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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Birthday treats from KPBX: Gross, oldies

KPBX-FM (Spokane Public Radio) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – and the station just announced a present for its listeners.

Terry Gross, the highly popular interviewer/host of “Fresh Air,” will come to Spokane to do a talk on Sept. 20.

Look for tickets to go on sale this spring.

Meanwhile, the station threw itself an anniversary party last night at the Davenport Hotel. Honored were first general manager Marvin Granger and George Cole, one of the founders.

The station also plans to air a number of special shows gleaned from its archives. Those will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. over much of the rest of the year.

We may even get to hear tapes of one of KPBX’s earliest local shows, “The Pied Piper,” a series of dramatized children’s stories. Look for these shows in February at a time to be announced.

Good reviews for our ‘Elvis’

The Chicago reviews are in for “All Shook Up,” the all-Elvis musical starring local Newport/Spokane actor Cheyenne Jackson.

Here’s John Olson of “Cheyenne Jackson makes a terrific leading man, managing to evoke the spirit of Elvis without imitation or pastiche. He’s sexy and mysterious, but a little goofy as well. He sings and moves like a star, and though he may have a little maturing to do in the acting department, my guess is he’ll get where he needs to be soon.”

Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times referred to Jackson only as “a sort of soft-serve Elvis,” but she gave the musical itself a thumbs-up. She called it “surprisingly enjoyable.”

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune said the “leads are more likable than memorable” and then added that the same is true of the show itself. He referred to it as “amiably brainless.”

However, the consensus seemed to be that “All Shook Up” will do well when it opens on Broadway in mid-March. Olson said it “looks ready to be a big Broadway hit.”

But it still has to face the tough New York critics.

Sweeney on stage

Meanwhile, Julia Sweeney, another Spokane product, has a hit show of her own in L.A.

Her self-penned one-woman show, “Letting Go of God,” has been extended three times at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood, through at least Feb. 20. It opened Oct. 9 after a month of previews and was originally scheduled to run only through Nov. 21.

It’s about her “journey into spiritual enlightenment” and away from the Catholic Church.

Sweeney, a Gonzaga Prep grad, is best known for her stint on “Saturday Night Live.” This is her third one-woman show.

A mere shadow of ‘Fear’

I recently asked readers to weigh in on “Shadow of Fear,” the Spokane-filmed movie starring James Spader that came out on DVD two weeks ago.

Reader Dianne Hueber said she enjoyed seeing the local sights, but the character development was lacking, there was no way to warm up to any of the actors and the story line was disjointed.

Despite the fact that I have a one-second moment of glory as an extra in this movie, I am forced to agree. “Shadow of Fear” lacks a little something, such as a coherent story.

Meet the Goomba

Here’s an unusual event coming to the Coeur d’Alene Casino on Feb. 12: An evening with Steve Schirripa, the actor who plays Bobby Bacala Baccalieiri on “The Sopranos.”

Schirripa is a stand-up comedian as well as an actor. He will meet and greet the guests, share personal stories and do some comedy. Tickets are $50 each, which will include a buffet dinner, and will be available starting Monday through TicketsWest outlets (325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT,

Schirippa is also the author of two books, “A Goomba’s Guide to Life” and “The Goomba’s Book of Love.”

‘Gimme the Mike’ auditions

Last summer’s “Gimme the Mike” – a local “American Idol”-like competition on KHQ-6 – was a success in the ratings.

Producer Mike Jackson said the show doubled the ratings for its time slot.

As a result, the show is coming back for a second round. Auditions for the next version of “Gimme the Mike” will be Saturday and next Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Northern Quest Casino.

You’ll be asked to perform 60 seconds of a song, a cappella. Bring an ID and a photo of yourself. You must be over 18.

To find out more details about the auditions go to

Finalists will be announced in mid-March, and the show begins April 3.

Boyd up for three Nammys

Area singer-songwriter Jim Boyd had been nominated for three more Native American Music Awards (Nammys).

His CD “Going to the Stick Games” was nominated for Record of the Year, Best Folk/Country Recording and Song/Single of the Year. The awards will be presented Feb. 10.

Boyd has previously won three Nammys.

Big score for House of Sound

Chris White of House of Sound, a local sound studio, scored the music for “Primal Quest,” a CBS Sports show to air today at 1 p.m. This is a sports competition pitting teams against each other in events such as mountain biking and kayaking.

You’ve probably heard other House of Sound projects – they have scored music for “Jeopardy” and many commercials – but this is a chance to hear more of the studio’s work.

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