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This Weekend: Heartless Bastards, Wailin' Jennys and Wickersham wranglers

Ben: Well Katie, another weekend is fast approaching, which means it's time to wrassle up some events for the folks who aren't out hiking, camping or fishing now that spring -- or maybe summer? -- is finally upon us.

If you're in search of a less physically demanding way to spend an evening outdoors, why not head to Soldotna on Saturday and check out folk trio The Wailin' Jennys playing at the Soldotna Creek Park? It's an all-ages show. I may have grown up in the age of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a few gentle folk-songstress harmonies from time to time, does it? I can even overlook that their official page repeatedly refers to the community of Soldotna as "Soldatna."

The group also plays in Anchorage on Friday at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, though then you miss out on some time in the great Alaska outdoors.

But Katie, I suspect you've got First Friday on the brain, and I can see you're getting anxious to tell me all about it, so why don't I just shut up?

Katie: Thank you Ben. Finally.

Yes. First Friday is upon us and in it's shaping up to be a good one with all kinds of special events. I'll highlight a few from around the state, but a longer list of our Anchorage short picks is available here.

  • In Juneau, the 2013 Juried Art Show will be held at the Arts and Culture Center from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to cast a ballot for their favorite piece, but a formal judging process will pick the official winner. The show will feature several accomplished Southeast artists like Nicholas Galanin, Timi Johnson, Carol Baker, Joy Lee, Rob Roys, Teri Robus, Christianne Carrillo, Barbara Craver, Puanani Maunu, Elizabeth Knecht, Terri Gallant, Rachael Juzeler and Patrice Helmar. The jurors' picks as well as a "people's choice" victor will be announced Sunday, June 30.
  • Up in the Interior, Fairbanks artist Sara Tabbert will be showing work in a show called "Observations and Inventions" at the Alaska House Art Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. I'm a huge fan of Tabbert's carved wood prints which range from colorful and whimsical to bleak and hunting. Tabbert was recently awarded a prestigious Project Grant by the Rasmuson Foundation. My guess is she'll put that sucker to good use.
  • Down in Southcentral, Homer's Fireweed Gallery will feature photographer Joshua Veldstra. Veldstra's work, according to the Homer Tribune, has been published in "Vogue Italia" and "The GOODS" magazines.
  • Back in Anchorage, former Rasmuson grant winner Enzina Marrari will be debuting an ambitious new show titled "of love." at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art at 5:30 p.m. "of love." is a multi-discipline exhibition which combines performance art, instillation, dance and photography to capture the wide physical and emotional landscapes of romantic love. Marrari's pieces will be backed by dancers from Anchorage's Momentum Dance Company, as well as local artists Sarah Davies and Michael Conti and guest artist Scott Turner Schofield. This should be quite the show.
  • So, that's a quick first Friday blip, but I have a few more things to kick your way before you get to jibber jabbing about boring stuff, Ben. Let's talk music real quick.

    You covered the Wailin' Jennys, yes, and that's all well and fine, but there's more. So. Much. More.

    In Anchorage

  • June First Tap at the Bear Tooth on Thursday features the much loved G Love-- no Special Sauce this time-- and his solo acoustic set. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are still available.
  • The legendary Heartless Bastards are in town, too. The Ohio group will play two shows at the Tap Root, one on Thursday night with local indie heart throbs SJ & Drums and the other Friday with the lovely Nellie Clay and her Lucky Dogs.
  • The 6th Annual Spenard Jazzfest starts Friday. The fest runs in varied venues around town until Saturday, June 23, but you won't want to miss the kickoff party at Hugi Lewis Studio on Northern Lights (opposite the Spenard Roadhouse) from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • In Soldotna

  • The Kenai River Festival at Soldotna Creek Park is a local favorite. The free family fun festival runs Friday through Sunday and will host a variety of musicians including headliners the Wailin’ Jennys and local Alaskans like Melissa Mitchell, Holy Santos Gang, 907 and Baked Alaskans. See the full list of who's playing and when here.
  • In Juneau

  • The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council in conjunction with Juneau International Airport is hosting a free weekly music event called "Music on the Fly." Basically, every Sunday this summer a musician or band will serenade the weary travelers and tourist in airport baggage claim from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This week, Thunder Mountain Big Band will have the honor.
  • In Sitka

  • The 42 Annual Sitka Summer Music Festival is still going full steam ahead. The festival started June 1 and runs until July 6, but it has so much to offer it just feels like one long brilliant classic music bender, like the movie Road Trip or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This weekend's highlights: Friday and Saturday's Evening Concerts featuring pianist Piers Lane, guitarist David Leisner and violinist Gill Morgenstein and Sunday's BP Family Concert and SeaMart Ice Cream Social.
  • Speaking of festivals (and on top of all of that) there's also Colony Days in Palmer, a festival to commemorate the Colonists who founded the farming community, way back in 1935. Colony Days runs Friday through Sunday.

    Alright Ben ... wrap this bad boy up so we can go home.

    Ben: Wow, why do I even bother showing up? Looks like you've covered everything. On the first tap, I'm going to take this moment and ask why Broken Tooth brewing (née Moose's Tooth) doesn't just go ahead and make the Pono coconut porter -- May's featured first tap -- a permanent fixture in their brewing lineup already. It's that awesome.

    Speaking of beer, reporter Suzanna Caldwell and I managed to finish last week's Skinny Raven 12k and get that free beer I was hoping for. Was it worth it? Well, I certainly didn't feel guilty about all those empty calories after the run, so there's that.

    There's another popular running event taking place in Anchorage this weekend, this time the 5-mile Alaska Run for Women. This is always a big deal, with thousands of runners turning out -- last year drew more than 7,000 -- and raising hundreds of thousands for breast cancer awareness and prevention. Registration closes Thursday for timed racers and Friday for untimed entrants. There's also a 1-mile walk/run. The race course treks through downtown Anchorage and the Coastal Trail, so keep an eye out for possible road closures.

    And I know I said "This Weekend" is for those not looking to go hiking, camping or fishing, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Ship Creek King Salmon Derby kicks off Friday, joining the ongoing Seward and Homer halibut derbies. So, if you love fishing anyway, why not go for the whopper and try to make some money to boot. Just make sure to buy a ticket.

    Happy angling!

    Katie: One more thing, Ben! Sunday at Bear Tooth TheaterPub in Anchorage Four members of the original Wickersham Wall team -- David Roberts, John Graham, Peter Carman, and Rick Millikan -- will speak and share slides from their 1963 assent of Denali's direct North Face. If you're a climber, like climbing or just like climbers *wink* then this event will be fantastic. Doors open at 8 p.m. and it will only cost you $10 (plus whatever you spend on beer and snacks).

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