Mike Dunham

Music Autumn Classics continue The second weekend of the Alaska Airlines Autumn Classics chamber music series will feature the Ying Quartet, with music by Ravel, Schumann and Haydn. Since festival director Zuill Bailey is a cellist, the lineup will include rarely heard quintets incorporating two cellos by Schubert (Saturday, Sept. 19) and Beethoven (Sunday, Sept. 20). A new Quartet by Billy Childs, “Awakening,” will open the concert on Friday, Sept. 18. The Ying Quartet will present a free performance at the Anchorage Museum at noon Friday and Bailey will conduct an “informance,” also free, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The times for the concerts, which take place at UAA’s Fine Arts Building recital hall, are 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at centertix.net ...Mike Dunham
The Alaska Airlines Autumn Classics chamber music series opened on Friday with an impressive program of weighty masterworks. While the return of the series each September is always a welcome sign for music lovers, signaling the start of Anchorage's traditional concert season, this performance was not as impassioned or inspired as I recall hearing in previous years. Awadagin Pratt started things off with Ferrucio Busoni's recasting of Bach's Chaconne in D Minor for solo piano. It began well enough with the different voices distinctly separated and independently polished in the early variations. Pratt brought a high degree of nobility to the more meditative passages and an overall sense of struggle to the piece. The loud parts, however, seemed mushy, lacking nuance. Busoni -- who tended to...Mike Dunham
New York rapper Action Bronson will perform in Anchorage on Oct. 23 in a show presented by the UAA Concert Board in Egan Center. Bronson, born Ariyan Arslani, worked at his family’s restaurant, studied in the culinary program of the Art Institute of New York and became a respected gourmet chef with an online cooking show, “Action in the Kitchen.” Rapping was a hobby until a broken leg limited his mobility while cooking. He released his debut album, “Dr. Lecter,” on an independent label in 2011. He signed with Warner Brothers Records in 2012. He was nominated as “Rookie of the Year” in the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards and for “Blue Chips 2” in the Best Mixtape category in 2014. Described by critics as colorful and charismatic, Bronson is known for a sharp sense of humor in his songs, which...Mike Dunham
The death of longtime Alaska Children’s Choir director Janet Stotts on April 26 left the future of the group in doubt. Stotts had been at the helm of the choir, founded in 1979, since 1984 and operated it as a sole proprietorship. An alumna of the choir, Jessie Eddings, has stepped in and, as of Sept. 2, is the new owner of the ACC, acquiring the physical assets and trademark -- and daunting responsibility of training the next generation of singers. Eddings, nee Wetherell, was born in Anchorage and raised in Palmer. She received her master's degree in music from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and returned to the state three years ago. She lives in the valley with her husband, Ryan, and teaches orchestra in the Matanuska-Susitna School District. “I’ve loved music since I was born,”...Mike Dunham
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Manufacturing of spirits has only recently arrived in the 49th state, at least legally. But one may perceive the outline of an emerging Alaska Vodka Trail. The Alaska Distillers Guild lists five commercial distilleries in operation. They include companies in Anchorage, Ester, Haines, Wasilla and...
Mike Dunham
California has its Napa Valley wine tours. Kentucky and Tennessee have their bourbon and whiskey trails. Scotland has a whole network of high roads and low roads by which trekkers can hike from one distillery to another tippling on one single malt after another. Manufacturing of spirits has only recently arrived in the 49th state, at least legally. But one may perceive the outline of an emerging Alaska Vodka Trail. The Alaska Distillers Guild lists five commercial distilleries in operation. They include companies in Anchorage, Ester, Haines, Wasilla and Sterling. A sixth is under construction in Fairbanks. The newest checkpoint, Anchorage Distillery , opened its tasting bar in early September at the Midtown plant built by the former Bare Distillery, a name that still appears on the label...Mike Dunham
Tattoo Traditional patterns Tattoo artist Maya Sialuk Jacobsen, from Greenland, will make several appearances and hold workshops in Anchorage this week. In one of the events open to the public, she’ll be joined by Alaska artist Holly Mititquq Nordlum in a talk about traditional tattooing, its revival in the Inuit world and its relevance to the current generation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Anchorage Museum . The talk is part of the museum’s Urban Intervention Series of the Polar Lab program. Jacobsen will also give a demonstration from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Above the Rest Tattoo, 916 Ingra St. Art Poems and pictures Described as “a conversation in poems and pictures,” an exhibit titled “Sparks” opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, at the Alaska...Mike Dunham
Letters, essays and other writings by Tlingit leader William L. Paul Sr. collected by the late Cyrus Peck, former grand president of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, have been donated to the Sealaska Heritage Institute by Peck’s sons, Ray and Cy Jr. Paul (1885-1977) was a leader in the movement for Native rights and Alaska self-determination for much of the last century, on the front line of many legal and political battles of the time, said SHI President Rosita Worl. As a lawyer, legislator and publisher, he pushed for Native voting rights, educational opportunities and land claims. He also helped forge a political coalition of Alaska Natives and non-Natives in opposition to Outside business and government powers that he argued were not acting in the best interest of Alaskans. His...Mike Dunham
The 12th annual burning basket event in Homer will get underway on Sunday as construction begins on this year’s basket. Directed by organizer Mavis Muller, volunteers will weave an intricately woven basket from local, natural material and make a walking labyrinth using rocks, driftwood and other stuff from the beach at Mariner Park, at the base of Homer Spit. Construction of “Reach -- Basket of Remembrance and Unburdening” will take place daily from noon-8 p.m. through Sept. 12. The public dedication will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, with participants invited to add their own notes and embellishments to the sculpture. At sundown the basket will be set ablaze. The labyrinth will be washed away by storms at a date yet to be determined. The Sept. 13 event is free, and alcohol and...Mike Dunham
Fifty years ago paleontologists would have told you that no dinosaurs were known to have lived in Alaska. But in the 1980s rocks that had been found two decades earlier were re-examined and identified as being dinosaur fossils. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of California Berkeley sent a team to take a look at the area where the fossils came from, along the Colville River on the North Slope of the Brooks Range, and discovered a trove of bones and tracks. In the seasons that followed more finds were made -- in Southeast, Denali, the Talkeetna Mountains, on the Alaska Peninsula and the lower Yukon. Today the vaults of the University of Alaska Museum of the North contain about 6,000 dinosaur bones and bone fragments. Earth sciences curator Patrick Druckenmiller calls it “...Mike Dunham