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 arts@adn.com, 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

REVIEW: 'SHREK: THE MUSICAL'

By DONNA FREEDMAN

“Shrek: The Musical” is a fairy tale for grownups and, to some extent, for children. But it’s a mistake to bring preschoolers to this show — a kiddie cartoon it ain’t. During Sunday’s matinee, small fry were squirming and sighing and asking audible questions.

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REVIEW: 'MRS. PRESIDENT'

By MIKE DUNHAM

Composer Victoria Bond’s “Mrs. President” opened at the Discovery Theatre on Friday night and the audience seemed a little surprised to find itself liking the contemporary opera as much as they did.

The music, while modern, is not at all abrasive and, in fact, finds room for some agreeable melodic gestures. The plot, drawn from a fascinating episode of American history, raises socio-political issues that remain resonant. The principal singers are all superb.

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Review: Autumn Classics night 2

By MIKE DUNHAM

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Review: Autumn Classics night 1

By MIKE DUNHAM

The Alaska Airlines Autumn Classics chamber music series kicked off on Friday and, for the first time in memory, founder Paul Rosenthal was not in the picture.

“It’s the first time that the entire series has been my vision,” said cellist Zuill Bailey, the new director of the Classics and its parent organization, the Sitka Summer Music Festival.

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You Be the Critic: VPA's 'Pink Panther'

By Paul Broderson
Erin and Ted Carney as Olga and Clouseau: Photo courtesy VPA.Erin and Ted Carney as Olga and Clouseau: Photo courtesy VPA.

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First Friday Rambles: Mehner installation a stunner

By MIKE DUNHAM

Da-ka-xeen Mehner’s installation “Finding My Song” on the top floor of the Anchorage Museum is perhaps the most impressive display I’ve ever seen in that space. The windows facing the Chugach Mountains have been blocked, creating the feeling of going inside a building. Two screens in the center of the space replicate the angles of a Tlingit clan house. But one’s attention is immediately diverted by what’s in front of those screens, a circle of 14 oversize spear points.

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Vidal's first novel set in Aleutians

Gore Vidal: with movie star Ella Raines at the Stork Club in New York City in April 1950, four years after he published his first novel, "Williwaw," based on his experience as a mate on a troop ship in the Aleutians. APGore Vidal: with movie star Ella Raines at the Stork Club in New York City in April 1950, four years after he published his first novel, "Williwaw," based on his experience as a mate on a troop ship in the Aleutians. APAuthor Gore Vidal, who died on July 31, is best known as a stylish, urbane wordsmith who generally wrote about people and places most of us consider luxurious.

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REVIEW: "GOLD RUSH GIRLS"

By MIKE DUNHAM

Three things immediately came to mind at the first ever performance of “Gold Rush Girls” at Cyrano’s on July 27.

One: The new musical by Karmo and Jerry Sanders, “inspired by Lael Morgan’s classic history ‘Good Time Girls’,” has as much in common with Morgan’s book as “The Lion King” has with Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”

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REVIEW: 'LAST DAY ON EARTH'

Steve Kazmierczak: From the shooter's MySpace page. APSteve Kazmierczak: From the shooter's MySpace page. AP
By MIKE DUNHAM

(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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Rarefied Light winners announced

Taurus: Maggie Skiba's winning photo.Taurus: Maggie Skiba's winning photo.
The Anchorage Museum has announced winners of this year's Rarefied Light, annual juried exhibition. The highly competitive contest, organized by the Alaska Photographic Center, showcases fine art photography from Alaska.

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Sea slop to art

By MIKE DUNHAM
Step one: Throw junk in the ocean and wait for it to wash up on a beach. Photo: Chris PallisterStep one: Throw junk in the ocean and wait for it to wash up on a beach. Photo: Chris Pallister

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Sea slop to art

By MIKE DUNHAM
Step one: Throw junk in the ocean and wait for it to wash up on a beach. Photo: Chris PallisterStep one: Throw junk in the ocean and wait for it to wash up on a beach. Photo: Chris Pallister

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Rock version of 'Spring Awakening' opens tonight

Cast of "Spring Awakening": Teens belt out their woes at Out North. Photo: Vicente CapalaCast of "Spring Awakening": Teens belt out their woes at Out North. Photo: Vicente CapalaCaleb Bourgeois is making an ambitious directorial debut tonight, overseeing Out North’s production of “Spring Awakening,” the Tony-bedecked rock musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik based on the play of the same name by Frank Wedekind.

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Emerging Alaska authors sought for national prize

So you think you can write?

Every year, Poets & Writers — the national nonprofit group serving creative writing and publishers of Poets & Writers magazine — picks one state and invites authors living there to submit material for the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.

The award was first given in 1984. Since then writers from 33 states have had their shot. 2013 is Alaska’s turn.

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Denali lures composers - first concert on Saturday

By MIKE DUNHAM
Stephen Lias: Composer at the Denali Park cabin used by artists in residence, May 2011. The spikes are supposed to deter bears from breaking in.Stephen Lias: Composer at the Denali Park cabin used by artists in residence, May 2011. The spikes are supposed to deter bears from breaking in.
Updating a previous post -

All those people scribbling furiously on pads near the Teklanika Field Camp in Denali National Park and Preserve next week won’t be biologists jotting down scientific data. They’ll be composers, writing music as part of a unique course offered by the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

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Fundraiser extended and sweetened

Hutton in "20th Century Man"Hutton in "20th Century Man"An email from local playwright/poet Brian Hutton reports the latest in his quest to raise funds via US Artists to bring productions of two pieces to Seattle. The original deadline to raise the funds was Sunday, but that has been moved to Friday, he says:

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What Friends Do

Guitta Corey and Ken Schoenberg: at home in Sept. 2011Guitta Corey and Ken Schoenberg: at home in Sept. 2011(Last year we featured an article on Ken Schoenberg, husband of artist Guitta Corey, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and how friends rebuilt parts of their house to make his final days more comfortable. Schoenberg died on June 16. Corey has written to say that the experience has redirected her attention away from making art and asked that we pass along this letter of thanks to those who helped her husband.)

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Review: Acoustic installations at International

I found the acoustic/visual exhibits at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art this month somewhat baffling on both fronts. It took a lot of ingenuity for D.J. Jacob Mattie to assemble a real vinyl turntable that connects to video when the viewer puts the needle down on it and the mouse that lets visitors control the sound of the wind at the installation in the center gallery of Alaska’s Burtner clan (Garrett, Matthew and Jesse) is also technologically intriguing. Aesthetically, however, I saw little to engage either my curiosity or passion.

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REVIEW: 'BREAKING ARCTIC ICE'

Re-visiting the historic 1969 voyage of the SS Manhattan
SS Manhattan: breaking trail for a Canadian icebreaker on its second voyage through the Northwest Passage. Photo: APSS Manhattan: breaking trail for a Canadian icebreaker on its second voyage through the Northwest Passage. Photo: AP
Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil: The Epic Voyage of the SS Manhattan through the Northwest Passage, by Ross Coen, 2012, University of Alaska Press, 215 pps, U.S. $24.95

Reviewed by JOE E. LaROCCA

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Crystal skull cancels Anchorage stop

An appearance by “Max, the ancient crystal skull” and its owner — “keeper” in the words of press material — JoAnn Parks in a lecture on July 14 at Wendy Williamson Auditorium has been cancelled according to a posting at centertix.org.

It would have be the first visit to Alaska by both.
The crystal skull at the British Museum: The inspiration for John Haines' poem. britishmuseum.org.The crystal skull at the British Museum: The inspiration for John Haines' poem. britishmuseum.org.

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