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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, 2011 - 3:27 pm
Film fans in the Wasilla area will soon have a movie-going option closer to home. Coming Attractions Theaters, which owns and operates facilities throughout the Pacific Northwest, recently acquired Valley River Cinema, renaming it Eagle River Cinema. That same company has also announced this Friday’s grand opening of The Valley Cinema, located at 3331 East Old Matanuska Road.
The new theater houses 12 screens, features stadium seating and will present select 3-D presentations. It also includes the Backstage Bistro, which will cater to the 21-and-over crowd.
No word yet on what the opening day movies will be, and the phone number listed as the movie info line doesn't seem to work. Hopefully we’ll have the full listings in time for this week’s issue of Play.
UPDATE: For upcoming movies at The Valley Cinema, @kaseynicole passed along this link via Twitter. Based on this, it looks like "Rio" will be the first movie screened at the new theater. The 3-D presention starts noon Friday.
Posted: April 15, 2011 - 12:03 pm
My Facebook newsfeed has been abuzz about tonight’s St. Vincent show. Daily News contributor Paul Flahive talked to St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark about her visit to Alaska and what it means to be a working musician in what she calls the “musical middle class.” Tonight’s show starts 7:30 p.m. at Wendy Williamson. Last I heard, tickets are still available: $30 at the door, $20 for students. Check uaatix.com for info.
We highlighted a couple more noteworthy shows in the Hot Picks. One of those is Randy Newman, who made a name for himself in the ‘70s with satirical and often sarcastic songs. These days his focus has mostly been music for film, including the hit “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” first heard in “Toy Story.” Newman performs 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Atwood Concert Hall. Tickets are $29-$75. Visit centertix.net for info.
The other is a showcase of local lyrical talent. Some of Anchorage’s most prominent songwriters and poets share the stage tonight for the Acoustic North showcase. Performers include Melissa Mitchell, Amy Lou, Jared Woods, Marian Call, Liz Malys, Corinna Delgado and more. Show starts 8 p.m. at Snow Goose Theater. Tickets are $10-$15. The showcase will also be streaming online. Check mariancall.com for details.
And while we didn't make mention of this in the print edition of Play, tomorrow is Record Store Day. Stores across the country are participating, with a slew of special releases coming out to coincide with the event, including a Radiohead 12" record, four tracks from Daft Punk's "Tron: Legacy" soundtrack on translucent vinyl, a live EP from the Decemberists and much more. According to the Record Store Day website, the only participating store in Alaska is Mammoth Music downtown.
Be sure to check arts reporter Mike Dunham’s suggestions for getting out and about in his Art Scene roundup. And if you feel like catching a flick this weekend, film critic Roger Moore has nothing but good things to say about “Rio.”
Have fun out there.
Posted: April 15, 2011 - 10:16 am
The annual Battle to Warped Tour got under way this past Wednesday. The month-long event features local bands competing each week for the opportunity to head down to the Lower 48 and join the 2011 Warped Tour for select dates. This year’s winner will join a bill that features headliners 3OH!3, Gym Class Heroes, A Day to Remember, Against Me!, Attack Attack! (crabcore!), August Burns Red (who will be playing here first), Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada. The tour starts June 24 in Dallas. Check the full lineup over here.
Spread across three weeks, 35 local bands will vie for the opportunity at Club Millennium and Chilkoot Charlie’s, with the younger-than-21 bands performing at the former and the of-age crowd at the latter. One band will be chosen each night to advance to the semifinals, which are May 4 at Koot’s and May 7 at Club Millennium. The finals take place May 14 at Koot’s, with guest judges Page Hamilton (from the band Helmet), Sarah Maer (Warped Tour marketing director) and Carlos Donahue (manager for Social Distortion, Pennywise and Good Charlotte) deciding who joins this year’s Warped Tour.
The judges will make their decisions based on originality, performance and crowd participation. Based on that criteria, out of a Wednesday night lineup that included Robots Helping Clones, Holly and the Fantastics, Ghost Hands, Sky Is Falling, Brothers Ward and Distraught, local punk rockers Spitshine were chosen to move on in the competition.
Did I mention Page Hamilton is going to be a judge?!
Here are the lineups for the rest of the preliminary Battle to Warped Tour shows. Koot’s shows are free, while the ones at Club Millennium will set you back $10.
Posted: April 14, 2011 - 4:00 pm
Not sure when this was originally announce, but another upcoming event was just brought to my attention. Electronic music duo The Crystal Method will perform a DJ set at Koot’s on Friday, May 27.
The pair scored its biggest hit in 1997 with the release of “Vegas.” The album produced the hits “Busy Child” and “Keep Hope Alive” and was eventually certified platinum.
Posted: April 13, 2011 - 2:34 pm
The city gains another beer fest this weekend, as Tap Root hosts its inaugural Spenard Beer and Mead Social. The event includes two sessions on Saturday. The first runs noon-3 p.m., and the other is 4-7 p.m., with food, music and representatives from breweries and meaderies throughout Alaska on hand.
Attendees in each session receive 15 tickets for drinks from participating vendors and a souvenir glass, as well as free entry later that evening to the Jack River Kings concert at 10 p.m. Each session is limited to 300 people. Tickets are $30, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Green Star, a non-profit agency that encourages businesses to practice waste reduction and energy conservation and promotes pollution prevention through education.
Posted: April 12, 2011 - 11:48 am
From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage –
“Deadliest Catch” nerds descended on Seattle over the weekend for CatchCon 2011, where the captains gave a little preview of the upcoming season that launches with a new episode at 8 p.m. tonight on Discovery.
Posted: April 11, 2011 - 2:16 pm
From Kyle Hopkins
Firetap Alehouse, the O’Malley & Old Seward eatery, will begin building a new location at the East Anchorage Tikahtnu Commons mall this spring.
That according to Jim Jager, spokesman for Cook Inlet Region Inc., which owns the massive new shopping complex.
So: Another option for pizza and beer after you blast your eardrums and eyeballs at the IMAX theater.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more restaurant and store announcements at the northeast Anchorage mall. More deals are in the works, but CIRI isn’t ready to talk yet.
Related: 2009 Firetap restaurant review.
Posted: April 8, 2011 - 4:58 pm
A handful high-profile shows were announced this past week, ranging from some former locals, a one-man jam band and the most dangerous bandname to Google while at work.
Posted: April 7, 2011 - 12:02 pm
From Mike Dunham -
Think you could be the next global music phenom?
The first step to getting on a new television talent show, belting out your best in front of a live audience of thousands, wowing celebrity judges and winning a $5 million recording contract is as close as the Dimond Center. There, a bright, high-tech, hexagonal booth will let you create your own do-it-yourself audition for the show.
A press release from Fox television said auditions for Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor,” scheduled to air starting in September, could be submitted via any of several MyStudio booths set up around the country. Anchorage’s booth will be open April 12-30 near Zumiez skate shop in the mall.
People — individuals or groups — who want to audition will enter the booth, follow the instructions and have 30 seconds to introduce themselves amd make the case for why they’re the next superstar. Then they’ll get another 90 seconds to sing an unaccompanied sample.
The state-of-the-art audio/video recordings made in the booth will be reviewed by producers to determine who gets summoned to advance in the competition.
They’ll call you.
“The X Factor,” scheduled to air on the Fox network in September, is patterned after the British show of the same name. It’s been the U.K.’s top-rated program for the past seven years, with a 65 percent audience share in the 2010 finale. It’s been spun off with huge success in other countries in Europe and South America.
The program is a production of Simon Cowell, who has also produced “America’s Got Talent” and was the notoriously critical judge on “American Idol” through last season. His departure from “Idol” was connected to his new gig as both producer and judge on “The X Factor.”
One thing that makes the show different, according to Fox, is that it attempts to weigh the intangibles of charisma and stage presence, in addition to vocal ability. “The first time a contestant auditions for the judges, he/she will do so in front of an audience of thousands — raising the stakes and increasing the pressure to impress not only the judges, but also a potential legion of fans.”
Competitors must be age 12 or older. There is no charge for the self-service audition. Other MyStudio booths will be set up in Honolulu, Phoenix, Nashville, Kansas City and Denver. More information is available at fox.com/theXfactor or by calling 855-345-5678.
Reach Mike Dunham at email@example.com or 257-4332.
Posted: April 4, 2011 - 4:13 pm
The Alaska ex-pats in the Builders and the Butchers are teaming up with former tourmates Murder by Death for a split 7-inch record, which will be released on the latter’s Tent Show Records. For the release, each band will cover a song by the other, while the Builders and the Butchers member Ray Rude – who also has a one-man project called Mission Operation that makes music with Nintendo Gameboys – will also contribute reworked versions of songs from each band.
But before the release of the split, the bands are accepting fan-submitted artwork for the record jacket. Each group will select a favorite design for each side. The two winners will receive both bands' catalog of full-length albums on vinyl, plus five copies of the upcoming split.
To submit an entry, send a 7-inch by 7-inch, high-resolution Photoshop file to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submission is May 25.
Below are the upcoming dates in Builders and the Butchers’ current Lower 48 tour.
Posted: April 4, 2011 - 11:31 am
From Kyle Hopkins –
Live in Anchorage? Renovated your house within the past three years?
HGTV is looking for Alaska homeowners to feature in an upcoming episode of a show called “Bang for Your Buck.”
Each episode compares three similar renovations, with similar price tags, in the same city. A design and real estate expert talk about how much all that hard work added to each home’s property value. (Who got the most bang for their buck? Get it?)
In Anchorage, the producers are looking for people who are creating so-called “great rooms” in their homes.
A “great room” is “an open concept living room, kitchen, den,” said Denielle Johnson of production company High Noon Entertainment.
You can apply for the show by calling Johnson at (303) 872-8721 or emailing email@example.com.
Applications are due April 22
Posted: March 31, 2011 - 2:41 pm
The Anchorage Concert Association has announced its upcoming events for the 2011/2012 season. Highlights include the four-time-Grammy-winning singer and songwriter k.d. lang, the musicals “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Beauty and the Beast,” swing revival group Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, recent Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette and actress and comedian Lily Tomlin.
To help you keep all these events organized in your calendar, several months back the Anchorage Concert Association launched its own iPhone app. Below is the full list of the shows announce, so you’ve got plenty of time to save a date or two.
Posted: March 30, 2011 - 5:14 pm
Being sick is the worst. Okay scratch that, being sick and then losing your car keys in the worst. Let’s pick some songs.
Five Songs that Don't Suck (March 30 edition)
Posted: March 30, 2011 - 10:16 am
The World Magic Seminar came to a close March 2 in Las Vegas, and during the event Anchorage resident Eric Giliam was named the 2011 World Teen Magic Champion. The 19-year-old West High School graduate beat the competition with a 7-minute stage performance in which he turned a number of black objects orange and made his own body disappear from the waist up.
Below is a YouTube clip of Giliam performing an early version of the routine at the 2008 World Magic Seminar.
Posted: March 25, 2011 - 11:07 am
Just got some info from the Moose's Tooth about this year's summer solstice show with Slightly Stoopid. Tickets go on sale April 1, but it's not a gag.
Here are the specifics:
When: June 18, doors at 6 p.m. show at 7
Where: Outside at the Moose’s Tooth
Tickets: $35, on sale April 1, 11 a.m., 21 and older
More info: beartooththeatre.net
-- Spencer Shroyer
Posted: March 24, 2011 - 5:01 pm
Hot on the heels of the Dokken show at the Egan Center earlier this month, another ‘80s rock powerhouse is scheduled to perform in Alaska. Great White, with hair metal-era hits like “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Rock Me,” are playing Rumrunners Friday, April 22.
The band is also playing a gig in Wasilla, but at a venue you may not recognize. The owner of Rumrunners bought the Mat-Su Resort and is renaming it Rumrunners at the Mat-Su Resort. Great White play there Saturday, April 23.
Full details for each show are below.
Posted: March 23, 2011 - 4:57 pm
I am the worst at deadlines. The ADN peeps are the best cause they haven’t beat me up yet. Glad I don’t get paid to do this ‘cause I’d be fired by now. TO THE LIST!!!
Five Songs that Don't Suck (March 25 edition)
Posted: March 21, 2011 - 5:15 pm
Summer Meltdown VI with 36 Crazyfists
When: Saturday, July 16, 3 p.m.
Where: Dena'ina Center
Ages: All-ages, full bar with ID
Tickets: $30 advance, $36 at the door, available at ticketmaster outlets, on sale date TBA
More info: aksoul.com
-- Spencer Shroyer
Posted: March 14, 2011 - 5:12 pm
Man this has been a crazy week. Spenardi Gras killed me. I’m still hungover. I did finally get a chance to go through some great new music this week so let’s pick some songs!
Posted: March 14, 2011 - 11:25 am
Update:The Moose's Tooth posted on its FaceBook page that the Greyboy Allstars show scheduled for April 21 is being postponed. A new date has not been announced yet. According to the post, the Moose's Tooth is looking for a replacement.
Where: The Bear Tooth
The June performance of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has not been changed.
-- Spencer Shroyer