Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 3:59 PM on Wednesday, November 2, 2011

'Ancient Ritz' Pratt offers exotic trip back in time Saturday

Staff Writer


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Sara Jackinsky, Marie Walker and Tina Day, from left to right, get in the spirit of the Ritz at a First Friday opening of the Ritz art show in October.

For past "Putting on the Ritz" gala fundraisers, the Pratt Museum has been transformed into Provence, France, and a circus. It's gone back to the Fabulous '50s and the Roaring '20s, and experienced magic, mayhem and Bond, James Bond.

This Saturday, the Pratt goes back, way back, and far away to the Nile.

No, that's not "denial," as in to the unwilling acceptance of winter, but the Nile River. This year's theme for the 26th annual is "Ancient Ritz: A Night on the Nile." Think Cleopatra, sphinxes, the Great Pyramids, mummies and hieroglyphics. Maura's Café offers Middle Eastern delicacies, with smoke caviar, lamb kabobs, dates stuffed with pine nuts, cardamom scented truffles and other treats.

Guitar player and singer Berkeley — the stage name of Dave Birkley — offers entertainment. Wine, beer, nonalcoholic beverages and coffee also will be served.

For art lovers, Ancient Ritz offers a chance to bid early and bid often on the finest art from around the state. Michele Miller, the Pratt's development director and a longtime Alaskan, has worked her artist connections to bring amazing pieces from near and far.

"I don't just ask Homer artists," she said. "I ask my artist friends up in Anchorage, Ester and Fairbanks."

Featured in the outcry auction are works by Alaskans Sheila Wyne, Julie Decker and Sonya Kelliher-Combs, with local works by Don Henry, Paula Dickey, Cynthia Morelli, Debra Lowney, Rika Mouw, Marian Beck, Annette Bellamy and Turid Senungetuk. Homer quilter Eileen Wythe also has a rare hand-stitched quilt, "Peonies."

One of the premier pieces in the auction is a collection of six signed Fred Machetanz prints donated by Artemis Bona Dea from the estate of her parents, the late Betty and Delmore Schmidt of Homer. With a minimum value of about $8,000, the boxed, unframed prints — all with the same series number — will be first offered as a set.

"We haven't had a donation like this before," Miller said. "It was a really nice gift."

Peninsula Scrap and Metal, the company taking apart the Spanky Paine and the Hondo on the Homer Spit, offers a chance to own a part of the historic boats. A porthole from the Hondo is for sale in the outcry auction and one from the Spanky Paine in the silent auction.

Silent auction items also include art and what Miller calls "experience" packages. Need the full body works from hair to toe? Homer Day Spa, Damselfly Salon and Mud Bay Skin Care offer a spa package. Plan ahead for a big date next summer with dinner at Fat Olives and Pier One Theatre tickets. Go sailing or kayaking, take a bear viewing trip, get jeans and a mink stole, and fuel up.

True to the tradition of the Ritz' roots, when the fundraiser started as a chance to get dressed up, guests are encouraged to dress up in the evening's theme, with costume prizes for them and for dedicated volunteers.

Art can be previewed through 5 p.m. today at the Pratt Museum. The museum closes Friday for its transformation into ancient Egypt. With 120 tickets on sale, the Ritz could sell out at the last minute. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased at the Pratt and the Homer Bookstore.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.