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Spotlight: Crowd braves First Night

Dash Kamp, 18, and Blake Bowerman, 16, rear, both of Sandpoint, water down the ramp lip area before the start of the Rail Jam competition Dec. 31 at First Night Spokane. Kamp won the trick board portion of the event.  (Dan Pelle)
Dash Kamp, 18, and Blake Bowerman, 16, rear, both of Sandpoint, water down the ramp lip area before the start of the Rail Jam competition Dec. 31 at First Night Spokane. Kamp won the trick board portion of the event. (Dan Pelle)

First Night Spokane experienced a bit of a chill on New Year’s Eve.

A chill?

That’s an understatement. The low was minus-4 that night.

Yet despite that, First Night organizers estimated that between 19,000 and 20,000 people crowded downtown for the 10th annual New Year’s Eve event. That’s lower than the average of 25,000 to 35,000, but not too shabby considering the deep freeze.

The weather didn’t prevent about 65 runners from showing up for the first-ever Resolution Run, a 5-kilometer run along the river. The leader, Carl Combs, finished in 19 minutes and 32 seconds, motivated, I would guess, by the desire to get back to the Riverfront Park bonfire.

“The race was a success, considering the temperature,” said Lona Barnum, First Night’s associate director. “It will become a staple of First Night.”

The Rail Jam – a snowboard and ski competition – was jammed with spectators all evening. Winners were Jaeger Bailey in the men’s pro board category, Pete Arneson in the men’s pro ski and Dash Kamp in best trick board.

Even the Street Dance was full of revelers. It helped that there were bonfires strategically placed around downtown.

The indoor events were all nice and warm. Between 400 and 500 people showed up for each of five performances of the Variety Show at the INB Performing Arts Center – along with thousands more at venues scattered across downtown.

48 Hour Film Festival

The 48 Hour Film Festival has always been a popular First Night event, and this year’s installment was no exception.

Filmmakers were given 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a short film. Then the finalists were screened for the First Night crowds.

The winners were:

• Judges’ Choice, and People’s Choice Runner Up: Ferguson Films, “A SIMple Kind of Love,” about a youthful courtship, SIMs-style.

• People’s Choice, and Best Use of Theme: TEN/ONE Films, “Dishes in the Fridge,” a funny account of the 10 reasons a guy wants to break up with his girlfriend.

You can see these and the other entries at the website of The Film and Video Enthusiasts of Spokane,

Kasey at the baton

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the national touring production of “Spring Awakening,” which is on the way to the INB Performing Arts Center on Jan. 19. It’s Spokane’s first look at this provocative, Tony Award-sweeping musical.

Here’s another reason: It will be the return of Kasey RT Graham, a Spokane musician and theater director who has gone on to a stellar career. He’s the music director for the national tour of “Spring Awakening” and will be presiding over the pit orchestra.

Graham, a Chase Youth Award winner from Central Valley High School, was directing shows at the Spokane Children’s Theatre and the Spokane Civic Theatre before he even graduated from Whitworth University.

He went on to New York and quickly developed a career as music director in the national tours of “Oklahoma!,” “The Producers” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

And he’s not yet 30.

Allegro dates

The Spokane chamber music organization Allegro Baroque & Beyond, has announced a new series – the International Series – for the spring season.

Here’s what’s coming up:

• “A Night at the Opera,” Feb. 4, 8 p.m., Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave., with guest artist Jesse Read, a bassoonist from Vancouver, B.C., and the Theatre Ballet of Spokane performing dances from “Armida.”

• “Chaconne – From the Streets of Spain to the Mind of J.S. Bach,” March 3, Bing Crosby Theater, with the Sinfonia New York. Seven performers will play period instruments, accompanying a soprano and two baroque ballet dancers.

Call Allegro at (509) 455-6865 for tickets and information.

Nelson the younger

Lukas Nelson (son of Willie Nelson) & Promise of the Real have been booked into the Bing Crosby Theater on March 25 at 8 p.m.

Tickets will be $18 and will go on sale Jan. 21 through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Romance novel in song

Guitar aficionados already know that Adrian Legg, the renowned British fingerstyle guitarist, is coming to the Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday at 8 p.m.

But did you know that his opening act, Janet Johnson, is from Spokane? And that she is touted as singing “romance novels in song”?

This singer-songwriter has developed a following around the Northwest with her songs of love, hope and redemption. She describes them as “highly personal music textured with folk-rock sensibilities and jazz influences.”

Tickets for the show are $17, through TicketsWest.

‘The Dancing Princesses’

The Spokane Youth Ballet will perform “The Dancing Princesses,” based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, on Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

It should be a gorgeous new setting for this troupe, which premiered the piece last year at the Central Valley Performing Arts Center. This year, the event will feature “a larger cast and enhanced production values,” according to the company.

The two lead roles will be danced by professional guest artists Michelle Sigl and Stuart Lauer. The Spokane Youth Ballet is under the direction of Kristen Potts and Phaedra Jarrett, both of whom have impressive professional ballet credentials.

Tickets range from $12 to $18, through TicketsWest.