Art Beat: New dance works debut next weekend; party to remember actor

Mike Dunham

Amy Seiwert, named as one of the "top 25 choreographers to watch" by Dance Magazine, who San Francisco dance critic Rita Felciano calls "the Bay Area's most original dance thinker," will debut her latest piece in Anchorage next weekend.

Titled "Monuments" and said to be her reflection of the Alaska environment, it will be presented with a new piece by Gillmer Duran at Alaska Dance Theatre's "Intersections" season closer. The abstract piece uses music by Icelandic cellist Hildur Gudnadottir, who also is a composer.

Duran's work, "Tyranny of the Senses," is inspired by Deepak Chopra's book, "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind" and includes cinematic elements along with new music by Brian McWhorter of Oregon. Five movements address each of the five primary senses.

The "Intersections" program will take place 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Discovery Theatre. Tickets are available at

At the same time, the UAA Dance Ensemble will present its annual New Dances program. Performances will take place at the UAA Fine Arts Building, Room 220, at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays through April 21.

Jerry's ice cream

A party remembering actor Jerry Harper, who died eight years ago, will take place at Cyrano's, the theater he founded, at 5:30 p.m. Monday. We understand his favorite food, ice cream, will be served. The public in general and theater fans in particular are welcome to attend.

Reviews online

Reviews of "Dead Man's Cell Phone" at Cyrano's and "A Gulag Mouse" at Out North are posted online at "Cell Phone" runs through April 21. The final performance of "Gulag," by the newly formed TossPot Productions, will take place at 3 p.m. today.

Back to the cold

I was caught off guard by a press release from the University of Alaska Museum of the North that quoted "museum director Aldona Jonaitis."

Jonaitis, who ran the museum for 18 years, had retired three years ago, last I looked, and was spending her time researching and publishing a fascinating array of books having something to do with totem poles. She was replaced by Carol Diebel, a Californian working at a museum in New Zealand.

Diebel, I found out, left Fairbanks at the end of the year to take the post of senior vice president of public programs at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu -- the one in Hawaii, not the Alaska Railroad whistle-stop. It would have been a tough offer to turn down.

Jonaitis stepped back in as interim director because, as she told fans, "I love this museum."

When I called to speak with her I was told she was in Paris for April. "A preexisting commitment," museum staff said. As if April in Paris isn't enough of a reason.

The news from the press release, by the way, is that the museum has discounted ticket prices for Alaskans. Admission for Alaskans age 15 and older is $8; it's $5 for youngsters between ages 1 and 14. Rates apply to active military stationed in Alaska and their families.

Amore wins story contest

The Nicole Blizzard Short Story Contest, sponsored by Radical Arts for Women, a non-profit, lesbian and feminist funding organization, and the Pride Foundation, goes to Martha Amore of Anchorage.

Amore won $500 for "Geology," described by one judge as "beautiful writing."

The synopsis describes how a married woman and a geologist meet and being an ill-fated romance. The party is described as: "a sprawling Alaska affair with two bonfires, three kegs, and an edgy pack of dogs vying for salmon skin and dominance."

Sorry I missed that one.

"Geology" will be published online at

Nine other writers received honorable mentions.

Chase heads language push

Last year the Doyon Foundation started a language revitalization program to address the rapidly decreasing number of fluent speakers of Alaska's Interior Native languages. The concern is that these languages are not being passed on quickly enough to ensure their survival.

The foundation has now hired Malinda Chase to direct the program, "to develop and implement the goal of revitalizing Interior Native languages, making language-learning opportunities available to all Doyon, Limited shareholders and non-speakers."

Chase serves on the board of the village corporation for Anvik, her father's village. She is also the executive director for the foundation from the Association of Interior Native Educators, a position she holds as a volunteer. She is a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and has a master's degree in cross-cultural studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

For details on the language revitalization program, contact Chase at 907-459-2162 or

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.