Art Beat: New book focuses on child abuse in rural Alaska

October 20, 2012 

A new book about sexual abuse, aimed at children and families, debuted this month. "Talk About Touch," by Sandy Kleven with illustrations by Patrick Minock, is set in a rural Alaska village in which young people and their elders "talk about a difficult subject with compassion and forthrightness."

The book has been on Amazon since Oct. 8. A launch event will take place during the statewide Child Maltreatment Conference at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the Hilton Hotel.

Kleven, an Anchorage-based writer, poet, filmmaker and clinical social worker, is the author of "The Right Touch," a best-selling book on abuse prevention. Minock, of Pilot Station, is the son of the late artist Milo Minock and a noted artist in his own right.

McDermott painting floats high

Anchorage artist Mark McDermott's watercolor "Floukas in Essaouira" has been getting a lot of attention. It won the Signature Member Award in the 44th Annual Watercolor West Juried Exhibition in Brea, Calif., in October, is a finalist in the Landscape/Interior category of The 29th Annual Art Competition held by The Artist Magazine and has won second place in Watercolor Artist magazine's "Watermedia Showcase. The 21-by-15-inch painting shows fishing boats in Morocco.

McDermott's work can be regularly seen at Stephan Fine Arts in the Hotel Captain Cook. He has had recurring solo shows there in the month of February.

DeRoux show migrates to Jens'

Juneau artist Dan DeRoux is heading to Anchorage, where he'll set up his exhibit, "Dan DeRoux's History of Alaska," at Jens' Restaurant, opening on Nov. 2. DeRoux has been a regular exhibitor at the restaurant, located on Arctic Blvd. near 36th Ave., for 20 years. The "History" show has been featured at the Alaska State Museum for the past five months or so. It includes sculptures, paintings, photographs and prints, including, he says, "Seward's actual Ice Box."

DeRoux's works often include visual/verbal puns and humorous combinations of famed old masterpieces and contemporary quirky Alaskanisms. For instance, a 6-foot replica of a Sydney Laurence painting of Mount McKinley with giant methane bubbles floating out into the room.

"Some of the pieces in the show are of real events and some are totally fictitious," says DeRoux, who plans to advertise the show with a "sort of faux article/ad." I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Beeswax and prizes

Rounding out upcoming art events, work by Dot Tideman will be featured at an event dubbed "Monday Night Live" from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, at The Bradley House, 11321 Old Seward Highway. Tideman will be displaying watercolor, oil, acrylic and encaustic paintings, the last-named done with beeswax. There will be door prizes handed out every hour.

How to get 'Attu Boy'

Following the front page article on "Attu Boy" author Nick Golodoff on Oct. 11, I received a number of queries from people wanting to know how to get hold of the book. Golodoff is among the last Alaska civilians who were taken to Japan as prisoners of war when the Japanese captured the village of Attu in the Aleutian Islands in World War II. The book isn't popping up on Amazon or in local bookstores. It's published by the National Park Service and therefore isn't going through the standard release process of commercial publishing houses. Right now, the best source is the NPS Alaska Regional Office here in Anchorage. Call Greg Dixon, 644-3465 or Rachel Mason, 644-3472.

Eagle feather laws 'clarified'

Another recent story that received a lot of comment was the Oct. 16 article on Tlingit artist Archie Cavanaugh's run-in with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over his use of raven and flicker feathers in pieces he offered for sale. The story cited Sealaska Heritage Institute president Rosita Worl's observations regarding "a recent Justice Department ruling clarifying the use of eagle feathers by Native Americans," but didn't include details about that ruling.

On Oct. 12, the Tribune Washington Bureau reported that Attorney General Eric Holder had "announced a new policy broadening and clarifying the right of Native Americans to possess eagle feathers and other parts of the birds." The laws had "been a source of confusion," the article said and quoted Wilmer Stampede Mesteth of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation as saying federal agents "come to powwows and have sting operations and make arrests of Native Americans."

Chris Tollefson, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the new policy "(more) clearly enunciates the right of Native Americans to use and possess feathers and other body parts." Tribal members will not be prosecuted for picking up naturally molted feathers or sharing feathers with members of other federally recognized tribes -- provided that no payment is involved and the feathers stay in the U.S., the Bureau reported. For travel outside the country, tribal members will have to apply for a permit.

The report also said "members of tribes can apply for permits to take and kill eagles for religious purposes."

Ever eat at Thompson's?

Cool Culinaria, an outfit that "rescues vintage menus" and turns them into art prints, is asking Alaskans for memories, and maybe photos, of Thompson's Restaurant, which operated at 532 I St. in the 1950s. The campy menu cover, circa 1950, shows swanky couples entering the one-story eatery with northern lights overhead. Patrons could have had a hamburger with fries for 50 cents, a french dip for 75 cents, pie for a quarter and -- on the high end of the menu -- a crab salad with coffee for $1.75. A Ward Wells photo from 1956 shows the board of the Anchorage Community Chorus meeting there. Identifiable parties include Mary Hale, Jim Parsons and, I think, Dr. Robert Wilkins. Barbara McMahon at says, "We'd happily send a menu cover to anyone who has memories of this establishment."

Call 907-572-8991 or email if your recollections of Anchorage go back further than mine.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.

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