2006 Arts & Entertainment Readers' Picks

September 27, 2006

Best Local Writer

Bill Cope

Last year, we added the modifier "living" to the reader's poll question. This year, we dropped it, and Cope still outlasted Hemingway, Vardis Fisher and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Since his last award, Cope penned his astonishing 500th column for Boise Weekly, and evidently you're still as fascinated with his perspective as we are. We still get more letters about Cope's weekly contribution than anything else in the paper (except when we have a typo in the crossword puzzle). We also still have people ask on a weekly basis either, "How do I get a hold of Cope? I need to shoot the shit with him." Or "How do I get a hold of Cope's throat? I need to shoot that shithead." Either one just reinforces what we already know: We're lucky to have him.

Second place: Tim Woodward

Third place: Dan Popkey

Best Movie Theater

The Flicks

Few things are worse than standing in line at the box office when the only thing playing is yet another sequel to yet another movie that should never have been made in the first place, knowing that you'll have to sell plasma to get in and purchase some vittles that taste like food for circus animals.

We're not going to beat around the bush--The Flicks is comparable to the classic diamond in the rough scenario. They screen an abundance of amazing films as well as offering an eclectic selection of movies in the rental section. They serve gooey-crunchy-buttery gourmet food, beer and wine (though that part of their menu is under the gun from the state) and the staff is always kind and accommodating. Every once in a while, you can catch a great film festival or a worthy community event, and having a sip-and-grin prefunk on the patio in the summer is so necessary and so appropriate.

646 Fulton St., 342-4222

Second Place: The Egyptian

Third Place: Edwards at BoDo

Best Singer

Rebecca Scott

Hearing is the sense of sound perception and results from tiny hair fibers in the inner ear causing a membrane to vibrate in response to changes in the pressure exerted by atmospheric particles within (at best) a range of 9 to 22000 Hz. Rebecca Scott was voted best singer for a reason: She has been tickling the tiny hair fibers in all of our inner ears for years. And she does it oh-so-delicately and eloquently.

Scott has created her own unique brand of folk-rock. With the sound quality of her voice so compelling and distinctly mesmerizing, it's almost as if you have fallen under a spell immediately after she begins to serenade the crowd. Her music is sweet and sultry, and her energy is powerful and potent. After she begins to play, you get lost for a moment, asking yourself, "Am I the only one in the room? Is she singing solely to me?" What more could you ask?

Second Place: Doug Martsch

Third Place: Kris Doty

Best Band

Built To Spill

What can we say about Built To Spill that you haven't already heard/seen/read? They're one of the best bands in the industry and (y)our love for them is undisputed. Year after year after year they ravage this category, and with good reason. They continue to pump out a couple of incredible albums every decade, put on just enough local shows to ensure that only the lamest among us have never seen them live (while not so many that we take them for granted), and they're quickly becoming as synonymous with Idaho as the potato or the, um, peregrine falcon. Our second- and third-place winners--Frim Fram and Kamphire Collective--are not bad choices either. Frim Fram's loungey jazz sounds have soothed savage beasts in downtown Boise's dark, smoky pubs for years, and Kamphire Collective's unique blend of hip-hop, funk and rock gives us a chance to dance our tube socks off. Who knows, BTS may actually have a little competition one of these years.

Second Place: Frim Fram

Third Place: Kamphire Collective

Best Annual Event

Art in the Park

The oldest arts event around and still the vote-gettingest, Art in the Park is a great way for our citizens to enjoy a late summer weekend around Julia Davis Park buying everything from airbrush-designed T-shirts to hand-carved birdhouses to bronze sculptures. There's always a plethora of booths replete with art activities for the kiddies and plenty of good eats. And don't forget the dogs. Hundreds of dogs. While we're sure the dogs have a great time sniffing each other and snarfing up the dropped bits of corndogs and kettle corn, trying to navigate around their leashes as the less carefully watched canines wrap themselves around stroller wheels sometimes requires acrobatic maneuvers. Putting that aside, though, the event is a great way to get out, soak up a bit of culture in the form of arts and crafts and hang out with your friends and neighbors.

Second Place: Hyde Park Fair

Third Place: Twilight Criterium

Best Performing Arts Group/Live Theater

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Boise's theater scene abounds with permutations on stage entertainment. There's everything from serious drama to ridiculous fun, to cutting-edge modernism to family friendly fun. And in a way, the Boise-based Idaho Shakespeare Festival, with three decades under its belt, is our wonderful theater community's crown jewel. The sets and costumes are lavish, the actors accomplished and the outdoor setting idyllic. Thousands of people over the years have packed ISF's amphitheater and lost themselves completely for a few hours to innovative productions of works by playwrights like Shakespeare (of course), Oscar Wilde or Oliver Goldsmith--not read on pages in stuffy English classes, but as they were meant to be experienced: on a stage.

5657 Warm Springs Ave., 336-9221, www.idahoshakespeare.org

Second Place: Boise Contemporary Theater

Third Place: Boise LIttle Theater

Best Venue

The Big Easy

In this town, if you want to see a big-time famous musician in a more-intimate-than-an-arena setting, you snag your BFF and trot over to the Big Easy.

We find ourselves standing at the will-call window at the Big Easy on a regular basis, in anticipation of seeing a band or musician we probably wouldn't get to see if not for the Big Easy. The place holds plenty of people, you can get a wicked plate of nachos to soak up the evening's libations, and the staff make sure that unless you're the drunk-ass ruining someone else's good time, you're going to have a great night yourself. (The staff: "Buh-bye." You: "Blah blah blah. I'm so drunk. Don't you think I'm hot?" Oops, I just puked on your shoes." The staff: "No, really, buh-bye--yoink!") And even for those of us who smoke, this no-smoking venue is a refreshing change. Hanging out on the patio with the throng of smokers is not, but you get used it--eventually. Even if you accidentally get burned. And one of the best things about the Big Easy is that they never stick it to you when it comes to ticket prices. What you pay correlates fairly with who you see. It's easy to understand why readers chose this place as their favorite venue.

416 S. 9th St., 367-1212

Second Place: Neurolux

Third Place: The Bouquet

Best Public Art

Anne Frank Memorial

Once again, the Anne Frank Memorial tops the list. Maybe it's the quiet, contemplative and serene design the memorial space provides. Or maybe it's the inspirational quotes stretching out to visitors as extended arms of poignant understanding and compassion. Whatever it is, the memorial has made an indelible mark on the hearts of Boiseans.

Where 8th Street meets the Boise Greenbelt

Second Place: Freak Alley

Third Place: Tie: Bear and Fish Plaza, Amy Westover's Circles

Best Art Gallery

Flying M Coffeehouse

Hang 'em high, hang 'em proud, you've been honored once again as Boise's favorite place to take a gander at art. Sure, we've got galleries all over downtown that are actually listed as such in the phone book (does anyone still use those things?), but we love the java and the comfy couches and family room feel that is Flying M. It's not many places that can wear so many hats so well--cafe, gift shop, art stop, carbo-loading dock. Mmyess, I'll have some coffee with my culture, thank you very much.

500 W. Idaho St., 345-4320

Second Place: The Gallery At Hyde Park

Third Place: Visual Arts Collective

Best Musician

Rebecca Scott

Obviously, Ms. Scott is good at what she does and people know it. The first time the Best Of Boise issue comes out and Rebecca Scott doesn't win a category, one of two things will have happened: 1) she's moved out of Boise, or 2) for whatever reason, there just isn't a Boise any more. Otherwise, we expect and anticipate counting up the votes year after year and finding she's a clear winner. Our only problem with writing about her again this year is trying to find a new way to do it. Scott also won for Best Singer, and it's getting harder to avoid re-using all the superlatives we've used to talk about her over the years. Amazing, brilliant, entertaining, graceful, lovely, poignant, sweet and talented are just a small handful of the words that we've written right before or right after Scott's name. We can't wait to see what we come up with next year.

Second Place: Doug Martsch

Third Place:

Curtis Stigers

Best Cultural Attraction/Museum

Boise Art Museum

You never know what you're going to get with a museum that has an explosive acronym like BAM. It's just fun to say: "BAM! BAM-BAM!" But as our readers know, BAM is more than just an onomatopoeic adventure. This museum-slash-cultural-center-slash-educational-center offers great exhibits like the current "Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful," as well as ways to get into the exhibitions in a more lasting, profound way through lectures and hands-on learning. Think of it as "a full-service museum experience." And their gift shop kicks more ass than a chorus line of donkeys.

670 Julia Davis Dr., 345-8330

Second Place: Basque Block

Third Place: Anne Frank Memorial

Best Visual Artist

Erik Payne

Each age has its artistic greats ... Michelangelo. Salvador Dali. Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

As befits readers of an alternative weekly newspaper, ours have taken an out-of-the-box approach to considering the question of Boise's best visual artist. Eschewing artists working in two-dimensional media like canvas and paint or three-dimensional sculpture in metal or wood, our readers looked to the art of ink--body ink, that is--for their favorite local artist, voting in Erik Payne, founder and proprietor of local tat parlor Inkvision.

Payne also won this year for "Best Tattoo Parlor," and this isn't the first time he's won that, either. Payne's standing in Boise is pretty much unchallenged. He is known for his incredibly complex and detailed work that looks more like an old master's painting than ink on skin, but he is also capable of the simplest forms, if that's what someone wants--like the basic Idaho outline on one of BW's ad rep's triceps. Sweet.

1736 W. Main St., 383-0912

Second Place: Ward Hooper

Third Place: Bill Carman

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