Arts & Culture

Oregon State University

Rare, once-lost historic records about pioneer Chinese immigrants to the Northwest have found a new life online. The digital archive is hosted by Oregon State University. A Chinese-American civic group hopes the document trove can help families locate ancestors gone missing early in the last century.

Boise's 'Record Exchange' Still Alive at 35

Apr 22, 2012
Record Exchange Music
Scott Graf

In the old days, when music fans wanted to buy an album, they’d simply visit their local record store.  But digital downloads have changed that.  As people have traded in their CDs for MP3s, record stores all over the country have closed.   That hasn’t been the case in Boise.  And on Saturday, music lovers turned out at The Record Exchange as it celebrated an annual national event known as Record Store Day.  For those fans, it was a chance to support a business many say they couldn’t imagine Boise not having. 

Glenn Mosley / Northwest News Network

The actor Bill Fagerbakke is perhaps best known for his comedic roles on the television series Coach and Spongebob Squarepants. But in Moscow, Idaho, last week, he was also talking about serious issues, like the role of the arts in our culture.

Boise Contemporary Theater

It’s a news story that, in Idaho, has become a legend. A conservative senator arrested for soliciting sex with another man in an airport bathroom. In video from C-SPAN from 2007 Idaho Senator Larry Craig apologizes just after the story broke.

“While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away," he said. "That was a mistake and I deeply regret it.”

Basque Mus: More Than A Card Game

Mar 30, 2012
Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

This Saturday in downtown Boise people gather around tables at Leku Ona to play mus. That’s said like moose.  It’s a Basque card game, think poker meets chess. The winner will go on to compete in a national tournament in Chino, California in late April.

Comedian Mike Birbiglia On How He Creates Stories

Mar 23, 2012
Joan Marcus/

Comedian Mike Birbiglia knows how to tell good stories. He says that’s never made him the life of the party but it has given him repeat appearances on This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour. His stories are funny, but sometimes they’re painful to hear.

It’s hard to imagine the U.S. with just a few dozen doctors to help everyone. But in the country of South Sudan that is the reality. There are 50 licensed doctors to help more than eight million people. Thomas Burke knows this situation well. He’s the chief of the Division of Global Health and Human Rights. That’s part of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He’s helped create a medical program for 400 students.

Photo courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb Collection

PLUMMER, Idaho - Jazz aficionados know Mildred Bailey as the legendary singer who cleared the way for female jazz greats like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Less well known is the fact that Bailey was Native American. Now, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Idaho has launched a campaign to bring the singer -- and her heritage -- into the spotlight.

Mildred Rinker Bailey was one of the top-selling artists in Depression-era jazz.

Ballet Idaho Brings Firebird to Life

Feb 10, 2012

The Russian ballet Firebird is a fairy tale built around a magical bird, a brave prince, a beautiful princess, and monsters. Tonight Ballet Idaho performs Firebird in Boise. Peter Anastos is the company’s artistic director. He told Sadie Babits he’s wanted to choreograph this ballet for some time. He calls composer Igor Stravinsky’s music for this ballet “a huge giant 20th century landmark score.” Anastos explains why that is.

BOISE, Id – As thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, twinkling lights start to pop up in neighborhoods and in botanical gardens across the country.  Coos Bay, Oregon’s Garden boasts 300-thousand lights.  In Denver, it’s one million lights.  Winter Garden Aglow at the Idaho Botanical Garden is a little smaller, just a quarter million lights.  It takes a small army of volunteers to string and tie all those thousands of bulbs.

Nicole Krauss’ Great House

Nov 7, 2011

The stories of four strangers unfold in the latest novel by international best-selling author Nicole Krauss. Great House connects these tales together through an old desk with many drawers. The book begins with a reclusive American novelist who writes on a desk she inherited from a Chilean poet who vanished. Nicole Krauss will be in Boise tomorrow (Tuesday) as part of the Log Cabin Literary Center’s Readings and Conversations series.

The public radio show This American Life isn’t like anything else on the radio. It’s not a talk show. It’s not a call in program. It’s actually more like a cross between a movie and 60 Minute.  Some two million people tune into it every week. Tomorrow (Saturday) the host of This American Life, Ira Glass, comes to Boise. He talks with Sadie Babits about how he puts the show together, what shoes he’s wearing and about his iconic black rimmed glasses.

City Symphony Debuts In Boise

Oct 28, 2011

Ballet Idaho’s new season begins tonight with the debut of “City Symphony.” It’s the first major piece choreographed by principal dancer Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye. He told Sadie Babits this piece was inspired by films in the 1920s that tried to capture the power, grandness and fast paced life of a city.

Gravity Heroes

Oct 14, 2011


This weekend, the contemporary ballet company the “Trey McIntyre Project” performs in Boise. The group will do three pieces centered around the theme of being “Grounded.” Dancer Brett Perry says “It’s like a little bit of a rock concert for us. We get really, really excited. It’s a lot of our family and friends people we know are in the audience.”

This weekend also marks the Idaho premiere of Trey McIntyre’s newest work called “Gravity Heroes.”

Remembering Idaho Visual Artist Surel Mitchell

Oct 13, 2011


Idaho visual artist Surel Mitchell passed away Monday at her home in Garden City.  She was 67 years old. “She was always exploring something different.  I mean the quality was always there but the style would change,” said Barbara Robinson with the Idaho Arts Commission.  She’s worked closely with Mitchell for the past 19 years.  Robinson says Mitchell leaves her signature on Idaho’s art community.

That Was Just Surel

Oct 12, 2011

After more than three decades at the forefront of Boise’s art scene, artist Surel Mitchel has died at the age of 67.

Barbara Robinson takes a six inch sculpture from her shelf.  Surel Mitchel gave it to her. It’s a nude female torso and was one of Mitchell’s many experiments.

Barbara Robinson “ And it had to be cooked in her oven and it let off all these fumes, it had some kind of toxic resin so she decided maybe that wasn’t something she wanted to make more of.”

Comedy Cosby Style

Oct 5, 2011

Boise, ID – Comedian and actor Bill Cosby has been a household name for five decades. And he has no intention of slowing down. He brings his new standup routine to Boise this Saturday. Adam Cotterell talked with Cosby who asked him a simple question.

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me Poundstone is Back In Boise

Sep 23, 2011

Boise, ID - Comedian Paula Poundstone is coming to Boise tonight (Friday). She’ll tease the audience at the Egyptian Theatre about their jobs; talk about her kids and she’s likely to mention items in the news. She talks a lot about the news as a frequent panelist on NPR’s news quiz show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” Poundstone started stand up in 1979. Adam Cotterell asked her how she’s managed to tour successfully for 30 years.

Sound Effects Public Radio Style

Aug 26, 2011

You’ve seen the TV commercials where squirrels talk and dogs bark right on cue. Turns out most of the sounds are made by… people… sound effect masters like Fred Newman.  Newman makes all the fun sounds like lighting up a cigarette or a dripping faucet- that you hear on A Prairie Home Companion. Friday the 26th you can hear Fred Newman create sound effects when Garrison Keillor and the whole cast of A Prairie Home Companion take the stage in Eagle….. Adam Cotterell talked with Newman ahead of the show and asked him what his favorite sound is.


Bike Polo

Aug 3, 2011

In our summer series Let’s Get Physical we’re highlighting unique, even unusual ways to stay active and fit. Today a tournament for a growing sport.

The Idaho Botanical Garden has just joined the “Let’s Move” initiative.  That’s First Lady Michelle Obama’s project to fight childhood obesity through exercise and better nutrition.  As Boise State Public Radio’s Samantha Wright reports, the Garden gets kids “Moving” through a Botany Camp.