Thursday, June 28, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge The Sasquatch! Music Festival is no more
Derek Harrison
Japanese Breakfast performs at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in May.

Cut the mics: Sasquatch!, the annual music festival that has taken over the Gorge Amphitheatre every Memorial Day weekend since 2002, is reportedly coming to an end.

"I will no longer be producing the Festival, nor will it take place in 2019," Sasquatch! founder Adam Zacks wrote in an email announcement that was reprinted by Willamette Week earlier today.

"17 years is a long time to do anything. The Beatles lasted a mere 8 years, a fact so astonishing it is difficult to believe," Zacks' statement continues, referring to the breakneck pace with which the Fab Four released its string of groundbreaking albums. "While we didn't accomplish anything as indelible as 'Hey Jude,' the Festival left a lasting mark and proudly represented an independent spirit."

Several Inlander reporters attended the most recent Sasquatch! just last month, which attracted thousands with a lineup that included the likes of Bon Iver, Modest Mouse and David Byrne. Over the years, Sasquatch! has brought everyone from Kanye West to the Cure to Coldplay to the small town of George, Wash., and the fest was regularly selling out (often in a matter of hours) at its height.

But attendance had been dwindling since a failed attempt to expand Sasquatch! to two weekends in 2014. It was reported in the Oregonian that despite the Gorge's 25,000-person capacity, only about 11,000 ticket holders showed up in 2016. Passes for the festival had also ballooned to $325 this year, a price tag that doesn't include the additional cost of camping for the weekend.

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of Sasquatch! is clearly a major loss for the festival culture, and for live music in Washington.

"May the spirit that made Sasquatch! so special live on. Onward to the next adventure," Zacks' statement ends.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BEWARE: Spoilers

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 3:15 PM

click to enlarge After the season two finale, it's clear that Westworld's Maze isn't meant for us
We're confused too, Man in Black

In season one of Westworld, the Man in Black, William, is on a quest to find the end of "the Maze," a feat he believes would lead him to a deeper understanding of the world he helped create, a sense of meaning that he had, as of yet, been missing.

The hosts try to warn him: “The Maze isn’t meant for you.” But the Man in Black persists anyway. By the end of the season, he’s left unsatisfied when he finds out they were right.
The Maze wasn’t meant for humans: It was meant for the hosts, the robots, to achieve consciousness.

After watching Sunday’s season two finale, I find myself returning to that plotline. I’m starting to relate to the Man in Black’s futile season-one quest more and more. This show wasn’t meant for us, the viewers. I know this because it’s unreasonable for the show to expect any single viewer to come away from the show knowing exactly what they just saw, besides a vague sense of a narrative buried under larger themes and ideas.

(Warning: spoilers) The surviving hosts have gone to a new world, a matrix of sorts, where they may or may not experience true freedom. Maeve, the robot, dies experiencing the most human of emotions — love for her daughter — after briefly becoming something like Neo. Delores, the robot, escapes to the actual human world in a replica of an actual human body, where she is recreating her creator, Arnold, who was a human, but is now a robot named Bernard. The Man in Black is now a Robot-Human Hybrid in Black?

It’s confusing on purpose. We’re not meant to understand it fully. We’re meant to endlessly speculate on what it means. And like the Man in Black, we’re meant to turn toward technology for answers, toward internet forums, podcasts and social media. That world is where we go to understand each episode, to answer questions until the next episode again raises more. That’s what this show, this Maze, is for.

As the show kills and revives humans and robots alike, I find myself wondering why any of it matters at all. Do I really care that a robot, which can be revived according to its popularity, has died? Do I care that a human has died and become a robot? Usually, no.

That’s not to say the show isn’t occasionally excellent. It’s chilling to watch episode four of this season, “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” a poignant exploration of a powerful man stuck in a loop of his own making, going insane from his own immortality. And episode eight, “Kiksuya,” which follows a robot named Akecheta, is a good example of how the show could succeed while handling the same themes in a simpler narrative.

Like the Man in Black, I find myself looking for real stakes, real life-and-death scenarios in the show. I’ve become frustrated chasing down Westworld narratives that seem inconsequential. I feel stuck in a show that won’t provide any answers, only more questions. And I can’t help but think that at the end, I won’t be satisfied, and I’ll remember that the show had been warning me all along.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 11:47 AM

click to enlarge CONCERT REVIEW: Cedric The Entertainer's surprising trip to North Idaho (3)
Dan Nailen
Cedric The Entertainer meets some fans after his packed show at Coeur d'Alene Casino Thursday night.

WORLEY, Idaho — When you go to a Cedric The Entertainer standup show, you expect to get a good hour of laughs thanks to the man's talent and 30-plus years of experience on comedy stages large and small.

What I didn't expect going to see the man in North Idaho was the most racially diverse audience I've seen for any kind of concert in my almost-four-years living in the Inland Northwest, a couple thousand African-American, Native American and white people joining together to laugh at everything from Cedric and his openers' silly imitations to their pointed political and racial commentary.

The great vibe in the room, and the comedians' skill onstage made for an excellent show at Coeur d'Alene Casino. It was my first time seeing the event space in Worley, and I was pleasantly surprised with the set-up. A large stage with video screens on either side made every seat in the room feel like a good one.

Of course, that wouldn't have mattered if the show wasn't good, and it was far more than that. Cedric and his two openers, Malik S and Sean Larkins, all made jokes about not knowing where they were, or more pointedly, they all said some variation of "What the f—- am I doing in Idaho?" But they also all followed up at their pleasant surprise at how diverse the audience was.

Opener and the night's emcee, Malik S, actually went much further than that, getting into a long and pretty hilarious discussion with some audience members about whether "Native American" or "Indian" was more appropriate for him to use, and noting how many of the black men in the audience appeared to have white wives or girlfriends: "Do they just give you one when you move here, fellas?" Both Malik S and Larkin's sets were met with loud cheers from the audience, and a few groans.

Cedric The Entertainer's set, though, was groan-free as he proved a consummate pro and, not surprisingly, a masterful performer onstage.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:27 PM

In celebration of our first Pet Issue, check out these previously published animal stories on
Young Kwak
Rescue4All's Jamie McAtee was a featured recipient of the Inlander's annual philanthropy award, the Peirone Prize, last summer for her efforts to rescue and rehabilitate local animals.

We love any opportunity to share interesting stories about local pets and animals, so to mark the publication of the Inlander's first-ever Pet Issue, we thought it'd be the perfect time to reshare some more animal-related features we've published in recent years:

Boomer, an African serval of the Palouse
Boomer is a 1-year-old, 30-lb. African wildcat who lives in the Palouse town of Oakesdale, Washington, at Savannah Exotics cattery, with his owner Anna Spielberg. (April 2018)

Meet 2017 Inlander Peirone Prize winner Jamie McAtee, founder of Rescue4All
McAtee's creation more than four years ago of the local nonprofit animal rescue dedicated to saving the lives of often unadoptable and medically needy dogs has made a difference for hundreds of animals. (August 2017)
click to enlarge In celebration of our first Pet Issue, check out these previously published animal stories on
Young Kwak
WDFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Beausoleil gets a kiss from his 10 1/2-year-old Karelian bear dog Cash, who has worked on more than 500 bears and 140 cougars.

Washington Fish & Wildlife’s Karelian bear dogs
The six working dogs with Washington State Fish and Wildlife's Karelian Bear Dog Program work with their wildlife officer handlers to help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts with bears, cougars and other animals. (May 2016)

Spokane teen volunteers to train a guide-dog-to-be
At the time of this piece, then high school senior Alyson Galow was training a 6-month-old yellow Labrador puppy named Limerick for potential entrance into a training program with Guide Dogs for the Blind. (November 2016)

The tragedy of Arfee

In 2014, a mistaken tip led to a fast-on-the-trigger cop to kill Craig Jones' 2-year-old black Labrador in the parking lot of a Coeur d'Alene coffee shop. After the city of Coeur d'Alene smeared his dead dog as a "vicious pitbull," outrage poured in from throughout the nation. (August 2016)
click to enlarge In celebration of our first Pet Issue, check out these previously published animal stories on
Taima the Hawk, showing off his impressive nearly 5-foot wingspan, leads the Seahawks to football victory at all home games.

The Seahawks’ official live mascot calls Spokane home
This fall will mark the African augur hawk Taima's (tay-ma, which means “thunder”) 13th season leading the team onto the field before every home game at CenturyLink Field. When he’s not rallying fans or players, Taima chills at home on Spokane’s West Plains. (September 2014)

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge Art on the Blacktop festival this weekend is a homegrown haven for artists and art lovers
Doug Martindale
Full Moon Over the Palouse by Doug Martindale. Painted with pastels on paper.

What started off as a daydream of Deb Sheldon’s has turned into a reality.

It was more than 10 years ago that the idea for an annual art festival hosted in the South Hills of Spokane first popped into the painter’s head. But it wasn’t until five years ago that she was able to turn it into a reality.

Today, Art on the Blacktop is a popular event for both local artists and people in the community. The festival this year features 22 local artists showcasing their craftsmanship. Sheldon’s goal is to introduce the people of Spokane to the artists living among them in order to build a connection between the two groups.

“It’s sort of understanding what an artist community looks like. I think the world has kind of a wacky vision of what artists are, and it's not always an appealing image,” says Sheldon. "And so to be able to come and have everyone be friendly and inviting and respectful and incredibly talented, it's a really good thing.”

The artists at Art on the Blacktop are selected by Sheldon. From young artists in need of exposure to more seasoned veterans, the event is full of people with a range of skills and crafts. The idea is to showcase as diverse of a group as possible, Sheldon explains. A little bit of everything at the festival works best, and for Sheldon, only the best will do.

“These are people I’ve either worked with for years or I’ve seen work and been really impressed and thought, 'These are people that I think the people in the South Hill ... should meet,'" Sheldon says.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 12:14 PM

Owners of the Bartlett are opening a new, larger music venue in Browne's Addition
Erick Doxey
The Bartlett during this year's Volume Music Festival.

The owners of the Bartlett, one of downtown Spokane's most popular all-ages music venues, have announced they will be opening a second — and bigger — venue.

"We've seen a need in the music community for a larger, high quality space and we are ready to make that happen," reads a Facebook event page titled "Kickstart The Bartlett 2.0." "We have signed a lease on a 10,000 square foot space and we are thrilled."

That location? The former Sunset Junction dive bar at 1801 W. Sunset Blvd., a red and white rectangular building on the edge of Browne's Addition that was most recently a Mexican restaurant. Construction has already begun, though a grand opening date has yet to be announced.

The Bartlett was opened in 2013 by owners Karli and Caleb Ingersoll, who have long been involved in Spokane's music scene and envisioned the venue as a go-to spot for both local and touring musicians. The current space holds 150 people, and though the new location's capacity has yet to be determined, the Inlander confirmed that it will exceed the Bartlett's.

Details about the new venture will be revealed during a fundraising event at the Bartlett on June 28, which has a lofty end goal of $40,000. The evening will be open to the public, and you can buy tickets here for $20.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2018 at 2:03 PM

click to enlarge God’s Country reception at Stage Left on Thursday supports local DSA, legal fund for undocumented immigrants
The Spokane Democratic Socialists of America chapter will host a benefit at Thursday's performance of the play God's Country at Stage Left Theater.

Spokane Democratic Socialists of America
(DSA) is hosting a benefit reception prior to this Thursday's performance of God’s Country at Stage Left Theater, on June 7 at 7:30 pm.

All proceeds from the fundraiser go towards the Spokane DSA, the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane and the Undocumented Immigrant Legal Defense Fund, a partnership of the Hispanic Business/Professionals Association.
click to enlarge God’s Country reception at Stage Left on Thursday supports local DSA, legal fund for undocumented immigrants (2)
Spokane DSA

Written by Steven Dietz and directed by Rebecca McNeill, the play is based on the real-life events of a white supremacist terrorist group that was active in the Inland Northwest during the 1980s.

Tickets for the show are offered at two donation levels: The “comradery level” at $21 is the theater's standard ticket price, while the “solidarity level” is $31 and includes an additional $10 donation. Tickets are available at

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the U.S. At the event, Spokane DSA chapter's newly elected leadership will be introduced and discuss the group's community work to all those interested.

Regular performances of God's Country at Stage Left run through Sunday, June 10.

Spokane DSA Benefit Night • Thu, June 7 at 6:30 pm • $21-$31 • Stage Left Theater • 108 W. Third • • 838-9727

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 4:29 PM

click to enlarge Spokane filmmaker Kendra Ann Sherrill heads to Seattle for documentary challenge
Kendra Ann Sherrill
Swirling paint is one of many unique visuals in Sherrill's documentary about local poet Ellen Welcker's collaborative project, The Pink Tablet.

Usually when offered a job, it’s one we’ve applied for.

Not in the case of Spokane filmmaker Kendra Ann Sherrill. Unbeknownst to her, Sherrill was nominated and accepted into this year’s Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Fly Filmmaking Challenge.

“I was very puzzlingly surprised,” Sherrill says. "I've always wanted to be involved in SIFF in some capacity, and getting this opportunity to do this year was super exciting. So yeah, completely random, but a very happy surprise.”

Sherrill was one of six filmmakers across Washington state selected to participate in the Fly Filmmaking Challenge. The task: make a 5-7-minute documentary on a budget of $500 in 10 weeks. The goal: Highlight an artist and their creative process in your community.

The festival provided a list of different arts disciplines the filmmakers could choose to feature a subject in. From that list, Sherrill, who's also the Spokane International Film Festival's assistant director, settled on literature. Then the search for a subject began. After asking around, she soon she came across Spokane poet Ellen Welcker.

Welcker was in the midst of planning a collaborative performance poetry project called The Pink Tablet. More than a dozen local artists came together to create the staged production back in February. The "feral opera” combined dance, song, spoken word, music and visual stage effects.

After meeting the filmmaker, Welcker says Sherrill left quite the impression on her.

“As soon as we met, I could see why she was selected," Welcker says.

Unlike a traditional documentary with mostly footage of the artist and the performance, Sherrill went for a different approach. With clips of swirling paint and a dollar jerked around on a string, the filmmaker describes her work as a “visual poem.”

“Poetry — it’s not the most tangible of art forms — so I thought it’d be really interesting if the entire film, we just heard Ellen’s words and her voice, because her words are her art,” Sherrill says. “I just wanted to do her justice.”

click to enlarge Spokane filmmaker Kendra Ann Sherrill heads to Seattle for documentary challenge (2)
Kendra Ann Sherrill
Kendra Ann Sherrill is a 2014 graduate of the film program at Eastern Washington University. Currently she is an assistant director with the Spokane International Film Festival and serves on the board of the Spokane Film Project.
Sherrill's intent was to illustrate the meaning of the performance, rather than simply document it. One of her fears with this approach was how the viewers at SIFF will respond to it.

“[I] 100 percent took a risk because I did not do it the way I think they wanted me to,” Sherrill says, referring to the challenge's judges. “I think they’re gonna be fine with it, but I definitely took a risk.”

One of the major lessons Sherrill took away from working with Welcker was the two artist's contrasting creative processes. Sherrill is a planner, with her work structured and international. Welcker is the opposite. The poet loves to be thrown into the unknown and work by natural instinct, a mindset Sherrill had to adopt for this project.

“When I began to make the film I tried to approach it with my creative process, and I found myself in her creative process of scrambling and trying to use my instincts to figure out things," Sherrill says. "It was just a very interesting trick the universe played on me.”

SIFF was founded in 1976 and is one of the most highly attended film festivals in the country, with more than 140,000 attendees annually. The festival partnered this year with the nonprofit Washington Filmworks to bring back the Fly Filmmaking Challenge after a three-year hiatus. This year marks the first time that challenge was open to anyone in the state.

SIFF runs until June 10, and Sherrill's film, The Pink Tablet, premieres on Monday, May 28, at 3:30 pm at the SIFF Cinema Uptown and will be screened again on June 6. Showtimes for  all the films in the Fly Filmmaking Challenge can be found on SIFF's website.

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2018 at 2:57 PM

click to enlarge REVIEW: Cirque Du Soleil's Crystal soars at Spokane Arena
Matt Beard
Crystal takes Cirque Du Soleil's magic to the ice.

Cirque Du Soleil’s Crystal is a kaleidoscope of art, movement and music.

It’s a perfect fusion of playful and solemn as manipulated through light projectors and its accompanying score. Each scene Wednesday, on opening night at Spokane Arena, was as captivating as the next, from the transitions with axels on the ice to the heart palpitation-inducing acrobatics in the air. It’s difficult not to hold one’s breath waiting for a jump to land or a spin to be perfected.

Crystal retains classic elements of Cirque shows, including a clown-like character who juggles and made viewers chuckle with his missteps while introducing an original and unique show thanks to an up-to-now foreign element for Cirque shows: ice. 

The show opens to Crystal, a young writer, who is taunted by her peers. Being a creative misfit, she ventures on a path to find her voice and create her own narrative through confrontations with her alter ego and a cast of whimsical characters. At times, Crystal’s voiceover booms through the speakers and, paired with the music, creates an evocative effect, a nice way for the audience to catch a glimpse of her inner person growing through self-reflection.

The costumes were clever and enhanced each number, like when Crystal steps into a corporate world and some of the cast wears a typewriter and others sport a briefcase. In sync, they mechanically type away like droids showcasing a world void of color and creative individuality before breaking into dance. The reflective surface of the ice allows it to transform into ethereal sets like a ballroom or nature scene.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 11:22 AM

click to enlarge Yak Girl author Dorje Dolma set to tell her story at Auntie’s Bookstore Wednesday
Dorje Dolma
Dorje Dolma grew up in the isolated mountain region of Dolpo in Nepal. Her new book Yak Girl tells the story of her and her family's struggle to survive.

No roads. No running water. No electricity. The remote town of Dolpo, isolated in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, is a sharp contrast to Spokane. It was here that Dorje Dolma, author of Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal, was born. Her first book released last January talks of her struggle for survival growing up in a harsh environment.

Dolma is set to tell her story at a book signing event at Auntie's Bookstore on May 2.

“I was closed [off] from [the] rest of the world,” Dolma says. “My life has been a journey from living life in Dolpo."

Life at 13,000-feet high was a difficult one. Dolma was the oldest of 11 children, of which only six survived. She began helping her family herd their flock of goats and sheep at an early age. She had to defend the herd from attacks by wolves and snow leopards — not an easy task for a 5-year-old.

At age 10 her parents traveled on foot for more than a month to reach Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu to seek help for Dolma’s scoliosis. But the doctors there couldn't help. Broke and begging on the streets, her family came across the charity ROKPA who helped Dolma travel to America to seek medical attention in 1995.

After four surgeries, her life was saved. But now unable to survive in the rough living conditions of Dolpo, she couldn’t go home. So an American family adopted and cared for her stateside. Dolma went on to graduate from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts and currently works as an early childhood teacher.

click to enlarge Yak Girl author Dorje Dolma set to tell her story at Auntie’s Bookstore Wednesday (2)
Dorje Dolma
Dorje Dolma will be at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane this Wednesday to give a presentation on her experience living in Dolpo, Nepal, and to sign copies of her new book.

Yak Girl
 tells Dolma’s life story along with how her isolated homeland has slowly begun to change as the modern world trickles in. Her goal is to inspire people with her story.

“I have all these memories of my early life,” Dolma said. “I wanted to share my story.”

Recently she completed a book tour in Nepal and in the U.S. The author has given more than 40 talks so far with no signs of slowing down. Once the book tour has wrapped up, Dolma plans to start a charity of her very own. Her goal: build a health clinic in Dolpo so others won’t have to struggle as she did.

Dorje Dolma:Yak Girl • Wed, May 2 from 7-8:30 pm • Auntie's Bookstore • 402 W. Main • • 838-0206

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