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APRIL 15-21, 2021 | HAPPY 4/20!

MAKE IT MINI INSIDE THE GROWING WORLD OF MINIATURES PAGE 28

MODEL APPROACH WHAT THE U.S. CAN LEARN FROM WASHINGTON PAGE 12

LIFE WITHOUT POLICE COLUMNIST JAC ARCHER EXPLAINS PAGE 6 ALSO IN THE

CANNABIS ISSUE:

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BUZZ BRANDS Famous names and infamous tokers get in on the action PAGE 14


2 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021


INSIDE VOL. 28, NO. 27 | COVER ILLUSTRATION: DEREK HARRISON

COMMENT 5 8 NEWS COVER STORY 14

CULTURE 28 FOOD 31 33 FILM

34 MUSIC EVENTS 36 I SAW YOU 38

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eed continues to change. First off, dude, “weed” — see: pot, marijuana, dope — is not the preferred nomenclature. It’s CANNABIS, thank you very much, and it’s grown up a lot in the nearly nine years since Washington state voted to legalize it. But while some things have evolved — see: curbside pickup and celebrity endorsements — other things — see: Idaho, homegrowing and job applications — have not. We give you the latest buzz in this week’s cover section starting on page 14. Also this week: Staff reporter Daniel Walters explores new (and controversial) efforts to reform the reform-minded Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council (page 8), music editor Nathan Weinbender looks at ampedup concerts at Hoffman Music (page 34), and food editor Chey Scott profiles a local chef’s hot line of chili oils (page 31). — JACOB H. FRIES, editor

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INLANDER

April 22, 2021 Live Streaming 3:30 pm

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In response to the threat of global warming — and as an expression of our Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic mission — Gonzaga University is launching the Gonzaga Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment. This new interdisciplinary academic center will serve Gonzaga students and our region by advancing innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, consulting, and capacity-building.

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WHAT NEW CRAFTS, HOBBIES OR ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU TAKEN UP DURING THE PAST YEAR? EDITOR’S NOTE

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KATIE WOODSON: I’ve taken up cross-stitch. I did it as a kid and now am having so much fun with it. CAYA BERNDT: Farming. I’ve harvested two whole fields of blueberries so far! (In my digital farm in the video game Stardew Valley.)

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CCGALASPOKANE.ORG Demonstrators march through Riverfront Park during a Defund the Police protest last June.

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he Derek Chauvin trial appears to be going well, but I’m not celebrating. Given the countless times police have killed Black people and not been charged, it is frustrating but true that even having a trial for a gruesome murder witnessed around the world is a small victory. But while Chauvin’s trial represents the possibility of police accountability within the legal system, his prosecution is an example of the system that produced him protecting itself. When we are accustomed to seeing police departments defend egregious behavior, it is at first encouraging to see the system finally call out a bad cop. But read the subtext. The prosecutors are proceeding on the bad apple theory, painting Chauvin as a uniquely bad officer who engaged in anomalously violent actions. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo — the city’s first Black police chief — led several of his officers in testifying that Chauvin’s treatment of George Floyd “in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy. … It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” The narrative offered by the prosecutor and the police department appears designed

to convict Chauvin while exonerating the department of any responsibility for Floyd’s death. In fact, Chauvin cannot be separated from the complicity of his department or the racist and violent legacy of American policing. We must not ignore the three uniformed officers who stood by and watched Floyd’s murder, the four days of protest before Chauvin was arrested, and the eight days it took for the other officers to be charged. Chauvin did not act alone and was empowered by the silence of his peers, revealing the true culture of the department. Then, every facet of the criminal justice system dragged its feet, only acting under the pressure of national scrutiny. Chauvin may still be acquitted, continuing America’s long history of publicly lynching Black people without legal repercussions. If Chauvin is convicted, justice will be served. But if we are able to celebrate this victory — and we should — we cannot allow it to distract us from how it


was achieved, or the social change we must pursue. For me, this change is nothing short of the abolition of the police.

M

any people only know “Abolish the Police” as a slogan that has ignited fierce debate since the stirrings of racial reckoning in the summer of 2020. But its origins are much deeper and summarize an extensive social theory that includes the abolition of state violence and the carceral state. It’s the work of activists and academics like the Black Panthers, Angela Davis, Tony Platt, Sydney Harris and many others. I stumbled into it years ago while learning about my own communities’ histories. I had to take college electives to find my place in the American narrative, classes with titles like “African American History” and “Intro to Queer Literature.” It was in these classes that I learned about the MOVE bombing; the Tulsa and Rosewood massacres; COINTELPRO and the systematic destabilization of anti-war, anti-poverty and Black empowerment movements by the government; the pink barracks of World War II; the systemic rape and assault of gender nonconforming people by police from the 1950s through 1980s; and more state violence that had been hidden from me. And as contemporary examples of violence against my communities filled my newsfeeds, I was forced to draw a painful conclusion: The state has rarely protected me or my people and frequently targets us, and the police — empowered by the state to enforce its interests with violence — make me and those like me less safe. This is a feature, not a bug. In northern states, police first developed as a response to urbanization and the desire of land-owning men to protect private property. In southern states, the first police were slave patrols. These types of policing eventually merged in the form of municipally funded agents of state-sponsored violence and law enforcement. The policing of Black and poor bodies — either as property or threats to property — are baked into the origins of American policing.

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The state has rarely protected me or my people and frequently targets us, and the police ... make me and those like me less safe. This is a feature, not a bug. These functions have adapted to the times but have not fundamentally changed. Incarceration has replaced slavery, cash bail has replaced debtor’s prison, and contemporary police continue to fulfill their historical function. But now they are also responsible for an impossible variety of public services better performed by others. Policing has become a stop-gap solution to underresourced social services and neglected root causes of crime such as poverty, lack of health care and over-criminalization. There is no positive social function the police serve that isn’t better served by an existing agency, decriminalization, a holistic justice system and a compassionate approach to social ills. This is not to say that police should be Thanos-snapped out of existence. I want to abolish the police by building a more just society where our social problems are addressed by those equipped to handle them. I want social workers and doctors to deal with mental health and medical crises. I want automation to handle traffic citations. I want forensic specialists to handle violent crime scenes, and civil infractions to be handled with tickets. I want to see drug use and sex work decriminalized. Strong communities and smart policy have the power to make police as we know them obsolete, not just in Minneapolis but in Spokane, too. And we would never need a Chauvin trial again. n

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Jac Archer (they/them/theirs) is a local activist, community organizer and educator in the fields of diversity, equity, civic engagement and sexuality. Jac has a passion for institutional policy and making difficult concepts easily accessible.

APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 7


LAW ENFORCEMENT

BREAKING UP

‘LAW AND JUSTICE’

Will amputating half of the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council save it — or cripple it? BY DANIEL WALTERS

A

fter the death of George Floyd last year sparked international outcry and spurred a mass protest movement, the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council could have been perfectly situated to deliver quick reform. After all, the mission of the Law and Justice Council — an intergovernmental committee composed of local representatives from politics, law enforcement, the legal system and other community stakeholders — is to reimagine criminal justice in Spokane. Instead, some of the group’s members say, the council was mired in stalemate and dysfunction. That was also the conclusion of the three Spokane authors of the Blueprint for Reform, an exhaustive list of “Smart Justice” criminal justice reform recommendations that spurred the resurrection of the Law and Justice Council in 2014. “It got so big as to be unmanageable,” Blueprint co-author and former federal prosecutor James McDevitt said of the council. “Quite frankly, I think it was frustrating for everybody.” Last October, McDevitt and the other authors issued a follow-up to the Blueprint that heaped criticism upon the Law and Justice Council. Thanks to internal disagreement, ongoing public scrutiny and the “unwieldy number of participants,” they wrote, the group had “struggled to grow into an agile and effective working group necessary to catalyze change.” Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell, a tough-on-crime critic of both the Law and Justice Council’s broad scope and some of the Blueprint’s other Smart Justice recommendations, took notice. “The size of it actually created its own problem,” Haskell tells the Inlander. “It was very difficult to get people to agree on a pathway forward.” So last month, Haskell offered up his remedy: Slash the 26 positions on the council in half to 13, keeping only those required by state law, and rename the body, as the Blueprint authors suggested, the “Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.” ...continued on page 10 YOUNG KWAK PHOTO

8 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021


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NEWS | LAW ENFORCEMENT “BREAKING UP ‘LAW AND JUSTICE’,” CONTINUED... Haskell’s plan would ax the slots reserved for the three county commissioners and the Spokane mayor. Instead of getting a four-year guaranteed term for a member, the Spokane City Council would share a single annually rotating slot with all the other city councils, like those in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. The Spokane County sheriff would continue to have a guaranteed slot, but the Spokane police chief wouldn’t. As the county prosecutor, Haskell’s position would be safe — but the county public defender and the city prosecutor would lose their spots. Haskell stressed that the positions he wanted cut were selected only because they weren’t explicitly listed in the state statute governing law and justice councils. But his recommendations struck existing fault lines, reopening long-running fights over a new jail, the frequency of felony charges and racial equity itself. After all, in perhaps the most controversial move, the votes of all four community representatives on the council would be cut. Local community activists, Spokane city officials and even one of Haskell’s fellow prosecutors vehemently objected. “I don’t believe this is the time to start eliminating voices from the conversation,” says City of Spokane Prosecutor Justin Bingham, vice-chair of the Law and Justice Council. “We should be looking for diverse voices and not just an echo chamber.”

THE SLOWDOWN

The Law and Justice Council can point to plenty of accomplishments in less than a decade. The council spearheaded a $1.7 million MacArthur Foundation grant aimed at reducing the jail population. It helped to bring online a new intake and release center for the jail and to establish the soon-to-be-opened mental health crisis stabilization center. But some members of the group grew disenchanted with the efforts, and tension increased between members focused on ridding the system of racism and inequality and those focused on cracking down on criminals.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell adamantly denies that he’s trying to sideline critics of a new jail. The Law and Justice Council started spending a lot more time simply listening to presentations, he says, instead of taking action. “Every time we talk about making a decision as a group, Larry Haskell raises his hand and says we can’t make decisions,” Beggs says. While the Law and Justice Council’s Racial Equity Committee kept meeting, some of the members felt that their contributions were being ignored or stonewalled. “We were talking about dissolving our participation because we have no input,” says Curtis Hampton, a member of the committee and the local Spokane Community Against Racism advocacy organization. “Sometimes you feel like you’re being patted on the head and being sent away.” Hampton applied for an open community representative slot on the Law and Justice Council, he says, but since he was ardently opposed to building a new jail, he says the county commissioners refused to select him. Spokane County Commissioner Al French confirms that Hampton’s anti-jail sentiment was the reason he was rejected, but he says the county commissioners also rejected two other candidates who explicitly supported a new jail. “That kind of closed-minded approach wasn’t what the board was looking for,” says French. Yet French is more open to Haskell’s reinvention of the committee he chairs, even if it would cost the commissioner his role on it. “It’s just like an athletic sports team,” says French. “If you’re not moving the ball, you change the players.”

“Larry Haskell and Commissioner French are enacting their rights as old White men to do whatever the hell they want.” Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl writes in an email that he “did not feel that the SRLJC was making efforts to do much more than determine how to get people out of jail.” Instead of concentrating on the victims of crimes — and the repeat offenders who victimized them — Meidl argues, “the wave of sentiment appeared to be focused on reducing the jail population, in my opinion, to the detriment of the community.” In an effort to be inclusive, the group kept growing, and organizers “risked a barrage of inflammatory allegations” if they left out those who could feel slighted, Meidl wrote. It had unintended consequences, he argues. “It’s the old adage of turning an aircraft carrier — it doesn’t move that well,” McDevitt says. “It’s got to be meaner, leaner with decision-makers who have their hands on the purse strings.” But City Council President Breean Beggs, another member of the group, doesn’t think the problem was with the ship’s size, so much as with the engine. Most of the committees that had been fueling the reforms early on had stopped meeting or had become ineffectual.

10 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

THE SHAKE-UP

But change the players, and you can also change the score. Right now, Beggs says, it would be difficult to whip up enough votes on the Law and Justice Council to support a new jail. “If you remove all the people who would vote against it — like the four community members, like myself — then you could do it,” Beggs says. “In my mind, that’s what’s driving it.” Some of Haskell’s most ardent detractors see a power grab.

DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO

“Larry Haskell and Commissioner French are enacting their rights as old White men to do whatever the hell they want,” says Carmen Pacheco-Jones, a Black woman and one of the Law and Justice’s Council’s current community representatives. Haskell adamantly denies that he was trying to sideline critics of a new jail. But even supporters of Haskell’s reform sound increasingly weary. In comments at last month’s Law and Justice Council meeting, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich not only endorsed Haskell’s plan, he suggested that the regional criminal justice reform efforts were collapsing. “Quite frankly, there’s not a lot of desire to work collaboratively in certain areas,” Knezovich says. “If we really want to follow the Blueprint, we should have followed it. We didn’t.” Cut the county commissioners, the Spokane mayor and City Council positions from the Law and Justice Council, says Beggs, and lose vital collaboration among the “primary funders” — the decision-makers holding the purse strings. Cut the public defender position, says public defender Thomas Krzyminski, and lose insights from the profession that can “do more to reduce recidivism than any judge or any officer.” And cut the community member positions, and lose the voices of the victims and former offenders, says Erin Williams Hueter, one of the council’s other community representatives. “I don’t know if we are going to garner any trust in the system if we don’t allow people to be heard,” she says. But Haskell argues that even though fewer people would be a part of the revamped body, his plan would actually expand representation. By requiring most of the remaining positions — like the appointed representatives of the city councils, police departments and municipal courts — to rotate every year, you’d get a lot more variation, he says. “This gives us an opportunity to actually increase the ‘equity’ — if you will — because we’re going to have more voices that are going to have more opportunities to speak,” Haskell said at last month’s Law and Justice Council meeting. It’s an ironic choice of words. Last year, he made waves by voting against a “racial equity” goal as part of


INLANDER ARTICLE PROMPTS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

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THE SPOKANE POLICE DEPARTMENT is now conducting a criminal investigation of Airway Heights Police Officer Curtis Tucker, who was the subject of an Inlander article published last week containing allegations that Tucker had abused several women. Tucker has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a statement from Airway Heights Police Chief Brad Richmond. He says this comes after the department “received information” referencing conduct by Tucker. Spokane police spokesperson Julie Humphreys confirmed that it was a criminal investigation. Tucker, who’s been with the Airway Heights Police Department for 15 years, has been accused Curtis Tucker by two ex-wives in court documents of domestic violence, including sexual assault and verbal and physical abuse. One of them, Heidi Starr, in 2017 filed a petition for a domestic violence protection order, detailing incidents in which she said Tucker had hit her, choked her, raped her and held a loaded gun to her head. Three other women who have had personal relationships with Tucker told the Inlander that he was abusive as well. Airway Heights Police Department knew of Starr’s allegations in 2017 but did not conduct an internal investigation. Two years later, in 2019, the department chose Tucker to be its board representative on the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition. Tucker has denied all allegations of abuse. Starr says she hopes Tucker will be held accountable if he’s found guilty of any criminal offense. “It just makes me so incredibly relieved and hopeful,” she says. — WILSON CRISCIONE

a criminal justice task force. Haskell objects to the very idea of “equity,” which he interprets as not simply being evenhanded, but pursuing equal outcomes in the justice system. “Outcomes are largely determined by personal choices,” Haskell argues. Haskell suggests it isn’t appropriate for a prosecutor to respond to racial disparities in the criminal justice system. “I focus on what the law tells me to focus on,” Haskell says. “We prosecute conduct, not skin color.” It’s the kind of philosophical approach that can put Haskell directly at odds with some of the state’s other prosecutors and would-be reformers. “The problem with Larry Haskell’s position is he’s the person who holds power in a system that is set up to inherently harm people of color and favor people like him,” says Kurtis Robinson, former NAACP president and a member of the Racial Equity Committee. Under Haskell’s proposal, the Racial Equity Committee, like all current committees, would disband. But Haskell says community input is still crucial. Last month, he also introduced a resolution to establish a new Community Participation Committee, with five community members selected for a “diversity of ethnicity and diversity of opinion” on criminal justice issues. “There should be a minority member or two on there,” Haskell says. “But there should be potentially opinions that might differ from the minority view, if you will.” But Bingham, the city prosecutor, says a new committee isn’t a sufficient replacement. “Having a voice is one thing,” Bingham says. “Having a vote is another.” Bingham sees the large size of the council — and even the conflict or “hard conversations” that community members bring to it — as an asset. “The subject matter we’re dealing with is different than other councils and boards,” Bingham says. “We’re not talking about infrastructure. We are not talking about how many trees you plant in the park. We’re talking about people’s liberties. … We’re literally talking about life and death.” n

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APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 11


NEWS | INNOVATION

Building Better Developer says the U.S. should follow Washington state’s lead to maximize clean building in its national infrastructure plan BY SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL

E

ven before President Joe Biden announced his historic $2 trillion “American Jobs Plan” on March 31, which includes massive infrastructure investments, it was clear that his proposed solutions would include a focus on cleaner buildings. The built environment — think office buildings, McKinstry hopes the Catalyst Building it built near Spokane’s University District in partnership with Avista Development will serve as schools, hospitals, homes and businesses — is one of the proof that cutting-edge clean building techniques and technology don’t have to come at a premium price. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO largest sources of carbon emissions, largely in the form of energy wasted by inefficient appliances, insulation, lighting and more. Between those inefficiencies and the actual construction and building materials (concrete, for Investments in schools are not only key to addressing But upgrading appliances and lighting alone will not be example, is very carbon intensive), buildings represent large, public sources of emissions, but upgrades can draenough to meet the aggressive carbon reduction targets close to 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. matically improve the learning experience for students, needed to truly prevent the worst effects of climate That’s partly why McKinstry, a Washington-based from the lighting they take tests under to the warmth of change, Awad says. national firm that designs, builds, operates and maintains their classroom on the coldest winter days, Awad says. Changing the overall way we build and power our buildings, has focused its work not only on building the “You’ve got to have the right physical environment infrastructure is essential, he says. next generation of cost-effective, net-zero carbon buildto make sure that you can teach kids in the best way posIn the Catalyst Building, which opened in September ings, but also on proving that public funds can be leversible,” Awad says. 2020, McKinstry worked in a unique partnership with aged to update older buildings and recognize savings. In one local project, a nearly $234,000 grant went to Avista to not only build one of the first zero-carbon buildBefore Biden’s plan was announced, McKinstry the Colville School District, which provided more than ings in North America, but to test out smart grid technolreleased an open letter of sorts titled “Action for Impact,” $701,000 in matching funds. With help from that state ogy and districtwide sharing of heat and power. which proposes that the federal government look to grant, the district installed a new heating system at Fort The five-story building, constructed largely from Washington state’s policies and success retrofitting older Colville Elementary school, retrofitted lighting at four cross-laminated timber, generates power through solar structures as a model for public investment in clean buildlocations and improved summer cooling at Colville High panels, and with unique connections with other buildings around the nation. School. Overall, those projects are expected to save the ings in the new eco-district, it can share and store heat Specifically, they point to energy efficiency grant prodistrict $31,300 per year. and electricity generation with the other facilities. The grams that Washington started in 2009 and 2010 to help Awad says there’s also a generational benefit to systems will reduce the district’s reliance on the electrical public schools and public projects with upgrades. having children educated in efficient buildings, as it can grid and reduce waste through lost heat or power genera“Every community really leverages their schools for inspire their own interest in sustainable careers later on. tion. not just educating their kids, but for community activities “If schools add that kind of thinking and learning as Using the so-called Internet of Things, the actual and as places of gathering,” explains Ash Awad, president part of a living laboratory,” he says, “students then think functionality of systems like lighting within the building and chief market officer for McKinstry. “Anything that about how that can come back to their homes.” are also kept at optimal levels to reduce waste, Awad gets done in schools becomes an exemplar for the entire The state Department of Commerce’s Energy Disays. Even the most efficient systems can prove inefficient community.” vision oversees the energy grants funded by state and fedif they’re not used properly, he says. The grants enabled multimillion-dollar uperal dollars. With direction from Up to this point public agencies considering zerogrades and have saved school districts, cities and state lawmakers, 20 percent of carbon projects have typically assumed that work LETTERS public agencies up to hundreds of thousands of the efficiency grants are set aside could be at least 20 percent more expensive than other Send comments to dollars per year. for the smallest rural towns and construction, Awad says. But the pretty incredible news is editor@inlander.com. What Awad sees as the key to success though districts that may have more difthat by working in a private-public partnership, McKinis the requirement that applicants provide signifificulty competing for the funds, stry showed that efficiencies in the building process and cant matching funds, which often requires local buy-in says Michael Furze, who oversees the Energy Division. obtaining materials can keep clean projects affordable. and stretches state and other grant dollars further. Efficiency grants have also been key for other public “There’s probably no reason that a significant cost As Congress decides how much of Biden’s proposal projects. premium has to be paid to get a building ready that’s zero to actually fund, Awad encourages lawmakers to include The state Department of Transportation put up carbon and zero energy together,” Awad says. “We’ve a similar requirement to match federal money for clean more than $1.8 million in matching money to receive a done the same modeling for Seattle, and we believe we building projects. $500,000 grant to upgrade all Washington State Ferry could build Catalyst 2.0 in Seattle at no cost premium.” “We encourage the feds to ask for leverage, which locations with LED lighting and low-flow plumbing, and While the private industry-led team cut out unnecessounds kind of weird because it seems districts could be heating was upgraded at a few locations. The work is sary subcontractors and the public bid process, Awad mad at us asking for that,” Awad says. “But the point expected to save more than $147,000 per year in energy says that doesn’t mean that trades people weren’t happy we’re trying to get to is … there’s so much to do. If you costs. with the process. Cost savings allowed for more extensive only did what the feds gave you a buck to do, it wouldn’t Meanwhile, the city of Auburn is going to save up work on the passive building envelope — the space sepabe enough. We hope it’s a kickstart, a catalyst.” to 60 percent on their cost of street lighting after using a rating the climate inside and outside — which required Fittingly, the company also hopes the Catalyst Build$500,000 grant from the state (matched with more than plenty of skilled work, he says. ing it built near Spokane’s University District in partner$1.9 million) to retrofit thousands of lights with LEDs “We got to procure the teams in the most cost-effecship with Avista Development (a non-utility subsidiary and smart controls. tive manner possible,” Awad says. “The major trades that of the electric and gas company) will serve as functioning “One of the worst things we can do with public dolare really needed to make a building more efficient end proof that cutting-edge clean building techniques and lars is to burn them,” Furze says. “By having inefficient up with more of the interesting work, not less of it.” n technology don’t have to come at a premium price. appliances in buildings we’re literally burning money.” samanthaw@inlander.com

WASHINGTON GRANT SUCCESS

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INSIDE

SELLING WEED TO IDAHO THE POSTPANDEMIC BUZZ 18 HOW HIGH 20 STAR SEARCH 22 WEEDING OUT APPLICANTS 24 DECRIMINALIZATION FOR WASHINGTON? 26

14 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

16


GROW YOUR OWN WAY A bill died that would have allowed Washingtonians to grow their own weed — but advocates aren’t giving up

I

BY WILSON CRISCIONE t’s been nearly 10 years since Washington legalized recreational weed. But growing your own weed at home? That’s still a felony in Washing-

ton. That makes Washington relatively unique. So far, 18 states have legalized weed, but Washington is one of the few that doesn’t allow people to grow their own. Cannabis advocates have tried to change that, but this year, another attempt died in the House Ap-

propriations Committee in the state Legislature. For John Kingsbury, a cannabis advocate with HomeGrow Washington, that could end up being a problem. He fears the industry in Washington could be in danger once cannabis becomes legal federally, something he thinks is inevitable. That would mean Washington would have to compete with giant producers in other states, like California. ...continued on next page

APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 15


“GROW YOUR OWN WAY,” CONTINUED... And if we try to do that, he says, “we’re going to get wiped out.” Think of it like craft brewing, he says. People can brew their own beer at home, and for some it turns into a passion that leads them to start a business. Sure, Budweiser will always dominate the market, but craft brewers can still create a thriving market locally. “And home growing is going to feed a craft industry,” he says. “Cannabis can be a commodity, or it can be an art.” Lawmakers remain uneasy about it. State Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, is chair of the approState Rep. Timm Ormsby priations committee where the bill to legalize home growing failed this year. The bill would have limited each adult 21 or older to six home-grown plants. Ormsby says he personally supports the idea, but both Republicans and Democrats had concerns. “The votes simply were not there,” he says. Law enforcement groups opposed the bill out of concern that it could further expose children to cannabis. There’s also concern that home grows could cut into the legal cannabis market, reducing the revenue

generated by cannabis in the state. Ormsby says he’s personally not persuaded that it would hurt the legal cannabis market. In fact, Timothy Nadreau, a Washington State University research economist, said in testimony that he conducted a study on what would happen if Washington allowed marijuana home growing. He found little downside for the retail industry. That could partly be because home growing could increase a grower’s interest in weed overall. As far as the concerns about children being exposed to cannabis, Kingsbury says that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. He points out that as weed has become more accessible with legalization, use among youth hasn’t risen. Also, it would still be easier for teens to get cannabis elsewhere instead of waiting until a plant has flowered, then drying and curing the weed until it’s usable. “I don’t think cannabis is going to come into homes very often where it’s not there already,” Kingsbury says. He stresses that allowing home growing would not be some experiment. Most other states that have legalized cannabis have also allowed home grows. “We’re really out on the fringe as far as not having home growing,” he says. “What’s holding us back, I don’t know really. I think it’s just sort of an irrational fear.” Ormsby says lawmakers still have a stigma about weed, and more work needs to be done to overcome that. “It’s on advocates and on legislators to do their homework and understand the full implications,” Ormsby says. n

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SELLING WEED TO IDAHO IDAHO SEES ITSELF AS A ROGUISH, libertarian state, wary of gov-

ernment telling it what to do. And yet: Idaho, which has welcomed Medicaid expansion, is too much of a nanny state to let its people smoke weed even medicinally? Coeur d’Alene’s Suzette Meyers, a spokeswoman with Idaho Kind, thinks there’s a way to change that. A multiple stroke survivor, she’s fought for medical marijuana in Arizona, and now she’s doing the same in Idaho. She believes Idaho’s citizens are a lot more moderate than their Legislature, and so a voter initiative is the best bet for legalization. To get on the ballot next year, they’ll need to wrangle more than 65,000 voter signatures by April 30, 2022. “Slow and steady wins the race,” Meyers says. She previews two main arguments. First, there’s emotional engagement, stories about family members who got sick or even died who didn’t have access to cannabis. And then there’s the state-rivalry angle that the Medicaid expansion folks successfully deployed a few years ago. “We’re spending millions of dollars,” she says. “Idaho’s hardearned money is going to other states. We should be saving and keeping it.” — DANIEL WALTERS

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THE POSTPANDEMIC BUZZ Whether or not state regulators let curbside cannabis pickup continue, online ordering is probably here to stay BY WILL MAUPIN

S

ince the first statewide coronavirus shutdown went into place in March 2020, businesses have had to come up with creative ways to keep their customers happy while also keeping them healthy. For many, the day when mask mandates are no longer required and plexiglass barriers can come down can’t come soon enough. But that’s not to say every pandemicinduced innovation will be shoved out the door as soon as it’s safe to do so. For Washington’s still-young cannabis industry, some of the adaptations that kept businesses open during the pandemic aren’t going to just stick: They will help the industry grow going forward. “The response to online ordering and curbside pickup was very positive and has only grown since March of last year,” says Keegan

18 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

McClung, marketing director at Cinder, a cannabis retailer with three Spokane area locations. “Cinder’s online sales almost tripled as people switched away from shopping in-store to shopping online at the beginning of the pandemic.” Like the restaurant industry, cannabis retailers in the state pivoted to a takeout-style, curbside pickup model. Unlike restaurants, however, many of which already offered those services, cannabis retailers needed permission from the state to do so. Curbside pickup was not allowed for recreational retailers prior to Gov. Jay Inslee’s statewide shutdown order. Due to the need to practice social distancing, the State Liquor and Cannabis Board quickly allowed for curbside pickup at both medical and recreational retailers. However, the board did so on a temporary basis, only for as long as the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.


As of now, the service is still allowed. For how much longer, though, is unclear. “I think allowing curbside pickup has been a huge success. I preferred shopping that way for my groceries pre-COVID-19,” McClung says. “Sometimes I want to have a budtender nerd out with me on strains and products, but I want a grab-and-go experience after a long day of working when I want to get home. Allowing the customer to shop how they feel comfortable is vital to Cinder, so I hope that the [Liquor and Cannabis Board] enables it to stay.”

experience. But if you’re looking for something specific, like an ounce of Novo Dia’s Sour Tangie or a 1-gram preroll of Phat Panda’s Romulan, products only available at select retailers, a quick online search will save you from making multiple calls or stops around town. “Now you can browse our entire store on your couch,” McClung says. One service that wasn’t opened up to cannabis under the shutdown order was delivery. Food, grocery and even alcohol delivery services became lifesavers for many during the pandemic. For cannabis, however, consumers had to leave the house — despite cannabis businesses being deemed essential from Day One of Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” plan. According to research by Cannabis Business Times, 14 states allow for some form of cannabis delivery. Washington is not among them. “Cannabis delivery is enormous in the states where it’s available,” McClung says. “Washington already allows alcohol delivery, so that seems like the next step to me.” For now, delivery is an issue for the future. Retailers first have to hope the Liquor and Cannabis Board listens to their calls to keep curbside pickup once the pandemic restrictions are fully phased out. Even if the board chooses to scrap curbside pickup and steer clear of delivery going forward, retailers and consumers alike can rest assured that online ordering, if nothing else, is a positive to come out of the pandemic. n

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Feeling down? Spark it up and stream these upbeat films

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BY NATHAN WEINBENDER

t’s been a rough year, and many of us have retreated into exclusively upbeat, glass-half-full entertainment to offset the intensity and unpredictability of the world outside. If you’re looking to light up and tune out, allow us to recommend a handful of hopeful, idealistic films that will accomplish this. Many of them are off the beaten path, but all of them will lift your spirits while you bliss out.

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LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986) Rango

NETFLIX

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (2016)

Shortly before he became a Marvel-directing, Oscar-winning juggernaut, Taika Waititi made this impossible-to-resist comedy about a juvenile delinquent (Julian Dennison) and an irascible farmhand (Sam Neill) surviving out in the Outback, while child services is on their trail. Wilderpeople was a massive hit in its native New Zealand and has developed a cult in the U.S., and its brand of deadpan slapstick is going to be explosively funny when you’re a few tokes deep.

RANGO (2011) EXCLUDES ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Little Shop of Horrors

Who would have thought we needed a family-friendly cartoon paying homage to Sergio Leone and Akira Kurosawa? Rango is a delightfully weird animated comedy about a neurotic chameleon who wanders into a dry desert town and stumbles into the role of sheriff, eventually going scaly head to scaly head with a rattlesnake gang leader. It’s not just for kids, and its off-kilter visual style will surely pop when you’re under the influence.

Based on a Broadway hit, itself inspired by a 1960 Roger Corman quickie, Frank Oz’s delightfully macabre horror musical gets big laughs and catchy tunes out of the story of a meek florist’s assistant and the bloodthirsty alien plant whose appetites he satiates. The cast is great — Rick Moranis as the dorky hero, Ellen Green as his breathy love interest, Steve Martin as a masochistic dentist — and Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs provides the voice for the man-eating Audrey II.

TOYS (1992)

OK, Toys is a bad movie. Really bad. Barry Levinson’s twee comedy stars Robin Williams as a young-at-heart weirdo who must rescue his late father’s toy factory from the clutches of his militaristic uncle, and it has the look and feel of a children’s film but with creepy sexual undertones of something more adult. If you’re high, none of that will matter, though, because the movie’s candy-colored set design would be super awesome while under the influence. It also gets bonus points for having some scenes shot near Rosalia, Washington.

The Truman Show

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AMAZON PRIME TOP SECRET! (1984)

Tom Hanks wrote and directed this buoyant comedy set in the era of Beatlemania, when a Pennsylvania rock band has a surprise hit single and blows up overnight. The movie is bright and colorful, boasts a cast of young up-and-comers (Steve Zahn, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron) and the Oscar-nominated title tune by late Fountains of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger is a fake-pop gem.

In between Airplane! and the Naked Gun series, the Zucker-ZuckerAbrahams team turned in this bizarre, riotous parody of both spy thrillers and teen beach party musicals, starring Val Kilmer as a surfrock heartthrob who’s embroiled in a scheme to halt the creation of an East German super weapon. It’s full of unbelievably silly set pieces — an underwater saloon fight, an entire scene filmed in reverse, a Rambo-like shootout involving French militants — that are guaranteed to give you the giggles.

THE TRIP SERIES (2010-2020)

THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998)

THAT THING YOU DO! (1996)

Comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have teamed up with director Michael Winterbottom for four TV specials in which they visit beautiful places, eat decadent food and riff off each other, complete with their arsenal of celebrity impressions. Those series have been edited into feature length for American distribution, and the quartet of Trip films is now on Hulu. They’ll make you laugh, and they’ll make you hungry.

The less you know about The Truman Show, the better. I’m imagining a stoned viewer discovering the secrets of this brilliant, sensitive fantasy for the first time, and I bet it’s a trip. Jim Carrey plays a painfully ordinary guy living a cookie-cutter existence in his idyllic small town, but he starts to notice small idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies that make him question the very nature of existence. Light up and let it blow your mind. n


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APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 21


c

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STAR SEARCH

Celebrities are joining the cannabis business in droves; we imagine how their products stand out BY DAN NAILEN

C

elebrities have been known to slap their name or likeness on almost anything to make an extra buck. Why should recreational marijuana be any different? As legal cannabis becomes more commonplace across the country, celebrities are trotting out all manner of products to cash in, including specific strains that have the stamp of approval from said celebs, as well as the tools of the getting-high trade. Actually sampling all the star-endorsed pot products would take a lot of money, travel and recovery time, so we put our thinking caps on to imagine what a celeb’s product might be like, based on the star on the label.

WILLIE NELSON WILLIE’S RESERVE

(a)

Willie is arguably the most famous stoner on the planet — all due respect to Snoop Dogg. At the very least, the country legend is the oldest famous toker. And considering how long Willie’s been hitting the green and how he’s always been able to put on a great show, we imagine his brand of leaf and edibles keeps a long-running, pleasant buzz, but not one that knocks you off your feet.

SNOOP DOGG LEAFS BY SNOOP

(b)

When a guy smokes as much as Snoop (and raps about it, talks about it, makes videos about it, etc.), you expect the stuff to pack a punch. Looking at the wild swings Snoop’s made in his career, including stints as a violent gangster rapper, a cuddly youth football coach, a parttime Rastafarian and TV co-host with Martha Stewart, I’m going to guess Leafs By Snoop’s strains are unpredictably potent.

also co-hosts Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, so she’s learned a trick or two from Snoop Dogg. Maybe just from inhaling his secondary smoke. Stewart teamed with Canadian cannabis company Canopy to develop a line of branded CBD products, including some for pets. Get ready to soothe those aches and pains and probably get into some crafting.

TOMMY CHONG

TOMMY CHONG’S CANNABIS

(d)

As half of the comedy team Cheech & Chong, Tommy Chong pioneered pot humor in the ’70s and ’80s. Looking back on movies like Up In Smoke and Nice Dreams, there’s no denying his comic chops, nor the juvenile nature of the jokes. Chong’s namesake weed will likely have you giggling at the dumbest things imaginable for hours on end. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

JIM BELUSHI BELUSHI’S FARM

(e)

Playing roles big and boisterous is the calling card of Jim Belushi, as it was for his older comedian brother, John. And even if you like to partake in order to mellow out and chill, I’m guessing Belushi’s Oregon-only products will give you a serious case of the munchies.

ICE CUBE FRYDAY KUSH

(f)

The gangster-rap legend turned movie star is no dummy; tying the name of his first cannabis product to his modern stoner classic Friday is just savvy. Washingtonians will have to wait a bit before it arrives here, but when Fryday Kush does, expect it to start out aggressive and then mellow out nicely, just like its creator.

MARTHA STEWART

BRENDAN HILL

Sure, Martha’s image is that of the incredibly proper and classy maven of decoration, dining and etiquette, but she

Hill set up shop for his weed company on Bainbridge

MARTHA STEWART CBD

22 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

(c)

OF BLUES TRAVELER PAPER & LEAF

Island — not a bad transition from the hard touring life of a musician. If I had to guess the powers of his Paper & Leaf products based on Blues Traveler’s music, I’d guess the high goes on way too long, and inspires a few too many harmonica solos.

SETH ROGEN HOUSEPLANT

(g)

You’ll have to travel to California or our neighbor Canada to sample Seth Rogen’s company, but I think we can trust the jovial, weed-centric actor to know his way around a quality product. A puff or two of the Houseplant probably inspires some creativity. Have you seen the homemade pottery Rogen’s churned out during the pandemic?

KEVIN SMITH & JASON MEWES FAMOUS BRANDZ

If you don’t recognize them by name, Smith and Mewes are better known as Jay and Silent Bob, the long-running stoner slackers from director Smith’s movies like Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Their Famous Brandz isn’t a cannabis company, but rather makes the tools you need like bongs, pipes and the like. And if they’re anything like the Jay and Silent Bob movies, they’re probably great at first, and become unbelievably terrible the longer you keep them around.

BELLA THORNE FORBIDDEN FLOWERS

(h)

Thorne has turned a career launched on the Disney Channel into a bizarre mix of trashy horror movies, questionable music releases, profitable OnlyFans appearances and now Forbidden Flowers, her own cannabis line. They claim the weed is “sexy, cheeky and an embodiment of her free-spirited nature.” I’m guessing if I smoked some, I’d spend most of the aftermath still wondering who the hell Bella Thorne is. n


APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 23


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WEEDING OUT APPLICANTS Marijuana is legal — but is still costing people their jobs

I

BY DANIEL WALTERS

t’s a strange sort of hypocrisy where a politician is loose and libertarian from the debate lectern, but a quiet moralist behind closed doors. President Joe Biden has said he wants to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possessing it. But when it came to his own staff, smoking marijuana in the past — even in places like Washington state or Washington, D.C., where the substance is legal — would put their job with the Biden administration in jeopardy. As the Daily Beast reported last month, dozens of Biden staffers were suspended, relocated or forced to resign after admitting on a job questionnaire to using cannabis in the past. Though Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said

there were “additional factors at play” for the five employees who were actually terminated, it underscored the problem. In many states, cannabis is a rare legal substance where even off-duty use is banned, and previous use can prevent your hiring. While the Spokane Police Department doesn’t arrest people anymore for just smoking marijuana, it still doesn’t want active marijuana users on the force. “It’s hiring standards,” says Spokane Police Department spokeswoman Julie Humphreys. “Anybody who has used or has been in possession of marijuana as an adult within one year prior to their application, they’d be automatically disqualified.”


Lie about it, and you better hope you can pass the polygraph if you want to get hired. But maybe that’s to be expected — narcotics officers are known for being, well, narcs. But Washington state Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, says these sorts of restrictions are pervasive in other professions as well. “I have heard from business owners from a car dealership that had a hard time finding qualified people to work for their repair shop,” Kloba says. It wasn’t that they themselves cared about prior marijuana use, she says. It was an insurance issue. “Their insurer would insist on their drug-free workplace,” she says. In Washington state, there are few protections from being fired for smoking pot even off the job. The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that an employee can’t sue because they were fired for using medical marijuana at home. But other states have taken a different tack. In Nevada, for example, it’s illegal for employers to refuse to hire someone just because a drug test turned up the presence of cannabis. Last year, Kloba introduced a bill to do the same for Washington. But she quickly found that it was complicated. Some industries, like trucking and hospitals, reasonably felt like it was important to be able to prevent hiring someone who regularly used marijuana. “Their pushback was, ‘You clearly don’t want to have a surgeon or someone who’s got your life in their hands’” to be high, Kloba says. “We have to thread the needle of maintaining public safety.” John Tirpak, director of the Unemployment Law Project, says that some important jobs, like being a pilot, rely on the certainty of sobriety. Nobody wants their pilot to fly their plane high any more than they want to see them drunk. And yet, Kloba points out, we don’t fire people for getting drunk in their off-hours, as long as they show up for work the next day sober. The problem is that marijuna tests are good for detecting cannabis in your system, but lousy at determining whether you’re actually high or not. “Sometimes we’ll see a case for somebody who is not under the influence at work, but it shows up in a test,” says Tirpak. “With alcohol, you can consume a lot of it on a Saturday night and then on Monday morning you’d be clear. With cannabis, it stays in your system and will show up for testing long after.” That’s why Kloba says she wants to “spur the research into impairment.” Tests can still show the presence of THC in your system more than a month after you last smoked. So the big question is, how do you know whether they’re actually unsafe to, say, drive or fly? Kloba says she wants to learn more. She says there’s a lot more that needs to be discussed, but addressing the issue is something that she’s still interested in. “If somebody smoked a joint last Wednesday, is it reasonable to think they can’t do their job?” Kloba says. “To me, that is unreasonable.” n

Marijuana use increases the risk of lower grades and dropping out of school. Talk with your kids.

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APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 25


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n late February, law enforcement officers, attorneys and politicians around the state were shocked by a Washington Supreme Court decision that found the state’s criminal drug possession law to be unconstitutional. At issue in the case was whether someone could be found guilty of a crime for unknowingly possessing drugs. The case involves a woman from Spokane who was convicted of meth possession after drugs were found in a pocket of the jeans she was wearing while being booked into jail on suspicion of a different crime. The woman said her friend gave her the pants and she hadn’t known the meth was there. But unlike every other state in the country, Washington’s law didn’t require prosecutors to prove that someone knowingly possessed drugs in order to convict them of simple possession. Lawmakers have known for years that including language about proving “intent” was advisable, so the court found that, as written, the law is unconstitutional. The ruling created a gap in legality. As a result, people are not being arrested or charged for simple possession, pending charges have been dropped, and lawmakers are scrambling to find a fix to the rule before the end of session, which is scheduled for April 25. The decision also raised immediate issues for court systems. Depending on the details of their case, people currently serving time for drug crimes may need to be resentenced. The state Department of Corrections estimated in March that fewer than 100 people statewide are currently incarcerated on a simple possession conviction, and fewer than 7,000 are on community supervision. Meanwhile, thousands of individuals were either incarcerated or under community supervision due to a simple possession conviction in addition to a conviction for another crime. If the ruling applies retroactively, and those convicted of simple possession in the past could have their felonies overturned, counties could also be required to refund fees people had to pay as part of their punishment called legal financial obligations. The news site Crosscut reported that could amount to as much as $47 million, not counting the additional costs associated with resentencing or hearing cases. Lawmakers have proposed several fixes. One proposal would allow local jurisdictions to create their own criminal possession laws, as Grant County recently did. But that bill has yet to get a hearing and the end of session is fast approaching.

Another proposal, Senate Bill 5476, has been more successful in getting in front of a committee, and could transform the way personal drug use is handled across the state, directing people to treatment instead of jail cells.

PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH

SB 5476 would decriminalize possession of personal use amounts of drugs and set definitions for what that means for substances including heroin, meth, oxycodone, methadone, cocaine, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin (found in psychedelic mushrooms). It would still be illegal to possess more than personal amounts of those drugs, and it would be a gross misdemeanor for anyone under 21 to possess any amount of a controlled substance (previously a felony). The bill was brought forward by Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, who was a senior deputy prosecuting attorney in King County for 19 years. During that time, she helped create and lead their therapeutic alternative unit, helped expand and run their mental health court, and was a crisis training instructor for law enforcement officers. Under the bill, those found in possession of a personal amount could be referred to what’s known as a forensic navigator, who could help them find treatment for substance use disorder. A similar program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) has been in place in Seattle for years, with officers directing those found with personal amounts of drugs to treatment instead of jail. That type of programming could expand statewide under this framework. “Twenty-seven years ago, when we funded our first drug diversion court, that’s when we started our journey with recognizing that jails and prisons were not the answer for substance use disorder,” Dhingra said during an April 5 public hearing on the bill before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Two days later, Dhingra tells the Inlander that she believes the bill would help the state treat addiction as a public health issue, which would better align with what professionals have learned are the best ways to successfully rehabilitate people. “I don’t think our electeds are at the point in time of saying we need [full] decriminalization,” Dhingra says. “However, what we have seen since we started down this public health approach 27 years ago is that the more opportunities you can provide for treatment earlier on, when people are given that opportunity and accept it, their


success rate is extremely high.” Despite the significant upfront costs of getting diversion and treatment programs up and running, state and local agencies would likely save money in the long run, and people could have a better chance at success, she says. Several affected groups weighed in on the bill during the April 5 public hearing, with multiple people in favor of the bill noting the outsized impact that the war on drugs has had on people of color. Among those voicing their support was Kurtis Robinson, executive director of Spokane-based organization I Did the Time, which helps people overcome barriers to success that exist due to their past convictions. “I am a living product of the fact that treatment works and it is a necessary intervention to bring people from a place of social isolation to a place of meaningful engagement in the community,” Robinson tells lawmakers during the hearing. Carmen Pacheco-Jones, director of the Health and Justice Recovery Alliance in Spokane, shares her own story of getting arrested two weeks after her 18th birthday on a shoplifting warrant and being found with $20 worth of heroin. She detoxed in jail, but as soon as she was released she says she was right back in the same situation, cycling in and out of the justice system until she managed to get clean. “Traumatized individuals need humanized treatment to begin the road to recovery,” Pacheco-Jones tells the committee, urging them to support the bill.

ADVANCING NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH IN THE INLAND NORTHWEST AND AROUND THE WORLD

A state Senate bill would decriminalize possession of personal use amounts of drugs and set definitions for what that means for substances including heroin, meth and psilocybin. But not everyone is a fan of the proposed changes. For cities, dropping the drug crimes for those under 21 down to a gross misdemeanor could mean their courts would have to take on those cases, which previously went to superior courts. To address that last concern, Dhingra says she plans to introduce an amendment to her bill that would give the juvenile court system, which already uses treatment as a priority, oversight of possession charges for those 18 to just under 21 years old. Others asked about unintended consequences. A prosecutor asked if there would be as much incentive for people to agree to treatment without the potential consequence of a criminal charge. A representative for a law enforcement group said the bill could make it harder for officers to arrest the dealers who sell to those struggling with addiction. Dhingra says that the bill doesn’t remove the elements of the law that allow for someone to be committed to treatment if they’re a danger to themselves or others, and those who are causing other issues can still be held criminally accountable. “The honest truth about this stuff is that the individuals who are really problematic for law enforcement, they’re engaging in other illegal activity, so if they really want to hold them criminally responsible, they have other avenues of doing it,” Dhingra says. “There needs to be this understanding that with substance use disorder, it really needs to be a public health approach.” n

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CRAFTING

MAKE IT

MINI

The pieces may be small, but miniatures are a growing part of the craft scene BY NATALIE RIETH

L

ast March I went on a frantic, crafting dash. I grabbed my keys, and drove to Michaels Arts and Crafts, soaking in every moment of the drive, of normal life. Scanning every aisle from the very front to the back of the store, I grabbed acrylic paint, watercolors, paint brushes, embroidery thread, sewing needles — anything I thought would keep me occupied for the uncertain lockdown timeframe. As a last addition to my crafting supply haul, I decided to check Amazon, where I was introduced to the surprisingly extensive world of miniatures and dollhouses. I browsed through coffeehouses with coffeemaking appliances, the tiniest cups of coffee, and cozy, homey coffeehouse seating; green rooms filled with paper plants and flowers, gardening tools and birdhouses; and even holiday-themed kits. I selected the kit I felt embodied my own future living room — that I personally envision set in a bright, modern themed studio apartment in bustling New York City — made a quick purchase and waited restlessly for its delivery. I was most excited for the blue, velvet statement couch that I would be creating, not knowing that it would be one of the most laboriously frustrating steps of the creation process — but one that proved well worth it in the end.

“I ABOVE: Bobbi Jo’s skills on display. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO RIGHT: The author’s vision of her NYC dream apartment. NATALIE RIETH PHOTO

28 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

t’s something that is inherent within you — you just like small things,” says Bobbi Jo (Barbara) Krakenberg, miniature hobbyist and owner of Bobbi Jo’s Miniatures and Dollhouses in Spokane Valley. “They just catch your attention, and you go from there.”

Unlike crafting hobbies that are shortterm projects, miniatures take time, creativity and searching to achieve the perfect theme or look that is the desired vision. Krakenberg, who has been an avid miniature hobbyist since receiving her first For more photos of Bobbi Jo’s dollhouse as a Miniatures and Dollhouses, child, personvisit Inlander.com/slideshows ally designs and searches for specific pieces to enhance each of her prolonged projects — unlike the rapid, pre-organized online Amazon purchase I had made. Her 22-year-old store is mostly found by fellow miniature hobbyists through word of mouth. Miniatures, she says, is a lifetime hobby. Krakenberg believes that websites like Amazon have helped spark interest in the miniature world by giving people easy access to pre-assembled kits that provide a simple introduction to the niche, unique, often unheard of craft. For beginners, Krakenberg and her close friend Marilee Goldthorpe, treasurer of the Spokane Miniature Society, recommend starting off small with beginner kits. From there, you can let your new crafting skills and creativity guide you to a larger, more intricate, more personal project. Krakenberg says building miniatures is a hobby that depends on opportunity, as you never know what miniature surprises you will run into along the way in life. As you search for the perfect furniture and accessories, she advises asking yourself questions like: “What am I going to be putting in that corner?” or “What can I find to make this house a home?” “Maybe you’re going shopping or in a candy shop, and all of a sudden here’s this tiny small chest — your eyes go right to it,” Krakenberg says. Goldthorpe says the hobby has taken


her as far as Europe. Her boulangerie/patisserie, which incorporates finds from France, and other travelthemed projects remind her of times with friends — those met abroad and those at the Spokane Miniature Society — who share her passion for creating miniatures. “It just has broadened [my] horizons, not just with miniatures, but worldwide and with people who are also supportive of each other,” Goldthorpe says.

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hen my kit arrived, I immediately opened its packaging, took in its extensive instruction manual — took a few deep breaths and reminded myself in a dramatic whisper, “You can do this, Natalie” — and began to sort all the needed supplies into piles. At one end of my crafting-dedicated table were paper materials for decorative plants and accessories and fabric to cover furniture — like that lovely yet painstaking velvet statement couch — and at the other were beads, wire, pre-cut pieces for furniture and the structure of the scene that I hand-painted before assembly. As someone who cannot bear to stop when beginning a project like this — I mean days of sitting in the same chair with sticky Gorilla Glue fingers, tired eyes and countless mugs of coffee to fuel me — I finally finished after about a week of work. And even though the process was difficult and extremely frustrating at times, just the sight of my creation gave me happiness amid the chaos of the world. I just sat and admired it. My completed creation included a statement wall of bright framed prints, a coffee table with magazines and a vase of flowers, a bookshelf with the most charming record player on top, potted plants, a guitar in the corner, and in the center, that dreaded, lovely navy blue statement couch. “It’s something that you dream about, you think about at night,” says Krakenberg. “It’s just life in miniature.” But it feels so much bigger somehow. n

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CULTURE | DIGEST

Cooking Without a Net COLORFUL DAYS AHEAD Enter the Inlander offices and one of the first things you see is a big ol’ Ric Gendron painting, a bright burst of life and music. Gendron is a member of the Arrow Lakes Band of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, and his work veers between incisive looks at contemporary Native life and passionate explorations of Gendron’s love of music. There’s a new GoFundMe campaign designed to help Gendron produce a second book of his art (his 2012 book Rattlebone is a gem) and promote his work beyond the Inland Northwest. Fans and art lovers can check that out at gofundme.com/f/help-native-artist-ricgendrons-artistic-outreach. (DAN NAILEN)

T

BY DANIEL WALTERS

he worst part of cooking isn’t the chopping or even the dishwashing. It’s the measuring. It’s the irritation of needing to keep looking back at the recipe — either peering at a cookbook or magazine or trying to scrawl through your cellphone with wet hands — to find out out if it’s a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne or a 1/4 tablespoon of smoked paprika. It’s the irritation of needing to clatter around your kitchen in a panic for the measuring spoons or the measuring cups — are they in the drawers? on the hooks? buried under a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink? — before the garlic burns. Into this space comes the New York Times’ paradoxically titled No-Recipe Recipes cookbook. Your traditional New York Times recipe is exact. Precise. Tightly honed. Their ingredient lists are generally fairly long — with at least one either controversial (peas? In my guacamole??) or obscure (1 dodo tongue, minced) — and demand to be measured.

THE BUZZ BIN But No-Recipes Recipes is something more anarchic.

THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST There’s noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online April 16. To wit: ERIC CHURCH, Heart. Savvy announcing a massive tour right before releasing a new EP. He’ll be in Spokane next April. GRETA VAN FLEET, The Battle At Garden’s Gate. Watched the vid for “Heat Above,” and I gotta admit, the bombast is Darkness-esque. JULIA STONE, Sixty Summers. Her first solo album in eight years includes several collaborations with St. Vincent. Smart. (DAN NAILEN)

30 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

The ingredient lists are comically simple. One recipe calls only for “tomatoes” and “butter” while another is somehow even more casual, asking for “Instant Ramen” and “stuff from the fridge.” And they don’t come with numbers. Gone are the mixed numeral fractions, the half-teaspoons, the sugar weighted to the gram. Instead, it’s closer to your grandma describing an old family recipe over the phone: “a scattering of red pepper flakes,” a “glug of olive oil,” a “generous spoonful of mayonnaise,” a “splash of soy sauce” or a “shower of pepper.” Even the cooking times and temperatures are often absent. Pork belly should be broiled “until it’s crisp, glistening and cooked all the way through.” This path, especially for an inexperienced wanna-be chef like me, is filled with snares and pitfalls. I cooked my pork belly until it was overly chewy. I doused my shaved cucumber salad in far too much ginger-peanut. But I also felt myself understanding cooking more effectively. Remove the precision of the formula and you start to see how the cooking actually works: how to swap out one ingredient for another, how to fix flavors and how to save sauces. Best of all, it adds a glug of joy to the process. Cooking turns faster and looser. Imprecision is speed. And imperfection is freedom. In this mode, I’m not exactly Emeril or Alton Brown. Instead, I’m closer to the Swedish Chef Muppet, chopping at vegetables like a madman, tossing in whatever catches my eye in a blur of chaos. Does it taste good? Doesn’t matter, I’m babbling joyful gibberish either way. n

CRAZY STUPID LOVE I’d need more than a mere blurb to dig into the plot of the genre-bending new film Happily, but let’s say it’s a Jordan Peele-esque allegory about the nature of marriage and fidelity that involves a group of friends, an isolated house, a roomful of guns, a bunch of buried secrets, two vials of truth serum and one very inconvenient corpse. It’s… weird. The movie’s final act may be seriously underbaked, but it’s tantalizingly mysterious for most of its runtime, and its cast includes Joel McHale, Stephen Root, Natalie Morales, Paul Scheer, Jon Daly and other comic ringers. Give it a try: It’s now available as a digital rental. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)

MAGIC ON THE GO More than three years after its PC beta launch, Magic: The Gathering Arena has gone mobile. The digital platform for the 28-year-old collectible card game was released for iOS and Android in March, allowing players to sling spells with friends (and foes) on the go. I’ve already spent many an evening curled up on the couch playing on an iPad, a cozier experience that I prefer over additional hours at a desk. MTG Arena is completely free, and a cool new set called Strixhaven, themed around a school of wizardry, comes out in mid-April. (CHEY SCOTT)

I’LL HAVE ANOTHER As any joyous drinker knows, something profound and wonderful and life-affirming and … all that shit, all that heartfelt, a-little-too-honest stuff comes pouring out when a good bottle is cracked open. Why can’t it be this way always? It’s a question four middle-aged Danish men ponder in Thomas Vinterberg’s 2020 film Another Round, which has earned Vinterberg an Oscar nom for directing and for best international feature film, starring a mesmerizing Mads Mikkelsen. This film is at once funny and dark and wild-eyed and silly and unbelievable and heartbreaking — like an epic night on the town. Stream it on Hulu before the Oscars on April 25. (JACOB H. FRIES)


LOCAL GOODS

Spokane chef Joseph O’Neal is launching a new line of chili oils.

YOUNG KWAK PHOTO

Hot Stuff Spokane chef Joseph O’Neal is launching a line of chili oils, plus a new partnership with Hello Sugar doughnuts BY CHEY SCOTT

T

he latest stop on Joseph O’Neal’s culinary journey, one that began 13 years ago, is packing some serious heat. Having cut his teeth at several restaurants around the region, including Tony Brown’s celebrated spot Ruins for six years, O’Neal is poised to debut his own line of chili oils, a project expedited this past year when O’Neal found himself with spare time after the pandemic’s onset. “I had all this free time and over 100 cookbooks, so I started grabbing a cookbook and would learn to make that [food] and share with friends. Then it came down to a chili oil that blew my mind, and I was like, ‘All right, where can you buy this?’” he recalls. “You can buy cheap stuff at the Asian market, and it’s fine. It works, I guess, but the stuff I made with my friends was way better.” O’Neal started working on recipes while continu-

ing to test his spicy creations on friends, and is now on the cusp of launching three flavor varieties through his brand CHNO Chili Oil. He’s taking preorders through social media (Instagram and Facebook), and the oils will be available as soon as an inspection is completed at the commissary kitchen he’s using for production. Around the same time, O’Neal also began partnering with Hello Sugar doughnuts to craft a menu of savory doughnuts to grow the three-location local chain’s menu beyond sweeter treats. The collaboration debuted in early April with the first monthly featured flavor, “Spice Girl,” a mini doughnut topped with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, chipotle mayo, Cotija cheese, onion dust and cilantro. “They approached me last year about creating a savory doughnut menu, and my mind went nuts over it,” O’Neal says. “We were waiting for COVID to calm down, and finally the day has come.”

The special savory treats are available at all three Hello Sugar locations (Kendall Yards, Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake) and will rotate monthly. Coming up next is a doughnut inspired by okonomiyaki, a savory, Japanese pancake. Another forthcoming mashup is inspired by Chick-fil-A’s signature chicken sandwich. Pizza doughnuts are also on the way, O’Neal says.

P

erfecting a recipe for chili oil was a deep dive into culinary science, a process that O’Neal relished. “My brain is weird. Like, I really enjoy food science — temperatures, times and fermentation and all that,” he says. The process to make chili oil begins by pouring incredibly hot oil over a blend of dried spices and allowing the mixture to steep. O’Neal uses spices from Spokanebased Spiceology, which he then steeps in a neutral oil. ...continued on next page

APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 31


FOOD | LOCAL GOODS “HOT STUFF,” CONTINUED... “It’s basically like steeping a huge bowl of tea, in a sense,” he says, cautioning that it’s also best not to inhale the resulting aroma, or it’ll hurt. “The hot oil makes the spices bloom, and to do that you need fat, and it also changes the flavor of the spices and makes it more nutty,” O’Neal continues. “In my experience, I got it to the point where it almost burns but doesn’t, that magic number, which in my opinion brings the flavor out so much more.” After perfecting the process of steeping spices in hot oil, O’Neal worked to hone several distinct flavor profiles. CHNO is launching with a lineup of three signature spices: Nashville Hot, Sichuan Mala and Thai. Each of the blends can be applied like a condiment to elevate dishes like the titular Nashville Hot chicken sandwich, and Thai or Chinese food. O’Neal’s Nashville Hot oil balances cayenne, garlic, onion, cumin, paprika and other spices with dark brown sugar and salt. He says the heat level is about two out of five, but that “a little bit goes a long way.” “Stir it up like you would peanut butter and drizzle it on top like hot sauce,” he recommends. O’Neal’s Sichuan Mala oil offers that characteristic numbing sensation found in Sichuan cuisine, thanks to inclusion of Sichuan peppercorns. It’s the spiciest of the three, at three out of five stars. “The heat comes from chili de arboles, bird’s eye chilis and a blend of warm spices with brown sugar,” he says. “The black cardamom allows it to shine. It’s one of my favorite spices in the world — it’s basically old cardamom before it falls off the tree, and they smoke it for hours and hours.”

CHNO is launching with Thai, Nashville Hot and Sichuan Mala flavors.

YOUNG KWAK PHOTO

Third up in CHNO’s debut lineup is a Thai-style oil, for which O’Neal has created a custom curry blend that includes palm sugar, dried lime leaf and anchovy fish salt. It’s also a two out of five on the heat scale. “Down the road, we’ll do one that blows your face off” with the spice level, he adds. Chili oil has a stable and relatively long shelf life, and O’Neal says “the longer it sits, the better it tastes.” “The other cool thing about chili oil is that no one is really doing it. A few people online, but where can you buy Nashville Hot chicken oil? You can’t.” To get CHNO Chili Oil into the hands of home cooks, O’Neal plans to partner with several local retailers and has been in talks with some already, like the Rocket Market. He’s also been approved to sell on Amazon, allowing him to reach beyond the Spokane market. The name for the brand is a nod to the chemical formula for capsaicin (C18H27NO3), the compound in chili peppers that produces a spicy, burning sensation. The chemical irritant is an evolutionary defense mechanism in chili plants, which rely on birds, not mammals, to disperse their seeds. (Mammals’ molars destroy the seeds, but birds can pass them through the digestive tract unharmed to germinate later.) “This is all just turning a passion into wanting to be able to share the burning in my mouth, and I want to share flavors to people that don’t know about them,” O’Neal says. “I would love to educate.” n For updates on CHNO Chili Oil, follow @chno_chili_oils on Instagram.

32 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021


FESTIVAL

SIFF YOU PLEASE

Authors, Muppets and Spokane take the spotlight at the ongoing virtual Seattle International Film Festival BY NATHAN WEINBENDER

E

very spring, I look forward to heading across the state for the Seattle International Film Festival, where I usually spend five or six movie-filled days, devouring an unhealthy number of Dick’s burgers in between screenings. 2020, of course, had different plans for all of us. After a hiatus last year, SIFF is returning via online platforms for its 2021 edition, offering 92 features and even more shorts, as well as filmmaker Q&As and virtual hangouts. I attended (from my couch, of course) this past weekend, and here are some of the highlights from my first few days at the festival. All of these titles will be available as on-demand rentals through the end of the festival on April 18.

ALL THOSE SMALL THINGS

James Faulkner, who’s been in everything from I, Claudius to Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, stars as a veteran game show presenter who’s living in London and reeling from the unexpected death of a friend. He receives a letter from a fan in Eastern Washington that inspires him to hop on a plane and head this way, where he encounters dive bars, seedy motels and an aspiring rapper living in an ultra-modern house in the middle of nowhere — you know, Spokane! What follows is a pretty standard fish-out-of-water comedy, as Faulkner learns to become less uptight by way of wacky shopping montages and a third-act change of heart. You can still have a lot of fun spotting all the Inland Northwest locations, including Hogwash Whiskey Den, the Bull Head Saloon, North Bowl and various shops in the Garland district.

AMY TAN: UNINTENDED MEMOIR

Novelist Amy Tan exploded onto the literary scene with her 1989 debut The Joy Luck Club, an exploration of mother-daughter relationships in the Chinese-American community that resonated with mainstream audiences while drawing criticism for the way she portrayed Asian characters. The new documentary Unintended Memoir, the final film from late director James Redford, looks at Tan’s

literary legacy but also at her turbulent past, which involved two childhood tragedies and a fraught relationship with her own mother, whose stories inspired Tan’s bestknown work. If you’re only familiar with Tan through The Joy Luck Club, this will bring so much more context to that powerful book. The film premieres on PBS on May 3 as part of its American Masters series.

IN THE SAME BREATH

Documentarian Nanfu Wang previously examined the sociopolitical inner workings of her native China in One Child Nation, and this time she trains her cameras on Wuhan in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the Same Breath looks at how medical professionals trying to sound the alarm were actively silenced, how President Xi downplayed the crisis to the public, and how the government parroted questionable talking points and allegedly covered up death numbers. Of course, the U.S. response wasn’t any better, and one of the film’s most effective passages juxtaposes China’s news footage with our own. It’s a harrowing watch, for obvious reasons, and it’s set to be released on HBO Max later this year.

MOGUL MOWGLI

A British-Pakistani rapper returns to his childhood home before embarking on a tour that will finally push him into the mainstream spotlight, only to discover he has a degenerative disease causing his muscles to atrophy. If this sounds a bit similar to the Oscar-nominated 2020 film Sound of Metal, you’re not far off, because both films star Riz Ahmed. This one, however, has been a pet project for Ahmed — he’s a rapper himself, and he co-wrote the script with director Bassam Tariq — and he is (no surprise) terrific in it. It doesn’t do itself any favors coming out on the heels of Metal, which is the superior film, but it differentiates itself by examining Ahmed’s own Muslim upbringing and what it means to be successful in that community.

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET

Who doesn’t love the Muppets? And who doesn’t want

Mogul Mowgli to watch a documentary about them? In fact, there have already been nonfiction features about the popularity of Elmo and Big Bird, but the new doc Street Gang focuses on the producers, directors, writers and network heads who first brought the groundbreaking series Sesame Street to the air. There’s plenty of history here that you might not know — how the show was specifically designed with inner-city children in mind, how it brought a newfound diversity to television screens, and how the children of its creators and stars feel about their parents’ legacy. It premieres on HBO April 23.

SUMMERTIME

If you saw 2018’s Blindspotting, you’ll no doubt remember the climax, which framed a dramatic confrontation in a burst of fiery hip-hop. Director Carlos López Estrada’s follow-up Summertime is like a feature-length extension of that scene, an unlikely combination of La La Land, Richard Linklater’s free-floating Slacker and a slam poetry performance. The film wanders around Los Angeles over the course of a single July day, and its diverse cross-section of characters — lonely hearts, rappers, graffiti artists, disgruntled fast-food workers, anti-gentrification activists — express their frustrations and observations through verse. Some parts are insufferable and others are inspired, so it’s kind of like your average open-mic night, but its sheer amiability won me over in the end.

THERE IS NO EVIL

The circumstances surrounding Mohammad Rasoulof’s latest film are as fascinating as the film itself. Because of the political underpinnings of his work, the Iranian director has been prohibited by his country’s government from making any new movies, yet he managed to make this one in secret and had it smuggled out of the country. It has since taken the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and is set for a U.S. theatrical release next month. There Is No Evil is an epic about morality and forgiveness, made up of four seemingly disconnected chapters that each explores Iran’s rigid system of capital punishment, with people on both sides of the gallows interacting in unexpected ways. It’s a powerful, twisty film that doesn’t end up where you think it might. n The Seattle International Film Festival continues through Sun, April 18. To see a full schedule, visit siff.net.

APRIL 15, 2021 INLANDER 33


ONLINE

Riff Ready

Hoffman Music son and father owners Allan (left) and Earl Smith YOUNG KWAK PHOTO

Hoffman Music is hosting virtual concerts, bringing [sounds] back to the beloved local shop BY NATHAN WEINBENDER

L

ast Thursday afternoon, the back corner of Hoffman Music transformed into a makeshift rock club for a few hours. The Heather King Band is on a small stage, a wall of brass horns and saxophones arranged artfully behind them, running through a sound check. They cover Alanis Morrisette and Bonnie Raitt and the Beatles, while Hoffman staff set the right audio levels and arrange a pair of cameras on tripods. In a couple hours, the band’s set will be streamed live through Hoffman’s Facebook and Instagram profiles, the latest in a series of virtual concerts hosted by the venerable Spokane music store. The store itself hasn’t had this much noise in quite some time. Hoffman owner Allan Smith says he has long wanted to bring live music into the store, with a focus on local music teachers and their students. That desire only increased during the pandemic, especially during the months when live music was a rare commodity. “I wanted to start bringing combos in from different schools and letting them perform, because right now, they can’t really perform for anyone,” Smith tells the Inlander. “It would give them something to really work for.” The first virtual Hoffman concert finally happened in December, when saxophonist and music professor David Larsen’s quartet performed a selection of Christmas songs on Facebook Live. Since that performance, the store has hosted several more, ranging from singersongwriter to acoustic rock to percussion-driven instrumentals. The concerts often occur during store hours, so customers can enjoy the music while they shop. The response from the performers has been overwhelmingly positive, Smith says, adding that even some

34 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

of the most seasoned performers have told him they’ve gotten pre-show jitters for the first time in years. “They love it,” Smith says. “Most of them come in here and tell me, ‘I haven’t been able to play in almost a year.’” Larsen, who performed during that first Hoffman concert, has been a regular customer at Hoffman Music for years. As the director of instrumental studies at Spokane Falls Community College, he has seen countless musicians, amateur and professional, put away their instruments since the pandemic began. “It was really hard on the students when it all first started,” Larsen says. “The whole reason they got into music was being in a room with people, talking to people, playing with people. A lot of people shut down in the early part of COVID.” Following the December concert, Larsen returned to the Hoffman stage in March with a group of fellow professors and students for jazz standards. Larsen says he’s back to in-person lessons and classes for now, which has rejuvenated a lot of his students. “As a musician, it’s just lonely doing all these Zoom things,” he says. “You sit there thinking, ‘I can play all these parts by myself, but I really wish I could be in a band.’” During the pandemic, in-person lessons at Hoffman Music also came to a halt, with most of them transitioning to Zoom sessions. Smith says that sales and rentals of brass and woodwind instruments have gone down in the year since quarantine began (this is likely because school band programs, responsible for a majority of those rentals, were on hold), while sales for guitars and drum

kits have gone up, as people decided to learn how to play during quarantine. Smith says most teachers who host lessons through Hoffman are still going the virtual route, though some (particularly those specializing in string instruments) are back to doing in-person, distanced lessons. And now that the store has its virtual studio up and running, all kinds of local musicians are trying to perform there: Smith says their roster is booked up to July, and the organizers have even considered hosting outdoor concerts when the weather is warmer. Upcoming performances include rock band Buffalo Jones on May 13 and the Celtic-leaning band Deep Roots on May 27. Larsen says he empathizes with the need to get back to performing, but he has made the most of the COVID isolation: He’s made countless YouTube videos and released an album called The Mulligan Chronicles, a tribute to late jazz luminary Gerry Mulligan, all while working on a Ph.D. dissertation (also about Mulligan). Still, there’s nothing quite like the electricity of an actual performance, and he’s thankful to be involved in it again. “It was not hard to convince people to come down and play at Hoffman’s,” Larsen says. “It’s this exhilaration, and it’s this connection. I equated it to the way athletes feel like: It’s fun to sit around dribbling a basketball at home, but being in the arena with all the fans, it’s a totally different experience.” n To get information on future livestreams, go to facebook.com/hoffmanmusicstore.


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ALICIA HAUFF PHOTO

MUSIC BLAKE BRALEY

A concert could pop up in a dumpster at this point and I’d be the first to dive in (if the dumpster was big enough to socially distance, of course). The fact that we have the opportunity to see one of Spokane’s best musicians play a show while eating food from one of Spokane’s best chefs? Unbelievable given the past year. But here we are. Blake Braley, he of the soulful tunes and hardworking nature, is playing at the historic Zephyr Lodge in Liberty Lake, and everyone is invited to what they’re calling Zephyr Lodge Dinner Theater. This is the first show of this kind we’ve heard of at the sweet spot by the lake, and you’ll have dinner by chef Tony Brown and a couple of drink tickets included with the show by Braley, as well as an opening set by the house band. Masks and social distancing are required, but should hardly dampen the good cheer. — DAN NAILEN Zephyr Dinner Theater with Blake Braley • Tue, April 20 at 6:30 pm (doors at 6 pm) • All ages • $75 • Zephyr Lodge • 1900 S. Zephyr, Liberty Lake • thezephyrdinnertheater.com

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36 INLANDER APRIL 15, 2021

FOOD MAC ATTACK

Though it’s usually scheduled for January, this year’s Mac and Cheese Festival was postponed until spring when public gatherings became a little less risky. Now the cheesiest weekend in Coeur d’Alene is here, offering four snacking sessions to choose from, as well as several ticket package options. During each session, attendees can get their fill of creative mac and cheese variations showcased by participating local chefs who are also vying for your vote to take home the People’s Choice Award. Tasting booths are located across venues in Coeur d’Alene’s downtown core. The fest is of course kid friendly, but also gives adults the option to add beer pairings to their noodle noshing. For unlimited mac access, consider the VIP package, offering a private lounge with tables, free parking and all-you-can-eat samples of an “exclusive” mac dish. Tickets this year are limited, so it’s advised to purchase in advance in case the event sells out, which is likely. — CHEY SCOTT Mac & Cheese Festival • Fri, April 16 at 4 and 6 pm; Sat, April 17 at 1 and 3 pm • $10/kids 12 and under; $25-$75/adults • Downtown Coeur d’Alene • cdadowntown.com/mac-cheese-festival

MUSIC SPOKANE COMES ALIVE

The Live from Somewhere music video series debuted in the midst of the pandemic, a project launched by a group of local videographers and musicians who produced polished videos of various Spokane artists performing in unorthodox locations and uploaded them to YouTube. Now they’re throwing an in-person event to celebrate the Inland Northwest’s steady return to normalcy, with an evening of live music at the Red Room Lounge. The lineup will feature a number of artists who have already appeared on the series — the Groove Black, Uh Oh and the Oh Wells (pictured), John MF Ward, and ExZac Change & Matisse — and will no doubt be filmed for future enjoyment. Capacity is limited, and ticket purchase includes a face mask emblazoned with “Save Live Music.” Wear it with pride. — NATHAN WEINBENDER Live from Somewhere • Sat, April 17 at 7 pm • 21+ • $25-$30 • Red Room Lounge • 521 W. Sprague • brownpapertickets.com/ event/5082502


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VISUAL ART BINDING THEIR TIME

Celebrate the print and book arts in the Spokane community with the Spokane Print and Publishing Center (SPPC) as its team hosts a spring version of their Print Town USA series. The SPPC is a learning space that provides access to equipment and resources to help students execute their print, book, writing, fabrication and printing projects. The afternoon gives participants the opportunity to watch live demonstrations in techniques such as relief printmaking, letterpress printing, screen printing, bookbinding and many others. Attendees can also browse prints, books, cards and posters produced by SPPC members, and tour the shop, which sells many of the artistic products created on-site. Since this event is taking place in person, masks are mandated and COVID-19 safety precautions must be followed. — SPENCER BROWN Print Town USA: Spring Edition • Sat, April 17 from 12-6 pm • Free • Spokane Print and Publishing Center • 1921 N. Ash • facebook.com/spokaneprint/

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a black zip-up hoodie, light jeans and dark shoes. I was the short guy with glasses and a Resurrection Records hoodie dressed in all black. I thought your eyes were stunning, and I wish I hadn’t been too shy to make eye contact with you again when we walked past each other in the frozen foods section. Hopefully you see this and I could take you on a date sometime? northspokanewincoman@yahoo.com

I SAW YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL AT NORTH COSTCO I saw you at Costco on Saturday night around 6pm (4/10). You had just grabbed some food court items and were the last one leaving with your sister. You had glasses and knee-high leather boots on. I was speechless because you looked so incredible. I managed to at least get out a “Hi.” You smiled and giggled but kept walking. We should grab a drink sometime. spokaneguy88@outlook.com COOKIE MONSTER BIKE RIDER So I was on Division on Friday, April 2nd, heading back up to work from my lunch break, and I turned to the right to see you on your bike and you had a Cookie Monster cover for your helmet. Made me laugh a bit, but you definitely smiled back. On the drive up all the way to Wellesley and Division you kept glancing over, and when I turned into the parking lot I blew ya a quick air kiss! Feel free to email me! You look like you’re fun! bluered.bike31@yahoo.com SAW YOU AT NORTH WINCO To the gorgeous guy at the north Winco around 11:30-midnight on April 2nd; we made eye contact once walking past each other in the seasonal/random home goods aisle. You were wearing

HIT AND RUN Looking for anyone who saw a hit and run at Mission and Addison during the celebration for Gonzaga on March 3rd between 8 pm and 8:30 pm. Possible white car who turned down south on Addison. If you have video or took pictures or saw the accident, please email at Wazzmama@ yahoo.com. Thank you.

CHEERS THANKS FOR THE BILLBOARDS THANK YOU, thank you to the person(s) or entity behind the “Thank You Troops/ Veterans/Law Enforcement” billboards spread across Spokane. It’s heartening to know you value and appreciate the sacrifices made by members of the military and LE and their families. We serve for many different and personal reasons, but it’s not often recognized. A hearty salute to you for the smile I get every time I look up and see this message of gratitude and respect. God bless you! THANK YOU, INLANDER Thank You for posting my letter on theft and Spokane police. I don’t think it got through to anyone, but I’m going to keep going until all are held responsible.

JEERS KREM 2 ‘RAH! RAH! RAH!’ The incessant fawning coverage of Gonzaga bas-

You saw us, stopped your car and acted so ungrateful I wish you hadn’t showed up. Have we lost the ability to be thankful?

ketball on Krem 2 these past weeks would be merely pathetic boosterism if it didn’t use up air time for real news coverage. When did Krem decide its newscasters and weathermen and women should be a cheerleading squad instead of professional journalists? HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PACKAGE YOU STOLE To the a**hole who stole a package off my front porch April 2nd on N Driscoll Blvd. You must have been following the UPS truck because I went to the door when it rang and nothing was there. I hope you enjoyed the dairy-free chocolate, you jerk. WTF Jeers to the person in the silver car that — STOLE my sewing machine at the Value Village on Sprague on 4/7/21 — you know who you are. I know what you are! All I can say is karma... SMALL BUT INDICATIVE I just read your story in jeers about the fence. This was not installed by Spokane County or the Health District. The fence was installed by My Fresh Basket. Please ask them why they installed it. Thanks. GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES Damn you people wanting common sense gun control and an AR-15 ban. It is our constitutional right to slaughter our fellow citizens, including numerous children. We would rather have a gun hanging on our wall than a cross, and a box of high-velocity ammo than a Bible. We have more faith in our guns than our God. Never mind Jesus was against the

use of swords and faith in false idols is a grave sin. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands. Which at the rate of random gun violence in the U.S. may be soon. MORE INTERESTING CHEERS & JEERS I’ve been very disappointed in recent months by the Inlander each week. At one time, there were much more interesting articles on craft beer. You dedicate a whole section each week for potheads. Why not the same for beer drinkers? Lots of craft beer companies are all over the area. Articles used to focus occasionally on that and suds & cinema w/ beer. Can’t you publish something more interesting than virtual “get lit” (uninteresting) or half an issue on summer camp (in small print w/ little detail). Why is the Inlander even published? Just for advertising of dumb products or is it a legitimate publication? Sorry... even I can’t write that without laughing. PROPERTY TAX BULLIES Jeers to raising property taxes yet again to pay for half empty schools and teacher union pensions and bloated salaries. Why is it that money can’t be found elsewhere without constantly going after property owners? Landlords will just raise rent, and many homeowners will gradually get priced out of their homes. What an extra burden during a pandemic with many people out of work. I guess property taxes will continue to go up especially with the estimated 40-50 million migrants Biden will bring in over

LOST DOG AND LOST GRATITUDE Your dog got out; we found it and tried to return it. You saw us, stopped your car and acted so ungrateful I wish you hadn’t showed up. Have we lost the ability to be thankful? Has COVID-19 robbed us of our gratitude toward others? Or are you just a stuck-up chick with a stick up your butt? Either way your dog has been returned by people who care more about your dog than about you. Hope he stays healthy and happy. FRAUDSTERS Jeers to the cannibis outlets that REQUIRE a driver’s license SCANNING machine for verification of “AGE.” Choose to not patronize those establishments if you care about your information they really don’t need on you... out there... all for a little jar of weed... Think stoners. n

THIS WEEK'S ANSWERS B A N D B

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B E A M

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C O A L

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+

Now on Inlander.com: National and international stories from the New York Times to go with the fresh, local news we deliver every day

the next four years, of which sanctuary city Spokane will certainly get its share. Bullies.

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H B A R

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