- Illustration: Jonathan Hill
There is nothing to do here. You’ve heard it, or some variation of it. Hell, you’ve probably even said it yourself. We’re not really sure why. Whether it has been perpetuated by word-of-mouth or in certain publications (not ours!), the bad reputation persists.
And we are kind of tired of that happening — especially because Spokane isn’t flooded with hipsters, plagued by traffic or afflicted with unlivably high rents.
So we compiled the Do-Something Guide. It’s proof that this area can hold its own. We’ve dug through the community to find an array of groups pushing the bounds of what you’ve been told can and can’t happen here. So, to put it bluntly: Please stop complaining and go out and DO SOMETHING!
— Tiffany Harms
Do Something: Obscure
Support Local Beer
Inland Brewers Unite is pumping up the Spokane beer scene by supporting local beer hotspots and businesses and bringing together the region’s home brewers, small and large-scale breweries and other folks who just like beer. Go to Facebook and search for Inland Brewers Unite for more information or to join. “We want to promote beer culture in Spokane,” says Chris Lattin of IBU. (TH)
Join a Book Club
You may scoff and say, “Who has time to read a book?” Well, that’s where book clubs come in to offer you that little boost of encouragement, enthusiasm and maybe peer pressure. The Spokane County Library District has a book club at each of its branches, and everyone in the community is welcome. Check with your library or visit scld.org for dates, times and book schedules. (TH)
Study the Stars
The Spokane Astronomical Society meets the first Friday of every month to discuss everything astronomy. While you must pay a fee to be a member, it’s small, and members have access to meetings, star parties, guest lectures and an alliance with the Amateur Telescope Makers, who will help you build your own telescope. Visit spokaneastronomical.org for more info or to join. (TH)
Wage a War
The Army Group 1944 brings together folks from all over the Inland Northwest who get together and reenact WWII battles. We know. It’s too amazing to comprehend. This is a serious thing, though. These people go all out — camping, outfits, the works. To learn more or join, visit their website at armygroup1944.com. (TH)
Do Something: Artistic
Snap a Pic
Whether you’re a real photographer (portraits, landscapes, sports photography, etc.) or you just pretend to be one (Facebook profile pictures, black-and-white pictures of swing sets, etc.), the Spokane Camera Club is the place for you. At each meeting, members can either submit images for critique and scoring by a professional or experienced amateur photographer, or just sit and listen to the critiques. It’s not all meetings all the time however, as the SCC goes on three to four photography field trips throughout the year. Visit spokanecameraclub.org. (AP)
Write a Novel
You’ve been a writer for as long as you can remember. You’ve written dozens of short stories, even a novel or two. Maybe it’s time to meet others like you. The Spokane Authors and Self- Publishers group has been around since 1998 and was created so “members [could] share their experience, expertise, and resources for mutual benefit.” Writers, poets and photographers can report on the progress they’re making on different pieces. And who knows? Maybe the next best seller is being crafted by an author slaving over a hot laptop in Hillyard. Those interested in self-publishing can visit spokaneauthors.org.
For another opportunity to share your writing, check out the Tin Pencil Writer’s Group, which meets at Tinman Artworks every Wednesday from 6-8 pm. The TPWG offers its members writing exercises and opportunities for peer review.
Interested? Contact Mallory at 325-1500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (AP)
See a Flick
The members of the Spokane Art Cinema Meetup Group love movies. A lot. For them, recalling a specific scene or piece of dialogue from a movie is as easy as recalling what they ate for breakfast that morning. The group meets a few times a month to watch a film and discuss its intricacies afterward. At a recent meeting, these cinephiles debated the factual errors of Titanic (“They’d never let a 3rd class passenger on the 1st class level!”), Russian war films and their favorite Heath Ledger performances. Find out more about SACMG at meetup.com/spokaneartcinema (AP)
Do Something: Athletic
Ride by Moonlight
Every full moon they congregate at the Swamp Tavern before descending upon the city — a mob moving along with the click-click-click of their freewheels. In addition to their full-moon bike pub crawls, the F---ing Bike Club gets together for other occasions, as determined by their leader, Jeff Everett. Everyone with a bike is welcome to meet up and ride. If you can’t keep track of the full moon business, check out the club’s blog for events at fbcspokane.blogspot.com. (Tiffany Harms)
Dodge a Ball
Go forth and reclaim the dignity that was taken from you as a youth in P.E. class. Spokane Parks and Recreation has an adult co-ed dodgeball league. All you have to do is assemble the following: a team of 6-10 of your closest friends who are over the age of 16, $195 to pay the registration fee, and some courage. The league runs for six weeks at a time, so go to spokaneparks.org or call 625-6200 for more information or to register. (TH)
Whack a Shuttlecock
The equipment may be ridiculous, what with the teensy racquets and the weird cone things. But check out this ridiculousness — the cone thing is officially called a shuttlecock, AND it was invented in a town called Poona. Yeah. Giggles ahoy! But really, badminton can be a challenging sport, especially since the shuttlecocks are “high-drag projectiles” — meaning they basically move in slow motion through the air. So from the fields of Poona to you comes badminton, which is open to all every Tuesday from 5:30-7 pm at the Spokane Valley HUB in Liberty Lake. (TH)
Play Bike Polo
All you need is a bike, a ski pole with a piece of PVC piping screwed on to the end, and a team. Lucky for us, our region is ripe with bike polo teams in need of members. Like other obscure sporting teams, the bike polo folks are welcome to new members, even though the learning curve may be kind of steep. Practice makes perfect, so check out your local teams, the Marmots in Spokane and the Pullman/Moscow bike polo, on Facebook. (TH)
Hit a Girl
When did camaraderie die between the ladyfolk only to make way for this bullshit “frenemy” nonsense? Bonded in black eyes and bloodlust, these ladies want you on their team.
Roller derby is the ideal blend of girly and badass: It’s a serious contact sport with skating women in miniskirts and thigh-high socks. If you’ve never been to a bout, go. It will make you want to join immediately. The Pullman/Moscow area has recently become home to the Rolling Hills Derby Dames, who are always on the prowl for new members. If you are interested in joining the team, go to a practice. Their practice schedule and location, in addition to other information, is posted on their website at rollinghillsderbydames.com.
If you like the cute socks of roller derby but aren’t so into the roller skates, rugby may be more up your alley. The Spokane Marmots Women’s Rugby Club welcomes all women over 18 to join their weekly practices every Wednesday at 6 pm on the fields of Glover Middle School. For more information, check out spokanewomensrugby.com.
Also worth mentioning is Spokane Scorn, our local women’s football team. It’s not open to the public, but tryout information is posted periodically on their Facebook page. (TH)
Do Something: Helpful
We all know about the dreaded “Freshman 15.” And it’s true, college kids eat. A lot. But what happens to the food that isn’t scarfed down by the sleepdeprived leaders of tomorrow?
Emily Paulson and her Campus Kitchen get to it. Paulson, along with several volunteers, collects excess food from Gonzaga’s many cafeterias, restaurants, food banks and grocery stores. She then uses this material to prepare meals, which she also distributes to the elderly, the homeless and the disadvantaged. Volunteers can participate on a one-time or regular basis, with shifts available Monday through Friday, most lasting only one or two hours. Those interested in volunteering can contact 313- 6939 or visit campuskitchens. org. (AP)
Play Wii with Granny
According to their mission statement, Rockwood Retirement Communities is “dedicated to providing housing and services to seniors with a commitment to excellence in promoting independence, wellness, and lifelong vitality.” Don’t you want to help the cause? Volunteer opportunities include Wii bowling (you know you want to show off those skills), woodworking, the Comprehensive Wellness Program and the Parkinson’s Disease Singing Group. You can participate on a one-time or regular basis, one-on-one, or as part of a group. Interested? Visit rockwoodretirement.org. (AP)
Pet a Kitty
Do you have web sites like cuteoverload.com bookmarked? If so, then the Spokane Humane Society is the perfect place for you to donate a little of your time. The Humane Society has acted as animals’ best friend since 1897, providing food, shelter, medical care, home placement, and love (aww!) to animals in need. Volunteers can work with the K9-Crew, Feline Friends, Front Desk, Meet Your Match and several other programs. And c’mon, like you really need a reason to hang out with cute puppies and kittens all day? Check out spokanehumanesociety.org for more information.(AP)
Share Your Love
As written in their mission statement, “Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery improves the lives of children by providing immediate refuge and safety and ongoing family support in an environment of unconditional love. … Parents and caregivers should never have to feel alone in parenting or feel ashamed of asking for help.” Along with sheltering and caring for nearly 4,000 children a year, VBCN also uses parent education and support programs to strengthen families. Volunteers can work in child care, reception, community relations, or fundraising. They can also serve as certified house parents or perform janitorial or light maintenance work. Visit vanessabehan.org for more information. (AP)