“First Alaskans” is artist Pamela “Asiak” Nolcini’s name for her exhibit that debuted as a First Friday exhibit at Photo Depot this month. Not ‘First Alaskans’ as in pioneers of the state’s oil industry. Not ‘First Alaskans’ as in homesteaders looking for a piece of land where they could build a home. Not ‘First Alaskans’ as the rush of individuals who journeyed north with dreams of gold.
BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
For the next two months, in messenger bags, backpacks, briefcases and purses, Homer readers will be carrying cell phones, laptop computers, gum, cough drops, wallets, faded photographs, thumb drives, lip stick and lip balm, gloves, pens, pencils, notepads, worry beads, rosaries, sea glass, beach stones, and, oh yeah, a thin little novel about the Vietnam War. Among the things they will carry is “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien’s 1990 novel.
Listen to Matt Andersen’s music, and you hear a deep, growling voice that could come from blues country in Chicago or the Mississippi Delta. There’s also a bit of Appalachia twang — Johnny Cash crossed with B.B. King. Backing his strong voice is Andersen’s equally powerful slide guitar.
“You know it hurts so bad
every time she cries / wishin’ I was there
to wipe the tears from her eyes,” he sings in “When My Angel Gets the Blues.”
Holy Santos Gang raising funds to record new album
When last we checked in with the musical career of Homer-grown musician Andrew Vait, Vait had these projects in mind:
• Distinguish his solo career as an acoustic, alt-country-folk singer from that of his retro-rock band, Eternal Fair;
• Produce an extended play album for Eternal Fair, “Eternal Fair: Volume 1,” and
• Build his and Eternal Fair’s fan following in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
Registration has started for the 2013 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, to be held June 14-18 at Land’s End Resort. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye is the keynote presenter. The early registration fee is $375, space available, with a University of Alaska special admitted student rate.
Bunnell Street Arts Center presents a live-radio version of the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28 and 29 and 3 p.m. Dec. 29. Based on the 1946 film, the original film cast also did a radio broadcast in 1947. Playwright Joe Landry adapted it for this version. Cyrano’s Theatre of Anchorage presents the Bunnell play. Anchorage Daily News reviewer Donna Freedman describes the play as “a novel and entirely entertaining way to look at the classic film that’s become a holiday tradition.” Suggested admission is $15.
Bunnell Street Arts Center and the Homer Council on the Arts both have received National Endowment for the Arts grants. Two of 153 nonprofits nationally to receive award, the Homer arts organizations each received $10,000 NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grants. The grants provide partial funding for major arts projects. Three other Alaska arts organizations received grants.
“It’s just amazing five came to Alaska and two are in Homer,” said Gail Edgerly, HCOA director.
Bunnell will use the grant for its Artist in Residence program.
Aargh, matey, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand might be a rough, hard working Bering Sea crabber, but it turns out he’s got a heart of gold — and the heart of a kid. Johnathan and his brother Andy Hillstrand are the captains of the F/V Time Bandit, the Homer based crabbing boat that’s featured in the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch reality TV show.
Bait & Tassels
performs at Alice’s
Homer’s burlesque troupe, Bait & Tassels, presents “Under the Big Top” at Alice’s Champagne Palace at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Dec. 21 and 22. Enjoy an evening of carnival inspired neoburlesque acts, including daring aerial performances, tap dancing and miming, magic tricks and more.
Tickets are available now at Alice’s and at the Fringe for $20 and $25 the day of the show. Proceeds benefit the Kevin Bell Ice Arena.
For ages 21 and over, the show is rated R for “risque.”
A new multi-artist exhibit at Ptarmigan Arts, “Aurora Borealis,” not only offers some of the best northern lights photographers in Homer, it also shows that to take awesome photographs of the Alaska winter sky you don’t need the newest and best digital camera equipment.
Opening last week, and on display through January, photographs by Dennis Anderson, Don Pitcher, and the Wild North Photography partners Tom Collopy and Mary Frische capture the amazing displays Homer wishes for — but doesn’t always get — in these dark winter months.
Now in its second year with the new generation of artistic directors, the Homer Nutcracker Ballet continues in the tradition of always bringing some fresh features to the classical holiday production. As they did last year, directors Breezy Berryman and Jennifer Norton ground Tchaikovsky’s ballet in the original story line of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a tale of a curse put on a prince that turns him into a wooden nutcracker.
The ever changing and evolving Homer First Friday circuit sees two new venues offering shows this week. With K-Bay Caffe's new location on Pioneer Avenue next to Refuge Chapel and the Grog Shop, the longtime coffee roaster now has a cafe with live music and, starting Friday, art. Adam Green, who also works as a barista at K-Bay Caffe, shows his bold mixed-media paintings that experiment with color, texture, form and negative space. Across the street from K-Bay Caffe, Photo Depot also has an art show this month.
Annual Nutcracker Ballet opens
The 24th annual production of Homer’s Nutcracker Ballet opens with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Mariner Theatre, with shows also at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The ballet continues next weekend at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 3 p.m. Dec. 8. All tickets are $10 and on sale at the Homer Bookstore and River City Books in Soldotna.
Applications due for Bunnell proposals
Homer’s fiber artists can be found all over, at shows like Wearable Arts, in galleries and even in small couture shops. If you want to find the heart of the art and its historical center, look no further than the Pratt Museum.
Long a home to community quilters, who for decades have created raffle quilts like this year’s “From the Sky to the Sea,” through acquiring quilts for its collection and in shows like the 2007 exhibit, “Celebrating Quilts and Quilters,” the Pratt has examined quilts as a genuine art form.
Eternal Fair, Homer-grown musician Andrew Vait’s group, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its debut full-length album.
“The songs that we’re going to record tell a story that deals with the passing of time, the hope for a better future for our children, about dreams, and the places we’ll go when we’re all done here,” Vait said. “We want to invite Homer to be a part of the story. Some of the rewards include an advance digital copy of the album, CDs, vinyl and some other interesting incentives.”
“Alaska Sessions,” a film about a month-long surfing trip from Sitka to Homer, shows again at 1 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Homer Theatre. Admission is $8.
For nearly a dozen years, writers have been gathering annually on the shores of Kachemak Bay, sharing their talents, insights and expertise, and celebrating their enchantment with literature, thanks in no small measure to the enthusiasm of one woman.
The Octopus Garden, a Homer Spit shop open in the summer, holds a special winter show over the Thanksgiving weekend at owner Lynn Naden’s home studio and gallery. More than 20 local artists show their work from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m Nov. 23, 24 and 25, at the gallery at 59965 Kittiwake Court, off Mile 2.8 East End Road. Turn left on the east loop of Bear Creek Drive and take the first left on Kittiwake Court.
For more information, call Naden at 235-5966.
The deadline for the Homer Council on the Arts 21st annual Kenai Peninsula Writers Contest is fast approaching. Entries are due Nov. 21. Literary artists can enter poetry, fiction and nonfiction in categories for grades K-3, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12 and adult. To enter, visit the Homer Council on the Arts web page at homerarts.org. All entries must be registered and submitted online. For more information, call 235-4288.