Arts Scene: Books and horns aplenty

Arts Reporter
Anchorage piano teacher Svetlana Velichko.
Erik Hill
“A Knight Well Spent,” by author Jackie Ivie
Lowell Thomas (right) with tribesmen in Afghanistan
Dick Griffith in the Chugach Mountains in southern Alaska. Author Kaylene Johnson recently completed a biography of Griffith, a longtime Eagle River Nature Center volunteer and member whose adventures are legendary in Alaska backcountry circles.
Courtesy of Kaylene Johnson
Svetlana Velichko, age 7, performing in Moscow in 1944. Photo courtesy Svetlana Velichko.

Books and booze

Alaska Book Week kicks off with a cocktail hour release party for the latest edition of Alaska Quarterly Review at 7 p.m. Friday at Tap Root, 3300 Spenard Road. The new issue includes images by photojournalist Andrea Bruce and a film of Alaska poet Elizabeth Bradfield's "Deliquescence: A Meditation in Seven Parts." Even your illiterate friends will be impressed by the signature cocktails created by the event's co-sponsor, Truuli Peak Vodka. There's a $7 cover charge. Other celebrations will be taking place around the state. See the full list at

Hot Scots, blue sky and ice

More free author events during Book Week include Jackie Ivie talking about her romance and paranormal novels at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mountain View Library. She'll be giving away free copies of her latest highland fling, "Laird of Ballanclaire, " as well as free copies of "A Knight Well Spent," which won or was a finalist in five romance genre contests in 2008.

A book signing and reception for "Flight to Adventure: Alaska and Beyond," a biography of former Lt. Gov. Lowell Thomas Jr. takes place at 5 p.m. Sunday. Thomas' life has included exploring and photographing from the deck of a Navy destroyer, from the air, on the side of wild mountains. Thomas, who co-wrote the book with Lew Freedman, will turn 90 this year.

Another Alaska adventurer, wilderness traveler Dick Griffith, will discuss his epic treks with Kaylene Johnson, his collaborator on the book "Canyons and Ice," at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Marston Theater at Loussac Library. At the very same time in the Loussac's Anne Stevens Room, Eowyn Ivey will talk about her worldwide bestseller "Snow Child."

And at 6:30 p.m., also on Wednesday, "The Raven's Gift" author Don Rearden will speak at the Girdwood Library, a presentation that will also be available via OWL videoconferencing.

Horns aplenty

The series of free public recitals at Anchorage Lutheran Church, 1420 N St., opens with a fanfare -- literally -- at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Chugach Brass Ensemble will present the program in which pianist Dean Epperson will join trumpeter Linn Weeda, horn player Cheryl Pierce and trombonist Christopher Sweeny. As noted, admission is free, but donations are accepted to help cover costs of this and future performances. music

On Oct. 6, 1943, Muscovites put worries about World War II on the back burner for a couple of hours and flocked to the debut recital of the little piano prodigy who had won a citywide competition for her playing. Seventy years later, to the day, Svetlana Velichko will again perform -- this time in Marston Theater at Loussac Library. Velichko, who has spent the last couple of decades concertizing and teaching in Anchorage, will be joined by baritone Anton Belov in a program that includes pieces by Brahms, Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky and features Moussorgsky's formidable cycle "Songs and Dances of Death." The program starts at 3 p.m. Tickets, $25, are available in advance by calling 344-3247.


Compiled by arts reporter
Mike Dunham