Enough with the wrapping paper. Wrap your head around 2015’s memorable entertainment headlines instead:
▪ For the second straight year, we’ll kick off this exercise by raising a toast. Why? Because beer — specifically, Boise’s insatiable thirst for local breweries — constantly made the news.
The state’s biggest brewer, Payette Brewing Co. of Garden City, revealed that it will super-size itself in 2016 with a multimillion-dollar production facility and tasting room at 733 S. Pioneer St. in Boise. The brewery also decided to change the name of its popular Outlaw IPA to Rustler IPA because of a trademark kerfuffle.
From completely out of left field and the left coast, Mother Earth Brew Co. of San Diego County announced that it will expand into Nampa. The Canyon County brewery, scheduled to open in mid-2016, theoretically could rival Payette’s planned production scale. (Tip: Try pairing Mother Earth’s Sin-Tax imperial peanut butter stout with holiday chocolate. Deelish.)
Who will brew the most beer in Idaho next year? The race is on. Boise’s veteran Sockeye Brewing Co., another growing operation, aims to crank out 15,000 barrels.
▪ Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Garden had another solid summer, thanks to sellout concerts by Alabama Shakes and Lindsey Stirling. Next year brings a twist. Promoter Knitting Factory, which has handled the Outlaw Field series since its launch in 2008, got outbid by relative newcomer CMoore Live for the 2016 booking contract.
▪ Boise State University’s Taco Bell Arena enjoyed a busy year highlighted by packed shows (Luke Bryan) and goodbye-waving icons (Elton John). But the biggest buzz of 2015 was at a smaller campus venue: Gleefully profane Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” quickly sold out an eight-show run at the Morrison Center. (My take: “The Book of Mormon” was funny, but it didn’t live up to the hype or stack of Tony Awards. Disagree with me? Fine, but as Eric Cartman says, “Respect my authoritah!”)
▪ BSU’s venues also made the switch to infamous, fee-loving Ticketmaster. Boise concert fans didn’t seem to notice. Or care. OK, I cared — admittedly for historical, Pearl Jammy reasons. New Year’s resolution: Stop living in the ’90s, Deeds.
▪ For the second straight year, the Ford Idaho Center got a new general manager. And for what feels like the 10th straight year, I didn’t see a concert at its indoor arena, which has become mostly irrelevant on that front. I made it to the amphitheater, though, which continues to be a summer factor.
▪ Fred “The Wonder Years” Savage visited Boise to do research for “The Grinder,” a new Fox sitcom set in Boise but filmed in Los Angeles. Predictably, the lone mention in the first episode was pronounced “Boi-ZEE.” Despite the show’s ties to our spectacular city, it didn’t fare so well in the TV ratings. Will “The Grinder” still be kicking at the end of 2016? I say it’s meat.
▪ Treefort Music Fest rocked Downtown again, with 433 bands at 27 venues and stages. Treefort was named Boise’s Cultural Ambassador of 2015, which came with a $25,000 grant. Treefort used some of that money to help send local bands to CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Quite cool. Treefort’s 2016 dates: March 23-27.
Meanwhile, three former Treefort venues shuttered in 2015: The Bouquet, Crazy Horse and Crux. I’d love to know what the future holds for The Bouquet.
▪ The inaugural Mountain Home Country Music Festival weathered triple-digit temperatures and dirt in rural Elmore County. The conditions didn’t stop 14,000 attendees from partying with headliners Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line. Expect less dust and an overall smoother operation July 29-31, 2016.
▪ Boisean Anthony Doerr spent a decade working on his novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” The payoff? A Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015. When Doerr got the news, he reportedly was eating mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ve always wondered if he immediately just grabbed the carton and killed that sucker.
▪ After an overreaching debut in 2014, Tree City Comic Con became Tree City comic gone in 2015. I’ve heard no definitive plans to revive the sci-fi/pop culture event.
▪ Noteworthy local albums included Youth Lagoon’s “Savage Hills Ballroom,” Eilen Jewell’s “Sundown Over Ghost Town” and Built To Spill’s “Untethered Moon.”
▪ Because of a mainstream, R-rated movie, Idaho’s prudish alcohol statute drew embarrassing, international media attention. Idaho State Police’s Alcohol Beverage Control informed theaters that they might be breaking state law if they dared serve a drop of alcohol at screenings of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Why? Outdated Idaho law prohibits businesses that serve alcohol from showing any film containing sexually related material or essentially any view of our naughty bits.
On second thought, I’d like to change my New Year’s resolution: Run for office — since our state lawmakers never seem to fix the truly stupid stuff.