February 10, 2008 in Features

Festival could get toes tapping, feet dancing

By The Spokesman-Review

When that swing spirit moves you, you’ll finally be able to jump up and do something about it at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival.

The festival’s final concert, on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m., will feature two dance floors set up in the Kibbie Dome at the University of Idaho in Moscow. The crowd is invited to swing to the sounds of the Lionel Hampton Big Band and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Not only that, but UI dance instructors and students will be on hand to provide dance lessons and “help people get their feet moving.”

The concept, according to dance professor Greg Halloran, is “to get back to the feeling of the grand ballrooms” of New York City in the heyday of swing.

Everybody will be issued a dance card along with their tickets. Tickets are on sale through TicketsWest outlets (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

As for the festival itself? It runs Feb. 20 through 23 and is one of the Inland Northwest’s treasured cultural institutions. President George W. Bush gave it a National Medal for the Arts last November.

A Russian jazz exchange

In other Hampton-related news, four young Russian jazz musicians are in the region as part of a cultural exchange.

They have already participated in jam sessions and master classes at Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Later, they will play at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival.

Meanwhile, they will perform a free concert on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, in the Eric A. Johnston Auditorium.

You’ll see Darya Chernakova, Aleksandr Ivanov, Nikolay Sidorenko and Roman Sokolov. They’re among the hottest jazz musicians on the Moscow (Russia) scene, and they’re here as part of an Open World Leadership Center program.

An unusual comedy tour

Comedian Lonnie Bruhn will bring his unusual stand-up act to the Brickwall Comedy Club, 105 E. Mission, on March 2 at 8 p.m.

Unusual, because one of Bruhn’s themes is cerebral palsy. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and this national tour will be a fund-raiser for the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

The name of the tour? The Cripple xXx Tour.

Bruhn and Joe Fontenot, an able-bodied comedian who is also part of the tour, admit that it might offend some people – and not just because of the jokes about disabilities. It is also an “adult show with explicit content.”

“As long as we are pushing the envelope on what some might consider an obscenity, we will ask people to pour money into that same envelope for UCP,” said Fontenot in a release.

Bruhn is not, by the way, an official spokesman for UCP. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Return of the V-monologues

February is the time of year when Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” is performed around the country.

Pullman will be the site of two shows, at Washington State University’s Jones Theater at Daggy Hall, Feb. 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for the public, available in advance at the Women’s Resource Center, Wilson Room 8, on the WSU campus.

Proceeds will be donated to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, an organization to help victims of domestic or sexual violence.

Performances at other area colleges are tentatively planned; watch for further details.

Pearl Django at CenterStage

Here’s a reminder of a great show coming up at CenterStage: Pearl Django, the Seattle gypsy jazz group, next Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

This group, featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” plays music in the tradition of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.

Tickets are $18 reserved, available by calling (509) 747-8243. CenterStage is at 1017 W. First Ave.

All-City jazz ensembles

Here’s a local jazz event you can attend tonight at Eastern Washington University: the Spokane All-City Jazz Ensembles Concert featuring pianist Reggie Thomas.

More than 60 of the area’s top high school and middle school jazz players will perform with Thomas, who has been involved in the Essentially Ellington program at Lincoln Center.

This concert takes place tonight at 7:30 at the EWU Music Building Recital Hall. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, at the door.

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