BEST NONTRADITIONAL ART VENUE
Flying M Coffeehouse- What's better than coffee and art? The Flying M Coffeehouse does the best job of combining the two by regularly showing local artists and putting on their annual Valentine for AIDS silent auction. The changing scenery-bright, bold paintings to Mexican shrines-as well as the strong espresso keeps you coming back.
500 W. Idaho, 345-4320
BEST PUBLIC ART THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK
Grove Street Illuminated & Boise Canal by Amy Westover-This is one of the better pieces of public art gracing our fair city. Created by one of Boise's own, it's just as intriguing during the day as it is at night. Westover masterfully combined style and substance to create an artwork that is aesthetically pleasing as well as historically illuminating.
9th and Front
BEST MUSEUM SHOW
In the Fullness of Time: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from American Collections at Boise Art Museum- Boise Art Museum does a great job of attracting some spectacular shows like this year's Egyptian extravaganza or the video artwork by Seattle's Gary Hill. Also check out the Sun Valley Center for the Arts where they do a great job of juxtaposing interesting, thought-provoking work by new and established artists. Last winter's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was a perfect example.
Boise Art Museum, Julia Davis Park, 345-8330
BEST ANNUAL GALLERY SHOW PACKED WITH ESTROGEN
The Annual Women's Show at Stewart Gallery- The Stewart Gallery does a great "Day in May" celebration every year featuring work by women artists. They exhibit a wide variety of artwork- abstraction to realism-and artists who all share the XY chromosomes. Last May, Stewart Gallery showcased the work of artists Fay Jones, Seiko Tachibana, Pam Keeley and, one of our favorites, Stephanie Wilde.
2212 Main St., 433-0593
BEST GRASSROOTS ART MOVEMENT BOSCO
BOSCO (Boise Open Studio Collective Organization)- Armed solely with enthusiasm and a love of local art, artists Eve- Marie Bergren and Lorin Humphreys brought area artists and art administrators together to form this new artist collective. Last June, the public got to see the fruits of their labors in the first open studio program sponsored by the group.
BEST LOCAL LITERARY EVENT
Log Cabin Reading Series-Some of the biggest names in literature and radio have come through Boise thanks to the Log Cabin Readings and Conversations series. This year's series includes Terry Gross, NPR's host of Fresh Air; Dave Eggers, the 33-year-old author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity; Naomi Shihab Nye, poetess, essayist, children'sauthor and songwriter; and Oliver Sachs, physician and writer of seven books, including Awakenings, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
Log Cabin Literary Center, 801 S. Capitol, 331-8000
Hyde Park Street Fair-Homegrown, homemade, homebred, minimal pomp and circumstance, of, for and by the average neighborhood denizens instead of big corporate players-this event truly reflects Boise: laid back and kickin' it.
BEST COUNTRY BAND
Idaho Bluegrass Society-Is bluegrass country? Don't tell all the new-grass yippies, blaring Alison Krauss out of their SUVs at Dr. Dre volumes, but YES! Just because it is hipper, more virtuosic, or contains more yodelin' than Toby Keith, don't mean that bluegrass ain't just as much a part of our esteemed rural heritage. The Idaho Bluegrass Society holds regular jam sessions and organizes the movements of our state's pitiable amount of bluegrass outfits, such as the excellent Buckhorn Mountain Boys.
Eve-Marie Bergren-Sometimes art inspires art, and art instructors, who may be artists themselves, inspire even more artists. This year, the greatest impact of any artist in Boise has to be Eve-Marie Bergren. Her personal works will blow your mind, especially when you sit down and discuss them with her. But her greatest influence this year has been her encaustic workshops. Teaching new techniques to dozens of artists in Idaho, they have gone on to create hundreds of new works in this new medium. She has inspired and taught a whole new renaissance of an ancient artistic medium. Boise and Southern Idaho may become a hotbed for encaustic artists worldwide, due to her mentoring efforts alone.
BEST ART "MISTERY" SOLVED
River Sculpture-Last year the River Sculpture on Capitol Boulevard and Front Street (on the Grove Hotel), fondly referred to as the Smoking Crack, was not smoking. The mystery was solved and the River Sculpture has been working once again for about a month. After a thorough inspection to check for safety issues, including a suspected loose marble piece, it is working almost flawlessly now. It seems the water, pulled from underground sources (not tap water) was too hard leaving mineral deposits on the filters and misters. Now passing through a water softener solving the buildup problem, the work recycles the water and functions like the artists intended, as a reminder of our connection to the water of the land. Now the only problems with the piece seem to be when they have to replace broken neon. Oh, and when it's not misting (smoking) just wait a while. The entire work is on a timer so don't call anyone to turn it on.
BEST ARTS VENUE
Idaho Shakespeare Festival-We've been to quite a few shows this year at a lot of theaters. We've spoken to visitors to Boise who are theater fans. We've ignored the shows and looked at the venues during the performances and we've come to this conclusion. Boise is really lucky to have the visionaries to create the Idaho Shakespeare Theater. This outdoor theater inspires greatness for all the thespians and audiences who go there.
BEST PHOTO GALLERY
CC Photography-Craig Clark likes to push envelopes. He likes to expand awareness by exposing people to photographs of, well, culturally-challenging subjects. Please note: A culturally- challenging subject in Boise is not the same as in an art mecca like New York or Los Angeles. Constantly being challenged by local prudes for his display of tasteful photographs that sometimes include nudes, he has not yet been charged with violations of Boise's nudity ordinance. That says a lot about how this city's officials just might be able to distinguish between art and sin. Moved from his old location on Idaho, he now temporarily inhabits the old McDonald's location on Main St. next to the Egyptian Theater. We like Craig's gallery so much that we're hosting our Inaugural Black and White Photography contest show there August 13. Stop by before, during or after Alive After Five.
BEST VIDEO RENTAL SELECTION
The Flicks-From foreign classics to obscure indies, Flicks has it all ... except mainstream of course ... and that's how we like it.
BEST UNDERGROUND BAND
The Invasion-Most, if not all of the time, I have caught The Invasion, the band has actually been above the ground. So "underground" might not be the term were looking for. The four-piece Nampa band crafts melodies so not "underground" that they actually sound heavenly. Melodies and arrangements daringly close to The Beatles or Radiohead, which in this book rings grand.
BEST SINGER/ SONGWRITER
Tim Andreae- Those who have not witnessed this walking piece of musical artwork shouldn't miss Tim's next performance around town. From old-time delta blues to Harrison Boulevard drive-by art skits, Andreae can outperform any solo act I've seen.
BEST BAND NAME
Wilt Chamberlin's Baby-I'm not sure why we have passed these chaps up in the past, but who doesn't want to see a band called Wilt Chamberlain's Baby? What's next Kobe Bryant's Girlfriend?
BEST THEATER PRODUCTION
Lobby Hero-Boise Contemporary Theater's production of Lobby Hero last fall was without doubt a favorite of ours. Sara Bruner and Geoffey Bennett put on the faces of New York City cops while Matthew Clark and B.D. Freeman played security men at an apartment complex in the city. The story was impressive, the scenery was impressive and the actors and actresses performed beautifully. Well done, BCT.
Evita-The classic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical about the life of Eva Peron, Argentina's legendary first lady. Knock 'Em Dead certainly knocked us down with their production of the story of the woman who started life as an illegitimate peasant and became the first lady of a country that both loved and loathed her. Rachael Hitchcock captured our attention as the beautiful Eva, Che Guevara navigated us through the story as the narrator and Ken Elliot played the solid and stoic Colonel Peron.
The Overland Bar-Doesn't matter if you've got real pipes, or if you really, really suck. This is the place to give all those shower songs a go. The crowd here is pretty forgiving; all they want is entertainment. So, brush up your Neil Diamond and get ready to sing that heartfelt version of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" that you and your lady friend have going.
3907 Overland, 336-4707
BEST COMIC RELIEF
The Funny Bone-Boise's favorite night club has moved into a new home and changed its look just a bit. The new place has a bar outside of the venue that way you can sip while you wait and inside there's a bar for liquid and a bar for oxygen. The Funny Bone features comics Wednesday through Sunday nights with Monday and Tuesday nights being devoted to various forms of entertainment including poetry slams, acoustic nights and shows from the Foul Puppets.
405 S. 8th St., #121, 331-2663
BEST NEW TREND
Tie: Poetry Slams and Film Fests- The poetry slam scene has sprouted quickly with several organizations getting in on the competitions. Another Poetry Slam takes up residence in the Funny Bone once a month, BSU is hosting spoken word and poetry slam events every few months and even the Boise Art Museum has put on a poetry slam. The only thing as cool poetry slams is the phenomena of the film culture that is showing its smiling face in Boise. With organizations like Small Pond Films, Full Tilt Boogie Productions, Revival Pictures, North End Films ... the list goes on and on ... it's not difficult to see why there is so much happening on screen is Boise. We've got digital filmmaking classes from Revival Pictures, the Idaho Film Foundation's annual theme festival, the Idaho International Film Festival and now more a number of touring festivals, like the Gadabout Film Fest and the Banff Mountain Film Festival, are making a stop in Boise as they trek across the West.
BEST EVIDENCE OF BOISE AS A HOTBED OF LITERARIA
In the old days, mention "Idaho" and "famous writers" and that usually meant someone recalled that Hemingway blew his brains out in this state. In the last few years, though, Boise has been host to some literary greats. David Sedaris has been here twice, Ira Glass filled the Egyptian, and John Updike is coming in October. David Eggers will be here in November. In fact, the list of writers that have graced our fair city-or are headed this way-is getting pretty damn long: Tim O'Brien, Sherman Alexie, Michael Cunningham, Rick Bass, Kim Barnes and Anthony Doerr, to name a handful. Keep 'em coming, we say.