Arts Scene: Power hikes, Meditative moods and 'The Nutcraker'

Arts Reporter
Dick Griffith skis across Big Lake to complete the 200 mile Iditaski race in 1992 when he was 65-years-old. Griffith, the oldest competitor in the four discipline Iditasport competition, left the three other skiers behind him.
Jim Lavrakas
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
Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose novel "A Wrinkle in Time" has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s.

The rats are back

Cincinnati Ballet's clever and delicious production of "The Nutcracker" returns to Anchorage with help from a throng of local dancers and accompanied by a live orchestra. Join the Nutcracker Prince as he battles the nasty Mouse King and travels to the land of sweets and flowers. Six shows this weekend in Atwood Concert Hall, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at

Tesseracts do exist

Friday marks the 95th anniversary of the birth of Madeleine L'Engle, author of "A Wrinkle in Time." A staged version of the popular book opens at Cyrano's, 413 D St., on the very same day, a benefit for the Girl Scouts of Alaska. (Badges can be earned by Scouts showing up for the performance in uniform.) The production will take place a 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 22, with tickets available at Also in honor of L'Engle's birthday, Barnes & Noble will hold a birthday bash from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, with actors in costume available for photos. Mention Cyrano's with a purchase at the store that day and the theater company will get a percentage of the sale.

Meditative moods

We're not sure how to describe what we heard at the Kurva Choir's website, Minimalist? Improvisatory? Mellowissimo? The trio of low strings and voices describes itself as intimate chamber music "based on the principle of intense listening and radical intimacy through music ... exploring closeness through sounds and a strong ethic of spontaneous collective creativity." If you're intrigued by what you hear at the website -- or just want to risk expanding your mind -- the trio is touring Alaska, including performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar in Talkeetna; at Turnagain Arts, 4105 E. Turnagain Blvd. at 7 p.m. Wednesday; and at Chair 5 Restaurant in Girdwood on Thursday (time not available at deadline).

Power hikes

Alaska adventurer and wilderness traveler Dick Griffith will discuss his epic treks with Kaylene Johnson, his collaborator on the book "Canyons and Ice: The Wilderness Travels of Dick Griffith" at 5 p.m. Monday at the UAA Campus Bookstore. Griffith has made stupendous journeys around Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the American West for more than 50 years. Free parking is available in the South Lot, West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall) and Sports Lot.

Compiled by arts reporter
Mike Dunham