Arts news and views

ArtSnob is your site for fast postings of Daily News reviews, local art happenings and reader feedback.

Drop your comments here, e-mail us at, or call Arts and Entertainment editor Mike Dunham at (907)-257-4332 or toll-free in Alaska, 800-478-4200, ext. 332.

2 for 1 deal for new musical premiere - 1/7/2013 5:11 pm

'Troyens' repeats Sunday - 1/6/2013 10:19 am

FIRST FRIDAY RAMBLES: Treasures at Two Friends - 1/5/2013 10:53 am

REVIEW: 'FREUD'S LAST SESSION' - 1/4/2013 10:49 am

New CIRQUE is out - 1/3/2013 2:08 pm

Bald soprano to be seen in Anchorage - 1/2/2013 9:50 am

Photographer Mishler looking for Kickstarter boost - 1/1/2013 3:09 pm

REVIEW: 'LAST DAY ON EARTH' - 12/22/2012 2:01 pm

2 for 1 deal for new musical premiere

Newlyweds William and Betty ReddigNewlyweds William and Betty Reddig

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'Troyens' repeats Sunday

What's in the horse?: KLEF carries the broadcast from this Met production on Jan. 6.What's in the horse?: KLEF carries the broadcast from this Met production on Jan. 6.
Those who missed the live big-screen broadcast of "Les Troyens" from the Metropolitan Opera (and some of us may have had better things to do for six hours on a Saturday afternoon) can catch the same performance on the radio at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, on KLEF radio, 98.1 FM.

Merry Russian Christmas, everybody.

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FIRST FRIDAY RAMBLES: Treasures at Two Friends

Bright Rich Summer: by Karen Olanna at Alaska Pacific University.Bright Rich Summer: by Karen Olanna at Alaska Pacific University.

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Skeptical believer vs. dogmatic skeptic: Kevin T. Bennett as C.S. Lewis and Dick Reichman as Sigmund Freud in Cyrano's production of "Freud's Last Session." Photo: Wenyin MetcalfSkeptical believer vs. dogmatic skeptic: Kevin T. Bennett as C.S. Lewis and Dick Reichman as Sigmund Freud in Cyrano's production of "Freud's Last Session." Photo: Wenyin Metcalf

Mark St. Germain's imagined meeting of writer C.S. Lewis and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, "Freud's Last Session," became a surprise hit when it opened off-Broadway. New York critics praised it, Theatermania blogger Andy Propst described it as having "irresistible intensity."

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New CIRQUE is out

The latest issue of the literary and arts journal Cirque was released on Christmas Day, “a few days past our Solstice deadline,” writes co-editor Sandra Kleven.

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Bald soprano to be seen in Anchorage

The New York Times reports that soprano Elza van den Heever, who sings the role of Elizabeth I in the Met's upcoming production of "Maria Stuarda," has shaved her head for the role. The historical Queen Elizabeth was known to wear spectacular wigs - something of a custom among the wealthy in the day, not only as a fashion statement but as a way to reduce the annoyance of head lice. She was also rumored to have gone bald after illnesses in her youth.

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Photographer Mishler looking for Kickstarter boost

Portrait AlaskaPortrait AlaskaPhotographer Clark James Mishler contacted us a couple of days ago to say that he is running a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his upcoming book, "Portrait Alaska." His deadline, he says, is Sunday, Jan. 6.

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By MIKE DUNHAM (originally published Oct. 23, 2011)

After winning multiple prizes in America and Europe for bleak, tense stories set in Alaska, David Vann has turned to non-Alaskana and non-fiction for his latest book, "Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter" (University of Georgia Press).

It may be just a coincidence that the creepy book is having its national release so close to Halloween.

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Peggy Shaw calls her new show, “Ruff,” “a slow monologue about horror” just before she recites the “Horror has a face” speech given by Marlon Brando as Col. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now.” But there’s nothing palpably horrifying in 80 minute multi-media soliloquy.

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Helen Spector teaches a basic writing class at UAA and every year arranges for students to catch a play. "We basically buy out the house," she says. Sometimes she has them write about it. This month they attended "It's a Wonderful Life" at Cyrano's and sent in their observations:

-- I loved the play! I was able to get out of my dorm room to meet amazing people and watch a great production. The production team was very gifted and welcoming to the whole audience.

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A "You be the Critic" letter submitted by Bethany Brunelle

Anchorage Community Theater, my old stomping grounds, where countless hours were spent in auditions, rehearsals and performance. Where the power of art and creativity was born in my soul. The last performance I was in, “A Story of Cinderella,” was in 1999. Life somehow got in the way of art and creativity, and since then has been void of the splendor that is Anchorage Community Theater, (ACT).

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You don’t often see a chicken dance at a performance of “The Nutcracker,” but that’s just one of the surprises in the production form Cincinnati Ballet now showing at the Atwood Concert Hall. Victoria Morgan’s choreography is tightly-paced and filled with amusing touches. You don’t want to blink lest you miss something.

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Spotlight on Kevin T. Bennett

By Shareen Crosby

Many actors find themselves directing, producing, serving as board members, and basically doing the never-ending behind the scenes work that it takes to keep community theatre alive and well. But at the heart of most of these folks is, plain and simple, their love of acting.

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"Was that a Stradivarius?" asked a fellow member of the audience following Elmar Oliveira's performance as the soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night.

I couldn't say, but did note that when the Tchaikovsky Award-winning virtuoso played in the Autumn Classics chamber music series here in September, he said he was using a relatively inexpensive and very new instrument. It made a good argument for the contention that the right carpenter is more important than the right tools.

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Free day at museum

[img_assist|nid=162852|title="Eklutna woman reading Life magazine, Hooper Bay, Alaska, 1941-43" by Ruth Gruber|desc=Part of the exhibit of Gruber's photos now on display at the Anchorage Museum, this picture seems to have a misleading title. The mountains in the background are not the landscape anywhere near Hooper Bay, but look like they might be the Chugach Range as seen from Eklutna. The unnamed woman is wearing a parka in the style of western Alaska, so she may be from Hooper Bay.

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Fur Rondy pin announced

2013 Fur Rondy Pin2013 Fur Rondy Pin
Harlan Legare, who has designed three previous pins for the the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, has had another design selected for the 2013 Fur Rondy. The Board of Directors of Greater Anchorage, Inc. Announced that Legare's new pin will feature a snowy owl in flight.

The pin will be available in metal and wood media. It can be purchased online at or by calling 770-2107.

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'Snow Child' paperback signing on Saturday

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey, the author of “The Snow Child,” is back home in Chickaloon after a five week international tour that took her from Paris to Tacoma, with stops in Australia, New Zealand and London. Her return to Alaska coincides with the paperback release of her novel, which she will mark with a booksigning at Fireside Books in Palmer from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10.

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Historical dramas may be the hardest theatrical genre to get right. The facts of what happened must be honored, but real life seldom compresses neatly into three acts with climaxes and catharsis timed for maximum audience impact. Playwrights often try to make the past artificially relevant to the present, often devolving into preachiness. Or they give into what appears to be an overwhelming urge to stuff in scene-setting details that bog down the pace and distract the theater-goers’ attention from the human saga that must supply the core of any play.

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By Paul Broderson

Excitement, humor, and surprises all rolled into one. These three words aptly sum up the play "Deathtrap," which showed at Valley Performing Arts. This production, directed by Vanessa Warner, gave a fairly solid performance. The setting and stage were magnificent, the plot was very intriguing, and the actors mostly performed well.

The entire play is set in Sidney Bruhl’s study, and set designers performed very well. The walls are decorated with a wide variety of killing instruments, leaving the audience to wonder which of the

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Dauenhauer new State Writer Lauerate

Nora Marks Dauenhauer: Photo: APNora Marks Dauenhauer: Photo: AP

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