Alaska News

ArtBeat: Alaska Book Week gets a head start

Alaska Book Week will formally start on Saturday and run for a week. But some literary happenings are dovetailing with First Friday art events starting Oct. 3.

Novelist and Alaska Dispatch News contributor Seth Kantner will sign copies of his new children's book, "Pup and Pokey," illustrated by Beth Hill, 6-8 p.m. at blue.hollomon gallery, Arctic and 36th. The book, from UA Press, concerns a dog and a porcupine. What could go wrong? Artist Hill is a longtime resident of Western Alaska who lives in Kokohanok. Following the signing, they'll head to Anchorage Community Works, 349 E. Ship Creek Ave., for what promises to be one of the peppier book release parties of the year, starting at 9 p.m. Author and UAA writing teacher Don Rearden ("The Raven's Gift") will emcee the evening, which will include music by Paul Basile of Great Elk and Kevin Morgan from Bethel.

Also on Friday, Barbara Lavallee will sign her new book, "The Best of Barbara," and her 2015 calendars at Cabin Fever, 650 W. Fourth Ave.

The Anchorage Senior Activity Center (where a "Fabric and Starving Artists" craft and art supplies flea market is underway) will hold its annual Fall Book Sale, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday at 1300 E. 19th Ave. First edition and collectibles are featured along with a large selection of Alaskana.

Dave Atcheson, author of "Dead Reckoning: Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on Its High Seas," will sign copies of his book from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 200 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

Barnes & Noble is also the site for several other author events, including: Seth Kantner and Deb Vanasse ("Cold Spell"), 1-3 p.m. Sunday; Martha Amore ("Weathered In"), 2-4 p.m. Tuesday; Glen Klinkhart ("Finding Bethany"), 6-8 p.m. Wednesday; and Dave Costello,("Flying Off Everest: A Journey from the Summit to the Sea"), 6-9 p.m. Thursday.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, the Anchorage Museum will present a panel discussion titled "Would the Real Alaska Please Stand Up?" Vanasse, Kantner, poet Joan Kane, illustrator Beth Hill and state writer laureate Peggy Shumaker will discuss the myths and realities of Alaska in popular culture.


The UAA Campus Bookstore will feature a complete set of the Alaska Quarterly Review, from 1982 to the present, on display from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday. At 5 p.m. on that day, the bookstore will be the venue for a presentation by UAA English teacher Jervette Ward, talking about the topic of her upcoming book, "Scandalous Stars: Black Women in Reality TV."

The launch of the new edition of the Alaska Quarterly Review will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wilda Marston Theatre in Loussac Library. There will be a dramatic reading of a story from the new edition and a panel discussion regarding "The Power of Creativity to Transform a Life."

More author signings will continue at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, with Carey Cossaboom ("Meeting with the Well Known") at Carrs, 1501 Huffman Road, and Bill Quirk ("Bush Pilot Way"), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Fred Meyer, 1000 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

The highlight of the week, at least in Anchorage, will be the Great Alaska Book Fair, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the lower level of Loussac Library.

Much will go on in the rest of the state as well. Including:


Author events with Kris Farmen, 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble; Daniel Griffin, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday at Carrs, College Road; Ron Smith, Ray Bonnell, Priscilla Delga and Nicole O'Donnell, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Gulliver's Books; Ray Troll, 8:30-9:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at West Valley High School; and Daniel Griffin, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Fred Meyer on Airport Way.

The Readers on the Run 5-kilometer footrace, poetry contest and fundraiser for John Trigg Ester Library will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Ida Land Clausen Gazebo. Register at

A reception for readers and writers will be hosted by the Fairbanks Arts Association, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, in the Bear Gallery on the third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts in Pioneer Park.


Seth Kantner, Beth Hill and Deb Vanasse will sign books, 3-5 p.m. Saturday at Fireside Books, and be the guests at a dinner at Turkey Red at 6 p.m. Saturday. The dinner, sponsored by Fireside Books, is $20.

Bonnye Matthews ("Kiti's Story, 75,000 BC") will sign books 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday at Fred Meyer.


Bill Quirk will sign books 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Fred Meyer.

Don Rearden and Deb Vanasse will give readings and lead a discussion at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at McLain Commons at Kenai Peninsula College.


Bonnye Matthews will sign books 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at Fred Meyer.


Cil Gregoire ("Crystalline Aura") will sign books 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Fred Meyer.


Seth Kantner, 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Cordova Public Library. He'll also sign books at Orca Book Store in the afternoon and take part in the Cordova Book Club potluck.

Debbie S. Miller ("A King Salmon Lullaby") will be featured at Story Time for Little Ones, Wednesday, Cordova Public Library.


Seth Kantner will sign books 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Homer Bookstore.


Bill Quirk will sign books 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday at Safeway.



Authors Evon Zerbetz, Biz Robbins and LaDonna Rose Gundersen will meet readers and share snacks 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Parnassus Books.


Poet Eugene Solovyov will read from his work, 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, at Old Harbor Books.

Museum gallery gift

Speaking of poet Peggy Shumaker, she and her husband Joe Usibelli have given the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks $1 million to begin renovations on the Gallery of Alaska, the museum's oldest -- and quirkiest -- collection. This wing includes wonders such as Babe the (mummified) Blue Ox from the ice age, a mammoth skull, a giant stuffed brown bear (looking appropriately curious rather than ferocious), gold nuggets, stuffed birds, Native arts and crafts and Russian memorabilia. A popular stop for tourists, it was not included in the major expansion and renovation of the museum 10 years ago.

Kickstarter for injured artist

Artist Robert Barnum was installing his new 1 Percent for Art piece at Fire Station 35 in Chugiak a couple of weeks ago when he fell from a ladder and suffered several broken bones, a fractured skull and a punctured lung. Barnum, now back home in Michigan, is expected to recover from the serious injuries and has insurance. But the artwork doesn't. Anchorage 1 Percent for Art director Angela Demma has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $6,670 to finish the installation. The deadline is Oct. 12.

Demma says, "This is the first time in 35 years an artist was seriously injured while working on a project with us and I hope the last."

From music to kids' gear

On a happier note, Phillip Blanchett, best known as a member of the pop band Pamyua, has a new vocation. He and his wife Lauren are opening Tiny Ptarmigan, a baby and toddler store somewhat along the lines of Junior Towne, which closed three years ago.

Blanchett said the store in the Denali Center, 3210 Denali St., will offer brands from around the world for infants to age 5 along with accessories like strollers, car seats and high chairs. Check out their grand opening event at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Quick film fest

Last weekend, 25 intrepid teams of Alaska filmmakers set off to make a movie in 48 hours. Seventeen successfully completed the task and their work will be screened at the fifth annual Anchorage 48 Hour Film Challenge at 10:15 p.m. Saturday at Bear Tooth Theatrepub. We understand cash awards will be dispensed along with bragging rights.

Mike Dunham

Mike Dunham has been a reporter and editor at the ADN since 1994, mainly writing about culture, arts and Alaska history. He worked in radio for 20 years before switching to print.