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Wednesday, April 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

Spotlight : Barats, Bereta buddy up for NBC pilot

‘This is Culdesac” – that’s the name of the comedy pilot which is under development by Spokane’s Luke Barats and Joe Bereta for NBC.

The Hollywood Reporter recently listed “This is Culdesac” as one of 19 pilots ordered by NBC for the 2007-2008 season.

A pilot is like a test episode of a show. Some, but not all, of these 19 pilots will be picked up for the new season.

NBC calls “This is Culdesac” an “alternative buddy comedy.” The network is billing it as a new kind of sketch comedy show, with Barats and Bereta playing most of the main characters of a fictional town called Culdesac.

With Barats and Bereta in charge, this town will likely be prone to the kinds of pranks and spoofs the duo is known for in their YouTube videos.

Fun geographical fact: A little town named Culdesac actually exists in Idaho, just east of Lewiston.

‘Drummers’ marches on

We’re beginning to get the idea that “Different Drummers,” by Don Caron and Lyle Hatcher of Spokane, is one heck of a screenplay.

It just won its second film festival honor, this one a biggie: The Grand Remi Award for best screenplay in all categories at World Fest Houston International Film Festival.

Hatcher, a local investment broker, and Caron, a composer and screenwriter (“The Basket”), admitted to a long period of doubt at the gala dinner in Houston last week. They sat through award after award and received nothing.

Turns out, they just needed to wait for the biggest awards to be announced. They won not just the top award in their category, the family movie category, but the top screenplay award for all 14 categories.

Earlier this year, they won the best screenplay award from the San Fernando Valley Film Festival.

Caron said this week that he and Hatcher have received offers from producers already.

“But we’ve decided to make it ourselves,” said Caron. “We want to make it a Spokane project and are looking to fund it locally. This story means a lot to us and we don’t want to just sell it and let go of it.”

The story is a coming-of-age story about two 11-year-old Spokane boys.

Early Bird Sandpoint passes

The Festival at Sandpoint announces its musical lineup on May 18, which means that time is running out for an Early Bird Pass.

These full-festival passes, which go for $149 (plus taxes and fees), are available only until the lineup is announced. In essence, you get a discount in exchange for not knowing exactly what acts you’re buying.

In the information age, however, it’s hard to keep secrets. Anybody who wants to see a list of acts which are at least tentatively lined up to play in Sandpoint the week of Aug. 2-12 need only go to, the comprehensive Web site of the touring world.

But that list is only partial and may or may not be accurate. An Early Bird Pass still requires a leap of faith, one which many people are willing to make. Last year, the festival sold 600 passes.

To order an Early Bird Pass, call (888) 265-4554 or go to After the official announcement, the rates go up to $169.

Get in line for Lorie

Lorie Line, a solo pianist of the soothing, gentle school, is coming to the Bing Crosby Theater on May 11 at 7:30 p.m. for what is billed as her “Intimate Evening Series.”

She’ll be performing with a small ensemble “playing favorites from over the years.”

Line has been an under-the-radar success story out of Minnesota for more than 10 years, with her own independent recording label.

Tickets are $30, available through TicketsWest (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT,

Willie’s Northwest picnic

Willie Nelson’s legendary Fourth of July Picnic extravaganza is moving out of Texas for the first time and coming to The Gorge Amphitheatre this July 4.

And he’ll be bringing some alt-country legends with him: Son Volt, the Old 97’s and Drive By Truckers, along with singer-songwriter Amos Lee. Willie and family will also perform, of course.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at 9 a.m. at all Ticketmaster outlets, (206) 628-0888 or (509) 735-0500. Please note that Ticketmaster is not the same as TicketsWest.

A new Jay Alan job

Remember Jay Alan, KREM-2’s morning and noon news anchor from 1987 to 1990?

Well, he has a new gig, as the communications director for the California Conservation Corps.

That means his new boss is California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Alan has had TV and radio jobs in Lynchburg, Va., Phoenix and Sacramento since leaving Spokane.

A steel guitar hero

We’ve received word from the Northwest Steel Guitar Association that its second annual Steel Guitar SuperJam, May 19 and 20 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel, will feature a young steel guitar phenomenon.

Jonathan Candler, 15, of Yuma, Ariz., is already one of the top players in America. He has been blind since birth and has overcome a number of medical problems to achieve mastery of this difficult instrument.

Also appearing at the event will be The Strangers, Merle Haggard’s band (minus Haggard). The public is welcome to attend various public concerts on both May 19 and 20. Go to for schedules and ticket details.

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