Arts & Culture

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spokane Arts' new "Meet the Makers" video showcases two local poets

Individual World Poetry Slam starts today in Spokane

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:43 PM

The latest video in Spokane Arts' "Meet the 
Mark Anderson is featured in the new Spokane Arts video. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Mark Anderson is featured in the new Spokane Arts video.
video series introduces viewers to two of Spokane's forces in the local poetry scene: Mark Anderson and Fitz Fitzpatrick.

The video is particularly timely, given Wednesday's opening of the Individual World Poetry Slam in venues throughout Spokane. You can read our story about the event here.

Both poet/performers are familiar faces to even the most casual of poetry fans, with Anderson hosting the BootSlam at Boots Bakery, Fitz hosting Broken Mic at Neato Burrito. The video gives a concise, entertaining background on both Fitzpatrick and Anderson and the evolution of the local poetry scene. Watch it here:

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FILM: What's hitting movie theaters on Friday

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner.
  • Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner.

We're in that weird limbo between blockbuster season and Academy Award season, when most of the films hitting screens are mostly genre exercises and probably-not-Oscar-worthy odds and ends. This week's cinematic offerings including a couple of biopics, a dark Jackie Chan vehicle, and a teen slasher movie just in time for Friday the 13th.

DOLORES (at the Magic Lantern)
A documentary about the life of civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, best known for founding California labor unions in the 1950s and ’60s alongside César Chávez. Huerta, still active at 87, discusses adversity and gender inequality; other interviewees include Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis. Not rated.

Jackie Chan is an immigrant restaurateur whose daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing, and he seeks revenge on the people responsible for the attack. It's an OK action-drama, says Seth Sommerfeld in his 2½-star review, but its tone is inconsistent and its moral compass is all out of whack: "Seeing Chan back in action delivers a decent supply of thrills, but ultimately The Foreigner tops out as a decent run-of-the-mill action flick with the real fun swapped out for an attempt at gravitas." Rated R.

A slasher version of Groundhog Day (or Edge of Tomorrow), wherein a popular college girl is offed by a masked killer, wakes up that same morning alive and well, then gets killed all over again. The only thing that will end the cycle: She needs to uncover the murderer’s identity. Rated PG-13.

Biopic veteran Chadwick Boseman (42, Get on Up) stars as Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice, who's assigned to represent a black chauffeur accused of raping a white woman in 1941. Rated PG-13.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

REVIEW: Something Rotten! is a laugh-filled musical comedy even musical-haters will love

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Something Rotten! runs through Saturday at the INB. - JEREMY DANIEL
  • Jeremy Daniel
  • Something Rotten! runs through Saturday at the INB.

Something Rotten! is the kind of musical that can change a musical-hater's mind. Somehow, it manages to mock the very idea of musicals while delivering one full of all the big production numbers and earworm tunes any musical lover could want. And its story of struggling playwrights working in the Renaissance shadow of Shakespeare is full of inside jokes for all theater lovers.

The colorful production, running at the INB Performing Arts Center through Saturday, opens with a minstrel welcoming the audience to the Renaissance and the rehearsal space of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, where they're running their actors through their version of Richard II while Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet has their community abuzz. We quickly learn that the Bottoms aren't merely professionally jealous — Shakespeare was actually an actor in their troupe until they gave him the boot — so his success is personally galling as well, as clearly illustrated with the hilarious song "God, I Hate Shakespeare."

Nick Bottom (Rob McClure) is the business brains of the outfit, while Nigel (Josh Grisetti) is the soulful writer, and when their sponsor tells them they need to come up with a fresh idea since Shakespeare is going to make his own Richard II, Nick visits a soothsayer named Nostradamus — Thomas Nostradamus, the nephew of the one you're thinking of — to learn what kind of show would be a hit with theater audiences in the future. What could make the Bottom Brothers as big as Shakespeare?

The answer? Musicals. Even though Nick is incredulous at the idea of actors bursting into song, he embraces the soothsayer's idea to write Omelette — a misreading of Hamlet by the magic man. Comedy — and frying-pan dance numbers, and songs about eggs — naturally ensues.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The Truth Has Wings," and Inlander artists have a place for their sculpture at Terrain 10

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 10:59 AM

The Inlander 's newspaper boxes dotting the Inland 
Northwest are remarkably resilient things, but they're no match for a car. When one particularly sidewalk-friendly driver in Hillyard took out one of our boxes, the bright-red victim ended up stashed in a dark corner of Inlander Central Command. Whispers of a trip to the dump didn't bode well.

Then some enterprising, talented Inlander staffers got involved, turning a newspaper tragedy into an artistic homage to journalism. And the results of their labor, a sculpture called "The Truth Has Wings," has been accepted at Terrain 10. We couldn't be more proud.

"I couldn't bring myself to trash it; it looked too cool, and had a story behind it," says Justin Hynes, the Inlander's distribution manager, who worked on the project along with graphic designers Alissia Blackwood and Jessie Hynes and production manager Wayne Hunt:

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Got a great ghost story? We want to hear it

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 9:59 AM

  • Soffie Hicks photo (flickr)
Aside from all the great memes showing the shift that for many people happens from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, there really is something to be said about the shift in mood that takes place almost overnight.

The air is crisper. The nights are getting darker earlier. The stories about things that go bump in the night start to appeal to our senses.

And let's face it: Whether you're a firm believer, a skeptic, or sure that ghost stories are all b.s., the fact is, most of us either have our own ghost story, or know someone else who swears by their experience with the unexplained.

The Inlander wants to hear your best ghost story for a piece we are working on that will explore local brushes with the beyond, paranormal investigation, and dive into why people want to believe.

Please share your story in THIS GOOGLE FORM in 500 words or less.

We may share snippets or your full story in print or online, and if you leave a name and contact information, you may hear from me. Alternatively, feel free to email me directly at

Send in your best stories by Friday, Oct. 13, and look for our coverage just before Halloween. 
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Friday, September 29, 2017

Spokane Air Force major whose case helped end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" shares her story Tuesday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 12:55 PM

It's been six years since Major Margie (with a hard "g" as in "You go, girl") Witt's arduous battle to keep serving with the military came to a close.

After she was discharged for being in a relationship with another woman, the Air Force flight nurse, who lived in Spokane for years while serving as a reservist on McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, became the face of one of the most important cases leading to the repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Witt and her now-wife Laurie Johnson's story is laid out in the pages of Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights, co-written by investigative journalist Tim Connor.

Witt and Connor will launch the book right here in Spokane, at Auntie's Bookstore, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and those who pick up a copy can expect to read about plenty of familiar names and places. 

"I really wanted to launch it there as a big thank-you to my friends in the community for being so supportive of me," Witt says.

Working with Connor, Witt says she wanted to tell the story largely from the perspective of friends and others who knew her, and people who experienced the trial from the outside.

"Because that’s what mattered under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, was everybody else’s opinion of me," Witt says. "Not my performance, not what I did, but how I affected everyone else around me just by being gay."

Witt's respected time in the military came crashing down in 2004, when the ex-husband of her partner emailed the military to say that Witt had an affair with his wife before their divorce was final, and pointed out that before that, Witt had been in a relationship with another woman for years.

The military focused on the allegation that Witt was a lesbian, which her former partner verified.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's the best recent example of urban design in Spokane? Here's your chance to vote

The STA Plaza? The new STCU building? Iron Goat Brewing? HDG's headquarters?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 11:49 AM

There already are awards for the best Spokane architecture, and awards for the best Spokane landscaping design. But what about where the interior, exterior and landscaping designs all interact with the surrounding area, transforming the property into something gorgeous and iconic?

That's what the Mayor’s Urban Design Awards are all about. The awards have been running biannually for the past decade.

"Two years ago, the Spokane Tribal Gathering place won the Mayor’s Urban Design award," says Omar Akkari, an urban designer with the city of Spokane. "That reclaimed an underutilized parking lot and turned it into this beautiful park. It opened up views to the river. "

But don't think the choice is just being left up to the snobby elites in their ivory towers. Voting has opened for the "People's Choice" award: Pick from seven options, ranging from the updated STA Plaza to Iron Goat Brewing's building.

In previous years, the People's Choice award has gone to the Saranac Commons, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the Bissinger Building Remodel & Addition, the Fox Theater, and the Ben Burr Building.

You can vote online here, or vote in person at River Park Square until Oct. 6.

But wait: Before you vote, the city of Spokane wants you to take into account the "qualities of good design."

Ask yourselves questions about each building:

Does it appeal to our "intellect, emotions, senses and spirit?" Does it provide for public safety, by taking into account lighting, visibility, and pedestrian access? Does it clearly show which parts of the property are public and which are private? Can it be used for a wide array of activities? Is it designed for pedestrians first, cyclists second and cars last? Is it accessible to everyone, no matter their age or ability? Does it create a strong sense of "place," something that gives the community happiness and meaning? Is it easy to navigate and find your way around in? Is it good for the environment?

Then, and only then, pick from the these options:

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apply to become Spokane's next poet laureate!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Spokane's third poet laureate has yet to be named, and 
Spokane's soon-to-be outgoing Poet Laureate, Laura Read.
  • Spokane's soon-to-be outgoing Poet Laureate, Laura Read.
Spokane Arts needs your help — before the end of this month — to do so. 

The two-year appointment of the city's official poetry position is much more than a title. Poet laureates are tasked with promoting and supporting an appreciation of literary arts in the greater Spokane area through events, workshops and other programming. Here are some more specifics on the position's responsibilities, directly from Spokane Arts' poet laureate application form:
"As both a local resident and a distinguished poet, the Poet Laureate will represent and celebrate the rich literary history and the diversity of Eastern Washington. As a spokesperson for the area’s literary community, the Poet Laureate will help reinforce the role of literature in civic life and will actively participate in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities in the community during the  term of service. The Poet Laureate program is administered by Spokane Arts. Interested poets must submit their own application; there is no nomination process."

\Note that last bit: "Interested poets must submit their own application." So, everyone reading this post, if you know a locally based, profound penner of poetry, encourage them to fill out the application, like ASAP! The deadline to apply is Saturday, Sept. 30.

Current Spokane poet laureate Laura Read (click the link to see her contributions to the Inlander's 2016 Poetry Issue) passes the torch to her predecessor during the Spokane Arts Awards on Nov. 4, an event that serves as the culmination of Create Spokane Arts Month in October. Read has served as Spokane's poet laureate since October 2015; the next person to hold the position will serve until the city's fourth poet laureate is appointed in the fall of 2019.

Spokane's first poet laureate, who helped usher in the literary program, was award-winning local writer and Whitworth University professor Thom Caraway.
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Monday, September 18, 2017

YMCA of the Inland Northwest welcomes refugees, immigrants with events this week

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM

This week, YMCA of the Inland Northwest is joining 
other organizations around the country in welcoming immigrants and refugees to the community and thanking them for their contributions.

The week, Sept. 15 through Sept. 24, is happening in collaboration with other YMCAs and Welcoming America, a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to make communities around the country more inclusive and welcoming to immigrants and all residents.

Monday night, Spokane Mayor David Condon is expected to sign a proclamation at the city council meeting to recognize Welcoming Week, and there are two upcoming events which are open to the public:

On Wednesday, people are invited to dance and listen to African Congolese drumming, followed by a social with the chance to taste Congolese food and food made by refugees representing their respective cultures. That event will take place from 6 to 8:30 pm at the South Spokane Y, 2921 E. 57th.

On Friday, there will be a Garden Revitalization Project at 4:30 pm at the North Spokane Y, 10727 N. Newport Hwy. Music, food, tools and supplies will be provided — just arrive ready to get in the dirt, the YMCA says.
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Friday, September 15, 2017

REVIEW: Magic Men Live: where half-naked ancient civilizations and 50 Shades of Grey collide

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 2:43 PM

Something about the sound of nearly 700 women (and a few men) screaming shrilly inside the Bing Crosby Theater Thursday night — paired with the carnal desires behind those shrieks — made me wonder how powerful a coven this group could make, if only we weren't all there to watch beefy men get nearly naked.

Gather sisters, gather thee,
Into the Bing, where we shall scream
So shrill shall be the mighty call
As ladies demand to see it all

The sculpted men on stage will dance
Bump, and grind, and throw a glance
at each and every one of us
who've paid too much to just sit and blush.

Those non-believers, they will see
how powerful, we ladies be
I can tell I'm losing you already
No one else thought the witch thing? Just me?


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