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 11, 2011 - 11:39 am
If you’ve made it to one of the Arctic Entries performances at Cyrano’s, then you’ve seen James Keck and Tara Loyd’s creation at work. The storytellers’ forum centers on a theme in each performance, giving the stage to seven Alaskans who each share a 7-minute story. In this week’s issue of Play, learn how the seed was planted and how Keck and Loyd’s idea came to fruition. The next Arctic Entries performance is 7:30 p.m. Monday at Cyrano’s. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. To buy tickets or listen to excerpts from previous shows, visit arctic-entries.com.
Posted: March 10, 2011 - 2:35 pm
Since Café Savannah closed down in 2009, the tapas bar's former space on Sixth Avenue has hosted several different eateries. It was briefly a Wings and Things franchise and then became Downtown Wings. In January it reopened as Town Square Grill.
The restaurant offers a mix of contemporary cuisine with lunch and dinner options catered to the downtown scene. The lunch menu includes a Portobello mushroom bourbon soup (cup $4, bowl $6), an avocado burger made with Swiss cheese and crispy bacon ($13) and a variety of Philly and sub sandwiches ($10-$14).
If you’re still craving a batch of chicken wings, Town Square Grill has them too. Wings are available in a variety of sizes (10 pieces for $10, 20 pieces for $18, 30 pieces for $28, 50 pieces for $39), flavors (barbecue, teriyaki, garlic teriyaki) and heat levels (from mild to fire hot).
The dinner menu has dishes such as beef ribs marinated in root beer barbecue sauce and served with herb mashed potatoes and mini mac and cheese ($24) and a New York Strip with plantain and chimichurri sauce and a balsamic herb salad ($26).
The restaurant also joins the list of First Friday destinations with new art every month.
Town Square Grill
Location: 508 W. 6th Avenue
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Neil Torquiano works behind the scenes in local television and enjoys taking photos. He can be reached at twitter.com/ntorquiano.
Posted: March 10, 2011 - 12:39 pm
Whether you’re looking for sandwich rolls or cinnamon rolls, you can find both freshly baked under one roof on Dimond Boulevard. A Cinnabon Express opened in early January inside the Schlotzsky’s Deli near King Street.
Cinnabon treats include the Cinnabon Classic ($3.50), topped with cinnamon and gooey cream cheese-based frosting and the Pecanbon’s ($4) praline sauces and pecan clusters. To-go packs of six ($15) and four ($13) are available fresh from the oven and the restaurant serves espresso drinks.
The Dimond Cinnabon is the third in town, there are also locations at Anchorage International Airport and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Location: 321 E. Dimond Blvd (inside Schlotzsky’s Deli)
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m.to 8 p.m.
-- Libby Park
Posted: March 9, 2011 - 3:48 pm
Back in December, metalcore aficionados Every Time I Die visited Anchorage for a couple shows – one at Club Millennium and another at Chilkoot Charlie’s. Metal magazine "Decibel" sent roaming scribe J. Bennett north to follow the band, and the resulting article is in this month’s issue.
The band described being creeped out by underage, cage-dancing girls at a previous Club Millennium show and taking the stage after an all-male revue at Koot’s this trip. One band member also expressed agitation over unnamed locals drinking all the backstage beer at the Club Millennium show.
You can preview the article on the "Decibel" website. Bennett described the all-ages gig as intense. Nearly 300 fans went crazy and things got chaotic, with 60 or 70 audience members ending up on stage by set’s end.
Vocalist Keith Buckley offered "Decibel" his theory behind the enthusiastic response.
"When you do a U.S. tour, Alaska’s never even considered," Keith offers after the show. "So, yeah, I feel like people definitely appreciate it more here. They’re isolated from the rest of the country, so they’re a little more feverish about their music. That’s kinda why I love it up here."
Posted: March 9, 2011 - 11:43 am
UAA’s Concert Board announced a St. Vincent show this morning. The Texas singer has two solo albums and has played with the Polyphonic Spree, Sufjan Stevens and Glenn Branca.
Here’s a video of her song "Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood."
When: Friday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wendy Williamson Auditorium at UAA
Tickets: On sale March 18, $10-$30, UAATix.com
-- Spencer Shroyer
Posted: March 4, 2011 - 2:51 pm
Norwegian indie-rockers Heroes and Zeros begin the Alaska leg of their tour tonight at the Mountain View Community Center. The tour comes about from Nordic Hus, a Norway-centric music and arts agency set up by Erik Braund. We did a profile on the Alaskan’s Nordic endeavors in this week’s Play feature, which you can give a gander over here. Tonight’s all-ages show takes place 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. They play again Saturday at Koot’s. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 (21 and older).
Of course, you’ve also got plenty of Rondy options this weekend, including the ever-popular Running of the Reindeer, my new personal favorite – Yukigassen and the Big Air Snowboarding Demo, which has already been postponed twice due to last week’s heavy winds. The complete schedule is in the print edition of Play and over on the Fur Rondy website.
On top of all that, today is also the first Friday of the month, meaning lots of art openings in galleries and cafes around town. Check out a map of some of the participating venues over here. Mike Dunham also offers his roundup in this week’s Art Scene.
Here are the rest of this week’s Hot Picks.
Posted: March 4, 2011 - 1:38 pm
We just got wind of the upcoming Alaska State Fair lineup. Here's what's been announced so far - there are still a handful of "TBAs." Any acts you want to see (or avoid)?
Aug. 25: Queensryche
Aug. 26: Chevelle
Aug. 27 Craig Morgan
Aug. 29: Foghat
Aug. 30: Charlie Daniels
Aug. 31: Rat Pack Review
Sept. 1: Uncle Kracker
Sept. 5: Colbie Caillat
Play Designer Kevin Powell (who is a huge Queensryche fan) said he can’t think about Foghat without remembering this classic Jim Carrey moment.
Buy tickets and get more info here.
-- Spencer Shroyer
Posted: March 3, 2011 - 4:06 pm
Funny thing about bad news; people always remember what they were doing the moment they received it. I was at the Moose Dropping Festival in Talkeetna during the summer of 2008 when a friend texted me with the terrible report that Peter’s Sushi had burned down.
Posted: March 3, 2011 - 3:44 pm
Given the big shows announced earlier this week and the others filling our the ever-growing Early Warning listings in Play, these two additions fit what seems to be an ongoing trend in the types of high-profile shows coming to Anchorage – metalcore and comedy. With those shows plus Randy Newman, Chelsea Handler, Gin Blossoms and Seven Mary Three, April and May are shaping up to be busy concert-going months around town, which should provide respite from the wet and slushy break-up season to come.
In the metalcore category we’ve got Pennsylvania’s August Burns Red. The melodic riff-mongers are playing a couple shows, a 21-and-older one at Koot’s, April 14, and an all-ages one the next day at Club Millennium.
The comedy show is George Lopez, host of his own late-night talk show on TBS called “Lopez Tonight.” The TV and film star will perform stand-up comedy on April 8 at Atwood Concert Hall.
Full details for each show are below, plus August Burns Red’s video for the song “Meddler” from the album “Constellations.”
Posted: March 2, 2011 - 3:29 pm
Before Fitz and the Tantrums make the trek north for tomorrow’s First Tap show at Bear Tooth, the funk and soul group made a stop in Los Angeles to appear on last night’s episode of “Conan.” Check out the video from the performance below.
Last we heard tickets were still available for the show and selling for $28 a pop (21 and older). Check beartooththeatre.net for details.
In other First Tap news, Bear Tooth announced that the performers for the April show will be Colorado-based hard rock trio Rose Hill Drive. Details below
Who: Rose Hill Drive
When: 9 p.m. Thursday, April 7
Where: Bear Tooth Theatrepub
Tickets: $28, beartooththeatre.net
Posted: February 28, 2011 - 3:51 pm
Got word on three big names coming to Alaska today and it's quite a mix. There's everything from a pioneering gangsta rapper to a metalcore band and a country act with a song about "honky tonk badonkadonk." Here are the specifics, post a comment if there's anyone you're planning on seeing (or avoiding).
When: Friday, April 22, 8 p.m.
Where: Egan Center
Tickets: $32.50 - $38.50 (fees may apply), on sale March 18 at ticketmaster.com
Posted: February 25, 2011 - 10:54 am
Another Fur Rondy is upon us – the 76th consecutive one, in fact. In today’s issue of Play we highlight some of our Rondy favorites, from the inaugural Yukigassen snowball fight to the fourth Running of the Reindeer to a visit from Travel Channel’s “Bert the Conqueror.” You can also check arts reporter Mike Dunham’s day-by-day rundown of noteworthy events, and the full official calendar is over on the Fur Rondy website.
Thanks to Twitter user @birkedal for bringing this video to our attention.
Posted: February 24, 2011 - 5:53 pm
The film industry may be celebrating the Oscars on Sunday, but last week foodies learned the semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Each year the foundation recognizes the best restaurants, chefs, food authors and more. Among the many categories, an Alaskan is one of 20 in the running for best chef in the Northwest.
Christopher Vane, executive chef of Crush Wine Bistro and Cellar, was nominated as a semifinalist in that category, which also includes chefs from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Vane joined the Crush staff in 2009 and was named executive chef last year, but his culinary career includes stints on the North Slope and an apprenticeship in North Carolina.
Anyone can nominate an individual or business for an award during the foundation’s open call for entries in the fall. From there a committee chooses the semifinalists, with a ballot circulated to panelists, restaurant committees and past award winners. Finalists will be announced next month, with winners recognized at the awards ceremony in New York City in May.
Alaska brought home a James Beard Award last year in the America’s Classics category. Gustavus Inn – located in the tiny town of Gustavus in Southeast Alaska, home to fewer than 500 people – was one of five honorees for an award recognizing “(a) restaurant with timeless appeal, beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community.”
Posted: February 23, 2011 - 4:13 pm
When the former Alaskans in the Builders and the Butchers came up from their home base of Portland, Ore., for a show back in November, their new album “Dead Reckoning” had just been released in Europe. Yesterday that record came out Stateside on Badman records.
The early reviews have mostly leaned positive. The Onion's A/V Club gave it a B+, Paste Magazine gave it a 6.8 out of 10. On All Music Guide it scored three out of five stars, while Consequence of Sound awarded four out of five.
Posted: February 21, 2011 - 3:17 pm
How cool is it that the ADN asked me to do a little feature every week? I think they’re nuts, letting me have a venue to put my thoughts on music into words. They obviously have never listened to my show (2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 94.7 The End, KZND). I’m going to give you five songs every week to check out and put in your iPod or MP3 player. Or, if you are old school like me, a tape deck. Let’s do this.
Posted: February 18, 2011 - 4:16 pm
For those of you willing to slog through the inches of fresh snow out there, here are some options for getting out on the town this week.
On Wednesday, Oakland, Calif., indie rockers Rogue Wave visit UAA for a performance. Read Rosey Robards’ Nightlife feature from this week’s issue of Play and learn about the band’s plans for an interactive sound installation in the hometown and how a member recently gained a kidney. The show takes place 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Wendy Williams Auditorium. Tickets are $10-$25. Check
The rest of this week’s Hot Picks include a couple performances indebted to musical icons, one of the state’s biggest basketball rivalries and more.
Posted: February 17, 2011 - 5:19 pm
Norwegian band Heroes & Zeros are setting out on a U.S. tour in a couple weeks, and six of the eight shows take place in Alaska. That’s because the poppy and energetic rock group’s visit comes courtesy of former Alaskan Erik Braund’s Nordic Hus, an organization the engineer, producer and musician has set up as the self-described “Norwegian Music Embassy in America.”
Nordic Hus is bringing up a second band from Norway later this year, The List. But for now, here are upcoming Heroes & Zeros tour dates. Look for a feature on Nordic Hus in Play in the next couple weeks.
Posted: February 15, 2011 - 11:14 am
You can’t miss the tall, purple sign denoting Barbie’s Café on Lake Otis Parkway at 68th Avenue. The name of the café brings to life childhood fantasies of Mattel’s Barbie doll in a pink, lacy apron serving Ken a plate of plastic eggs in a Pepto-Bismol pink kitchenette.
But there’s a different reason behind the restaurant’s catchy title.
“The name is mine,” said owner Barbie Williams, a lifelong Alaskan.
Posted: February 11, 2011 - 11:09 am
After one member received a clean bill of health and another attempted to clear his conscious, Montgomery Gentry return to Anchorage on Thursday. The American Country Association’s perennial Best Vocal Duo nominees had a brush with cancer last year, while Troy Gentry went public with an apology for an embarrassing legal battle nearly five years prior. Read all about it in this week’s Nightlife feature. The show takes place Thursday, 8 p.m. at Sullivan Arena. Tickets are $39.50-$59.20 (fees may apply). Visit ticketmaster.com for info.
Of course, before that is Valentine’s Day weekend. There’s a special section in the print calendar this week for special Valentine-themed events around town. You can also check our online calendar for anything that might have been added too late for print. If you're looking to take that special someone out to eat, we have a roundup of places around town that are offering Valentine's themed meals.
Posted: February 10, 2011 - 4:29 pm
News of this event came to our attention too late for us to get it included in the events calendar in tomorrow’s issue of Play, but it’s worth noting here. Friday is the third annual Mountain Metal Mayhem in Girdwood. The event is a fundraiser for the Girdwood Skate Park and features a snowboard competition from 6-8 p.m. Registration begins 2 p.m., with a $20 entry fee.
That night is where the metal portion comes into play. The lineup includes death/grind locals Bolt Action Beaver, bleeding-heart hardcore-punks She, pop-punk stalwarts Spitshine and local group Saints. I have no idea what the last one sounds like, having never seen them live. Having conducted what I feel is a reasonably thorough Google search of what’s not an especially Google-friendly moniker, I’ve dug up nothing. Google’s cache turned up a Facebook page that doesn’t seem to exist anymore, and the band’s MySpace page is devoid of songs. If it helps, they list their genre as “Hardcore/Metal/Southern Rock.” Anyone out there with the scoop on these guys?
Details for the show are below.
Who: Bolt Action Beaver, She, Spitshine, Saints
Where: Sitzmark Bar at Alyeska Resort, Girdwood
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11.
How much: $10 (21 and over)