BEST, "WHAT THE?"
David Sedaris at Hastings
It's long done and over, and we still don't understand it. Super hilarious David Sedaris—writer, radio guy and all-around funny man—embarked on a national tour to promote his new book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Last time Sedaris was in Boise, he packed out the Egyptian to the tune of 800-some people with much media fanfare. This time, without much warning, the humorist landed at Hastings on Fairview. (Insert screeching rewind sound here.) Hastings. We almost didn't believe it ourselves, so we called in a favor and hung out with his handlers for an hour or so, standing behind Sedaris like a large cat waiting to pounce and discover we'd been duped. But he was the real thing—even doling out hotel soaps and shampoos to teenagers and requesting that all men under 5-foot, 6-inches and all bonded women be given priority in the line.
BEST IRISH STORYTELLER LIVING AMONG US
Scholar, poet, playwright, novelist and biographer, Irishman Kevin Kiely made his home in Boise this year teaching and lecturing at Boise State and occasionally being seen about town soaking up the local flavor. Earlier this summer, Kiely stopped by the Boise Weekly booth during Alive After Five, and a couple of us BW staffers were lucky enough to be within earshot as Kiely, plastic cup of beer in his hand, regaled us with tales of his homeland and musings on the state of the newspaper as a valid news medium in this increasingly digital age. It's not just Kiely's brogue that makes us want to lend him our ears for hours on end; he's as thoughtful as he is thought-provoking, and we're honored to have one of the Emerald Isle's sons among us for as long as we're lucky enough to have him.
BEST CARD GAME
The Treasure Valley is chock full o' art: visual art, performance art and all of the organizations that support this vital part of our community. As visual artists themselves, Amy Westover and Jennifer Wood understood that a missing piece of our art culture was a sense of connection among artists. Thus, they created The Deal. Westover and Wood presided as the deck's jokers, and sent 108 people and organizations, whose work is valued in the arts community, a set of questions and a request for an image that best represented them. With help in part from a grant by from this alternative weekly, the images were placed on one side of the high-gloss laminated cards, and answers to five of the 30 possible questions on the other. The Jokers then hosted a small number of trading parties, including ones at Visual Arts Collective, J Crist Gallery and Boise Weekly—all of which had cards—and both sold and gave away cards. The excitement at each party was palpable as people scrambled and schemed to complete their decks. Many of those represented on the cards were in attendance at the parties, and someone came up with the brilliant idea of having them sign their individual cards. Both Westover and Wood were pleased with the success of project and said they would love to turn it over next year to someone new.
BEST "IF I HEAR ABOUT ONE MORE MUSIC FESTIVAL BENEFIT"
Every Stinkin' Music Festival/Benefit
The idea that for one ticket price, a person can see a bunch of bands is very appealing ... in theory. What tarnishes the gild on summertime music is the over-abundance of festivals and benefits during the year's hottest months. Some great events happen each summer, and it would be highly disappointing if they were no more. And without some of the new festivals happening, the season might get stale. But maybe some of these festival organizers could get together and instead of holding nine events with five acts each, join forces and put on a real festival. As show-goers, our discretionary entertainment dollars can only be stretched so far. We'd be happy to pay $40 bucks to see a plethora of performers especially if you offer us a big name or someone we know and love; we're bummed when you want $25 of our hard-earned ones to see a handful of people we've never heard of. Add all of this up, and by the end of summer it's annoying to look back at how many summer, music festivals were held and wonder why some of them happened at all.
BEST $4 MOVIE TICKET
Overland Park Cinema
With its old-school orange lettering and soda-stained carpets, this little strip-mall gem is the tacky uncle to the shiny, sprawling megaplexes further down Overland. And that's precisely why we love it. Oh, and the fact that a $4 ticket not only buys us a seat to an almost-new release, it comes with a choice of two small food items. And for those unfortunate, not-quite-payday times, when we're reduced to scavenging the change wedged in the car seat, $1 movie Tuesdays are there to save the day. 7051 Overland Rd., 208-377-3072, opcmovies.com.
BEST ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS ONE OF AMERICA'S HOTTEST BACHELORS
When the Trey McIntyre Project moved into town, we were excited about yet another injection of culture into Boise. Company owner Trey McIntyre was suddenly spotted all over town (and at roughly 6-feet 7-inches or so, he's hard to miss) at gallery receptions, benefit dinners and more, becoming a regular fixture that was often the source of "Guess who I saw downtown on Friday?" talk. But what really made us kick up our heels was the discovery that in 2003, McIntyre was named one of People magazine's 25 Hottest Bachelors. Five years later, he's still totally hot. But, sorry folks, totally spoken for.
BEST ARTIST IN-STORES
The Record Exchange
The Buggles should come up with a 21st century follow-up to their one hit "Video Killed the Radio Star." They could call it "Digital Killed Everything Else." So many institutions have become things of the past, and waxing nostalgic can't save them. But a few things have managed to be more than just vestiges of yesteryear. The Record Exchange still sells vinyl records but also carries some of the coolest toys around. You can always find music from the newest acts (even, ugh, Hannah Montana) and also pick up a Sex Pistols lunchbox. The RX hosts a slew of the most amazing in-store performances as well, bringing locals like Doug Martsch and Brett Netson and sweet surprises like The Blakes, The Whigs and Grace Potter. Maybe the Buggles could write "Record Exchange Saved the Record Store." 1105 W. Idaho St., 208-344-8010, therecordexchange.com.
BEST NEW ARTS RAG
Idaho Arts Quarterly
We're only kind of tooting our own horn. After years of being churned out by Boise Weekly's overworked staff, Idaho Arts Quarterly got an extreme makeover and an editor of its own. From a homely newsprint magazine with black-and-white photos, IAQ transformed into the Miss Idaho of arts journals, all glossy and sassy. Need to know what's happening in Idaho's arts scene? IAQ it.
BEST NEW ARTS TREND
It's a trend that started last year with Wesley Jessup's move to Boise Art Museum. He took over as BAM's executive director and became the first in a long line of new faces heading up area arts organizations. Six months later, things started changing quickly. Ballet Idaho announced Peter Anastos would take over as the company's artistic director. Shortly after, Trey McIntyre moved his eponymous mod-squad dance company to town. In April, Robert Franz accepted the torch from outgoing artistic director James Ogle at Boise Philharmonic. And finally, Opera Idaho hired Mark Junkert as its executive director. As the fall performance seasons kicks into gear, it's starting to look like no matter which company you throw your hard-earned dollars at, you're in for something new. Let's just hope Jessup's sudden departure doesn't start another trend.
The Dodos at Alive After 5
This adorable psych-folk indie duo captured our hearts with their swirling cocktail of drum beats, lilting lyrics and ironic mustaches. The Dodos must have picked up the come-hither vibes we sent out, since they named Boise their favorite tour stop. Thanks Alive After Five, we totally went home to gush in our diaries.
BEST INTERVIEW WITH AN EASTERN EUROPEAN WHO HAS BEEN INTERVIEWED BY SEVERAL WESTERN JOURNALISTS
Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello
When Eugene Hutz, the Ukrainian frontman for gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, called Boise Weekly, he was in the midst of a tour in support of the band's new release, Super Taranta, had become the muse for an entire Versace collection and starred in Madonna's directorial debut. BW was certainly not the first publication to ask for an interview and wasn't even Hutz's first—or last—interview that day. The high-energy Eastern European was not shy about letting our A&E editor know when he thought she was wrong about an interpretation of his music or if she asked a question he'd been asked a hundred times before. He dropped f-bombs like those little poppers kids get on the Fourth of July, and made her laugh (albeit a bit nervously at times) throughout.
Best Way to be Scared Straight
Old Idaho Penitentiary
If you grew up in the Idaho public education system, you were undoubtedly bused out to the Old Penitentiary for a field trip. Nothing like showing a third-grader the execution chamber and where a bunch of guys were stabbed in the yard. Take it from one BW staffer, it's a great way to scare the manners back in your kids, all in the name of education. Gather up the kiddies and show them where they'll end up if they don't eat their peas. 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd., idahohistory.net.
BEST CALLING LONG DISTANCE TO TALK TO SOMEONE SIX BLOCKS AWAY
Doug Martsch via Warner Brothers
Built to Spill is often—dare we say always—mentioned any time a writer discusses bands that are important or influential in indie rock. They're well loved, and in some circles, having their name on a "bands I've seen live X number of times" list is akin to lists Deadheads were making in the late '60s. Built to Spill is internationally known—papers across the world ran stories when frontman Doug Martsch had eye surgery—and a busy lot, still touring regularly. In part because they're so popular and in part because Martsch is just such a nice guy, when the opportunity to interview him pops up, we jump at it. And even though he lives in Boise, we respect his privacy and don't laugh when a phone call that's technically only traveling six or eight blocks has to go through the powers that be at the band's label, Warner Bros. in L.A.
BEST ART WITH A KICK
Liberty, Let's Roll
BW staffers had an interoffice debate over sculptor Irene Deely's Liberty, Let's Roll. Some felt the massive statue depicting Lady Liberty lifting her skirts with a side kick was showing the United States as an aggressor. Others said it showed that freedom is an ideal worth fighting for, something those of us whose jobs are based on the First Amendment can get behind. The public agreed. Deely took the statue on a cross-country tour to visit its inspiration in New York. Along the way, there were crowds, celebrations and a whole lot of warm, fuzzy patriotism. 3640 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-331-5632, womanofsteelgallery.com.
BEST FINALLY OPENED
Visual Arts Collective
For months after the Visual Arts Collective vacated its space in the Linen District, we waited impatiently for it to reopen. Month after month, owners Anneliessa Balk-Stimpert, Sam Stimpert and their business partner Steve Fulton faced unexpected construction costs, city code compliance problems and more. By the time they did open, we wondered if it would be too late; maybe people would have forgotten about them or would be unwilling to drive out to Garden City to patronize VAC. Boy were we wrong. Since they opened last fall they have held a number of events that we would have been willing to travel even farther to see: Finn Riggins, System and Station, Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles, The David Andrews Band, the Hi-Tops reunion and more have all graced the place with their musical stylings. Artists Matt Bodett, Erin Ruiz, Paste Eater and Sue Latta have all shown their artistic skills at VAC and Mat Thompson's annual Rhetoric Style B-Boy competition made VAC completely street (for a night at least). 3638 Osage St., Garden City, 208-424-8297, visualartscollective.com.
BEST 60-YEAR-OLD BELLY
New York Dolls
When a person reaches a certain age, he or she may be less likely to stand in the mosh pit at a concert and get knocked around like the steelie in a KISS pinball machine. Unless of course, the New York Dolls are playing. Sexagenarians themselves, the Dolls were at the Knitting Factory earlier this year, and one BW staffer, who loves David Johansen and the boys, knocked more than a few people down to get to the front of the stage. She was but a few inches from Johansen's surprisingly fit 60-year-old tummy and, wrinkles and all, she was thrilled to be there.
BEST TOO BAD IT'S ONLY EVERY THREE YEARS
Boise Art Museum's Triennial
Boise Art Museum's Triennial is, by definition, an event that takes place once every three years. It's a juried exhibit that features work by Idaho artists only. The work is of such a high caliber, it would be wonderful to see an exhibit of its kind each year. But should she be sole juror for the Triennial again, it might be more than BAM's associate curator, Amy Pence-Brown, could handle. For the 2007 exhibit, Pence-Brown received hundreds of submissions. After winnowing the selections down, she traveled across the Gem State, visiting each artist in his or her studio. What she came back with was a story for each of the more than 100 pieces in the exhibit. While we'd love to see it called the BAM Annual, we'd also like to see Pence-Brown retain her sanity. Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Dr., 208-345-8330, boiseartmuseum.org.
BEST AUDIO VISUAL
Walking Tours of Boise
Ever wondered just what the heck is the deal with the sometimes belly-up, sometimes belly-down salmon on the wall in the alley next to Tom Grainey's? Or maybe you've noticed a series of plaques on city street lights on Capitol Boulevard and mused who would do such a thing. The Boise City Arts and History Department has your answers. A series of podcasts, thanks to BW's own Tyler Bush, are in the works that give some insight into various public art installments throughout the city. The first is up and running. Log onto cityofboise.org and download the first of the series on those mysterious light pole plaques.
BEST TALK SOUP
Jon and Chris
When Jon Duane and Chris Kelly returned to the air on KIDO-630 AM, a collective cheer went up. The veterans of the airwaves are often insightful, often irascible, sometimes irritating and occasionally incredible. Our own Amy Atkins spends a few minutes each Friday morning with the duo, not only talking about what's happening over the weekend, but whatever they throw at her and tossing it right back. It's a match made in radio heaven.
BEST ART OVER OUR HEADS
The art of Amy Westover isn't just over our heads, it's a feast for our eyes and dear to our hearts. Her mediums are as varied as her work, ranging from illuminated metal sculptures at Ninth and Grove streets to lithographs on bars of soap and solar, stained glass windows at the Boise WaterShed. Even better, she is skilled at eloquently describing her inspiration for the pieces she creates that easily resonate with the average and perhaps less than artistically gifted person. Touchable, relatable and very inspirational, there's a reason Westover's art is all over Boise. It's obvious Amy Westover loves Boise as much as Boise loves her.
BEST COUNTRY OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES
Leann, Lyle and Randy
The meaning of "outlaw" at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary has changed a bit. It used to mean the hard-core prisoners incarcerated in the sandstone prison on the edge of town. Now, it's some of the biggest country music acts around performing before a lawn full of people sipping wine and eating decadent desserts. The Knitting Factory's Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series brought LeAnn Rimes, Lyle Lovett and Randy Travis to Boise for evenings spent under the sky. We have to say, we much prefer doing time this way than in the hole.
BEST SORRY TO LOSE HIM
Earlier this year, Idaho lost one of its most prolific writers when Bill Studebaker died while kayaking in eastern Idaho. During his career, he published a dozen books of poetry, prose and several anthologies—most of which focused on the West as a place full of both change and tradition. His last book of poetry, About a Place Called Home, was never published, but BW had the chance to print several of the poems from that collection. Studebaker's love of his home state was clear to the end, especially in a line from the title poem of that last book, "This is where the Gods / practice simple things / like up and down and forever."
Hooker in the Morning
If you've ever been to a function sponsored by KISS 103.3 FM, then you know they have a buttload of promotional material. If they ever change their point on the dial, they'll have to spend a fortune on Sharpies. But they have one ace in the hole, no matter what the call letters or dial number. They have a hard-working Hooker. Hooker is the popular morning drive-time DJ who serves as an outstanding spokesperson for his station. He's a pretty cheery fellow for someone who has to get up at 4 a.m. every weekday morning.
BEST SMALL TOWN TOUR
Idaho Arts Commission Tour/Plan
As BW staffers were wrapping up BOB last year, Idaho Commission on the Arts was venturing off onto a statewide adventure in search of answers. The goal: 12 Idaho cities in two months. The purpose: to fine tune the commission's future by asking the people of Idaho what they needed from their arts leaders. From money and know-how to publicity and support, people all over the state had a say in what the commission should be doing for them. Once the commission gathered suggestions, it hit the drawing board and went to work on a new five-year plan. Late last summer, the commission's board approved the plan and this year, as BW staffers wrapped up BOB, the commission was hard at work on some of its new tasks.
BEST GALLERY SHOW
Basement Gallery October/November Show
Who can resist a Halloween-themed group show with work from kooky illustrator Bill Carman, cartoonist Mike Flinn, and BW darling Erin Cunningham? Not us. And apparently, not you guys either. We were told that 80 percent of Carman's work sold by the show's opening night. Not too shabby. 928 W. Main St., 208-333-0309.
BEST OTHER GALLERY SHOW
J Crist "Under the Grid"
The "Under the Grid" opening night party was like a BW family reunion. The month-long exhibit included our cover artist faves Ben Wilson, Grant Olsen, Erin Cunningham and Noble Hardesty. Plenty of BW and IAQers showed up to drink wine and listen to some sweet folk-country music by our very own ad rep Blake Green in Slow Moon. The exhibit, which focused solely on local art, food and music, stretched through July with a garden dinner event and a closing night party with even more music. We so hope this will be an annual happening. 223 S. 17th St., 208-336-2671, jcrist.com.
BEST WAY TO GET TO KNOW YOUR SEWER SYSTEM
Here at BW, we're moved when the community pushes out a new educational facility and would never waste an opportunity to offer up our praises. The Boise Watershed is, No. 1, flush with technological wonder and, No. 2, overflowing with public art. So, don't stall and let another day slip through the cracks without rolling out to see Boise's newest wastewater wonder. 11818 W. Joplin Rd., 208-489-1284, cityofboise.org.
BEST HAPPY ENDING
"Into the Woods"
BW never turns down a jaunt out to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival amphitheater for some laughs, sobs and professional-grade picnicking. But we were particularly enchanted by one play this summer—the rollicking, dark musical, Into the Woods. With a larger-than-life fairy-tale set and a lung-deflating cluster of catchy songs, Into the Woods charmed us better than any prince. Maybe the wine helped a little. 5657 Warm Springs Ave., 208-336-9221, idahoshakespeare.org.
BEST BOB IMPROVEMENT
Shiny Shoe Bob
Last year, city councilman Alan Shealy won himself a BOB for Best Quote (reach back in the old noggin for "dope and dog food"), and he follows it up this year with a nod to his musical prowess. The budget hound plays a set of sweet Pearl drums in a band called Shiny Shoe Bob that has regular gigs all over town, and believe you us when we say we were as pleasantly surprised by the council member's rhythm and singing as we were his tequila-shootin' skills.
BEST THING TO CALL YOUR FATHER
Chelsea Handler Calling her Dad Bitch Tits (It's Actually in Her Book)
Chelsea Handler is a Renaissance woman: She's a stand-up comedian, an actor, an author and a successful talk show host. She's intelligent, clever and gorgeous. She's also completely irreverent. No one is safe from her barbs. In her most recent mostly non-fiction release, Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, she writes of her nutty siblings, her crazy friends, her wacky love life and, in some of the most laugh-out-loud chapters, her father, to whom she lovingly refers and calls—to his face—Bitch Tits. We're so jealous of her.
BEST ROOM HOPPING
Modern Hotel Modern Art
This past May, the Modern Hotel opened its rooms up to area artists and performers for a one-night-only extravaganza. Amy Westover and Jennifer Wood premiered "The Deal" while artists like Charles Gill and William Lewis balanced their work precariously on beds and dressers. BW was there to watch as the Trey McIntyre Project and Leap Troupe bounded through the massive crowds, making sure not to spill anyone's Hamm's. 1314 W. Grove St., 208-424-8244, themodernhotel.com.
BEST WAY TO GET PLASTERED
The Embodiment Project was developed to encourage women to reject their negative body images and step out of "the very shells that bind them." This past July, a group of ladies gathered to plaster-cast their bodies, participate in gender-affirming workshops and watch performances by The Bois of Boise, Delush and local hip-twisters, Boise Hoopla. As the BW editorial staff is 85 percent female, and 100 percent awesome, we had to give a shout out to this rad project. Keep on casting, sisters.
BEST KICKIN' IT OLD SCHOOL
Break Dancing at Visual Arts Collective
We thought maybe we could hang with the break dancers at the Visual Arts Collective back in April, however the throwdown was anything but old school. Nary a centipede or normal backspin was to be found. Instead we found extreme athleticism coupled with varied degrees of rhythm and subtlety that blew us out of the water. While we were raised on "Beat It," we still don't know the names of the moves, but props to the one-armed upside down bounces, diagonalized flips and things that should make heads hurt. 3638 Osage St., Garden City, 208-424-8297, visualartscollective.com.
BEST USE OF THE FIBONACCI SEQUENCE
Boise Art Museum
Earlier this spring, the Boise Art Museum featured the work of local artist Andrea Merrell. Merrell's work is so precise and exquisite, each piece could be viewed time and again with something new coming to light in each viewing. Part of what made this exhibit so sublime was Merrell's exploration of the Fibonacci Sequence. Some pieces seemed like little more than giant building blocks until viewers read the accompanying explanation (which was a bit of genius on the part of the artist and the museum). They took on a whole new perspective and importance, drawing viewers in to the beauty of the science that informed them. 670 Julia Davis Dr., 208-345-8330, boiseartmuseum.org.
BEST RED CARPET MOMENT
Heather Ray and Quentin Tarantino
As the old adage goes: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Since there isn't space for 1,000 words here, we paint this picture: Quentin Tarantino presenting filmmaker Heather Rae with an award from Sony, which bought the rights to distribute her film Frozen River, while at Sundance Film Festival.
BEST TALKING HEAD
Maria Dahvana Headley at Boise Contemporary Theater
Last year, playwright and Marsing native Maria Dahvana Headley debuted Last of the Breed at Boise Contemporary Theater. It was a work the company had commissioned, but it was clearly a labor of love for the Idaho girl. She didn't have to dig too far to find inspiration. The rollicking comedy was almost a little too familiar to many of us who grew up in these parts—especially the bits dealing with fatigue-wearing isolationists with guns and a taste for taxidermy. Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St., 208-331-9224, bctheather.org.