First Thursday: Cruising by Art Deck-O, a 'Plosiphone' and Slam Poetry 

click to enlarge - Anne Boyle's torn-paper rendition of Frieda Kahlo at Art Deck-O -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Anne Boyle's torn-paper rendition of Frieda Kahlo at Art Deck-O

It was the end of the evening, and Nora Cooper, a student at the University of California Los Angeles, had just gotten off a plane from L.A. She told a small crowd of artists and poets at Ming Studios she was exhausted and to excuse her for reciting one of her more boisterous poems. 

"I'm going to do a loud, screaming poem. Otherwise, I'm going to fall asleep," she said.

The untitled poem was about empathizing with the hapless, bloodthirsty sharks sucked out of the ocean and deposited, chomping, in the middle of major metropolitan areas in the Sharknado movie franchise. 

Her "Sharknado" poem has been reviewed in the tech blog The Verge, and it drew thunderous applause from the crowd at Ming Studios. Cooper's visit benefited the Death Rattle Writers Festival.

The Ming Studios poetry event also provided a forum for new poets like Daniel Chavez, who recited his work for the first time in front of an audience. Unlike Cooper, Chavez's alliterative, internally rhyming style drew from rap and hip-hop influences. His rhythmic poems "Blue is boring," "I've forgotten my mantra" and "I wish I'd never met you" gravitated toward heavy, personal themes like heartbreak and loneliness.

Meanwhile, at the Olympic Venue, Art Deck-O was in full swing. This is the fourth year in which artists have decorated skateboard decks and auctioned them off as artworks. This year, proceeds benefited musicians' support organization Boise Hive, which is nearing the end of a 30-day fundraising campaign to stay in its space on the Boise Bench.    

click to enlarge - Scott Schmader makes music on his "plosphone" -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Scott Schmader makes music on his "plosphone"
Hundreds of attendees placed scores of bids on 30 skateboard decks, including Anne Boyle's torn-paper rendition of Frida Kahlo. Other artists included event organizer Kelly Knopp, Bobby Gaytan and Julia Green. Two-time Boise Weekly Best of Boise "Best Idaho Visual Artist" winner Erin Cunningham debuted a deck, as did longtime BW cover artist and illustrator—and well known local tattoo artist—Erin Ruiz.

At Trailhead, in south downtown, makers from across the Treasure Valley displayed their wares. Jaws dropped at Eagle-based DarkHeart Armoury's display of late-medieval and early-Renaissance-inspired armor and weaponry. "Thingmaker" Dan Wickstrom said it can take a month to hand-make a full suit of plate armor. Also on display were war hammers, dueling daggers and broadswords. Plated gloves, with their intricate design and articulate fingers, were crowd favorites. 

Elsewhere, Boise State University sophomore and Creative Technologies Association President Scott Schmader displayed his "plosiphone"—a musical instrument made with hundreds of feet of PVC pipe neatly arranged under a cabinet. 
click to enlarge - Late-medieval and early-Renaissance armor by at Trailhead -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Late-medieval and early-Renaissance armor by at Trailhead

Schmader said he used computer modeling program AutoDesk Inventor to build the instrument in high school after being inspired by a similar instrument used by Blue Man Group.

Using special paddles, he struck open pipe ends arranged on the cabinet top, creating the 'plosive sound from which Schmader derived the instrument's name.

"Because it's not an 'official' instrument, people have to make their own names for it," he said. 
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