Spotlight: CdA’s Owens achieves visual success in Hollywood

Bryce Dallas Howard, left, and Matt Damon star in “Hereafter,” a film that earned Coeur d’Alene’s Michael Owens an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
Bryce Dallas Howard, left, and Matt Damon star in “Hereafter,” a film that earned Coeur d’Alene’s Michael Owens an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

Michael Owens, who lives in Coeur d’Alene, is an Oscar nominee for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his work on the movie “Hereafter.”

Owens is the real deal: He was a longtime visual effects supervisor for George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic. He got his start as a camera assistant on “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” and as a visual effects cameraman on films such as “Star Wars VI, Return of the Jedi” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Then he went on to be visual effects supervisor on dozens of big movies, including “The Witches of Eastwick,” “The Doors,” “Van Helsing,” “Meet Joe Black,” “Gangs of New York,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Gran Torino” and “Invictus.”

“Hereafter” is the Matt Damon movie directed by Clint Eastwood, a director Owens has worked with many times.

He shares the nomination with others on the “Hereafter” special effects team: Bryan Gill, Stephen Trojansky and Joe Farrell.

Owens likes to keep a low profile. He declined our request for an interview, which I find, in a way, refreshing. He’s apparently a Hollywood type who is not an attention-hog.

But I wanted to let people in Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and vicinity know that we can root for a local name on Oscar night, Feb. 27.

A Kasell event

Carl Kasell, the veteran National Public Radio newscaster and “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” announcer and judge, is on the way to the Bing Crosby Theater on May 9, 7:30 p.m.

Kasell will regale the audience with stories about broadcasting – and even perform a few magic tricks. Yeah, he’s also an amateur magician.

“An Evening with Carl Kasell” is sponsored by Spokane Public Radio. Tickets will be $27, on sale Feb. 25 through TicketsWest outlets, online at www.ticketswest.com or by calling (800) 325-SEAT.

Death Cab to Pink Martini

The Sasquatch! Music Festival lineup, May 27-30 at the Gorge Amphitheatre, seems exceptionally strong this year:

Foo Fighters, Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, Wilco, The Flaming Lips (performing The Soft Bulletin & more), The Decemberists, Bright Eyes, Iron & Wine, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Bassnectar, Robyn, Flogging Molly, Death From Above 1979, Pink Martini, Cold War Kids, Old 97’s, Ratatat, Wolf Parade, Chromeo and   Guided By Voices.

And that’s not all. There are dozens more acts. To see the entire list, go to www.sasquatchfestival.com.

Mamet’s ‘Race’ at Interplayers

We said a few weeks ago that the Interplayers production of David Mamet’s “Race,” starting March 31, would be the first production anywhere since it left Broadway in August.

We spoke too soon. The Philadelphia Theatre Company is now running a production.

Still, Spokane has rarely – if ever – landed a show so recently after its Broadway run. It’s Mamet’s controversial play about a white man accused of raping a black woman.

‘Grease’ Sing-a-Long

Here’s your chance to get in on the wildly popular movie sing-a-long fad: The “Grease” Sing-a-Long, March 12, 2 and 7 p.m.

This Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre fundraiser will be held at the Schuler Performing Arts Center at North Idaho College.

Roll up your T-shirt sleeves, slick back your hair and sing along to the movie. Tickets are $20, available by calling (208) 769-7780.

The animation SpIFFY

The Golden SpIFFy Award winner in the animation category is: “The Lost Thing,” from Australia.

The SpIFFy’s are the Spokane International Film Festival Awards. The animation category was announced early, but the rest were revealed at the festival’s closing party Saturday night, too late to make our deadline.

You should be able to find the rest of the winners at www.spokanefilm festival.org.

The Silver SpIFFy in the animation category went to “Let’s Pollute.”

Celtic Fire

Members of local Celtic music and dance groups have teamed up with former “Riverdance Broadway” singing star Michael Londra to create a new Irish music and dance show called “Celtic Fire.”

Mellad Abeid and other members of the local band An Dochas wrote the music for the show, and Claire Worley from the Haran Irish Dancers did the choreography.

In addition to the local musicians and dancers the show will include a Chicago keyboardist and a fiddler who has toured with Cherish the Ladies.

Celtic Fire will perform at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox on March 5, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $20, through TicketsWest.

Crosby family tree

Registrations are still being accepted to an out-of-the-ordinary genealogy workshop: “Road to Spokane: Bing Crosby’s Family History,” March 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Gonzaga University’s Wolff Auditorium in the Jepson Center.

Crosby family members and volunteer genealogists will team up with staff members from the Washington State Library, Washington State Archives and Digital Archives to teach people how to research their own family history, using Bing’s family as an example.

It’s free, but registration is required. Call (360) 902-4171 or go to www.Heritage Center.wa.gov.

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