when quality starts speaking for itself.
For a while now, we've had this playful, self-deprecating thing going on in Spokane. It's Jess Walter writing a funny story disguised as a statistical abstract of our city, warts and all. It's Derrick Oliver shouting from the rooftops that "Spokane Doesn't Suck"—and raising $10K on Kickstarter from those who agree with the halfhearted endorsement. It's designers and printmakers capturing lovable landmarks that are decidedly less fancy than the Space Needle, so we can buy them at Bazaar and display our quasi-ironic pride.
All this stuff is great fun. And with Field & Compass, it's sort of the gig to be one of these locals who doggedly extolls the virtues of our city. It's my job to build short lists, create maps, write stories, and get it all in front of travelers and locals who would like to savor the uncommon instead of the latest gimmicky menu item at Applebees. It's about letting people know about the really great stuff that is actually here... if you look hard enough for it. I love going to bat for Spokane, playing the role of the younger brother, chip firmly embedded on my shoulder.
But then I look up on October 1st, and I realize something: Spokane is sort of turning the page on this whole inferiority complex thing. It's becoming a bit outdated. There are seasons when you don't really have to look that hard at all to find that which is truly vibrant. Take, for example, Create Spokane Arts Month and related events happening in the coming weeks. It's an embarrassment of riches, to the point that we really don't have anything to be embarrassed about. Let's go through a few categories, and make a tiny scratch on the surface of some stuff you could find yourself doing this month:
So Terrain is an unstoppable juggernaut of an arts event and organization, and if you're not down at 304 W Pacific for Terrain 8 this Friday night, Oct 2, then what are you even doing with your life? Pre-func pro-tip: before Terrain, get in the mood with Santé charcuterie and arts of all kinds at the Liberty Building's arts month kickoff event. Buy a book from Auntie's or a piece of hand-made jewelry from Pottery Place Plus while you're there, for crying out loud. They're the sort of arts OGs who have been around since way before Spokane got this cool.
Cultural Festival & Culinary Arts
The Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival is more than a month of awesomeness that we've just begun. It's just this sort of thing that elevates Riverfront Park and our city to new heights, while giving a nod to the Expo '74 past. The bright lights and nightly performances will be matched by unbelievable flavors as well: James-Beard-nominated chef Jeremy Hansen (of Santé) is offering Deng Chu, a pop-up Chinese restaurant that explores China's eight culinary traditions (Thursday through Saturday each week). When I ran into local arts boss Luke Baumgarten at the grocery store the other day, he was insistent about one thing: the Chef's Table experience at the Lantern Festival will be truly unforgettable ($100, includes festival admission).
As we've mentioned before in an interview with Karli Ingersoll, Bartfest is back for a second year, and will be chock-full of excellence. It's not normal to have this many great performances and a poster-art show in one weekend, over at the Bartlett, our favorite perfect-sized venue. Out of town that weekend? Never fear; two of your favorite singer-songwriters will grace the stage at the Bartlett later this month: William Fitzsimmons and Gregory Alan Isakov.
If you want to have just about the most fun you can have in two hours of musical comedy, just go to the Spokane Civic Theatre's Catch Me If You Can. If you're not into really awesome 60's-style glitz, glamour, and intrigue, go ahead and sit this one out.
Artisans and Farmers
Farmer's markets aren't just for summer: of course, the onset of fall means that harvest is in full swing. Enjoy the last installments of the Kendall Yards Night Market (Wednesdays), Perry St Thursday Market (right next to Casper Fry), and make your obligatory-yet-delightful trip to Greenbluff.
So, yeah, Spokane doesn't suck. And October 2015 is going to be a serious case in point.
note: In 2014, Jess Walter came back with a less-viral update of his famous "Statistical Abstract of My Home, Spokane, Washington"—tipping his cap to the progress a lot of people are working hard to create.