Play Blog

Welcome to the Play Blog, an insider’s guide on everything from music to pop culture, local dining, drinking, art and nightlife. Alaska or Outside, it’s fair game. Who's hot, who's coming to town, who's doing something worth noticing. We're on it.

Reader input is a big part of this blog, so express yourself and post comments. And if you have gig announcements, press kits, news briefings, story ideas, MP3s, CDs and reviews please ship them our way

Pamyua premieres new video for 'Bubble Gum' - 10/23/2012 4:32 pm

Ghosts and ghouls haunting town - 10/19/2012 4:55 pm

More reality TV coming to Alaska - 10/19/2012 11:49 am

REVIEW: Richard Thompson is a master of fine dissonance - 10/17/2012 4:04 pm

Alaska Railroad offers trips on the Alyeska Halloween Train - 10/10/2012 2:32 pm

VIDEO: Flogging Molly's sold-out show at the Egan Center - 10/4/2012 12:12 pm

Call to filmmakers: Make a movie in 2 days - 9/28/2012 2:45 pm

Oktoberfest is coming to Anchorage - 9/27/2012 3:25 pm

Former local band psyched about Kimmel gig

The Lives of Famous Men, a band with Alaska roots, is all excited about their Thursday gig on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The late night celebrity/pop culture talk show is known for bringing on cutting edge musical acts and up-and-coming artists, including Coldplay, 50 Cent, No Doubt, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie and -- Barry Manilow. It airs in Alaska at 11 p.m.

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Emma Hill returns for Valley show

Drifting through the State Fair on Saturday night, I saw a familiar figure singing and playing her guitar for tips at the Macho Nacho stand -- Emma Hill.

"The last time I heard you play it was in Portland," I said.

She said she was back home after a bare-bones but pretty successful national tour to promote her new album, "Clumsy Seduction," and would play one live show on Friday, Sept. 11, in Wasilla. The performance will take place at 7 p.m. at Make-A-Scene (1201 W. Melanie Ave.), which has become a key Valley alternative music venue.

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Pi adds new chef - updated with menus

Photo by Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily NewsPhoto by Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily NewsPi, the restaurant in the Embassy Suites Hotel (corner of Benson and the Highway), recently announced the addition of a new chef.

According to a press release, new chef Tommy Thompson will be focused on fusion cuisine, with "Global comfort food" as a the theme for the winter menu.

They just sent over the new menus, here are PDFs of their lunch, dinner and dessert menus.

Pi is online with a blog, a FaceBook profile and a Twitter page.

Here's a review we did back in May. Have you eaten there lately? What do you think about the decision to hire a new executive chef? Post your comments below.

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Beavis and Butthead on 'Extract'

Beavis and Butthead weigh in on Mike Judge's new movie. Note: Contains coarse language (this is Beavis and Butthead after all).

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Hova does Rhapsody

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Step your gaming up with these 7 podcasts

Ah, The Internets. You've given us such wonderful things as Keyboard Cat and a return to glory for Rick Astley. You've opened the gates those draconian gatekeepers held closed for so long. No longer do evil newspaper overlords muffle the voice of the common man like the bunch of tyrannical elitists they so clearly are! Except the Anchorage Daily News, of course. Those guys are totally cool in every way. What's left of them, anyway (Too soon?).

Yes, the age of dilettantism is upon us. Think you know something about anything? Congratulations, here's your LiveJournal account - now with complimentary soapbox! The gaming industry is by no means immune to the legions of plebeians spouting opinions in text, audio and video across the world via a series of tubes. Poorly written content is everywhere - big sites like IGN and GameSpot are just as guilty as bloggers - but it's a lot easier to ignore text than multimedia.

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Breeze of change

The station formerly known as "The Breeze" has dropped its soft jazz programming in favor of pop hits from the past 50 years. More of The Beatles and Cher, less George Benson and Chuck Mangione. If you have an opinion, they're running a poll on their Web site purporting to seek listener input. They've also hinted at an announcement coming mid-September.

It's only the second time Alaska's oldest FM station has gone though a major programming overhaul in its 59 years. At first it carried mostly classical music and educational shows, becoming increasingly easy-listening. For a while, it largely simulcast with sister station KBYR AM, which was then running an adult contemporary format.

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Silverstein covers 'Apologize'

Canadian hardcore rockers Silverstein are swinging into town this Friday for a gig at the Egan Center. They sent us their take on OneRepublic's "Apologize" as a morsel for blog readers.


The band will also do a signing at Best Buy Dimond on Friday at 3 pm.

Show poster and details here.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Earl's 'Melody' tops iTunes

Kate Earl, the Chugiak-born singer-songwriter who moved to Los Angeles after only a handful of open mikes in Alaska, is showing no sign of fading away.

A music video for her single "Melody" was finished earlier this month and the song was a free download on iTunes, featured as the single of the week. The exposure helped propel her up the charts.

Here's what she wrote on her blog this Sunday:

This has been an amazing run for the record to debut along with “Melody” as the single of the week. Thank you itunes for making it possible for all those new folks to find me. The album went as high as #3 overall for itunes. Pretty great feeling to also sit in the #1 spot for pop at itunes as well . . . Thank you all. This week has been a dream come true. Here’s to life & to dreams coming true!

Here's the video for "Melody."

-- Spencer Shroyer

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P.TM in RS

I'm sure they're getting tired of being called the second-biggest thing from Wasilla, but Portugal. The Man has to be stoked about getting some shine from Rolling Stone Magazine.

In a recent post on its Web site, Rolling Stone described the group's sound as, "a blast of stripped-down, Motown-inflected, three-minute pop mutated through a scruffy indie-rocker’s lens."

Read the entire piece and watch a video of the band performing “1989” here.

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The deets on Dane tix

A couple people were asking us on Twitter about Dane Cook tickets.

Here's what a local representative at SMG (the company that manages the Sullivan Arena) had to say:

There are three sales:

Fan Club pre-sale today from 10A to 10P, available online at (Ed. Note: A Twitter connection has revealed the code is SUPERFINGER.)

Ticketmaster pre-sale tomorrow (Thurs) from 10A to 10P available via a link that will be provided from the TM database for clients who have requested special offers.

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House of Flying Daggers

Raekwon brings it with his new video. Note: Contains animated gore and profanity - headphones and high def recommended.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Dane does Anchorage

Comedian Dane Cook has announced an Anchorage show - Thursday, Oct 22 at the Sullivan Arena.

Tickets go on sale soon and range from $31.50 - $101.50. Buy them here.

What do you think of him? Will you go? Post your comments below.

Here's Dane on Jimmy Kimmel last year.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Unexpected Berth

Berth SpotBerth Spot
Anchorage will enjoy a treat from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11 as over 30 local artists spill across downtown Anchorage in an event alternately called Berth or Berth Spot.

The collection of artists will be splashing autumn creativity on unsuspecting locals at times and places that are, for the most part, secret. Even artists who will be taking part in the endeavor cannot answer questions about what will be happening except as it concerns their own work.

This project's organizers are utilizing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in order organize the large group of individuals involved.

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Stacks of wax

Photo by Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News: Vinyl records, cassettes, 8-track tapes and various other older media formats from Mike Dunham's collection.Photo by Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News: Vinyl records, cassettes, 8-track tapes and various other older media formats from Mike Dunham's collection.
The Fairbanks Record Expo takes place starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 at the Alaska Railroad Train Depot, 280 S. Cushman St. The organizers tried this once before, in June, and had over 7,000 items show up, including LPs, tapes, 8-tracks, posters and even some collectable CDs. Though it’s still three weeks off, we figured Anchorage music lovers would appreciate the advance notice. Get more information by calling 907-699-9737, e-mailing or going online to

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Alaska-style pizza parties

Graphic courtesy slice.seriouseats.comGraphic courtesy
The foodies over at a Slice, the melted cheese and pepperoni topped arm of Serious Eats, took on Alaska in the newest post of their 50-state pizza tour.

I helped provide a little long-distance analysis, let me know if you think I missed anything with a comment below.

In other pizza related news, Alaska State Fair marketing director Dean Phipps announced a two-topping special today featuring American Idol runner up David Archuleta:

Photo courtesy: davidarchuletanetwork.ning.comPhoto courtesy:

"We just got approval for a backstage PIZZA PARTY with David Archuleta for winner and seven of your best friends. Sign up for mobile or email updates on the Fair Web site to enter. ... we’ll have the sign up on the Fair Web site ( by tomorrow."

Archuleta performs at the Fair at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Free Budos Band track

Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff: The Budos Band, live at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC.Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff: The Budos Band, live at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC.

Wax Poetics, the crew with the magazine / record label that celebrates all things vinyl, also has a digital music store that offers a free download every week.

Right now they are giving away a Budos Band track, "The Proposition." Click here to listen and download.

--Spencer Shroyer

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Hit Me on Twitter

You already know that the Play crew are Twitter fiends (@playadn), but we’re not the only ones. Jokester Andy Milonakis already detailed an average day-in-the-life on “Let Me Twitter Dat.” Sample lyric: “I might get a hair cut / ay let me Twitter that.”

Now the Bay Area’s Mistah F.A.B. has released “Hit Me on Twitter.” It sounds a lot like a melody by the Dream and F.A.B. even acknowledges “I know a lot of people are going to be like, ‘Man, that’s corny.’” They probably will, but only after it gets stuck in their head.

Tell us what you think by posting a comment below.

-- Spencer Shroyer

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Iron & Wine

Courtesy of Iron and WineCourtesy of Iron and Wine
The Beard and Moustache Championships have already faded into memory for most but this Fall Anchorage will receive a visit from a musical gentleman that could have been a contender.

Sam Beam – more commonly known under the band name Iron and Wine will be performing at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Beam has been known to tour with an accompanying band, but his tip to Alaska will be solo.

The opening performer is as of yet unknown. Zac Clark, UAA Concert Board coordinator, told Play he is working with Beam to possibly bring up some talented treat.

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