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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

Resort holiday show a family affair

It’s tempting to think of this year’s holiday show at the Coeur d’Alene Resort as “A Travolta Family Christmas.” After all, the show is produced by Ellen Travolta, who also appears, along with her sister, Margaret, and her husband, Jack Bannon.

Ellen Travolta would be quick to correct your assumption. “I Remember Christmas” is an ensemble show, she said.

While there will be some Travolta family memories, there also will be music, readings and an old-time radio show. And for the two non-family members in the cast, the show has become a bit like family.

“It’s my favorite work that I’ve done all year,” said Katharine Strohmaier.

Seattle-based Strohmaier, who has done Rosemary Clooney shows in the past, will do an eight-minute Clooney medley during the show.

“What I love is the sincerity of the show,” she said. “We have a million Christmas things around us and we do some Christmas tunes, but it’s more about family than just regurgitating the old Christmas tunes for no reason.

“Even though I have a couple ballads, we’re trying to keep it light.”

Stohmaier, a Lewiston native who did a few seasons with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre more than a decade ago, is happy to be back. “I feel like even though it’s been a lot of years, Coeur d’Alene still feels like home, because it’s Idaho.”

Spokane actor Patrick Treadway enjoys doing holiday shows, if only to stay busy during the season, as he doesn’t have family in the area. “This is such a familial situation, and I know these guys so well, so it really is like we’re creating a family moment,” he said. “It’s been very warm and welcoming.”

Treadway will do a little Bing Crosby, some Fibber McGee and Molly (with Bannon), and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. (Before anyone asks, Treadway’s talents do not include ventriloquism. He’ll be moving his lips.)

“I get to do the funny bits, and they get to do all the warm, feel-good bits,” he said.

For Margaret Travolta, who had appeared with her sister in Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre productions since she moved here in 2009, she admits it will be a bit strange not simply being a spectator for the holiday show this year. But she thinks audiences are in for a special evening. “I just know everybody’s going to have a good time.”

She added, “they’re going to hear stories that are very personal, but at the same time we’re going to remind people of their own memories, because some of them are similar.

“We all have memories of not being able to sleep Christmas Eve.”

If you go

‘I Remember Christmas’

What: Holiday musical revue starring Margaret Travolta, Jack Bannon, Patrick Treadway, Katherine Strohmaier and Ellen Travolta

When: Friday through Dec. 21; showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays

Where: Coeur d’Alene Resort Shore Room, 115 S. Second St., Coeur d’Alene

Cost: $25

Call: (844) 257-9047 or click here for tickets


Foo Fighters have a new album out, “Sonic Highways,” a related HBO series airing now and have announced a gigantic North American tour that will bring them to the Gorge Amphitheatre on Sept. 12. On Saturday, they’re offering a “Beat the Bots” presale, in which fans can actually line up in person to buy their tickets before they go on sale online – allowing actual humans to beat the scalpers and resellers who use advanced software to clog online queues and gobble up as many tickets as possible. And if you want to beat the bots on Saturday, there’s only one place to go: Key Arena, in Seattle.

Which is great if you’re a Foos fan in Seattle. And not so great if you live here. For what it’s worth, the Spokane Arena is technically closer to the amphitheater than Key Arena – sure it’s a difference of 11 miles, but still.

So in the meantime, we can wait until the online presale on Dec. 1, or the general public on-sale Dec. 4, through Ticketmaster. Prices will range from $45 to $75. Visit here or here for details.

“Too Slim” Langford fighting cancer

Tim “Too Slim” Langford, frontman of the Spokane-born rock band Too Slim and the Taildraggers, will undergo cancer surgery in Nashville next month, and fans are rallying to help.

The band, formed here in 1986, has since relocated to Nashville, but remains a popular draw in the Inland Northwest. The band typically tours year-round, but will take some time off after Langford’s Dec. 4 surgery. A fundraising request has been posted at www.giveforward.com, with the goal of raising $20,000 to help with Langford’s medical expenses as well as band expenses during the down time. As of 10 a.m. this morning, the site has raised $7,361.

The accompanying note indicated the cancer was found during a routine physical and came as a shock. “Tim is very humble and has a very difficult time asking for help, yet he is always the first to play a benefit or give to the needy, help the homeless, raise money for dog rescues, you name it, he is there. Now it is his time and he needs help.”

Click here for more information or to make a donation. And check out below to see the band play on of its most popular songs, “Stoned Again.”


Sleater-Kinney sells quick

Sleater-Kinney, the all-girl punk band, burst out of Olympia in the 1990s and recorded seven albums before going on hiatus a decade ago. Since then, the band members have gone on to other projects, none as high profile as guitarist Carrie Brownstein, who co-created and starred in the IFC series “Portlandia.”

When news came out on Monday that Sleater-Kinney - which also features vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker and drummer Janet Weiss - was releasing a new record in January and going out on tour, the world noticed. And even better for Spokane fans, that tour was starting right here, on Feb. 8, at the 1,400 seat Knitting Factory.

There was a small presale early in the week through the band’s website. It sold out in four minutes. Still, Knitting Factory manager Matt Judge said early in the week there would be ample tickets available when the show went on sale to the public this morning.

Maybe ample was too strong a word. In Judge’s words, the “system got CRUSHED by consumers!” By 10:20 a.m., there were only 100 seats left. Within a few minutes, those were gone, too. Judge called it a record selling show for Spokane’s Knitting Factory.

A few things may be at play. First off, the band hasn’t yet announced concert dates in Seattle and Portland – although as Brownstein tweeted on Monday, “Stay tuned for more tour dates!! Duh!” Still, it’s possible hardcore fans from the West Side are happy to trek to Spokane to see Sleater-Kinney. Add to that the fact that it’s the opening date on the tour, and that might pique people’s interest even more. Factor in Brownstein’s visibility, and it’s easy to see why this show sold so fast.

The new album, “No Cities to Love,” comes out on Sub Pop Records on Jan. 19. The first single, “Bury our Friends,” was released this week. Check out the video below:


Miranda Lambert books return trip

Blake Shelton sold out the joint a few weeks back. Now it's his wife's turn.

Country star Miranda Lambert will play the Spokane Arena on Feb. 12, joined by Justin Moore, RaeLynn and Jukebox Mafia. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 through TicketsWest. They'll set you back $39.75 or $54.75.

It will mark Lambert's first appearance in the region since a 2012 set at Watershed, the country music festival held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. She last played the Inland Northwest way back in 2009, with a stop at the Coeur d'Alene Casino.

The tour is a stop on her Certified Platinum Tour, in support of her fifth studio album “Platinum.” Check out a video she made with a Spokane favorite, Carrie Underwood, here:


Nothing Trivial about this game of Pursuit

Way back when, during the years my daughter would come home from New York for the Christmas holidays, our house would typically be the site of a Trivial Pursuit tournament. Most time it would be parents against college-age students, and often the students — flush with all the new information their professors were attempting to cram into their heads — would lose.

The quickness of youth can't always handle the facility of experience.

Anyway, trivia has always been a good game to play, especially for those of us who know a little about a lot but a lot about very little (with the exception, in my case maybe, of movies). And so I'm particularly interested in the Spokane Trivia Championship, which will be held at 7 on Thursday at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Sponsored by the Spokane Public Library Foundation, the event costs $12 (with ages 12 and under admitted free), and will be emceed by Mark Robbins. For further information, click here.

BTW, my own Trivial Pursuit days are long over. When you can't pull up the name of Akira … mmm, Akira … mmm, that famous Japanese filmmaker, Akira … Kurosawa, yeah, yeah, Kurosawa .. on your first try, the game is clearly up.

Tuck & Patti rescheduled

The Tuck & Patti concert originally set for Oct. 17 at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene has been rescheduled for May 30.

Those who hold tickets for the Oct. 17 concert are invited to exchange their tickets prior to Sept. 29, which is when tickets for the May 30 concert will go on sale to the public. Refunds for the Oct. 17 show also are available.

To trade in existing tickets, to seek a refund, or for more information, call the Kroc theater manager,  Zak Adams, at (208) 763-0606.

Machine Head cancels tour

The Bay Area-based metal band Machine Head has postponed its upcoming North American tour – which included an Oct. 2 stop at the Knitting Factory in Spokane. The postponement is caused by a delay in finishing the band’s latest album, “Bloodstone & Diamonds.” “…We had to make the difficult choice to either delay the album, let it go out as incomplete, or cancel the tour in order to properly finish and promote the album…,” the band said in a statement.

They hope to reschedule the tour in early 2015.

Tickets purchased through Ticketweb will be automatically refunded. Others can be refunded at the point of purchase.

Porchfest filled West Central with music

Above: Photo by Dan Pelle of The Spokesman-Review

If you heard music coming from the West Central neighborhood on Saturday, it likely was because of Porchfest. In addition to Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley, who was a performer, the SR's presence included photographer Dan Pelle and staff writer Nina Culver. Culver's story can be accessed by clicking here.

‘Z Nation’ grim, gory, not much fun

You knew it wasn’t going to be great. Not “Downton Abbey” nor “The Walking Dead.”

Because a zombie show created by the folks responsible for “Sharknado” and airing on the SyFy channel is not going to win any Emmy awards.

Still, there was room for hope. The cast sports some real actors with solid résumés – Tom Everett Scott, Harold Perrineau and DJ Qualls among them.

So the answer to the question, “Is the Spokane-filmed series ‘Z Nation’ any good?” Not really.

The series opens two years after a zombie virus has taken hold in the U.S. The government and the military are in tatters, still hoping for a vaccine to halt the virus’ spread. One prisoner, Murphy (Keith Allan), has been given an experimental drug that seems to have worked. The challenge? To get him from New York to a lab in California, where they might be able to turn the antibodies coursing through his blood into a viable vaccine.

 Fast forward a year, and Murphy and the remaining solider tasked with guarding him, Hammond (Perrineau), are making their way west. They stumble on a band of survivors headed by an ex-National Guardsman named Garnett (Scott). When the survivors’ compound is overrun, the remaining few – including fellow guardsman Warren (Kellita Smith) and a self-described “amateur pharmacologist” nicknamed Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) – agree to help Hammond deliver Murphy west. They get radio assistance from Simon Cruller (Qualls), the last remaining soldier stationed at a remote NSA listening base who takes to the airwaves as Citizen Z.

The acting isn’t truly terrible, although Scott does utter one howler of a line (you’ll know it when you hear it). Still, the script is pretty cheesy. The problem with “Z Nation” is that it leans too much toward “The Walking Dead” rather than “Shaun of the Dead.” When the greatest zombie show ever made is already on the air and is widely praised as Great Television, regardless of subject matter, it’s going to be hard to compete. Had the creators of “Z Nation” incorporated more humor into their show, they might have had something. Instead, we’re left with is a show that’s pretty gory – the only way to kill a zombie is with a blow the head, so we’re treated to a lot of bloody skull-bashing – and pretty dour.

Still, for Spokane-area fans, it’ll be fun to play “find your friends” among the hundreds of local extras dressed in their finest zombie attire. Also, “name that location.” While many of the location shots early on in the premiere are nondescript woodlands, the big set piece is filmed at what appears to be the grounds of the Eastern State Hospital.

So, yeah. Check out “Z Nation.” Just keep your expectations in check.

Watch the season premiere of “Z Nation” on the big screen Friday at the Garland Theater, 924 W. Garland Ave. Doors open at 9:15 p.m. for a 10 p.m. screening to benefit the Spokane International Film Festival and the Washington Film Project. Admission is $10. For television viewers, the premiere episode, “Puppies and Kittens,” will be aired at 10 p.m. on the SyFy channel.

In the meantime, you can view the official trailer below, or visit the series website here.


On Saturday, music, poetry will fill West Central porches

Everybody likes a party, and that's what the folks in Spokane's West Central neighborhood are going to be playing host to on Saturday. The event, modestly called Porchfest, was the dream child of Spokane photographer Marshall Peterson and friends. The inaugural fiesta will be held 3 to 7 p.m. and will feature 10 different acts (solo and group) performing at a like number of house porches owned by neighbors gracious enough to get involved.

Click here to get a complete roundup of hosts, performers and a map to the area.

And welcome to West Central.

LeRoy Bell show canceled

The Sept. 20 concert by LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends at the Bing Crosby Theater has been canceled because of a schedule conflict. Refunds are available through TicketsWest. The show’s promoter, Too Far North Productions, hopes to reschedule the concert in the spring.

Aersomith show is on

Rumors have been roiling the past couple days about this weekend's show at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George by rock legends Aerosmith.

Live Nation, the concert's promoter, has confirmed that the show will go on.

The band was forced to cancel a show in California this week, citing drummer Joey Kramer's illness. TMZ reported that Kramer is suffering from heart problems. That TMZ report, however, also indicated the band's weekend show in Washington was canceled. Turn out that part of their report was incorrect.

The show is Saturday night and will feature Slash and Spokane's own Myles Kennedy. Look for an interview with Kennedy tomorrow in 7. 

For tickets and information, click here.

Robin Williams: A mighty talent is gone

Like a lot of kids growing up in the late 1970s, I loved “Mork and Mindy.”

Can't help it. Still do. (Especially since I'm safe in the knowledge that photographic evidence of myself wearing rainbow suspenders and a T-shirt that said “Nanu Nanu” is long gone.)

That I'd gone on to love “Mork” star Robin Williams in so many films (“Moscow on the Hudson,” “The World According to Garp,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Again”) I thought was proof that he was supremely talented - and I had good taste.

So when Robin Williams' office called me at the appointed time on Jan. 8, 2013 for a 10-minute interview with the Oscar winner, I was a bit nervous. What do you ask Robin Williams? Especially when you only have 10 minutes? We stuck to the script - he was calling to talk about his tour with fellow comedian David Steinberg, in which the two longtime friends got on stage and just talked. I can only imagine the show at the Martin Woldson Theatre at the Fox was amazing - I couldn't make it. But I hung on to the recording of our brief telephone conversation. Listening to it again today, I'm reminded of what a funny guy he was. His death this morning at age 63 is a real loss.

Below are some excerpts from that 2013 interview. In this first one, he talks about getting back to his standup roots:

In this clip, he talks about traveling around to smaller venues in smaller markets:

Here, he recounts the time he met Marlon Brando. Really:

Finally, I ask the “What can people expect?” question. Craziness, if his answer is any indication.

You can find a link to the story I wrote back then right here. And finally, here's a clip from “Aladdin,” the reason my kids know the name Robin Williams:

Nanu nanu.

Sir Paul rocks Missoula

I headed to Missoula earlier this week to check out Paul McCartney at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Worth. Every. Penny.

Sir Paul still rocks. Sir Paul still puts on a great show. Sir Paul still impresses.

When your catalog is as deep as his, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to plan a set list that ticks every box with fans. Sure, there were a few tracks from his latest record, “New,” and they sounded pretty good. He hit the highlights of his Wings years with “Band on the Run,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Live and Let Die” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He touched upon a range of Beatles material, from “I Saw Her Standing There” to “Let It Be.” Things got fun with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “All Together Now,” more subdued with “Blackbird” and yes, he did “Yesterday,” “The Long and Winding Road” and “Hey Jude,” too.

One of the highlights of the evening was a performance of the George Harrison song “Something,” from “Abbey Road,” which McCartney played on a ukulele given to him by his late friend and bandmate. It was a touching and lovely version of a classic song.

With a crowd of 25,000, the show on Tuesday has been called the largest ever held in the state of Montana. And it was clear the assembled masses loved every minute of the nearly three-hour show. The Missoulian newspaper devoted much of its front page to McCartney coverage (see above) and posted a photo gallery of images on its website. If McCartney ever comes this way again, I’d be hard pressed to let the chance to see him pass me by.

Only downside? Having to drive to a different time zone to see the show. Wouldn't it be great if Spokane had a venue large enough to host these big outdoor concerts?

There's already a lot of video clips from the show posted online, much of it not very good. This one's not too bad:



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