Arts & Culture

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nominate local folks working selflessly for their community for our 7th annual philanthropy issue

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 4:47 PM

The cover of last year's Give Guide, in which three Peirone Prize recipients were honored.
  • The cover of last year's Give Guide, in which three Peirone Prize recipients were honored.

Every summer, a team of us here at the Inlander get together and pore over dozens of heartwarming stories about people living in the Inland Northwest who are giving so much of their time and energy toward making this region a better place to live, work and explore.

Narrowing the list down to just three people to be recognized in the pages of our annual philanthropy issue is always a challenge — each year there are so many individuals deserving this spotlight.

Now, for the Inlander's seventh annual Peirone Prize — named after Inlander owners' Ted and Jer McGregor's grandparents, Joe and Alice Peirone — we're seeking your input on who we should honor this year.

Do you know someone who is working tirelessly in the arts, social justice, human welfare, youth, education, wellness/nutrition, the environment, animals or another nonprofit-focused area? Please tell us!

While we know there are many people of all backgrounds and ages working selflessly in these areas, we specifically seek to honor individuals under or around the age of 40.

We'll be accepting nominations, which can be submitted online at via this form, or sent to, through Friday, Aug. 3. After narrowing down the list to three people, we'll profile them in our 2017 Give Guide issue, on stands Aug. 24. Recipients of the Peirone Prize also receive a cash award as our way of thanking them for their efforts in the community.

If you have questions about the guide or nominations, please contact this year's section editor, Chey Scott, at

For some inspiration, check out our profiles on the past two years' winners:

Teri Koski, president of NAMI Spokane, who often references her own struggles with mental health to show others they're not alone.
Dylan Stiegemeier, a local conservation enthusiast whose efforts have spread worldwide.
Ryan Oelrich, who helps local at-risk kids and homeless families.

Stephanie Boyle, who helps people with developmental disabilities live more independent lives.
Rebecca Schroeder, a champion for families dealing with the effects of cystic fibrosis.
Jessie Isadore, a member of the Kalispel Tribe who's helping save her people's language.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Author Michael Lewis will speak in Spokane for Whitworth U forum in September

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 10:57 AM

Author Michael Lewis will speak in Spokane on Sept. 19.
  • Author Michael Lewis will speak in Spokane on Sept. 19.

Michael Lewis, a financial journalist and the best-selling author of books like Moneyball, The Big Short and The Blind Side, will visit Spokane in September as part of Whitworth University's President's Leadership Forum.

While Lewis came to fame through his reporting and writing about the financial industrya nd Wall Street, his books also include deeply personal works on fatherhood and, most recently in The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, psychology through the lens of Israeli scientific partners Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

Lewis will be in Spokane for a noon presentation at the Spokane Convention Center on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The public is welcome to attend; tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a 10-person table. Lunch is included. Advance registration is required, and you can do that right here.
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Friday, June 16, 2017

The best films of the century so far? We've got some opinions about that

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 12:32 PM

The Royal Tenenbaums
  • The Royal Tenenbaums

Last week, New York Times film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis embarked upon a fool's errand and ranked the 25 best films of the century so far. These kinds of lists always engender debate, and you probably saw someone share it on Facebook, no doubt grousing about titles that were omitted (look at the comments on the Times' original post for some of that).

But what Scott and Dargis did select was, as their writing so often is, illuminating and surprising. Their pick for No. 1: Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. No complaints there. Also in the mix: Popular Hollywood fare (Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), major works from prestigious American filmmakers (Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, Steven Spielberg's Munich) and a number of more obscure foreign films — China's A Touch of Sin, Romania's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Mexico's Silent Light.

I love exercises like this, not only because they point you in the direction of lesser-known work, but because they inspire you to mentally form your own list. Which is exactly what I did, and narrowing it down to a more digestible 10 titles was something of a feat. Here are my choices, about which you'll no doubt disagree.

  • Zodiac
10. Zodiac (2007)
An unshakeable sense of dread pervades every meticulous frame of David Fincher's Zodiac, which is easily one of the scariest movies of the last few decades. On its surface, it's a true crime thriller about an elusive serial killer running roughshod over 1970s San Francisco, but it's also about the elusive nature of the truth and the dangers of obsession.

9. Talk to Her (2002)
This is Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar's masterpiece, a full-blown melodrama centered on a pair of comatose women (one's a bullfighter, the other a ballerina) and the relationship that develops between the two men who care for them. Almodovar, one of the world's greatest living filmmakers, has always trafficked in the stuff of soap operas, but his virtuosic command of style — from the music to the bold colors to the out-of-nowhere silent film interlude — is completely rapturous.

8. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Part fairy tale, part brutal war film, this macabre fantasy from Mexico remains the strongest statement, both visually and narratively, by visionary director Guillermo del Toro. His sense of beauty has always had a gruesome edge to it (no one excels at marrying gorgeous production design with horrifying special effects quite like he does), and that's never been more apparent than in Pan's Labyrinth, which has the uncanny ability to repulse, fascinate and enchant all at once.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Blind Buck is Spokane's newest gay bar

The Globe Bar & Kitchen, Blind Buck bought out by the owner of Scotty's Doghouse

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 3:12 PM

A packed dance floor at The Globe Bar & Kitchen. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • A packed dance floor at The Globe Bar & Kitchen.

Under a new owner who also bought The Globe Bar & Kitchen, The Blind Buck is transforming into Spokane's newest gay bar.

Scott Wilburn, a Spokane native and Gonzaga alum, bought The Globe and Blind Buck, both located at 204 N. Division, on May 1 from the previous owners, Ryan and Dianna Bates, who helped make the local strip of bars into a go-to spot for downtown nightlife. They have since moved away from Spokane.

Wilburn, who owns Scotty's Doghouse near Gonzaga, says he launched The Blind Buck as a gay bar on June 2; that's good timing, considering Spokane's Pride Parade is this Saturday. This development comes weeks after Stray — a gay/alternative bar on Sprague — closed its doors for good.

"With Stray closing, there was really no home for the gay community," Wilburn says. "The Blind Buck really had not had much of a following in the last year or so — it kind of became a waiting room for The Globe. And it's a beautiful bar."
Ever seen a buck in all the colors of the rainbow? No? Well, you have now.
  • Ever seen a buck in all the colors of the rainbow? No? Well, you have now.

So he thought that creating a new space for the gay community would create more interest around the bar. He says it will not be as much of a dance club as previous gay bars in Spokane — though he notes that The Globe has a dance floor right next door. But The Blind Buck, he says, is going for "more of a neighborhood feel, a little more intimate and conversational."

Wilburn also says he hopes to make The Blind Buck and The Globe "more comfortable for our female clientele." He plans to add more security cameras and have more security guards on patrol for drugs and unattended drinks, and to preventing potential fights. The Globe will have ID scanners as well, he says, as the new ownership tries to address "some of the issues that may have existed" in the past.

Wilburn doesn't foresee any major changes to The Globe. It will remain a restaurant during the day, with the same chef as before, and a dance club at night. But he's already making some tweaks: He's invested in more lighting for dancing, and is expanding bottle service at The Globe. He plans to open it up for brunch on weekends in the coming weeks. Long-term, it will add patio seating.

"The Globe is such a popular bar, and I really like the bar, and when I found it it was for sale, I was like, "I want to jump on that opportunity,'" Wilburn says. "It's a great location, it's got a great following."

Overall, Wilburn sees The Blind Buck and The Globe enhancing the nightlife along the popular strip of bars.

"Hopefully it brings more diversity to this area," Wilburn says. "And what I believe is that by bringing a more diverse crowd to the area, it will bring more longevity to the success of the area."
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Dispatch from Sasquatch!: Klangstof's pre-show warmup

Posted By on Mon, May 29, 2017 at 10:28 AM

  • Samantha Wohlfeil
  • Klangstof

So you didn’t make it to Sasquatch? You missed out on Klangstof, the year-old alternative band from Amsterdam, who took the Yeti stage Saturday afternoon.

The four guys who make up the band are all in their mid-20s and enjoying their time in the U.S., traveling by van from show to show, and taking a little time in Seattle to record their next album.

They’ve each got an easy sense of humor: When asked to write their names down for the Inlander, they labeled themselves:

“Jobo Engh (guitarist, pink blonde hair – it used to be pink, he explains) (23)

Wannes Salomé (synths, fro) (26)

Koen van de Wardt (the rest) (25)

Jun C. Villanueva (drums, bald guy) (25)”

Rather than get amped up before a show, the guys say they like to chill out by playing the board game Munchkin – a parody game based loosely off of Dungeons and Dragons.

“The basis of it is to f—- your friends over,” Jobo says with a laugh.

“It’s a great way to get angry before you go onstage,” Koen says.

Jobo and Koen have been making demos together since they were in high school, but the band as a whole has been together about a year, and released their debut LP Close Eyes to Exit, last year.

Their style evokes Radiohead, a big influence they all bring up when asked who they are inspired by. Fans of Alt J, Broken Bells, and Portugal. The Man, should also take a listen.

Their electronic and indie rock mix makes sense when you consider who they’re touring with: They’ve been on the road with the Flaming Lips, and soon will go out with Miike Snow.

Wannes says their style could be described as influenced by Norwegian music in general.

Their band is named for a city they say captures the vibe of their music – “down and Scandinavian.”

That said, though their songs may be a little dark at times, they are far from that as people.

“People should know we’re not as serious as our music,” Jobo says. “We’re goofy as f—-.”

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Spokane is Reading book is A Land More Kind Than Home

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 4:57 PM

With the summer months stretching ahead, and hopefully plenty of time for beach or backyard reading, bookworms of all stripes are already working on their extensive summer reading lists. Here's another title to add to the mix, this year's Spokane is Reading selection, A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash.

Published in 2012 as Cash's debut, the bestselling title is narrated by three main characters living in rural Appalachia. On its website, Spokane is Reading describes the book as "a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all."

In a review by the Washington Post, the novel is described as a harrowing tale about the a community whose main moral compass is a fundamentalist church leader who uses his congregation's blind faith as a weapon against them.

Spokane author Jess Walter has said of the book: “Wiley Cash knows how to grab his reader on page one and hang on for dear life as he presents brilliant portraits of desperate people caught up in an underworld where danger, damage, drugs, and fractured families are all clasped in the tight fist of poverty.”

Though not sequels, Cash's bestselling second novel This Dark Road to Mercy has a somewhat similar tone,  examining the limits of love, family bonds, atonement and vengeance. His third novel, The Last Ballad, comes out about a month before Cash's visit to Spokane for two community events on Thursday, Nov. 9.

The 16th annual Spokane is Reading community reading event, sponsored and organized by the Spokane Public Library, the Spokane County Library District and Auntie's Bookstore, includes two free readings and talks with Cash, in Spokane Valley and downtown Spokane. Leading up to the November event, the community can engage with Cash's works through book discussions and other programming at Spokane libraries and Auntie's.
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SIFF 2017: Seattle's biggest film fest kicked off last weekend; we were there to check it out

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 3:42 PM

Kyle Mooney in Brigsby Bear.
  • Kyle Mooney in Brigsby Bear.

The 43rd annual Seattle International Film Festival kicked off last weekend, boasting a program that features more than 400 titles from 80 countries. If the recent Spokane International Film Festival sparked your taste for bold, provocative world cinema, seriously consider making the pilgrimage to SIFF. It’s worth the trip.

I drove across the state last week for the occasion, and, as is always the case, the schedule boasted more interesting movies than I could conceivably get to. I plan on going back for more before the festival ends on June 11. Here are some of the biggest titles I managed to see; all of these films appear to have distribution deals, so expect them to show up in theaters or on demand in the coming months.

Beatriz at Dinner

Racism, classism and cultural elitism come to a boil in the newest dark comedy from director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White (The Good Girl, the TV series Enlightened). Salma Hayek stars as the title character, a masseuse who is invited to an intimate dinner party at a wealthy client’s home and goes toe-to-toe with a real estate mogul (John Lithgow) who represents the opposite of everything she believes in. It’s occasionally biting, and the performances are good, but the characters feel more like representations of ideas than real people.

Brigsby Bear

Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney plays James, an awkward guy who suffers two rude awakenings: Not only does he learn that he was abducted as a child and raised in an underground bunker, but the only TV show he’s ever seen, an educational program called Brigsby Bear Adventures, was merely the creation of his captor (Mark Hamill). After being returned to his biological family in suburban Utah, James sets out to finish Brigsby’s decades-long saga himself. Despite its premise, this is a deceptively sweet, if majorly formulaic, comedy.

The Force

Documentarian Peter Nicks spent two years following the inner workings of the Oakland Police Department, and he brilliantly captures an organization that publicly presents itself as trustworthy, even as corruption and violence destroy it from within. This was easily the best film I saw all weekend, an unblinking, evenhanded portrait of a city in turmoil, and how people on either side of the thin blue line are impacted.

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Spain.
  • Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Spain.

The Trip to Spain
If you’ve seen the first two Trip movies, you won’t find any surprises here: British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, travel through the Spanish countryside, eating amazing food and trying to outshine one another in endless improv routines. A little of their act goes a long way for me (like its predecessors, this feels like a solid 90-minute feature stretched to two hours), but there’s still some funny stuff in here, including Coogan and Brydon’s dueling Mick Jagger impressions.

The Unknown Girl

Known for sparse but intense dramas like Le Enfant and Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are among my favorite living filmmakers. Their latest, however, is a bit of a letdown, the story of a young doctor (Adèle Haenel) who seeks to uncover the identity of a young woman whose death she feels somehow responsible for. It’s got moments of terrific tension, but the Dardennes’ methodical, fly-on-the-wall approach doesn’t really jive with a plot that sometimes resembles a Law and Order episode.

The Seattle International Film Festival continues through June 11; see a full schedule and purchase tickets here.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Author Jess Walter to receive Humanities Washington Award this fall

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 3:44 PM

Spokane author Jess Walter will receive a Humanities Washington Award in October.
  • Spokane author Jess Walter will receive a Humanities Washington Award in October.

The state's vital overseer of all things arts-related has picked the recipients of its two annual Humanities Washington Awards, and one of them is Spokane's own Jess Walter.

The awards honor achievements in public humanities for both "Philanthropy and Leadership" and "Scholarship and Service." Walter is receiving the latter for his various works promoting literature and the arts. Among the reasons given by Humanities Washington are his co-founding of Spark Central in Spokane, his regularly participation in the Get Lit! literary festival and his work for the awarding organization, including serving on the awards' selection committee in 2009.

Walter will receive his honor at Humanities Washington's Bedtime Stories fundraiser in Spokane on Oct. 27. His fellow recipient is Seattle philanthropist Martha Kongsgaard, who has worked as a volunteer and organizer for various arts and environment-related groups for decades on the west side of the state.

"Our two honorees exemplify the most positive aspects of the humanities," said Humanities Washington Executive Director Julie Ziegler at today's announcement. "Jess is one of our state's most popular authors and Martha is deeply involved in so many charitable causes, yet each works tirelessly to ensure programs exist to help communities think critically, express openness to a variety of perspectives and nurture creativity."

Walter, the best-selling author of Beautiful Ruins and several other books, is a former Spokesman-Review reporter. He joins current state poet laureate and Gonzaga professor Tod Marshall as Spokane residents who have won Humanities Washington Awards in recent years.
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Downtown nightclub Stray has closed its doors for good

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 9:15 AM

The downtown Spokane nightclub Stray and its 509 Ultra Lounge are no more.

The gay/alternative lifestyle bar at 415 W. Sprague 
Stray, which was located at 415 W. Sprague, is gone after less then 15 months.
  • Stray, which was located at 415 W. Sprague, is gone after less then 15 months.
was open less than 15 months after launching last February, moving into the space formerly occupied by one of the city's most legendary nightspots, the gay bar Irv's.

Stray, adjacent to the Satellite Diner & Lounge, was known for its drag shows, DJs, karaoke and dance parties — it made the top three among area dance clubs, as voted upon by Inlander readers earlier this year — as well as a dress code that generally left it up to bartenders what they wore at work: usually, that resulted in the bar staff wearing only underwear; bras and booty shorts for female bartenders, and boxer shorts for the bare-chested males.

While Stray catered to Spokane's LGBTQ community, its clientele certainly was not exclusively gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, and it was known as a place where anyone who respected other patrons was welcome. A big draw was the thrice-weekly drag shows featuring the ensemble Le Gurlz, led by Spokane's best-known drag queen, Nova Kaine (aka Jason Johnson).

The following statement, which appeared on Nova Kaine's Facebook page earlier this week, was shared on the pages of both Stray and the 509 Ultra Lounge, which opened last June:

"It is with great sadness that I have to confirm the closure of Stray Nightclub. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears into that Building for the last 12+ years I had to pack my wigs, dresses, and shoes out of a dressing room we built. Turning off the lights for the last time was hard. But I have been here before. The closure of Dempsey's, Hollyrock, Spotlight, and 412, Le Gurlz has survived them all. Just another closed chapter of this Epic Adventure. Time to open a new Chapter."

In addition, Stray posted this short message on its Facebook page:

"It is with regret we must announce that Stray/509 Ultra Lounge is now closed. We want to thank all you who have supported us and enjoyed our shows and hope that you have a great  Summer!" — Stray/509 Management

Calls to Stray's telephone number (624-4450) were not answered. Co-owners Brenton Holland and Tyler Newman, who ran the business and own two similar bars in Everett, were not available for comment.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017-18 Best of Broadway Spokane show lineup announced

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 3:17 PM

The 20th anniversary tour of Rent is one of the 2017-18 season's big gets.
  • The 20th anniversary tour of Rent is one of the 2017-18 season's big gets.

Though its current season has yet to wrap up — still on the calendar is Cinderella (May 11-13) and this summer's blockbuster season finale, The Phantom of the Opera (June 28-July 9) — the musicals and stage shows coming to the INB Performing Arts Center starting this fall were just announced today. The 2017-18 season is now to be known as STCU Best of Broadway, as the Spokane Teachers Credit Union takes on a title sponsorship agreement.

Here are the shows to budget tickets for in the next season. (Season ticket packages are available now; individual tickets for each show will be released at a later date, to be announced.)

Broadway touring shows:
Something Rotten, Oct. 3-7
Rent (20th Anniversary Tour), Nov. 30-Dec. 3
Motown: The Musical, Jan 24-28, 2018
The Sound of Music, March 22-25, 2018
Dirty Dancing, April 26-29, 2018

Special engagements:
A Night With Janis Joplin, Oct. 15
Tuesdays with Morrie: The Play, Nov. 14
New York Voices, The Pedrito Martinez Group (EWU Jazz Dialogue Festival), Nov. 17
Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis, Nov. 18
Wizard of Oz, Dec. 5-6
Darlene Love, Dec. 13
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