Fall Arts | Words

Meet the authors swinging through the Inland Northwest this fall

click to enlarge Poet Fitz Fitzpatrick hosts Broken Mic in Spokane.
Poet Fitz Fitzpatrick hosts Broken Mic in Spokane.

Sept. 23


Sports fans may see competition as a reprieve from racial narratives pervading politics and daily life. But Washington State University professor David Leonard sees the opposite. In Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field, Leonard argues that race, specifically being white, matters in sports culture. His book analyzes how racism is embedded in American sports, including football, basketball and even snowboarding. While white athletes are presumed to be intelligent and innocent of any transgression, he argues that black athletes don't get the same benefit of the doubt. Auntie's Bookstore, free, 7 pm. (WILSON CRISCIONE)

Oct. 6


Whether it was helping design and build Sacred Heart Hospital to care for the sick, fighting for the right for women to vote (like May Hutton, pictured left), or helping children as the city rose from the ashes of the massive 1889 fire, influential Spokane women were instrumental in helping the city become what it is today. Spokane-based author and historian Nancy Driscol Engle tells the stories of Spokane's kick-ass women in Influential Women of Spokane: Building a Fair City, and will sign copies of the new, 176-page book ($22), printed by History Press. Auntie's Bookstore, free, 1:30-3:30 pm. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)

Oct. 11


These days, the celebrity profile is a nearly dead genre. They're either publicist-managed lunch interviews where the most revelatory paragraph is the description of the chicken salad, or they're excuses for drooling dudes to monologue at length about where an actress's legs fit into the taxonomy of hotness. But Buzzfeed's Anne Helen Petersen — a former Whitman College media-studies professor and North Idaho native — is an exception. Her body of work provides a convincing argument that covering tabloid culture and celebrity isn't frivolity, it's essential for understanding fame and feminism. Her latest book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman covers the way that women like Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Serena Williams, Lena Dunham and Hillary Clinton (remember her?) face down sexism, dismissiveness, and the nit-pickery of millions — and still seize control of their own narratives. Listen to Petersen read from her book, and ask her what she remembers about Camp Spalding. Auntie's Bookstore, free, 7 pm. (DANIEL WALTERS)

Oct. 11-14


After a successful run in the Lilac City in 2013, the Individual World Poetry Slam makes a welcomed return, with four days of word-slinging action behind the mic, along with workshops, panels, open mics, parties and many other corresponding events. It's more than fitting that Spokane hosts this major cultural event — which brings 96 of the world's top performance poets here to compete for the championship title — as our city has for some time now been home to a vibrant performance poetry scene. Spokane Poetry Slam's consistent presence has helped maintain this steady support of live poetry, including through its series of regularly hosted open mics and competitions: BootSlam, 3-Minute Mic, Broken Mic (hosted by Fitz Fitzpatrick, pictured left), and its signature Spokane Poetry Slam. Events during the iWPS's four-day run take place at venues across Spokane, with evening competitive bouts taking place at the Observatory, the Bartlett, Rocket Bakery on Howard and the Spokane Public Library's downtown branch. Venues throughout downtown Spokane, $20-$60/festival passes, full schedule at iwps.poetryslam.com. (CHEY SCOTT)

Oct. 14


A new event celebrating the art of zines — small press books, comics, drawings, prints, postcards and other handmade paper goods, according to this new event's creators — is coming to Spokane this fall. Organized by the locally based artist collective Universal Error, run by writer/artist couple Chelsea Martin and Ian Amberson, Zine Fest's inaugural event was funded by the Spokane Arts Grant Awards. Local artists were previously invited to apply to showcase and sell their zines at the curated fest. Participants can also bring along other related handmade, paper-based projects. The juried event is free to both artists and attendees, so get out there and learn all about zines' DIY, anything-goes culture, and perhaps be inspired to create your own. Find out more at spokanezinefest.com. The Bartlett, free, 11 am-5 pm. (CS)

click to enlarge Chelsea Martin
Chelsea Martin

Oct. 21


Her work has been highly praised by none other than Lena Dunham — who calls Chelsea Martin "the preeminent chronicler of internet-age malaise" — and now Spokane is proud to call this hilarious and masterful writer one of its own. Martin's new book, Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life, features 18 insightful and candidly truthful (fellow millennial readers will simultaneously cringe at Martin's unchecked honesty as they immediately relate to the events and feelings of her angsty and awkward childhood/teen years during the 1990s and early 2000s) stories about her coming of age as an artist, and was released in August to much acclaim. Seriously, pick up a copy and be prepared to shut out the rest of the world while you LOL, shudder, maybe cry and feel like you've found a new bestie in Martin as you soak up her every word. Then make sure you add her local book reading to your calendar. Auntie's Bookstore, free, 7 pm. (CS)

Oct. 26

PIE & WHISKEY Book Launch Party

Pie and whiskey. Whiskey and pie. In Spokane, the two have been the fuel and fodder for excellent local writing. For the past six years, Spokanites have flocked to the annual Get Lit! Festival event, aptly named Pie & Whiskey (last year, the event was relocated from its original home at the Spokane Woman's Club to the larger Washington Cracker Co. Building because it's drawn such a following). So really, it only made sense for showrunners and local authors Sam Ligon and Kate Lebo (above) to compile the best of the booze- and sugar-fueled essays, poetry and fiction and nonfiction stories into a book. Writers Jess Walter, J. Robert Lennon, Kim Barnes and M.L. Smoker also submitted original works that involve pie, whiskey or both. Washington Cracker Co. Building, 8 pm; event is free, whiskey is not. (MITCH RYALS)

Oct. 25


Civil Rights Movement figure Angela Davis is coming to Gonzaga University this fall for a talk that should feel all too relevant in the current era of volatile national politics and race relations. Davis is widely known for her work as a radical and counterculture activist during the 1960s; she is a former leader of the U.S. Communist Party, and was close to members of the Black Panther Party. Though Davis is no stranger to controversial views, affiliations and actions — she was arrested in 1970 and tried (though later acquitted) for her connection to firearms that were used in a deadly courtroom attack — her public talk in Spokane should offer some thoughtful insight on current affairs, informed by Davis' diverse life experiences and scholarly research. Recently, she's been focused on incarceration in the U.S. Gonzaga University Hemmingson Center Ballroom, free, 7 pm. (CS)

Oct. 28


If you're even barely paying attention to the hot world of young adult literature, chances are good that you're aware (even if you don't realize it) of No. 1 New York Times best-selling author John Green's work. Two of his novels — The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns — have been adapted into big studio films. Now, Green (picitured) is coming to Spokane for a reading, co-hosted by Auntie's Bookstore and Lewis and Clark High School, for his forthcoming novel (out Oct. 10), Turtles All the Way Down. Green is bringing along his brother and creative partner Hank Green on this multimedia book tour for an event that also includes a live music performance. The brothers are collective known for their digital ventures on their YouTube channel, the VlogBrothers, among other video projects. To get tickets to this can't-miss event, make sure to preorder your copy of Green's new book from Auntie's. Lewis and Clark High School Auditorium, ticket included with book purchase, 7 pm. (CS)

Nov. 9


"A haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all." That's how Spokane is Reading describes Wiley Cash's 2012 debut novel A Land More Kind Than Home, a thriller about the bond between two brothers and the small-town evil they face, and this year's 16th annual selection by the local literary partnership dedicated to encouraging conversations around a common topic — a book. Cash, a New York Times best-selling author from western North Carolina with three novels to his credit, is scheduled to be here for a pair of free public readings, organized and sponsored by Spokane Public Library, the Spokane County Library District and Auntie's Bookstore. Spokane Valley Event Center, 1 pm; Spokane Public Library downtown branch, 7 pm. (MICHAEL MAHONEY)

Nov. 13


Best-selling author and religious scholar Reza Aslan has a knack for taking some incredibly difficult, often controversial topics and dissecting them in a way that makes for enlightening and entertaining reads. His most recent book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, was an excellent history book that put the reader vividly on the scene during Jesus' life. His new work, God: A Human History, explores how most humans think of God as a divine version of themselves. It should make for a fascinating discussion when he comes to Spokane. Bing Crosby Theater, $10 or free with book purchase, 7 pm. (DAN NAILEN) ♦

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