Boisean John Shinn sees the world as an observer in his own ongoing cinema vérité experiment. His eye — like that of a cinematographer — seeks the unusual in the everyday, the extraordinary within the banal.
The result is “New Light,” an exhibit at Boise’s Ming Studios, 420 S. 6th St. Shinn, 31, draws from sci-fi and mystery genres to explore our fascination with utopia, juxtaposed against the chaos of the natural world, he says.
“I use what I have around me to create this sort of fiction,” he says. “We all do that, as we create the narrative of our lives everyday.”
His crisp, evocative photos and projections cut slices out of the local landscape, transporting them from the familiar to a heightened reality that could be anywhere. It just happens to be here.
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This is Shinn’s first gallery show. He studied media and visual arts at Boise State and started taking photos eight years ago, an outgrowth of his interest in filmmaking.
Photographer John Shinn also works as a baker at Gaston’s Bakery.
Kerstin Winking, Global Collaborations curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, spotted his work on a visit to Boise in 2014 when she was working with Ming Studios founder Jason Morales to find candidates for Ming’s international residency program. Though she didn’t stay involved with Ming, she identified Shinn as an artist to watch and nurture. When Berlin-based artist (and Morales’ half sister) Kristin Cooper took over as program director, she helped Shinn facilitate his show.
You can see Shinn’s “New Light” 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays through Jan. 9. Free. MingStudios.org.
‘No More Sad Things’
“Happiness is annoying,” says playwright Hansol Jung, laughing. That’s not as much cynicism as a reality of her craft. Happy plays are a lot harder to write. Then a few years ago, she visited her sister at her home on Oahu, and the two took a trip to Maui.
“I was trying to write a play at the time that was dark and sad, and it was eating at me,” she says. “So there I was, and I decided the next play is going to be called ‘No More Sad Things.’ This is my attempt at happy.”
Jung, 32, will be in the Treasure Valley for Boise Contemporary Theater’s production of her “No More Sad Things.” It’s a co-world premiere with Chicago’s Sideshow Theatre Company. That production opened Nov. 15. BCT’s opens Nov. 28.
The story takes place in Maui, where a woman from Ohio meets a beautiful cliff diver and finds her life forever changed.
Jung wrote it at 29 when she was a master’s student at Yale University, inspired by a prompt from two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl.
You start with a lot of words, then you pare them down, and down, until you land on the heart.
Playwright Hansol Jung
“It’s about transformation, sort of a take on Ovid’s Metamorphoses,’” Jung says. “Everything starts as an exercise or exploration. It’s when you start investing in it emotionally, it goes to the next level.”
Jung started her theater career translating English language musicals, from “Evita” to “Spamalot,” into Korean. That gave her a strong sense of structure that now helps her navigate the contemporary theater terrain.
“It’s about taking left turns with language, so you take the audience someplace they don’t expect,” she says. “I can intuit where my left turns are because I know where the expectation is.”
“No More Sad Things” will run Nov. 24-Dec. 19 at Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St. Opening night tickets are half price to new patrons. Find details on calendar page 29D. bctheater.org.
Boise Baroque Orchestra
Dramatic soprano Sue Patchell performed iconic operatic roles such as Isolde and “Salome” in Europe and in New York. She retired in Boise a few years ago to be closer to her family and now will make her debut with Boise Baroque Orchestra with performances of dramatic arias by Beethoven, Mozart and Purcell. You can hear her at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 2 p.m. Nov. 22 at Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St., Boise. Find details on calendar page 29D. boisebaroque.org.
Songs of the seasons
Boise’s music community will celebrate the “Hymns of Thanksgiving,” a musical extravaganza with a 300-plus member choir and orchestra that explores the nature of gratitude during the Thanksgiving season. This year’s soloists are pianists Del Parkinson and Tawna Love, cellist Aaron King and trumpeter Brendan Grzanic on works from classical and contemporary composers. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at CenturyLink Arena, 233 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise. The performance is free, and people are encouraged to bring donations for The Idaho Foodbank. HymnsOfThanks.com.