Tuesday, March 31, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: The Sonics! Death Cab! Check out the week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:01 PM


This weeks' new releases in music and DVDs features a light load on the movie side, but a seriously killer batch of great new tunes. At Tuesday Taste, we tell what's worth your time among all the options. To wit: 

MUSIC

I'm almost embarrassed to say that the new Van Halen live album is pretty high on my list of today's new releases of things I want to hear ASAP. Although, judging by the band's performance on Jimmy Kimmel last night, maybe that's not such a great idea. Besides, there are an insane number of highly anticipated albums arriving this week, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Lower Dens, NYC punk-turned-roots rocker Jesse Malin, Ron Sexsmith, Brit folk-rockers The Staves, William Elliott Whitmore and some dude named Ringo. Here are some others: 

Death Cab for Cutie starts life without sonic ace Chris Walla, who stayed around long enough to record their new album, Kintsugi, before leaving the band. How Ben Gibbard and Co.'s sound evolves from here remains a mystery, but the new tunes sound like primo Death Cab with a dash of Postal Service's electronic flourishes. Here's a taste of new tune "Black Sun:"

The Sonics are almost as much a legend as they are a band. The Tacoma garage-rockers hit in the mid-60s with a killer, aggressive sound that inspired some to proclaim them the first punk band. Cited regularly by Seattle's rock royalty as a major influence, the band is definitely something to be reckoned with, even in their reformed state. Here's a cut from their new album, This is the Sonics:

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Are you an Inland Northwest foodie? Prove it with this quiz!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM


We all know that Spokane's food scene has amazing things happening. How well do you know the history?

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Feminist pop culture, graphic novels and improv comedy all in Spokane tonight

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:03 AM


So many options for the spring days ahead that we feel certain you'll find some good ones in our event listings and Staff Picks

Here are a few highlights for the last day of March — Tuesday, March 31:

WORDS | Bitch Media cofounder Andi Ziesler hits Whitworth for a free lecture called "Don't Just Change the Channel: Why Popular Culture Matters to Feminism, Activism and Social Justice." Should be enlightening, to say the least. 

VISUAL ARTS | We're down to the last few days to hit the Gonzaga campus for Ric Gendron's Rattlebone exhibit, running through Thursday. Read a bit about the artist in our cover profile here

COMEDY | Jones Radiator turns into a comedy venue Tuesday for Ditch Kids, an improv comedy crew featuring Mara Baldwin, Matt Dargen, Matt Slater and Cesa Summer, who will be joined by guests Josh Teaford and Casey Strain.

WORDS | Auntie's is hosting a Graphic Novel Panel at 7 pm, featuring professional graphic artists Isabel Melancon, Megan Heaton and Laura Neuber, who together have a new anthology called Namesake. 
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MB: Wild turkey debate, Iran nuke deal extended and Idaho tax reforms

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:29 AM


HERE

Just in time for Easter, an egg hunt has been proposed on the South Hill … for wild turkey (not the whiskey) eggs in order to manage the bird population. (Spokesman-Review)

The moose tick population has skyrocketed after a mild winder, leading to North Idaho moose deaths. (KHQ)

The Idaho House has passed sweeping tax reforms that would increase taxes for the middle class while cutting taxes for the state's richest. (Spokesman-Review)

Two new Spokane traffic lights are on their way. (KREM)

THERE
The deadline for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran has once more been extended. The deadline was originally set for midnight tonight. (AP)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence now wants to see an amendment to his state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (Indianapolis Star)

Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party lineup is here! Big names include: RATATAT, TV on the Radio, the Kills, Built to Spill and Shabazz Palaces. (Seattle Times)


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Monday, March 30, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Joe Pug 'takes the country by storm' at the Bartlett

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 1:54 PM

pugblueliveresized.jpg

Joe Pug has no illusions about his place in the world of contemporary pop music. 

At his strong Sunday night show at The Bartlett, he delivered a litany of self-deprecating asides between songs. He described his recently released Windfall album, tongue firmly in cheek, as "taking the country by storm" and as the favorite album of 2015, according to Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity. He also dubbed it the "official album of Quizno's." 

"It's no Subway," Pug joked. "But it's a growing chain." 

Pug's humor helped create a genuinely warm vibe at the full Bartlett, a mood that belied the pretty dark lyrical themes that fill much of his music. The set drew heavily from Windfall, but also included tunes from his older albums The Great Despiser and Messenger, as well as some older EPs. Even his reputation for morose tunes gave Pug the opportunity to get some laughs from the crowd, as in when he described writing what he thought of as a light love song for his girlfriend — "It was like my 'It's Raining Men' or something!" — only to have her find it far from ebullient. 

That song, "Pair of Shadows," was delivered solo by Pug, and was one of the highlights of the show. For most of the gig, he was backed by a three-piece guitar/standup bass/drums band that gave his folk some unexpected muscle not always present on his recordings. What always remained was his gruff voice that belies his youth and makes comparisons to singer/songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and John Prine pretty fitting. 

Pug opened the show with a three-song salvo that touched on three different releases, with the new "Burn and Shine," "Messenger" and "Nation of Heat" drawing the audience into Pug's world. Guitarist Greg Tuohey particularly set himself apart early on with chiming lead parts and ringing solos that inspired Pug to proclaim him "the Richard Sherman of guitar" in a nice nod to the Seahawks defensive back. 

Older songs like "I Do My Father's Drugs," "Hymn #76," "A Gentle Few" and "How Good You Are" (featuring the great opening lines "I was born into a circus, but I ran off to join a home") attracted loud cheers from fans familiar with the older material, and the new songs fit alongside them with ease. There are definitely more positive vibes in new songs like "Windfallen," "If Still It Can't Be Found" and, naturally, "'Bright Beginnings." 

"The Measure," another new one played late in the set, included the lines "What we've lost is nothing that can't be found." Clearly, finding the love of his life and getting engaged has had some effect on his songs and their moods — even if his fiancee doesn't think "Pair of Shadows" is exactly a traditional love song, and even if he followed up soon after with his excellent, gritty "The Great Despiser." 

With any luck, perhaps Pug's sunnier on-album disposition will lead more fans to discover a great, young American songwriting talent
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We're bringing The Big Lebowski back to the Bing

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 12:19 PM

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Oh, hey there Suds and Cinema lovers. We just wanted to let you know that the next installment of our venerable beer-meets-awesome-movies series is in response to the many, many loyal fans who asked us to bring back one of last year's films...and that film is The Big Lebowski.

Last year, we had one hell of a night at the Bing Crosby Theater when we screened the film to almost 700 folks, many of whom were dressed in the costume of their favorite characters. And we're hoping to recreate that magic by again having the freshly one-year-old Perry Street Brewing provide the beer for the event on April 15. The beer flows at 6:30 pm and the movie follows at 7:30 pm.

As always, entry is $4 and beers are $4, too.

And, yes, we'll be hosting a costume contest for several categories, including Best Dude, Best Walter and several other wild card categories to be announced later. There's also an after-party at Rain Lounge featuring White Russians made with Spokane's own 21 Window Vodka. During the movie, you can feast on special Lebowski-themed ice cream flavors from Brain Freeze Creamery.

If you're not into the whole remembering things without electronics thing, here's a link to the official Facebook invite. Let us know if you're coming, man.

Here's a look at last year's Lebowski night. It was far out.

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The morning after: Gonzaga's season comes to an end

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:31 AM


It's good to see you survived the night, Zag Nation. That was a tough one and some of you are still likely feeling a bit of a sting after seeing Gonzaga's season end yesterday afternoon with a 66-52 loss to Duke.

What you're feeling is the reality that unless you cut down the nets in the Final Four, every team that makes the NCAA tournament ends its season with a loss. That's also what makes this sporting event one of the last great things in all of sports. But I know, it still stings because the reality of a Gonzaga Final Four was right there for you to almost touch. Many Northwest sports fans might not feel too bad, considering they encountered the deepest pit of sporting despair in the final seconds of the Super Bowl. Comparatively, this is just a little scratch, compared to that faith-destroying turn of events.

And, all in all, it's hard to say the Zags let anyone down. They won 35 games this season and made it to the Elite Eight, where they lost to the No. 1 seed, which is how things were supposed to go. The Final Four would have been a delicious icing on the cake this special unit of kids had baked throughout the season, but it wasn't to be. And perhaps worse than the outcome of the game is the realization that two of the program's most beloved players, Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., are done playing in Spokane.

"You know, we made it to an Elite Eight, and this is something you dream of, to play on this stage, the final eight teams playing college basketball. You dream of that stuff growing up. And to be playing for a guy like Coach Few made me a better basketball player. Definitely fortunate enough to be in this position right now," said Bell after the game.

What exactly happened? Well, if you look at the box score, it's hard to suss out why the Zags didn't top Duke. Gonzaga shot better from the field, scored more field goals, and out-rebounded the Blue Devils. But Duke hit eight threes, including four by Matt Jones, and also hit 16 of 19 free throws (Zags went just 6 for 9). And Gonzaga turned it over 13 times to Duke's mere two.

There was hope, especially at the start of the second half when this happened:


It had to be a sign that the tides were changing, right? Jahlil Okafor, the top NBA prospect in the country, just air-balled a free throw. Surely, the Zags would steamroll from here on out. And Tony Romo, the king of the choke, was decked out in blue behind the Duke bench. All harbingers of good things to come.

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Ladies hoops, documentary films and opera at the library

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 10:15 AM


A rough weekend for local sports fans, but rather than dwell on the negative, we encourage you to celebrate a great season for both the men's and women's basketball teams at Gonzaga. You can find plenty of options in our event listings and Staff Picks

Here are some choice selections for Monday, March 30:

SPORTS & OUTDOORS | The regional final at the Spokane Arena for the women's NCAA tourney pairs a couple of powerhouse programs in Maryland and Tennessee, facing off at 6 pm tonight

FILM | The Magic Lantern hosts a special night of film with the Hermanos Spokane Film Screening, in which Monsenor : The Last Journey of Oscar Romero — will be shown to honor Archibishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated 35 years ago. Here's a look at the film: 

LIVE BANDS | You can't go wrong with a little free entertainment, and the Shadle Library has some tonight with opera singer Madeline McNeill doing a gratis performance at 6:30 pm. 

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MB: Zags lose, new Daily Show host and NSA shooting

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 9:23 AM


HERE

Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball teams were respectively beaten this weekend, heartbreakingly so. (Spokesmen-Review) (KREM)

After 33 years, a convicted sex offender living in Sandpoint was arrested Friday in connection with the abduction and killing of a 6-year-old boy. (CdA Press)

Washington could be one of the next states to ban powdered alcohol. (KHQ)

It's harder to get into the University of Washington than ever before. (Seattle Times) 

THERE
South African Comedian Trevor Noah has been named John Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show. (Daily Beast)

Shots fired at NSA headquarters this morning leaves one dead, after two people tried to ram a vehicle into the front gate. (Washington Post)

Is Russell Wilson back to playing baseball? (Seattle P-I) 
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

What's changed since Gonzaga was last in the Elite Eight?

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 1:10 PM

RAJAH BOSE PHOTO
  • Rajah Bose photo

Yesterday evening, Gonzaga clawed their way to a hard-fought victory over UCLA to punch a ticket to the program's first Elite Eight since the program's Cinderella run in 1999.

The game, played inside what felt like the largest building on the planet, was marked by poor outside shooting by both teams, but gave us a Gonzaga team that knows how to grind out a win when they need to. Thanks to Przemek Karnowski's 18 points, the Zags knocked off UCLA. He also made TWO passes like this to lead the way to a 74-62 win.

Now, Gonzaga takes on Duke at 2:05 pm on Sunday. The game is on CBS.

It's been a long, long while since the Zags were in the Elite Eight and there are some naysayers out there who think that their inability to make it deep into March (and often getting stuck in the Round of 32) is a sign that Gonzaga is not a true national power. True, Mark Few's teams haven't always executed in the tournament, but the years since that first trip to the Elite Eight have seen the program, and the university, make some huge strides.

Here's just a few things that have happened since the then-Dan Monson-coached team beat Florida to get to the Elite Eight in March of 1999. 

- Gonzaga has won 438 games, averaging 27 wins a season.

- Undergraduate enrollment at Gonzaga was just 2,747 in 1999. Now it's 4,896.

- The Zags played in the tiny Martin Centre back then, now their campus is home to the 6,000-seat, $25 million McCarthey Athletic Center. 

- Back then, the team flew commercial and slept in often less-than-great motels. Now, the Zags travel by chartered jet.

- A total of 10 Gonzaga players have gone on to make an NBA roster (Richie Frahm, Dan Dickau, Ronny Turiaf, Adam Morrison, Jeremy Pargo, Austin Daye, Robert Sacre, Kelly Olynyk, Elias Harris,  David Stockton).

- Mark and Marcy Few's Coaches vs. Cancer events in Spokane raised about $7 million for cancer research and assistance for cancer patients.

- Gonzaga's acceptance rate dropped from about 85 percent in 1999 to about 61 percent in recent years asthe university became a more prominent regional school.

- The school has built about $56 million worth of new facilities (not including the McCarthey Center).

- Gonzaga has made 17-straight NCAA tournaments. The only teams with a longer streak are Duke and Kansas.

This article has been updated since it was originally posted. 

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