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AV I M O R :
A place with that small town feel.
Whether you’re an empty nester, a growing family, or a young professional, you’ll ﬁnd a home and a lifestyle that suits you in Avimor. Avimor is designed for every lifestyle and every stage of life, which is what gives it that “small town feel”. Drive just eight short minutes north of State Street on Highway 55, and you’ll ﬁnd Avimor, the most innovative and ambitious Master Planned Community in the Boise metropolitan area. Nestled into the foothills, surrounded by close to 70% open space and miles of foothills trails, Avimor residents live very close to nature. Residents experience nature right outside their front door with Avimor’s 100+ miles of trails for them to enjoy the wildlife and a healthy lifestyle. Avimor’s long-term development plan promises that it will continue to feel like the small towns you love. The 23,000acre project is made up of multiple Villages and Hamlets surrounding charming village centers, home to restaurants, retail, ofﬁce and educational spaces. Homes are also within walking distance to neighborhood parks and recreation centers. Folks from every walk of life are attracted to Avimor. The 12,000 s.f. Community Center is also a major draw for Avimor Residents. With ﬁtness center and indoor heated saltwater swimming pool, the Community Center sees a lot of use. The multiple event rooms host frequent community events such as monthly “Evenings at Avimor” Meet & Greet’s, monthly “Avimor 101” learning series topics, like ﬂy ﬁshing or one of the many, many clubs. Avimor amenities are also rounded out with 9 parks (including 4 large playgrounds), baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis court and ﬁshing pond. A large amphitheater in the 6-acre park is the center of many summer get-togethers, picnics and celebrations. Another new park with outdoor pool opened this summer. If you’re looking for fresh air, note that it is abundant at Avimor. In fact, Avimor is often above the inversion layer that socks in the Treasure Valley each year. But it is close to the metropolitan Treasure Valley too. Just four miles above the city limits of Eagle, you’ll feel like you live in the country, but you’re only a few short minutes from shopping and entertainment. Or stay here--we’re expanding with new commercial establishments, including Spring Valley Brewing Company, a restaurant and microbrewery which is now open. On the Fly, an over-sized Convenience Store and Mobil Gas Station is open too providing all kinds of convenience items and great food including their special broasted chicken for our residents. Our home selection and creative house plans set us apart from other homebuilders. We’ve got traditional homes as well as multigenerational ﬂoor plans, which feature homes within homes that allow for families to live together while maintaining their own space. Flexibility is key--choose from things like private guest quarters and extra garage bays or an RV bay and set the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that works best for you. Located North on Highway 55 a Mile Above Shadow Valley Golf Course See you at Avimor, a place where Model Homes Open Daily 10 am - 5 pm folks get to know their neighbors … and their dogs too! 208-939-5360 • www.avimor.com Visit our website at www.avimor.com Marketed by Epic Realty LLC • RCE 35084 to view our ﬂoor plans and click on the interactive tool to choose the structural options you desire. Advertisement
C O N T E N T S COMMUNITY 6 Soldier Mountain Reboots 10 Winter Fly Fishing Paradise 15 Surviving Uncertainty 17 My History Is Our History
The History of Women in Film in Hollywood and Idaho
FOOD, ARTS, & CULTURE 21 For the Love of Dough: An Introduction to French Pastry 22 Idaho's Movie-Making History 26 Hollywood Comes to Idaho 30 A Conversation with Idaho Writer Patricia Marcantonio
REAL ESTATE 38 The Hidden Costs of COVID: Homebuilding in a Pandemic
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING 32 AI in Healthcare
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 5 Publisher's Letter 40 Contributors
ON THE COVER He rose to fame in 1964 as “The Man With No Name,” but Clint Eastwood will never again be unknown. At 90 years old and as iconic as his famed characters, Eastwood’s legend remains ageless. His affinity for Idaho’s breathtaking landscapes were affirmed in his 1985 Western, PALE RIDER, filmed in the Sawtooth Mountains. What does Eastwood love about making films in Idaho? Read on! Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
M A R C H /A P R I L 2021 publisher K A R E N DAY firstname.lastname@example.org features editor H E AT H E R H A M I LT O N POST email@example.com copy editor S T E PH A N I E N E L SON technically speaking editor H A I L E Y M I N T ON
IN THE NEXT ISSUE Sacagawea to Sufragettes to CEOs
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IdaHome Magazine is publishing by Idaho Real Estate Marketplace P.O. Box 116 Boise, Idaho 83701 208-481-0693
Community + Culture + Recreation + Real Estate
© 2021 IdaHome Magazine. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed by the authors and contributors to IdaHome Magazine are not necessarily those of the editor and publisher.
Dear Reader, The first thing Clint Eastwood said to me was, “Your pants have holes in them.” We faced off on a red carpet amidst flashing cameras and Sun Valley’s snow-tipped mountains. I’d carefully chosen these overpriced ripped jeans for our meeting, hoping my shredded designer-wear confirmed we Idaho filmmakers have an ironic capacity for cowboy hipness. Obviously, my trash-fashion did not impress Dirty Harry, a.k.a. Josie Wales, a.k.a. High Plains Drifter, etc. Welcome to Hollywood in Idaho, where the stars come to not be celebrities. Cameras have been rolling Photo courtesy of Carol Waller. across “dem dar Idaho hills” since the early 1900s and this month, IdaHome explores movie-making past and present in the Gem State. Our rough-and-tough remoteness makes perfect sense when Hollywood is seeking a location where the frontier meets the future. Where else do you see more elk than Teslas on the roads? That’s why we’re all here, right? 114 mountain ranges plus 100,000 miles of river equals no place we would rather spend our time and talents—which also explains why Eastwood produced BRONCO BILLY in Garden City and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER in Stanley. In this issue, local historian, Rick Just, reveals some juicy production details from locals who are still getting residuals from Eastwood’s 1980 Boise-based classic. This “film issue” also serves as a testament to those who made the bold, artistic leap from the studio lot to backcountry, including the tale of two recent Sundance premier films produced by Sun Valley residents. Therein lies the secret of making great movies, according to Hollywood veteran, Allyn Stewart. And there’s more than movie experts in this IdaHome. Feel the thrill of “tight lines” even in winter, with veteran fly-fisherman, Mike McKenna. Enjoy a hunt for rare black diamonds with Meredith Richardson, skiing the deep on Soldier Mountain. Discover the joy of baking and tasting French Pastry with Kristina Case. And then, breath deep as Harrison Berry tackles how the pandemic has forced us to change and Heather Hamilton-Post reveals the trickle-down costs of COVID-19 construction on our soaring home costs. Finally, did you know Idaho’s first resident filmmaker, Nell Shipman, brought Hollywood to Idaho 100 years ago? Bundled together, this issue proves one thing both true and magical. Each one of us is a living, breathing story. Once upon a time, our ancestors sat in caves round a fire, sharing tales of what came before to find purpose in the unknown that lies ahead. Film, print, digital and the caves at Lascaux— storytelling in all its forms imbues our short time on earth with meaning and connection. In stories, we discover ourselves in each other.
Enjoy IdaHome! Karen Day, Publisher
Photo by Sean Muldoon
REBOOTS BY MEREDITH RICHARDSON
Nestled between the largest city in Idaho and the Wests’ most iconic ski town, the sleepy little farm town of Fairfield looks like just a dot on the map. Drive-bys can be deceptive, however, and just beyond the one gas station stop, there are 3,000 plus acres of skiable terrain called Soldier Mountain–a true Idaho black diamond in the rough.
Founded in 1947 by a group of farmers with two tow ropes in hand, “This resort is the definition of Mom and Pop,” says General Manager, Paul Alden. “The locals needed something to do during the winter, more importantly, for their kids to do. So they pushed the snow around and started the tows and here we are today.”
never lost its pulse or possibilities. This explains why a new investment group placed a large bet on its potential. When polished, Soldier Mountain shines.
As one of only three resorts in Idaho that offer catskiing, Soldier is also the only resort to provide backcountry overnight trips with untouched powder out your yurt’s front door. Freshgroomed corduroy blankets 35 runs and 70 years later, the resort has seen beyond lies 2,000 acres of cat-accessible a multitude of owners, including the terrain. Only 90 minutes from Boise, famous Die Hard superstar, Bruce this dot-on-the-ski-map brags no lift Willis, to local nonprofits. There lines and fresh tracks without driving have been plenty of unforeseeable 100 more miles for higher-priced lift challenges–seasons of minimal snow tickets and upscale crowds. “Soldier is to the 2020 Phillip’s Creek Fire that decimated the brand new mountain bike more about the heart of mom and pop trails and fried the snowmaking system. resorts,” says says the General Manager, Paul Alden. But even with consistent pitfalls and shifts in management, the resort has
This resort is the definition of Mom and Pop...Because we are smaller, we can offer a unique time on the hill and in the backcountry. We recognize faces. We remember names." -Paul Alden, General Manager Photo by Tony Harrison www.idahomemagazine.com
“Because we are smaller, we can offer a unique time on the hill and in the backcountry. We recognize faces. We remember names,” Alden says. “Our culture is friendly. People are really embracing that, and as a result we see a lot of customers return year after year.” Anyone who has grabbed the last chair up and been the last person down a ski mountain knows the amazing rush. Undoubtedly, Soldier’s coolest offering should be on every downhill lovers bucket list–the
Soldier Mountain is the only resort to provide backcountry overnight trips.
chance to rent the entire resort. Imagine–a wedding or family reunion on your own private Idaho ski resort for $7500 a day. Wherever the lift takes you that snow is yours alone. And for an extra fee, the restaurant will serve only you and yours. That’s social distancing as a dream come true! Soldier’s new management has a clear plan for where the resort is headed, but one major hurdle remains– lodging. Currently, the base of the mountain is home to a rental shop, ticket office, and small restaurant. Completing the guest experience, beyond backcountry yurt trips demand comfortable beds for burning quads and tired heads. “It’s the single greatest obstacle we need to overcome,” says Alden. “We have a vision for this place and it includes lodging. It’s just a matter of building on private land or doing a land swap with the Forest Service. We are looking at both options right now. This would round out everything we have to offer.” Still wondering what a dot-on-the map called Fairfield has to offer? Just look for Soldier Mountain sparkling in the distance.
All photos on this page by Tony Harrison
Winter Fly Fishing
PARADISE BY MIKE MCKENNA | PHOTOS BY SILVER CREEK OUTFITTERS
“It’s really important, especially in the winter, to be a thoughtful angler, to be a good Idaho angler,” Pete DeBaun said. “Big Pete,” as he’s known, has been a fly fishing guide for over four decades. Many of those years have been with Ketchum’s legendary fly shop, Silver Creek Outfitters. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Big Pete certainly knows how to preach the gospel about fly fishing. “Idaho has the most gracious anglers I’ve ever seen,” said Big Pete, who’s fished in over 40 countries. “Idaho anglers are friendly, thoughtful and respectful. They respect the resource, respect the fish and want to protect the experience for others to enjoy for years to come. And if they’re not acting that way, then they don’t know what Idaho is all about.” Idaho and Sun Valley in particular, are all about fly fishing, even during the winter. In fact, some
of the best angling of the year in the mountains of south-central Idaho happens as winter gives way to spring. There are two impressive species to chase after–trout and steelhead. Trout “March is one of my favorite times of the year to fish,” Big Pete said. The Big Wood and Big Lost rivers are both open to catch and release fishing until the end of March. Swinging streamers and bouncing nymphs beneath the surface are both effective in any weather, as the majority of what trout eat is subsurface. But there’s nothing like catching fish on dry flies. “Winter fishing is an interesting deal. When you’re a dry fly guy you’re searching for that hot fish, the one that’s got the energy to feed off the surface. Then you have to sneak up on it and make a near perfect cast,” Big Pete said. “It’s a challenge, but it can be very rewarding.” The reward is a big part of what Big Pete is trying to help redefine about fishing. “I always give my guests a set of rules before we go out, especially in the winter. One of them is redefining what a catch is,” Big Pete explained. “It’s not about bringing a fish to hand. It’s about getting that fish to take your fly, coming tight, and the relationship you have in that moment with that animal. As they say, ‘the tug is the drug.’”
“It’s one of the truly unique joys of fishing in Idaho.” www.idahomemagazine.com
In this Instagram age, even the most thoughtful angler likes to get an occasional photo. When that’s the case, Big Pete recommends bringing the fish in quickly, using heavier line and leader helps. Use a large, rubber-coated net and unhook the fish quickly. Keeping it wet, primarily the gills, is also extremely important during the colder months. After you’ve quickly gotten the photo, it’s time to release, always cradling and never grabbing the fish. Or as Big Pete puts it, “Let it go with a thank you very much and aloha.”
“Let it go with a thank you very much and aloha.”
Steelhead “Steelheading is a such sensitive subject. They’ve made an 810 mile journey, one of the longest anadromous runs in the world to get to Idaho and then we start casting for them,” Big Pete said. “That’s why part of steelheading is about being a good aquatic citizen.” Steelhead are sea-run rainbow trout. The Salmon River once teemed with steelhead. But much like the fish that Idaho’s most famous river is named for, steelhead numbers have been dwindling for decades. The majority of the steelhead that lucky anglers catch in Idaho now
are hatchery bred and don’t have an adipose fin. It’s been clipped. Their scarce numbers are just one of the reasons that steelhead are known as the “fish of a thousand casts.” “The real enjoyment of steelheading is hunting for them, sight fishing for them, in clear water, making a good cast and then watching the take,” said Big Pete, who guides in the waters around Stanley. Steelhead aren’t necessarily eating during their long trek home to the heart of Idaho. So it’s always important to “put the fly right on their nose,” as Big Pete explained. It’s also important to treat steelhead with great care. You should always assume the fish on your line is a wild one until you know otherwise. Big Pete is a fan of adopting the rule used among tarpon guides, where a hook and jump are enough to count as a catch. “The really thoughtful angler will adjust his expectations in the winter or when steelheading,” Big Pete said. “The joy is fooling the fish and getting the line tight. Ego ruins fishing more than anything else.” The spring run of steelhead on the Upper Salmon River can go from March to late April or early May. The Idaho Department of Fish & Game tracks steelhead creel rates on their website. As Big Pete summed it up, “It’s one of the truly unique joys of fishing in Idaho.”
PURSUE A DIFFERENT COURSE With Idaho’s only trifecta of a mountain, meadow, and lake at your doorstep, there’s no better place to explore your adventurous side and enjoy all the benefits of being a cherished guest at a luxurious all-season resort. Whether your winter passion is skiing or snowboarding through hip-deep powder or cruising on long groomed runs, make sure Idaho’s newest and finest 3,600-acre winter playground is in your plans. WE’D LOVE TO HAVE YOU VISIT US AT TA M A R A C K I D A H O . C O M
THE PANDEMIC DIDN’T JUST CHANGE HOW WE LIVE: IT CHANGED WHO WE ARE.
BY HARRISON BERRY
increase in her workload and the needs of her clients, Edwards grew frustrated with the medium. The children she worked with had unmet social needs. Their grades and mental health suffered. In the summer of 2020, she started conducting physically distanced sessions in parks. “Just having your face directly on the computer Picking the right face mask, giving gracious space at the screen, for any kid, that’s grocery store, joining a Zoom meeting—these are just a a very direct way to few of the skills that, suddenly in March of 2020, became communicate,” she said. indispensable for life during the pandemic. “To have a teenager with anxiety put their face on Most people learned to keep their distance. the screen and have a very mature conversation That’s what Licensed Professional Clinical was also very limiting.” Counselor Lucy Edwards did, at least at first. “I had to make the call to stop doing telehealth,” she said. “I just made that sacrifice because the need was so great.” Edwards specializes in therapy for children. Her patients aren’t unique for weathering a severe public health crisis, but their problems illuminate the intimate ways COVID-19 has affected America, the State of Idaho and every person in the world. Idaho Gov. Brad Little has touted slashing red tape around telehealth; but facing an
Anxiety heightened in the world, in our homes and in our lockeddown lives.
Stay Home orders continued, playgrounds remained empty and online education kept young people and adults indoors. But the police killing of George Floyd, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and a bitter national election held Americans’ gazes on the streets. Anxiety heightened in the world, in our homes and in our locked-down lives. Even traditional institutions were forced to adapt. For the last 21 years, the Ada Community Library has conducted a “big read” program, Treasure Valley Reads, that turned reading www.idahomemagazine.com
into a social event. Past titles have largely been American classics like A Farewell to Arms or recent books like The Orchid Thief. For 2021, recognizing that readers’ attitudes, sensitivities and attention spans had changed, organizers opted for a challenging collection of short stories sure to invoke contemporary concerns. “There was something familiar about the tone of the subject matter, which is a sense of loneliness pierced with moments of light,” said ACL Branch Manager and Associate Director Molly Nota. “It felt like everything was spilling over in this book, and that’s where we’re at in this country.” The New York Times describes the stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin as the kind that “a woman in a Tom Waits song might tell a man she’s just met during a long humid night spent drinking in a parking lot”—a book Nota said will start dialogue about race, language and who gets to tell what stories. Normally, TVR would partner with The Cabin’s Readings & Conversations series or Storyfort, and incorporate in-person events and author visits. Berlin’s death in 2004
“We’re going to find ourselves in a new way of being...because of this collective trauma that we’re going through.” and the fragmented nature of her collection were fitting circumstances for a distracted, socially conscious and homebound readership. “We chose it because it’s going to be really hard to keep people engaged in one novel. Believe it or not, people have a lot on their minds right now,” Nota said. Even the purveyors of peace of mind have struggled. In a video released in July, Sage Yoga Owner Marisa Radha Weppner announced that the popular studio would close because of difficulty making rent amid a public health crisis. A stressed Boise had lost one of its favorite places to decompress. “I feel worried about what we are setting ourselves up for, or conditioning ourselves unconsciously,” Weppner said. “We’re going to find ourselves in a new way of being... because of this collective trauma that
we’re going through.” Fear, isolation and long-term stress were acute problems before the pandemic, and Weppner had treated them through yoga and other practices for 20 years. Just as the doors closed on Sage, she began taking others on a new inward journey– ketamine-assisted therapy. In November of 2019, she began working with Boise Ketamine Clinic, holding group sessions in July, August, September and October of 2020. She aims to augment therapies and offer guided experiences, moderating set and setting, incorporating music and inducing a reflective state. But private treatments like ketamine therapy are expensive— more expensive than yoga or meditation, both of which have become popular online. Amid collective angst and trauma, familiar tools for relaxation and healing became more accessible than ever. “One of the benefits is that teachers like ourselves...we’ve been forced to go online,” Weppner said. “You really have access to everybody. Everybody’s leading meditation right now. Meditation is like a fad, it’s hotter than it’s ever been.”
MY HISTORY is OUR HISTORY.
ere at home or and the world. The museum anywhere in is housed in the historic St. the U.S., when Paul Baptist Church, one of I tell folks the oldest structures built by I’m from Boise, Idaho, they Blacks in the state of Idaho often offer a stunned look, in 1921. followed by a predictable I must admit I have a BY CHERIE BUCKNER-WEBB question. “But where precious connection to are you from originally?” that little church. I was The question confirms a “raised up” in those pews and I am indebted to the church common misconception that Blacks only reside in the community that so powerfully contributed to values I South or major, metropolitan cities. As a fifth generation, hold dear. Familial, societal, educational, spiritual and Black Idahoan, I proudly share that, “Black folks are religious–the values instilled in that little one room church everywhere, even in Idaho.” will guide me forever. My great-grandfather, William Black History Month seems like the perfect time to provide a snapshot of the rich history of Blacks in Idaho from the vantage point of my role as one of the founding board members of the Idaho Black History Museum.
Situated in Julia Davis Park, the Idaho Black History Museum (IBHM) was established March 10, 1995 by a group of visionary Idaho citizens committed to preserving and celebrating the history and culture of Blacks in Idaho
Riley Hardy, founded the St. Paul Baptist Church in 1908. For years, the congregation met as a “house fellowship” in member’s homes, Gottlieb Lach’s Blacksmith Shop, and the GAR Hall as the congregation struggled to locate a permanent location. The elders stayed the course and their prayers were answered in the person of Mrs. Gestal of 124 Broadway Avenue. That courageous Basque woman contacted Rev.
“St. Paul is the most significant physical symbol of the place Black Americans have in the history of Idaho and of our city.” -Arthur Hart, Director Emeritus, Idaho Historical Museum
Hardy and offered to sell the congregation the lots. No small gesture as some backlash followed from the larger Boise community. But Mrs. Gestal was a formidable woman. She would not be deterred by intimidation. A building permit was issued and groundbreaking commenced. Rev. Hardy, also a skilled carpenter, enlisted the help of many, including his father-in-law and church trustee, Louis Stokes to complete construction of the St. Paul Baptist Church in 1921. In 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1994, the congregation had a great opportunity to obtain another church located in downtown Boise, a much larger facility than the church on Broadway. Even though the new building needed updates, church leadership and most of the congregation thought it perfect. That “most” did not include Rev. Hardy’s baby girl, my grandmother, Mary Cecilia Hardy Buckner. She started working me immediately, “Don’t let them sell the church. Your grandfather would be so hurt. I raised your father in that church (she was growing faint by then). I’m in this wheelchair, so you know I can’t convince anyone. Cher, do something.” Well, my grandmother could work a nerve. She started an all-out guilt attack. She worked all the folks and 18
she was a master. She reminded them of her gifts–the embroidered “tea towels,” her famous graham cracker pie, her sumptuous dinners, her anniversary cards and birthday cakes. She mentioned every wedding, funeral, church program or special service where she had played the piano for all to hear. (I think she kept a diary of all her selfless Christian acts, just in case). No one was spared her guilt-giving. And most of them turned to me–to save them from Mary Buckner! I joined forces with a few brave souls and to change the narrative from “this old building” to “This piece of our history, representative of moving from marginalized to full citizenship together, through faith, sweat, tears and grace.” Further, we shared that “St. Paul is a testament to the anchor the church represents in the Black community–a safe place, a gathering place, a solid foundation where our people could take refuge and be revived. It stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of Black folks in an often exclusionary world, persevering, finding light in darkness, uniting, building and shaping community.”
Left: Phillip Johnson, Executive Director Idaho Black History Museum
In 1998, after approval from Boise Parks and Recreation and Boise City Council, IBHM was authorized to move to Julia Davis Park. The site is adjacent to the Idaho Historical Museum, Boise Art Museum, Rose Garden, The Discovery Center and Zoo Boise, the heart of the Boise Cultural District–a perfect fit for the Idaho Black History Museum.
Obviously, I had learned from the master! And clearly, talked a little too much. In fact, I talked myself right into the Presidency of the Board of Directors of the Idaho Black History Museum. Ultimately, members of St. Paul agreed to donate the original building to the newly created Idaho Black History Museum so that the church would be of service to the community. One caveat, however, we had to move it quickly since the property was on the market. The museum is, indeed, the house the community built. When the congregation obtained new facilities, the property sold quickly. IBHM was fortunate the Ada County Commissioners allowed the building to be placed, “temporarily” on county property, while the IBHM Board, fundraised, gained support for, and searched for a permanent site. Associated Pacific Movers moved the building for free from Broadway Avenue to the future site of the Ada County Court House on Front Street. There it sat for three years, while the board searched, fundraised, shared the vision, and prayed, a lot. During that time, many churches with Black congregations were being torched across the U.S. We were deeply concerned for the security of the precious old building. The Ada County Commissioners came to the rescue again. They set up a chain link fence around the historic church, St. Luke’s Hospital directed spotlights from their property to illuminate it and Boise Police Department kept it as a concern.
Groundbreaking was held August 18,1998. Associated Pacific Movers magically eased the 28’ x 40’ building down narrow city streets and into the park as people lined the route, alternately cheering and holding their breath. John Spencer, owner of Associate Pacific Movers, seemed to caress the building as he slid it into place, his crew ever attentive. Tears, cheers, applause, and hallelujahs resounded. Upon inspection, every single stained-glass window in that little church was intact. The Idaho Black History Museum was the vision and mission of so many dedicated folks from across the state with a wide range of age, race, ethnicity, as well as professional and educational backgrounds. The same is true of the current keepers of the flame, the innovators, eager to explore new ways to endow and enrich the exhibits of IBHM in ways its founders, like my great-grandfather, never imagined. Today, our family legacy continues with my son, Phillip Thompson, 6th generation Idahoan, serving as President of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Idaho Black History Museum. In his words: The Idaho Black History Museum is an institution contributing to the unique cultural fabric of Idaho and making known aspects of history that are often forgotten. We look forward to seeing you there.
The Honorable Cherie Buckner-Webb is an Idaho State Senator, Certified Professional Coach, Consultant and Motivational Speaker
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For the Love of Dough An Introduction to French Pastry BY KRISTINA CASE
come from a long line of home bakers. As a child, I watched my mom and grandma from a high seat at the counter, their hands confidently white with flour, rolling pie dough flat and delicate as paper. “It’s a difficult thing, pie dough,” said my mom, noting the exact cold-water ratio and the moment when the dough is ready to be rolled. This is how my love of dough began. My first job in high school was a prep cook at a small town café where homemade pie was not only an expectation, but requirement. This is where I honed my own piemaking skills, often making six in one shift. Lately, in search of new recipes and my old love of dough, I found myself stalking Instagram posts of impossibly gorgeous pies. The new cooking school in Boise, Season and Taste, offered the challenge and comradery I was looking for in a class on French Pastry. Opened by Chef Christina Murray in August of 2020, classes fill quickly. As Head Chef with Sur La Table in the Village in Meridian, Murray managed the recreational cooking program. On class day, myself and other students
surrounded a big wooden work table, wearing aprons and masks. On the menu: Lemon Tart, Quiche Lorraine, and Star Bread. Chef Murray begins by explaining the difference between our two assigned doughs: Pate Sucre (sweet, crumbly pastry for lemon tart) and Pate Brisee (tarte or pie pastry), The lemon tart calls for softened butter and powdered sugar (not granulated) to be worked both hard and softly with spatula. Pate Brisee requires deftly smashing small pieces of butter against the side of bowl (not a pastry blender), keeping everything cold. Chef Murray circles the table, feeling our doughs, adding suggestions, like less flour. After both doughs chill, we roll the dough with elegantly tapered French rolling pins that assuredly never touched my mother’s pies. While we shove our filled crusts into the oven, we begin our star bread. Stacking layers of yeasted dough dusted with a delicious orange-cardamom mix, we cut strips and twist
Photo by Kristina Case
Take a class!
SEASON AND TASTE Chef Christina offers a variety of classes including for kids & teens, date night themes like Parisian and homemade pasta, and other delicious-sounding titles. www.seasonandtaste.com @seasonandtastecookingschool
into braids before baking. Baked, the bread looked almost too pretty to eat, but tasting proved to be the best part of the experience. I left class excited to attempt these buttery, flaky masterpieces at home. I’m also looking forward to my next class. Judging from the way my family devoured my lemon tart, they’re looking forward to it too!
About Chef Christina: Christina Murray received her classical training from International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute) and the New School in Manhattan, earning a Bachelor of Science in food politics. Photo courtesy of Christina Murray
IMovie-Making DAHO ’S History The screenwriter for the film was Talbot Jennings who was born in Shoshone, Idaho, went to high school in Nampa, and graduated from the University of Idaho. He later received an Oscar nomination for co-writing the script for Mutiny on the Bounty.
BY RICK JUST
114 mountain ranges and the most wild river miles in the lower 48– Idaho’s natural beauty would appear a magnet for movie productions. Film companies, however, prefer to shoot where there are people skilled in their technical trades From left to right, Robert Young, Spencer Tracy and Walter Brennan and in states offering commiserate beneath a Ponderosa Pine on the set of Northwest tax incentives. (Not Passage near McCall. The world premiere for the movie was held at the Pinney Theater in Boise. Photo courtesy of MGM. Idaho.) Flying in and One would assume a accommodating crews on remote locations drives up movie called Northwest Passage would feature the fabled budgets. Even so, Idaho can still brag about providing sets hunt for the Northwest Passage. Spoiler alert–no. After and talent for some flops and hits in Hollywood history– enduring endless weeks of hardship and fighting hostile from the infamous failure of Heaven’s Gate, to the surprise natives for reasons more complicated than I can work into hit, Napoleon Dynamite, filmed in Wallace and Preston, a sentence, Spencer Tracy, the leader of Roger’s Rangers, respectively. gives a little speech in the last couple of minutes of the Two shoots are well-remembered in Southwestern Idaho for their extensive use of local talent. In 1938 and 1939, director King Vidor shot Northwest Passage for MGM near McCall, mostly in what is today the North Beach Unit of Ponderosa State Park. It starred some big-name actors, Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, and Ruth Hussey. 22
film about the adventures they are about to have looking for the Northwest Passage. The end.
In this film, Idaho plays the role of New Hampshire and the woods around Lake Champlain. Nine hundred McCall residents portrayed soldiers and Indians, plying their homespun skills to construct a log fort and props. Some
>> Clint Eastwood at Shady Acres in Eagle during the filming of Bronco Billy. Photo courtesy of the Eagle Museum of History and Preservation
extras took a more demanding role when a forest fire broke out nearby. According to a Forest Service newsletter called the Payette Prowler, “A large number of ‘Roger’s Rangers’ from MGM’s Northwest Passage... were among the fire fighters. This be-whiskered crew truly looked the part of a tough bunch of hombres instead of movie actors when they came off the fire line.” Twelve freight cars brought in dozens of Indian drums, sugar kettles, gun racks, weaving frames, rush bottom chairs, spinning wheels, leather bellows, anvils and 1,000 cannon balls. Authenticity demanded a trove of antique decor from desks to hundreds of pelts of North American mammals right down to candlesticks. Grandad might have told you about Northwest Passage. Mom could have shared her memories of Bronco Billy. “Sometimes” Idaho resident, Clint Eastwood, brought his production company to the Treasure Valley for his 1980 film. Shot at locations from Boise to Ontario, with settings that included a Meridian bank, the Boise Depot, the old Ada County Courthouse, the Hungry Onion drive in, a parking lot at Lake Lowell, and the famed Ranch Club. Much of the production took place in a circus
About 1,500 people got parts as extras. The bulk cheered namelessly from the bleachers in the tent, but a few got speaking parts. Doug Copsey, manager of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival at the time, set up auditions. “People lined up around the block for a chance to be in the movie,” he said. As thanks for arranging the auditions, Copsey was offered a meaty little part playing a doctor. An insider tip said Clint wouldn’t be in the scene, so it would likely end up on the cutting room floor. Copsey switched to a short role as a TV newsman who stuck a mic in Eastwood’s face and asked a question. That one made the final cut and even the movie trailer. Most extras got a nice little paycheck and walked away smiling. Those who snagged a speaking part still get residuals. “I get ten bucks every time the movie plays somewhere,” Copsey said. “I call it my beer fund.”
Production companies sometimes have a reputation for swooping into a community and treating locations and people badly. That wasn’t the case with On the big screen or not, Idaho is what it Bronco Billy. According to locals, Eastwood, co-stars Sandra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman wants to be. Beautiful Cruthers and crew couldn’t have been nicer.
and not Hollywood. tent set up near the Boise Little Theater at Fort Boise.
The Gem state may be an underdog when vying for film productions, but as Eastwood says in Bronco Billy, “I’m who I want to be.” On the big screen or not, Idaho is what it wants to be. Beautiful and not Hollywood. www.idahomemagazine.com
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Robin Wright stars as “Edee” in her feature directorial debut LAND, a Focus Features release. Credit : Daniel Power / Focus Features
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a place of wonder–fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” -Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces
HOLLYWOOD Comes To
he distance from Idaho to Hollywood is about 900 air miles, but the journey is always an introduction into juxtaposed worlds, especially for the movie-makers who abandon corner offices above Sunset Boulevard for highmountain homes and fresh air. Iconic actors like Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks can glide back and forth from Sun Valley or the moon if they choose, accommodated by fame and talent. But those who produce, feature their
BY KAREN DAY
films from afar–those invaluable invisibles who guard the heart, guts and budget must work harder to be heard, seen and compete. Ironically, pandemic Zoom meetings and iPhones have confirmed what Idaho producers knew all along: that art is art, wherever you create it and entertainment springs from anywhere. But even as TikTok grabs millions and theaters remain dark, box-office numbers still rule the film industry. Streaming platforms
On the day of this interview, Stewart had just finished a virtual presentation on the power of story. “I believe in challenging myself,” she says. “I’d never spoken directly into a camera before, like a newscaster.” Steward shakes her head. “Not easy, but now I know I can do it.” Stewart relates all this while firing up the grill for a homemade lunch, building a roaring fire in an outdoor pit and lauding the benefits of snowblowing 51 inches of fresh snow off her deck. Added to Stewart’s IMDb page, it seems entirely possible this lithe, 64-year-old blonde could moonlight as a lion tamer. “When I first bought a place here 16 years ago, I was a studio executive,” said Stewart. “I was a single mother with a small son, commuting back and forth, making movies, and just trying to keep my sanity. Finally, a great friend of mine, a very successful producer, said to me, ‘You know, Allyn, I made a mistake. I tried to do it all and it’s not time you can get back. You can’t get this time with your child back.’ So, I made the decision at
and a mom, but I missed telling stories. It’s who I am and I love it.”
Photo courtesy of SVFF
are commandeering distribution and festivals like Sundance and Telluride continue to demand the mandatory climb to credibility and prestige. But despite their distance from LA and maybe, because of it–Allyn Stewart, the producer of Robin Wright’s first directorial debut, LAND and Kasey Mott, the producer of MASS, Fran Kranz’s human crucible of reconciliation after a school shooting– have forged unique paths from Idaho to Hollywood success.
The best thing about making movies in Idaho is rolling out of bed and onto the set. Too bad I’m not making westerns anymore.” the height of my career–I moved up here and became a full-time hockey mom.”
As Stewart speaks, a female elk descends the hill into her yard. “There’s a herd of about 16,” she says, smiling. “They’re my resident gardeners.” The elk stops in an Aspen grove. Above, the sky is bluebird blue and the wind is still. Calm descends, as if the animal and Stewart are old friends, enjoying the view together. The verisimilitude of this scene would not be believed by most in Hollywood unless it was in a movie, which explains why Stewart went back– without leaving. Instead, she began Flashlight Films with independent financing and confidence in her own ability to develop great scripts, melded by living in Idaho. “When I started in the business, the studios had cornered the markets because it’s an expensive business. The equipment, editing, sets, production, distribution–but all that has changed and continues to evolve so fast. For example, we just made this spectacular film with Robin in 29 days, in four seasons, for only seven million
Making the move to Sun Valley, which most Californians considered wilderness twenty years ago, (imagine!) proved the easy part. Stewart began her career as a trailblazing female executive producer at the age of 21. Fast forward to full-time mom in her forties and five years of navigating whiteouts to Jackson Hole hockey tournaments: Stewart realized who she was. Really. Truly. Deeply. “I’m a mountain girl,
“Making the move to SUN VALLEY, which most Californians considered WILDERNESS twenty years ago, (imagine!) PROVED THE EASY PART.”
Producer Allyn Stewart at her home in Sun Valley
dollars.” She nods, proudly. “That’s less than the visual effects budget for SULLY.” Stewart knows this fact since she not only spent 29 days with Robin Wright in Alberta’s wilderness, filming LAND, but also produced the 2016, Eastwood-directed blockbuster about the heroic airline captain, starring Tom Hanks. Both male superstars frequent nearby homes and there’s no coincidence such a powerhouse consortium formed in the slice of beauty called the Wood River Valley. “There’s magic here,” says Stewart. “I mean Alberta is stunning. So wild we had to have a ‘bear guy’ on set at all times, but Idaho is the best of both worlds. Robin came up here and loved it.” “And Clint, he’s the real deal. A cowboy. He will stand up for the truth, no matter the consequences. And no frills. I’m frugal, but he’s more frugal. Filming SULLY, a tropical storm came into Hudson river while we were shooting ferry boats bringing people off the plane. The dock was pitching, the boats bobbing and I suggested we stop. Clint said, ‘Nope. I’m not going to waste $130,000 to shut down.’ And he was right. You can’t fake authenticity.” Stewart doubled down on authenticity while filming LAND. “I guess Clint taught me to keep going. There were brutal days, shooting at 8,000 feet, snow so deep we had to melt it to move. Robin has the stamina of ten women, she was going to do whatever she needed to do. We stayed on budget. We didn’t shut down until wind chill hit 70 below. I could not have made this movie with someone who didn’t have that pioneering spirit.” Pioneering, trailblazing, resilient, 28
resourceful–the adjectives that best describe Allyn Stewart’s character and film career are synonymous to many who call Idaho home. Famous or not. “There’s a certain type of person that’s drawn here.” says Stewart. “No airs. Famous or not. Low key. Like Kasey Mott, the local producer of MASS, he used to work for me.“ Like his former boss, Kasey Wilder Mott helped produce a high-tension human drama that premiered virtually at Sundance 2021. Unlike LAND, filming took place in Hailey, at one location, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, assisted by a local crew. Large-scale film production is rare in Idaho because the state does not offer lucrative tax incentives to production companies seeking wild, open spaces. Canada, Montana and Utah attract those Hollywood dollars. But for a smaller-scale production like MASS, Idaho offered the low-cost simplicity and local talent required to meet budget on a 14-day shoot. Dylan Matlock, another producer on MASS explained, “When we were looking for a location, Fran visited and loved the look and feel of the town. We loved shooting there because of how wonderful everyone in the town was. From the representatives at the church, like Mother Lea Covill, to all the small businesses in the area, everyone was so warm and welcoming. It felt like going to camp and the cast and crew got to focus on movie-making.” Intense moving-making it was. Starring Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Fran Kranz’s screenwriting and directorial debut brings together four parents who have lost their sons in a school shooting. How do the parents of the shooter and the parents of the
Photo courtesy of MASS
victims reconcile their complicated emotional tragedy when face to face? Sundance film festivals said, “MASS is a thoughtful, beautifully executed ode to humanity-in all its flawed and messy glory.” Jessica Winfree, a Boise-based assistant director worked on the production. “I have a degree in filmmaking, but there’s very little work for a first AD beyond small, independent films here in Idaho. MASS brought together huge talent, a great script and offered me the chance to work at my highest capacity. I feel lucky to have contributed to such an amazing film.” Allyn Stewart agrees. “MASS is simply brilliant–four people sitting at a table, and I was mesmerized. It’s proof that the best storytelling comes from the depth of humanity, and if you stay true to your story, you fight for your vision and what you feel, you will touch somebody else’s humanity. That’s what makes a great movie.” Authenticity, indeed.
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Human Stories BY HEATHER HAMILTON-POST
“My father couldn’t read, and I would tell him stories I made up. I was always writing, and in junior high school, my parents bought me a typewriter,” explains Idaho writer Patricia Marcantonio. “So I was always sending stuff out, and after I got married, I wrote my first novel. It was horrible,” she says, laughing.
Growing up, Marantonio was shy– she says she only had one friend, whom she remains friends with today–and liked to read, which made her kind of a target for bullies. She pauses, speculating, “and maybe that’s where some Photo by Jessica Garcia of these books came out of. In “It’s very hard work. And I love it. It’s the end, it is just challenging–to come up with stories, your imagination, and deal with the language and find you’re trying to the right words to say what you mean.” tell a story about different people and what they go through, and hopefully, you’ll get a few readers 30
that know what that feels like. I love characters that have wounds. When they go on their journey through your novels and they come out the other side, changed for better or worse. I like that about humanity. I think we’re all just writing about humanity, the damages and wounds, and how we come out of that,” she says. Marcantonio’s work, although varied, is filled with strong, complex characters who navigate the world with gusto, bravery, and heart and it is easy to see why the writer, who has long been an active part of Idaho’s literary scene, is flourishing. The recent recipient of an Alexa Rose Foundation grant, Marcantonio produced and directed her original play, Tears for Llorona, at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho, later adapting it for Radio Boise. She’s written short films, children’s books, courtroom dramas, mystery series, screenplays and probably more–Marcantonio says she is always up for a challenge and hopes to write a science fiction novel eventually. She’s also curated anthologies and collaborated on various projects throughout her career.
“I have a desk full of story ideas that I’ll probably never get to. When I worked as a reporter, I’d always come back with two story ideas. You always have to ask what’s right, or what if this happened? I love to tell
A Conversation with Idaho Writer Patricia Marcantonio stories, but I didn’t get published until later in life. I’m very fortunate I’ve had the career I’ve had,” she says. “I think writers always wonder if they can really write. When I was waiting for COVID-19 test, I’d just gotten the audio version of Felicity Carrol and listening to it in my car, I thought, ‘Oh man, I wrote this.’ And it was kind of an epiphany.” Marcantonio says that she often jokes that her family makes up a big part of her readership, and that they account for a lot of her book sales. An exaggeration, certainly, but they’re so much a part of her work that they’ve almost got to read it. She says that they’ve always supported her career, and her daughter even acted in Tears for Llorona. Marcantonio is inspired by her siblings too–she’s adapted an urban legend her brother shared with her and is working on a vampire novel that she says was entirely her sister’s idea. And although she doesn’t
really write nonfiction these days, her heritage shows up a lot–she’s currently trying to find a publishing home for a children’s book about a little girl learning to cook Mexican dishes with her grandparents, which contains recipes from her own childhood.
explain the tremendous breadth of her writing. On the heels of two published mysteries and a horror book, she’s working on a romance. “I was tired of killing people off on the page, so I wanted them to fall in love. But my agent told me ‘You kill them off so well’,” she says, laughing.
One of Marcantonio’s first books, Red Ridin’ in the Hood and Other Cuentos, infuses Latino culture with classic tales, a decision based on her own experience with a lack of representation. “If Latino kids pick it up, I want them to say ‘that’s me in there.’ I want non-Latino kids to learn about the culture too. These old stories are universal,” she says. “When I read Hansel and Gretel, the universal message was the resilience of children, and that was easy to write,” she says.
And, while her work is always fun, it requires an intricate knowledge of the human condition and is a constant balancing act between gravity and levity.
Marcantonio describes her taste in books as eclectic, which might
“It’s very hard work. And I love it. It’s challenging–to come up with stories, and deal with the language and find the right words to say what you mean. And sometimes people get it, and sometimes people won’t. But you know, I just kind of make it a rule that if I don’t love it, then how can anybody else love it?” Laughs Marcantonio. “And you know, I love it.”
PATRICIA’S LATEST BOOKS
Marcantonio’s latest Victorian mystery series, Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit and Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace (Crooked Lane Books) is available in print, as an ebook, and as an audiobook at bookstores near you.
AI in Healthcare Artificial Intelligence has the potential to make strides in healthcare, but scientists must balance the optimal outcomes with the need for data privacy. BY HAILEY MINTON
X-ray diagnostics, contact tracing, computer vision, molecular machine learning are a few Artificial Intelligence tools highlighted by Lauren Pfeifer, a Data Scientist and Venture Capital Investor at Maschmeyer Group Ventures, based in San Francisco. The difference between Artificial Intelligence and Artificial General Intelligence is the difference between programing a bot to perform a specific job versus having a machine emulate a human in the way it performs a task. Lauren says progress is moving forward primarily with Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare. There is a lot of potential for good that can come from an algorithm processing vast amounts of data because it can help pinpoint problems faster and get care to those who need it more effectively. AI is making strides in diagnostics of X-ray images. A handful of medical institutions have gathered
images of chest X-rays and generated algorithms to efficiently detect if someone has COVID-19. The X-ray shows nodules that look like glass shards which indicates that the patient needs further testing. These algorithms can sift through vast amounts of X-rays and flag the ones that resemble the X-rays of patients with COVID-19. The turnaround time is the bottleneck that has been optimized. Contact tracing is another AI tool that has been implemented in Israel to find the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks in certain parts of town. They use geolocation and tracking
Computer Vision Early detection of skin cancer can prove the difference between a simple mole removal or several rounds of chemotherapy.
to see where people were contacting others. Of course, there is a give and take with data privacy. This leads us to ask the question, what data is being used to make our lives healthier and what is it worth? Computer vision is another branch of AI that can be very powerful in the realm of infectious diseases. Zap Malaria is based in Israel and they use geospatial data to find bodies
of water around areas experiencing malaria outbreaks. Using satellite data, they look for ideal breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes and render the information to field workers. The field workers travel to these bodies of water to confirm, after which they dispatch doctors, mosquito nets and antimalarial drugs to that area. To Lauren, the field of molecular machine learning is the most exciting frontier of AI in healthcare. “They mapped out the immune system to run simulations to to test drugs.” If a person has several conditions, they can give a simulated outcome to know if a drug will work. Pfeifer hopes these solutions can be applied to the demographics that need it most.
DATA PRIVACY The strides that can take place with AI in
healthcare depend upon large amounts of data to make it effective. But understandably, people might not want their data, especially sensitive health information, being used. We have HIPPA and data privacy as safeguards to protect people, but that barrier limits the data that complex algorithms can compute. Just like each of these examples, the output of these algorithms can save lives, but it is dependent upon the input. There is, however a flip side: Data Privacy. There have been unforeseen consequences of using AI in collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data. Pfeifer referenced the Netflix movie “The Social Dilemma” which addresses the unintended effects that social media has had on mental health and the spread of misinformation. This example helps us feel the weight of the unintended
consequences that can come from utilizing AI with information that is even more sensitive than the information gathered through social media usage. Another issue in data privacy comes with user agreements. Pfeifer says, when a person downloads and uses an app for the first time, most users agree to the policy terms by checking the box and moving on without reading them. That puts the responsibility on the user to know what data the app uses. However, Pfeifer says, “People need a law to degree to understand some of these data usage policy agreements.” To the average person, it’s like trying to understand a foreign language. Pfeifer hopes to see a push to make user agreements understandable to the average person so they know how their information is being used.
Lauren Pfeifer, Data Scientist and Venture Capital Investor at Maschmeyer Group Ventures HOW CAN AI HELP HEALTHCARE? There is a lot of potential for good that can come from an algorithm processing vast amounts of data because it can help pinpoint problems faster and get care to those who need it more effectively.
Image courtesy of Mary Pickford Special Collections
The History of
Women in Film in Hollywood and Idaho
BY KAREN DAY
I’d been directing independent television and documentaries for 20 years when I saw a head shot of Nell Shipman in the Idaho History Museum. The black and white photo was a studio-manufactured image, mandatorily glamorous, but unusual in that its “star” lacked the pouted lips and corkscrew curls of silent era actresses. More wholesome than stilted beauty or sultry vamp, Shipman offered an adventurous image, completed by a luxurious, Lynx fur hood and the title, “The Girl from God’s Country: Idaho’s First Filmmaker.” Two thoughts continued to haunt me for weeks after I’d seen the photo. First, I wanted one of those coats despite its scandalous, political incorrectness. Second, and more importantly, why hadn’t I ever heard of Shipman? I spent the next two years of my life searching for the answer. Eventually, the truth revealed 34
was so unjust and purposefully entombed, I felt compelled to produce and direct a feature-length documentary called The Girl from God’s Country. What possible pertinence could a turn-of-the-century woman offer in the twenty-first century? We live in the era of 3-D Pixar heroines and FBI investigations into Hollywood gender bias. Silent films were the dark ages of cinema, overacted with batting eyelashes and flailing shieks. Silent onscreen-queens like Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford smeared into black and white blurs in my memory. Therefore, I confess, it was curiosity and coat envy, rather than scholarship or artistic appreciation, that sparked my initial research. Nearly a century apart, Shipman and I both chose to relocate from California and make films in the state that still boasts the most wilderness in the lower forty-eight and only one female filmmaker. This commonality
indicated she was a kindred spirit, a fellow cultivator of worthwhile risk. Idaho has as much landmass as Texas, but remains obscure, surrounded by five other, more famous western states and Canada. The population was 436,000 when Shipman moved here in 1922, equating to 33 square miles per person. (Current residents can only claim 8 miles.) Already a successful silent film writer, producer and movie star, Shipman boarded trains, tugboats and sleighs to travel 1,280 miles from Glendale to Priest Lake, fifteen miles south of the Canadian frozen border. Even in the wilderness, her life was a spectacle made for film. She brought along her 10-year-old son, a married lover-director, a future Academy-Award-winning cinematographer and a zoo of seventy abused, animal actors, including bobcats, bears, elk, eagles, deer and sixteen sled dogs. Shipman’s preternatural bond with wild animal
Image courtesy of Karen Day
actors had been confirmed by the popularity of her on-screen persona. Bears, cougars, wolves, skunks–the actress considered all four-legged creatures as worthy of respect as any actor, insisting they be treated humanely by refusing to allow guns, whips or chains on her sets. Even the most dangerous animals returned the favor to Hollywood’s first animal advocate. The more I read, the more brightly Shipman’s boldness shone. Her daring was like a dimmer switch, turning up the light on early female independence. Seeking space enough to create herself and her films onlocation, not on veneered sets, this firebrand had early-on rejected interference from “suits” like Sam Goldfish (soon to be Goldwyn) who offered her a seven-year studio contract with a guarantee of stardom in velvet handcuffs.
make films in dangerous locations— here was a filmmaker and a female I could relate to, albeit a century later! Imagine, Nell had started her own production company while the U.S. banned the sale of James Joyce’s, Ulysses. At this point in my research, I felt like I’d stuck documentary gold! How utterly cool was this woman? I suddenly wished I could take her to lunch. Surely, we’d drink dirty martinis and share cake and distain for the eternal-curse of Tom Cruise blockbusters. In 1919, Nell Shipman was female liberation in the flesh. Back to God’s Country premiered with Nell flashing the first nude in film history. Lois Webber’s film, Hypocrites, is a spectacular runner-up and Heddy Lamarr’s 1933 nude scene in Ecstasy still generates far more press.
Free from constraints, Shipman created her best work from 19181924. Unfortunately, neither her talent nor finances prepared her to compete as the industry transformed into a maledominated monopoly. As The Big Five, swallowed production, distribution and theaters, Nell brought a zoo Nell cleaned of 70 abused animal fish to feed actors with her.
Independent, audacious, lover of animals and fur coats, determined to
HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST ANIMAL ADVOCATE
Image courtesy of Boise State Special Collections
her zoo and kept writing and staring in her own films: The Grubstake and Tales of the Northwind. By 1924, the animals were reduced to half-rations and Nell, to eating the animals that finally fell in twelve-foot snow drifts. Living her individualistic dream, this truly-starving artist suffered murderous locals, sub-zero winters, several near-death experiences, bankruptcy and ultimately, the loss of her lover, film company and beloved zoo. How tragically romantic! How radically modern! Forget Wonder Woman! Surely, Nell Shipman must be singular in her early proto-feminist heroism, animal activism, selfpropelled stunts and naked audacity! Here is where I must defer to my favorite quote in my own documentary as it resounds as one of the most surprising and horrific moments in my directing career. “How wrong you are!” We should all say, “Thank You,” to Dr. Jane Gaines, Director of the Women Film Pioneers Project
Images courtesy of Boise State Special Collections
at Columbia University. The professor enthusiastically shared this declaration about half way through our interview. Since 1993, this ivyleague powerhouse has dedicated her career to reassembling the invisible history of thousands—no, really — thousands, of women in all facets of the silent-film hierarchy. Every writer, filmmaker and crappy talk show host knows the best stories begin with a question. So: how is it that not one Hollywood history tome, not one director, female or male, references Nell Shipman and her huge posse of female film pioneers? What happened to their films? More perplexing, why did all these she-mavericks disappear around 1925? Following these doomed trailblazers took me down a rabbit hole inhabited with flickering, female ghosts. In silence, Helen Gibson made crazy leaps onto fast moving trains, Mary Pickford formed United Artists as a full controlling partner with Fairbanks and Chaplin, while Alice Guy-Blaché directed more than 1,000 short films! I liken the experience to waking up in the Jurassic period of Hollywood, the lost era when women were carnivorous giants dominating the film industry. More stunning were the works of minority directors that surfaced. The family trust of Zora Neale Hurston generously donated to my documentary the only surviving footage produced by the PulitzerPrize-winning author. Jaggedly spliced, the clips fit together like black and white stanzas of an unfinished poem, vivid glimpses of
being African-American in the 1920’s. By the way, the hypnotic soundtrack singer is also the famed writer. Then along came Marion Wong. Truthfully, if I hadn’t already fallen in love with Nell Shipman, I would have refocused my entire documentary on this founder of the Mandarin Film Company in Oakland, California in 1914. Watching her film, The Curse of Quon Gwon, was like blowing dust off missing pages of American history. It’s a love story, but a foreign story, in our own country- with exotic footbinding shoes, dangling headdresses and Chinese villages set amidst the empty Berkeley hills. Every scene is so richly detailed with the stunning and unfamiliar, that I immediately realized Shipman had never been alone in her struggle to create independent art. Nor am I. Or you. These pioneering provocateurs rejected creative tyranny, particularly against the male construct before women could vote. They embodied
the archetypal and timeless dilemma of being born female–the choice between security and freedom, of the predictable turn and the unknown road, or as the author, Karen Von Blixen described it, “The lion hunt and bathing the baby. As a twenty-first-century women, we owe all these rowdies a debt. Susan B. Anthony, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Nell Shipman and thousands more wreaked havoc for change on our behalf. Our freedom is no less free, but we have the advantage of looking back on their sacrifices and bonfires. We know the price of equality and freedom demands a loss of innocence and a fight. As directors, actors, producers, writers, making good films is our job. As females, making great films is also the best way of thanking all those anarchic sisters we’ll never meet from the past and the future.
Watch the film trailer: www.girlfromgodscountry.com
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THE HIDDEN COSTS OF COVID:
Homebuilding in a Pandemic
BY HEATHER HAMILTON-POST
eople are willing to pay more for a home, so the price is going up–so willing that they’ll start a bidding war, they’ll pay cash. But as we start the conversation, there’s a number of other items that aren’t so obvious,” says Bill Raur, Executive Officer at Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho. The conversation is happening around Idaho, and especially in the Treasure Valley, where home prices are increasing at unprecedented rates and inventory remains exceedingly low.
Since 2011, Zillow reports that the Boise metro area housing market has tripled in value, marking the largest increase of any of the top 100 largest metro areas. The value of Idaho homes is on the rise too, up 149% since 2011, with a median sales price of $425,000 in Ada County in November
of 2020. High demand, diminished supply, and preposterously low interest rates are making the Treasure Valley a focal point for homeownership– and all of this, despite an ongoing global pandemic. So what’s driving demand? Dan Richter, General Manager at Avimor Partners notes that recent interest rates are actually allowing first time buyers, who may otherwise be priced out, access to a competitive housing market. Zillow adds that millennials are also aging into homeownership and work-from-home protocols are creating a need for more functional living spaces amidst the pandemic. Avimor is especially uniquely positioned for socially distanced life, given the abundant space and community within. “People live and recreate here.
They’re still getting out and walking around. You’ll see them out conversing with somebody, and standing a little further, but they’re still out,” Richter says. The community, which garnered plenty of interest before, is now in the same position as many–they can’t build homes fast enough. Richter explains that, at Avimor, they release houses to the market when they’re near completion. It isn’t ideal, but supply chain shortages have created an environment with a lot of unknowns. “It isn’t the way we’re accustomed to doing business, but we’ve adapted,” Richter says. “Costs have gone up so much, probably 50 to 60 percent on developing land alone.” He says that many production plants and lumber mills slowed or shut down, leading to industry-wide shortages. “Our insulation supplier isn’t even taking new customers. As long as we don’t increase our pace, he can supply it. There are all kinds of appliance shortages too,” Richter says. “So we have to be careful what we promise.” Raur advocates for a more nuanced conversation about growth–one that acknowledges that builders and developers aren’t growth, but the response to growth. “You have people saying that growth should pay for itself without fully understanding what and who growth is. A home is just like any other manufactured product, and any costs incurred to develop is passed along to the consumer,” he explains. Among the costs being passed to the consumer are those associated with labor. Richter says that, during and after the Great Recession, the construction industry experienced labor shortages because people retired, and there weren’t young people to take their place. High schools focused more on colleges than trade schools, which created a
shortage of labor that he says can delay jobs for weeks at a time. “And COVID-19 has made it worse, because if somebody tests positive on a framing or concrete crew, everybody goes home.”
And then there’s Impact fees, potential changes in energy code, and global supply shortages and slowdowns. Rauer says he’s heard stories of builders holding lots for fear of overpromising, and that this can sometimes be perceived as waiting for the price to go up. “But that’s not true. This is the formula by which homes are built, and there’s a lot of intricacies involved in that,” he explains. So what does the future hold for home construction in the Treasure Valley? “I think COVID-19 is going to be with us forever, but I think we’ll be able to go on. Boise is going to continue to be a place people want to be, and I anticipate that by fall, the pandemic won’t be the conversation you have with everybody. I see a lot more younger people getting into the trades, and some of those commodity prices will settle over the next couple of months. But there’s nothing precluding more shutdowns in some of the mills until we get COVID-19 under control. So I think it’s going to be kind of an uphill and downhill; it could be a rough ride this year. Hopefully by next year, there will be some semblance of normalcy.” Richter explains. Rauer also thinks the demand will continue, and encourages people to think about the big picture of growth, which is far more complicated than builders and developers hoarding resources to improve profit. Avimor will build only 100 new homes this year, but Richter says, if he let the market dictate and he had the labor and supplies, they could sell 500. “I feel bad about the price I have to charge compared to a year ago, but the increase was necessary to stay in business and meet business next year.” Richter says. “Provided the economy holds up, it’ll be tough to find a home in Boise for awhile.” www.idahomemagazine.com
CONTRIBUTORS Heather Hamilton-Post is a writer and editor in Caldwell. She holds degrees in both agriculture and creative writing and is herself surprised by that. When she’s not writing, catch her at a socially distanced baseball game with her husband and young sons. Find her work across the web and buried in the lit journals you didn’t know you had. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a master’s degree in journalism, Harrison Berry returned to Boise, where he spent eight years working for Boise Weekly, rising to the position of managing editor. His work has appeared in publications from Business Insider to American Theatre. He currently works for Boise State University. Meredith Richardson graduated from UNR with a journalism degree that expanded into professional cinematography. As a DP, she has traveled across the globe in search of great stories to tell in film. When not on the open road, she can be found enjoying the mountains surrounding her hometown of Ketchum. Rick Just is the author of several books about Idaho including A Kid’s Guide to Boise, Keeping Private Idaho, and Fearless—Farris Lind, the Man Behind the Skunk. He writes a daily history blog on Facebook called Speaking of Idaho which has more than 10,000 followers. Mike McKenna is an award-winning author and journalist from Hailey. Mike’s writing has appeared widely, from Forbes, People and Trout to numerous regional newspapers. He has served as the editor of The Sheet and Sun Valley Magazine and is the author of two prize-winning guidebooks, including Angling Around Sun Valley. Hailey Minton is a freelance writer and loves painting with her words. She approaches life with inquisitiveness whether in writing, raising her daughter, or developing her hobbies. With a Bachelor’s in Business Management, she has a love for seeing innovators bring solutions to our ever-changing world.
Room with a View
TODAY Located North on Highway 55 a Mile Above Shadow Valley Golf Course Model Homes Open Daily 10 am - 5 pm • 208-939-5360 • www.avimor.com Marketed by Epic Realty LLC • RCE 35084