The reviews for Certain Women started rolling in at the end of January after it screened at Sundance, and there was one aspect of the movie everyone seemed to love above all else: Lily Gladstone. The Missoula actor shares space in a star-studded cast with Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern and Michelle Williams, but it was Gladstone's nimble performance as a taciturn and lonely ranch hand that stirred viewers most. In October the film had its Missoula debut to a sold-out crowd at the Roxy Theater's Montana Film Festival. Gladstone's accolades have continued to accumulate: She's received best supporting actress awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Boston Society of Film Critics, as well as some Oscar buzz.
MAM, en plein air
In August, after three years of designing and fundraising, the Missoula Art Museum broke ground on an 8,000-square-foot art park that will span Pine Street, from the museum's lawn onto the property of Adventure Cycling. The park, where MAM plans to host outdoor sculptures and rotating exhibits, is slated to be finished in the spring.
Cuba comes to Montana
When the International Choral Festival selected Cuban choir Cantores de Cienfuegos to perform at its annual Missoula event, the excitement was short-lived: The singers didn't have the money to make the trip. Local organizers sprang into action with a fundraising group called Cuban Choir to Montana. At the last minute, they raised and borrowed enough money to fly the group to Missoula, where it performed alongside choirs from China, Costa Rica and across the country.
In August, alt-country star Ryan Adams scolded the audience for not paying attention during his performance at the Wilma. The incident split opinions between Adams' reputation for irritability and a growing concern that drunk locals don't know how to behave at a show—a conversation that blew up, at least locally, on social media.
The Brink Gallery, which opened in 2010, hosted its final show in May of this year with an exhibit by gallery owner Jennifer Leutzinger titled "I Was Here." The show featured shredded memorabilia from the gallery—Leutzinger's works from past shows, old newspaper articles, phone bills and artist statements—plus items from Leutizinger's past such as middle school art works and pop quizzes.
The Dude abides
On March 15, actor and musician Jeff Bridges played to a packed house at the Wilma as part of a fundraiser for Steve Bullock's bid for governor. He and singer-songwriter Chris Pelonis performed songs from Bridges' Oscar-winning Crazy Heart, and they ended the set with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lookin' Out My Back Door." In between songs, Bridges rattled off Bullock's accomplishments—all in "Dude" style—including his work on the Disclose Act and No Kid Hungry Campaign.
This year marked the deaths of global musical icons including Prince and David Bowie, who were celebrated locally at the Roxy Theater with impromptu screenings of Purple Rain and Ziggy Stardust. The Missoula art scene also lost some big names this year. Lela Autio, a pioneering modernist painter and sculptor, died on Jan. 26. She helped found the Missoula Art Museum and was a driving force in the art community along with her husband, sculptor Rudy Autio.
On March 26, writer and part-time Montana resident Jim Harrison died at his home in Patagonia, Arizona, reportedly with his pen in hand. A few months later, Anthony Bourdain's popular travel and food show aired an episode filmed in Livingston that featured Harrison and his lifelong fishing guide, Dan Lahren.
Longtime watercolor painter Mary Beth Percival, who depicted bright Montana landscapes, died on Dec. 7. She collaborated and shared a studio with her husband, painter Monte Dolack.
In May, a large crowd gathered at the Wilma to celebrate soundman Joey Connell, who was well known in the local music scene, and who died by suicide after a battle with depression.
The Montana Museum of Art and Culture won a bid to host William Shakespeare's First Folio, a first-edition collection of his works. The 5-pound, 400-year-old book arrived by courier in late April and was exhibited under glass at the gallery in UM's PARTV Center for the month of May.
New venue on horizon
In early December, Wilma and Top Hat owner Nick Checota announced the formation of a new company, Logjam. The entertainment, promotion and production company will serve as the exclusive buyer and manager for acts at both venues, though Checota says his goals for Logjam are regional. A few weeks later, Checota and Kettlehouse Brewing announced another endeavor: A 4,000-capacity amphitheater along the Blackfoot River in Bonner that will provide an outdoor music venue—and some competition for Big Sky Brewing's summer concert series.