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by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & A Kick in the Pants & r & & r & Cowhands just love it when a good ol' cowpoke has to negotiate a mountain pass that's about three inches wide. On his horse. They like it even better when comic paintings depicting such shenanigans are accompanied by recipes like "Texas Governor's Mansion Easy Spicy White Bean Dip" (with great Northern beans and minced chipotle!). Cowboy artist Boots Reynolds will yak about 50-some recipes and sign copies of his "art book full of Beans" entitled Boots 'n' Beans (published in Sandpoint!) on Wednesday, March 12, at 7:30 pm at Auntie's. Visit or call 838-0206.

Floria Loves Mario

Escaped prisoners, political rebellion, passionate lovers, attempted rape, manslaughter, mock executions and suicide -- Puccini's 1900 opera, Tosca, has enough sensational incidents to fill, well, an entire grand opera. The Spokane Opera production -- at the Fox on Friday-Saturday, March 7-8, at 7:30 pm -- will feature Leslie Mauldin as Tosca and Mark Thomsen as her lover, Cavaradossi. Tickets: $25-$45. Visit or call 325-SEAT. And hiss at Scarpia for us.

Kashrut, Not Treif

Did you realize that it takes more than 240 volunteers to put on Temple Beth Shalom's annual Kosher Dinner? For just $14 ($7 for kids 11 and younger), you get to enjoy a traditional beef brisket dinner with all the side dishes and dessert -- and the music of the Mavens, the Kosher Redhots and Spokane's Klezmer band, Chutzpah. It's Sunday, March 9, 11 am-6 pm, at Perry and 30th. Call 747-3304 ext. 32.

Call It "Middle Eastern Dance"

The national tour of "Bellydance Superstars" -- featuring the likes of Ador & eacute;, Petite Jamilla, Mardi Love and Hannah Nour -- will speak to you in "the universal language of dance" and oscillating hips at the Bing on Wednesday, March 12, at 8 pm. Tickets: $40; $27, seniors and students. (And it celebrates a woman's sensuality and empowerment, so stop leering.)

Puddle Duck Nursery Babies

On eBay, a woman is offering up dolls for "adoption." "Marty," "Chelsi" and "Baby Boo" are certainly realistic-looking enough (even if they have been whacked several times with the Ugly Stick). If Lars Lindstrom purchased and raised one of these latex babies, would Nancy Oliver write a movie about it?

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Black History Month: Nikkita Oliver

Black History Month: Nikkita Oliver @ University of Idaho

Thu., Jan. 18, 5 p.m.

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