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‘Avenue Q’ won’t pull many punches

People have been asking: Exactly how rude and bawdy is “Avenue Q” going to be?

The tour arrives at the INB Performing Arts Center beginning Thursday. I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage, having never had a chance to see it on Broadway. But I have talked to a cast member, read the reviews and interviewed one of the puppets (well, sort of).

The only way to answer is to ask another question: Do you find “South Park” offensive? Or even “Two and a Half Men”? Then you might find “Avenue Q” to be problematic as well.

Otherwise, you just might love it. The New York Times said “it’s the first mainstream musical since ‘Rent’ to coo with such seductive directness to theatergoers on the fair side of 40 in their own language.”

“Avenue Q” is a show which features “Sesame Street”-style puppets, and a young-people-right-out-of- college-style plot.

Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times review: “The show is remarkable for sustaining a tone that never seems precious or smirky. This is true even when Princeton and Kate strip down (warning: naked puppets appear in this production) to illustrate the principle that it’s OK to be loud when you make love.”

The show’s advertising says: “Parental Advisory: Not fur the little ones.”

I might amend that to say, “Also not fur the older ones who believe musicals have gone straight downhill since ‘Oklahoma!’ ”

For the rest of you, tickets are on sale through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Garfunkel’s world

I interviewed Art Garfunkel last week and the story will appear in Friday’s Spokesman-Review. He plays the Northern Quest Casino on Saturday and next Sunday.

I thought I would throw in a few Garfunkel outtake quotes here, to give you an idea of the man’s erudition and his ability to philosophize at the drop of a hat.

On his love for books (as opposed to the Kindle): “I like the feel of the book, that little briquette. I’m a creature of paltry old habits. I love the book. When the world changes, I’m always suspicious. Did it need a change here?

“I know the economy always wants to keep moving and changing and it’s related to jobs. But the actual item? Did it need changing and is it getting better? Well, yes, sneakers do get better through the years. But nothing else.”

On what great music can do: “Music, when its fabulous, it’s an intoxication. It takes you out of the way the mind likes to work. It daydreams, it puts two and two together, it’s deductive.

“Along comes music, and like touch, it spins you into another set of circuits. Those that spin you the most wonderfully, so that you’re made to dance with the spin, are the greatest musical experiences.”

On what made him return to Greenwich Village after studying in California in the early 1960s: “I fell in love with the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Freewheeling’ album, which I saw in a Berkeley record (shop) window. I said, ‘I’m back to New York.’ ”

Tickets are on sale through TicketsWest outlets.

Tim McGraw tix

Tickets will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. for that long-awaited Tim McGraw show at the Spokane Arena on May 20.

McGraw will be accompanied by another big-selling country act, Lady Antebellum. Tickets will be $49.75 and $65.75 through TicketsWest outlets.

Musical talks

Here are a couple of classical music lectures:

Eckart Preu, the Spokane Symphony’s conductor and music director, will speak on “Evolution of the Symphony and Its Place in Today’s Culture,” today at 3 p.m. at the Kroc Worship/Theatre at the Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Road. in Coeur d’Alene. Free and open to the public.

Donivan Johnson, composer and music scholar, will present the 2010 Hans Moldenhauer Memorial Lecture, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., at the Hixon Union Building at Whitworth University.

His topic will be “Sounding Silence: John Cage,” an exploration of the American composer’s life and music. Free and open to the public.


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