I'm certain you're familiar with the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover." I should have taken that caution to heart when we first picked up Becoming Basque. I assumed I was being handed another history book to be neatly tucked on the shelf and possibly forgotten.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
What I discovered and share in our main news feature this week is the discovery that the just-published Becoming Basque is a great read, but it overflows with 21st century relevance. It adeptly examines the city of Boise's ethnic patchwork and how the city "even now, is suspended between the past and the present," according to Dr. Todd Shallat, director of Boise State's Center for Idaho History and Politics and series editor for the Center's many publications.
Becoming Basque also reveals a local tension between those who desperately want to learn and share information on the decades of Basque oppression under the iron fist of Gen. Francisco Franco, and those who have moved on, physically and emotionally, from their native land.
"This has been an area that a number of people just didn't want us to get into with this book," said Dr. John Bieter, editor of Becoming Basque.
But indeed, they "get into it," as does the story, which begins on Page 10. By the way, you'll definitely want to take a look at an accompanying photo of a familiar Boisean on Page 11.
I'm also happy to report that right before he helps launch Idaho Shakespeare Festival's 2014 season this week, Tom Ford--star of the first production of the year, Deathtrap--sat down with me to talk about his career and his particular affection for Boise audiences.
"Nothing but endlessly supported," Ford told me. "Really generous, sometimes very moving."
And Ford has emotionally moved more than a few audience members as well. When I asked him about one particular moment in 2008's ISF production of Into the Woods, a few tears were shed and ... well, you'll just have to read our conversation on Page 12, won't you?