In years past, we've referred to Annual Manual as "our guide to life, the Treasure Valley and everything." That's a pretty broad mandate, to say the least, and it's debatable whether we've achieved that goal in the six iterations of this publication. However, this year, we think we might have gotten closer than usual.
Near the front of the magazine, you'll find a series of profiles on local artistic luminaries, specifically notable for their work in theater, dance, film, music and literature. We chose those artistic disciplines deliberately, as they each require not only a community to consume the fruits of their labors but those labors themselves require a community to accomplish.
The act of creating a work of art may be a solitary activity, but within it is a multitude of personalities representing the artist's internal and external world. What's more, plays need actors, dances need dancers, films need actors, bands need members and books need readers. Each of those art forms builds a community of its own, draws from community and, ultimately, feeds that strength back in the form of a shared culture that informs our identity as (you guessed it) a community.
Get used to that theme, because we pivot from a living, breathing, vibrant Boise to an exploration of the citizens who made us who we are. Yep, we hung out in a bunch of cemeteries, getting to know those Boiseans whose shoulders we stand on—in a cemetery, that figure of speech takes on a slightly macabre literal sense.
Back above ground, we looked at another feature that defines the Boise community: our trees, with a tour of some of the most historically significant members of our urban forest.
As pondering the dearly departed gives us a feeling for the origins of Boise, the trees that grace our streets, yards and parks were quite often witnesses to those origins. To know our arboreal neighbors is to gain a deeper appreciation for the long, sometimes difficult growth of this high desert settlement, which has flourished in the shade of their limbs.
Beyond that, our woody residents serve as a symbol of Boiseans' often remarked upon love of the outdoors and nature. We follow that trail in more ways than one, with a selection of profiles on unique motorcycle routes and a listing of the trails that make us one of the West's premier areas for hiking and biking.
If Boise is a city of artists, trees and adventure, it's also a city of eaters. If we actually are what we eat, Boise is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. We focused on the variety of ethnic tastes that represent the diversity of our community—from Basque paella to a sampling of international markets where you can experience flavors from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America.
Finally, we offer a year's worth of events listings, so you can plan another trip around the sun in this place we call home.
This might not be the definitive guide to "life, the Treasure Valley and everything," but it is a compelling portrait of what makes Boise the community it is.
Click here to see a digital version of Annual Manual.