Despite Chatty Crowds, Inaugural RAW Event is a Success

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Models hit the runway at RAW: Natural Born Artists.

As the clock hit 8 p.m. on May 17, the air in the Powerhouse Event Center was buzzing with artists and art appreciators decked out in their Sunday best. Attendees had piled in for a night of film, music, comedy, fashion and burlesque called RAW: Natural Born Artists.

Even though it started a tad behind schedule, Kirsten Strough’s short film STZ opened the night with a hilarious rendering of zombies as sexually transmitted diseases.

From there, singer-songwriter Shari Olivieri took the stage in a slinky black dress armed with a Les Paul. Her sexy voice and gentle string plucking filled the space, through the crowd was largely inattentive.

The audience's chattiness also hurt comedian AAron Sheehan and the Fleet Street Klezmer Band. Sheenan’s act, although hilarious and gritty at times, was lost on the crowd, whose focus was much more on the bottom of their glasses than the show. And Fleet Street’s traditional Jewish bellows and shouts fell upon ears deafened by side conversation.

Despite the distraction, the Red Light Variety Show saved the night with help from some well-placed pasties and sultry stage banter.

Dancer Yurek Hansen performs at RAW: Natural Born Artists.

Following Red Light was dancer Yurek Hansen and his team of performance artists. Hansen and company blended martial arts, ballet, hip-hop and even some acrobatics into their routine as they flipped and twirled off the stage accompanied by a slide guitar and spoken word.

Fashionista Mindi Burt and her army of leggy models tore up the runway in combat boots with frilly skirts and shaved heads. But aside from the pretty lights, the pretty dresses and the pretty people, the fashion show seemed a little short.

By the end of the night, as the booze continued to flow, Mike “DJ Myko” Olivieri closed out the festivities with infectious grooves for everyone to get down to. Having survived the inaugural Boise RAW event, director Amy Johnson-Myers was smitten with the production's success.

“I didn’t know Boise had it,” said Johnson-Myers. “I heard a lot of people talking about how good Boise looked and just how stupendous the talent was. I’m so inspired by this in every single way.”

RAW will return on Thursday, June 21, at the Powerhouse at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Click here for more information on the artists participating.

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