Popkey on new play based on Idaho Sen. Craig's airport bust: See it now!

I saw “Off the Record” Wednesday night, Boisean Lynn Allison’s play inspired by the 2007 arrest of former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig.

There are nine performances left at Boise Contemporary Theater. I strongly recommend that anyone who cares about politics and the cultural shifts that influence policy see this drama. Tickets are a bargain, ranging from $15 to $31, with discounts for those under age 30. There are shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week and Wednesday through Saturday next week.

During the run up, including a reading last year and a snippet at a fundraiser/rehearsal last month, Allison and director Dwayne Blackaller promised surprises. They deliver.

Stephen Bradbury portrays Sen. John Michael Goodwin as smooth, tender and grounded. Matthew Cameron Clark’s Joe Mahoney -- the undercover policeman modeled after Sgt. Dave Karsnia -- is a bit of a mess. Both deliver performances so strong that I found myself forgetting the Craig incident.

But having spent five months of my working life immersed in the Craig story, I know I watched with a different perspective than many in the house. The performance left me troubled and uneasy, and not just because we Americans continue to bump along the long path toward erasing bigotry.

I found myself identifying with Officer Mahoney, reviving the discomfort I felt five years ago as I pried into whether Craig deserved to be called a hypocrite for living a secret life and voting another way. I slept poorly and I can’t get the story out of my head.

This isn’t a provincial tale for a small-state Capitol that buzzed over Craig’s time in the spotlight. It is deeply ambiguous and hinged to our continuing struggle with sexual mores. I sure hope some smart producer tries the play Off Broadway or at Arena Stage in Washington.

I’ve said this before and I repeat: Larry Craig was a victim of intolerance. Talented, ambitious, different, he did his best. “Off the Record” captures this singular American story with nuance, kindness and grace.

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After reading this load of crud.....

I can hardly wait to get my ticket for a front row seat (sarcasm). Popkey's columns are often disjointed, if not incomprehensible, but this piece really is stunning. Sounds like Popkey is trying to use "Off the Record" as a means to justify his Larry Craig fetish - just a perception. Jeez Danno, get a life.


"Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand-in-hand." Neil Peart

Larry Craig

I think we are too critical of Mr. Popkey. He should have been awarded a Pulitzer for his undercover work in D.C. area bathrooms looking for evidence of the Senator's indiscretions. Clearly some of Dan's best work. Interesting that he now thinks that "Larry Craig was a victim of intolerance". Too little too late.

"I've said this before and I repeat.....

Larry Craig was a victim...". I don't recall any such theme coming through in Danno's ramblings regarding Craig's bathroom affairs - but I'm probably not sophisticated enough to appreciate Pulitzer quality reporting.

Perhaps you missed this story, which ran in December 2007

It details the intolerance that damaged Craig and two other well-known students who attended the University of Idaho with Craig, NFL first-round draft choice Ray McDonald and Chris Smith, a journalist and political operative.


If you take the time to read, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on what it was like to grow up perceived as gay in the 1960s.

My view that Craig was shaped by that experience also has been voiced at numerous public forums, appearances on TV and radio, as well as dozens of private conversations. If you'd like to talk about this, please call me at 377-6438.


Dan Popkey


I was a student at the U of I when Larry was ASUI President, Chris was a Poli Sci major and Ray came back in spring semester to work on his music degree. We heard the rumors.

After graduation, I followed their careers in the press. Two tragic deaths followed, confirming the rumors. Perhaps Larry survived because he was in denial or very careful. But he tried to hide it and lost it all. He is a victim of his ambition.


It was Craig himself who did himself in, NOT so-called reporting by Popkey who admitted he actually sat in DC gay bar holding a photo of Craig asking bar patrons if they recognize him. If this play impressed Popkey, it's probably worth missing!

"I’ve said this before and

"I’ve said this before and I repeat: Larry Craig was a victim of intolerance. Talented, ambitious, different, he did his best."


If Craig had been truthful,

If Craig had been truthful, the tolerance would have followed. Craig was the subject of jokes from very early in his life. But it was his public denial and demeanor throughout those decades which brought about the disgust and rejection from the public. If he'd told the truth from the get go there wouldn't have been a story or the interest.

Mr Popkey:

Having read your 2007 article, I believe my comments were unfair and uninformed. I apologize for the comments above.

Glad you had a chance to read it

One can't see everything, but that's the one story from 2007 that I hope readers remember. I very much appreciate your taking the time -- I know, I know, it's long -- and the apology.

Dan Popkey

Good on you Tet

Respect that I do.

Thanks Tet, for reminding us that a little humility is good, and

goes a long way.

"Can't we raise our eyes and make a start? Can't we find the minds to lead us closer to the heart?" Neil Peart

Edward Murrow is dead.


"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Craig Play ...

But Craig is a hypocrite. Firmly closeted and truly dishonest to himself and to his public.

that's why I get to flag you


"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?