The art of Bobby Wilkins:

Local photographer lands his first show at the plaza.

By James Ziegler

On the upper level of the plaza models hold diamonds in their mouths, assume gravity defying poses and give soul searching looks in the photography of Bobby Wilkins.

Spoke(a)n(e) took a walk down glass alley, with the tall, easy going, Spokane teenager to discuss life, photography and his first show.

“It was very stressful, preparing for it,” Wilkins said through a grin. “And of course, being an artist, I waited for the last minute. So I stayed up really late the night before getting all my pieces ready and next day I spent all day hanging them. People started showing up and people started buying.”

Twelve pictures had sold at the time Spoke(a)n(e) talked to Wilkins, with almost a week left of the show.

“It's a big accomplishment, going up there and seeing my stuff there. When people email me saying they liked it [the show]. It feels really good, it feels like it was all worthwhile,” Wilkins said.

So, does Wilkins have a favorite place to shoot?

“When I first started out I loved the alleyways. All my photos looked the same because I would always want to go to the alleys,” Wilkins said. “Then a lot of them where taken just walking around Spokane. Finding all the little beauties of Spokane.”

To see more of Bobby Wilkins's work, check him out on MySpace @

Feeding the lions:

Zoological park offers visitors a unique experience.

By James Ziegler

Almost every morning, like clockwork, a train rolls by on the tracks out side Cat Tales Zoological Park and Zamba takes offense. When the big cat roars it shakes the ground in front of him.

“Imagine sleeping over at someone's house and waking up to one of these guys roaring,” tour guide Greg Stanifer said.

There wasn't much roaring going on during Spokane Metro Magazine's trip to Cat Tales. Zamba doesn't roar on command like he used to for the silver screen as one of the most recent MGM lions, but what lion can refuse a healthy chunk of steak?

The big cat picks its self up out of its shelter with a grace that seems unnatural for a creature that size and strolls over to the rolling Plexiglas wall in front of its cage as Stanifer explains what is about to happen.

For $15 dollars visitors can take the park's “Big Cat Adventure.” Two visitors are about to feed the lion. A tour guide places bits of meat on a feeding stick. Visitors then put the stick through a hole in the Plexiglas one at a time.

That almost solid layer might seems like a lot of protection at first but when the lion starts licking it with that huge pink tongue my only thought is, 'look at the size of those teeth.'

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