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: March 8, 2012 - 3:32 pm
Alaska indie-rock exports Portugal. The Man appeared on “Last Call With Carson Daly” earlier this week. The episode captured a recent gig in Los Angeles and featured the tracks “The Sun” from the 2009 album “The Satanic Satanist” and “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” from the group’s latest album, “In the Mountain in the Cloud.”
Portugal is also set to perform next month’s Jagermeister Music Tour, and a contest in anticipation of the 10-date jaunt is encouraging artists to submit poster designs for one of the concerts on the tour, with the winner selected by Portugal frontman John Gourley. The winning submission will be the official poster for that concert, and the winning artist will receive a MacBook Pro, Schecter guitar, Peavey amp, a tape machine, two tickets to the show and other prizes. Nine runner-up entries will also win prizes, as well as a people’s choice entry voted on by fans.
Entries are due March 20. Visit talenthouse.com for details.
Below are the clips from “Last Call” featuring the band.
Posted: March 7, 2012 - 10:51 am
Alaskan filmmakers can showcase their talent this month at the fifth Open Projector Night, hosted by the Alaska Film Forum and Out North Contemporary Art House.
Similar to an open mic night for filmmakers, the event will start 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at Bear Tooth Theatrepub with a short meet-and-greet, and filmmakers interested in participating can submit a short film or clip between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. the day before at Bear Tooth. Programming slots will be given on a first come first serve basis. The movies will screen at 10:30 p.m Wednesday.
Tickets for the screening are $5 at the door. This show, held for the first time in January of 2011, has outgrown its former Out North and Snow Goose locations, so if you want to ensure you have a seat, tickets are available at beartooththeater.net.
Posted: March 5, 2012 - 10:26 am
Friday’s show with southern metal group Lamb of God at Egan Center has been canceled due to a family emergency within the band. If you bought tickets online or over the phone with a credit card, that purchase will be refunded automatically. Otherwise, return to the original point of sale of the ticket for a refund.
A press release from promoter Family Tree said that they are looking to reschedule the show.
Posted: March 2, 2012 - 4:25 pm
Update: A message from UAA Friday morning said that tickets sold out shortly after going on sale.
Popular comedian and actor Eddie Izzard will perform at UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium next month, returning to his roots in stand-up comedy after an extensive career as both a film and Broadway actor. A prominent figure in comedy since the early 90’s, Izzard has gone on to star in movies such as "Ocean’s 12," "Ocean’s 13" and "Romance and Cigarettes" opposite such actors and actresses as Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
The British comedian is primarily know for mixing things up, drawing bizarre connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, as well as his tendency to cross-dress both on and off the stage.
In addition to winning two Emmys and having been twice named Top Stand-Up Comedian of the year by the British Comedy Awards, Izzard went on to break box office records by selling out a five-week tour of the U.K. in less than 48 hours.
Where: Wendy Williamson Auditorium
When: Friday, April 20
Tickets: $35 advance, $40 door and $15 advance, $20 door for UAA students. On sale Friday, March 9, uaatix.com.
Posted: March 2, 2012 - 10:35 am
As promised in last week’s Hot Picks, Lucero graces the cover of this week’s issue of Play. Coming from Memphis, Tenn., the country-rock group is making its second trip to Alaska in less than a year and once again playing in Girdwood. The band played Thursday at the Sitzmark and performs again Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Visit alyeskaresort.com for info.
Of course, Fur Rondy continues this week, with the ever-popular Running of the Reindeer taking place Saturday. Check adn.com/furrondy for full Rondy coverage plus a schedule.
It's also First Friday, so be check the new galleries opening today on our calendar.
This week’s Hot Picks are below.
Rhymes and riffs
Alaska Thunder Funk were last month’s KZND Homegrown Artist of the Month, and the five-piece band has laid a second full-length album’s worth of rap-rock to tape. The band’s CD release show is 9 p.m. Friday, Koot’s, $5. (21 and older) Visit koots.com for info.
Rootsy songwriter Shannon McNally is joined by her rollicking backing band Hot Sauce for a three-night stand in Girdwood, playing 10 p.m. each night, Thursday through Saturday, March 10, Sitzmark Bar and Grill, $10 advance, $15 door, with a two-for-one sale on tickets for the Thursday show. Visit alyeskaresort.com for info. (21 and older)
Coming of age
The animated film “Persepolis” took home the jury prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Based on the graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran during the 1979 revolution, the movie screens at the Scott and Wesley Gerrish Neighborhood Library in Girdwood at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Loussac Library at 3 p.m. Friday, March 10, free. Visit anchoragelibrary.org for info.
Get a head start on St. Patrick’s Day with a couple Irish dance performances Sunday. One option is the Northern Lights Celtic Dancers, performing jigs, reels and more, 4 p.m., Discovery Theatre, $15, centertix.net. Meanwhile, the Celtic Rendezvous opens at Wendy Williamson Auditorium with a 2 p.m. silent auction, with dancers from ages 5 to 25 performing 3 p.m., $15, irishdanceak.com
Posted: February 29, 2012 - 12:00 pm
I’ve gotten a lot of reader emails and calls about Marty’s New York Bagel Deli after each location closed seemingly out of the blue earlier this month. According to one Twitter user, a clerk at the next door Title Wave said that the Midtown restaurant closed Sunday night, Feb. 5, without notice.
A sign was posted on the door the following week: "We have regretfully had to close our doors for business for a multitude of reasons. We appreciate your business over the years and apologize we can’t still all still enjoy our great food."
So far, phone calls and emails haven’t been returned (the office number seems to have been disconnected since), and the Marty’s website doesn’t offer any clues, either – it still says that the Dimond Center location is coming soon in summer 2011.
Posted: February 27, 2012 - 3:53 pm
Home-grown magician Eric Giliam has returned to Anchorage to put on a show for local crowds this month. A graduate of West High School, Giliam recently made his live TV debut on the hit London-based show “The Magicians.”
That will not be his last TV appearance. In April, he’s scheduled to travel to Italy to appear on four episodes of “The Next Masters of Magic.”
Giliam won first place in an international stage competition in Las Vegas last year, claiming the title of 2011 World Teen Magic Champion. Since then he’s been performing at local parties and showers while his live shows have become increasingly popular.
For his homecoming show, Giliam will be performing classic tricks and premiering new illusions.
You can catch him at the Performing Arts Center, Saturday, March 10, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale, $14-$35, CenterTix.net or 263-ARTS.
Below is a clip from Giliam's appearance on "The Magicians."
Posted: February 24, 2012 - 10:25 am
Another Fur Rendezvous is upon us, with the 10-day festival kicking into full gear today. Arts reporter Mike Dunham has a rundown of some of the high-profile events over here, and in Play this week is a breakdown of some of my favorite events.
This week’s issue also includes another feature on Natalia Zukerman and Erin McKeown. Both songwriters are visiting the Alaska for a string of co-headlining shows, and Daily News contributor Paul Flahive talked to both about their lives now that their touring schedules have slowed considerably.
Below are this week’s Hot Picks.
Thursday is the first of the month, which means it’s First Tap time at Bear Tooth. The March installment of the concert series comes straight from Bermuda, as reggae and dance-hall artist Collie Buddz graces the stage as showgoers sample new suds from Broken Tooth, the brewery formerly known as Moose’s Tooth. Show starts 9 p.m., $28 (21 and older). Visit beartooththeatre.net for info.
Snow is where you find it, and while it hasn’t been in short supply this winter. Poor Boyz Production’s “The Grand Bizarre” is screening as part of Alyeska’s Snowfilm series, along with “The Ordinary Skier,” a profile on the free-skiing Seth Morrison. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sitzmark in Girdwood, $5. Visit alyeskaresort.com for info.
Memphis, Tenn. alt-country rockers Lucero visited for a couple shows less than a year ago, and things went so well that the band is coming back for a three-night stand. The shows also comes just before the release of the new album “Women and Work,” a soul-infused take on the band’s gritty sound. Look for more on that in next week’s Play. 10 p.m. Thursday through March 3, Sitzmark in Girdwood, $20 advance, $25 door (21 and older). Visit alyeskaresort.com for info.
Check out some body art at House of Harley-Davidson as it hosts the Chrome and Ink Tattoo Party. Local tattoo artists will be on hand, and judges will award prizes for the best ink in a number of categories based on uniqueness, quality and the story behind the tattoo. Spenard Roadhouse will provide the beer garden. 6-9 p.m. today, free. Visit harleyalaska.com for info.
Mike Dunham’s Art Scene roundup also includes info on Anchorage Opera’s production of “Macbeth,” “Twelve Angry Jurors” by the Valley Performing Arts and “Superior Donuts” at Cyrano’s.
Posted: February 22, 2012 - 3:38 pm
In August, the local production company Tri-Seven Pictures launched a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, meeting the goal of $10,000 in donations. That money was used to produce the second season of the web-based series “Alaska Filmmakers,” which features long-form interviews with members of Alaska’s film community.
The show’s first season, called Series 01, included 12 episodes that focused on Anchorage and Eagle River filmmakers. The 16 episodes in Series 02 expand the show's reach, as hosts Joshua Lowman, D.K. Johnston and Stephanie Wonchala interview Barrow filmmaker Andrew Maclean, whose “On the Ice” debuted in theaters last week; Steve Rychetnik, cinematographer and co-founder of production company Sprocketheads; UAF Film instructor Maya Salganek and others.
New episodes will be available to stream every Friday on alaskafilmmakers.com beginning March 2.
Posted: February 13, 2012 - 2:53 pm
Fur Rondy is still a couple weeks away, but Rumrunner’s will host as special Rondy Brew First Tap from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. That’s when the official beer of this year’s festival will be unveiled – Running of the Reindeer Saison by Anchorage Brewing Company.
The beer marks the fifth anniversary of the festival’s Running of the Reindeer and will be available in 22-ounce bottles and on tap at various places around town this month, though I wouldn’t expect it to stay on shelves for long. For each bottle sold, $1 will be donated to the Fur Rondy Committee. Read more about the beer over here.
Posted: February 9, 2012 - 2:32 pm
The latest in Fatguy’s series of tribute concerts goes down 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Koot’s. In the past, the KZND DJ has organized tributes with local bands paying homage to the likes of The Cure, David Bowie and Alice in Chains, and this time the honors go to heavy metal forefathers Black Sabbath.
The bill includes Decepticide, Unseen Empire and Triskellium, plus what appears to be a band forged just for such an occasion, Fairies Wear Boots (if you caught Turbo Perfecto opening for the Builders and the Butchers at Bear Tooth, you saw them cover the Sabbath tune of the same name). The show is 21 and older, $5 cover.
Sabbath isn’t really much of a stretch for any of these bands, so don’t expect anything as left-field as Glass Halo’s heavy metal reinterpretation of the Cure, and certainly nothing as strange as the Cardigans covering “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”
Posted: February 7, 2012 - 11:08 am
Update: The Facebook page is back up with a new status update from band stating that Static Cycle's future is still uncertain. Below is the full statement.
On Monday, some of our internal band conflict was made public. One of the four members of the band chose to delete the other 9 administrators of the Static Cycle facebook page to prevent the management team and the rest of the band from communicating with the fans. The comments made were not discussed or agreed upon by the group. As of yesterday, we regained access to the page. We want to sincerely apologize to all of you; our fans, friends and families. The last few days have taken a great toll on us. We have shared some of the greatest moments in our lives together and there are better ways to deal with conflict... you deserve better from us. At this moment, we do not know if we will continue playing music together and the future of Static Cycle is uncertain. We hope we can retain the valuable friendships we have built. This is bigger than the music, but we pray shortly we can return to making music the focus again. We ask for your patience as we move forward toward a resolution behind closed doors as a family. To those of you who have reached out in support and shared your kind words, thank you so much, you have kept us going the last 48 hours. Static Cycle
Update: Static Cycle's Facebook page appears to have been deleted -- facebook.com/staticcycle now redirects to the Facebook homepage.
Local modern-rock group Static Cycle announced on Facebook that the band is no more.
That was Monday.
Today, the band’s future is less clear. A few hours after the Facebook announcement, Static Cycle frontman Jared Navarre called local radio station KWHL from Houston to state that the band was not done and that the previous announcement was made prematurely.
Then drummer Dennis Smith called KWHL to say that Navarre’s announcement was news to him.
Whatever the group’s future, the outlook isn’t as rosy as it was a month ago. Fresh off the release of “Part 2: Rehydrate,” the band played a big New Year’s Eve show at the Egan Center, sharing the bill with Vertical Horizon, Alien Ant Farm and Hawthorne Heights. The band also got some extra attention thrown its way in late 2010 when Bristol Palin appeared in the video for “Inside This World of Mine.”
Below is the original announcement on Facebook.
Posted: February 3, 2012 - 3:09 pm
When it comes to sushi spots in Anchorage, option paralysis comes easily. Choosing where to go just got a little tougher.
Today was the grand opening of Asian fusion restaurant Silk (there was a soft opening a week ago to iron out some of the kinks ahead of time).
Located on Benson Boulevard in the old Peking Palace location, this is a new venture by the Kim family, long-time movers and shakers in the local dining scene. Song Kim had a sandwich shop called Sub Station on Minnesota Avenue in 1985 before the family eventually opened Sushi Garden and the Korean restaurant VIP, both of which have since been sold. They also own Dish, which son Clyde Kim manages, a role he also fills at Silk.
He was quick to stress each of his relatives’ roles when I talked to him, crediting his mom Song with the ideas and his father for the foundation. His sister Cha Kim, a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, designed Silk’s sleek and modern interior.
Clyde said the sushi menu has been the most popular so far among diners, but the rest of the options cover a wide range of Asian culinary destinations, traveling from Thailand to China to Japan to Korea before landing back in America. Clyde also told me that there’s a different head chef for each type of cuisine.
I got there a little after 11 a.m. and ordered the salmon teriyaki bento box ($18), which included tempura, four California rolls, gyoza and rice – it was almost too much food for just me. By the time I left about an hour later, a steady stream of patrons started pouring into the restaurant.
Clyde told me that the next move for the Kim family is an Asian fusion buffet in East Anchorage. The new place will be called Kogi, which he said will open in April and will host occasional live poetry events.
Where: 500 E. Benson Blvd., Suite 114
Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday
Dinner: 3-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 3-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Posted: February 3, 2012 - 10:20 am
“Big Miracle,” the first major film shot entirely in Alaska, opens today, and most critics have said that it’s better than they thought it would be. New York Times said “ ‘Big Miracle’ gets off to a shaky start, but once revved up, it becomes an involving work-against-the-clock-and-the-odds action movie.” Time Magazine: “(T)his energetic family movie is less insipid than it looks.”
Another big event in the coming week is Dan Savage’s return to the Wendy Williamson. The sex columnist’s “Savage Love Live” sold out the auditorium when he visited two years ago, so you might want to buy your tickets soon.
Valentine's Day is just a couple weeks away, so this week's dining story is a guide to what some restaurants around town have planned.
Below are the rest of this week’s Hot Picks.
Posted: February 1, 2012 - 3:22 pm
Once a year the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward sponsors the Alaska Marine Gala, and this year’s event takes place Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Dena’ina Center. The program includes an appearance by Jeff Corwin, conservationist and host of “The Jeff Corwin Experience” and “Corwin’s Quest” on Animal Planet.
The third annual banquet also includes a charity auction, an awards ceremony recognizing individuals and organizations who champion Alaska’s oceans and a performance by local reggae band H3. Gala guests can also attend a luncheon with Corwin and a reception before the event featuring what a press release from the center called “a special Puffin Experience.”
Tickets are $100 for SeaLife Center members, $150 for everyone else. The press release also said that 60 percent of tickets had been sold as of Jan. 26.
Posted: January 27, 2012 - 11:09 am
We’ve got lots of reasons not to stay at home this week. David Harper’s feature on the cover of Play is about Americana singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. While you might recognize some of his songs as performed by the likes of George Strait or the Dixie Chicks, he’ll likely pull from his own solo catalog that spans more than two decades. He plays 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Snow Goose and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at Vagabond Blues in Palmer. Tickets are $25 and available at Centertix.
The February First Tap is also coming up. Local indie-pop group Lavoy will headline the concert, which will also double as the band’s CD release party. Catch them live and pick up a copy of “Beary Merry” at Bear Tooth, 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $15, available at beartooththeatre.net. You can also catch the band at the Sitzmark Bar and Grill in Girdwood the following Friday and Saturday.
Below are this week’s Hot Picks.
Posted: January 26, 2012 - 5:11 pm
A day before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, local chefs will compete in the fourth annual Soup’r Bowl.
Representing a number of Anchorage restaurants, chefs will vie for the title of best soup in four categories – meat, seafood, vegetarian and cream – with a trophy awarded to the best overall soup. Attendees will vote for their favorites, with each vote moving that restaurant’s football down a field. The restaurant with the most touchdowns wins.
Some of the dining establishments represented will be The Bradley House, Kincaid Grill, Hott Stixx, Tap Root, Bear’s Tooth, Ginger, Humpy’s, Lucky Wishbone, ORSO, Sal’s NY Grill, Gallo’s Mexican Restaurant, Club Paris, Rum Runners, 36 Bistro, Marx Brothers, Snow Goose and Pizza Man.
Hosted by the Anchorage Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, the event takes place noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Howard Johnson Hotel. Entry is $15 for adults, $10 for children 10 and younger. Proceeds benefit the Anchorage Hospitality Foundation.
Posted: January 26, 2012 - 3:23 pm
The date for Diabetes Bachelor Auction, a ladies-only event that benefits the American Diabetes Association, is set for 6:30-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, in the Discovery Ballroom of the Hotel Captain Cook.
Meet the bachelors at 6:30 p.m. before the auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Twenty bachelors with date packages will be auctioned to the highest bidders. Seven “dateless” packages, including a fur coat and a trip to Napa wine country in California, will also be on the auction block.
Posted: January 23, 2012 - 4:12 pm
The Crow’s Nest, that elegant eatery at the top of the Hotel Captain Cook, will soon have a new head chef, according to Raquel Edelen, the hotel’s vice president of operations.
Reuben Gerber, chef at the highly regarded Jack Sprat Restaurant in Girdwood, will transfer his talents to the Cook in late February.
During the interview process, Gerber created a meal for the hotel’s managers.
“Everything he made was fantastic,” raved Edelen.
Changes to the menu won’t come immediately. Gerber wants to get to know his staff and the tastes of the restaurant’s clientele.
The Crow’s Nest is open for dining, 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.
In other Cook news, food and wine options have gone through some happy changes at the newly remodeled Whale’s Tail.
Edelen reports that the hotel has added Alaska’s first self-serve wine-dispensing systems plus a menu of small plate offerings.
The wine systems work like this: First, you purchase either a $10 or a $25 card that works like a gift card and never expires. Insert the card into one of the two wine systems. Then select your wine and your portion — 2, 3 or 4 ounces. The dispensing systems contain 32 bottles of wine — 24 reds and eight whites. There’s an iPad, too, that displays extra information about each of the wines.
“These machines also offer the ability to try a slew of different wines,” wrote Tom Laret, the hotel’s sommelier, in an email. “Or say you just wanted to have some Kobe sliders and one glass of a really nice cab. (You can have) Silver Oak for $15 for a 4-ounce glass. Pours of Meomi pinot noir are $2 per ounce, and Achaval Ferrer Malbec and Mollydooker’s The Boxer shiraz are both $1.75 per ounce.”
And then there’s Opus One. If you’re not inclined to spend $250 for the bottle, you can find out what all the fuss is about with a 2-ounce taste for $16.75.
Good luck making up your mind about which appetizers to try with your wine. Among the 14 total “shareables,” as the online menu calls them, are Asian salmon sliders, marinated and wrapped in butterleaf lettuce or served on Hawaiian sweet rolls with cucumber slaw and wasabi aioli ($12); curry chicken nachos with hearts of palm, pepper jack cheese, rice noodles, wonton chips and coconut curry sauce ($10); peppered bacon-wrapped figs with raspberry and stone fruit salsa ($6). Truffle popcorn, anyone? It’s house-made and costs $4.
Whale’s Tail hours are 5-11 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays and 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. Get more details and full menus at captaincook.com. The hotel is located at 939 W. Fifth Ave.
Posted: January 18, 2012 - 11:06 am
Alaskans have been clamoring for it for years, and the day has finally arrived. Olive Garden opens Monday, Jan. 23.
The Italian food chain includes more than 750 restaurants, and the one at 1186 N. Muldoon Road in the Tikahtnu Commons shopping center will be the first doing business in the state. A press release announcing the grand opening said that the restaurant will also bring 165 new jobs. A second location in South Anchorage is scheduled to later in the year.
The eatery will have dinner-only hours for the first week (4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday), and given the buzz leading up to the opening, you can probably expect a packed house.
Lunch hours begin Saturday, Jan. 28, opening every day at 11 a.m.
Visit the OliveGarden.com/Careers to apply for one of those 165 jobs.
Let us know in the comments: Have you been to an Olive Garden in the Lower 48? What about it has people so excited? Is it better than the Italian restaurants already in town?