Arts & Culture

Idaho Arts Organizations Combine, Celebrate "Wedding"

Jan 16, 2013
Dev Khalsa

A recent merger of two Wood River Valley arts groups has created the largest organization of its kind in Idaho. The merger includes Company of Fools theater company in Hailey and Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum.

John Glenn is with Company of Fools.  He's thrilled about the merger.

Ben Molyneux

Organizers of Boise’s Treefort Music Fest released the names of more bands today. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Animal Collective are the first headliners to be announced for the March 21-24 event. Festival planners are introducing the bands using quirky online videos.

Idaho Volunteers Honor Veterans' Graves With Wreaths

Dec 14, 2012
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

More than 2,000 wreaths will be placed on the graves of Idaho veterans Friday.  The decorations are part of the annual Wreaths Across America project. 

About 30 volunteers with the Idaho Civil Air Patrol recently gathered at an airport hangar in Nampa to make sure that every grave would have a wreath this year. One of those volunteers was Rhonda Rook. 

When asked about her process for securing fresh evergreen boughs in an old metal wreath frame, Rook laughed.

Courtesy of Mike Medberry

Twelve years ago, Boise writer Mike Medberry took off with friends to hike in Craters of the Moon National Monument in eastern Idaho. 

They camped that night, staying up to recite poetry. Medberry – a longtime advocate of conservation – tells Sadie Babits the next morning he tried to tell more poetry but couldn’t find the words.  He stumbled a bit but didn’t think anything of it as the group began their hike through the lava. Medberry says what happened that day is the basis for his new book “On the Dark Side of The Moon.”

Idaho Botanical Garden

Each year, the Idaho Botanical Garden strings up thousands of twinkling lights, for the annual Winter Garden Aglow.  The event begins tonight.  Last year, we caught up with a dedicated group of volunteers who were putting the final touches on the annual event.  Here’s a look back:

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Boise composer Jim Cockey’s newest work debuts tonight in Nampa. Sacred Land is a tribute to the Shoshone-Bannock tribes. Their history, from before settlers arrived in the Treasure Valley to the forced relocation of the tribes to the Fort Hall Reservation in Eastern Idaho in 1869, unfolds through the music.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s capitol city celebrates its 150 anniversary next year. But long before Boise became a city, the Treasure Valley was home to the Shoshone–Bannock people. In the mid-1800s the tribe was forced to relocate to Eastern Idaho.

Their story, from early history to present day, unfolds in a new musical piece called Sacred Land which premiers this weekend.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Classical musicians in Spokane stood outside their theater this weekend, lifting picket signs instead of instruments.

Musicians with the Spokane Symphony are entering week two of a strike over pay cuts. Five concerts have been canceled so far.

Spokane joins a growing list of cities this fall where symphonies have become embroiled in labor disputes -– including Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Adam Wallstein is the principal timpanist with the Spokane Symphony.

Idaho Pioneer Celebrated On Dia De Los Muertos

Nov 2, 2012
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Today is the Day of the Dead, the Mexican festival celebrating the souls of dead relatives and friends. In Boise, a unique gathering will honor the life of one little known Idaho pioneer.

Jesus Urquides was a Mexican-American mule packer in the late 1800's. Ana Maria Schachtell is a member of the Friends of Jesus Urquides, a group dedicated to telling the history this mule packer and entrepreneur. She has visited his grave every year for Dia De Los Muertos.  

What It's Like To Be A Mormon Democrat In Idaho

Nov 2, 2012
Rachel Cheney

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up about a quarter of Idaho’s population, and they’re watching Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on the edge of their seats. It’s the closest a Mormon has come to the presidency. But not all are voting for Romney.

Dia De Los Muertos Exhibit Blends Old & New Traditions

Nov 1, 2012
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a time to celebrate the dead and the living together. Traditional festivities in Mexico and Central America honor the soul's of relatives, with the belief that the dead's souls return for a day to eat, drink and celebrate with the living.

The Idaho Historical Museum is hosting a two week long Dia De Los Muertos exhibit. Today's First Thursday art event will include an open house. Off Center Dance Company will also perform a Day of the Dead dance at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

Capitol Steps Bring DeMOCKracy To Boise

Oct 26, 2012
Capitol Steps Live
Bill Hurd

In December 1981, Elaina Newport was part of a group of Senate staffers who wrote several parodies and then performed at a holiday get together for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  As it turns out, that was the birth of the political satire group now known as The Capitol Steps.

“We thought we’d just entertain for the Christmas party and make fun of our bosses and the president,” Newport says. “And we thought surely someone would tell us to stop or fire us, or both.  But nobody did.  And now 30 years later we are still performing all over the country.”

Courtesy Lee Schatz

The new movie Argo is a drama about the CIA’s role in getting six Americans out of Iran in the months following the hostile takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.  Ben Affleck directed the movie.  He also plays Tony Mendez, the CIA operative who thinks up the plan to get the Americans out.

Courtesy of Jo Deurbrouck

Author Jo Deurbrouck knows rivers. She spent 12 seasons guiding people through Idaho’s whitewater. That life inspired her newest book Anything Worth Doing. It’s the story of two raft guides, Clancy Reece and Jon Barker, who spent a decade together pushing their limits on the Salmon River.

The book, Deurbrouck says began when she learned that Clancy Reece had died. “In 1996, Clancy Reece who was kind of a legendary raft guide in the boating communities of Idaho, the hero of the people who taught me to boat and my hero by proxy… Clancy Reece died.”

Boise Arts Industry Worth $48 Million

Oct 12, 2012
Courtesy Idaho Nonprofit Center

The arts and culture industry generates more than $48 million a year in Boise. That’s according to a new study by Americans for the Arts. Today’s numbers paint a nice portrait of the city’s growing art scene.

Randy Cohen is with Americans for the Arts, the DC-based organization that put out the study.  

Cohen says that arts organizations like the Trey McIntyre Project and the Boise Philharmonic help create a community people want to live in. But they also create revenue.

Spike and Judy Baker

Snow will soon fall in Idaho's mountains, getting skiers excited for the winter. Already ski resorts in Sun Valley are making snow. But it will be at least until Thanksgiving before one of Idaho's popular resorts in McCall opens. Brundage Mountain has roots that go back to the 1920s. 

Randi Anglin / Courtesy of Algonquin Books

The author Robert Morgan’s latest book tells the story of ten American legends who were deeply involved in westward expansion. The Ithaca, New York based writer is in Boise tonight to read from his book Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion.

Morgan divides Lions of the West into nine chapters, each one devoted to one figure of America’s Manifest Destiny. He begins with Thomas Jefferson and ends with Nicholas Trist who fell in love with Jefferson’s daughter.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The "world's most comprehensive collection" of opium smoking paraphernalia has a new home. It's at the University of Idaho. A writer and collector, originally from San Diego, donated the exquisite antiques.

It's taking weeks to carefully unpack and catalog all the opium smoking implements and accessories. Collector Steven Martin estimates he donated at least 1,000 pieces... ceramic opium pipe bowls, ornamented heating lamps, traveling kits, scrapers, old photographs and mug shots.

Courtesy of Curtis Stigers

Boise based jazz musician Curtis Stigers and his band perform tonight in Idaho’s capitol city. He’ll sing tunes from his new album which came out earlier this year. Stigers says the songs on Let’s Go Out Tonight tell a story that evolved from working with producer Larry Klein in Los Angeles.

“For a couple of months I just got on a plane and I flew down to L.A. and I sat in Larry Klein’s studio with him and we just played records for each other like we were in 8th grade,” he told Sadie Babits in a recent interview.

Oregon Mural Draws The Ire Of Chinese Government

Sep 12, 2012
Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

The Chinese government is playing the role of art critic in one Oregon community. The criticism comes in response to a new mural commissioned by a Taiwanese-born businessman in Corvallis. The painting depicts a Tibetan monk setting himself on fire. But local officials are defending David Lin's right to express his views.

How Boise's Balloon Rally Could Revive The Sport

Aug 30, 2012
Jessica Murri / Boise State Public Radio

Forty hot air balloons floated up over Idaho's capitol city Thursday as part of  the Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally. It's going on through September 2. There used to be a lot more balloons when the River Festival happened years ago with nearly 100 balloons. Turns out there's been a decline in this sport.

The sun is barely on the horizon on this Saturday morning as a small crowd gathers at the fair grounds in Boise. They stare up at a little black balloon that’s quickly becoming a dot in the sky.

Northwest Trek

Apparently Northwesterners are not afraid of heights and have a yen for adventure. We draw that conclusion because the industry of zip line tours and aerial adventure parks is booming in the Northwest right now.

Within the past couple years, fully a dozen commercial zip line attractions have opened in Oregon, Washington and Idaho... not counting at least 12 more in British Columbia and Alaska. The revenue potential has some municipal parks departments looking to add spendy zip line attractions in public parks.

Amaura Mitchell

An exhibition of rare books and objects opens August 24 at Boise State University.  “Chapters from the History of the Book,” features 31 books and artifacts from different time periods from all over the world.  Stephanie Bacon directs the Idaho Center for the Book.  She curated the exhibit.

Jessica Murri

Ten years ago, Freak Alley Gallery started when a local artist painted inside an alley doorway in downtown Boise. Today, the gallery stretches the length of the alley, and a nearby parking lot.

Over 80 artists gathered last week to paint on the alley walls between 8th and 9th Street, and Bannock and Idaho. Artists cover the aging brick and crumbling cement with all styles of mural. Some look realistic, others cartoonish, others urban, like graffiti.

But Freak Alley Gallery isn’t graffiti.

Harper's New Monthly Magazine

This Sunday, a group of mountain climbers, students and Lummi tribal members will embark on an expedition to re-create the first ascent of Washington’s third tallest peak. That's Mount Baker, east of Bellingham. The modern-day expedition includes historical touches along with some concessions to practicality.