OK, I'll admit it. When Boise musician Jared Hallock contacted me a few months ago about this big crazy production he was putting together called "Unity In Diversity," as part of the annual Fall For Boise series, my skeptic / artsy-loony alarm bells went off a little bit. I mean, yeah, it sounded like a neat thing... but come on. Opera? Fire dancers? Spoken word poetry? Hip-hop and rappers? Industrial improv? ALL in one production? He asked me if I was willing to commit to the project, and it reminded me of a scene from that movie everybody seems to love to hate, Independence Day -- "You really think you can fly that thing?" "You really think you can do all that bull***t you just said?"
But I decided to jump in, so I got the charts and the backing tracks to rehearse with. There wasn't a whole lot of concrete material there-- at that time, much of the program was still being crafted, and many pieces of the puzzle undecided. Jared and I had a preliminary rehearsal, in a space in the lower 8th St. district that had been set aside for the Artist in Residence program (see Tara Morgan's excellent article about the project here) and that Jared had set up roughly in the configuration of the stage plot for the show. We went through a few of the songs, playing along with the recordings Jared had made primarily as cue and click tracks... and I'd started to turn the corner at that point, at least on the musical content, away from my previous trepidation. But I still had no idea of how all this other stuff was gonna work.
And then we finally had a combined rehearsal. Jason Flores, the bass player and arranger for much of the musical content, was there, which helped me fill in the gaps sonically. But the real revelation was seeing all the other aspects of the show finding their place. Fire dancers. The spoken word artist. Rappers. The Red Light Revue crew (with whom I've collaborated on other projects -- top-notch, fun, dedicated performers). In our most recent rehearsal, two more amazing dancers showed up for different aspects of the show-- my long-time friend Rachel doing an African dance; and a ballerina, whose part in one segment of the show involves two other dancers from completely different disciplines and styles, and yet the impact of seeing all three at once was absolutely mesmerizing.
The show is this Saturday at the Boise Centre on the Grove, and runs from 5-7:30pm. We perform this amazing collaboration of music, drama, dance, poetry and visual arts at 6pm. Celebrate the Fall season, and Boise's unique artistic diversity, with us this Saturday!