Mike Dunham

Tonight's Grammy Awards will find Kirsten Gunlogson, born and raised in Willow, on the edge of her seat.

The mezzo-soprano is in the running for the recording industry's award in the category of Best Classical Album of 2009. She's featured in the CD of Maurice Ravel's opera "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges," recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

The Maurice Sendak-style story follows a naughty child whose abused toys, furniture and animals transform into animated agents of retribution to teach him a lesson in respect...

Mike Dunham

You get a feel for the energy, curiosity and talent of Alaska's young artists by looking over Laura Hedge's work at the Alaska Region of The Scholastic Art Awards show now on display at the MTS Gallery. Unlike solo shows by adult artists, where a unifying theme or technique often binds the work into a discernible unit, the West High student's award winning portfolio of sculptural work rambles over a range of wildly different images. Only the signs let you know that it's all by one artistically omnivorous person...

Mike Dunham

Guest bluegrass band Brother Mule had the crowd popping Friday night. They give one more show at 9:15 p.m. (more or less) tonight for the Anchorage Folk Festival. Here's a look at some of the highlights as Folk Week continues. Everything takes place at Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the UAA Campus and is free unless otherwise noted.

• Monday: High Lonesome Sound and Folkadelic will perform at Cafe Felix on Benson, starting at 7 p.m., one of several locations in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley where participating bands are spreading out over the week...

Mike Dunham

"About Face: The Story of Gwendellin Bradshaw," produced by Affinityfilms, Inc., directed by Alaska filmmaker Mary Katzke, has won an award of excellence from The Accolade Competition. The award was given in the Feature Documentary category.

The Accolade, based in La Jolla, Calif., is an international, non-traditional, virtual venue that has won attention from the industry over the past seven years.

It's noted for picking filmmakers who produce fresh, standout entertainment, animation and documentaries. Information and lists of recent winners can be found at www.theaccolade.net ...

Mike Dunham

"Ciuliamta cauyam" by Alaska singer James Afcan of St. Marys received its world premiere in symphonic form in Atwood Concert Hall on Saturday night -- and the composer didn't know it was happening.

Afcan's Yup'ik dance song ("yuraq") received royal treatment in "Exposition on the Anchorage Museum," which Music Nova commissioned from Gregory Prechel of California and which the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra debuted this weekend.

Prechel's piece falls into four movements, each informed or inspired by art at the museum that was shown on a screen while the music played. The fully lit stage behind the screen made it difficult to see some of the images and the flow of one slide to the next sometimes seemed at odds with the music...

Mike Dunham

Editor's note: California-based Ian Shive has had his photographs published in Time, National Geographic and Outside Magazine, to name just a sliver of the publications where his work has appeared. Over the past few years he has gained a reputation as an "environmental and conservation oriented" photographer, author and film producer.

Ian Shive is co-producer of "Wild Exposure," which has aired since August on the Al Gore television channel, Current TV. He is closely associated with advocacy groups like the Nature Conservancy and the National Parks Conservation Association...

Mike Dunham

The 21st Annual Anchorage Folk Festival kicks off Thursday. Through the end of the month, something like 500 local folks and national guest artists will celebrate traditional music, dance and storytelling for a combined audience that typically numbers about 10,000.

As customary, most concerts unfold at Wendy Williamson Auditorium at the University of Alaska Anchorage, but there are a number of other "acoustic-friendly" venues around the Mat-Su Valley, as well as here in the city, where additional performances will take place...

Mike Dunham

Writers of historical drama since Shakespeare have faced the problem of whether to make their main thrust the history or the drama. The first explains a vanished society in terms that the current society might find relevant; the second explores how individuals past and present respond to and are changed by challenges.

Peter Porco notes that his play, "Wind Blown and Dripping," now showing at Cyrano's, is a fictionalized treatment of celebrated writer Dashiell Hammett's stint at an Army post newspaper in the Aleutians during World War II. But the play succeeds more with the history part of the assignment, tossing up numerous curious details about the war era...

Mike Dunham

You may not know the name Gregory Prechel, but if you catch episodes of "The Simpsons," "Futurama," "The Bold and the Beautiful" and so forth, you've probably heard his music.

Prechel -- pronounced "Preck-el" -- who has a long list of "serious" symphonic compositions to his credit, as well as a career in writing the musical accompaniment for movies and television shows, will have his most recent work premiered by the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night.

It's something of a double showcase for Alaska artists, because it features the talents of local musicians and is inspired by visual art at the Anchorage Museum...

Mike Dunham

In addition to the premiere of Gregory Prechel's "Exposition on the Anchorage Museum, the Anchorage Symphony concert on Jan. 16 will feature a second piece calculated to rouse some extra-musical curiosity -- a concerto for double bass.

Actually, "A Carmen Fantasy for Double Bass and Orchestra" by contemporary composer Frank Proto fits the definition of concertos only in the broader sense of the word, "works in which solo instruments contrast with an ensemble." But in this case the solo instrument in question is a bass violin.

A second point of interest is that the bass player is former Anchorage Youth Symphony member Paul Sharpe, now teaching the instrument at the North Carolina School of the Arts and leading the bass section of the Winston-Salem Symphony...

Mike Dunham

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