Same job, different uniform.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boise, a Mining Town?

Boise has attracted its fair share of national press, and some of it leaves us more than a little amused at the outdated assumptions about the city and its vibe.

Read this otherwise excellent travel article about Boise to understand what I'm talking about.

The New York Times writer calls Boise a city "once ruled by the bait-and-bullet crowd" and a "mining and farming town at heart."

It's been a long time since Boise was ruled by the so-called bait and bullet crowd, (though we are still proud of our appreciation of and access to the outdoors), and even longer since it was a mining town.

In fact, when exactly was it a mining town? During the Gold Rush of the 1860's?

True, the City is still bounded by farm or ranch land on every side--though both are disappearing in a sea of starter homes; we know we're a short drive from "the country." But calling it a "mining and farming town at heart" betrays a lack of knowledge about the region.

The writer also refers to Boise's "rejuvenated downtown and a budding arts community."

Downtown Boise has been resurrected, but for a long time. And the arts community is far from budding; thriving would be a more fitting choice.

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which was highlighted in the July 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal, just turned 30.

The Boise Art Museum has occupied its space on Julia Davis Drive and Capitol Boulevard for almost two decades. Its founding association is much, much older. The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is 22 years old.

Even "newer" arts organizations are staking their claim and consistently offering powerful and meaningful performances. The New Heritage Theatre Company is an 8 year-old local professional theatre with a resident repertory company and a theatrical training conservatory(yes, you read that correctly) that boasts Sir Anthony Hopkins as its honorary patron.

Boise Contemporary Theater, about the same age, is producing unforgettable contemporary works at its permanent location on Fulton Street.

The list goes on.

We're thrilled the Times writer was here to discover for himself what a rare jewel of a city Boise, Idaho is--and have some fun while he was at it.

But he is advised to double-check his cliches.

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