Thursday, December 31, 2015

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 2:20 PM

click to enlarge "For New Year's, Kevin, let's both promise each other that if either of us dies, we'll stay dead this time." - THE LEFTOVERS
The Leftovers
"For New Year's, Kevin, let's both promise each other that if either of us dies, we'll stay dead this time."

Five years ago, I wrote up a list of suggested New Year’s Resolutions for TV Showrunners. Presumably, they were widely adopted across the industry, which is why TV is so good now.

For 2016, I decided to follow up with even more suggestions for TV writers, producers and creators, thereby polishing the Golden Age of Television until it gleams and sparkles:

1. “If I must bring a character back from the dead, I will use magic, science, time travel or the power of prayer, but I resolve to never use camera work and editing trickery to fake out an audience.”

2. “Similarly, I resolve to never bring back a deceased fan-favorite character by making them a hallucination only they can see.”

3. “I resolve to only kill off or save the life of a character because it’s good for the show, not because it’s ‘surprising.’ “

4. “I resolve to use the flexibility over length and episode numbers that Netflix provides to make stories tighter, more compact, and better paced, rather than looser and more aimless.”

5. “If I feel I MUST include sexual assault as a plotline, I will never use said sexual assault to simply say, ‘hey, this guy’s a really bad dude!’ but instead to honestly explore the actual impact of such acts.”

6. “While I resolve to be unafraid to include depression, existential angst and general malaise in my comedy, I also resolve to occasionally throw in a few jokes as well.”

7. “I resolve to never feature female journalists in my shows sleeping with sources to get a story, but instead often show them eating unhealthy microwavable junk food in their cramped messy apartments.”

8. “I resolve to never lie about future plot twists in interviews with entertainment journalists. Instead, if I want to keep the twist secret, I will tell them ‘You’ll just have to wait and see…’ and then give an enigmatic smile.”

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Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 2:04 PM

click to enlarge Serra Frank
Serra Frank

Serra Frank plans to ring in the New Year by smoking a joint and very possibly being arrested.

Frank intends on committing an act of civil disobedience by lighting up a joint on the steps of the Idaho state capitol as part of rally protesting the Gem State’s marijuana laws, which remain significantly more restrictive than those in neighboring states.

The 33-year-old resident of Boise says she uses marijuana to treat a bladder condition and has lived in states that allow for medical uses of the drug.

“I want to live in a medical marijuana state,” she says. “But I want that state to be Idaho because Idaho is my home.”

Idaho does not have a law in place sanctioning the medical use of marijuana. Possession of the drug remains a misdemeanor in the state and a conviction can mean jail time and fines.

Earlier this year, Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a bill that would have allowed parents of children experiencing severe seizures to use cannabidiol oil, a marijuana byproduct that contains virtually no THC, to treat their conditions. Later, the governor issued an executive order creating a trial program to allow families to use an experimental drug extracted from marijuana to treat their condition.

Currently, a group called New Approach Idaho is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would create a medical marijuana program in the state and decriminalize the drug. Frank says she has little confidence that Idaho lawmakers will reform the state’s marijuana laws and she hopes that her protest will bring start changing attitudes of the public.

“Regardless of what people believe we need to be having a discussion about what’s going on and this is a way to discuss what’s going on,” says Frank of her planned protest.

Frank, the mother of three and the founder of a group called Moms for Marijuana, says she’ll give a speech about how civil disobedience has been used to create social change before lighting up a joint. She’s invited members of the press and law enforcement to attend. She says she’s been arrested for marijuana possession previously and already has bail lined up for her likely arrest tomorrow.

“Most people who support prohibition have not been affected by prohibition,” she says. “And what we are trying to educate people on is that prohibition affects everyone.”

Update: Frank was arrested on New Year's Day. After giving her speech, she pulled out a bag of marijuana, but was arrested before lighting up, reports the Idaho Statesman.

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Posted By and on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 11:41 AM

This year, as a few of you may have noticed, we didn't include our Top 10 albums of 2015 in our annual Year in Review issue. But as this year was packed full of awesome new releases, we absolutely wanted to include our lists online. Let us know if there were any albums we left out below. Also, check out our picks for the best local shows of the year here. 

Music editor Laura Johnson's Top 10
1. Father John 
click to enlarge Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear
Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear
Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
In May, depressive-sounding troubadour Father John Misty, aka Joshua Tillman, flung himself around one of the Sasquatch! music festival stages in what was almost a parody of rock star dance moves. The music he played, mostly from his February release, I Love You Honeybear, was also almost a parody of music and lyricism. Now, nearly six months later, this is the album I keep going back to. With sweeping orchestration and synthesizers, sparse piano parts and the occasional laugh track, the tunes balance biter sarcasm with actual happiness — Tillman was recently married, after all. At one point in the album’s lead single “Bored in the USA” Tillman (a former Fleet Foxes drummer) asks: “Is this the part where I get all I ever wanted?” And while it’s hard to get everything you ever yearned for, at least this year, we were blessed with Father John Misty’s eccentric and haunting best piece of work to date.

2. Adele, 25
3. Joanna Newsom, Divers
4. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
5. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
6. Kurt Vile, b'lieve i'm goin down...
7. The Woolen Men, Temporary Monument
8. Dawes, All Your Favorite Bands
9. Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Style
10. Chris Stapleton, Traveller

Music writer Dan Nailen's Top 10

click to enlarge Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett
1. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Courtney Barnett was certainly one of the darlings of the indie-rock scene this year, and like many, there was no way I could resist the charms of her excellent full-length debut. Between her seemingly tossed-off-the-top-of-her-head lyrics ("I must confess I've made a mess of what should be a small success"), charming Aussie accent, wicked guitar-hero riffs and knack for throwing killer hooks into every one of the 11 songs, Sometimes I Think ... made its way into my headphones almost immediately when it was released in March, and rarely left them for long for the remainder of the year. I found 2015 to be a remarkably strong year for new releases, and the fact that this 28-year-old relative newcomer tops some of my favorite artists is a testament to her skills, and to undeniable tunes like "Elevator Operator," "Dead Fox" and "An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)." Here's a little sample: 

2. Wilco, Star Wars
3. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
4. Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
5. Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow Is My Turn
6. Dwight Yoakam, Second Hand Heart
7. My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
8. Faith No More, Sol Invictus
9. Dave Rawlings Machine, Nashville Obsolete
10. El Vy, Return to the Moon

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Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 9:24 AM


Mayor David Condon responds to the four ethics complaints filed against him on the same day he's sworn into office for a second term. 

Former City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin is gunning for a County Commission seat

A smattering of our most viral content, including Dolezal, a racist mayor, heroin addiction and, for better or worse, Macklemore. 


•At least 20 people are dead in Missouri after major flooding. 
The Mississippi river is projected to reach near historic highs, at 42.5 feet, just shy of the record 49.6 set in 1993. 

• Spokane Police make domestic violence arrest, talk down a suicidal woman. 
Officers responded to a domestic violence call, but when a female victim realized her boyfriend would be arrested, she made suicidal comments and held a knife to her throat. Police disarmed her with a Taser and took her into protective custody. (KXLY)

• The Attorney General's office said not to worry about directing staff to address a software glitch that freed 3,200 Washington state prisoners before their release dates. 
Emails obtained by the Seattle Times indicate that in 2012, Assistant Attorney General Ronda Larson wrote to the DOC saying the problem was "not so urgent" that it would require staff to check each prisoner's release date by hand, potentially preventing more inmates from being released early. 

• And, most importantly, the 41st annual list of words and phrases we should stop using in 2016, according to some people in Michigan. 
Among them: problematic, stakeholder, break the Internet, presser, manspreading and vape. 

Go downtown tonight, should be fun: 

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge A familiar face joins the contest to fill Todd Mielke's Spokane County Commissioner seat
A familiar face joins the contest to fill Todd Mielke's Spokane County Commissioner seat

On Monday, former Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin sat down with her husband and they made up their minds: McLaughlin would submit her name to become the next Spokane County Commissioner.

Years ago, rumors circulated that Spokane County CEO Marshall Farnell would retire, commissioner Todd Mielke would take his place, and then McLaughlin would slide into Mielke's open slot. It hasn't quite worked out that way — Mielke narrowly lost out on the Spokane County CEO job and found a job as the GSI CEO instead — but the impact on the board might end up being the same: McLaughlin, once an ally of commissioner Al French when they both served on Spokane's city council, serving on the board of county commissioners. 

Several others, including Jeff Holy's Legislative Assistant Josh Kerns and former State Sen. Jeff Baxter, have also publicly expressed their intention to apply for Mielke's open slot. 

McLaughlin had previously run against State Sen. Andy Billig in 2012, but was defeated handily. 

"Living in the 3rd legislative district, my choices are plenty limited," McLaughlin says. "It would take a ton of money to get this seat. Unless the state Republicans are going to make that a priority, I don’t see things changing."

But with Republicans dominating the Board of County Commissioners, McLaughlin has a much better chance of retaining her seat this November if she's appointed. And she says that, of the candidates who've announced they're running, she's clearly the best choice. 

Her eight years on the Spokane City Council, she says, gave her a crucial sense for the interplay between the city and the county. 

"I know a lot of the players. I understand the dynamic between city and county government," she says. "I'm passionate about making the county and city work together well... I don’t like [the times] that we’re suing each other. At times, we’re suing ourselves! I’m all about trying to play nicely." 

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 3:07 PM

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge Reggae Rocket Man Elton Jah returns for a New Year's Eve party at the Red Room Lounge.
Reggae Rocket Man Elton Jah returns for a New Year's Eve party at the Red Room Lounge.

At the stroke of midnight, we’re filled with so much hope. As the New Year begins, we kiss our honeys as the fireworks explode, and it seems like we’re on the precipice of something fresh and promising. A great soundtrack solidifies the whole experience. Fortunately, there are a slew of live music events taking place on New Year’s Eve Thursday night. Here are four in particular that caught our eye:

Blue Öyster Cult at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Of course, they’ll play the hits — “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and “Burnin’ For You” — but the big thing with Blue Öyster Cult’s hard-rockin’ NYE celebration is that, unlike many of the nostalgia acts touring these days, you’re at least getting two of the original band members. The show at the Pend Oreille Pavilion starts at 10:30 pm; tickets are $25. Fans get party favors and free champagne at midnight.

Elton Jah Reunion at Red Room Lounge

After last year’s final show, you may have thought that this breezy music was gone forever, but Elton Jah — the reggae performer who covers Elton John hits — is back for one night only. The show is $5 and starts at 8 pm. Jah, mon.

’80s party at Jones Radiator

It’s time to let local DJs Lydellski and Orange escort you back to the 1980s with their synth- and punk-heavy tunes. Those showing up in proper ’80s-era attire get in for free; everyone else pays $5. The whole neon-lovin’ show starts at 9 pm.

Pickwick at the Bartlett
Pickwick is beloved by Spokane’s indie-rock fans; when lead singer Galen Disston unleashes his soul-tinged voice, local audiences go wild. The show starts at 9 pm; atypically for the Bartlett, it’s for the 21-and-over crowd. Unfortunately, tickets are now sold out for this event. but those with tickets will rock in the New Year in style. 

So many other choices!
Honestly, most local bars, hotels and music venues are hosting live music events Thursday night and many are passing out free champagne at midnight. Here's a link to all of our music calendar listings for NYE. It's one of the most comprehensive around. Just a friendly reminder to be safe out there, they don't call NYE amateur night for nothing.

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 1:20 PM

An attorney representing Mayor David Condon, who today was sworn into his second term, has responded to three ethics complaints lodged against him over answers he gave to questions regarding the ouster of former Police Chief Frank Straub.

Earlier this month, former Council President Joe Shogan, local businessman Jamie Pendleton and activist Mara Spitzer filed ethics complaints against Condon. The trio of complaints allege that the mayor was untruthful in stating that he was unaware of any allegations of sexual harassment against Straub. Records released in November revealed that Condon was in fact aware that former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton alleged sexual harassment against Straub, but didn’t file a formal complaint.

Condon has maintained that he was referring to formal complaints when responding to questions of his knowledge of the allegations. The response filed by James King, Condon’s attorney, on December 29 addresses each complaint individually and asks for each to be dismissed.

In responding to Pendleton’s complaint, King writes that it was “absolutely true” when Condon responded to questions about sexual harassment allegations concerning Straub when he said “The issue that you speak of, there has been no official filings of anything.”

Calling Shogan “a political foe of Mayor Condon,” King writes that the former council president’s complaint is “false and frivolous” and shows a “manifestly inadequate understanding of the facts and circumstances involving the Cotton issue.”

The Spitzer complaint alleged that Condon violated city code by withholding information “pertinent to voters” in the run up to his reelection. King writes that the complaint’s reasoning is “impermissibly void, nebulous and fatally subjective.”

The response does not address a fourth complaint filed last week by the local chapter of the national feminist group the National Organization for Women that alleges Condon withheld key facts concerning the alleged dust up between Cotton and Straub and that his administration should have conducted a formal investigation.  

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 9:52 AM


Tony Bennett comes to town to celebrate Spokane Symphony's 70th year

Court case will determine future of banking for marijuana industry

The upcoming Spokane WAM Expo seeks submissions from local women artists

Spokane City Council to take up sick leave, public comment rules, immigration and more in 2016
click to enlarge Turns out this story was possibly less outrageous than social media let on
Turns out this story was possibly less outrageous than social media let on

Other news: 

Shake, Rattle and Roll

• A 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit Canada and northwestern Washington last night. (Spokesman-Review)

• A patch to fix the software bug that resulted in thousands of Washington state prisoners being released early was delayed 16 times, but the state still doesn't know why. (Spokesman-Review)

Two Thumbs Down
• No, AMC says, a family was not kicked out of the downtown AMC movie theater because the mom was breastfeeding. She was kicked out because her kids were noisy and wouldn't quiet down to allow others to enjoy the movie. (KREM)

Justice Delayed

• The family of Richard Baumgartner, a 22-year-old who was found dead in his car of a gunshot wound, is frustrated by the pace of the investigation. (KXLY)

The Cosby Show: Casefiles
• Bill Cosby has been charged in a 2004 sexual assault case. (NYT)

• Iran is firing missiles all willy-nilly next to U.S. and French ships. (NYT)

Peace on Cops
Despite "War on Cops" claims, this year was one of the safest for cops in recorded history. (Washington Post)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 12:18 PM

click to enlarge Ben Stuckart
Ben Stuckart

When Spokane City Council resumes in the new year after its holiday break, it’ll consider a revision to its public forum rules, an ordinance mandating sick leave for workers, a controversial initiative petition and more as the year unfolds.

On January 4, the first council meeting of the new year, the council will take up proposed amendments to its public comment rules. Currently, the council has a half-hour open forum period at the beginning and end of its Monday night meetings where anyone has three minutes to tell the council almost anything.

A cast of regulars typically shows up each week, including civic gadfly George McGrath, who routinely berates the council for its liberal orientation. At times, open forum has taken an abrasive and bizarre tone. Council President Ben Stuckart also says council isn’t getting a wide variety of feedback from the public because the same people show week after week, which is why he’s proposed changes to the rules.

“I think the most significant [proposed change] is that during open forum people will be allowed to testify once a month,” says Stuckart. “And the impetus for that was when I was out doorbelling [for reelection] that was really the most common complaint. People feel when you have the same eight people testify every week, people don’t feel like they can come down and have their voices heard.”

Councilman Mike Fagan, the council’s sole conservative, says he’ll be voting no.

“Well, the one thing I am going to remind my colleagues of on the dais is the people are paying our salaries, and obviously public comment is very very important,” says Fagan. “I would sure hate to think that the changes being brought on just because of the comments of a few people because if that’s the case I would say what a bunch of wussies the city council are if they can’t sit and listen to criticism as well as praise.”

On January 11, the council will be holding a hearing on an initiative petition that would undo an ordinance that prohibits police and other city employees from making contact with individuals solely based on their immigration status. The petition has enough valid signatures to qualify for the November 2017 ballot, but its sponsor, truck driver Jackie Murray, is seeking to disassociate herself from the measure, which has put the city in a highly unusual position. 

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Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 16
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