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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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First Night keeps on growing

The Spokesman-Review

THE NUMBERS are up once again for First Night Spokane. Somewhere between 12,500 and 13,000 buttons were sold for the New Year’s Eve arts festival, up about 12 percent over last year, said executive director Chris Martin.

And since Martin uses a rough formula of two participants for every button sold (because kids are free and the fireworks and other outdoors events are free), he estimated total attendance at about 26,000.

“Everything was packed,” said Martin. “We filled a lot of venues.”

One reason: The weather was moderate by New Year’s Eve standards. Snow and ice were absent.

The biggest hits included the Cirque de Flambe pyrotechnics act, the Spokane Symphony and, surprisingly, the improvisational comedy shows.

“ComedySportz filled up Interplayers for every show, and the Blue Door Theatre filled up the council chambers for every show,” said Martin. “Improvisational comedy is big – we couldn’t do First Night without them.”

This year’s changes worked out well, he said, especially moving Kid’s Night Out from the Spokane Convention Center to more central downtown locations. He said this brought more people to the downtown core and brought them earlier.

“Every year, you learn something new,” said Martin.

Attendance has increased steadily since Spokane’s first First Night in 2001, in which about 7,000 buttons were sold. About 10,000 buttons were sold in 2002, and 11,000 in 2003.

‘Shadow of Fear’ on DVD

“Shadow of Fear,” the James Spader-Peter Coyote-Aidan Quinn thriller filmed in Spokane two summers ago, is now available on DVD.

The DVD and video were released on Tuesday. The movie, directed by Rich Cowan of Spokane’s North by Northwest, never had a theatrical release but will show up on a cable movie channel, probably within the next few months. Negotiations are continuing.

The many Spokane actors and extras who appear in the movie will have obvious reasons for wanting to check out the DVD. Others might want to check it out for the scenes of Spokane and surrounding area (although the city is never identified).

As for the movie itself? Well, rent it and let me know what you think. I’ll run some comments in a week or two.

Nicole Crites to Phoenix

Nicole Crites, the former morning co-anchor at KREM-2, has returned to her home state of Arizona to take a reporting job with KPHO-TV in Phoenix.

Crites began as a reporter at KREM shortly after graduating from the University of Arizona in 2000. She became morning co-anchor in 2002.

Crites began her new job on Dec. 15.

Rich Lebenson, KREM news director, said he is still looking for a co-anchor to team with Dawn Picken in the mornings.

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