Sunday, March 29, 2015

Treefort 2015: Shredding at Skatefort

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Catching some air at Rhodes Park. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Catching some air at Rhodes Park.

Not far form the Treefort Music Fest Main Stage, children and adults took turns at the Rhodes Skate Park halfpipe and on skateboard-friendly terrain features. By the basketball court, a group of people were listening to a punk rock band, and at a nearby tent, Tom Kilroy and Lori Wright of the Boise Skateboard Association were making the case for re-vamping the park.

"This is going to bring us into the new century," said Kilroy. "It's going to be a living art form."

Plans to renovate the park were discussed at a planning session of the Boise City Council in February. The new park will be built with $1.25 million from the J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation, as well as $138,000 from the city. The new park will include a Parkour course and enhanced skateboard features, with concrete work by skatepark developing firm Gridline. Kilroy said that the skate community has outgrown Rhodes, and the new park would be a destination for touring professionals and skate companies.

"This is our first big stepping stone," Kilroy said.

The new park has critics,too, however: Plans were rolled out about four months after the October beating death of Rusty Bitton; and amid a broader conversation about the encampment of people who have made the area near Rhodes their home. 

"I think the public clearly understands what is happening here. The city of Boise has found a willing partner to renovate an area where the homeless have been living publicly in order to displace them. ... And boy, this project is happening at breakneck speed for City Hall," said ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Greg Morris at the time
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Video: Idaho's Esthetic Evolution Releases Mini-Doc Trailer

Posted By on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 11:32 AM

For a decade, Esthetic Evolution was one of the Mountain West's biggest electronic dance music parties—a long weekend of music, dancing, costumes, performances and art in the Idaho mountains at Twin Springs Resort. June 2014 marked the "final evolution" Esthetic as an EDM festival after its organizers went on to do other things, but fans of the annual retreat will soon be able to relive the glory days through a mini-documentary made by EE attendee Cameron Jessup from extensive footage he shot during the festival's final two years. 

A trailer for the documentary is now available and according to an EE newsletter, the full version should be online in the next few months, with viewing parties expected to take place in Boise and possibly in Seattle and Portland, Ore., as well. 

The release of the film coincides with a revamp of the Esthetic website, featuring fan videos, slideshows and additional content contributed by organizers and attendees (submissions welcome via EE's Facebook page), though there's no indication Esthetic will return as a festival. 

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Friday, January 23, 2015

BAM Calls on Local Artists to Go Incognito

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:15 PM

  • Liu Bolin/Boise Art Museum
Chinese artist Liu Bolin has achieved fame the world over for disappearing into his art. His exhibition, Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, is coming to Boise Art Museum opens Jan. 31. The artist himself will appear at the art museum on Jan. 30.

His paintings and performance art feature Bolin painting himself in picture-perfect camouflage, where he melds seamlessly into ordinary settings—and makes profound statements about the individual's role in society. 

In conjunction with Bolin's exhibit, BAM is calling on Treasure Valley designers to follow in his footsteps by selecting a location and use illusionistic or trope l'oeil effects to create a garment that, like Bolin, hides in plain sight. The first 30 entrants will compete at BAM's Art of Fashion Show: Incognito on Saturday, April 25.

Garments must be sewn and wearable on a runway. Teams may have as many as three participants, including the model, who must be 18 or older. Final work must be submitted to BAM by Monday, April 20.

To enter, complete the contest entry form online and submit the $35 entry fee to BAM or call BAM Education at 208-345-8330, Ext. 21. For more information, check out the contest's website.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

Mr. Cope's Cave: Things Americans Don't Spend Much Time Thinking About

Posted By on Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Hope you're having a happy new year so far, and you'll notice I didn't capitalize "happy new year" like you'd normally see it. That's because it's the second day of January today. If this were yesterday, I'd probably have written it "Happy New Year." Might even have put a big old exclamation point on the end. "Happy New Year!" And maybe a smiley face.

But that was January 1st stuff. And of course, the night before. By now, though, it's all just part of what we'll be looking at for the next 363 days or so. As far as I'm concerned, it already doesn't deserve any special treatment, like capitalization or exclamation points. Come about Sunday—Monday for sure—we'll be done saying it at all. It's like one of those colorful, glittered-up balloons you may have been knocking around Wednesday night, and now most, if not all, of the air's gone out of it and it's laying like a limp, wrinkled prophylactic under somebody's car, still sitting on the upper deck of a downtown parking garage because the doofus who drove it there lost his keys during the potato drop and doesn't have the money to get a locksmith to come out and open the damn thing so he can get to the spare key, which may, or may not, be in the jockey box, because he went overboard with the plastic last month and won't be above water again until sometime around Memorial Day—and that's only if he gives up smoking, going out on weekends, lottery tickets and ice cream, like he resolved to do sometime between the eighth and ninth pomegranate martini.

But now, on to new business.

What I'm doing here is initiating a new series. You know how much I love series. In fact, my first thought for today was to add another entry to the longest-running series on this blog. That would be the "Unbelievably Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do" series that has proved so popular among the area's NRA goons. Something happened Tuesday that certainly deserves to be part of any chronicle of how sickly insane our culture of guns has become, and I bet you heard about it, as it happened right here in Idaho. It made national news, it was so sickly and sadly insane. God knows how may lives, not even counting the one that was lost, will be scarred and twisted for at least a generation because of it. And all because some idiot thought she'd be safer with a goddamn gun in her purse.

But, upon further reflection, I decided against writing about that one. There really is such a thing as "too soon," and this incident fits that bill.

Besides, about the same time that tragedy happened in Hayden, another tragedy was unfolding in south Asia. The plane-going-down tragedy. By new year's eve (note how dull and lifeless it sounds when it's not capitalized), it seems they had narrowed the likely places the airliner might be to a relatively shallow part of the 70 percent of the Earth's surface that is covered with water. According to the last news I heard, they expect to find Flight 1501 in 150 feet or so of aqua unfirma.

Which still sounds like a lot of water, doesn't it? Half a football field of water ain't nuttin' to sneeze at. But compared to where it could have gone down, it's like the plane's in the shallow end of the pool, the deep end of which is, like, seven miles to the bottom.

All of which got me to thinking about the Earth's oceans, which in turn gave me the idea for this new series. I'm calling it "Things Americans Don't Spend Much Time Thinking About" because... well, because I think there are a lot of things Americans don't spend much, if any, time thinking about. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that if more Americans spent more time thinking about certain things—the Earth's oceans, for just one example—we would be a different country, and a different people, than we are now.

And look, I don't mean to say that the folks in all the other countries spend any more time than Americans do thinking about things—the Earth's oceans, or anything else. But America is where I live and where my concerns lie the heaviest. It's also where I do all of my writing. So it wouldn't make much sense for me to start a series called "Things the Dutch Don't Spend Much Time Thinking About," would it? Or "Things Waziristanis Don't Spend Much Time Thinking About."

No. That wouldn't make much sense at all.

However, I just checked my word count, and it seems I've already run off at the fingers more than I intended. So, I shall begin this series properly next time we meet. Monday. It will be titled "Things Americans Don't Spend Much Time Thinking About: The Dew on the Marble," And I'll tell you right now it's going to be about the Earth's oceans, just in case you aren't interested in the Earth's oceans and don't want to waste any of your precious time thinking about them—which, of course, is exactly the reason I'm starting this series.

Until then...

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Get Formal with the Wyakin Warrior Guardian Ball

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 9:25 AM

It's time to dig your Sunday best out of the closet—it's time for the third annual Wyakin Warrior Guardian Ball.

Wyakin Warrior is a nonprofit organization that provides "full-spectrum education and professional development for severely wounded, injured or ill post-9/11 veterans" through mentoring programs, professional development and networking, financial support and community service.

The program relies on fundraising throughout the year, but one of WW's biggest events is the Guardian Ball Saturday, Dec. 13, from 6-10 p.m. at the Boise Centre. That's where, for $75 per person (or $1,000 per table), you can dance the night away, participate in an auction, listen to big band music and sit in on the New Warrior Induction Ceremony.

This year's dinner menu includes petite beef medallions in a port wine reduction. For vegetarians, there's butternut squash ravioli with crimini mushrooms in an apple and brown butter sage sauce.

For more information or to purchase tickets, check out the Wyakin Warrior website.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Boise City Dept. of Arts and History Continues Cultural Planning Process

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

In November, the Department of Arts and History asked a handful of the city's citizens for their opinions on Boise's cultural landscape: what works, what doesn't and what they'd like to see in the future.

The discussion continues, but not without you. With three meetings this month, the Department of Arts and History welcomes—and needs—your input to "help develop the first citywide cultural plan, discussing cultural needs and preferences and outlining a cohesive vision for the role of culture in our civic environment and throughout Boise."

The meetings, listed below, are open to the public and free to attend. Scroll down for addresses, and visit for more info:

Thursday, Dec. 11
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Library at Collister

Tuesday, Dec. 16
2-3:30 p.m.
Library at Cole and Ustick

Wednesday, Dec. 17
4:30-6 p.m.
Library at Hillcrest
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Opera Idaho Swings for the Fences with 'Rigoletto'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

On a frigid Sunday afternoon, elderly women in fur coats, young men in cardigans, old men in bow ties and young women in dresses took their seats at the Morrison Center for the Nov. 16 performance of Opera Idaho’s Rigoletto. A visual survey of people in attendance would suggest that at least in Boise, classic opera is for everyone.

It was fitting: Rigoletto is a topical, everyman sort of opera about privilege, group-think and double standards—themes that Opera Idaho found plenty of ways to explore in its proficient if not fully satisfying production. In this 1851 Giuseppi Verdi opera, Rigoletto (baritone Mark Rucker) is a court jester who serves the Duke of Mantua (tenor Won Whi Choi), an inveterate womanizer whose shenanigans precipitate a curse upon Rigoletto’s head. When the Duke takes a shining to Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda (soprano Cecilia Violetta Lopez), the jester takes drastic (and ultimately tragic) steps for revenge upon the sociopathic Duke.

This was a large-scale production. The voluminous and elaborately dressed cast filled the Morrison Center stage, and the multiple original sets added to the drama of the opera's proceedings. Music billowed out of the orchestra pit. The trappings were just right for a lavish production but despite the whirlwind of color, sound and design, Rigoletto was plagued by flat performances by Rucker and Choi. 

Rucker hit the stage in an overstuffed costume and wielding a bulky club. In his elaborate getup, he could barely move. As one audience member noted after the performance, “You could push him down a flight of stairs and he’d come out just fine at the bottom.” It was the only thing jesterish about him: His performance didn't establish the character’s mirth before the story pivoted him into tragedy. By contrast, the cynical Duke was portrayed by Choi with radiant light-heartedness. Lopez’s Gilda, however, added dimension to the cloistered daughter trope and though her character isn’t as loud or flamboyant as others in the opera, seeing her develop Gilda is one of the subtler pleasures of this production.

When the curtains rose and the cast took its bows, the ovation felt half-hearted: With its lavish sets and costumes, Rigoletto came across as solid but uninspired.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

City of Boise Crowdsources Five-Year Cultural Plan

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Plates of cookies, pita chips and carrot sticks lined the conference room tables in the River conference room at Boise City Hall—but few of the dozen attendees at a City Department of Arts and History Boise Cultural Planning Process meeting asked why the tables, arranged in a U shape, were also strewn with Post-it notes.

The point of this meeting was to find out what both everyday citizens and people with vested interests believe is working, isn't working and might be missing from the city's expanding arts, cultural and historical scene.

"What's authentic to us? Who do we want to become?" asked Public Arts Manager Karen Bubb.

Bubb posed five questions:
What is culture?
What works well in Boise?
Where do you find culture in Boise?
What doesn't work well in Boise?
What would you like to see regarding culture in the future?

She gave everyone four minutes per question to write their answers on the Post-it notes, then opened the floor for discussion.

Attendees said high-performing arts and culture programs like The Cabin, Treefort Music Fest and the city's growing dance community are good fits for the City of Trees but could continue to benefit from public support. Transportation—particularly parking availability and the absence of a citywide network of bike lanes—the Grove plaza, the mall and a "brewpub overload" were seen as demerits. Some cultural features might have been overlooked were it not for a few stray observations; one attendee, Byron Folwell, said he enjoyed Boise's occasional parades.

"They shouldn't work anymore, but they do," he said.

As for improving Boise's cultural infrastructure, expanding transportation access, housing the homeless and building public "maker spaces" were a few of the things people said they'd like to see more of.

The Post-its were collected, and the Department of Arts and History will use that information to determine where and how it will distribute department resources through 2020.

Those who are unable to attend cultural planning meetings are encouraged to provide input through an Arts and History survey.

This was the second of three cultural planning meetings the Department of Arts and History is holding. Bubb said she has heard input from around 100 people but so far, not many have taken the online survey. The third and final Boise Cultural Planning Process meeting is on Monday, Nov. 17, 4:30-6 p.m., in the River Room at Boise City Hall. If you'd like to attend, RSVP to Karen Bubb at
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Boise Seeking Public Input For Multi-Year Cultural Planning

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

From the Sesqui-Shop to traffic box art, the Boise City Department of Arts and History has often sought to enlist the public in helping shape the city's culture. That trend continues in the department's call for help developing Boise's first citywide cultural plan

Citizens are invited to three public focus groups this month, where they will assess the cultural condition of the city, discuss how the city's culture might be improved and outline a vision for the role culture will play in Boise going forward. 

Anyone with a stake in Boise's cultural landscape—such as event organizers; artists; performers; or anyone who attends things like plays, concerts, museums, gallery shows and dance performances—is invited to attend any of the focus group meetings slated for Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 10-11:30 a.m.; Thursday, Nov. 13, from 3-4:30 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 17, from 4:30-6 p.m.

All three meetings will take place at the River Room on the third floor of Boise City Hall.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Karen Bubb by email ( or by phone at 208-433-5677 to specify which meeting they'd like to attend.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Dedication Without Borders

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Every day, the world is saved from descending into chaos by the grace of a shockingly few good people.—James Baldwin

During these anxious days when typical Americans are hoping and praying Ebola doesn’t come anywhere close to them, we should all take a few seconds to consider those noble souls who have gone out to meet Ebola face to face.

The doctors, the nurses, the aides, Africans and Europeans and Americans alike, I’m assuming all volunteers, whose care for humanity is so much stronger than their fear for themselves that they put their own hearts and hands willingly into that breach between annihilation and life—that sort of courage is nothing short of miraculous. I bow to them, as we all should, and shudder to think what would be happening if they weren’t there.

And how I envy them. To be living with such purpose, such meaningfulness, must be a wondrous thing—a satisfaction few of us will ever know.

I include this music for those constant gardeners, not because it says anything specific about the crisis, but because it is beautiful, and because it speaks to the best in humanity. It moves me in the same divine way that what they are doing moves me.

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