Pokemon and painted rocks, condemned theaters and reality TV stars are a few of the arts and entertainment highlights for the Inland 360 region in 2016. Here’s a look back at some of the headlines.
Reality TV stars
In January, Bear Claw debuted on the National Geographic show “The Boonies,” about people living off the grid.
Bear Claw lives as an 1816 mountain man in the mountains around Harpster, Idaho. He wears hand-tanned leather skins, a necklace made of bear claws and carries a flintlock rifle. He moved to Idaho a decade ago from Wisconsin where he once worked in a muffler factory and drove a forklift. A camera crew followed him for several months in the summer of 2015 when he lived in a teepee that was threatened by wildfires. Since our story ran in January, people from around the country who watched the show left comments on Inland 360’s website professing their admiration for the man and his lifestyle.
A Clarkston woman bared it all twice in an attempt to survive TV’s “Naked and Afraid” on the Discovery Channel.
In the reality TV program, a man and a woman are dropped off in a remote environment to live together for 21 days without food, water, fire or clothes.
Stacey Osorio first appeared in an episode set in Croatia’s Pannonian basin. She was asleep on day seven when a pot of boiling water fell on her, burning 10 percent of her body. Producers deemed it not safe for her to remain and she left the show after nine days. However, they invited her to return for “Naked and Afraid XL,” where 12 people from past shows live together for 40 days in the South African bush. In the end she prevailed to become one of the elite few to survive the show’s ultimate challenge.
Good news for local wine
The Lewiston-Clarkston Valley was designated as a federal American Viticultural Area in April by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
The new area includes 300,000 acres of which 81 acres currently are in vineyards and consist of parts of Nez Perce, Clearwater, Latah and Lewis counties in Idaho and Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in Washington. It is Washington’s 14th designated wine area and Idaho’s third, according to a story published in the Lewiston Tribune. Winemakers can now add that information to their labels to let people know where the wine came from and the characteristics of the grapes grown in the region.
UI Jazz Fest shake up
The University of Idaho gave the directors of its flagship Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival the boot after this year’s festival.
Steven Remington, its executive director and John Clayton, the artistic director, were both let go in April. Clayton served as the festival’s face for 10 years. He said he was told his services were no longer needed and that the festival was being placed back into the hands of the School of Music.
Festival attendance in 2016 was 6,366, a decline from a high in 2010 of 10,707, according to a story published in the Lewiston Tribune. The festival will mark 50 years in 2017. Among the performers scheduled to appear Feb. 23-25 is New York Voices and Esperanza Spalding.
Curtains for Idaho Repertory Theatre
The University of Idaho terminated the Idaho Repertory Theatre in April. IRT held the distinction of being one of the oldest repertory theater programs in the Northwest, second only to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival at Ashland. It produced hundreds of plays and was host and teacher to thousands of students in its 63 years. UI declined to fund the program in 2013 and for the next two years IRT’s staff staged readings, fundraisers and children’s programs in hopes the university would return its support, but it did not.
Lewiston Civic Theatre building condemned
The city of Lewiston condemned the Lewiston Civic Theatre’s historic Normal Hill building Aug. 10 after the discovery of a broken ceiling truss. A section of street beside the building remains closed after city officials declared the building at risk of collapsing. The group is staging shows in alternate locations while it waits to see if insurance will cover the cost of any of the repairs. Estimates range from $150,000 to fix the truss to $5 million to completely repair the building.
In July and August crowds of people across the country took to the streets, phones in hand, in search of virtual characters in real life settings. There was a rash of news reports about people being injured because they were so focused on the game.
LC Valley Rocks
On Oct. 7, Myndie VanHorn, a Lewiston artist and owner of the Fourth Wall art studio and gallery, started LC Valley Rocks, an art abandonment project where people are invited to paint rocks and hide them outside for others to find and rehide. The project has taken off, proving popular with children and adults who share photos of their creations and discoveries on the LC Valley Rocks group Facebook page.
“At this point, I think there are thousands and thousands of rocks out there,” VanHorn told Inland 360 in November.