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Doug Clark: Come blow your horn, or pluck your string, or …

Something reminded me that we are just three weeks away from another edition of Spokane Street Music Week.

Actually, it was more like “somebody” reminded me, and not just one somebody, either.

• “If the street music fundraiser is happening, when is it?” asked Greg Youmans in an email the other day.

• In another message, Jennifer Brummett of the wonderful Spokane Horn Club asked if there was still space available for “Wednesday or Thursday of Street Music Week? We look forward to being part of the cause!”

• Then came the email from Walter Jakubowski, a great guy and point man for the Tremble Clefs, another fabulous ensemble.

“I haven’t heard anything or seen an email or column from you yet about Street Music Week 2014,” he wrote.

“Is it going to happen?”

OK. I get it.

I need to start tooting my horn about SSMW, which, since it began in 2003, has raised almost $66,000 for Second Harvest food bank.

And it’s all thanks to the hundreds of musicians, dancers and entertainers who have so graciously taken part.

“Buskers,” if you will.

That’s the archaic term for those who take Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage” edict to heart.

In this case, every patch of sidewalk’s a stage.

So here’s the short answer to Jakubowski’s question:


As sure as Patsy Cline sang the hell out of “Faded Love,” Spokane Street Music Week is about to ride again.

This, by the way, will be the 12th annual SSMW.

The fun takes place during the noon hours of June 9-13 on the sidewalks of downtown Spokane as well as that cool north Spokane neighborhood known as the Garland District.

Many of you pickers and singers, horn blowers, etc., already know the drill: You can take part one day or every day – it’s entirely up to you.

But if you are new or would like to get involved, please email me via the information below. I’ll put your contact information into our ever-growing Street Music database and make sure that you get the straight skinny, as they say.

One thing I can’t repeat often enough, however, is that Street Music Week is all about generosity, not virtuosity.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, everyone’s invited.

Talent at street music week has ranged from world-class players with famous names to raw beginners.

The common denominator is that they all perform and collect money from pedestrians who pass by. And every penny dropped into those ugly red buckets goes to help feed the hungry.

And slowly, the event is expanding.

Last June, Wisconsin musicians held their own version in the town of Appleton. They’re doing it again this year, too.

But wait, there’s more.

I’m excited to announce that our neighbors to the east are planning to hold the first Coeur d’Alene Street Music Week during the noon hours of June 9-13.

It’s all due to the tireless efforts of Jim Lyons, my street music amigo, who got Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Woody McEvers on board.

“The staff thought it was a valid thing to do,” said McEvers. “I’m looking forward to it.”

While talking to McEvers on Monday, a vivid memory came to mind of something that happened one night during the early 1980s at the Rustler’s Roost.

That’s the restaurant McEvers and his brother, Daren, own.

Originally in Coeur d’Alene, the Roost is now a fixture in Hayden.

Back in the day, however, I was running The Spokesman-Review’s Coeur d’Alene bureau.

And working for me was this just-out-of-college intern, a huge rubber-lipped lad who had the appetite of a pack of starving jackals.

I told him I’d buy his dinner and took him to Rustler’s Roost for “All You Can Eat Ribs Night.”

The actual numbers of delicious giant barbecued beef ribs that the intern scarfed down has been lost through the fog of time and memory.

Was it 18? Was it 23?

What I’ll never forget is the vision of his ever-rumpled white shirt as the sauce and poor manners slowly turned it into a splattered autopsy.

The kid looked like he’d been butchering buffalo or was the target of a mob hit.

Sauce covered his paws. His face was a red, drooling mess.

Who knows how many diners he scared away?

After an hour or so, whoever was ruling the Roost that night emerged from the kitchen and indicated that the intern had set the rib record.

So thank you, Councilman McEvers, for getting involved in Street Music Week. And if you want to send me a bill for all those lost customers, well, you know where to find me.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at


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