Minnesota Twins slugger and Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew founded the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament to raise funds for research into the disease that killed his teammate. The event returns to Sun Valley Resort this month for the 37th consecutive year.
Statistically, discovering someone you love has cancer is an experience almost everyone will go through. I was starting week two of a new job as arts editor of the Idaho Mountain Express when I got the news. My father, who was more than 5,000 miles away in my home country of England, had acute myeloid leukemia. For Harmon Killebrew, one of the most prolific power hitters in major league baseball history, discovering that his Minnesota Twins teammate had leukemia ignited a philanthropic urge in the man who hit 573 home-runs in his career.
During that career, baseball journalists lamented Killebrew’s understated personality. “Killebrew is so quiet that sportswriters have given up trying to jazz up his image,” said Time magazine in 1964. “He didn’t go out, he didn’t go ballistic, he didn’t go anything but bald,” wrote Steve Rushin in thisSports Illustrated article following the Hall of Famer’s death in 2011. But this baseball-star-turned-Boise-insurance-salesman had a more permanent legacy ahead of him: funding research into a cure for cancer.
While my father won his battle with the disease, Danny Thompson lost his, passing away in 1976 at the age of 29. The tragedy of such a young life and great talent being cut so short inspired Killebrew and his friend Idaho congressman Ralph Harding to start an annual event to raise money for research into the disease. Debuting in the summer of 1977 as a celebrity clambake, the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament has generated over $12 million for the battle against leukemia.
A Payette boy, Killebrew chose to host the event at Sun Valley Resort, on whose magnificent courses the four-person two-best ball tournament has been played ever since. Drawing stars from the world of baseball and Hollywood, such as Joe Washington, Jack Morris, Don Felder and Kevin Sorbo, the tournament’s high profile has helped generate substantial donations to the University of Minnesota Cancer Research Center in Minneapolis and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise. “Due to the participation and support of nationally known celebrities and sponsors, the tournament has not only raised in excess of $11 million that has gone directly to leukemia and cancer research, but over the years these funds have been used in various matching grant programs leveraged to the million dollar level annually,” Tournament Director Georgie Fenton said in an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express in 2011.
Killebrew lost his own battle with cancer in 2011, and last year the tournament was renamed in its founder’s honor. The first Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament raised $700,000, bringing the grand total collected over 36 years to $12.5 million. Not bad for a round of golf in an idyllic setting.
Huey Lewis and the News return to Sun Valley to entertain at the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament on Wednesday, August 21.
This year’s tournament runs from Wednesday, August 21 through Saturday, August 24. Registration for the 2013 tournament is now closed, but tickets are still available for the benefit concert on August 21 at 8 p.m. featuring Huey Lewis and The News. Purchase tickets from $54 to $255 here, or opt for a $159 hotel package of one night’s lodging and two show tickets by calling 800-786-8259 or clicking here.
This event benefits The Senior Connection’s Meals on Wheeles program. Lots of prizes, raffles, food, music and much more.
The race is Saturday, September 21st. Registration at 10am, race starts at 11am.
Call Barbara at 208-788-3468 for more information.
Featuring William Shakepeare’s TEMPEST, directed by Freddie Ramsby.
Comedy, tragedy, foolishness, passion, love and laughter go hand in hand with picnics and families atnexStage‘s dazzling outdoor festival in the historic Forest Service Park in downtown Ketchum.
Synopsis: Prospero has been stranded on an island due to the machinations of the political elite. With the aid of his magic books, as well as the oppression of the islandʼs natives, Prospero conjures a great storm in order to bring his enemies to the island whereby he can enact his revenge. Yet as with every great Shakespearean Romance, an act of revenge is triumphed by reconciliation and forgiveness.
Idaho's Famous Potatoes took Figure Skating Showcase Nationals by storm
The headline could read: Famous Idaho Skating Potatoes Mash Competition at Nationals. Or perhaps: Skating Idaho Potatoes Too Hot to Handle. But no matter how you say it, ten figure skaters from the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club took the highest honor given in the Production Ensembles category at National Showcase – a contest in theatrical skating. Sun Valley’s young competitors, ranging in age from 10 to 16, beat eight other clubs that had qualified to travel to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from all over the country for the event that lasted from August 1 to August 3.
When the skaters first took to the ice, the large audience was, well, baffled. The girls, wrapped in huge “aluminum foil” suits found their mark, and to the music from 2001, A Space Odyssey, emerged from the silver ovals into full Idaho Famous Potatoes glory. What followed was six minutes of synchronized jumps, hip hop dance moves and high energy skating set to songs including My Own Private Idaho, Couch Potato, Hot Potato; even Madonna’s Like a Prayer (not potato-themed, but very funny). Wearing potato ‘sacks’ replete with eyes and roots (sewn with love by skating mom Lucy Bourret), the skater taters soon had the audience on its feet, cheering and howling with laughter.
Sun Valley Figure Skating Club members Alexandra Harten, Joyce Chan and Blake Letourneau are national champions
“For better or worse, Idaho is associated with our potatoes,” laughed choreographer Gia Guddat who created the award-winning program with input from Sun Valley’s very own favorite show skater Craig Heath. “We decided to embrace the potato theme in a funny, kind of twisted way. The girls loved it. I loved it. The audience loved and obviously the judges loved it!”
In a competition where show tunes reigned and many programs were beautifully executed but tended toward the traditional, Idaho’s Famous Potatoes mash-up couldn’t have been more unexpected.
World-famous skater “Mr. Debonair” Richard Dwyer, who starred in thousands of shows including Ice Follies and Ice Capades during his long and storied career and who started National Showcase, said the judges were shaking with laughter during the number. He came into the stands wanting to know who choreographed the piece. When he was told Gia Guddat, his response was a simple, “of course!” Later, he told Gia he wanted to visit Sun Valley to see what was inspiring that level of creativity on the ice.
Joyce Chan practices her award winning performance to Skyfall
The winning group was comprised of: Antonia Avery, Isabella Bourret, Joyce Chan, Sage Curtis, Alexandra Harten, Blake Letourneau, Lane Letourneau, Katie Peters, Alex Stuessi and Emma Stuessi. Coaches Holly Wheeler and Guddat traveled with the group providing not only coaching, but all costuming, hair, makeup and moral support. Many parents also traveled to Cape Cod to cheer on the girls.
The rest of the weekend offered individual and duet competitions at which Sun Valley skaters shone. Blake Letourneau, 12, dominated at the Pre-Juvenile level, becoming the Light Entertainment National Champion with a routine that featured a mannequin male partner with whom she wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye. At the Intermediate Level, 16-year-old Joyce Chan won the national title in Dramatic Entertainment with her stunning interpretation of Adele’s Skyfall. Alexandra Harten, also 16, won the Novice Light Entertainment division with a self-narrated comical piece about choosing music to skate to.
Alexandra Harten and Joyce Chan made the podium -- placing them ahead of more than 100 skaters and declaring them the best of the best
All three skaters were then invited to be judged one final time against the other winners. Blake moved to the Junior Parade of Champions and Joyce and Alex the Senior Parade of Champions according to their levels. Here, Blake ranked fifth overall in the competition against 236 other skaters. In the Senior Parade, both Alexandra and Joyce made the podium with Alexandra taking fourth and Joyce taking second, placing them in the top four skaters from 125 competitors at Nationals – the best of the best. All three girls are coached by Wheeler and Guddat and attend the Community School in Sun Valley. Guddat choreographed all of the winning individual programs.
The other athletes from Sun Valley also skated strong among tough competition. Skaters who advanced to the finals were: Lane Letourneau (Light Entertainment and Duet), Katie Peters (Light Entertainment), Emma Stuessi (Duet) and Alex Stuessi Duet). Alex Stuessi also won the bronze overall in Pre-Juvenile Dramatic Entertainment.
“The girls represented Sun Valley, our club and Idaho beautifully,” said Wheeler. “We couldn’t be more proud of all of them.”
Cody and Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly, Idaho’s homegrown country music stars, play with their musical father and brothers on The Tonight show in 1993. The boys started their careers playing with the family band. Reckless Kelly come home to Sun Valley for one night only at the Sun Valley Pavilion, Friday, September 6. (Rewind the video to watch the whole interview). Video not displaying? Click here.
Cody Braun’s lonely harmonica introduces the strains of the final track on Reckless Kelly’s newest album, Long Night Moon. “There’s a river tumbling down the mountainside,” sings Willy Braun, the band’s lead singer/songwriter. “I can feel the north wind blow, through the trees and over to the other side, carrying me down to the valley below, when I’m on the road, bound for home, back to what I know, back to Idaho.”
Described by Willy as an “accidental traveling album,” Long Night Moon leads the listener through the band’s 17-year journey as a successful country rock band. That journey started in the mountains of Idaho under the “snow-capped peaks where I was born,” and, if the lyrics of the new album are anything to go by, is one that will end in the mountains they call home.
“About halfway through writing this record, I noticed that almost all of the songs I was writing, whether they were songs about the road, life, or love, had something to do with traveling,” said Willy. “It started as an accident and I decided to just go with it. Before we knew it, there was a definite theme.”
Despite living full-time in Austin, Texas, Willy wrote a large part of the album on his property in Mackay, just north of Sun Valley. Consequently Idaho permeates the lyrics, sometimes to the detriment of their adopted city. “Sleepless nights where the stars above are drowned out by the city lights,” Willy sings in the album’s title track (catch a preview here.). “And I wonder why I keep torturing my soul beneath this urban sky. But in my mind I’ll be home soon, surrounded by the winter, beneath the long night moon.”
Reckless Kelly’s music has always stood out for its honesty and real connection to the lives of its artists. Willy writes what he knows, he writes from his experiences. These are not songs by committee, intricately designed to please an increasingly fickle mass-audience, this is Red Dirt country, distinctly different from the polished, commercialized sounds coming out of Nashville today. While this may explain why the band hasn’t hit it truly big – yet; it also explains why Reckless Kelly fans are so passionate about the music – it’s authentic.
Reckless Kelly play in Sun Valley next month. Cody Braun, far left, and brother Willy Braun, front, were born in the Moritz hospital, a few feet away from the Sun Valley Pavilion where they'll be performing.
In anticipation of Reckless Kelly’s gig at the Sun Valley Pavilion on September 6, I got a chance to chat with big brother and vocals/fiddle/mandolin/harmonica man, Cody Braun, about the new record, set for release September 3. The band’s 10th studio album, Long Night Moon was recorded at Cedar Creek Studios in Austin. An old farmhouse situated on 10 acres smack in the middle of South Austin, Cedar Creek provided the perfect setting for these country-boys turned city-dwellers to reflect on life, love, the open road and Facebook.
So there’s a song called Idaho on the album, there’s no hidden meaning in that one. It sounds like you are little homesick. Is there anything to that or does it just make for good lyrics? “No, I think definitely we miss it – we talk about it all the time. Even though we’ve been in Texas for 17 years now we’ve always called Idaho home. We visit a lot. All of my brothers have places up there now, I’m the last one to break, but I figure if they all have places why do I need one?”
As a whole, the album has a more mellow country feel than some of your previous efforts, the traveling theme Willy talks about particularly lends to that atmosphere. “This record really is a concept record, in that sense it’s about leaving home and getting out there a bit and then getting back home. It’s about the journey and everything in between. We spend so much time on the road – that’s our life – so that tends to take center stage in a lot of our music. It’s Willy writing about what he know and what’s going on in our lives at the time.”
Willy and Cody Braun, were both born in Sun Valley, along with their younger brothers Gary and Mickey, who have achieved considerable success with their own alt-county band Mickey and the Motorcars. The family grew up between Challis and Stanley in Custer County, spending much of their youth playing gigs with dad Muzzie Braun of Braun Brothers Fame, out at Sun Valley’s Trail Creek Cabin.
As soon as they were old enough, the two eldest brothers, Cody and Willy, took off to Oregon to start a band. After nine months in Bend they shifted paths, arriving in Austin in 1996 as a trio named Reckless Kelly. “We stole the name from Ned Kelly, an Australian bank robber,” Cody said. “‘They called him Reckless Kelly.’ We were in Oregon trying to figure out a name for the band and we were going to use that one for a couple shows and then find a really cool one. But it stuck.” Now known as an Oregon band they took the burgeoning Austin music scene by storm and today are considered a ‘true local success story’ in the city. But indisputably it’s Sun Valley that lays claim to the boys, after all they were born a few hundred feet away from where they will play next month, in the old Moritz Hospital, now staff housing for Sun Valley Resort.
Are you excited to be playing in the Sun Valley Pavilion? “It’ll be the first time I’ve been to the Pavilion. I’ve seen it from the road, the first time I saw it I thought ‘Wow, what a neat venue.’ We’re really excited, it’s always fun to come home and play anywhere, but to get to play such a beautiful venue is going to be really fun. We’ve got a cool show worked up for this summer, with nine records to choose from we’ve got a ton of material.”
No question it will be a great show, Reckless Kelly’s reputation as the Real McCoy when it comes to performing on stage is well-earned and with this gig coming just 3 days after the release of the new album, the boys will be excited to show off the new tunes to a real hometown audience. “We’re really exited about the new album, it was a really fun record to make, a lot of fun songs on it. It’s a little bit more mellow than some of the other records we’ve done in the past, but it’s got a lot of really cool vibes. I get to play some different stuff on it, including a tenor guitar – that was a lot of fun.”
Reckless Kelly has always been known for the honesty of its music, you clearly pour a lot of meaning and connection to your lives into your work. But with 2008′s Bulletproof, in particular American Blood, you dived head-first into the whole political/country music mele. It was a bit of a shock to some of your fans. How’d that go down? “Yeah – we got a little bit of backlash from American Blood. But we got a lot more positive than negative. Pennsylvania Avenue [a get-the-vote-out single released in September 2012] was a real-middle of the road kind of thing, it wasn’t one side or the other. But we’ve never really been afraid to go out there and talk about it. I’m personally not super political, none of the guys are, but Willy gets to a point sometimes when he’s sick and tried of writing about love gone wrong and wants to write about what’s happening around us. With the war overseas going on for 15 or so years now it’s hard not to be influenced by that.”
Reckless Kelly’s 2012 Pennsylvania Avenue Music Video. (Video not displaying? Click here.)
2011 saw Reckless Kelly’s first Grammy nomination, for Album Art. That must’ve been really exciting for you guys. “Yeah, that was awesome, and this record also has some really exciting art work. We got a bunch of surprises in store. A lot of stuff that ties the songs together with the art work. It’ll be fun to see people’s reactions to that.”
Can you give us some insight into what’s in store? “Well, certain parts of the record artwork will be glow in the dark, you’ll get a little LED black light that comes with the packaging so you can see all of the different stuff that’s hidden in glow-in-the-dark ink. There are also some hidden messages throughout the packaging. We’ll be giving fans clues as to how to find those on our website.”
Does this inventiveness with the CD packaging come from an impetus to get people to buy the physical media rather than download the music? Reckless Kelly has been through the heart of the digital music revolution, is this part of how you’re navigating that monumental shift? “Yeah, we’ve definitely embraced the digital thing, we’ve noticed that the digital sales have been up considerably. Every time we put out a record they go up 20 to 30%. Last year it was closer to 50%, so it’s definitely the new way people are getting music; you have to embrace it. But at the same time we’ve always really enjoyed making records that are a whole piece of art, art work included. It’s fun putting a whole record together and having it be interactive. We’re definitely kinda going crazy with this one, it’s going be really cool and I think people are going to like it.”
Another giant shift during your tenure in the ‘biz’ has been the advent of social media. As a brand, Reckless Kelly seems to have fully embraced social media, but as a songwriter it sounds like maybe Willy is not so keen. One track on Long Night Mooon is called Be My Friend (In Real Life), and takes a direct hit at the current Facebook and smartphone obsession. Do you all have iPhones? Is Willy always telling you to put them down? “We don’t leave home without them, we’re just as stuck as everybody else! That’s definitely my favorite song on the record, I think it’s a fun message, more of a reminder to people to just put it down. If you’re having dinner with your friends just have a conversation instead of checking whatever it is every 5 minutes. Again, it’s just what’s going on around us right now, it’s a fun tongue-in-cheek little song.”
Are you personally on social media? Do you do the whole Twitter and Facebook thing? “I do Facebook and Instagram, those are my two main deals. I have a Twitter account but I can never remember the password, and then when I do get on it’s like, I just had a cheeseburger, big deal. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to follow me through my daily routine.”
You’d be surprised… It’s amazing what people will gobble up. But social media has had a positive impact for the band? “Absolutely. It’s been wonderful. It’s a full-time job just updating and keeping up with everything. But we started our own label a couple years ago and as far as promoting the band you can do so much on your own now. You can get the word out that you have a new album or tour without spending any money. That was impossible years ago, we used to collect addresses from people and mail postcards. It’s a bummer that Facebook changed the way they’re doing stuff though, now they charge to reach all your fans so it’s not as effective as it used to be for us. We’ve got 160,000 followers, so for us to pay for an entire blast would be $10,000 or something stupid, it’s really crazy.”
The 2011 album Good Luck & True Love was the first release on your new label, No Big Deal Records, and you’re now self-managed. What was the impetus for such a big change? “This last record is our 10th and we just got to a point where we were at the end of a record deal. Instead of re-signing we sat down and talked about starting our own label; what it would entail, how much extra work it would be – it’s been quite a lot. The last record was a real learning curve, this one was easier on a lot of different fronts. It’s great, we’ve loved every second of it. We’ve learned a lot and we have total control, we don’t have to run anything by anybody or talk anybody into what we want to do. If you were to try and talk a label into the packaging we want to do on this record it would have been like pulling teeth. On the cover it says Reckless Kelly, but it doesn’t have the title of the record until you shine the light on it. No way would a record company have let us do that. And then when you have management that’s three other people you have to email and include and get their opinion. At the end of the day we’re going to do what we want to do anyway.”
It sounds like the move was less about reinvention and more about sticking to your roots. But there’s been a huge shift in the country genre since you first broke onto the scene, and mainstream country music is enjoying an unprecedented heyday. Where do you see Reckless Kelly fitting into today’s music scene? “I think we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, keep trying to build our fan base, doing the shows, touring the country, making records that we’re happy with, that we’re proud of and that hopefully people like. I don’t really see us trying to fit in with the Jason Aldeans and the Taylor Swifts at this point, we’re still quite a ways off from what they’re doing. We’ve done quite a few shows with country artists and the crowd just kind of looks at us and says ‘What’s going on? This ‘aint country music?!’ The country fans tend to not get it most of the time. But there are a lot of people out there that really like this music and the Americana genre. Another great thing about social media is that people looking for our style of music can find it a lot easier; find it, check it out and download it.”
Clearly, Reckless Kelly are more than comfortable in their own skin, happy being real artists rather than commercially manufactured superstars. But in today’s music industry where the fans quickly ferret out any whiff of inauthenticity and have a real voice in the conversation, it’s no stretch to predict that maybe, just maybe, there’s superstardom in their future. “We just carry on and enjoy what we’re doing, we’re really luck to get to play exactly what we want to play and set our own schedule. There’s not a lot of people that get to do what they love to do and do it totally on their own terms. If we can just keep building up a fan base and making a living doing what we’re doing then we’re going to be pretty happy.”
Details: Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion on Friday, September 6. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. The band will be supported by The Trishas. Buy tickets here, priced $35 to $55.
Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert
Sun Valley’s long established Austrian heritage is nowhere more apparent than the newly reinvented Konditorei Café in the Sun Valley Village. Step inside, take in the endless expanse of the pastry case and step across the Atlantic to a culture where afternoon tea and cake are a daily ritual. As someone whose early childhood was spent in Germany and who delighted in sidewalk cafes filled with handmade delicious treats, the sight of Black Forest Cake, Linzer Cookies and all the new confections imagined by the Konditorei’s Head Pasty Chef Chris McCarthy, bring back a flood of fond memories.
Chef McCarthy understands the appeal of what he does, not only on a gastronomic level, but on a visual and emotional one as well. This Wood River Valley native attended culinary school in Arizona where he learned both to cook and bake. There, he found his true calling was in flour and sugar, pastry cream and buttercream. Before making his circuitous route back to his hometown and to the Konditorei upon its grand reopening last December, Chef McCarthy prepared pastries in prestigious kitchens from Sea Island, Georgia, to a Ritz Carlton in Florida.
Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations
As part of the Valley SunRecipe from the Resort series, the chef shares with our readers the steps to create his fresh, flavorful Key Lime Pie with Creme Anglaise. Now, if you’re like me and intimidated by pastry prep, don’t worry. Chef McCarthy promises this recipe is easily replicable at home.
Konditorei Key Lime Pie
Ingredients for the crust:
#2 graham crackers – buy crumbs in a bag or crush in a food processor until they are the consistency of granulated sugar
19.2 ounces melted butter
9.6 ounces sugar
3.2 ounce all purpose flour
Combine until uniform in texture and form crust in small pie tins
Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise
2 quarts cream
1 pound sugar divided into two half pounds
1 vanilla bean — cut in half and scrape out the beans (this gives it the little dots in the sauce)
1 egg yolk
Method for the Crème Anglaise
Combine cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil
Whisk together yolk and second half of the sugar
Temper in yolks with sugar (translation for people like me who don’t know how to do this: pour a ladle of hot cream into the yolk sugar mixture. This tempers the yolks so when you add them to the cream they don’t instantly curdle)
Combine all ingredients in cream pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon in a thin, even layer
Strain over an ice bath through a fine mesh china cap to remove any lumps that my have occurred during the cooking process and to prevent the egg from scrambling
Ingredients for Key Lime Pie Filling:
2 lb. 3 ounces sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces key lime juice
8 ounces egg yolks
Zest from 2 limes
Combine all ingredients together and mix until homogenous
Spoon key lime filling into graham cracker crust
Bake for about five minuites until outside is set then chill until ready to serve
Top with a dollop of Crème Anglaise
This makes about 12 – 15 small tarts
This dessert will certainly be met with a lot of ooh’s and ah’s at your next dinner party, but if you prefer to simply relax on the Konditorei patio and sip a cappuccino, Chef McCarthy and his six pastry wizards will present you with Key Lime Pie or any of the other daily offerings without all that clean up. My family’s favorite? The cream puff swans. Not only are they delectable, they represent the signature Sun Valley swans that glide gracefully around the picturesque Lodge pond.
The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day
The team in the Konditorei pastry kitchen also create hundreds of custom cakes (call ahead to order) and even spectacular wedding cakes. Chef McCarthy said he truly enjoys making one-of-a-kind cakes for one-of-a-kind occasions.
Be sure to visit the Konditorei for a taste of the old country (they serve breakfast and lunch, as well) with a modern, healthy, farm fresh twist. Maybe cake and coffee will become an afternoon tradition in Idaho, too. One can always hope!
One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team