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Posts tagged Spokane

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Feature Story- Paper Cutout Crew

I wrote about an awesome Spokane-based break dancing crew called the Paper Cutout Crew for The Inlander. Huge thank you to Khay for all of her help :) You can also read this story here.

Step by Step

The Paper Cutout Crew wants to introduce Spokane to break dancing - one move at a time

By Azaria Podplesky

You can hear them before you see them. Past balance beams and uneven bars at Spokane Gymnastics, tennis shoes squeak on hardwood floors. Long after typical workout hours, four break dancers practice intricate footwork and tricky spins. Eventually, four more dancers arrive.

This is the Paper Cutout Crew.

For the next hour, the dancers — five PCC members and three breakers visiting with EWU’s Asia University America Program — take turns throwing down a few moves. At various points, a member steps away to work on a move, rejoining the group when they’re ready to try again.

It’s a small but supportive community, one the dancers want to introduce to as many people as possible.

Read more …

Filed under The Paper Cutout Crew break dancing Spokane killa-khaymera PCC feature writing journalism freelance writing

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Best Of Feature Story- Mariah McKay

I wrote a profile of a fantastic Spokanite named Mariah McKay for The Inlander’s “Best Of” issue. Readers voted Mariah “Best Twenty-something Making a Difference,” and she certainly lives up to the title. You can also read this feature here.

Best Twenty-something Making a Difference

Mariah McKay

It’s obvious that Mariah McKay loves her job. While talking about ongoing projects in Boots Bakery, across from where she works as the Eastern Washington program director/organizer for Washington Community Action Network, her eyes light up and she gesticulates as rapidly as she speaks.

The Spokane native has a lot to be excited about; after years of searching, she’s found her passion.

McKay attended Portland’s Reed College before moving home after graduation. She began working with KYRS Community Radio, blogging on the Spovangelist and helping to create organizations like Terrain and the Shrinking Violets Society. Through these activities, McKay became inspired by community members who were speaking up about issues affecting them.

A 2008 stint as a grant writer in Olympia inspired her even more.

"Seeing firsthand the impact of [the loss of program funding] on people here gave me the motivation to seek political solutions," McKay says. "Change does not come from within Olympia. … We have to solve our problems."

Since 2011, McKay has worked to solve the community’s problems with Washington CAN! The grassroots organization is currently working on several campaigns, including one to bring affordable health care to everyone, one for the dental access bill and another to reform the immigration system. Its newest campaign involves working to better define what community benefits are available to hospital patients.

McKay, who’s also an Inland Northwest Leadership PAC board member, says those problems are nothing compared to the challenge of convincing people that change is possible.

"In a society that’s really individually oriented … you’re working against economic and social barriers to create community, and help the community identify what’s holding it back and work to address those things by organizing."

McKay has a strong track record and a wish list she’d like community organizing to accomplish, including the repeal of the sit-lie ordinance and a “generational homing beacon” to motivate Spokanites who have moved to major cities to put their energy to use locally, a move that’s worked well for McKay.

"Committing to community organizing is this grounding experience," she says. "I just bought a house here, a lifelong dream. I get to do the work I love, in the city I love, with the lifestyle I love. I get to shop at the Main Market Co-op, and ride my bike all over the city, and have friendships that I have for years. It’s just great."

2nd PLACE: Karli Ingersoll; 3rd PLACE: Taylor Malone

Filed under Mariah McKay Best Twenty-something Making a Difference Best Of issue The Inlander Spokane Karli Ingersoll Taylor Malone feature writing freelance writing

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Blue Period- El Ten Eleven

This is the article I wrote for The Inlander about El Ten Eleven to coincide with their upcoming show in Spokane. You can also read this article here.

Blue Period

After years of success, El Ten Eleven was handed some life lessons and turned them into songs

By Azaria Podplesky

For a while there, things were going swimmingly for El Ten Eleven.

In fact, when The Inlander checked in with the post-rock band in 2010, guitarist and bassist Kristian Dunn said, “Things are going well for us and they keep getting better.”

At that time, they were. The instrumental duo’s fourth album, It’s Still Like a Secret, was about to be released, as was Urbanized, the final movie in Gary Hustwit’s “Design Trilogy,” rounded out by Helvetica and Objectified, all of which feature the music of El Ten Eleven.

So when we asked for a status update just last week, Dunn said with a laugh, “Oh, you know, the usual. We’ve been ruling the world, having people bow to our powers and bow down at our feet, so the same.”

He’s all jokes now, but both Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty experienced quite a few life-changing ups and downs since we last spoke — divorce, relocation and, in Dunn’s case, remarriage and having a child. But like any good band, El Ten Eleven put the changes, both good and bad, to good, creative use. They’re the inspiration behind the group’s fifth album, Transitions.

Recorded at Stage and Sound in Hollywood and Dunn’s Atwater Deluxe Rehearsal in Los Angeles, Transitions was originally intended to be one 40-minute song. After a lot of reworking, that idea became the 10-and-a-half minute title track.

The band also recorded, “Thanks Bill,” a song the band was playing on tour before they began recording Transitions. The song’s title is in reference to Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson and was inspired by Dunn’s wife’s sobriety.

“She got sober and is staying sober with the help of A.A. and it works really, really well for her,” he says. “If she wasn’t sober, we probably wouldn’t be together, my daughter probably wouldn’t exist so I thought that was worthy of some thanks.”

Though it only took Dunn and Fogarty three days to record Transitions, the tweaking process — as Dunn calls it — took a month, followed by many more months of trying to figure out the best time to release the record on the duo’s own Fake Record Label.

To make up for the time between the album’s February completion and its October release date, El Ten Eleven is finishing up three songs that will go on an EP to be released in early 2013.

While recording Transitions, Dunn got to fulfill his longtime dream of playing through a vintage Vox AC30 guitar amplifier. Aside from that, though, the recording process wasn’t too exciting, as Dunn compares recording studios to factories.

“You just kind of get in there and get to work and get it done, at least that’s been my experience,” he says. “The studio seems like it’s more, I don’t know, punching the clock. I mean, it’s a great clock to punch — don’t get me wrong.”

Dunn says that it’s not in the studio, but at their live shows, where he and Fogarty feel emotionally connected to the music.

After receiving a lot of love-it-or-hate-it responses from fans about the band’s third album, These Promises Are Being Videotaped, Dunn has been waiting to hear negative feedback about Transitions, but says that so far, many fans have told him and Fogarty that it’s their favorite El Ten Eleven album to date.

Even if Transitions received mixed reactions from fans, the duo would still be happy with the album.

“We make these records for ourselves, really,” Dunn says. “We want records that move us first and then if they also move other people, then that’s a bonus. So the fact that it’s doing well and people are into it, needless to say, it’s super big.” 

El Ten Eleven with Nude Pop and Miss Massive Snowflake • Thu, Jan. 17 at 8 pm • A Club • $7 • 21+ • 624-3629

Filed under El Ten Eleven Kristian Dunn The Inlander Transitions freelance writing freelance writer music writing music journalism Spokane

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Live and In Living Color: fun.

I wrote about fun.’s August show in Spokane for The Inlander’s “Year In Review” issue. You can also read this blurb, as well as the rest of The Inlander staff’s picks for the best shows of 2012, here.

Knitting Factory | Aug. 26

Those of us who hadn’t had it up to here with fun. — after having “We Are Young” stuck in our heads for months — piled into the Knitting Factory to hear that and other earworms from their first two albums. The group performed with so much energy that, only a few songs into their set, lead singer Nate Ruess had to take off his bolo tie. I, on the other hand, was left pulling confetti out of my bag for days after the concert. (AZARIA PODPLESKY)

Filed under fun. We Are Young Some Nights Spokane The Inlander freelance writing Year In Review freelance writer music writing music writer

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Quick Hit- Dia Frampton

This quick hit appeared in the June 7-13 issue of the Inlander.

"You may have never heard of Dia Frampton had it not been for last year’s hit singing competition "The Voice." Yes, she had been performing as one-half of indie-pop duo Meg & Dia with her older sister since 2004, but it wasn’t until she was a member of Team Blake (country star Blake Shelton, that is) that the world really got a taste for her soft, yet powerful, voice. Though she came in second place, Frampton has been touring like a winner in recent months, headlining her own gigs in support of her debut solo album,Red, in between opening for Shelton on a cross-country run of shows.


Dia Frampton with Scars On 45  and Nate Fowler - Mon, June 11 at 7 pm - Knitting Factory - 919 W. Sprague Ave. - $15 - All-ages - spknittingfactory.com - 244-3279”

Filed under Dia Frampton Blake Shelton The Inlander Spokane Knitting Factory music journalism freelance writer The Voice

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These blurbs, about local musicians playing Elkfest in Spokane, appeared in the June 7-13 issue of the Inlander. You can read the full article here.


FYI, there will be no dropped basses during DJ Case’s set. Case, who frequently spins at the Baby Bar, is known for his mix of old funk, soul, world, hip-hop and jazz records (yes, actual vinyl records). He’s only been DJing in the area for about a year and promotion isn’t high on his to-do list so you may not know his name, but after his set, you’ll definitely know his sound. (Azaria Podplesky)


Real Life Rockaz have only been rockin’ for two-and-a-half years now but the combination of past Groove Patrol, James Pants & the Royal Zodiac and Son Dulce members has earned a fan base far and wide. Don’t miss their blend of reggae, hip hop, soul, jazz and more as they’ll soon be taking a break to record their next album. Just make sure to set your drink on a table during their set; you’ll be too busy dancing to hold it yourself. (AP)


Whiskey Dick Mountain is one of those bands that you just have to hear to understand. WDM — Tim Lannigan, the band’s front man, organist “Reverend” Ryan Coleman, drummer and “Youth Pastor” Shawn Cox and guitarist Daniel Burns “For All Eternity” — play a blend of gospel, soul and punk sprinkled with ungodly screams and shrieks that sounds crazy on paper but wonderfully refreshing to your ears. (AP)


Folkinception is a hodge-podge of a band in the best way possible. Take one part Americana folk and one part rock and roll, add a dash of soul, courtesy of piano player Matt Mitchell, and some strings in the form of a cello and a fiddle and you’ve got the local six-piece. They’re experts at building a song from a whisper to a roar so don’t be surprised to find your toes tapping during Folkinception’s set. (AP)”

Filed under DJ Case Real Life Rockaz Whiskey Dick Mountain Folkinception Elkfest Spokane local music music journalism freelance writer

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Best Of 2012: Best Small Town Festival

This article appeared in the March 22-March 28 issue of the Inlander as part of the Best Of 2012 reader’s poll. You can also read this article here.

"Best Small Town Festival

Chataqua Festival


Soul singer Allen Stone is not Chewelah’s only claim to fame. The annual Chataqua festival brings upwards of 50,000 people into the town each July for a three-day weekend of fun.

Inlander reader Michelle Fulton attended her first Chataqua festival last year and remembers spending the day looking at all of the vendors, enjoying a break from city life and all this small but mighty town has to offer.

"One, it’s that small town feel when you leave Spokane and head up there," she says. "And second, the venue is great. The public park with the river running behind it and the history behind it and learning what it’s all about."

Chataqua is an updated version of the festivities at Lake Chautauqua, New York, circa 1874, where people would gather to listen to lectures, poets, actors, explorers and artists. A century after the initial East Coast event, the festival made its way to the Inland Northwest, where people now flock for carnival rides, stage shows, shopping and more.

Along with the 27-hole Chataqua Golf Tournament, held at the Chewelah Golf & Country Club course, Chataqua also offers a climbing wall, a little league and softball tournament, swimming, boating and fishing. The festival also includes a fine arts and crafts fair that is known for displaying excellent hand-crafted pieces.

Enjoy a bit of music? Chataqua’s CenterStage has you covered. Every evening of the festival, the 800-seat stadium is filled with three hours of music, from blues to country to pop.

Chataqua organizers know you can’t have a festival without lots of food and offer festivalgoers the traditional corn dogs, funnel cakes, elephant ears and BBQ, as well as tastebud-tickling ethnic specialties. For the 21-and-over crowd, there’s a beer garden right next to CenterStage that serves beer, wine coolers and hard lemonade. Just make sure to have your ID handy.

Looking to work off those carnival calories? Check out the 5K and 10K runs. Just like Bloomsday, but on a much smaller scale, participants get a T-shirt once they cross the finish line. If you want to enjoy all three days of the festival with Chataqua Charlie, the festival’s mascot, you’re more than welcome to camp at one of many local RV sites. (Azaria Podplesky)

2nd PLACE: Pullman’s Lentilfest; 3rd PLACE: Odessa’s Deutchefest; NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: St. Maries’ Paul Bunyan Days”

Filed under Chataqua small town festival Chewelah Allen Stone Inlander Spokane journalism Best Of 2012 freelance writing

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Best Of 2012: Best Bookstore

This article appeared in the March 22-March 28 issue of the Inlander as part of the Best Of 2012 reader’s poll. You can also read this article here.


Auntie’s Bookstore

SHOPPING.halloffame.jpgThis year marks the 18th time that Auntie’s Bookstore has been chosen as the best bookstore in the area. But really, is anyone surprised? Whether you’re a reading buff or not, chances are you’ve probably spent your fair share of time in Auntie’s. The independently owned store is packed to the gills with countless sections — fiction, non-fiction, mystery, music, history and more — as well as with stationary, calendars and other gifts for the book lovers in your life. (AP)

2nd PLACE: Barnes & Noble; 3rd PLACE: Hastings”

Filed under Auntie's Bookstore bookstore Spokane Inlander journalism Best Of 2012 best of freelance writing

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Best Of 2012: Best Spa

This article appeared in the March 22-March 28 issue of the Inlander as part of the Best Of 2012 reader’s poll. You can also read this article here.


Spa Paradiso

SHOPPING.halloffame.jpgWhen the going gets tough, the tough get going. But really, the tough should get to Spa Paradiso for some relaxing spa treatments. These folks do everything: therapeutic massages, body treatments, skin care, hand and foot rituals and waxes. They even have a hair salon that offers guests a complimentary scalp rub. Now, your whole body — from your feet to your follicles — can be in tune with the world. (AP)

2nd PLACE: Current at Northern Quest; 3rd PLACE: Brick House; NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Zi Spa, CdA”

Filed under Spa Paradiso Spokane Inlander Best Of 2012 best spa journalism freelance writing