The Poems in Place Project seeks nominations for poetry to be placed at state parks in Ketchikan and near Fairbanks. Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book and a steering committee of Alaska writers and poets are collaborating on the Poems in Place Project, a statewide project to celebrate the natural beauty of Alaska’s state parks with poetry.
With several galleries closed for February, art openings for First Friday are scattered. What First Friday lacks in quantity it makes up for in diversity. Several venues fill in the gap with First Friday events a little beyond the usual.
The Homer Bookstore participates in the second annual World Book Night on April 23, with the sign-up deadline extended to Jan. 25. Plans are already in motion on several fronts to match and exceed the successes of the campaign’s first year, when 25,000 volunteer book givers went out in 5,800 towns and cities across America and personally gave a total of a half-million paperbacks to members of their communities, many without means or access to printed books.
Award winning fiction writer Alan Heathcock will read from his work and hold a craft talk at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday as part of Kachemak Bay Campus’ annual visiting writers’ series. He is the author of “VOLT,” a collection of stories named a 2011 best book by numerous magazines and newspapers as well a New York Times Editors’ Choice. His fiction has been published in many of America’s top magazines and journals, including GQ, Publishers Weekly, Salon, the Chicago Tribune and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The National Geographic Channel holds an open casting call for Russian Old Believer families working in the fishing and boat building industries interested in appearing in an upcoming “docu-reality” television series. A meeting about the series is 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Nikolaevsk School in Nikolaevsk. National Geographic producers will be at the meeting and in town Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 to meet with prospective families.
The Homer Council on the Arts announced the winners of the 2012 Art Awards. The awards are given annually for achievements in the arts. The winners are:
Arts Leadership/Advocacy: Bunnell Street Arts Center
• Arts Education: Carol Swartz
• Artist of the Year: Marian Beck
• Youth Artist of the Year: Drew Turner
• Lifetime Achievement: Gaye Wolfe
• Business Arts Patron: Era Alaska.
What is the link between a land and a name?
“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.