Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Winter 2012 Launch Event: First Night

By Abby Lien

Prairie Schooner’s two-day celebration of its winter issue began yesterday with screenings of The Business of Fancydancing (2002) and Smoke Signals (1998) at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. I saw Smoke Signals, a film written and co-produced by Sherman Alexie and adapted from his 1993 collection of short stories entitled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. It was the winner of the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

The film follows two very different young men—the optimistic, story-telling Thomas and the bitter, stoic Victor—on a journey to Pheonix, Arizona, from their home at the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation to retrieve the remains of Victor’s absent father. Alexie’s signature humor pervaded the film and the screening was peppered with audience laughter.

Attendance at the screening was strong, nearly filling the Ross’s 250-capacity theatre. Attendees bought winter issues of Prairie Schooner and copies of Sherman Alexie’s work at tables outside the theatre’s entrance; buyers no doubt hope to get their copies signed by Alexie after the Tuesday night reading. For those planning on attending, come early to make sure to get a seat!