7 Blog

Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

(un)Bored Kids: Lucky 3.14

Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained this weekend? Check out these highlights of local family-friendly events:

Central Valley High School Arts and Crafts Show
Fundraiser sponsored by CVHS Band Boosters with crafts and baked goods. [$2]
Event: Mar. 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mar. 15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pi(e) Day
Mobius Science Center is celebrating 3.1415926 at 3-14-15 9:26 a.m. with pie-related treats (while supplies last) and extra program activities all day. [$10/adults, $7/kids, free/members and ages 3 and younger]
Event: Mar. 14, 9: 26 a.m.-5 p.m.

Family Construction Zone
Kids ages 1-8 (and their grown-ups) are invited to explore engineering and creativity with block stations at Cheney Library. [Free]
Event: Mar. 14, 10 a.m.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Thirty-seventh annual event hosted by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in downtown Spokane. Don’t forget to wear your green! [Free]
Event: Mar. 14, noon

“Alice in Wonderland”
Based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll, Spokane Children’s Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” begins shortly after Alice has fallen down the rabbit-hole. [$12/adult, $8/children age 12 and younger]
Event: Mar. 14, 1 and 4 p.m., Mar. 15, 1 p.m.

“Pig Tales: A Summer Aswinement”
Ferris High School PTG presents the 52nd annual Ham on Regal fundraiser for academic, athletic and extracurricular programs at the school. This year’s musical extravaganza reviews what students did over their summer vacation. [$7-$9]
Event: Mar. 14 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Gizmo-CDA Classes
The non-profit makerspace offers a variety of programs introducing kids to concepts of engineering, construction and innovation. [$45 and up]
Event: Ongoing

Want more? Visit spokane7.com/family for kid-friendly activities and events in our area.

Eagles landing in Spokane in May

Rock legends the Eagles are the latest act booked into the Spokane Arena for its 20th season.

The arena is celebrating the year by bringing in big-name and much requested acts, including country stars Miranda Lambert (who was here in February), Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, the metal rock band Volbeat and Def Leppard with Styx and Tesla.

Arena manager Matt Gibson said he believes the Eagles - set to perform on May 29 - will be the biggest act of this celebratory season.

Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 20, through TicketsWest. They start at $49, and will range upward to $179.

The band, which famously broke up, swore they'd never tour again, and has been touring since. They'll be continuing their "History of the Eagles Tour," which started in 2013 to coincide with the release of a documentary of the same name.

The band's list of hits is lengthy. "Hotel California" is probably the most famous (and most overplayed). There's "Desperado," "Lyin' Eyes," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "The Long Run," "Seven Bridges Road," "Take it to the Limit," "One of These Nights," "Tequila Sunrise." You get the idea.

Bensusan show at Chateau Rive canceled

A concert planned for Saturday night at Chateau Rive with international acoustic guitar star Pierre Bensusan has been canceled.

Promoters did not cite a reason for the cancellation. Ticket refunds are available at the Spokane Arena box office or by calling TicketsWest at (800) 325-SEAT.

Buy some ‘War Bonds’ tonight in Coeur d’Alene

Above: Readers crowded into Auntie's Bookstore on Feb. 22 to hear Cindy Hval read from her nonfiction book "War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation."

When she gave her first reading at Auntie's Bookstore on Feb. 22, author Cindy Hval entertained a standing-room only crowd. That's what the local reaction has been to Hval's nonfiction book "War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation."

So, if you're planning on attending Hval's reading tonight, to be held at 7 at the Coeur d'Alene Library, you might want to get there a bit early. Seating could be a little tight.

What's been the reaction to the book outside the author's personal appearances? Well, the book website Goodreads gives "War Bonds" a 4.7 rating (out of 5). "I'm a sucker for a good love story," a reader named Terry wrote.

Another reader, Beth Bollinger, echoed those sentiments: "I spent the majority of the time with tears in my eyes, imagining this or that. It takes a true storyteller to create that kind of connection. Cindy Hval is that kind of storyteller."

All of which reinforces this comment from a critic writing in Publisher's Weekly: "Hval's journalistic style restrains the potential sentimentality, which won't prevent these glimpses of love in the face of war from winning over romantics everywhere."

Anyway, plan on attending the reading. Buy the book yourself. And as I always preach, read it and make up your own mind. It'd probably be a good idea, though, to keep some hankies handy.

‘Camelot’ giveaway with WestCoast Entertainment

The Arthurian legend has been interpreted for a variety of media by an assortment of artists. From Chrétien de Troyes to Monty Python, from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Disney — the adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are timeless and engaging for all audiences.

Spokane7 and WestCoast Entertainment invite you to enjoy a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical “Camelot,” adapted from T. H. White’s “The Once and Future King” by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.

“Camelot” tells the story of the legend of King Arthur who rules his kingdom with new ideals, bringing peace to a troubled land. But when his beautiful new Queen Guinevere and the dashing Sir Lancelot, his most trusted knight, give in to their passion for one another, one of the most fabled love triangles of all time ensues. When Mordred, King Arthur’s illegitimate son, catches on and sees a kingdom in chaos, he attempts to destroy all that is Camelot!

The Spokane engagement of the national tour production will also feature three local children in the part of Tom of Warwick, a young boy destined to be a knight. The three young actors are Jameson Elton, Brax Ziegler and Jordon Santiago.

“To have three children from Spokane selected to play this walk-on-role speaks very highly of the quality of youth theatre in this region,” said Jack Lucas, President, WestCoast Entertainment.

Enter to win 4 tickets to "Camelot" on March 26 at INB Performing Arts Center. Contest closes March 15. Visit spokane7.com/contests for all current giveaways.

Celebrate the coming summer with … beets?

This hasn't been much of a Northwest winter, not as we've endured them in the past. I've never been able to play golf around here in February, much less January — but I did this year. All that means, though, is that we'll probably see cold and rain lasting through June.

Clearly, I'm a half-glass-empty kind of guy.

Still, I want to prepare for the coming months of presumed warmth. And one way to to do that is to think summerish, as in what kind of summer food I'll want to eat. So it's a good thing that I know Delaney Mes, a food blogger from New Zealand. Since it's still summer down in her part of the world, she's a good source of summer-type recipes.

Her latest blog post offers up a quick salad, one that I ordinarily wouldn't try: lentil and beet salad. I'm no big fan of beets in any form. I did my best to down a bowl of borscht in Poland once and barely succeeded — but only because two of my wife's law students kept telling me how good it was and how excited they were to share it with me. How could I disappoint them?

Delaney's recipe might make for a different experience, though. Maybe my tastes have changed. Maybe the lentils will cut that beetly bitterness. Maybe the walnuts and tarragon will.

Whatever, thinking about the coming summer is a good thing. Thinking positively about the coming summer is even better.

Even one featuring beets. You can access Delaney's recipe by clicking here.

Fridays openings: Bad fathers and wicked stepmothers

Fans of Disney and a hard-core Liam Neeson should rejoice over this weekend's limited movie selections. Friday's scheduled openings are as follows:

"Cinderella" (IMAX and regular): Kenneth Branagh offers up a Disney live-action (if-CGI-heavy) version of the classic fairy tale. Cate Blanchett playing the Wicked Stepmother? What, Meryl Streep was busy?

"Run All Night": While protecting his estranged son, Liam Neeson's character rouses the wrath of a murderous hood (Ed Harris). Imagine that, Neeson playing a guy carrying a gun.

I'll post the Magic Lantern's openings just as soon as they're available.

Art contest celebrating Silverwood’s train

Silverwood’s steam engine, Old No. 7, has taken thousands of park visitors on a scenic journey through the backwoods of North Idaho over the past 25 years. But before that, Old No. 7 was pulling silver ore in Nevada, starting all the way back in 1915!

Spokane7 and Silverwood Theme Park are celebrating Old No. 7’s 100th birthday with an art contest for kids ages 12 and younger. We want artists to draw their favorite memory from a train ride on Old No. 7, or an imaginary adventure aboard the steam engine, like…

  • Aliens turning the train into a space ship!
  • A train crew comprised of North Idaho wildlife, like grizzlies, wolves, eagles and moose (all friendly, of course)!
  • Waterslides on the train!
  • A paintball battle between robbers and passengers!
  • Traveling on the train through a wormhole to 1915!

We’re sure the artists will come up with even better ideas for a drawing, or have really great memory of a first or favorite trip on the train.

One drawing will be chosen to be on the cover of a new Silverwood activity book for kids. The first place winner will also receive four tickets to Opening Weekend (May 2 or 3, 2015) and become an “honorary deputy” in a train shows that weekend. Second and third place winners will receive two tickets for Opening Weekend (May 2 or 3, 2015).

Entries are due by 5 p.m. on March 25, 2015, so don’t delay! Visit spokane7.com/silverwood_train to enter.

(un)Bored Kids: Mad Hatters and Hams

Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained this weekend? Check out these highlights of local family-friendly events:

“Alice in Wonderland”
Based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll, Spokane Children’s Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” begins shortly after Alice has fallen down the rabbit-hole. [$12/adult, $8/children age 12 and younger]
Event: Mar. 6, 7 p.m; Mar. 7, 4 p.m.; Mar. 8, 1 p.m.

Bird Watching for Beginners
Friends of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge offers an introductory bird watching class once a month. See Our Weekly Pick for Families for more information. [Free; $3 car entry fee]
Event: Mar. 7, 9-11 a.m. (upcoming classes scheduled for Apr. 4, May 9 and June 6)

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First Friday Spotlight: Marmot Art Space

Spokane photographer Marshall E. Peterson Jr. (aka Marshall the Photographer, Marshall in Spokane) opens a new White Box gallery in Kendall Yards today. Marmot Art Space will feature new and established artists each month, especially artists working and living in the Inland Northwest.

According to the gallery’s website, “Marmot will serve as an arts hub and helps to complete Kendall Yards’ commitment to building a healthy community.”

The white wall, 400 square foot gallery is located in Adams Alley, behind MonkeyBoy Bicycles, at 1206 W. Summit Pkwy.

Today’s grand opening celebration is from 5-8 p.m. More information about upcoming gallery artists and hours will be available at the event.

Find more First Friday events in today’s The Spokesman-Review, in print and online. Get information about ongoing art exhibits in Spokane7’s Visual Arts calendar.


Cronenberg maps the way to creepiness

When nothing worth watching opens in local theaters, I turn more and more to On Demand or other movie-watching services. That's what drew me to David Cronenberg's most recent film "Maps to the Stars." Following is a transcript of the review that I wrote for Spokane Public Radio:

For a guy whose feature filmmaking career began with Debbie Harry and exploding heads, David Cronenberg has endured far longer than many other proponents of exploitative cinema.

That’s due, at least in part, to the fact that Cronenberg – over his five-decade career – has managed to avoid simple labels. Such as, say, “proponent of exploitative cinema.” It’s also due to a style that, as it has evolved over the decades, has grown increasingly complex both in theme and style. It’s only in tone that Cronenberg has remained consistent.

The early Cronenberg made movies that blended well with typical drive-in fare. They carried such colorful titles as “Rabid” and “Videodrome,” his casts tended to include the likes of porn-star Marilyn Chambers, and the special effects – exploding heads, remember? – were often as cheesy as they were shocking.

These days – indeed, since the early ’90s – Cronenberg’s movies play art houses, and his casts include the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Juliette Binoche and Michael Fassbender.

Take his latest film, “Maps to the Stars,” which I saw on my Comcast On Demand service. Among its stars is Julianne Moore, who just won a Best Actress Oscar.

But even with better actors to work with and a filmmaking style that is as patient as it is proficient, Cronenberg has defiantly remained true to his haunted roots. You can take the man out of the creepiness, but you’ll never take the creepiness out of this man’s work.

Working from a screenplay by veteran writer Bruce Wagner, whose study of L.A.’s underbelly has been played out in books, graphic novels and movie scripts, Cronenberg tells the story of several movie-centric characters at once.

Moore plays Havana Segrand, a fading movie star whose mania involves her obsession to play her own late mother in a film version of mommy’s life. John Cusack plays a cliché-spouting self-help guru, Olivia Williams his wife, and together they harbor a shameful secret. Their teenage son (Evan Bird) is a movie star in a popular comedy series whose attitude needs a serious readjustment.

And around them all skulks Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), the proverbial girl off the bus who descends on L.A. with what, at first, seems to be a misplaced sense of confidence. But quickly enough she connects, not just with a jumpy limo driver (Robert Pattinson) but with – of all people, Carrie Fisher – who introduces her to Havana, to whom Agatha becomes a personal assistant.

How all these characters interact, and the trouble they cause for one another, reflects Wagner’s dark view of Hollywood’s dream machine – an industry whose cannibalistic narcissism has been addressed by everyone from Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald to David Lynch and Sofia Coppola.

But Cronenberg, as always, paints the place with his own trademark brush, one that feels like satire but plays out more like contemporary horror. You won’t find any porn stars, and Cronenberg gives us only one bloodied skull, but if “Maps to the Stars” doesn’t disturb your sleep patterns, you might be in serious need of a therapist.

Binge Watch: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

If you’ve finished the third season of “House of Cards” (what, it’s been available for seven whole days, plus 25 minutes on Feb. 11), and you want something to lighten your mood after 13 episodes of President Underwood’s manipulative sneer, Netflix has a palate cleanser ready to go with an original comedy series created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, both of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” fame.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” stars Ellie Kemper (“The Office,” “Bridesmaids”) as a young woman who lived with an underground apocalypse cult for 15 years and sets out to live “a normal life” in New York City following her rescue.

The show was originally developed for NBC, which placed a 13 episode straight-to-series order in 2013. In November 2014, the show moved to Netflix, along with a two-season commitment.

Although NBC has been home to some of my favorite comedies, recent sitcoms like “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” have garnered critical acclaim without achieving the ratings of 80s and 90s juggernauts, like “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Instead of letting “UKS” try to find a footing among NBC’s dead-on-arrival comedy landscape of “Bad Judge” and “A to Z,” its offbeat characters and sardonic comedic sensibility (see “Breaking News” chyron below) might actually stand a chance with an online streaming service that caters to niche audiences (“Community” also found a second home with Yahoo! Screen after its network cancellation).

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" trailer

All 13 episodes of Season 1 begin streaming at midnight, so settle in with a can of beans in a Florida Marlins hat and your monogrammed purple backpack for a show that might not be for everyone, but based on some choice quotes from the trailer (highlights below), Kemper’s infectious smile and her flawless physical performance, I can already tell it's for me.

"I am one of the Indiana mole women."

"I’m having candy for dinner!"

"Dancing is about butts now!"

"You yell in your sleep, you bite my nails and we still don’t know why you’re afraid of Velcro.”

"Well, I wish I was your yellow hat!"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Are you binging "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"? Tell us what you think in the comments?

Images: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" trailer

Last chance to earn some limerick gold

Here's a last-minute reminder that our annual Limericks Contest is still going on, but entries close Friday afternoon.

We've received a fair number of adult entries, but we still have room for school-age participants. Just remember the theme: "Once Upon a Time in the Northwest," at topic that could include fun re-telling of classic fairy tales that are set in this area, folk tales, or just general fun and fantasy with a local vibe.

Submit your entry by clicking here, or email your entry to contest@spokane7.com.

Prizes in the general and youth categories include $35 gift certificate for first place, $25 for second place and $15 for third place.

Mead High School grad gets on ‘The Voice’

Brenna Yaeger, a 19-year-old who graduated from Mead High School last year, made it through the blind auditions of the NBC singing competition "The Voice" on Tuesday night.

Yaeger, who sang the Miranda Lambert song "The House That Built Me," was a finalist in the 2011 Spokane's Got Talent competition, and she wrote and recorded a single in 2012 called "Car Crash."

Her performance on "The Voice" had two judges vying to have her on their team - Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Given Yaeger's country roots, she went with country superstar Shelton. 

"The Voice" airs on Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Follow Yaeger on Twitter @brennayaeger, on Facebook, and on Instagram. Meanwhile, if you missed it, here's the performance that got Yaeger through to the next level:

Flash-Bach worth checking out

In his review in today’s paper of the Catalyst String Quartet Bach Festival performance at St. John’s Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, Spokesman-Review classical music critic Larry Lapidus wrote this: “that if the world of music holds any pleasure greater than hearing Zuill Bailey play Bach, I have yet to find it.”

Those who love classical music, or those whose interest in it is only passing, have had several chances in recent days to hear what Lapidus is talking about. Bailey has been popping up around town during the noon hour, playing whichever of the six J.S. Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello strikes his fancy.

I’ve caught two of the four held so far ­– the first one, held in the atrium at River Park Square, and yesterday’s, held in the city council chambers in Spokane City Hall. (Certainly a room that could use all the harmony it can get.) Each session has started with an introduction – details about Bach, about the festival, and about Bailey’s cello, a 1693 instrument built as a church bass by the Italian Matteo Gofriller. After the music plays, there’s a pop quiz for the chance to win concert tickets, and an opportunity for questions.

These free “Flash-Bach” concerts are a perfect excuse to spend a little time in the lunch hour enjoying some culture. It’s these kind of artistic events that make a city feel more alive, more vibrant. So if you’re out and about downtown today, head over to the Bank of America building at at noon today. Bailey will be in the lobby, ready to wow you with some Bach.

Can’t make it today? What about Thursday? Bailey will set up in the Kress Gallery in River Park Square (that’s up on the third floor, behind the food court) for a “Bach’s Lunch” concert, also at noon. Brown-bag it from home, or grab something in the mall and enjoy lunch with a beautiful – and free – soundtrack.

The final Flash-Bach concert will be on Friday, at a location yet to be publicly announced (though sources say it will be in the Valley). Check the festival’s Facebook page on Friday morning for details, or visit nwbachfest.org for information on the remaining Twilight Tour concerts featuring violinist Soovin Kim, and the two remaining Classics Concerts on Saturday and Sunday night.  

As Bailey ends the second year in his role as the Northwest Bach Festival’s artistic director, it’s been impossible not to notice how revitalized the event is. And that’s a good thing – not just for fans of classical music, but for Spokane as a whole.

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