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Spotlight

Archive for September 2011

A far better than normal ‘Norman’

The soon-to-be-released “Norman” is a Spokane rarity – a locally filmed movie getting outstanding reviews and major film festival awards.

“Norman” is a coming-of-age story about a high school loner who pretends to be dying – although his father is actually the one with cancer. Some plot twists turn his world “upside down and then ultimately right side up.”

“Norman” will debut on screens Oct. 21 in New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and, yes, right here at the AMC River Park Square.

It took a long time for the movie itself to come of age. It was filmed in June 2008 in Spokane by North by Northwest. It was directed by Jonathan Segal and stars Dan Byrd (“Cougar Town,” “Easy A”), Emily VanCamp(“Everwood,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Richard Jenkins (“Eat Pray Love”) and Adam Goldberg (“Entourage”). It features a soundtrack by Andrew Bird.

The Hollywood Reporter said this, “‘Norman’ has some big things going for it, not least of which is the stupendous central performance, one of the most intelligent and deeply felt big-screen portrayals of a troubled teen in the last several years.”

Variety called it “poignant and understated.” It has picked up awards at the San Diego Film Festival, the Rhode Island Film International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.

It has now been chosen for the AMC Independent series, which brings indy films to AMC screens. You’ll see the roaring Spokane Falls and you’ll see some familiar local talent in this film too, including Bobbi Kotula, Jerry Sciarrio and Kevin Partridge.

Bing Film Series begins with ‘Some Like It Hot’

The fall film series at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague, has been set:

  • Sept. 27, “Some Like It Hot,” the great 1959 Billy Wilder classic with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.
  • Oct. 11, “Giant,” the 1956 James Dean-Elizabeth Taylor epic.
  • Oct. 25, “Charade,” the ultimate '60s caper thriller, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
  • Oct. 29, the Halloween Show featuring “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (the 1949 version narrated by Bing Crosby), “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy” and the 1978 Jamie Lee Curtis screamfest, “Halloween.”

All shows are at 7 p.m. except the Halloween Show, which starts at 6 p.m.

This beautifully restored 1915 movie house is a great place to see these classic films. The series is also a great bargain. It's free.

However, a $5 donation is suggested, with proceeds going to the Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater, which has been instrumental in supporting this great old theater.

Meryl Streep’s son to open at Bing, Panida

Henry Wolfe, an LA singer-songwriter, has been added as the opening act for April Smith & The Great Picture Show at the Panida Theatre in Sandpoint on Oct. 6 and at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane on Oct. 7.

Wolfe has a well-received album of originals, “Linda Vista,” out right now and he has been making a splash in LA.

He also happens to be the son of Meryl Streep, which he ruefully admits can be a little “overshadowing.”

Tickets for both shows are on sale through TicketsWest.

A comedy deal: ‘Spamalot,’ ‘Caveman,’ ‘Blues’

WestCoast Entertainment has three comic extravaganzas coming to town, and they're offering deals if you order tickets to more than one.

Order two and save 10 percent on your ticket order. Order all three and get 20 percent off.

The shows are all at the INB Performing Arts Center:

  • “Defending the Caveman,” the one-man comedy show about the war between the sexes, Oct. 8, 8 p.m..
  • “Monty Python's Spamalot,” the fractured King Arthur musical, Nov. 11, 8 p.m.
  • “The Blues Brothers Revue,” Nov. 13. 6:30 p.m.

To order, visit this TicketsWest link. Then enter the promo code, WCECOMEDY. The deadline is Oct. 7 at midnight.

Michael Jackson “Immortal” seats released

New seats have been released for “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” at the Spokane Arena on Nov. 12, 8 p.m. and Nov. 13, 4 p.m.

These are apparently tickets that have been held back up until now. This is a Cirque du Soleil tribute to Jackson and his “creative world.”

Tickets are $50, $80, $125, $175 and $250 through TicketsWest outlets. 

Nobelist Maathai cancels GU talk

The Oct. 6 lecture at Gonzaga University by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai has been canceled because of travel complications from Kenya.

Refunds for tickets purchased at the McCarthey Athletic Center Box Office will be available there, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or at the Spokane Arena Box Office. Refunds for tickets purchased via TicketsWest outlet locations will be available at the Spokane Arena Box Office Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets purchased online and by phone will be refunded automatically by TicketsWest. An announcement will follow if the event is rescheduled.

Gendron painting giant MAC mural

Artist Ric Gendron will soon begin work on the final touch to the new American Indian Activity Center at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC): a 200-square-foot wraparound mural.

Gendron, a member of the Colville and Umatilla tribes, has been commissioned to create a narrative-style mural which will cover three of the new center’s wall spaces, floor to ceiling.

Gendron begins work on Friday and should be finished by mid-October. Visitors can watch him work during regular museum hours, but please don’t distract him. He has a lot of painting to do.

The American Indian Activity Center is on the museum’s second level and it will host lectures, storytelling and art experiences centered on Plateau cultural traditions.

‘River Sorrow’ to open at Magic Lantern under new name

“The River Murders” opens Friday at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main Ave., but you may remember it under a different name: “The River Sorrow.”

This Ray Liotta-Christian Slater-Ving Rhames thriller was filmed as “The River Sorrow” in Spokane last fall. It still carried its old title at the Cannes Film Festival in May when it had its premiere and gala party. Yet sometime between then and now, it had a title makeover.

The director, Rich Cowan (“The Basket”) of Spokane’s North by Northwest production company, said that Sony now owns the movie and they changed the name for marketing reasons. They didn’t consult with Cowan, who is still partial to the original name.

The movie will play for a week at the Magic Lantern, but it won’t have a wide theatrical release.

In fact, the DVD release is scheduled for Tuesday. It features a number of local actors – Wes Deitrick, Nike Imoru, Kelly Eviston and Patrick Treadway, to name just a few.

A Nobel Prize winner, speaking at Gonzaga

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Muta Maathai of Kenya, founder of the Green Belt Movement, author and advocate for African democracy, will be the speaker at Gonzaga University’s Presidential Speaker Series event on Oct. 6, 6 p.m., at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Her presentation will include a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Taking Root,” which chronicles her work in pan-African forest conservation.

Tickets are $10 for the public, $7 for seniors and $5 for students and employees of any educational institution. Tickets can be purchased at www.gonzaga.edu/wangari or through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT or www.ticketswest.com).

By the way, this means that Gonzaga University this school year will be hosting a Nobel Peace Prize winner and two Pulitzer Prize winners (both for fiction).  We previously noted that Jennifer Egan, author of 2011 Pulitzer winner “A Visit from the Goon Squad” will speak on Jan. 31 and Junot Diaz, 2008 Pulitzer winner for “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” will speak on Feb. 22 as part of Gonzaga University’s Visiting Writers Series. Those two events will be free.

Grieg and me: Symphony’s guest artist

I just finished interviewing and writing a story for Thursday's paper about Jon Kimura Parker, who will play the Grieg Piano Concerto at the Spokane Symphony's opening concert on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and info go here.

He's a great speaker, with a fine way of explaining what he loves about the music. Here's a video that shows off his talents, buth musical and verbal.

Symphony will Kick Back with new concerts

The Spokane Symphony has announced a new concert concept: Kick Back Classics.

These are concerts away from the usual concert hall and without a conductor.

Annie Matlow of the symphony said the musicians “will be ‘kicking back,’ and playing without a conductor – much like a chamber group but with symphonic proportions.”

The Kick Back Classics lineup:

Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Spokane Falls Community College Music Building, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Drive. This concert will help show off the newly renovated music building.

 Oct. 6, 7 p.m. at Turning Point Church, 11911 N. Division St.

The symphony will play “crowd favorites” by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Britten and Ravel.

And here’s the best thing about the Kick Back Classics: Tickets will be only $5 each – much cheaper than a regular classics concert.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at (509) 624-1200, or online at www.spokanesymphony.org, or at the Fox box office, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

ArtFest will stay put next year

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture's  annual ArtFest event will stay put in Browne’s Addition in 2012.

Museum officials had pondered moving the art, food and music festival from Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition to the larger Riverfront Park downtown.

The Browne’s Addition Neighborhood Council viewed the prospect with alarm and called a meeting Wednesday night to voice concerns.

Forrest Rodgers, the MAC’s new executive director, talked to neighborhood representatives and said Thursday that ArtFest will remain at Coeur d’Alene Park next year.

‘Leonardo’ hits its mark

The final numbers are in for “Leonardo da Vinci: Man – Inventor – Genius.”

About 38,000 people attended this summer-long traveling exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC).

It came close to the museum’s attendance goals and more than met its financial goals, according to the people at the MAC.

The final week – the week before Labor Day – was particularly strong, attracting 6,500 people.

“There were lines out the front door and even out in the street,” said museum spokeswoman Rebecca Bishop.

The MAC would have liked to have broken the 40,000-visitor mark set by the “T. rex Named Sue” exhibit in 2007. However, the T. rex exhibit charged regular museum admission while the da Vinci exhibit had special (higher) pricing.

“Leonardo” was also a hit with schools. A total of 3,400 people visited as part of school groups.

The MAC also signed up 500 new members over the exhibit’s span.

A classical Comstock party

Spokane Symphony music director Eckart Preu stood at the podium at Comstock Park Monday and wondered aloud if this was an even bigger crowd than usual. From this photo, you can see, it was a huge.

Thousands showed up for the Spokane Symphony's Labor Day concert at Comstock Park. Two reasons for the big turnout: First, the weather was perfect. Second, people can no longer take this event for granted.

There was no Comstock Park concert last year, for the first time in 25 years, because there was no funding. This year, Sterling Savings stepped up and sponsored it. They will also sponsor it for the next two years.

The symphony sounded great, and the traditional crowd-pleasers — “The 1812 Overture”  and “Stars and Stripes Forever” — got the crowd up and clapping

And let's applaud Sterling Savings as well. Now, more than ever, arts organizations need this kind of corporate support to stay healthy.

Pianist Dinnerstein at the Fox

I left a crucial bit of info out of a Spotlight item in print on Sunday: The location of the Simone Dinnerstein concert.

It will be at the Martin Woldson Theatre at the Fox., 1001 W. Sprague.

Here's the rest of the info, as printed Sunday:

A lot of classical piano fans were wowed by Simone Dinnerstein during her previous appearances here with the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra.
Dinnerstein played with Gonzaga's orchestra in 2007 and 2009 - in between recording albums that topped the Billboard classical charts.
Now, she's coming back on Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. for another concert with the GU orchestra. She'll play Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major and Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Tickets are a bargain for an artist of this magnitude: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students (free for those with a Gonzaga ID). Seats are general admission and you can purchase tickets at the door.

  

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