Best Household Use for Old Issues of Boise Weekly
We encourage recycling. Birdcage liner, packing material, fish wrap--all old news for the old news. We like to let a nice stack of them age to a fine, crisp yellow and then twist them into tight little sticks of newsprint kindling. Once you've started a fire with BW, you'll never go back to twigs again.
Best Place for a First Date
Lake Hazel Lanes
Why? Because the awkwardness of bowling is a great bonding experience. They have cheap beer and good fries. If you're on your game you can impress your date. If you suck you can laugh about it together. There are video games. Because the grease in the bowling balls gives you an excuse for clammy hands. If it doesn't go well, you only spent $10.
10489 W. Lake Hazel Rd., 362-2695.
Best Boise Art Museum Exhibit of an Historic Artist
BAM's extensive survey of the art of Idaho artist James Castle (1900-1977) took advantage not only of BAM's own holdings and the expertise of curator Sandy Harthorn, but also of the generosity of the Castle family and Castle estate representative Jacqueline Crist, to present a thorough consideration of this fascinating work. Covering every aspect of Castle's varied output, the show brought home to a new generation of Idahoans the unique achievement of this native son. In conjunction with the event, BAM published a hard-bound catalogue that is an important contribution to Castle literature.
670 Julia Davis Dr., 345-8330, www.boiseartmuseum.org
Best Place to Watch a Black and White Film Revival
Since opening in 1927, the Egyptian has been a unique Boise landmark. Remodeled in the late '90s, the theater is positioned as a modern movie house in a setting that recalls the golden age of cinema. The delightfully over-the-top Egyptian kitsch that covers every visible inch of the place is inspired by the Egypt craze of the '20s. Watching Casablanca from the balcony of the most old-fashionedly charming movie house is just more fun than you can have at a place like Edward's. We like to get there early to ogle the decor. (We'd also like to see fewer "talkies" and more Conrad Veidt.)
700 W. Main St., 345-0454, www.egyptiantheatre.net
Best Visiting Art Luminary
Arthur C. Danto
Art critic for the Nation magazine, author of numerous books on criticism and philosophy, professor emeritus in philosophy at Columbia University, Arthur C. Danto is one of the most important thinkers on art in American today. Snagging him as juror for the 2004 Idaho Triennial was a coup for BAM and the academic community. In his talks at BAM and Boise State, his public lecture at the historical museum (entitled "The Gap Between Art and Life"), and various social events over several days, he proved to be exactly as he is in his writings--insightful, witty, gracious and generous.
Best Place to Find Out What Your Friends Did This Weekend -or- best monday morning entertainment
Ada County Sheriff's Web Site
Movie, schmoovie. If you want the good dirt, check out the Ada County Sheriff's Recent Arrest Page (www.adasheriff.org/ArrestsReport/), complete with mug-shot illustrations. Check up on your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and then have fun sending the Hall of Shame photos around the ol' e-mail circuit. Who beats their spouse? Who blew above a point-oh-eight? Yet another reason to never leave the computer screen again.
Best Angry DJ
Rather than give a nod to local DJs who couldn't make a good joke if Conan O'Brian head-butted them with it written on his giant white forehead, we'd like to acknowledge the music snobs out there who guard the radio dials like they're keys to a nuclear submarine. Because the truth is, the world may explode anyway if we have to listen to one more rock ballad by Kelly Clarkson.
Best Book to Leave in a Public Toilet
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
E.D. Hirsch's dilettante's bible is perfect bathroom reading by design. Each entry is short and essentialized, so each session with the book can be as long or as short as you need it to be. Plus, if copies of Cultural Literacy littered bathrooms around the city, think of all the edifying small talk we could have after bathroom breaks. At the Stagecoach Inn, meeting the in-laws for the first time? Excuse yourself to the men's or ladies' room to freshen up after appetizers and take a moment to bone up on "bicameral legislature" and "Zeno's paradox," just in case. And if your run into your old high school coach having a couple of brews at the End Zone and he gets belligerent, just whip out "Win this one for the Gipper," followed by "penis envy."
Best Place for a Last Date
Lake Hazel Lanes
Why? Because the awkwardness of bowling makes it easier to pick a fight. You don't feel too bad about pouring cheap beer on your date, and good fries are good no matter what. You can heckle the other person and suck it up on purpose just for kicks. There are video games. Because the grease in the bowling balls gives you an excuse to let it slip and land on the other person's cell phone. $10 is a small price to pay for a loud public setting and a quick getaway.
10489 W. Lake Hazel Rd., 362-2695
Best Entertaining TV Channel
We're going to go out on a limb here. Frankly, those of us without cable or satellite television piping into our living rooms are hurting for programming. Network TV is quite limited in its options. Or so we thought, until we found ... Channel 47. It's like Comedy Central, the Sci-Fi and Discovery channels all rolled into one crazy evangelical freak show. We like to get the news from Jack Van Impe Presents ("combining Dr. Jack Van Impe's extreme intelligence, insight and knowledge of Bible prophecy with stories pulled from today's headlines") and our proselytizing from Kirk Cameron (yes, the Kirk Cameron) and his wacky Aussie sidekick Ray Comfort on The Way of the Master. (Of course, it's always poss that we're just easily amused.)
Best Reason Not to Leave the House
The Public Library
You don't have to leave your house to visit the Library! anymore, thanks to their Web site, www.boisepubliclibrary.org/Circ/lynx.shtml. All you need to satisfy your urge for literature is Internet access and a library card. Get online to browse and put holds on, not just books at BPL, but tomes from every book repository in the interconnected Treasure Valley library web. And besides books, the library has a surprising array of movies and music available for lending. You won't even have to leave the house to pick up your books; for a nominal fee, they'll mail them to you.
Best Reason to Leave the House
Boise's Fine Arts Scene
With its myriad museums, art galleries, orchestra, ballet, opera and theater productions, there's no reason to spend a single moment bored and cooped up in the house if you don't want to. There is variety enough to suite any taste--do you prefer abstract sculpture, Shakespeare or both?--and the prices run the gamut from ridiculously cheap to "no groceries this week" occasional splurges.
Best upscale Art Galleries
Stewart Gallery and J Crist Gallery
Bringing much-needed life to the western fringe of downtown are Stewart Gallery at Main and 23rd streets, and the newly opened J Crist Gallery at South 17th and Fairview. In 2003, the resilient Stewart operation renovated a late-1930s slice of modernist architecture, creating three intimate spaces for viewing a stimulating range of local and regional art. J. Crist just completed a new, minimalist structure that features a high-ceilinged exhibition space, walled-in sculpture court and tons of natural light. Together, these neighboring venues not only offer the best in visual art, they may have hatched Boise's first distinct gallery district.
Stewart Gallery, 2212 W. Main St., 433-0593, www.stewartgallery.com
J Crist Gallery, 223 S. 17th St., 336-2671, www.jcrist.com
Best Boise Art Museum Exhibit of a Living Artist
The exhibit of Seattle artist John Grade's extraordinary, nature-inspired abstract sculpture took up BAM's sculpture court and adjacent spaces, and offered a very different art experience. The impressive one-man show was an exercise in suspended animation, an art inspired by multifarious organic forms and processes, as well as Third World cultures. Grade's innovative works, which included two large suspended sculptures created specifically for the exhibit, were both visually captivating and intellectually challenging. A handsome full-color catalogue published by BAM accompanied the show.
670 Julia Davis Dr., 345-8330, www.boiseartmuseum.org
Best Local Actor/Actress
All Of 'Em
Anyone who has the brass to get up on a stage and face audiences and critics in this small town deserves a pat on the back.
Best Boise Weekly Cover This Year as Chosen By the Rest of the Staff Because Bingo, Who Chooses all the Covers, Was Out of Town and the Staff Slipped It In
This vaguely Tuscan scene by artist Onalee M. Bukovcik appeared on the cover of the September 7, 2005, Cattitude issue. Not only did the mysterious Mona Lisa smirk on the kitty's face bring an unambiguous grin to ours, it generated a lot of mail. We have a feeling that if we had put it to a vote, it would be a Reader's Choice as well.
Best Band that Sounds Like It was Named By a 19th-Century Poet
12th of Never
Is it from Byron or Keats? Well, actually, Johnny Mathis has a song entitled "12th of Never," as does Donny Osmond. Is there something you're not telling us, guys? Self-described as a "semi-progressive hard rock band" with a Latin flair. 12th of Never is one of the newer bands on the Boise scene that has gained in popularity over the last several months. Along with an album in the works, 12th of Never plays locally on a regular basis. (Check your BW Music Guide.) In fairness, "12th of never" is an expression that actually was coined in the 19th century, similar to "once in a blue moon." Oh, those wacky Victorians.
Best "Art Night"
You love art. You love naked. It was only a matter of time before a local strip club decided to capitalize on that. But Erotic City found out why it's a bad idea to flaunt your cleverness too flagrantly. When it comes to figuring out how to legitimize full stripper nudity, turns out you can't fight City Hall there, either. This past spring, citing a critical lack of "serious artistic merit" (per city code), the Boise Police Department informed club owners and dancers that paper and pencil alone do not a nudity ordinance skirt. Fines and pasties ensued.
5781 W. Overland Rd., 377-0672
(For a more complete rundown of the whole "Art Night" flap, see "Flaunt It and They Will Come," by Nicholas Collias, in the April 6, 2005, issue of BW, available at www.boiseweekly.com.)
Best Gallery Exhibit
Garth Claassen at Stewart Gallery
Hands down, Garth Claassen's show of paintings and drawings at Stewart Gallery last winter wins this category. This native South African, teaching art at Albertson College, gave voice to his feelings over the Iraq debacle in works grounded in art history yet embodying a unique, eccentric expressionism. A strong colorist who works wonders with oil stick, Claassen made his impassioned point with satirical wit and technical virtuosity.
2212 W. Main St., 433-0593, www.stewartgallery.com
Best Collective Art Show
Salon de Refusé
While the Boise Art Museum showcased its Idaho Triennial Exhibition, holding their reception in February, the artists rejected from the juried exhibition held their own show on the same night. Dubbed the "Salon de Refusé" by organizers (after the Salon des Refusés--Salon of the Rejected--exhibition of the 19th century, put on by rejects from the Salon de Paris), this motley crew organized a show in an empty space on 8th Street. This collection of artists came together at a grass-roots level, brought in pot-luck dishes, beverages and had a grand old time. To heck with those artists who got in the Triennial, this was the real show. (Actually, BAM gave a thumbs up, a wink and a nod to the whole good-natured fun event. "More art is always better," everyone said.)
Best Theater Production of the Year
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Spontaneous Productions Theatre Company
This is almost impossible to call, since there have been so many wonderful theater productions over the past year. Just a couple that come to mind are Boise Little Theater's Grapes of Wrath adaptation or Boise Contemporary Theater's delightful production of Nosferatu. Justin Marshall Tharpe turned in a stellar performance in the title role and the other players were top-notch as well, but the words of Thoreau himself are the show's real star, and the reason The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail edged out the competition.
1011 Williams St., 363-7053
Best Use of Mr. Potato Head
As we see it, there's no one best use of a Mr. Potato Head, so here are a few ideas to get you started. 1) Fill his body cavity with Jelly Bellies and use his bum hatch as a dispenser. 2) If you have a fight with your girlfriend, tape a tiny bouquet of roses to tater man's hand and leave him by the bedside in the hope she'll find it cute (as opposed to creepy). 3) If you're trying to get fired a la Office Space (a.k.a. by acting like a lunatic), speak to your co-workers and especially your boss only through Mr. Potato Head. 4) Put him on your desk at work and use his various bits and pieces to indicate your mood for the day. A mustache in his eye hole is not a good sign ...
Best Musician to Jump Ship
Every city with any--any--hope of reaching musical respectability has to have its own civic-minded grass-roots music label. Subpop in Seattle. Dischord in D.C., Twin/Tone in Minneapolis, SST in L.A., ZE in the East Village, and in Boise ... well, we've never really had one. But for the last few years, Levi Cecil, veteran of the once-promising Boise band Clock, gave a tantalizing glimpse of what was possible, via Emeritus Records. He released possibly the best Boise-only compilation yet, complete with cover art by David Lynch, and a slew of notable releases by local luminaries Junkyard Bandstand, Clock and Veronica and the Mental Foreplays... and then he ran away to Portland. Sigh. Emeritus still stands, but we'll have to keep waiting for the revolution to happen from within.
Best Concert of the Year (Highbrow)
Boise Baroque Orchestra
In the second weekend of June, the Boise Baroque Orchestra, with guest violinist Geoffrey Trabichoff (of the Langriose Trio and concertmaster of the Boise Philharmonic) played a very special concert a few miles west of their home turf, at Albertson College. As anyone who has heard them knows, every BBO performance is special, but this performance was especially so. For Trabichoff navigated the rigors of Mozart et al. on a loaner Stradivarius violin. The Muir MacKenzie Stradivarius was as rare a treat for the audience to hear as it was for Trabichoff to play. (The following week the Strad when AWOL for the remaining dates, so this performance really was a one-time thing.)
2112 E. Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell
Best Concert of the Year (Nobrow)
... if we're voting on energy expended, participant dedication and audience enthusiasm. We've devoted thousands of words and lots of free time to covering the Core's Battle of the Bands and the culminating XFest. The whole thing rocked, and rocked hard. 'Nuff said.
Worst Judgment in Graffiti
Defacing the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
As a general rule, we're pretty comfortable saying that we dislike graffiti. It's annoying, mindless and a bitch to clean up. But you take care of it and move on.
Sometimes, though, there's a real doozy that goes beyond mere destructive annoynance, and this is one of them. Duchamp's "Fountain" and Serrano's "Piss Christ" might have some competition for the bad taste award, should one ever be awarded. Case in point: those two nimrods that "tagged" the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in a graffiti spree last fall. It appeared after the "artists" were apprehended that the crime was not hate-but stupidity-motivated. What were they thinking?
(For details on the crime and punishment--we're talking heavy restitution and even a stint in the pokey--check out "Taggers Pay to Spray," by Nicholas Collias, in the May 25, 2005, issue of BW, on the Web at www.boiseweekly.com.)
Best Cultural Barometer
That is, if you're looking to see what's culturally very, very dead. Witness a recent issue of Thr!ve, where we read these words: "That's how we roll." Tens of people around the Treasure Valley read the phrase and thought, "Well, I can't say that again. Even in jest." If you want more proof that Thr!ve sounded the phrase's death knell, a fortnight later, Bob Anthony said those very words on the Channel 7 weathercast. We don't roll no more.