Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Or At Least Born to Open the Emmys

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 5:35 PM

The cast of Glee (including Jane Lynch who won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sue Sylvester), 30 Rock's Tina Fey, Mad Men's John Hamm, Lost's Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Community's Joel McHale and, well, everybody's Jimmy Fallon delivered Emmy-worthy performances during the singing-and-dancing opening for the 62nd Annual Emmy Awards.

Betty White, that Kate lady (you know, the one with hair extensions, eight kids and a pissed off ex-husband) and Tim Gunn have cameo appearances as well, in this rousing rendition of "Born To Run" that would have made The Boss proud.

And, yes, that is American Idol's Randy Jackson playing guitar.

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Screaming Females at The Red Room

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Some people are born and somewhere during the course of their life, decide to pick up a musical instrument. Some people appear to be born specifically to pick it up. Screaming Females guitarist Marissa Paternoster is the latter.

At the New Brunswick trio's stop at The Red Room on Sunday, Paternoster demonstrated a rare level of control over her instrument, moving seamlessly from wailing solos to humming melodies to snarling riffs to squealing accents and twinkling ambience, while perfectly balancing pop sensibilities with dissonant melodic phrasing that alternately complimented and shadowed her vocals. That level of skill was especially appealing in a zeitgeist focused more on aesthetics than chops.

The band was power-pop in its roots, offering straight-ahead no-nonsense rockers. But Paternoste's stellar guitar work on top of a really solid rhythm section sets Screaming Females apart from their contemporaries. Especially as despite her prodigious skill, she never let her guitar work overshadow the songs as a whole, in the way that too many guitarists do. If the song required a blistering solo, it got one; for six bars until the turnaround rather than on and on and on until the guitarist finally decides he or she is done.

The overall effect would be like combining the pace and sound of Cheap Trick with the style of of The Yeah Yeah Yeah's playing songs written by Television's Tom Verlaine and sung by Exene Cervenka. But perhaps the most impressive part of the show was how well the band imbued each song with distinguishing characteristics and sounds to set it apart from the others. A straight power-popper was followed by an evil disco track and then a rocker sporting riffs of the Black Sabbath variety. Yet they all remained, without a doubt, Screaming Females tracks to the marrow.

And though while in the throes, Paternoster whipped her head around, shredding and howling like a true rock 'n' roll savage, her stage banter was pained and awkward. Clearly more comfortable singing than talking, she finished the set by drawing her finger across her throat despite an audience desperate for another song. Then she unplugged her amp and shrank into the backdrop. She was there to do one thing: play guitar. The rest was just going through the motions.

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Need Something to do Tuesday?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 10:39 AM

We're living in strange times. On the one hand, environmental consciousness is higher than its ever been. But on the other hand, climate science denial is also higher than its ever been. And while some would say that this is just another example of an increasingly polarized society and the vanishing middle, others might say, "ugh... let's talk about something else."

Touche "others," touche.

However, as the bumper sticker says, if we ignore the environment it will go away. So what we need is a way to change ugh-inspiring talking points to a hands-on project that gets the point across in a fun way, especially to kids. The earlier people become aware of how ecosystems function, the more likely ours is to continue functioning.

So today, why not pack up the young un's and head out to Edward's Greenhouse, where you can learn how to build a frog terrarium. Then, in addition to a "cuddly" new pet, you'll have an ecosystem of your own to learn from.

Frogs are especially good subjects to study ecosystems because of the way they breathe and absorb water through their skin, making them much more susceptible to environmental toxins than other animals. If you want your frog to survive, you gotta do the legwork.

Both adults and children are welcome. You can register at eventbrite.com, or call the greenhouse at 208-342-7548. The class is free and starts at 6 p.m.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

A Novel Adventure to Close

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Downtown bookshop A Novel Adventure has announced they will close their physical location Sept. 3 and move their entire operation online.

And while losing any business, especially a bookshop is always a blow to the culture and economy of a city, the impending closure does offer local bibliophiles the chance to get up to 50% off their remaining stock.

Shop owners would also like to hear any memories you have of the store. Any stories, anecdotes, factoids or emu-farming schemes you read about on the internet that might keep the doors open you have to offer can be sent to anoveladventure@hotmail.com.

The shop will be hosting its final First Thursday event on Sept. 2., including wine tasting and live music. Make sure to stop by and send the shop off in style. While making off with screaming deals of course.

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A Weekend On The Town

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM


Never mind my aspirations of a thorough, fall house-cleaning binge this weekend! There were way too many other fun things to do, none of which involved staying indoors.

Always one to aim high, I began my Saturday morning with the 38th annual Bogus Basin Hill Climb, sponsored by Georges Cycles & Fitness, which saw record participation levels and a new course record. I suppose when more than 350 people toe the line, someone is bound to shatter the previous best time to the summit, and that "someone" was Andres Diaz, riding for Team Exergy. He finished in a blistering 52 minutes and 7 seconds, which is faster than most people drive that road during ski season.

Next stop was the Big LeBoise block party. Since I consider myself part of the BW family, I won't brag about how great it was. If you missed it, plan on attending next year.

Although I swore off the Western Idaho Fair when I graduated from 4-H back in the early '90s, this year was a little different, as a good friend of mine was competing in the Moo La La Ice Cream Making Contest. Admittedly, my pal was a bit of an underdog, seeing as how the United Dairymen of Idaho sponsored the event and her ice cream is vegan. Instead of milk or cream, she uses ingredients from soy products, almond butter, coconut milk and sucanat (suck-a-what?). However, Reggie's Veggies was a co-sponsor, so we hoped she had a shot at an honorable mention, at least.

Alas, it wasn't to be, but I solidified my strategy for the Fair next year into a simple set of instructions: eat, play, leave. Which I did. Then I saw a movie with a similar-sounding name (read the book first), and decided to call it a night.

This weekend was testi-moo-ney for what makes Boise such a great place to live, whether you like cream in your ice cream or not.

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Curb Cup 2 Photos

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Boise Weekly's Patrick Sweeney wandered Curb Cup 2 yesterday and reported back with these photos.

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The Onion on Glenn Beck

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck

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Need Something to do Monday?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Maybe it's a general feeling that as a society we've given technology too much control over our lives, Maybe it's because Zeus keeps knocking out electrical service, or maybe it's just from having seen "a few too many zombie films," but for whatever reasons apocalypse-style survival training is in right now. Camo is totally the new black.

However the major focus is on foraging food and shelter. And as a professional communicator, I can't help but notice that communication in a post-google-phone-calls era isn't a major focus. And while many would likely say, "so what?" I submit that without communication, your rag-tag band of survivors is isolated, cut off from potential aid or allies, as well as vulnerable to surprise attack from whatever you managed to survive. And while the two cups with a string you rigged up might work over short distances, for a genuine apocalypse, you need something with more oomph.

The answer is drums.

Drums were used to communicate orders on the battlefield before radios. They were used by tribal cultures in Africa and across the world to send messages and issue warnings. They're simple, effective and portable. They're also good cardio.

But what if you don't play drums? Well citizen, today you're in luck. Because Mondays you can swing by Barefoot Yoga Studio and take drop-in lessons in West African drumming from instructor Carolyn Failla.

And if for some unlikely reason the apocalypse you survive does come from zombies, with your new-skills you'll be prepared to divert their attack by making them dance.

The class starts at 7 p.m. and costs $10. Pleasant thumping.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Ondrej Smeykal at The Reef

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Ondrej Smeykal onstage at The Reef.
  • Josh Gross
  • Ondrej Smeykal onstage at The Reef.
Just behind "everybody should just calm down and listen to Glenn Beck," on the list of things I thought I'd never say is "I saw an amazing didgeridoo player."

But that's because it had never occurred to me that anyone could play like Ondrej Smeykal did at The Reef on Aug. 26.

The droning buzz that had bored me so many times at backyard barbecues was nowhere to be found. Instead Smeykal beat-boxed through the instrument, creating a rich range of rhythms and textures ranging from ragged rumbling bass lines to percussive high-end pops and chirps and breathy melodies.

The result was dance music. Kicks and snares. Break-beats and riffs. Melodic lines and samples. Even vocoders and talk-boxes. Were I hearing his album rather than seeing a performance, I probably would have mistaken him for a DJ as his music sounded more like it came from an 808 than it did a hollowed out stick.

Even with him seated cross-legged on the stage, eyes closed as he played like he was in a deep trance, it was hard to believe there wasn't a sampler hidden somewhere.

But perhaps the best part was that though the digeridoo is an aboriginal Australian instrument, Smeykal is Czech, making his music all the more pleasantly unlikely.

Though it's not locked down yet, Smeykal is hoping to do another United States tour in April, after a big world music festival in New Orleans. And whatever preconceived notions I may have had about the instrument, if he comes back, I'll be right there in the front. That said, there will never be a time when we should all calm down and listen to Glenn Beck.

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I Thought It Was the Cookies

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

It all started with a plate of cookies. At the time I didn’t like Boise Weekly’s restaurant critic, who was a wordy Boise State English professor. So I wrote a letter stating what I disliked about the man’s reviews and why I should be the paper’s new food critic. Bearing a plate full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and my letter, I stepped into BW’s downtown office wearing my stark white work uniform. Bravely, I asked the receptionist if I could speak to the owners. She took the plate and the letter, then stated flatly that she’d have one of them call when they got in.

A month later I got a phone call and was asked to come to BWHQ for an interview. Bingo Barnes, who was co-owner and editor-in-chief at the time, performed the necessary getting-to-know-you grilling along with then-editor Anna Webb; together they offered me a test assignment. At one point during the interview I was told, “If we hire you now, you might not be here in a year. There’s not a lot of longevity in the newspaper business.”

That was 10 years ago.

It was the fall of 2000. I was a full-time mom, raising my two elementary school-aged sons and looking for part-time work that would allow me to be home with my boys after school. I was also working as a kitchen assistant for the Boise School District. I recently learned that it was the novelty of the all-white lunch lady uniform I wore when I dropped off my letter that day that caused enough of a buzz in the newsroom for Bingo and publisher Sally Freeman to give me a shot.

And all this time I thought it was the cookies.

Today my sons are grown and have entered college. I’ve always said that once they graduated from high school I’d return to college for my degree. And that's what I'm going to do.

Before I go I have to say that it has been my privilege to write columns about restaurants and local food and real estate. But if you asked me to sum up what I’ve done over the past 10 years I’d have to say this: through my assignments to taste different foods, listen to people’s stories and see the interesting architecture in town, I have fallen in love with Boise, the people who live here and the city's rich history.

To Sally Freeman, Rachael Daigle, Amy Atkins, Deanna Darr and Leila Rader: Thanks for your guidance and for keeping me around so long. You ladies rock and I wish each of you nothing but good days. Farewell for now. I’m on to my next chapter.

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