to seeing them."


Some of the other activities include a quilt raffle by Kindred Spirits. The Dukes car club will be in attendance, showing off its chopped, channeled and stock machines. Even '50s one-hit wonder, Charlie "Hot Rod Lincoln" Ryan will be performing at Kindred Spirits.


"He seems pretty cool," laughs Camp, adding, "And of course, he's actually showing up in his hot rod Lincoln."





The South Perry Summer Street Fair will be held on Perry Street between 8th and 12th avenues on Saturday, July 22, from 9 am-5 pm. Call: 534-1647.





Bottom-Dwellers


This Monday, a van will pull into Spokane containing three young women and enough gear to snap the backs of many a fine roadie. They'll follow directions given to them to a nightclub, pull up and kill the engine. They'll pour out, stretch and head inside looking for the promoter, club owner, bartender -- anyone -- who can show them to the stage. Then it's time to bring in the gear, followed by the set list creation over a beer and some grub. Then, on to the soundcheck and after, maybe a nap or a walk around their temporary hometown. Then, to the gig.


It's the same drill everyday in every new town. It's the same drill executed daily by a zillion do-it-yourself bands across the country -- heck, across the planet. Bands who choose to live out their dreams by packing it up and hitting the road. They endure it all -- boredom, loneliness, breakdowns and crappy food -- all for the two hours or so that they will be up there on the stage, when they can transcend all the bullshit and be stars.


NYC-based BOTTOM packs enough rock attitude, low-register sludge and fuzzed-out riffs into its live show to make both modern stoner-rockers and die-hard Black Sabbath fanatics weep for joy. But this ain't your typical "let's fully exploit the fact that we're chicks" all-fem combo. When it comes to rock, Bottom is fully invested. These are women who talk carburetors and whiskey (clearly, their beverage of choice) and drive faster and better than their boyfriends. Women who carry their own gear. Who kick out the jams.


And heavy, heavy jams they are, too. Made in Voyage is their CD debut. Its 11 tracks are leaden with rock anthems, aggressive playing and low-down, gritty (and at times, thoroughly tortured) vocals. When it comes to the music, Sina, Nila and Clementine have clearly defined their idiom. And on the subject, Bottom's fearless lead mouth and six-string slayer, Sina has a few choice words.


"I'm talking about music that makes the ears bleed, and feels irresistibly unsafe," she elaborates. "Music that is downright mean and dangerous and not just because somebody in the band blows fire. Flash doesn't count. Sparklers aren't hard. Little kids play with fire. I want music that makes me watch over my shoulder fearing getting' clobbered by the gods of rock."





Bottom plays at Fort Spokane Brewery on Monday, July 24, at 9 p.m. Cover: $5. Call: 838-3809.
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