- She's baaaaack. Sort of.
THE INFAMOUS RACHEL RETURNS
Rachel Dolezal — the local white woman turned black NAACP leader and former freelance Inlander commentator — is taking another quick stroll through the limelight. For starters, Dolezal has an entire chapter devoted to her "blackface" in the new tome Bunk, a historical look at phonies and fake news that's been longlisted for the National Book Award. As author Kevin Young writes, "She wears the mask not to hide but to gain authority over the very thing she claims to want to be. How very white of her!" Dolezal is also out, in time for Christmas, with 2018 calendars featuring photos of herself alongside inspirational quotes, including this chestnut: "Living in full color means stepping outside the boxes prescribed by society & following the nature of your soul." (JACOB H. FRIES)
THE MUSIC OF PYRE
Few video games take advantage of background music as deftly as the Supergiant Games, the creator of such indie hits as Bastion and Transistor. But never has that been more clear than with Supergiant's latest effort, Pyre. Pyre's set in a Hunger Games-like world, where exiles compete for a chance of freedom through a strange series of freeze-tag-meets-basketball tournaments. The music is mostly riveting and beautiful instrumental numbers. But during each final match, vocals join the orchestra, singing an epic story of perseverance and valor. The best part? The musical style and lyrics change depending on which team you're facing, and whether they're winning. (DANIEL WALTERS)
Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings and Long Winters frontman/Seattle raconteur John Roderick are both highly entertaining characters. Put them together with a microphone, nerding out on subjects bizarre and arcane, as new podcast Omnibus (debuting Dec. 7) does, and you have the opportunity for some serious headphone enlightenment. They call it "a monument to strange and obscure human knowledge" they feel needs preserving before civilization as we know it ends — and that might be coming faster than any of us want to think about. (DAN NAILEN)
ON THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
Some noteworthy new music arrives online and in stores Dec. 8. To wit:
JIM JAMES, Tribute to 2. My Morning Jacket's frontman showcases his eclectic tastes in a covers set including tunes from Brian Wilson, Sonny & Cher and (believe it or not) Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
BELLE & SEBASTIAN, How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1). A five-song EP of the Scots' winning folk-pop, just in time for Christmas stocking-stuffing. It's a tease to a new full-length arriving in February.
CHRIS THILE, Thanks for Listening. The MacArthur genius, wicked mandolin player and "new" host of The Show Formerly Known As A Prairie Home Companion collects studio recordings of a bunch of songs written for the radio show over the past 18 months.
LUKE BRYAN, What Makes You Country. I don't know for sure that Luke Bryan qualifies as "bro-country," but I do know there are songs on this new album called "Light It Up," "Drinking Again" and "She's A Hot One." (DAN NAILEN)
Spokane's River City Brewing is closing the doors to its downtown taproom on Dec. 30. The brewery announced the major transition last Friday. With its 2013 opening, the taproom was not part of the original plans for the brewery. It will continue to use the space for First Friday events, special releases and "garage parties." River City will also be reworking the lineup of its staple beers and phase out old brands. Until it closes, all pints are $2.50 and all growler fills are $10. (DEREK HARRISON)