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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

CdA Symphony goes to the movies

The Coeur d’Alene Symphony is borrowing from the silver screen for its first concert of 2015, with songs from movies including “Frozen” and “The Hobbit.”

This year the members of the Coeur d’Alene Youth Orchestra will perform with the symphony, and the St. George’s School Chorus will provide vocals for “Mamma Mia” and “Skyfall.”

The symphony’s January concert is typically one for the family, said Steve Sibulsky, a symphony board member. “It’s usually fairly light-hearted,” he said.

“It’s just a fun family concert, if you like movies come enjoy a different approach to movie music,” he said.

But it’s not a singalong, so don’t be ready to “Let It Go.”

Though, “they probably could if they wanted to,” Sibulsky said of children singing along to “Frozen” songs. “I don’t think anyone would think any less of them.”

Youths 17 and younger can receive a free ticket to the concert with a paying adult. Tickets must be reserved by phone by Thursday. Call (208) 660-2958.

What: Family Fun at the Symphony, Movie Edition

Where: Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Road, Coeur d’Alene

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday or 2 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $27 adults, $21 seniors, $16 children and students, available at www.cdasymphony.org or by calling (208) 660-2958.

Neutral Milk Hotel, Lucinda Williams, Big Smo add Spokane stops

Mark your calendar, friends. Some shows of note have come on our radar this week.

Among them: Lucinda Williams – yes, Lucinda Williams – at the Bing on Valentine’s Day. That same day country rapper– yes, that’s a thing – Big Smo will be at the Palomino Club.

For theater fans, WestCoast Entertainment is bringing the touring Broadway musical “Jekyll & Hyde” to the INB on Jan. 26 for one night only. Cirque du Soleil comes to the Arena for five shows in late April and early May.

In more band news, cult fave Neutral Milk Hotel will bring its highly anticipated farewell for now tour to the Knit on June 5. Bay Area rappers  Kalin and Myles  land at the Knit on April 17. And on Feb. 15, local musicians including Big Mumbo Blues Band, Nicole Lewis Band, the Side Men, Smash Hit Carnival will team up for a benefit for Tim “Too Slim” Langford who recently had cancer surgery. Best of all, Too Slim and the Taildraggers are set to perform.

For ticket details, check out the 7 section on Friday. In the meantime, a clip of one of my favorite Lucinda Williams' tunes:


Special price Thursday for ‘Sound of Music’

The hills are alive … with the sound of discounted "Sound of Music Sing-a-Long" tickets.

Tomorrow, for one day only, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, you can purchase tickets for $10. That's 50 percent off the regular adult ticket price.

Each patron will receive a "bag of musical memories" containing various props to deploy during the movie, a la "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." There's also a costume contest, in addition to being give permission to sing "Do / a deer / a female deer" at the top of your lungs.

Oh, and we have it on good authority that emcee Mark Peterson will be in costume - namely, lederhosen. So there's that.

The discounted tickets are available through TicketsWest, either (800) 325-SEAT or online, or by stopping by the Spokane Arena box office, 720 W. Mallon Ave.

Oh, and the show is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the INB Performing Arts Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Tony Ludiker loses battle with cancer

A local musical legend has died.

Tony Ludiker, a Spokane Valley native and five-time national fiddle champion, died Tuesday evening after a long battle with kidney cancer. His daughter Kimber, of the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Della Mae, announced his passing on Facebook: "Tough day for our family, friends, and the fiddle world in whole. Dad lost his battle to cancer this evening. He went peacefully surrounded by family while listening to Benny Thomasson play Sally Goodin. More info to follow. Been a hard day."

Ludiker, who had been living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in recent years, had beat cancer once, but learned in early 2012 that it had returned. This past August, he started a Facebook page detailing his ongoing treatments. But on Nov. 21, he posted this to his personal page, "Huge change. Leaving Colorado tonight for Spokane to die soon - unless something happens on the alternative front Washington. My days are bad and getting worse."

In addition to playing - and excelling at - old-time fiddle music, Ludiker was an accomplished classical musician who served as concertmaster for the Coeur d'Alene Symphony a decade ago. He also performed with Rod Stewart and Ray Price.

Ludiker was 52. 

Correspondent Jill Barville wrote about Ludiker's cancer battle, and a benefit concert to help offset his expenses, in February 2013. You can find it here. Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley, himself a musician, interviewed Ludiker for a story about the fiddling life and the national championships held each year in Weiser, Idaho. That story is here. Tinsley made an audio slideshow of his interview with Ludiker; check it out here (it's playable only in Flash…). To see Ludiker in action, a clip from a performance this past summer in Weiser is below:


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.

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