'Overnighters' celebrates 10th birthday

August 11, 2012 

"Alaska Overnighters," the brainchild of Dawson Moore, made its debut 10 years ago. The idea was to hand a playwright a theme or subject, give him or her 12 hours to write a one-act play, then give the director and actors another 12 hours to work it up and present it on stage before a live audience.

It has turned out to be a hit with audiences, selling out in many cases, providing raw material that, with a little polishing, has gone on to publication, presentations at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival in New York City and other such festivals around the country.

Of course there've been some obviously forgettable submissions in the 174 quickly written plays that have gotten the "Overnighter" treatment in the past decade. But, each time it runs, it usually generates at least one keeper -- which is better odds than you'll get with some fishing charters.

The next edition will happen this upcoming weekend, with 10 new yet-to-be-written plays presented over Saturday and Sunday. You need to catch both nights to see them all. Showtime is 8 p.m. each night and the venue is Alaska Pacific University's Grant Hall. Admission is $12 online or at the door, if any tickets are left (which isn't always the case). For information, call 677-7529.

Note that writers and actors are sometimes raunchy and they can get really raunchy when sleep-deprived. The press release admits, "Due to the potential for adult themes & language, Alaska Overnighters is suggested for mature audiences (high-school & up.")

Big arts job vacancy

Openings like this don't show up very often, but Jocelyn Young, curator of public art for the Municipality of Anchorage, is retiring. The position, which involves managing the Percent for Art program, is being advertised at the muni.org job site.

The description includes what you may expect, that the person who gets the job should have "a broad knowledge of the visual arts, architecture, design and public art." It also talks about problem-solving, budget management and ability to communicate and work with a diverse group of people.

We should add that the right person will also need to be a superb diplomat with a champion poker player's knack for hiding his or her reaction to the cards dealt by artists and bureaucrats. The pay is listed as between $4,998.93 and $6,385.60 a month.

"I really hope we can get some excellent applicants," Young wrote to us. "It's a great job."

The closing date to apply for the job is Aug. 20.

First Friday rambles

The large acrylic paintings by Homer artist Deland Anderson featured at Alaska Pacific University's Conoco Phillips (Grant Hall) Gallery this month might be called pointillist, but the points are really, really big, more like polka dots.

At the First Friday reception on Aug. 3, the artist told me that he makes them by dipping dowel ends in paint and dabbing them onto the surface. The effect is sort of a mega-pixel rendering of famous Alaska landscapes including Mount McKinley, Iliamna and Kachemak Bay. He likens them to the dot art made by Australian Aborigines using their fingertips, but Anderson's pieces are more directly representational.

Glass by James Kaiser and watercolors by Annie Olson are on display at the Leah J. Peterson Gallery in the Carr Gottstein Building next to Grant Hall.

Elsewhere, I found myself enamored with a nice collection of Eskimo dolls at Two Friends on Benson, particularly the ones from Eek. Collectors may want to stop by.

The dead speak once more

"Stories at the Cemetery" will be repeated at 6 p.m. today at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. This time the actors depicting famous folk buried there will come to the crowd rather than have the crowd walk all over the graveyard.

People are invited to bring their own chair for the free event. (Donations are accepted.) Last week Ninth Avenue was closed for construction near the cemetery, so participants should park along Sixth Avenue or Cordova Street and enter by the Cordova gate.

Adventure in hardback

Famed Alaska adventurer Dick Griffith will speak and sign copies of his new biography "Canyons and Ice: The Wilderness Travels of Dick Griffith." The amply illustrated volume was written by Kaylene Johnson of Eagle River, whose co-authorship of the first official Sarah Palin biography was a New York Times best-seller. The free event starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the Anchorage Museum, 625 C St. Use the Seventh Avenue entrance.


Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.

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