Idaho, be proud of the potato! Where else can you count down to midnight on New Year’s Eve with a giant spud instead of a glittering mirror ball?
Now in its third year, it’s becoming a tradition in Downtown Boise — you go, play, party and watch the 17-foot potato drop 200 feet from a giant crane as you prepare to greet the new year.
Event founder and chief organizer Dylan Cline reworked the event again, moving it to a new location, streamlining the entertainment and boosting the fireworks display.
For 2015, the festivities will center on Capitol Park, 601 W. Jefferson St., just outside the Idaho Statehouse.
“We really wanted to get away from the construction zone in Downtown this year, and the Capitol is a fantastic backdrop for this iconic event,” Cline says. “It is, after all, the Idaho Potato Drop, not just Boise.”
Cline worked with Western Display Fireworks, the same company that does the city of Boise’s Fourth of July display, and promises a bigger, better show than in past years.
“We’ve got the very same launch platform used in the London Olympics. That’s going to be cool,” Cline says.
A strong lineup of local and regional musicians will perform during the night, including Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles; Steve Fulton Music; Eugene, Ore., band Blue Lotus; and Comedy Central’s Sean Hancock as emcee. Entertainment will go from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
You’ll find arts and craft booths with glassblowing and bubble balls, an appearance by Spuddy Buddy, a fleet of food trucks and a beer, wine and cocktail area in the park.
VIPs will find a warm haven atop the KeyBank Capital Center, 702 W. Idaho St., in a heated tent on the parking garage. The $100 ticket will get you food, drinks, a swanky gift bag, tunes from DJ Justin Case, comedy from Hancock and a great view of the whole shebang.
The Potato Drop debuted in 2013 at The Grove Plaza with about 40,000 people counting down the spud. In 2014, it dropped from the Eighth & Main building, but attendance was hampered by extreme cold.
Find a schedule and purchase VIP tickets and Potato Drop merchandise at PotatoDropShop.com.
Holiday shows to catch
Ballet Idaho’s take on “The Nutcracker” is pure fairy tale, with dazzling sets and costumes and Artistic Director Peter Anastos’ staging that runs from elegant to hysterical. Some of his touches are traditional to the ballet; others are witty contemporary spins.
This year you’ll spot some new dancers in the ranks, including Lydia Herman, who moves up from the Ballet Idaho Academy to apprentice, and Shane Horan, who joins the company from Kansas City Ballet.
Opera Idaho brings back its sweet production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Menotti wrote it in 1951 for a live NBC television performance. It’s about Amahl (sung by Warren Bodily and William Thompson), a poor crippled boy, and his mother (Laura Rushing-Raynes), who offer the Magi shelter on their way to see the baby Jesus and find their lives transformed.
It’s sung in English with supertitles.
Idaho Shakespeare Festival announces its 40th season
▪ Agatha Christie’s classic thriller “And Then There Were None,” directed by producing artistic director Charlie Fee, will open the season on Friday, May 27, and play dates through Sunday, July 31.
▪ Next up is a production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” helmed by first-time ISF director Tyne Rafaeli. It will run Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 26.
▪ Resident director Victoria Bussert’s production of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” sits at the center of the season, playing dates from Friday, July 1, to Friday, Aug. 26.
▪ Resident director Drew Barr’s vision of Shakespeare’s gender-bending romance “Twelfth Night” runs Friday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 28.
▪ Bussert returns to set “Forever Plaid,” the 1950s-style musical that features tight four-part harmony. It will run Friday, Sept. 2, through Sunday, Sept. 25.
You can now get holiday deals with early-bird season ticket prices through Thursday, Dec. 31, at IdahoShakespeare.org. Prices start at $105 for three midweek shows or $126 for Fridays and Sundays. Student season passes start at $45 and flex packages start at $258. Four- and five-show packages and box seats are also available.
David Parsons in Idaho
Start 2016 off right, as one of the best American dance companies makes its Idaho debut. Parsons Dance, founded by innovative and prolific choreographer and dancer David Parsons, will perform at the Morrison Center in January.
The performance will feature a mix of Parsons’ classics, new commissions and works by other choreographers, including a short piece by former Boise-based choreographer Trey McIntyre.
Though McIntyre will not be in Boise, he is excited one of his pieces, “Hymn,” will be performed. The Trey McIntyre Project never performed it during its six years in Idaho.
“I was really happy to hear from David that he wanted to do this piece,” McIntyre says. “When I originally did it, I didn’t intend to do anything with it. It’s great to see it have a new life.”
“Hymn” is a duet McIntyre created in 2007 as a commission from Dancers Responding to AIDS. It’s choreographed for either two men or two women.
You’ll also see Parsons’ “Caught,” the collaboration with lighting designer and co-founder Howell Binkley that introduced their fledgling company to the dance world in the late 1980s. In it, a dancer performs in pools of light and under a strobe that catches him in midair, so it looks as if he is flying. Innovative and short, the piece also set the tone for this highly entertaining company.
“If I hadn’t done that piece, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Parsons says.
Parsons Dance performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, at the Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. Tickets are $29.50 and $39.50 at Ticketmaster.
Dance and origami
Off Center Dance will perform an original piece inspired by the Boise Art Museum’s exhibit “Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami.” Artist director Kelli Brown worked with costume designer Angela Rockefeller to create “Folding / Unfolding” to explore ideas of transformation.
This company brings a sense of fun and an often-wild theatricality to its work. You can see it at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at BAM, 670 S. Julia Davis Drive. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 general, $2 discount for BSU students and employees and Osher Institute members. BoiseArtMuseum.org.
The art of the breakup
The end of a relationship comes with a complex mix of emotions and experiences. Yet it also is one thing we all share. That’s the idea behind the Museum of Broken Relationships, an international art installation that will inhabit Ming Studios, 420 S. 6th St., in Boise, from Thursday, Feb. 4, to Thursday, March 3.
Filmmaker Olinka Vištica and sculptor Dražen Grubišić co-founded the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2006, after their four-year relationship ended three years earlier. Dedicated to failed relationships, the museum’s exhibits include personal objects left over from former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions.
The traveling exhibition has been in cities around the globe, including London, New York City, Brussels, Amsterdam and now Boise.
And you can be part of it by donating your mementos of loves gone by to the Boise exhibit. Think of it as an end-of-the-year cleansing.
To contribute, fill out the donation form at BrokenShips.com between now and Dec. 30. Vištica and Grubišić will be in Boise in January to curate the Ming exhibition. All donations are anonymous. Items chosen for the show will become part of the permanent exhibit and not be returned.