Rick Walter Debuts New Show at VAC 

And Pauls Toutonghi reads from Evel Knievel Days at Rediscovered

Like Idaho author Kim Barnes' latest novel, In the Kingdom of Men--which follows "a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma" who moves to Saudi Arabia--Pauls Toutonghi's latest book, Evel Knievel Days, also tells the tale of a small-town protagonist who heads east seeking answers.

Khosi Saqr is an outcast from Butte, Mont., who spends his days working at a museum. But after his longtime unrequited love drops the bomb that she's engaged to marry someone else at the town's annual Evel Knievel Days festival, Saqr makes the rash decision to travel to Egypt to find his father.

Boise's Alan Heathcock gushed about the book, saying: "In a novel of rare warmth and depth, humor and insight, Evel Knievel Days is a tale of daredevil leaps in a young man's search for family and love. Quirky, often hilarious, deeply touching ... thrilling from ramp to ramp."

Toutonghi's first novel, Red Weather, was met with critical acclaim when it was published in 2006, and his work has since appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Review and Sports Illustrated. To publicize his new novel, Toutonghi will swing by Rediscovered Bookshop, 180 N. Eighth St., Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. For more info, visit rdbooks.org.

Moving from oil-rich lands to oil on canvas, Boise artist Rick Walter will debut a series of new works at Visual Arts Collective Friday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m.

Formerly known under the moniker Paste Eater, Walter's work has tended toward cartoonish, animal-filled pop-surrealism. But this new series features some less-whimsical subject matter like blurred landscapes and rusty gears floating in front of swelling clouds.

The show will remain up through Sunday, Sept. 30. For more info, visit rickwalterart.blogspot.com.

And from cartoon animals to real ones, the Idaho Humane Society is looking for local pets to grace the pages of its 2013 Friends for Life calendar. If your hamster likes to ham it up or you think your cat could strut the catwalk, you can enter your furry friend into the competition through Sunday, Sept. 30.

To enter the Friends for Life calendar photo contest, visit the Humane Society's website at idahohumanesociety.org or pick up an entry form and guidelines at 4775 Dorman St.

Entry fees and proceeds help support the more than 13,000 animals the shelter cares for annually.

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