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Presales shut out many Swift fans

Taylor Swift tickets vanished at astonishing speed when they went on sale March 6 at 10 a.m.

Every ticket for the May 14 concert by the young country-pop singer was gone by 10:20 a.m. And we’re talking lots of tickets – the show will be at the Spokane Arena, with capacity of about 9,500.

Clark Moss of TicketsWest called it a “very quick and successful sellout” – right up there with the fastest-selling concerts ever in Spokane.

However, plenty of people got shut out from tickets. They learned a hard lesson from this experience, which is: If you want to get the best seats – or any seats – to a high-demand show, you should buy through a pre-sale.

Pre-sales are generally offered to members of an artist’s fan club or on the artist’s official Web site, or both. They are just what they sound like: tickets that you can buy before they go on sale to the general public. There were apparently several pre-sales for the Swift concert.

Moss couldn’t say how many tickets were already spoken for before the public on-sale date, but it’s safe to say plenty of tickets were already gone.

By the way, if you were wondering why this concert sparked such a frenzy, here’s a hint: Swift’s album “Fearless” just notched its 11th consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.

She’s the hottest act in America right now.

Come home, Mil’ Bailey

Here’s a show we’ve been looking forward to: “Thoroughly Modern: Mildred Bailey Songs,” which has a sneak preview here before it heads off to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

The show, featuring Spokane jazz singer Julia Keefe, will take place Monday, 7 p.m. at the Kubiak Fine Arts Center at Gonzaga Prep, 1224 E. Euclid Ave.

She’ll be accompanied by an octet, Kind of Blue, led by trombonist Tom Molter.

Bailey was a pioneer jazz vocalist from Tekoa, Wash., and Spokane who sang with Paul Whiteman and had huge hits in the 1930s, including “Rocking Chair.” She also was Bing Crosby’s show-biz mentor.

Keefe has been commissioned to do the show at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on April 11. Bailey was a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe; Keefe is a member of the Nez Perce tribe.

Tickets to the Spokane show are $20 for adults, $10 for students, through TicketsWest outlets (325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT,

Friends of Sironka

The Friends of Sironka Dance Troupe, a group of 10 Maasai men and women from the Rift Valley of Kenya, will bring their traditional dance, music, storytelling and costumes to the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave., on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Audiences can expect “spectacular chanting, pulsating music,” according to the group, which is headed by Nicholas Sironka. It has performed at schools and concert halls all over the U.S.

Tickets are $10, at the door.

Comedy competition

The Eastern Washington Amateur Comedy Competition, featuring 16 aspiring local stand-ups, will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Uncle D’s Comedy Underground at Bluz at the Bend, 2721 N. Market St.

The first two nights will be the preliminary rounds; Saturday will be finals night, featuring the top five comics, as chosen by a judging panel. The winner gets $300 and a professional gig; second and third place winners receive $200 and $100.

Tickets are $10 at the door; it’s a great chance to see some fresh new comedy talent.

A serving of Sartre

A theater group called the Drunken Sailor Theatre Troupe, made up of Gonzaga University drama students, will present Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential masterpiece, “No Exit,” Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., and March 22 at 2 p.m., at the Empyrean Coffee House, 154 S. Madison St.

This 1944 classic “invites the audience to reflect on each character’s self-deception.” It explores Sartre’s arguments about freedom and responsibility.

Tickets at the door are $5 for students and $7 for adults.

We’re assuming you can buy some coffee and other refreshments to go with your dose of existentialism.

Oh, the humanities

The 2009 Humanities Washington Award committee is this year seeking nominees from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry or Lincoln counties.

The award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated imaginative leadership in the humanities. Potential recipients include historians, writers, documentary filmmakers and cultural experts.

For more information on how to make a nomination, visit

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or at For more stories by Jim, see /columnists.