KATIE: Ben, welcome back to the office! How was Austin? Wait, don't answer that. I'm already jealous.
I know that while you were gone you probably really, really missed us -- and by us, I mean my charming abuses and constant pestering to finish your favorite writing assignment. But don't worry, we're here now -- here to help. Help you figure out what to do with those two long upcoming days off now that you're back in Alaska.
Allow me to dictate.
This week, Anchorage will see the return of one of its favorite sons, indie-rock frontman Ryan Sollee. Sollee will not, however, be towing the Portland, Ore.-based band, The Builders and the Butchers, as usual, but instead his side project, a quintet called Albatross.
Albatross plays at the Tap Root Thursday, with local singer-songwriter Evan Phillips and The Sweeteners drummer Eric Neet, and Friday with Historian. Both shows start at 9 p.m. and there's a $10 cover at the door. Check out the Albatross track below to get an idea of the goodness you're in for, Ben:
Also this weekend, The Trapper Creek Music and Arts Festival -- not to be confused with the Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival -- in the Mat-Su. The festival will be at Boot's Bison Ranch in Trapper Creek, Friday through Sunday. Headlining the festival is one of my favorite progressive bluegrass bands, the Slaughter Daughters of Wichita, Kan. I saw the Daughters when they were in Anchorage a few weeks back, and let me tell you, they're an experience, a good experience. Tickets to the festival are $60 in advance and $75 at the gate. Directions to Boot's Bison Ranch are available on the event's calendar listing, here
Alright, Ben, that does it for me, for now. Have you seen anything lately you're itching to push on me? The answer is probably "yes," but go on...
BEN: How was Austin? Austin was ... hot and weird, just like the sauna at a Turkish spa. But I'm psyched to be back in the Last Frontier and actually kind of jazzed about that Albatross show. You've piqued my interest.
But will I have time? That's the real question, because there're plenty of other happenings around the state "this weekend" (OMG that's the name of this column!), not the least of which is the Kenai Peninsula Fair, kicking off Friday at the Kenai fairgrounds in Ninilchik. Granted, this is a smaller event than the Alaska State Fair or Tanana Valley State Fair, but there's still plenty going on, including live music, vendors, and even a rodeo. The fair runs through Sunday, so take a run through, if only as a warmup for the state's largest fair in Palmer later this month.
Closer to Anchorage, local dance company Pulse on Saturday is hosting a grand opening for its new digs, a studio located off East Tudor Road. The shindig is expected to be a classy one, with drinks from La Bodega, a raffle and a chance to win some free dance classes, and performances by Starship Amazing, Alex the Lion and the Pulse Dance Company, too. If you've been following Pulse Studio's Instagram, you know they've put a lot of work into the joint, so get in there while it still smells like fresh drywall and paint.
Oh, and Katie? You can sign up for classes too, while you're at it. Though I've seen you walking while simultaneously trying to eat -- maybe work on that first.
So if you're not going to the grand opening, what else are you gonna do?
KATIE: Hey, hey, hey. Ben. I am a seasoned, if not a professional, eat-walker, okay? I'm good at that, perhaps a little too good.
What I could really use classes in -- besides the elegantly controlled body flailing of modern dance -- is how best to effectively shove as much baklava into my face as humanly possibly while growing my already large appreciation for the culture that created the tasty little dessert (drool). Actually, this is a lesson I hope to learn soon at one of my favorite summertime events in Anchorage, the Greek Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday. Festival festivities will go down at the Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church on our city's Southside, and Ben, there will be truck-loads of Greek food and desserts. And I will be there to eat all of it.
Not a fan of Greek food? GET OUT OF MY SIGHT! I mean ... consider an alternative outdoor event like the Dog Daze of Summer Block Party, happening 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Anchorage, or celebrate the Moose's Tooth's 17th Anniversary with a performance by the band Of A Revolution (aka O.A.R). O.A.R plays Saturday at 10 p.m. in the Moose's Tooth parking lot. Tickets are spendy at $40 a pop, but I hear it's gonna be "the best time ever." So yeah, if you're a cultural cuisine hater (or if you just really like O.A.R. and/or beer and pizza), check this show out.
BEN: Well, that all sounds like a lot of fun. But I want to get serious for a minute. Okay, well not too serious.
Former Alaska Gov. Wally Hickel was known for grand ideas and a big personality, and the Institute of the North looks to honor him Sunday with a special birthday toast at the Anchorage Museum, capping off the Week of the Arctic hosted by the Institute that's been running in Alaska's largest city. The event will include a live reading of Gov. Hickel's 1973 article in Reader's Digest dubbed "The Day of the Arctic Has Come," though we still seem to be waiting for the day of the Arctic actually arrive, 40 years later.
Also, on a more serious note, Chena Hot Springs, outside of Fairbanks, will be hosting its Eighth-Annual Renewable Energy Fair, where Interior residents paying way too much for energy can check out some alternatives -- and maybe improve the area's notoriously bad wintertime air quality while they're at it. That event runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Chena Hot Springs Resort.
What do you think, Katie? Did we miss anything?
KATIE: We never ever "miss" anything, Ben. We're just exclusive. There's a difference. That being said, I do have a few last minute things to add.
1) Local string quartet, Super Saturated Sugar Strings, will play at the Tap Root in Anchorage on Saturday. This is a great live band if you dig a little spice-infused gypsy-folk with highly danceable rhythms. And 2) Fairbanks indie-rock band Young Fangs is roaming around the state this August. You can catch them at the Salmon Bake Bar and Restaurant in Denali on Friday and at the 49th Brewing Co. in Healy on Saturday. Give Young Fangs a listen, they're absolutely worth your time: