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Spotlight: ‘Curious?’ Check out MAC

Sun., Aug. 29, 2010

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) opens a new exhibit titled “100 Curious Things” on Wednesday and, yes, it consists of 100 curious things, mostly from Spokane’s past.

You’ll learn about Riblet’s aerial tramways, a Tekoa stagecoach and Spokane’s newspaper history.

And it will all be presented with the museum’s PassPort to Discovery technology, introduced with this exhibit.

This is the MAC’s new interactive exhibit system. You will receive a personalized badge, complete with your photo. Then as you visit various kiosks, onscreen avatars will greet you by name and tell you the story of the exhibit.

Touch screens can “target the visitor’s specific interests, grade level and language,” according to a museum press release. You can even rack up points by answering questions correctly.

The MAC is a beta test site for this new system.

On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Charlie Simon, who created the PassPort technology, will be the speaker in a new series, “Wednesday Night at the Museum.” He’ll talk about this and his other computer-driven museum projects.

The MAC is at 2316 W. First Ave.


The four talented combat veterans and singers known as 4TROOPS have been booked into Pullman’s Beasley Performing Arts Auditorium on Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. and the Kroc Center’s Performing Arts Theater in Coeur d’Alene on Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

The group sings familiar country and pop hits combined with videos which honor military personnel and their families.

Tickets for the Pullman show are $29 ($24 for Washington State University students and staff), through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Tickets for the Coeur d’Alene show are $29, available by calling (208) 667-1865. It is a benefit for veterans programs at St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho.

Jr Cadillac cruise

There’s still time to cruise down Memory Lane (or should I say Memory Lake?) with Jr Cadillac today on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The band’s 40th Anniversary Sea Cruise Party will re-create the Seattle rockers’ popular cruises of the 1980s.

It sails at 3 p.m., with boarding at 2:30 p.m. Yes, you can still buy tickets, for $35 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s business office or at Independence Point, near the clock tower just west of the resort.

The Jill & Julia Show

Spokane’s Julia Sweeney (“Saturday Night Live”) has booked her “Jill & Julia Show,” with singer Jill Sobule, into the Bing Crosby Theater on March 11, 7:30 p.m.

Julia tells stories; Jill sings songs. It’s a show that has been a hit in Los Angeles.

And this may be Sweeney’s last performance in Spokane. On her website, she says that she plans to retire from “public storytelling” after this tour.

Actually, it’s not so cut-and-dried. Here’s what she says: “I want to retire from it. At least for a while. Maybe forever, I dunno.”

She’s concerned, among other things, about the effects her storytelling will have on her family. She has a husband and a daughter and lives in Illinois these days.

Rockin’ B update

Here’s an update on what’s happening out at the Rockin’ B Ranch on I-90 at Stateline:

• Spaghetti Western Wednesdays and Jazz Nights are finished for the year.

• There’s one more Rockin’ Bluegrass show scheduled for Sept. 21.

• The Cowboy Supper Shows will continue Fridays and Saturdays in September, with one exception: On Sept. 18, the show will be “Scrambled McManus,” with Tim Behrens.

Get your tickets and other information at or by calling (509) 891-9016.

Hanson’s opener

Hanson, the band of brothers, held a contest to pick opening acts for each show on their “Shout It Out” tour.

The winner for the Sept. 27 Spokane date at the Knitting Factory is: Xollie Morra & the Strange Kind.

They’re a band based out of both Seattle and Los Angeles (no, I’m not sure how that works). They describe themselves as being reminiscent of the Pretenders, with Coldplay, Keane and Muse thrown in. They were chosen by fan vote.

The show also features Rocket to the Moon.

Get your tickets, $25, at or by calling (877) 435-9849.

Higman has Heart

Artist Jesse Higman, originally from Spokane but now from Seattle, has created the cover art for the first new album by Heart in six years, “Red Velvet Car.”

It’s an image of a classic car’s grille, with Heart’s logo and a wealth of subtle reflections.

An accident at age 15 left Higman paralyzed, but that didn’t put an end to his creative ambitions. He has done artwork for Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, among many others. Last year, he won the Seattle Mayor’s Artist Award.

Check out his artwork at Or look for it on the Heart CD.

Spokane Oktoberfest

Here’s some great news for those of us who can’t get to Munich: The first Spokane Oktoberfest will be held Sept. 24-26 at Riverfront Park.

The sponsor, the Washington Beer Commission, promises traditional German music, food, “banners waving in the breeze and the scent of hops in the air and enthusiastic pourers in dirndls.”

At least 20 breweries from all across the state will be there. Advance tickets are $20 for one day (which includes six 5-ounce pours and a commemorative cup) or $50 for a three-day pass, available through or at Northern Lights Brewery, 1003 E. Trent Ave.

Watch for more details.

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