Thursday, November 28, 2013

Appetizing artwork

Lindsey Treffry,

Hungry customers open the door into the foyer of Roosters WaterFront Restaurant and are faced with a snack machine. It’s an odd sight for patrons about to satisfy their cravings.
Art sits inside the metal rings of Vincent Art à la Carte, a snack machine that sells art from 15 Lewiston-Clarkston artists. Vincent is located inside Clarkston's Roosters WaterFront Restaurant.

But this snack machine isn’t selling overpriced junk food. Instead of potato chips, licorice and diet soda, pieces of watercolor, fiber art, pottery and jewelry sit in the metal loops of the machine.

It is called Vincent Art à la Carte and was created by Clarkston’s Nancy Morrison. She was inspired by the concept of Art-O-Mats, or retired cigarette machines that sell art pieces for a set price.

An old Art-O-Mat lives inside Washington State University’s Compton Union Building with pack-sized art pieces that sell for $5.

“I noticed those, and they had a good start on the idea, but you can’t see the product,” Morrison said.
So, Vincent — short for Vincent van Gogh — has his art pieces on display, except for those hidden behind the first in line, which customers try to peek past anyway. Morrison has to clean the glass weekly due to smeared fingerprints.

“The point of this, more than making money, is to get local artists’ artwork out where it can see the light of day,” said Morrison, who filled Vincent’s slots with work from 15 Lewiston-Clarkston Valley artists. “The kind of people that are going to put artwork in a snack machine, they’re not the ones that are so full of themselves that they have to have a museum or gallery. They are people that love to make art, that love to create.”

Morrison is an artist, too, and because she doesn’t currently charge consignment, she instead sells her own mixed media art to make a bit of profit.

Nancy Morrison stands next to her snack machine dubbed Vincent Art à la Carte, which sells art from 15 Lewiston-Clarkston artists. An artist herself, Morrison was inspired by Art-O-Mats to sell the artwork inside Roosters WaterFront Restaurant in Clarkston.
Customers can read about whose art is in each slot. Art ranges from $2-$35, and children’s jewelry art projects located in the bottom of the machine, cost $2.

Since the mid-October installation, Morrison estimates that 20 pieces have sold.

Kelsey Grafton is one of the artists featured behind Vincent’s glass. She’s selling her original watercolor paintings of owl scenes.

“It’s a way to generate a buying atmosphere and art awareness throughout the valley in a unique form,” Grafton said. “The products should be changing out all the time, so if you don’t see the one you want, it’s always worth a look.”

For now, Vincent accepts cash up to $20, and gives back $1 coins for change.

Morrison had a sensor installed to ensure pieces won’t stick and money isn’t wasted on a caught piece of art. If the piece doesn’t drop, customers get a second chance to press the button, as an attempt to release the piece again. If all else fails, Morrison’s phone number is on the machine, but she’s never gotten a call.

Vincent has a sister, too. Georgia — short for Georgia O’Keefe — lives in Morrison’s backyard, and with enough artist interest, Morrison said she’ll start looking for Georgia’s Moscow home. Interested artists can contact her via email at

In the meantime, Morrison is still working to improve Vincent. Her goal is to have scannable QR codes near the artwork, so people can look pieces up online before purchasing, and to learn more about each artist.

“And with so much variety in the machine,” she said, “I haven’t had to ask for any more artwork yet.”

As seen in Nov. 28 issue of Inland 360.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crying fowl: Inland 360 staff tastes vegan version of popular Thanksgiving staple

Lindsey Treffry,

Turkey is the most popular dish for Americans on Thanksgiving. About 46 million turkeys were killed for the occasion in 2011. For some, there is a no-kill option, though: Tofurky Roast. So, the Inland 360 staff was put to the test. Being the meat-lovers they are, it’s no surprise they were skeptics of a roast free of animal products. But what’s a little “meat” without the tryptophan? Well, results may vary:
Tofurkey. Gobble or gag?
Is that how it comes, in just a little box?” said news editor Jeanne DePaul, holding the empty cardboard from which the roast came — once frozen and wrapped in plastic.

Photographer Barry Kough, who refused to partake in testings, said it looked like a wheat bun.

A lift of the foil, revealing the roast, resulted in an upturned nose. Managing editor Doug Bauer lifted a trash can and motioned toward copy editor Craig Clohessy, the leeriest of the group. Cooked in soy sauce and oil, with sweet potatoes and onions in the oven, the Tofurky’s center exposed a wild rice stuffing once cut. Slices were handed to each staffer in the group.

It’s kind of an interesting texture,” said graphics editor Brian Beesley, who took the first bite. “I mean, it’s a little bit like turkey and it tastes like turkey … It’d be really good if it had brown gravy slathered over the top.”

Clohessy, who looked ill, said it reminded him of grade school lunches, when children were fed what was supposed to be turkey, but was really “mystery meat.”
Tofurkey. Gobble or gag?
It has the consistency of fat,” he said.

Despite enjoying the wild rice stuffing, production editor Julie Breslin said there was no turkey flavor in the roast, and worse — it squeaked in her mouth when she chewed.

But there were some fans of the dish, too.

A tofu lover, DePaul said the soy-based roast tasted like turkey and gravy.

The tofu itself, not great,” Doug Bauer said. “The overall dish, OK … If you get a bite of everything together, it’s pretty palatable.”

But some just didn’t see the point.

If you want to eat turkey, why not just eat turkey?” Clohessy said.

Breslin agreed.

The Roast was served up with onions and sweet potatoes.
If you’re a vegetarian, why are you trying to eat turkey?” she said.

DePaul argued the whole point of Tofurky is because vegetarians don’t want to eat the animal.

You’re trying to join in and have something to slice at the table,” she said.

Some still weren’t convinced: “Why don’t you just eat a *bleeping* salad?” said photographer Steve Hanks, who only tried a smear of the roast from his fingertip after accidentally touching it during the photoshoot.

You couldn’t fool your family,” said reporter Jennifer Bauer, who was once a vegetarian for 13 years.

Doug Bauer joked that serving the meat substitute would be a good way to test how good of friends you have. 

That wouldn’t substitute as a Thanksgiving turkey for anyone,” DePaul said.

All the plates were wiped clean, other than Clohessy’s, and the Tofurky exceeded most tester’s expectations. For Thanksgiving, though, the staff will stick to their roots.

This is going to make that real turkey taste all the better,” Doug Bauer said.

What’s Tofurky made of?

Tofurky Roast comes round, wrapped in plastic in a cardboard box. Roasts can be found at the Moscow Food Co-Op or in the Huckleberry's section of Rosauers.
Roast: Water, vital wheat gluten, organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), shoyu soy sauce (water, non-GMO soybeans, wheat, salt, culture), expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, natural vegan flavors, non-GMO corn starch, garbanzo bean flour, white bean flour, lemon juice from concentrate, onion, carrot, celery, vegan sugar, calcium lactate from beets, sea salt.

Stuffing: Organic brown rice, whole wheat bread cubes (enriched wheat flour, water, organic sugar, sea salt, yeast), onion celery, water, organic wild rice, expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, natural vegan flavors, garlic, salt, vegan sugar, spices and tumeric (added for color).

How do I make vegan gravy?
Try a mushroom gravy, such as the one recommended on the Tofurky box.

Ingredients: 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup sliced onions, 1-1/2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 cup unbleached white flour, 2 Tbsp. oil, 4 cups vegetable stock or soymilk, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Directions: Lightly saute the sliced mushrooms and onions in the 1-1/2 Tbsp. oil. In another pan, combine and bubble the flour and 2 Tbsp. oil together over low heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock or soymilk along with the soy sauce and black pepper. Cook until thickened, whisking out any lumps. Stir in the mushrooms and onions, and serve.

What vegan dishes can I serve on the side?
Cook a butternut squash, topped with a bit of oil and brown sugar. Or, try the same with acorn squash. Most cranberry sauces are safe, just be sure gelatin isn’t one of the ingredients: It’s collagen extracted from the skins, bones and tissues of farm animals. Roast some carrots, with maple syrup, oil and fennel seeds in the oven. Rolls and bread are an easy addition, just read the ingredients before buying — most are OK, but some include buttermilk, butter or eggs. 

As seen in the Nov. 29 issue of Inland 360.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

EDM dominates the music scene

EDM is all over the radio. It can be heard in dance clubs, at national music festivals, such as Paradiso or Freaknight, and on college campuses.
Nick "DJ CnDyCain" Cain plays dance music Nov. 9 at CJ's in Moscow.

Popularized by artists such as Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and David Guetta, EDM, or electronic dance music, is beat-driven music produced for dance-based entertainment.

“There’s a huge demand for it,” said Moscow deejay Nick Cain, or CnDyCain, who produced a documentary on EDM for his Dance 100 class at the University of Idaho. “It’s a passion, because it’s very upbeat, and very positive lyrically.”

Cain mainly deejays at CJ’s Nightclub in Moscow, but with his EDM-heavy beats, his deejaying has grown in demand.

“I’m booking gigs every other week at CJ’s, as well as at private events on campus,” said Cain who has performed on both the UI and WSU campuses.

Jacob Farris, WSU Student Entertainment Board director, said he hears people listening to EDM on campus and playing hits at parties.

From a booth overlooking the dance floor, Nick "DJ CnDyCain" Cain plays dance music Nov. 9 at CJ's in Moscow.

“People are getting more into the music,” Farris said. “My freshman year of college, it was starting to become more popular, and now that I’m a senior, more people are listening to it.”

By the mid-1990s, producers were able to create EDM-based music after the introduction of MIDI interfaces and personal computers, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that sound manipulation progressed and computer software technology was advanced enough to allow EDM studios just about anywhere.

With EDM growing in popularity, Farris said, it was a great opportunity for the entertainment board to expand the musical genres it offers for concerts. In early October, 3LAU, or Justin Blau, performed at WSU, and Adventure Club performed Oct. 29.

Farris previously saw Adventure Club live at Paradiso Festival in the Gorge Amphitheater and said there was a large turnout.

Cain attended Paradiso this year, too, as well as the festivals Lucky and Massive. He said EDM festivals are often stereotyped as having a lot of drug use (see accompanying story below).

“But I’ve had good experiences at every fest I’ve been to,” he said.

Everybody Cain met was polite, he said.

“You’re with 23,000 people. If someone (accidentally) punches you in the back of the head, the guy has a look of shock … He apologizes and you chat with him for two or three minutes,” said Cain, laughing.

But EDM has a home at more than just festivals. Cain deejayed at a WSU residence hall for a back-to-school mixer, and CJ’s Nightclub is host to hundreds of EDM fans each weekend.

“Mainly what got me into deejaying was that music,” Cain said. “At CJ’s, it’s a balance of playing the hip hop and top 30 songs, and the upbeat, hotter tracks that EDM has, too.”

The Zzu Bar and Grill manager Alfredo Bautista, though, said his DJs stick with top 40s, not EDM.
With a shortage of EDM at Pullman’s only dance club, fans flooded Adventure Club’s WSU performance. Tickets sold out within the first week of the student-only event. 

As far as small concerts supported by the UI’s Vandal Entertainment, no EDM groups are scheduled.
“I’m a little jealous I don’t have the opportunity to go see (Adventure Club),” Cain said. “I see Pullman making more and more of a pull, and I really wish UI would follow suit.”

While EDM has made waves locally, it seems that EDM addicts may have to settle for traveling to national festivals or Spokane — which is host to Morgan Page’s 3D Visual Experience on Saturday — to get their fix. 

“It’s a change in what kind of music people are listening to,” Farris said. “You have your typical hip hop, rock. Our generation is getting more influence into this music.”

WSU graduate Patrick Witkowski, 21, died after a brain hemorrhage from supposed MDMA consumption at the late June festival, Paradiso. MDMA is an empathogenic drug, known as ecstasy, or now popularly dubbed “Molly.” In the coroner’s report last week, though, autopsy results finally revealed that his death was related to methamphetamine, not Molly.

Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris said he had been working on the assumption the death was due to an MDMA overdose, but the results showed Witkowski died of organ failure due to a combination of dehydration, heat and meth intoxication.

Witkowski was one of more than 70 Paradiso attendees who had been treated at Quincy Valley Medical Center during a three-day span, and between 40 and 50 of those cases involved alcohol or drug abuse, hospital spokeswoman Michele Wurl told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in July.

At the Electric Zoo EDM festival in New York this September, three people died from Molly-induced dehydration, according to Seattle Weekly, resulting in cancellation of the event’s last day.

“The drug’s appeal is the euphoria it produces, which users often say makes the feeling of togetherness and the intensity of EDM much greater at raves,” Seattle Weekly reported on Oct. 16. “The problem is, the drug is often cut with other substances like methamphetamine, ketamine and PMMA, a cheap cousin of MDMA with less euphoric effect but more of the toxicity that can result in deadly hyperthermia.”

What does EDM sound like?
You’ve probably heard it if you’ve ever been in a dance club: The deejay segues from one song or record to the next with a synchronized beat, hopefully in a seamless transition. But what’s the difference between dubstep, techno, house music and EDM? While some say EDM is the same as all the genres listed above, some call them subgenres of EDM, and others separate it completely. It seems, no one really knows how to describe what music fits in the category, but here’s a few EDM genres broken down by the website, EDM Sauce:

360 EMD-WSUparty LaserShow-StockImageHOUSE: Known as the most ‘human’ sounding music of all genres, it’s often heard in Top 40 mixes, by artists such as Daft Punk or Tiesto.
TRANCE: Trance uses melodic tunes and repetitive synthesizer progressions. It’s usually played between 125 to 150 beats per minute.
TECHNO: Sometimes used interchangeably with EDM, techno is generally a repetitive beat in common time, using drum machines, snyths and digital workstations.
DUBSTEP: A production using strong bass lines, drum patterns and occasional vocals, dubstep was made famous by artists such as Skrillex, and is a bit more aggressive than techno.

As seen in the Nov. 14 issue of Inland 360.