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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

Spotlight: SpIFFys are in, topped by Wang’s ‘In the Family’

The results are in.

The recently concluded Spokane International Film Festival has announced its juried awards, the SpIFFys. In the feature film category, “In the Family,” from writer-director-star Patrick Wang and featuring Spokane Valley actor Trevor St. John, won this year’s Gold SpIFFy. The Silver SpIFFy went to “Sandman,” from director Peter Luisi.

In the documentary category, the top prize went to “Crime After Crime,” from director Yoav Potash. “Walking the Green Tiger,” from director Gary Marcuse, took the silver prize.

Matthew Modine and Terence Ziegler’s short film, “Jesus was a Commie,” was named best short film. “You Should Be a Better Friend,” from Trish Harnetiaux and Jacob A. Ware, brought home the Silver SpIFFy in that category.

Best animation prizes went to “Mobile,” from Verena Fells, and “Luna,” from Donna Brockopp. Jason McKee ’s “ ’63 Comet” took the Best of the NW prize, which was voted on by jurors and audience members.

Wang and Tommy Thompson (“High Strung”) won the awards for Most Promising Filmmaker.

The jury was composed of Adam Boyd, Beth Ann Carr, Tierney Chabot, Brian Kamp, Vaughn Overlie, Pete Porter, Stu Steiner, Mary Pat Truehart and Dan Webster. The Audience Choice awards will be announced after all the votes are tallied, according to the SpIFF website.

Fans can find results and more information on SpIFF at

Live at the EMP

Two Spokane bands, Nude and Ulrich, are semifinalists in the Experience Music Project’s Sound Off! competition.

The contest, billed as the largest battle of the bands in the world for musicians 21 and younger, attracted more than 140 entries this year. Nude and Ulrich join 10 other bands in the semifinal round. They will compete on Feb. 18.

Nude, which describes its sound as “dream pop,” features Nathan Mead (vocals, guitar), Jeff Bass (lead guitar), Jackson Cate (bass) and Cody Thompson (drums). According to the band’s Facebook page, pages/Nude/ 154812664610667?sk=info, Cate is studying in Australia, and Michael Farrow will be playing bass in his stead.

The band lists Radiohead, Animal Collective and Phantogram as its influences, and ultimately hopes to move its rehearsal space out of Bass’ bedroom and onto a farm where they can play music all night long without upsetting the neighbors.

Ulrich, a “dreamy and dissonant” shoegaze band, takes its cues from My Bloody Valentine and Deerhunter. The trio already has opened for acts such as Local Natives, The Globes, and The Head and The Heart.

For information on the Sound Off! project, or to hear samples from the competing bands, visit

Strings through the ages

The Spokane String Quartet will cover three centuries of musical accomplishment on Feb. 19.

The group, featuring violinists Mateusz Wolski and Amanda Howard-Phillips, violist Jeannette Wee-Yang and cellist Helen Byrne, will perform Wolfgang Mozart’s 1790 String Quartet No. 21 in D Major, Arvo Pärt’s 1977 piece “Fratres,” and Johannes Brahms’ 1873 String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51. No. 1.

The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available at the Fox ticket office or through TicketsWest, or (800) 325-SEAT.

Bluegrass, Northwest style

Pioneering Northwest bluegrass band Custer’ s Grass Band has scheduled an intimate show on Feb. 24 in Post Falls.

The group, Washington’s first bluegrass band to form east of the Cascades, also recorded the first-ever bluegrass album recorded in the Northwest. That 1976 record featured fiddle superstar Mark O’Connor as a special guest.

The group will perform at the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center, 405 N William St., in Post Falls. Tickets are $20; to order, call the JACC at (208) 457-8950 or email

Hooray for Hollywood

Once again, the Spokane AIDS Network will mark the Academy Awards in style.

The 14th annual Oscar Night Gala will be Feb. 26 at Northern Quest Casino.

In addition to watching the telecast, attendees can enjoy a three-course dinner. Silent and live auctions will feature one-of-a-kind Hollywood items and items donated by local businesses.

Tickets, at $125, are available online at, or by calling (509) 455-8993.  Doors open at 4:30, and the show begins at 5 p.m.

Proceeds from the benefit support SAN’s prevention programs and client services.

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American families feeling the pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index asked about 1,330 adult Americans in different income brackets a variety of questions, including how their finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy COUNTRY Financial)

The year 2020 hasn’t been the most forgiving year for families and their pocketbooks.