Hot Picks: 'The Syringa Tree', Brown Bag Film Series, World Hypnotism Day

'The Syringa Tree'

South African actress Nava Sarracino will play 24 different roles in a play commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first free election in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela was elected president. The play weaves together the destinies of two families, one black and one white, spanning four generations, from early apartheid to the present day. 7 p.m. Thursday, Cyrano's Theater Company, 413 D St. Continues Thursdays-Sundays, Jan. 10-Jan. 26. $18-$20. (274-2599,

Brown Bag Film Series: 'Tyonek Potlatch'

The most elaborate Dena'ina potlatches (qetitl') were memorial feasts for the dead that attracted guests from many other villages. This film presents highlights of a 1989 Tyonek potlatch held in memory of respected elder Shem Pete. 45 minutes; noon, Wednesday, Anchorage Museum, 625 C St. Included with admission: $7-$15. (929-9201,

World Hypnotism Day in Anchorage

Hypnosis is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a trancelike state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject." Some people believe that hypnosis can be used to promote everything from weight management to quitting smoking. Intrigued? Skeptical? Check it out for yourself at an event observing World Hypnotism Day in Anchorage. There will be demonstrations, information and hypnotists from around the city and state. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, BP Energy Center. Free. (227-0989,

SBS Bon Appetit with Alaska Chefs

Brush up on your seafood skills with Alaska chefs Kirsten and Mandy Dixon of Within the Wild Adventure Co. as they make crab cake Benedict. Kirsten has been cooking in Alaska's backcountry for more than 30 years. Her daughter, Mandy, is the company's pastry chef and chef of La Baleine Cafe, which opened last summer in Homer. Ask questions, taste the dish, take home the recipe and enter to win a door prize. Free. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Spenard Builders Supply, 4412 Lois Drive. (563-3141,