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Alaska Life

This Weekend: First Fridays, music and so much more

Katie: Oh hey Ben, how you holding up after that turbulent "April Fools' Day?" It was a doozie; Twitter announced the launch of the vowel-less social media service called "Twttr," Google introduced the "Google Nose" and "Google Maps, Treasure Mode." Even the Anchorage Concert Association jumped on the joke band wagon, claiming that Bristol Palin would star in the upcoming production of "Mary Poppins." Yikes.

Speaking of Bristol Palin, Friday, April 5 is First Friday, which means, for Anchorage at least, the art lovers will be out en masse. OK, OK, that didn't have anything to do with Bristol Palin, but come on, it was the only way I was going to get you to listen to me!!

Ben: Katie, give me some credit. I always listen to you. Even when you're rambling on about stupid stuff nobody cares about.

Not that First Friday falls into that category. Indeed, now that it's warming up outside -- not to jinx anything -- the monthly art walk may even see a bump in business. Hopefully, that holds true in Fairbanks as well, where the Interior city also hosts its own First Friday event, along with the Southeast city of Juneau. If you're looking for made-up drama and some pretty decent fart jokes before heading out for the Juneau galleries, stop by the Alaska Capitol Building, where jokes about "passing gas" and sticking tongues out at cameras apparently constitutes acceptable behavior for our state's elected officials.

Once you've gotten your fill of hot air at the capitol (shouldn't take long), one Juneau event worth checking out is the release of adopted Alaska songstress Marian Call's newest album, "Live in Europe." You may recall that Call did some serious online crowdfunding (more than $60,000 worth) to support her European tour, which included stops like CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider is housed. Y'know, the one that helped discover the "God Particle?" There, she covered "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants. It's that kind of tongue-in-cheek, geek chic bravado that Call has built a reputation on.

The album release is being held at the Alaska Robotics gallery, so you can definitely pick up some adorable bear paintings while there. Patrick Race of Alaska Robotics has been particularly active lately (check out the Facebook page for some clever comics and fun illustrations), and I, for one, am glad to see it.

Katie: Ben, first of all, ghost stories aren't stupid. Secondly, science IS awesome, but it's the weekend. It's time to get serious. Which leads me into my next rambling ... Mad Myrna's and STAR (Standing Together Against Rape) are throwing a rather courageous party on Saturday night.

STAR is hosting its second annual Survivor's Ball at Mad Myrna's on Fifth Avenue in Anchorage beginning at 8 p.m. The event is engineered to help raise awareness of (and money for) the very serious, very pervasive issue of sexual assault in Alaska, as well as build support for survivors within the community. Some of Anchorage's finest performers will be out in force to help support the event. There's a $10 cover, but it goes to an excellent cause, so don't be stingy! You can read more about it on the event's Facebook page.

However, if that's too serious for you, Ben, as I suspect it may be, I have a Saturday happening you may find more relaxing. It starts with mini-golf competition for those 21 and older and ends "at the SeaLife Center in Seward." Yes. Yes, I know, calm down. No, Ben, No! Not the argyle!

Oh, fine, whatever. Leave the sweater, but tie it around your neck like Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore. Or get out of my sight.

Ben: Just like ponies, golf is great in both miniature and regular-sized form, and the SeaLife Center is a good cause if only because of the sheer number of adorable animals they regularly house there. By the way, if you had just looked across the room, you would have seen that I was indeed wearing an argyle sweater at the moment you wrote that. Instead, you say these hurtful things without thinking. And I will not wrap it around my shoulders. What am I, some '80s ski-movie villain?

Now I know this one isn't quite the weekend, but it's definitely worth mentioning: the Bear Tooth First Tap this month features folk singer-songwriter Brett Dennen. I always like the variety of acts that the folks at the Bear Tooth/Moose's Tooth bring up, and Dennen is a mellow, acoustic act reminiscent of performers like Amos Lee and Townhall, and Dennen cites Paul Simon as one of his biggest influences. So if you're looking for an only mildly-rambunctious concert, this is likely a good one. It goes down Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub In Anchorage.

Last week, we reminded readers that their deadline to apply for the Permanent Fund Dividend was fast approaching. Well, it's now too late to get in on that, but if you're looking for another way to make a quick buck, Friday is the final day to purchase your tickets for the Nenana Ice Classic, predicting when the ice will go out on the Tanana River in Interior Alaska. Last year, hundreds of thousands of entries drove the jackpot up to $350,000 -- a little bit more than the so-far-mediocre-looking PFD checks that will go out later this year. Tickets are only $2.50, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity, so why not take a shot? The final countdown to the ice breaking up shouldn't be too far behind.

Katie: Gah, I always lose at those things! Yet I keep on trying, determined that one of these days my birthday will bring me good luck*; because it sure hasn't done the trick so far! Hiyo! (Yes, self-deprecation is my comedic crutch.)

Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much is going on this weekend. There's a lot of stuff, Ben -- even a full-blown opera -- so I'm going to do a quick-and-dirty one-liner rundown of all the things to check out. (You, dear reader, should you be interested in learning more about any of these events, just follow the designated link.)

List of events Katie likes (sans smart-mouthed, long-winded rundown) that are happening this weekend and are worth checking out:

  • The Things We Make Symposium at the Anchorage Museum, a prelude to the Alaska Native Studies Conference at UAA (Thursday)
  • Alaska Native Studies Conference at UAA (Friday and Saturday)
  • AK Pride's community art show at The Art Project Gallery in the Northway Mall (Opening night is Friday and the show will be up through April)
  • The final night of Anchorage artist/designer Enzina Marrari's wearable art show "Della Terra," featuring live models, at the Kenai Peninsula College (Friday).
  • The launch party for Dan Bigley's new book "Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Live and Love Again After Being Blinded" at the Tap Root (Saturday)
  • The Merry Marmot Festival at Arctic Valley (Saturday)
  • Closing weekend of "A Gulag Mouse" at Out North Theater (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • *It should be noted that Katie's birthday is in October.

    Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at) and Katie Medred at katie(at)

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