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Sunday, February 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

Spotlight: Familiar faces hit the lanes in ‘Thunderballs’

North by Northwest has just finished filming the Spike TV pilot “Thunderballs” in Spokane, and yes, it features a few faces you might recognize:

• George Wendt (Norm of “Cheers”) plays the dad of one of the guys on the bowling team. The show is a comedy about 30-something friends in a bowling league. 

• Isaiah Mustafa , best known as the hunk in the Old Spice commercials, also plays a bowler, and a particularly athletic one. He’s a former pro football player.

• David Koechner , who played Champ Kind in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and Todd Packer in “The Office,” plays a former pro bowler.

Rich Cowan of North by Northwest said that if this 30-minute pilot gets picked up by Spike, it will mean regular work for a lot of Spokane crew members and actors (many of the other roles were filled by local actors).

Cowan said they should know by the end of July whether “Thunderballs” will become a full-time industry here – and whether we can expect to see Wendt and Mustafa hanging out again in Spokane.

‘Ward’ on demand

John Carpenter’s horror flick “The Ward,” which was filmed in Medical Lake and Spokane, became available through various cable on-demand services last week.

It stars Amber Heard as a woman in a mental institution. And this mental institution is – surprise! – not what it seems.

“The Ward” has not exactly received stellar reviews, but so far it has been treated more kindly than many other locally filmed movies. It has a 48 percent positive score among reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, the film review aggregation website.

The Guardian, a British paper, called it a “well-made film, with some finely crafted shocks and a steady pace that almost seems stately in these days of fast-cut horror.”

Many of the reviews are from the UK, where the movie has apparently been released in theaters. Most agreed that it was not Carpenter’s best work, but it still had flashes of his legendary style.

The film is scheduled for a limited U.S. theatrical release July 8 and will go to DVD and Blu-ray at some date after that.

The Duke at the Bing

George Duke, the funky keyboard master associated with Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson and Miles Davis, has been booked into the Bing Crosby Theater for a show Aug. 11.

Duke toured with the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s, played on Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album and produced Davis’ “Tutu” album.

He will be accompanied by a couple of other big names: saxophonist David Sanborn and bassist Marcus Miller.

Tickets are $41.50, through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Weird Al and Joan Jett

The Spokane Interstate Fair concert lineup has just been announced:

Neal McCoy: The country star, Sept. 12.

The Osmond Brothers: That would be Wayne, Merrill and Jay, Sept. 13.

Weird Al Yankovic: The lovable rock parodist, Sept. 14

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Classic rockers, Sept. 15

Switchfoot: The San Diego-based rock band, Sept. 16

In addition, the fair will have its traditional lineup of nonmusical  entertainment:

PRCA Rodeo: Sept. 9 and 10.

Monster Trucks: Sept. 17.

Demolition Derby: Sept. 11 and 18.

Tickets to all of those events will go on sale July 11 through TicketsWest.

The DMB Caravan lineup

Here’s the lineup for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan at the Gorge Amphitheatre, Sept. 2-4.

This is a bit different from Matthews’ traditional Labor Day weekend shows at The Gorge, because there will be an entire, well, caravan of acts on three stages during the day.

The DMB will still do a full set each night. These will be the band’s only West Coast performances in 2011.

Here’s who else will be playing each day:

Sept. 2: John Butler Trio, Gogol Bordello, De La Soul, Blind Pilot, Soja, The Belle Brigade, Jenny O.

Sept. 3: The Roots, Warren Haynes Band, Devotchka, Fruit Bats, The Silent Comedy, Lindsay Fuller.

Sept 4: Dispatch, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band, Antibalas, The Low Anthem, The Moondoggies, Infantree.

Tickets can be purchased for individual days at as well as, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Three-day passes and VIP packages are also available.

Prelude to a KISS

The opening acts for KISS at the Spokane Arena on June 24 have been announced: Bad City and  Envy.

Bad City is a Chicago rock band whose 2010 debut was called “Welcome to the Wasteland.”

The Envy is a Gene Simmons discovery, signed to his own label. They’re from Toronto.

Neither act wears makeup or breathes fire, evidently.

A legendary Guy

It’s hard to convey how much respect Guy Clark has in the world of folk, country, alt-country and Americana.

He has been a major influence on Lyle Lovett and others. And now Clark is coming to the Bing Crosby Theater, Aug. 3, 8 p.m.

Tickets will be $27 and $37, reserved, and $52, Golden Circle, on sale Monday at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest.

Bublé to the Arena

Michael Bublé has been booked into the Spokane Arena on Aug. 10 at 8 p.m.

This popular crooner will be appearing with guest artist Naturally7.

Tickets are $49.50, $65 and $85, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest.

Da Vinci music

The music of Leonardo da Vinci’s time will be featured in the free KPBX Kid’s Concert at the Bing Crosby Theater on Friday at noon, in conjunction with the “Leonardo da Vinci: Man – Inventor – Genius” exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

The program also includes the “Da Vinci Coda,” by guest composer Donivan Johnson.

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