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.
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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
Posted: April 18, 2012 - 4:29 pm
Do you ever wish there was a double-CD album that compiled 29 Alaska bands that ranged from indie-pop to metal to ska? Then let me direct you to this here Kickstarter page to raise funds for “Cold and Loud,” an anthology of local music that does exactly that.
Each band recorded a track for this project with producer and engineer Kurt Riemann at Surreal Studios, and the Kickstarter campaign has been set up to fund the CD manufacturing. If the campaign reaches $5,000 by May 9, “Cold and Loud” gets to put those donations to use. Each donation level carries different incentives, like your name mentioned in the booklet ($1), a copy of the comp ($25), a personal house concert by Pretty Birds That Kill ($450) and a six-hour recording session at Surreal Studios ($1,000).
As I type this, the Kickstarter is sitting pretty at $3,046, with 25 backers – two of them contributing at the $1,000 level.
Here’s the list of bands included on the comp: Kallahan, Woodrow, Slave II Nothing, Pretty Birds That Kill, The Rocket Surgeons, 3 Kisses, Waking Cerberus, Bolt Action Beaver, Stuntcock, A Wake Among the Forgotten, The Sweeteners, Anchors Alive, TIA, Sicarius, Zombieskillingnazis, Cease Fire, Decepticide, Noise Brigade, Robots Helping Clones, Sky Is Falling, City In Ashes, Wichita Shadows, To the Depths, Bottle Caps for Dollars, Men With Guns, Giants Make Way, PJ Franco and the Burnouts, Noise Brigade and Turquoise Boy.
Posted: April 17, 2012 - 2:41 pm
When I first saw Dierks Bentley on TV, with his boyish good looks and tousled head of curls, the singer’s deep, classic country voice and refreshing shot of young, hip and cool had me hooked. So when I heard he was going to be performing in Anchorage, I jumped (OK, I begged) at the opportunity to review his concert.
On his way to my TV screen, Bentley crashed onto the country music scene in 2003 with his self-titled debut, and his first single, "What Was I Thinkin'," reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Nine years, six albums, eight No. 1 singles, a wife and two beautiful daughters later, Bentley is still going strong, and Monday night he offered what country music fans needed to usher in spring.
Posted: April 10, 2012 - 4:22 pm
Know your way around a melody or a chord progression? Seward-based Four Points Productions has organized the Alaska Song of the Year competition and is soliciting entries for 15 categories.
Deadline to submit a song is Friday, April 20. Songwriters can upload an MP3 of their track at alaskasongoftheyear.com or print off the submission form from the site and mail a hard copy. The entry fee is $30 per song, with only current Alaska residents eligible (exceptions made for college students living out of state). Sheet music and charts are encouraged with submissions, and a lyric sheet is required for entries with vocals.
Nominees will be announced May 9 for each category: Alaskan, blues, rock, pop, jazz, folk, bluegrass, country, gospel/inspirational, metal, punk, Alaska native, hip-hop/rap, indie and other (not sure what to expect in the Alaskan category, let alone “other”). A cash prize will be awarded to the Judges’ Choice winner chosen from all categories.
An awards concert is planned for May 19 at Seward High School. Tickets are $10-$15. Ticket info is available at alaskasongoftheyear.com.
Posted: April 5, 2012 - 2:03 pm
The 35th Annual Spring Carnival kicks off at Alyeska Friday, April 20, and runs through Sunday, April 22. The carnival will begin with a costume party at the Sitzmark Bar and Grill for those ages 21 and older, hosted by KWHL morning DJs Bob and Mark. The 50 best costumes will be chosen to participant in the next day's main event, the Slush Cup, in which skiers try to skim across a slushy pond. The party takes place 7- 9 p.m. Local band The Photonz will perform afterward. Cover charge for the concert is $10.
The 50 winners will have the opportunity to pre-register for the Slush Cup and have their spot guaranteed, with registration for the remaining 25 spots beginning 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration is $50.
Other events that weekend include the pond skim sports, the Xtratuf Tug-o-War, Dummy Downhill and the Idiots Swim. Check alyeskaresort.com for the full schedule.
Posted: April 4, 2012 - 5:02 pm
Amateur Alaska seafood specialists can put their favorite recipes to the test in the new amateur division of the Great Alaska Seafood Cook-Off.
Organized by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the winner of the amateur contest will be crowned King or Queen of Alaska seafood at a reception held on May 14th at the Bill Sheffield Alaska Railroad Depot from 6-9 p.m. The first place winner will receive a prize package that will contain the new iPad, and the top 20 runners up will also be invited to the event. Submissions for the amateur division are due by May 1st and can be entered at greatalaskaseafoodcookoff.com/recipecontest.
The Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off will also feature a professional division, with chefs having already submitted their recipes. Six chefs will be chosen by a committee selected by the institute and will go on to compete in a live cook-off.
Judges of this event will include chef Jose Souto of Westminster Kingsway College in London, chef Christine Keff from the Flying Fish in Seattle, chef Dan Enos from Oceanaire in Boston, chef Erik Slater from the Resurrection Roadhouse in Seward and Alaskan chef Rob Kinneen of www.fresh49.com.
Posted: April 2, 2012 - 9:31 am
Local promoter Family Tree Presents announced Monday morning that Tennessee-based metal band Whitechapel has canceled its Anchorage shows originally scheduled for Sept. 7 and 8 at Koot's and Club Millennium. A press release from Family Tree Presents says that the cancellation was due to a scheduling conflict with the band and that the band is looking to reschedule the shows as new dates are available.
Posted: March 30, 2012 - 3:24 pm
There’s a lot to keep you busy around Anchorage this weekend. J Mascis graces the cover of the latest issue of Play, and you can read the Q&A for that feature story over here. Mascis plays 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Alyeska Daylodge. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, available at alyeskaresort.com.
If you’re on Spotify, I’ve put together a little primer of J Mascis’ catalog, with tracks by Dinosaur Jr., Deep Wound, Sweet Apple, Witch and Mascis’ new solo album. Click here to launch the player.
The second annual Rock A&R Showcase also takes place Friday at Koot's, with The Rocket Surgeons, Lavoy, The Sweeteners, Pros and Cons, 3 Kisses, The Young Guns, Evil Ted and the Thick Pink Antiseptic, The Young Fangs, Pretty Birds That Kill and Turquoise Boy performing to an audience that includes music industry representatives visiting from the Lower 48. Read more about the show over here.
The local production of “Rent” opens Friday as well. Mike Dunham has the details about the Alaska Theatre of Youth’s partnership with Theatre Artist United to bring the story to life. The show is 7:30 p.m. Friday--Sunday and Wednesday-Saturday, April 7, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, April 7. Tickets are $25-$35, available at centertix.net.
There’s also a special March Madness spin on the dining pages this week. With NCAA basketball coming to a close, we’ve organized our own tourney. This one is to determine the best hamburger in town. You can get in on the action, too – vote for your favorite burger joint in our reader poll.
Below are this week’s Hot Picks.
Posted: March 30, 2012 - 2:08 pm
Tickets to see actor and comedian Eddie Izzard perform at UAA’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium sold out just a short while after going on sale. The UAA Concert Board announced Friday that a second show has been added, 10:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19.
Tickets go on sale for the general public at 8 a.m. Friday, April 6, with a four ticket limit. A UAA student presale takes place noon-6 p.m. Thursday, April 5, with a two ticket limit.
Posted: March 29, 2012 - 12:06 pm
J Mascis is probably best known as the frontman for the alt-rock mainstay Dinosaur Jr., but he's performing a couple shows this weekend at the Alyeska Daylodge in Girdwood with one of his many other bands, The Fog. Look for a feature in this week's issue of Play.
Below is a Q&A from when I spoke with Mascis over the phone late last week. The musician is something of a guitar hero in indie-rock circles -- he has his own signature Fender guitar and, um, a bobble-head doll -- but if you've seen interviews with him in the past, then you know he's a man of few words. We spoke a bit about what to expect this weekend and how busy he's been.
Posted: March 27, 2012 - 4:31 pm
Bear Tooth Theatrepub will celebrate 11 years of doing business next month. Performing at the party will be Oregon-based band Blind Pilot.
Below is the video for “Go on Say It,” which blends mellow folk and pop-rock.
Posted: March 23, 2012 - 5:26 pm
For the ladies out there who are tired of suffering through sore feet and broken heels, the Anchorage Museum is now offering the perfect excuse to wear Chuck Taylors with your evening gown. The annual Anchorage Museum Gala fundraiser to be held Saturday, April 14, features a True North theme designed to promote the museums upcoming exhibit of the same name.
This exhibit -- which features Arctic-based art presented in multimedia installations, sculptures and photography that explore the region's unique identity -- will be on display beginning May 18, but in the meantime residents can jump into the True North spirit bunny boots first at the Museum Gala. Dress is black tie, but attendees are invited add their own uniquely Alaska twist to their ensemble. The fundraiser also includes dinner, live swing music by Detour, a DJ, and live and silent art auctions.
The annual gala is the museum's largest fundraising event and takes place 5:30-11:30 p.m. at the Dena’ina Center. Tickets are $150 and available at 929-9226 or anchoragemuseum.org.
Posted: March 23, 2012 - 10:58 am
The Alaska State Fair has announced eight of this year’s 12 performers slated to take the Borealis Stage from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3, including ‘90s arena-rockers Creed, classic prog-rockers Styx, country singer Jo Dee Messina and comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. Below are the performers, dates and ticket prices. Visit alaskastatefair.org to purchase tickets. Prices do not include fair admission, which is additional.
7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, $60 reserved admission, $35 general admission. No seating.
Theory of a Deadman
7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, $55 reserved admission, $35 general admission. No seating.
6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, $65 reserved seating, $40 for general admission.
Jo Dee Messina
7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, $50 reserved seating, $35 general admission.
The Avett Brothers
7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, $50 reserved admission, $35 general admission. No seating.
7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, $75 reserved seating, and $45 general admission.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, $75 reserved seating, $35 general admission
Hot Chelle Rae
3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, $45 reserved admission, $20 general admission. No seating.
Details for the final four performers are still being finalized.
Posted: March 22, 2012 - 4:37 pm
Acadian step-band and fiddle group Grand Dérangement from Nova Scotia has been performing this week for Anchorage School District students. Thursday the group will take part in a dance workshop, 6-7 p.m. at Atwood Concert Hall, while the group will perform for the public at the same venue 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Daily News' Pam Dunlap-Shohl attended Wednesday's fiddle workshop with Grand Dérangement member Daniel LeBlanc. Below is a video she shot at that class.
Video by Pamela Dunlap-Shohl / Anchorage Daily New: Daniel LeBlanc of Grand Dérangement demonstrates Acadian fiddling during a Master Fiddle Workshop onstage in the Atwood Concert Hall in the ACPA, March 21.
Posted: March 21, 2012 - 5:08 pm
Some of Anchorage's aspiring singer-songwriters will get a chance to showcase their talent next month at the second annual Singer-Songwriter Showdown hosted at Tap Root. Finalists have already been selected for the contest and include Michael Howard, Maura Ganz, Emily Barry, Kevin Worrell, Kyle Pitot, John Donkerstoot, Hank Roesing, Michael Faubion, Erich DeFeo, LuLu Small, Michael Gorder and Dan Lesperance.
These finalists will be competing for $1000 worth of recording time at BuzzBizz Studios, the chance to have their song played on 96.3 The Wolf and an opportunity to open for Grammy-nominated singer-songwriters Tim James and Kendell Marvel. James is best known as the writer of songs like Toby Keith’s “The List,” Trace Adkins' “All I Ask for Anymore” and Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy,” while Marvel penned Gary Allen’s “Right Where I Want to Be,” Jake Owen’s “Starting With Me” and George Strait’s “Twang” as well as many others.
A winner will be picked from each of the contests held 7 p.m. March 21, March 28 and April 4, and these winners will then go on to compete April 11 for the grand prize. The Tim James and Kendell Marvel concert will be 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Tap Root.
Posted: March 21, 2012 - 4:02 pm
The popular radio show “Mountain Stage” will trek north this summer. The live concert program distributed by National Public Radio will travel from its regular West Virginia location to broadcast two episodes from the Charles Davis Concert Hall in Fairbanks. As mentioned in last week’s Paula Poundstone story, Fairbanks is no stranger to NPR – the city hosted “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” last summer.
Past episodes of “Mountain Stages” have featured performances by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, Cake, Vince Gill and many more, though performers for the Fairbanks dates have yet to be announced. Tickets for the August 17 and 18 are $30, available at the Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning office on the UAF campus or by calling 866-404-7021.
Posted: March 21, 2012 - 12:24 pm
The Anchorage Festival of Music offers young classical musicians the opportunity to showcase their talents through the Young Alaskan Artist Award competition. The winner of the contest will be provided a solo recital in Anchorage with the proceeds from the concert awarded as prize money.
Previous winners of this award include musicians and vocalist from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Willow, Haines, Kenai and Eagle River, playing instruments ranging from the bassoon to the harp.
Any Alaskan currently pursuing a degree or enrolled in a music performance program at an accredited college or university are eligible to enter the competition. The application process includes submission of an application form along with two letters of recommendation, a recording that is a minimum of 30 minutes long and the $25 application fee. Resident eligibility will be confirmed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application.
The winner will be chosen based on the submitted recording. The application deadline is Monday, May 7, and the recital will be held sometime in late August, with the exact date to be chosen after a winner is selected.
For more information, application details and specific requirements for recording submissions, visit anchoragefestivalmusic.com or contact Anchorage Festival of Music at 276-2465.
Posted: March 19, 2012 - 5:54 pm
Radio personality Fatguy has long been a booster of the Alaska music scene, adding local artists to regular rotation on his KZND radio show, highlighting Anchorage musicians with the station's Homegrown Artist of the Month (this month it's Kallahan) and organizing the Live and Local Freakshow at Koot's.
He also teams up with local promoter Family Tree Presents a couple times a year to convince music industry insiders to pay the state a visit and catch sets from a handful of Anchorage bands. The now-annual metal showcase takes place in the fall. In the meantime, what's being billed as the second annual Rock A&R Showcase takes place 8 p.m. Friday, March 30, at Koot's.
The lineup includes The Rocket Surgeons, Lavoy, The Sweeteners, Pros and Cons, 3 Kisses, The Young Guns, Evil Ted and the Thick Pink Antiseptics, The Young Fangs, Pretty Birds That Kill and Turquoise Boy. Each band will play three songs, with the audience including Jeff Castelaz, owner of Dangerbird Records (Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear, Hot Hot Heat); Tony Hoffer, producer (Beck, Foster the People, Phoenix), and In De Goot Entertainment's Adrock, who manages Black Stone Cherry, Chevelle, Theory of a Deadman and more (not to be confused with the similarly named Beastie Boy Ad-Rock).
Each panelist will be given a performance evaluation sheet for each band that includes 10 questions asking them to rank between one and 10 such factors as the band's originality, stage presence, musicianship, marketability and image.
There's also space for extra comments. Fatguy said that last year both The Hoons and Lavoy were given high marks and advised to move in order to tour. The Hoons took the advice to heart and relocated to Portland, Ore.
The panelists will also participate in a Q&A at the monthly Homegrown Meeting on Saturday, March 31, at Alaska Music and Sound. The showcase is $5 (21 and older), while the Q&A is free and open to the public.
Posted: March 16, 2012 - 10:31 am
The performing arts center hosts two comedians with two very different senses of humor Friday. Daily News correspondent Toben Shelby spoke with both Lisa Lampanelli and Paula Poundstone about their stand-up acts and their trips to Alaska that find them performing across the hall from one another on the same night.
Saturday also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. Check the calendar for events around town celebrating the luck of the Irish.
Below are this week’s Hot Picks.
'Come as You Are’
The next honoree in the tribute series organized by KZND’s Fatguy is the late, great Nirvana. Throw on your dirtiest flannel shirt and check out local bands The Sweeteners, Charts Over Hearts, Smells Like Red Tango, Noise Brigade and The Young Fangs as each tackle a track from the iconic grunge group’s catalog. 9 p.m. Friday, Koot’s, $5 (21 and older). Visit koots.com for info.
The 13th annual Aviation Hall of Fame induction ceremony includes a dinner, auction and special presentation as Lowell Thomas Jr., Eva and Wilfred Ryan and A.A. Bennett are inducted into the hall. 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Coast International Inn, $60. Reservations required (248-5325). Visit alaskaairmuseum.org for info.
A trio of veteran gangsta rappers take the stage at Egan Center Friday. E-40, Too Short and B-Legit each played major roles in popularizing the hard-core style of hip-hop that grew out of the West Coast in the '80s and '90s, and you can catch them bringing it back to the old school 8 p.m., $33. Visit ticketmaster.com for info.
Check Mike Dunham's Art Scene picks over here.
Posted: March 14, 2012 - 5:42 pm
Local singer/songwriter Meg Mackey recently made the move back to Anchorage from Juneau, and she has a string of shows in the coming weeks celebrating the release of her new album, “Eat Your Heart Out.”
Recorded in May at Twisted Penguin Studios in Spenard, the record enlisted the help of a number of local players. James Dommek Jr. and Evan Phillips of The Whipsaws signed on as producers (Phillips has his own solo album coming out around the same time – more on that in the March 23 issue of Play), while Ghost Hands member James Glaves mixed the album.
Dommek and Glaves also both played on the album, joined by Martin Severin of The Jack River Kings. Dubbed simply The Meg Mackey Band, the group will join Mackey for the string of CD release shows.
Dates and venues are listed below.
Friday, March 23, Sitzmark Bar and Grill, Girdwood
Saturday, March 24, Sitzmark Bar and Grill, Girdwood
Friday, March 30, Tap Root with Ghost Hands
Saturday, March 31, Tap Root with Melissa Mitchell and Spiff
Friday, April 6, The Pub at UAF, Fairbanks
Saturday, April 7, The Marlin, Fairbanks with The Young Fangs
Check megmackey.com for ticket prices and show times.
Posted: March 9, 2012 - 11:06 am
This weekend was originally looking like a big one for metalheads, then came word early this week that the Richmond, Va., band Lamb of God had to cancel its Anchorage tour date due to a family emergency. The plan is to reschedule the concert sometime during the touring cycle for the group’s new album, “Resolution.”
It is still a big weekend for electronic/dance music fans, though. The second annual spring break dance party Bass Cannon takes place 9 p.m. Friday at H2Oasis, with former Beck cohort and renowned turntablist DJ Swamp sharing the headlining duties with up-and-coming dubstep artist Cyberoptics. Tickets are $25-$50. Check facebook.com/kskevents. Swamp will also play a free set beginning midnight Saturday night for the 21-and-older crowd at Koot’s.
The other big electronic music event is the first of this week’s Hot Picks.
With a lineup of DJs from around the world, the Spin Music Festival takes place in Dallas, Detroit and Tampa, Fla., but this weekend it takes place over two nights at Egan Center. The electronic music fest includes sets by headliners Stonebridge, Matt Darey, HyperCrush, Matt Aubrey and Holevar, Teja and Chris the Junglist, along with locals Alex the Lion, Simplicate, Dig Sista, Pranxter and Myndgruv, 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $40-$100 for one-day pass, $70-$150 for both days. Visit spinmusicfestival.com for info.
After making an appearance on the BBC show “The Magicians,” local illusionist and 2011 World Teen Magic champion Eric Giliam performs 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Discovery Theatre, $14-$35. Visit centertix.net for info.
What do Celtic music, folk rock, punk and pirates have in common? Probably only Potcheen. The Denver band will mix each of those elements into its shows at the Sitzmark Bar and Grill, Girdwood, 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, $10 advance, $15 door. Visit alyeskaresort.com for info.
Short and sweet
This year’s Academy Award for best live-action short went to “The Shore,” and it will screen along with the rest of the Oscar-nominated live action shorts, 7 p.m. Friday, Out North, $7.50. The other films are “Pentecost,” “Raju,” “Time Freak” and “Tuba Atlantic.” Visit outnorth.org for more info.
The Filipino Community of Anchorage Inc. celebrates its 47th anniversary with the annual Founders’ Day Banquet and Ball, including a 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour and dinner at
7 p.m. followed by performances by FCAA’s Karilagan Folk Dance Troupe, Hotel Captian Cook, $60. Call 830-4165 for info.