Hot picks: Comedy, culture, music and film

Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford has a meek voice and a biting mixture of sarcasm, introspection, and merciless impersonation. She's a Comedy Central fixture, has guest starred on "Louie" and had a recurring role on the latest season of "Arrested Development." Her humor centers frequently on her personal struggles -- including bipolor disorder and suicidal thoughts -- and our culture's insensitivity toward people with mental illness. The New Yorker, commenting on her web series "Ask My Mom," called her "hilarious and surprising, and also existentially frightening." Shows 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door). For more see

Our shoes, our souls

We might not be a state known for frills and furbelows, but Alaskans are passionate about their footwear. (Have doubts? Just spark a conversation with someone from Southeast about XtraTuf's move to China). The Anchorage Museum's new exhibit "Footnotes: Shoes with Stories to Tell" will explore the function and aesthetics of Alaska's unique shoe culture, from ceremonial mukluks to heeled slippers worn by Gold Rush dancing girls. The majority of the items are pulled from the museum's collection of more than 400 examples. Highlights include high-heeled XtraTufs custom-made for Mrs. Alaska and a sneaker snatched from a zoo visitor by Binky the polar bear. Open Friday (runs through Feb. 16) at the Anchorage Museum, 625 C St.

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

has long confounded efforts to categorize his sound -- though some combination of folk, jazz, swing, and country are usually mentioned. What is certain is that he'll bring his signature acerbic humor to the proceedings when he takes the stage at the Discovery Theatre on Saturday (he'll also perform in Palmer at Vagabond Blues on Sunday). Hicks' best known songs are "I Scare Myself" and "Canned Music," though if you run into him after the show you might ask him "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" Tickets are $35 at

48 Hour Film Challenge

If you didn't realize Anchorage has a burgeoning local filmmaking scene, now's as good a time as ever to check it out. The 48 Hour Film Challenge pits amateur movie makers against the clock to come up with films from start to finish while incorporating a few required prompts and getting it all done in one weekend. The results are, predictably, a mixed bag, but with a lively crowd and the Bear Tooth as a venue, it promises to be a fun night out. 10:30 p.m. Oct. 10, tickets are $5.