Monday, September 30, 2013

Lauren Edson + Dancers Wows Crowd of 500 at Egyptian Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Days before the Sept. 28 performance by Lauren Edson + Dancers at the Egyptian Theatre, fewer than half of the tickets had been sold. Boise band Edmond Dantes, scheduled to play an opening set, didn’t have a lead guitarist.
That might be news for the approximately 500 people who showed up to see dancer/choreographer Edson and her troupe kick off a national tour that will ultimately take it to Dance Gallery Festival in New York. For the audience, LED’s performance was a thrilling, emotional trek over three dances that ranged from a visceral breakdown of person-on-person violence to an examination of the interior forces that confine and liberate one woman.
With a substitute guitarist on hand, Edmond Dantes prepped LED’s home crowd with an invigorating and soulful set, playing songs that touched on heartbreak and mature themes with up-tempo, almost Motown-esque bravado. One audience member worried that lead singer Andrew Stensaas’ vocals were drowned by the other instruments; another thought the music was better fit for venue with room for the audience to dance. Quibbles aside, the act was the perfect aperitif for LED’s first choreography of the night.
“Two Against One,” the evening’s first dance, capitalized on the vogue of modern dance interpreting romance in the face of adversity. Lead male Yurek Hansen (formerly with Idaho Dance Theatre) got the worst of it, alternately wooing lead female Sayoko Knode and taking savage beatings from supporting male dancers Jake Casey and Jem Wierenga.
If “Two Against One” was a dance about damage to and regeneration of the body, “I Hit the Ground,” which premiered earlier this year, drove into emotional territory, giving equal voice to the gendered contortions of the soul during an argument or break-up. Dressed like Leeloo in The Fifth Element, lead female Edson was a tangle of muscular androgyny, at turns in love and anguish in a spat with thoroughly masculine lead male Jason Hartley.
Traveling ever-deeper into the psyche was the premiere of “Shatter on the Rocks or Cover Your Ears,” an artfully envisioned take on the warring powers of conformity, imagination and innocence in lead female Nell Rollins’ mind. Rollins plays a woman adrift on a sea of her own self-doubts, set upon by the male sycophants of a quasi-fascist with gleaming eyes and bondage leather played by Edson. The original score by Stensaas—Edson’s husband and Edmond Dantes’ vocalist—was as full-bodied as Edson’s choreography, with the sounds of the ocean; moody, a-melodic atmospherics; and guffaw-inducing samples of goofy, old-timey music.
Though Edson has danced professionally for years, what she and her dancers delivered on Sept. 28 is an indication of her unique talent and successes yet to come.

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Need Something To Do Monday?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

The Basque community has a strong presence in Idaho and Boise in particular. If your Basque knowledge is limited to Bar Gernika, this is a good opportunity to expand your cultural horizons.

The Basque Studies Department at Boise State University welcomes you to the Basque Studies open house, featuring a performance by musical group Kalakan, art and more.

10 a.m. FREE. Boise State University Quad, 1910 University Dr., Boise,

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Need Something To Do Sunday?

Posted By on Sun, Sep 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM


It isn't uncommon to toss around a football in the cul-de-sac during halftime, but it's slightly more difficult to casually participate in Olympic sporting events—you don't see folks rushing to the backyard pool for a little synchronized swimming during commercial breaks.

There are some opportunities to get in on the action, though. The Winter Olympics are approaching, and If you have some ice, a broom and a stone you can curl. But first, you need to know how. Join the Boise Curling Club at Idaho IceWorld to learn the essentials of the sport. Materials will be provided, but wear loose fitting pants and a jacket. Who knows? Maybe your window to be an Olympian hasn't closed yet...

6:30 p.m. $20. Idaho IceWorld, 7072 S. Eisenman Rd., Boise,

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Need Something To Do Friday?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM


Who doesn't love a Big Hair Ball? Its not what you think. Or maybe it is. At any rate, if you're looking for a reason to do your hair up huge, dance like a maniac and help save the lives of precious animals, the Big Hair Ball is just the ticket.

Prizes will be awarded for various categories including Biggest Hair, Most Creative and more. There will also be $1 Jello shots and a live DJ to help get your groove on and (depending on how many shots you end up taking) undo your 'do.

All of this helps Spay Neuter Idaho Pets (SNIP) in its mission to stop overpopulation of cats and dogs in the Treasure Valley.

7 p.m. $10. The Balcony, 150 N. 8th St. Ste. 226, Boise,

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Need Something To Do Saturday?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 4:00 AM


Yoga can seem complex and mysterious (even dangerous) to the uninitiated. Stretching, meditation, more stretching—it can be intimidating for someone who's never dove into the downward dog.

Whether you're an experienced yogi or looking to start, you'll want to attend the inaugural Boise Yoga and Music Festival at the Shangri-La Tea Room and Cafe. Featuring free 30-minute classes from 15 different yoga studios, live music, food and more. You don't have to listen to Ravi Shankar on your way over, but it might help.

7:30 a.m. FREE. Shangri-La Tea Room and Cafe, 1800 W. Overland Rd.,

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doe Eye Wins Friends and Influences People (to Dance) at Debut Boise Show

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Doe Eye (aka San Fran-based Maryam Qudus) made cozied up with The Crux crowd. - LAURAHO.CO
  • Doe Eye (aka San Fran-based Maryam Qudus) made cozied up with The Crux crowd.

Things got cozy at The Crux on Sept. 24, and that’s exactly how Jacob Fredrickson, bassist for Boise band Obscured by the Sun, wanted it.
“You’re all going to be very near and dear to my heart in another half an hour,” Fredrickson announced a couple of songs into his band’s set. And he was right.

More than 50 people crowded into The Crux on a chilly Tuesday night to see Doe Eye (aka San Francisco-based musician Maryam Qudus) and local openers Cutting Cages and Obscured by the Sun. The show was marked by warm interaction between the bands and the crowd, lending the concert a pleasant, intimate feel.

The size of the audience was impressive, considering that the show took place on an off-night and had to compete with Phosphorescent’s Radio Boise Tuesday concert at Neurolux (twice as many people attended that show). Given the enthusiastic reception Doe Eye received on its debut visit to Boise, Qudus and her backing band may well make good on their multiple promises to return.

Certainly, Qudus’ accomplishments suggest she’ll be around for a while. “I Hate You,” a track from her first demo, received radio play in San Francisco. She was a finalist for Billboard’s 2012 Battle of the Bands and was named Unsigned Artist of the Month by both Fuse TV and Alternative Press Magazine in 2011. Her Hotel Fire EP was produced by John Vanderslice, whose credits include albums by Spoon and The Mountain Goats.

Obscured by the Sun opened The Crux show. It took the local instrumental rock band a couple of numbers to really hit its stride, but the interplay between Travis Abbott’s elegant guitar lines, Fredrickson’s fluid bass lines and Chris Santiago’s intricate drumming proved enjoyable throughout. While each member boasted respectable chops, the trio’s performance emphasized groove over self-indulgent noodling.

Cutting Cages played next. This young band’s relatively new five-person lineup sounded a little scattered when it opened for Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas in July. Happily, the terse riffs and busy drumming felt more congealed here, which augmented the winsomeness of the melodies and gave some relief to the pained vocals and angst-ridden lyrics. Friends of the band moved close to the stage and cheered wildly.

Doe Eye’s set suffered a few technical difficulties (weird sounds from an amp, a slight delay in the running of some prerecorded tracks), but they didn’t detract from the wistful tunes, glittery guitar, dreamy keyboard and nimble drumming. Qudus’ low, cool vocals and introspective lyrics contrasted with her friendly, down-to-earth stage presence. The crowd danced and cheered so enthusiastically that Doe Eye played an Arcade Fire cover for an impromptu encore.

“This song’s about how we feel about Idaho,” Doe Eye bassist Nic de la Riva said before the band played “I Hate You.” That wasn’t an insult; the song’s chorus features the lyric, “Oh darling, it hurts to love you.”
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Early Bird Treefort Passes go on Sale Friday

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Two hundred “early bird” four-day passes for the Treefort Music Fest go on sale Friday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. Early bird tickets cost $50.

Once these passes sell out, the price jumps to $119.

Early bird passes grant access to every Treefort Fest venue over the weekend of Thursday-Sunday, March 20-23. Tickets are sold on a first-come first serve basis.

Also going on sale Oct. 27 are Zip Line and Secret Handshake passes which include more perks. Holders of the Zip Line pass have access to all Treefort shows and the end-of-festival party, the Treefort Launch Party. Zip Line passes cost $299.

Secret Handshake Passes are priced at $999 and include the perks of the Zipline pass plus additional access to the artist’s lounge, the opportunity to go backstage, and entrance to all of Treefort’s non-musical offerings, like beer and film festivals.

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Need Something To Do Thursday?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM


Summer is yesterday's news (well, last Sunday's news anyway), and with the official start of fall on Sept. 22 cooler temperatures have already set in. Every season has something to offer, but there's something priceless about finally getting to break out your favorite sweater.

If you're looking for a way to formally welcome the new season, take part in The Enchantment of Fall, presented by the Madeline George Garden Design Nursery. Featuring beer tastings, gardening classes and food, you won't give a second thought to summer.

5 p.m. FREE. Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Rd., Boise,

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Lauren Weedman's 'Boise, You Don't Look a Day Over 149' at BCT

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Lauren Weedman's play "Boise, You Don't Look a Day Over 149" takes shots at the City of Streets, but they all land right where they should. - JOSHUA ROPER
  • Joshua Roper
  • Lauren Weedman's play "Boise, You Don't Look a Day Over 149" takes shots at the City of Streets, but they all land right where they should.

Lauren Weedman seldom “steps” into a spotlight. She bounces, runs or shimmies and slides to center stage with moves that could land her a job as one of Neil Patrick Harris’ background dancers for next year’s Emmy Awards show. She stayed true to form for the evening performance of her latest solo play, Boise, You Don’t Look a Day Over 149, at Boise Contemporary Theater on Sept. 21.

With loud club music as her soundtrack, Weedman danced out of the wings to peals of laughter from the audience. She was dressed in a trip-to-the-grocery-store ensemble of a black T-shirt, jeans and black boots; her blonde, curly hair was piled loosely on her head; and the stage was set with nothing more than a black, metal music stand with index cards on it and water bottle on a stool. It all served to create an environment that felt less like a night at the theater and more like hanging out with that one funny friend everyone wants at their parties.

Simply put, Weedman is a brilliant storyteller. In that regard, Boise is no different from Bust and No… You Shut Up, both huge hits here. While two plays were deeply personal, Boise might actually braver: It is a play rife with inside jokes about a city that doesn't always cotton to outsiders. Boise is both a love letter to and fish-eye lens on our fair city, and it is a credit to Weedman’s comedic acuity—and her uncanny knack for finding the sweet spot between observational and self-revelatory humor—that the audience burst into stomach-clutching guffaws when she poked fun at the Boise State Broncos, Psychic Sheila, BCT’s Matthew Cameron Clark, the Western Idaho Fair and a couple of newspaper journalists. Yes, she was making fun of the City of Trees’ citizenry, but we were in on the joke.

And even though Boise was like a jam session, with Weedman flipping through the index cards, digressing in the middle of stories and muttering, “That was dumb,” to herself a couple of times, it didn't feel like we were watching Weedman rehearse. She was trying something new and it felt special. Standing onstage without a well-defined trajectory and confessing the kinds of fears and inadequacies that plague us all meant Weedman wasn’t really alone on that stage: We were all in it together. She might still live in Los Angeles but, with Boise, she is no longer one of “them.” She is one of us.

There are only two more chances to catch Boise, You Don’t Look a Day Over 149: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St., 208-331-9224,

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Lauren Edson + Dancers to Rock the Boat at Egyptian Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Lauren Edson, and husband Andrew Stensaas, will unveil their dance/music collaboration, "Shatter on the Rocks or Cover Your Ears," at the Egyptian Theatre Sept. 28. - DIANA MOORE
  • Diana Moore
  • Lauren Edson, and husband Andrew Stensaas, will unveil their dance/music collaboration, "Shatter on the Rocks or Cover Your Ears," at the Egyptian Theatre Sept. 28.

When Edmond Dantes vocalist Andrew Stensaas asked then-Trey McIntyre dancer Lauren Edson to be his wife, he did it in grand fashion, taking a knee at the foot of Mt. Olympus—home of the 12 gods of the Greek pantheon about 50 miles from Thessaloniki, Greece, where TMP was set to perform.

Due to TMP’s fast-paced tour schedule, Stensaas had to plan his proposition perfectly: from his arrival at Thessaloniki International Airport; to waiting for Edson to emerge from her hotel at a coffee shop across the street; to renting a car and making the drive to the base of Greece’s highest peak to pop the question; to returning her, one engagement ring the heavier, to TMP’s quarters.

“If there’s one thing that has been on Lauren’s and my side,” said Stensaas, “it’s timing.”

Chronos has again taken up the couple’s cause, this time in their collaboration on the lauren edson + dancers performance Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Egyptian Theatre. The event kicks off a national tour that will include performances at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas; Dance Gallery Festival in New York; and, finally, Dance Under the Stars Choreography Competition in Palm Desert, Calif.

At the Egyptian, they will present two award-winning dances—“Two Against One,” which took the grand prize at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Competition, and “I Hit the Ground,” winner of the Audience Favorite Award at Milwaukee Ballet’s 2013 Genesis International Choreographic Competition—and the husband and wife’s first collaboration, which is set for full presentation at the Dance Gallery Festival in New York, “Shatter on the Rocks or Cover Your Ears.”

Edson and Stensaas had long talked about collaborating on a dance piece, but in June, the two finally got their chance to work together on “Shatter.” Though the dance itself is conceptual, the process began with shared inspiration from a favorite movie.

“We started off talking about The Goonies,” Stensaas said.

Like the 1985 Richard Donner classic, the dance seeks to validate the virtues of children, like imagination, open-mindedness and a sense of wonder. But the similarities don’t stop there. Much of the dance takes place on a boat, where a woman (played by Nell Rollins) uses her childlike virtues to wrestle with self-imposed limitations.

Edson herself portrays the antagonist, strengthening the barriers the protagonist has constructed around herself. According to Edson, this antagonist is a living force in everyone, constraining people through fear and inertia.

“I represent this darkness holding her back within her psyche,” Edson said.

The protagonist is not intended to be over-familiar to the audience, Edson added. Though she personifies a psychologically conservative force, Edson emphasized that the character, mirroring the narrative of the dance itself, is open to the audience’s analysis. This is an extension of her own tastes, which, she says, lean toward conceptual musings rather than hand-holding expositions.

“The art I enjoy the most is something I can dig into. We want to give people room to interpret,” she said.

To achieve that end, Edson limited the props used in the dance to a few nylon masks; used dancers to represent the set, including the ship on which the protagonist undergoes her trials; and brought to the choreography her unique kinetic sensibilities—what she calls her “vocabulary of movement.”

“I try to come in with a toolbox,” she said.

Her toolbox is a collection of kinetic phrases that make dance the language through which Edson tells her story.

Edson’s other trick is Stensaas, whose score for “Shatter” has been described by lauren edson + dancers performer Yurek Hansen as “EDM and venetian snares—layers of insanity.” Thrown into the mix are sound effects, including the creaking of ship timbers on rough seas, children’s music and the wind.

“As the music progresses it becomes part of the narrative of the piece,” Stensaas said.

As a member of Edmond Dantes—along with Ryan Peck—Stensaas describes his musical taste as a combination of indie, soul and big band; but for “Shatter,” he drew on his full repertoire of influences to fulfill the audio and musical demands of Edson’s piece. During rehearsal, the dancers and Stensaas discovered the synchronicity of their media.

“We’re using the music with our shapes and our timing. You can dance to the music, you can dance with the music, you can dance against the music, but the way this has been laid out is, it’s very driven and connected to the voice, which is the music,” said Hansen.

In “Shatter,” he plays one of the antagonist’s male minions. Preparing for that role, he said, has been tremendously difficult because of the technicality of the piece and Edson’s driving dance vocabulary.

“It’s some of the most interesting, unique and extreme work that I’ve done,” said Hansen, who has trained with Edson since both were just starting out as artists.

Particularly it’s her intense style that made “Shatter” such a personal and challenging project. “Any chance to work with her again I’d take,” he said.

Despite the uniqueness of Edson’s work, Stensaas is confident a broader audience will be moved by her choreography—especially in the City of Trees.

Saturday, Sept. 28. 8 p.m. $15. Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise, 208-345-0454,
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