Friday, February 27, 2015

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 5:34 PM

It only took 48 hours to blow up.

Spokane filmmaker Adam Harum, a co-creator of the locally-produced sci-fi web series Transolar Galactica, wasn't expecting his parody remake of the 50 Shades of Grey trailer — in which he splices Lord of the Rings wizard hero Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) in place of the overhyped BDSM film's male lead character Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) — to gain much traction. But since he posted the video on a few blogs and Reddit two days ago, it's gathered up an impressive (as of this posting) 80,500 144,800 views on YouTube.

Several thousand of those more recent clicks are in part thanks to a pick-up by the Onion's (not fake) entertainment news site, the A.V. Club.

The parody took three hours for Harum, an audio engineer for local studio ILF Media, to produce and while he didn't think it would "go viral," he decided to try an online social experiment, posting it on various sites, then sitting back to see if it would take off.

"I try the same channels to get my work out there, and I used the same pattern I've always done with my content of where, what time and what sites," he explains. "This is one of those things that is easily digestible and quick and fast, and people could easily click and share," unlike some of the professional video work Harum says he's shared through similar channels.

"It's been interesting to see the process," he says. "Most people don't get to see how this type of online content works, and the way Google and YouTube allow you to track data."

And for those wondering, Harum says he indeed saw 50 Shades of Grey in theaters. 

"It was hilarious. One of the greater comedies that's recently come out."

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:35 PM

Restaurant Week is here, but after you’re done savoring that last morsel of food you’ll need to check out these awesome shows.

It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day … in a couple weeks, but still it’s time to get into that Irish state of mind. Tonight, the Young Dubliners tear through the Knitting Factory to help with that. The all-ages show is $14 and starts at 8:30 pm. Read our interview with the band and also some local Irish bands here.

SATURDAY (It’s a big night)

Portland’s John Craigie is used to doing things solo. Saturday he travels to the Bartlett along with a backing band for the first time. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $12 the day of. Read our story on the singer-songwriter here.

The Hoot Hoots are a Seattle band who truly appreciate Spokane, playing here multiple times a year. This time they’re back with touting a wild new album at the Big Dipper. The show kicks off at 9 pm with the Camaros and Goodnight Venus opening. Cost is $12 the day of.

The Brown family recently lost their house to a fire and the Hop! hosts a benefit party to help them through this plight Saturday night. Local musicians offering their talents to the evening are: Tommy Gant, Psycho Syndicate, Willow, the Colouflies, Steven Jaimz, Jar in the Bar Band and Banish the Echo. The show starts at 6 pm and is $3.

Red Room Lounge celebrates local hippie musician Lucas Brown’s birthday with a big show featuring his band Bodhi Drip, Bard and out of towner hip-hoppers Galaxe. The show starts at 10 pm and entry is by donation.

According to Facebook, local rockers the Smokes, Sales Wagon and BBBBandits play Mootsy’s Saturday night. We’re excited anytime a show goes down at Mootsy’s. Get there by 10 pm.

The Perry District gets a little louder Saturday with its celebratory Winterfest. The event happens in a tent outside of Perry Street Pizza and is completely free. Awesome local acts like Pine League, Yak Attack and Hey! is for Horses perform. Get there around 4 pm and stay forever ... or until they kick you out.

The brand new music venue should open this weekend, so owner Thomas Chavez says. Check out that lineup here. The best way to see if it’s open? Show up.

Take a look at the upcoming week’s shows here.

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:16 PM

click to enlarge A titular "sack" used for "sack lunches."
A titular "sack" used for "sack lunches."

They're both in the same Lake Pend Oreille school district, but Sandpoint High School and Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School have some pretty major differences. 

Sandpoint High's in the comparatively urban tourist town of Sandpoint, while Clark Fork's about 30 miles away, in a much more rural area. Sandpoint High has 967 students enrolled. Clark Fork only has 88. And Sandpoint still serves hot lunch. At Clark Fork, hot lunches are no longer an option.

Yesterday, KREM reported on the frustrated Clark Fork community members — unsatisfied with the quality of the lunches (complaints range from stale bread to sour milk) — who have banded together to serve homemade hot lunch to students anyway.  

The idea of getting rid of hot lunches to save money seemed an unusual one, so I called up Shawn Woodward of the Lake Pend Oreille School District to find out the story. 

He says the district's big dilemma was one of volume and reimbursement rates. Since there were only around 20 kids eating lunch, the hot lunch reimbursement from the federal government didn't even come close to covering the cost. And that cost was significant, about $56,000 a year for the district, Woodward says. Assuming 20 kids eating lunch on average, and 180 school days, and it'd be a lot cheaper for the students to eat out (say, get the "Moose Breath" Burger at the nearby Cabinet Mountain Bar & Grill) every single day.

So the district had a choice: Eat that cost every year for the two dozen or so students who eat lunch. Or find an alternative. 

"What we ended up wanting to do is make sure no kid out there went without a meal," Woodward says. By switching from hot lunch to cold lunch they're now able to offer every student "free" lunch, and still save the district about $30,000 — almost as much as an Idaho first-year teacher salary.

The district is looking at cutting about $1 million from the budget this spring, and every little bit helps. Even if the levy passes on March 10, that budget deficit will remain. Sandpoint provides a strong property tax base compared to much of Idaho, but so far hasn't taken advantage of that. 

"Our levy rate is about 50 percent lower than the state average in Idaho," Woodward says. "If you push the envelope too hard you start losing voters. They expect us to make hard decisions."

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 12:38 PM

Though there is no equal comparison and none could take the place of beloved Internet cat leader Colonel Meow, who departed this world a little more than a year ago, the latest Internet cat king bears a striking resemblance to the stern Colonel.

Meet Atchoum, a Quebec native whose piercing orange eyes and majestic fluff are a sight to behold.

Instagram user Atchoumfan

Earlier this month, the French-speaking cat broke through several viral sharing sites, and has since shot to the online stardom that only cats can achieve these days. Atchoum's likeness has appropriately been said to resemble to Ewoks, David Bowie in Labyrinth, Elvis, Batman, the Lorax, a Gremlin and a devil. With a little button-black nose and such full face fur, the handsome cat often also resembles a toy dog breed, perhaps a shih-tzu.

The Montreal-based Persian's looks are surely unique, but there's a medical explanation for the floof overload. Atchoum has a rare condition called hypertrichosis, which causes excessive fur growth and also makes his fur much longer and fuller than other members of the feline species and his Persian breed. Knowing this, the translation of his name makes even more sense: Atchoum is French for the onomatopoeia sneeze sound "achoo."

In the past several weeks, the nine-month-old kitten has racked up more than 22,500 followers on his Instagram account, and is set to soon surpass 30,000 Facebook followers. Get with the program and start following him right meow, because Atchoum's star is obviously rising, and you don't want to be late to this party.

With the motto "I'm hairy, not scary!!" who couldn't adore this fancy, fluffy-faced feline?

Instagram user Atchoumfan

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Former Coeur d'Alene mayor Sandi Bloem is a lifelong resident of North Idaho, and says she's enjoyed all kinds of food for as long as she can remember. She dined at Coeur d'Alene's Satay for Inlander Restaurant Week, and shared her thoughts on the experience with us.    
Bloem writes: 
I grew up loving everything they put in front of me. There’s not a lot that I don’t like. I like good ethnic food. I like comfort food, too. It’s a big variety.

I took three people with me [to Satay Bistro] and we tried several things. I had the chicken dish. And the filet mignon is well known at that restaurant, so we had that, too. And my daughter had the sea bass. So we had a great variety.

We all had a chance to taste each dish, and all three were fabulous. There’s a sauce they’re making [a smoked tomato vinaigrette], it was on the chicken dish and on the sea bass dish. The flavor was spectacular. It was THE best chicken dish I’ve ever had. It was tremendous. I liked it because it was very unusual in flavor. It really was spectacular.

The ambience in Satay is very pleasant. The way it’s put together, it’s a very special place. Our service was top-notch, and it has been when I’ve been there before. They have a really nice wine list, and their own wine cellar. They do some things that just add a lot of flavor to the experience. They serve a small loaf of bread fresh out of the oven, warm, with butter and fresh dill all over it. That can be a meal in itself. It’s a very special place to go.

I think this opportunity offered during these couple of weeks gets people excited, gets people out to these restaurants to see different places. I talked to a friend of mine, and they’d already been out four times and were going for a fifth time this Saturday. Satay was full the night we were there. It brings the Coeur d’Alene, Liberty Lake and Spokane communities together, and that’s not always easy to do. This shows you can be very successful doing that. 
[Editor's note: Bloem's comments compiled from an interview transcription, and lightly edited for length]

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Closing down February with incredibly spring-like weather is pretty hard to beat. I suggest you take advantage by diving into our extensive event listings and professionally culled Staff Picks for some ideas of what to do today. 

Here are some highlights I found for Friday, Feb. 27: 

COMEDY | If you're looking for comedy of the light and fluffy "Hey, how about that airline food?" variety, go ahead and skip Neil Hamburger tonight at The Bartlett. But if laughs made at the intersection of uncomfortable confrontation and performance art sounds like your thing, you'll find no one better than this character created by Gregg Turkington. I saw W. Kamau Bell perform at The Bartlett at the venue's first delve into live comedy, and the room works great. Expect the same tonight. Here's a taste of Hamburger, working on the fly: 

COMEDY | There are few names more revered in sketch comedy that Upright Citizens Brigade, the group that spawned the likes of Amy Poehler and current Saturday Night Live headlines Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan. The touring company drops by the Palouse tonight for a show at WSU

COMMUNITY/BENEFIT | Winter Waters 2015 at Patsy Clark Mansion is a celebration of local rivers and the people who work to protect it, as well as a fundraiser by the Center for Environmental Law & Policy for the advocacy done by the Upper Columbia River Group of the Sierra Club. 

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 9:24 AM


Great news for people who like to go fast on the freeway: Washington state’s speed limit could raise to 75 mph. (Spokesman-Review)

VA officials confirmed its Spokane emergency room would not be resuming 24/7 operations in April. (KXLY)

In other important news, both Washington and Idaho lawmakers are considering doing away with daylight savings time. (KREM)

LaVerne Biel is running for Spokane City Council. (Inlander)

Eight people are dead after a shooting rampage in rural Missouri. (USA Today)

Two llamas nearly broke social media yesterday when they got loose at an assisted living facility just outside of Phenix. (AZ Central)

The Mariners are down at spring training! Are big things to come? Manager Lloyd McClendon offers a pessimistic view. (Seattle Times)

House of Cards season three starts today on Netflix (yeah, we’ll be holed up watching it all weekend, too). But what does the show say about our politics? (Washington Post)  

Leonard Nimoy died today after battling lung disease brought on by smoking. After his diagnosis, he tweeted: "Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you're diagnosed with lung damage it's too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now." 

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 9:15 AM

LaVerne Biel, a Perry District business owner, has announced she’s running for the Spokane City Council seat that will be left open when current Councilman Mike Allen steps down later this year.

She faces competition from John Waite, a downtown business owner, and Lori Kinnear, legislative assistant to Councilwoman Amber Waldref. Former Republican state Rep. John Ahern has also suggested he might run.

Previously she ran for the seat held by Jon Snyder in 2013. Allen, considered part of the council’s conservative minority, has endorsed her. Biel also has the endorsements of former councilmembers Nancy McLaughlin and Brad Stark.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Rolling into a big weekend, it's always smart to check out our event listings and Staff Picks. And if you don't have time, we can help. 

Here are some highlights for Thursday, Feb. 26: 

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | The Northwest Bach Festival is off and running, with pre-planned concerts and special "Flash-Bach" pop-up concerts bringing some classical sounds to unusual places. Here's a tip — today's Flash Bach concert is at noon at Sacred Heart Medical Center in the Mother Joseph Room. And you can see photos from and read about yesterday's impromptu show at River Park Square right here. And read a little more about the Northwest Bach Fest right here

WORDS | Tonight marks the launch of a cool series of talks in Coeur d'Alene about the history of the area that would eventually make up the state of Idaho. Idaho 125: Wilderness to Statehood will feature 10 discussions starting this evening at 7 pm with a focus on "Native Cultures."

LIVE BANDS | The Bartlett hosts some fine folk-rock from Trapper Schoepp and Tyler Aker tonight. Here's a bit of Schoepp's sound: 

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Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 9:13 AM


Federal authorities have fined a Hauser corn maze $14,000 following the death of a Spokane Valley teenager killed while working last Halloween. (KREM)

It doesn’t have the same ring but the Kettle Falls Five have been trimmed to three after a last minute plea deal. (Spokesman-Review) Read our cover story on the defendants here.

Councilman Mike Allen will not seek reelection this fall. (Inlander)

The FCC’s vote today on net neutrality could change the Internet forever. Read a full breakdown of what that means exactly, here. (Washington Post)

Just like the other Washington, recreational use of pot is no longer illegal in Washington, D.C. (Reuters)

Sweet! Gonzaga men’s basketball nabbed the cover of this week’s (regional) issue of Sports Illustrated. (Sports Illustrated)

It's no longer a crime to commit adultery in South Korea. (BBC News) 

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Reclaiming Culture: The Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska Repatriation @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 2
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