After hearing how great Curb Cup was last year from a few of my friends in the Red Light Variety Show, I decided I better not miss it this time. The day before I found a local newspaper with a map of where all of the contestants were located. I noticed there were more friends participating and thought this may be the most entertaining Sunday the city has to offer. Earlier in the week I made plans to check out this street circus with a friend. The day started off great listening to my Sunday House music and a Newcastle from Ha’ Penny just before the show began.
Before I could finish my beer we heard some music starting and walked to the edge of the entrance of the Irish pub that allowed us to drink and not miss the act. We were some of the first to witness the young male rappers. I think I heard one of them rapping being 8 years old. I had to finish my beer immediately and check out the rest of the show. 8 year old rappers, really? I thought to myself this is as good as it is going to get or it gets even better, but I had to find out.
The event provided three tokens to use as votes for the street performers and another token was given out for a cheap drink at Jackson’s gas station across the street. What a great idea! There happened to be a token station in BODO near the rappers, so after grabbing some coffee at Tully’s(it was getting a little cool for me outside), we set off to see the rest of the entertainment.
The next group that caught my attention were the jump ropers. They pulled off some stunts I don’t think Jump Rope for Heart could handle. Along the alley of the Qwest Arena and Boise Centre several musicians were lined up. The bottleneck of the the Grove packed with supporters and music that clashed the walls made me rush out to the center fountain area. After weaving my way through people I found myself in front of a body masking presentation. Here I was drinking coffee because I was cool and a woman was laying in the center of downtown with cold mud being spread on her body. Chills. I looked around and found more musicians around the diameter of the Grove. Nothing to out of the ordinary I felt to thoroughly check out. A young band playing old punk cover songs, acoustic performers, a young lady singing Taylor Swift when I walked by and a few old bar style groups. I continued walking down 8th St. leaving the center of the Grove and found a music friend of mine Jerry Fee. The comments I made walking through the other performers to my friend related to them needing to start branding themselves if they are interested in playing more than just this event. I was looking for contact information and it was not available. As soon as I saw Jerry I noticed his huge banner displayed behind the band and said to my friend, “That’s what I’m talking about.” I stood in the front to take a few pictures and making sure he also saw me give some support for his performance.
Further down on the next block on 8th St. between Idaho and Bannock a few picnic tables and other staging was setup for a few bicycle tricks. These guys had a very small space and were able to control their tricks with limited to no speed. The action was very subtle but quite impressive to see them balancing on one tire at a time. I could see some passersby not being interested because it was a performance that needed to be appreciated by analyzing what is really happening.
The coffee and the beer started to get to me so I decided to go to the secret public restroom in one of the buildings downtown. I’m a big fan of not using portable restrooms. I was also curious to see how secret I thought these restrooms were to me, knowing thousands of people were downtown for street entertainment specifically. The back door was locked so I snuck through the business. Only two people in line for two stalls. Just what I thought! 🙂 The backdoor made a better exit to the streets and saw The Boardroom sponsored skaters on their rails and half pipes. I wanted to get a good shot of someone grinding the rail but I think they were pumped with getting air on the pipe at the time.
We arrived at the end of the festivity and my friend noticed the stage these kids made. I would like to give them points for being the most creative. I love improvising.
The Red Light Variety Show shared the corner of one of the blocks with the skaters and some karate. I was informed that I missed Miss Allison’s performance. Probably one of the best entertainers in Boise. If you haven’t seen her do her Tarzan rope tricks, I’m sure you are one of those that say “Boise doesn’t have any talent.” If you missed the Curb Cup or only saw pieces of the Variety Show, be sure to check them out at VaC this month.
I even ran into much ranted about local writer for Boise music, Josh Gross performing across from the Variety Show. Josh plays music you might ask? Yup. Maybe that’s why he’s so harsh about the bands he see’s perform. I was told that the ones that are usually harder critics usually care more. Is that true for Mr. Gross? Possibly, but I encourage you to find out for yourself.
Now I needed to start placing my votes since I’ve seen all the performers and I knew I was going to give at least one vote to the ‘lil rappers. What can I say I’m a believer of “children are our future” and as a music enthusiasts young talent is our music future. But first I had to go visit the other secluded restrooms downtown. I forgot that I had a 24oz green tea before my beer and coffee. No wonder I kept having multiple breaks. Luckily i knew of the BODO rest area. I have to give it to myself for the things I know about Boise, knowing where the public restrooms are in these old buildings is golden information for times like these.
I finished placing my votes and saw Twitter friend ioncontrol filming some of the rappers. Their bucket was overflowing with tokens and I know of someone who even put more than one token in for their vote. The boys had one of the biggest audiences for the event. Later I found out the jump rope gang took home the trophy. – I decided to go grab lunch before the break of people after the ceremony.
Overall I’m happy to see so many people in Boise and greater valley interested in visiting downtown on a Sunday for an even like this. I would consider it a success. However I ran into a supporter of the local arts and he begged to differ. His idea of success for the event was not by how many people attended but the way it was organized. As a promoter the overall feedback from the performers, audiences and participation numbers are the goals of success. Since he is a sound engineer his idea of success was how the sound was coordinator or the performers were placed throughout the event. The cluster of music making noise was extremely bothersome to him. Does this mean if a show at VaC has a low turnout but the band was amazing is successful? I guess it depends on who you talk to. I guess if your doing sound and you have a minimum gurantee per job and if it goes well, every show for you is a success. As a venue owner and promoter, the success rate is dependent upon the variables. Besides artists are always looking for outlets especially in a city with very few all age, family friendly events and this event was able to fulfill all of the holes in the current local entertainment paradigm. Did I forget to mention it was ALL free to participate as an audience member? You can’t make your first event, show or piece of art as the ideal draft. Do you know anyone that does things perfect the first time or second time? Especially dealing with the number of sponsors, volunteers, participants etc. Lots of managing going on. Lots of critiques but to say that was the worst event ever was a little overdramatic for me to hear. Each event should only expect to get better especially with all of the support behind it from local businesses and residents.
I would just like to say congratulations to the winners and the producers of this event! I wish you continued success and I know each year it can only get better. You are bringing great support to the downtown economy and providing opportunities of encouragement in the arts.