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Mike Dunham

Perseverance Theatre has mounted a fine stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol,” with a gorgeous set, ambitious sound effects and excellent acting from the principal players.

Let’s start with the set, a three-story representation of early Victorian London that serves nicely for all interior and street locales. It’s a wide-open affair that helps the action clip along without pauses for scene changes. As a result, you get the whole story in just under two hours, with one intermission...

Mike Dunham

Billed as “the largest light sculpture Alaska’s ever seen,” a uniquely Anchorage art installation will blink at -- and with -- visitors to Elderberry Park starting tomorrow. For the next three weeks the project by a collection of artists calling themselves the Light Brigade will line a portion of the path just east of the Alaska Railroad with interactive sculptures, sound and, from time to time, an unannounced performance.

The six large abstract floral sculptures that are the most visible part of “Follow the Light” are made from old Christmas decorations that adorned Anchorage streets during the pipeline boom. Work was still in progress when a reporter and photographer visited the workshop in an abandoned church on Spenard Road earlier this month...

Mike Dunham

The Anchorage Museum recently received $1 million from longtime museum supporter Verna von der Heydt and her late husband, district court Judge James A. von der Heydt. The gift will pay for a new curatorial position responsible for overseeing curatorial practices and content. The first person to hold the title of von der Heydt curator, as the position is to be known, is former director of the city’s 1% for Art program, Angela Demma...

Mike Dunham

A Fairbanks couple has received an unprecedented double honor.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts and Alaska Humanities Forum announced on Tuesday that author Frank Soos, former University of Alaska Fairbanks creative writing teacher, has been named the next Alaska State Writer Laureate.

The same press release announced that sculptor Margo Klass, Soos’ wife, is the individual artist recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Award for the Arts. The arts awards and the Governor’s Awards for the Humanities will be presented in Juneau on Jan. 29.

Available records indicate that this is the first time that a husband and wife will be simultaneously recognized in separate disciplines at the annual awards ceremonies...

Mike Dunham
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There are weeks of Christmas ramp-up yet to endure, a procession of tinsel and greed accompanied by litanies of Dickens knockoffs, saccharine kitsch and just plain stupid schlock that make you want to kick an elf...

Mike Dunham
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Alaska’s newest research vessel combines aspects of an icebreaker, state-of-the-art science laboratory and high-tech college classroom. It has the ability to boldly explore new underwater worlds where none before have gone....

Mike Dunham

Alaska’s newest research vessel combines aspects of an icebreaker, state-of-the-art science laboratory and high-tech college classroom. It has the ability to boldly explore new underwater worlds where none before have gone. And it has a propulsion system that looks like something from “Futurama.”

But though the University of Alaska Fairbanks took delivery of the Sikuliaq on June 6, the 251-foot oceanographic research ship will be outside Alaska waters for several more weeks. “Ironically, our first two missions involve sailing out of Honolulu,” said Daniel Oliver, director of UAF’s Marine Center in Seward, the Sikuliaq’s home port...

Mike Dunham

Alaska-born author Melinda Moustakis will be making a literary tour under the auspices of 49 Writers courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant of $10,000 was announced by the NEA on Dec. 2. The grant to 49 Writers is one of more than 1,000 awards totaling $29.1 million.

The project will include workshops, readings and “a virtual book discussion” of Moustakis’ “Bear Down Bear North” using videoconferencing.

Nine other Alaska artists and art groups shared in an additional $200,000. They include:

• Alaska Arts Southeast (Sitka), $65,000 to support classes at the Sitka Arts Camp

• Alaska Native Heritage Center (Anchorage), $20,000 for public performances of Alaska Native music and dance...

Mike Dunham

Five years ago, the University of Alaska Anchorage Theatre Department presented “Christmas Belles” as its holiday season play. It was a pleasantly surprising rarity, a genuine knee-slap comedy that left room for a genuinely heartfelt message without veering into either sentimentality or virulence. I’ve been waiting for it to come back ever since...

Mike Dunham

I attended an evening of four one-act plays at Anchorage Community Theatre in 2010, at which Kevin T. Bennett gave an intense performance in a skit with the title “Six Dead Bodies Duct-Taped to a Merry-Go-Round.”

“While the acting is good throughout all four pieces,” I wrote, “it’s Bennett who sticks in one’s mind for his animated and briskly timed depiction of a possibly deranged opportunist with a dash of guru thrown in.”

“Six Dead Bodies,” written by Dawson Moore and Lindsay Walker, caught the fancy of more than just a local newspaper critic. It was reprised at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez and included in “The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011.”...

Mike Dunham

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