Most native Idahoans can recall staring at the ceiling through the section in fourth grade during which we learned facts about Idaho's population and agricultural trends, tuning in only to giggle at the fact that "crotch" can easily replace the name of our beloved Crouch. Local 19-year-old Ben Kemper's mission is to banish the ghosts of fourth-grade history lessons past with his storytelling program, Early Boise Stories, a fresh take on Boise history.
Kemper, who apprenticed with Idaho Shakespeare Festival and has been telling stories in public libraries for 10 years, won the Grand Torchbearer Award at the National Youth Storytelling Showcase in 2007. He wrote four original stories under a Cultural Initiative grant from the Boise City Department of Arts and History, and with names like "Mr. Riggs Makes the Headlines," "Little Ada Saves the Day," "The Secret of Francois Payette" and "Conflict in Peace Valley," you know the man is not joking around. Head down to the Boise Public Library's Hayes Auditorium on Thursday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. to hear his tall tales. (Kemper will also perform at Idaho State Historical Museum in Julia Davis Park on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 3:30 p.m.)