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Monday, February 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Home Planet

National Geographic Live! Program brings the travel destination to you

Close up of tigress and cub by Steve Winter, who will be in Spokane in 2015 as part of the National Geographic Live! Series. (Steve Winter)
Close up of tigress and cub by Steve Winter, who will be in Spokane in 2015 as part of the National Geographic Live! Series. (Steve Winter)

          On the night I attended “Untamed Antarctica,” the final program in WestCoast Entertainment’s premier season of the National Geographic Live! series, I settled into my seat expecting something close to the classic travelogue: a big screen, canned music and the detached voice of a narrator describing places I’ve never been.


         What I got was so much more. WestCoast Entertainment’s National Geographic Live! series at the INB Performing Arts Center offers everyone a chance to see the world as only National Geographic photographers can capture it, and a chance to see and hear the men and women who lived it.


            For Untamed Antarctica, after a brief introduction by Jack Lucas, TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment President, award-winning veteran climber and explorer Mike Libecki strolled onto the stage (co-climber Cory Richards was scheduled to be there but flight delays left him stranded in Denver.) Libecki was relaxed and comfortable on the stage.


           With humor and sometimes self-deprecating honesty, he shared the story of the team’s ascent of a sheer rock peak at the bottom of the world as dramatic images filled the giant screen, stopping the video from time to time to share some fascinating commentary or to add insight to what we were seeing.


            Libecki looks for what he calls “Virgin Earth”—places that have not yet been conquered—and during “Untamed Antarctica” he chronicled the battle with wind, water, cold and time that at times threatened the success of the adventure. When one photo showed him grimacing as a bandage was placed over a spot of frostbite on his face, Libecki took the opportunity to share the personal philosophy that drives him.


            Life, he told us, is made up of moments that can be categorized one of two ways: The good moments are joy, the bad moments are simply pre-joy.  I thought about that comment for days after the show. On the surface it appears a bit simplistic, but it reveals a lot about what drives someone like Libecki, who seems to thrive on doing life the hard way, and it’s not a bad lesson for the rest of us. The bad days are just the prequel to the good times ahead.


            After each program Lucas returns to the stage and sits down with the National Geographic Live! explorers for an informal chat. Audience members are invited to submit questions on the slip of paper that is included in the program.


            Next season, beginning in November 2015, WestCoast Entertainment will bring four more National Geographic Live! programs to Spokane as an addition to the Best of Broadway series. The series will include an astrobiologist on space travel, up-close wildlife photography, a feature on endangered big cats: tigers, cougars and snow leopards, and the story of an epic 700-mile biking, rock climbing adventure. I’m already planning to be there and I’m going to take my family.


            If you want a window to the wider world and and a chance to see and hear the story from the explorer(s) who lived it, National Geographic Live! is just the ticket.


For more information about WestCoast Entertainment’s National Geographic Live! series go to


<i>Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on NPR stations across the country. She can be reached at</i>

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Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country.