Category: Features Briefs

November 13, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

The Seawolf Debate program is running a scholarship competition called Debating Alaska’s Fiscal Future for students in college or high school, and the program is accepting scholarship submissions now until January. The program is awarding $10,000 in scholarships.

Joshua Von Herrmann, assistant director of public relations at the Seawolf Debate program said students need to create a video submission to enter the contest.

“We’re asking students to pick one of the three topics we’ve selected about the state’s fiscal future and find a partner at their school and then upload a video, five minutes with one partner advocating for the position and then five minutes with the other partner advocating against the position,” Von Herrmann said. “We’ve provided a whole bunch of resources online, everything from a guide on how to debate to a folder full of information so that students can get started and entries are going to be available and open starting now and are going to be open through the end of the calendar year and we’re going to close entries sometime around January.”

Entry videos will be open to the public for voting and the teams with the most votes on the video portion will be invited to Anchorage for a live debate competition. The winners of the live competition will be awarded scholarships. The live competition will be held April 1, 2017 at UAA.

Von Hermann said the Seawolf Debate program hasn’t done a scholarship competition like this before, but that they chose the topic of Alaska’s fiscal future because it is more applicable to younger students.

“There are really two reasons [we chose this topic], the first of which is that it is something that is going to affect us all greatly and it’s something that… a lot of us really haven’t looked into and tried to find out that much about this issue for ourselves,” Von Herrmann said. “But secondly this is an issue we believe is uniquely important to younger people, especially when we consider it is their future. When we talk about the state’s fiscal future it means something very different to say an 18-year old who is planning to live here for a very long time, or planning to go to school here, or starting a family here.”

Interested students can find more information on entry and specific scholarship awards at

March 5, 2015 Samantha Davenport

UAA Women Basketball Team ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II West Region

On Feb. 28, UAA’s Seawolves beat Montana State Billings 74-64, giving them an overall 27-1 season. Their next game takes place in Billings, Montana, where they will play in the GNAC semifinals. The Seawolves have the chance to play at home again if chosen to host the regional tournament, taking place March 13-16. The announcement of the NCAA host will be made March 8 at 6 p.m.

Fur Rondy heats up Anchorage

Fireworks hit the sky Feb. 28 to kick off Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage. Many infamous events including outhouse races, the Rondy Grand parade, snowshoe softball tournament, and more fun in the sun (or snow) events. Even though the sled dog races have been cancelled for this year’s Fur Rondy, the famous Running of the Reindeer will trample the streets of Anchorage March 7 at 4 p.m.

Deans agree to reduce revenue projections $25-30M

Recent revenue shortages are forcing UAA deans to agree on developing a new plan for programs and functions. Chancellor Tom Case says in his online prioritization memo that some programs at UAA need to thrive, while others are better without. Several deans are developing a plan for the next 3-5 years that will cut revenue projections $25-30 million. The deans believe they need to give specific areas attention to further grow UAA. These fields include student success, faculty load guidelines, chair/director compensation guidelines, enrollment management, partnerships and e-learning.

February 23, 2014 Valerie Hudson

UAA’s Student Activities will present Singles Night from 7-9 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Student Union Den. Sponsors include KRUA, Seawolf Catering, Concert Board and the Black Student Union. Single’s night is a free event.

“They (students) can expect something different than any of the other mingle or meet and greet events that they have been to on campus before. It is nothing like speed dating. We don’t have any of those … pressures, games or activities or events,” said Alexis Rasley, Student Activities programming team member and co-creator of the Singles Night event.

The event will feature music by KRUA and a “mock-tail” bar. It will also feature games, including a raffle where participants have the chance to win concert tickets to the Cults, tickets to Black Student Union’s Valentine’s dance or a surprise date night package that will be revealed at the event.

Programming manager Matthew Glenn said the idea clicked one day during a casual conversation with Rasley. He said they wanted to do this for people who are new and haven’t had the opportunity to make friends.

Rasely said although this event is specifically targeted to singles, couples are also welcome to join in on the fun. They would like to keep the atmosphere inviting and low-pressure. She said students do not necessarily have to make a love connection, but she hopes they at least make new friends.

“This event is mostly for people to meet other people, mingle, talk. Instead of like a speed dating atmosphere, it’s more like, ‘Hey, I’m new here. Let’s hang out sometime,’” Glenn said.

May 1, 2012 Alden Lee

On the night of Commencement, a lone individual will stand in front of 2,323 of his fellow graduates and give a speech. This speech has been prepared well in advance, and the young man — a sociology major, Leadership Honors award-winner and Canadian citizen — will commemorate the class of 2012 on a night of celebration as they accept their diplomas and walk across a stage to the next chapter of their lives.

Kent Spiers has spent the last four years at UAA, and in that time he has plumbed the school to its fullest potential.

July 31, 2007 Compiled by Mary Lochner

Atwood Family Papers donated to archives

Ed Rasmuson, personal representative for the Atwood Estate, recently arranged for the donation of the Atwood Family Papers to the UAA/APU Consortium Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department. The Atwood Estate is also donating $109,000 to pay for the processing of the collection, production of a research guide and the creation of a commemorative Web site highlighting the family’s legacy in Alaska. The collection totals 200 boxes of documents.

Bob Atwood , and his wife, social worker Evangeline Rasmuson Atwood, moved to Anchorage in 1935. Bob Atwood purchased the then-struggling Anchorage Daily Times (later the Anchorage Times), a newspaper he developed into the state’s largest before circulation wars with the Anchorage Daily News led him to sell it in 1989. Atwood contributed to shaping public opinion through the editorial pages of the Anchorage Times on issues vital to Alaska’s unfolding history, including statehood, oil exploration, use of oil revenues and creation of the permanent fund dividend. He was appointed chairman of the Alaska Statehood Committee by the Alaska Territorial Legislature in 1949, and was present at President Dwight Eisenhower’s signing of the proclamation making Alaska a state.

The Atwood family supported education and the arts in Anchorage through philanthropy. In 1979, Bob and Evangeline Atwood created the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the UAA, a program that brings distinguished journalists to UAA to teach for a period of one to two years each. Five Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have been among those to hold the Atwood Chair since the program began.

Evangeline Rasmuson Atwood died in 1987, and Bob Atwood died in 1997. The Atwood Family Papers donated to the UAA/APU Consortium Library archives include letters, business documents, diaries and photos.

New University Center food spot takes Wolfbucks

Peppercini’s Deli House, a new cafeteria-style lunch spot, has opened in the University Center (3901 Old Seward Highway). UAA students can use their Wolfbucks at the eatery, and also receive a discount there. Peppercini’s menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, baked potatos and pastas. It also serves pizzacinis, or crusty French bread pizzas. The deli offers free delivery for orders in Midtown, and ordering through its Web site, Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

UAA alumna wins honor society award

Shenandoah Herda, a 2005 graduate of the UAA College of Education Master of Arts in Teaching program, was recently awarded the 2007 Donna Gail Shaw Scholarship for Chapter Service. The scholarship is one of several awarded each year by the Kappa Delta Pi International Society in Education, an organization devoted to recognizing and supporting excellence and professional development for educational professionals. Herda was president of the UAA Rho Zeta, Kappa Delta Pi chapter in the 2005-06 academic year. She teaches science at Steller Secondary School in the Anchorage School District. She plans to use the scholarship to purchase science teaching supplies for her students.

Compiled by Mary Lochner

June 26, 2007 Kyra Sherwood and Kelly McLain

Wizards and Muggles alike can celebrate new book

If there’s a wizarding community in the Anchorage area, no doubt they’ll spend July 21 staying as far away from us nonmagical folk as possible. But for that half of the Western world that’s fallen under the spell of this young wizard and his friends (or enemies, if your tastes run that way), there are plenty of options in town for celebrating the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Title Wave’s midtown location is the best place to bring underage wizards and witches. The party 11 a.m. – noon is aimed at children 5 years old and younger, while kids 6 and up should come 2 – 4 p.m.; both groups can look forward to games, decorations and a reading from the new book.

Borders Books & Music is keeping their plans under wraps for the time being, but the store will sport a Harry Potter theme from its morning opening July 20, remaining open for 24 hours for this event.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers will begin selling the book at 12:01 a.m. July 21 and stay open until the last impatient fans have gotten their hands on “Deathly Hallows.” The caf? will remain open all night as well to feed hungry partiers, who can expect costume and trivia contests, other games with prizes, and lots of decorations.

UAA’s campus bookstore hosts a release party July 21 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., so the most dedicated fans can head right over after staying up all night to finish the book. Let the Sorting Hat put you where you ought to be, get your picture taken in your costume and enter drawings for a school crest. The celebration will also include visits from two owls, one from the zoo and one from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center – but don’t expect them to deliver any mail for you.

-By Kyra Sherwood

Juneteenth wraps up with soul food and literature

In celebration of Juneteenth, the UAA Bookstore hosted guest speaker and cashier supervisor Donna Bozeman on June 14 to discuss the history and impact behind the event. She read passages from books she thought were important and controversial, books that would encourage people to read. Bozeman also discussed the difference between taking a class about African-American literature and being in a book club for African-American literature. This can mean a difference in people sharing their stories and not having a biased view of the past.

Student Activities also took part in the Juneteenth celebration by hosting its annual barbeque that afternoon in the Lucy Cuddy Quad. A long line stretched out on the sidewalk as people waited for food being served from both Roscoe’s Catfish & Barbecue and the Sourdough Mining Company. Guests were treated to hamburgers, catfish, okra, collard greens, corn fritters, riblets and more. People spread out on the grass as they listened to local slam poets express their views on Juneteenth. Live music included John Damberg and friends playing soulful jazz. The feast was free for students and $8 for non-students.

Summer Solstice Festival crowds downtown streets

The downtown streets were flooded with tourists and locals on June 16. The Saturday Market is typically a popular destination for tourists to buy local artwork and crafts, but with the AWAUC Summer Solstice Festival in Town Square, the streets were packed. The Festival provided some the same tourist attractions as the Saturday Market, such as handmade crafts and popular food booths for salmon quesadillas and funnel cakes. The Imaginarium had also set up a booth in which children experimented with cold ice and blew large bubbles into the crowd. A local group of break-dancers from Underground Dance entertained the audience with back flips and other hip-hop moves. Most people enjoyed the heat by sprawling out in the grass and listening to live bluegrass, rock and hip-hop. Performers included Jared Woods, the Terry Holder Group and Luv Puppets. The Festival ran through June 17.

Lucky Dragons has the magic touch to music

The International Gallery of Contemporary Art hosted Lucky Dragons, formed by Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Anderson. They’re responsible for a popular art movement that uses music through movement and touch. Lucky Dragons have released a handful of albums, but their presence is more striking than just their sound. Fischbeck’s body convulsed to the loud instrumental music as he hung the microphone by his teeth. Images of pinecones and needles rapidly pulsated on the drop screen. People sat and stood over Fischbeck as he rocked back and forth on his knees to the trance-like music. Anderson occasionally plucked and strummed a five-string instrument. The music sounded reminiscent of traditional Chinese music amplified through techno beats. Later, people in the front row of the audience were handed pieces of colored rope connected to a music device. To the audience’s delight, each touch of the person holding the rope would create a different sound, sparking an interaction through music to demonstrate their creativity.

May 29, 2007 Northern Light

‘Midnight Soapscum’ zany adventures come to a close

Out North will be hosting the two-hour season finale of Christian Heppinstall’s live soap opera “Midnight Soapscum: Porn!” that has been playing at Mad Myrna’s. Every two weeks, the audience is introduced to new antics of Rex and Basil, porn stars of Smirnov Studios of San Francisco. They are forced by their Russian porn boss to act in Shakespearian porn films. In their season finale, the duo attends the Cannes Film Festival, where they explore topics such as gay marriage and hermaphroditic love, and meet fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The pair later finds themselves in Anchorage, where they free Maggie the Elephant with the aid of space aliens. The finale performances will be on June 13 through June 14 at 7 p.m., June 15 at 9 p.m. and June 16 at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $16 online and $16 at the door for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at

Lulu E. Bebe prepares for summer fashion show

Models strutted their stuff at the Egan Center on May 19 in hopes of participating in Lulu E. Bebe’s Bright Runway Show, a display of the latest summer fashion. The model call was open to women of all ages, sizes 2-8, with 25 independent models selected to walk the runway.
According to Lulu’s official Myspace site, the summer collection is about mixing and matching pieces for a sophisticated look. The collection will include colorful dresses, a signature staple at Lulu E. Bebe and trendy accessories. Named after owner Lulu Roberts, the small boutique is located in the corner of a strip mall on East Tudor Road. The store windows aren’t hard to miss from the main road, with mannequins brightly clothed in colorful tops and dresses. The store carries clothing, handbags and accessories that cater to a modern and youthful female audience. The show will be on Saturday, June 2, at the Egan Convention Center. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Lulu E. Bebe.

Mediam rocks out at Club O, showcases new material

Portland-based band The Mediam rocked out at Club O last weekend, sponsored by AK Soul Productions. The band is composed of vocalist Gus Nicklos, guitarist Ondrej Fercak, drummer Joe Mengis, bassist Adam Pike and Elijah Russell on guitar. Nicklos and Fercak have been band mates since high school, releasing Mediam’s first EP in 2002. Their upcoming full-length album demonstrates the new sound influenced by additional band mates since the previously released EPs. The band played music from their upcoming album, including the track “Ishmael,” which showcases a sound similar to old-school U2 with heavy riffs and sweeping melodics. Local opening bands included Dopiate and The Sudden Death Squad. Mediam’s tour will continue on the west coast, with a two-day performance at Warped Tour in August. Their new album, “Actress,” will be released July 10.

Creative Writing department releases new issue of Understory

The 2007 issue of Understory, an annual literary magazine produced by graduate students in the Creative Writing and Literary Arts department and open to submissions from all UAA undergrads, came off the press May 23. Copies are available for free in the department’s office at Social Sciences Building 352.

April 24, 2007 Kelly McLain

Bookstore hosts Harry Potter party
Hogwarts was in full swing at the UAA Bookstore on Friday, April 20, in celebration of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final installment in the Harry Potter series that will be released on July 21. Participants were greeted with a card that could be stamped at three activity stations. Activities included the Dobby Sock Station, providing materials to decorate socks. There was also a Tri-Wizard Table with mazes and puzzles. Participants were eligible for a bag of sweets at the Honeydukes Sweet Shop once they received three stamps from each station. During the activities, there were 10-minute recitations of the Harry Potter series in 16 languages ranging from Tlingit to Mongolian. Participants had the chance to speak their best Parseltongue with a 4-foot python from the Alaska Zoo, and anyone who answered a series of questions correctly was eligible to enter a drawing for an iPod Nano. The event also allowed anyone to reserve a copy of the final Harry Potter book for $20.99, 40 percent off the suggested price. The UAA Assembly co-sponsored the event.

Not too late to see “Die Fledermaus” opera
The UAA Opera Ensemble performed a full production of “Die Fledermaus” on Friday, April 20, at the Fine Arts Building. The opera consists of three acts and was composed by Johann Strauss; it takes place in 19th-century Vienna and focuses on Gabriel von Eisenstein, who secretly strays from his marriage to Rosalinda while he indulges in his affairs with young women of the ballet. Rosalinda, however, is no fool and plots to teach her husband a lesson for his disloyalty. During his way to serve a brief jail term for insulting a public official, Eisenstein attends Prince Orlofsky’s party, where he meets a Hungarian countess who turns out to be Rosalinda in disguise. Guest violinist Isaac Park and piano accompaniment provided familiar waltzes during the dancing scenes. The production will continue until Saturday, April 28. Tickets are available at the UAA Fine Arts Box Office or by calling 786-4849.

Warped Tour eyes Alaska bands at ‘Koots

The scene was similar to a high school battle of the bands. Local bands signed up to play at Chilkoot Charlie’s South Side on Saturday, April 21. The musicians weren’t just playing for the audience, but competing for the chance to play in Vans’ Warped Tour this summer. From June until late August, mostly punk and rock bands play shows around the U.S. and draw thousands of crowds. The lineup for this summer includes Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, The Used, Alkaline Trio and more. Alternative band Cry For Help and acoustic act/Hoons band member Russ Perry competed on Saturday. The Affected, Theory Of Hate, and Arize will be competing on April 28, while acoustic band Bullet 4 Daisy is signed up to compete on May 5. Battle to Warped Tour will continue on Saturday, April 28; Saturday, May 5; Saturday, May 12; and Saturday, May 19 from 8 p.m. to midnight. There is no additional cover.

April 10, 2007 Kelly McLain

DJ Encyclopedia Brown spins fresh hip-hop tracks

Listeners didn’t see DJ Encyclopedia Brown (Spencer Shroyer) spinning CDs at his Noon Music performance April 4 in the Student Union Alcove. That’s because he only plays records. “I like the feel of using records more than CDs,” Shroyer said in an e-mail interview. “I think it is more in line with the tradition started by early hip-hop DJs.” Shroyer bought turntables in 2002 and has since played at numerous house parties and bars, including the popular hangout Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge, where he’s been playing records for the past five years. He’s also played for fashion shows hosted by Lulu E. Bebe and Nordstrom, and at the Alibi in Homer and the Great Alaskan Bush Company.

Shroyer worked in a record store while growing up and always has been surrounded by music. His DJ influences are Q-bert, Kid Koala, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow. “I was inspired by listening to mix tapes by DJ Z-Trip and DJ Radar and Hollertronix. Recently I’ve been enjoying mixes by A-Trak, Diplo, Low-B and The Rub.” During his spare time, Shroyer is a freelance journalist and a full-time Web writer for the Channel 2 News Web site. He’s currently finishing off his last semester at UAA for a degree in journalism. DJ Encyclopedia Brown’s next appearance will be at Noon Music in the Student Union Alcove on Wednesday, April 18.

Students gratify audience with erotic artwork

The gallery rooms were buzzing with mingling viewers at The International Gallery of Contemporary Art during its First Friday event on April 6. Several UAA art students displayed voyeurism-themed sculptures, drawings and mixed media pieces in the North and Guest Gallery. The term “voyeurism” refers to the practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially in secret. Artwork included a naked upper torso of a female body with the title “Self Service.” Other artwork included a mixed media piece designed with the intention that viewers should peek through a doorknob and keyhole. The naked body was evident in several pieces, including a pastel drawing of a man on wood and a sculpture of a male lying provocatively on the floor. Sculptures of bronze, aluminum and alabaster were less blatant in their intended eroticism, but mostly smooth and round in shape, with titles such as “Orgasm” and “Emerging Venus.” Many of the colors used in the drawings and mixed media pieces were muted, with variations of the color red displayed throughout. The students featured in the show were under the instruction of sculpture professor Hugh McPeck.

Art major premiers nudes at the Kodiak Bar and Grill

“Intrusions,” a photography art show by Danielle Kuper, a junior and art major, opened April 6 at the Kodiak Bar and Grill in downtown Anchorage. Kuper’s work featured male and female nudes in dramatic lighting and shadow contrasts. “Each picture has an intrusion that could be read into it,” Kuper said. “The photographs evolved from personal encounters I’ve had with friends that I’m still processing myself, and the photos help me process what they’re going through.” She pointed to the piece “in her self” as an example, which depicts a man gazing into a mirror. Kuper said the piece is about a friend who is struggling with feelings of having been born a woman in the wrong body. “I want to help people understand things better, that others are going through,” Kuper said. “I take pictures because I like to help people.”

At the opening, trendy young hipsters filled the Kodiak Bar and Grill, where owner Doug Locke has been hosting 24-hour weekends every Friday and Saturday for about a month. “It’s a community-minded thing,” Locke said. “Why kick everyone out at 2:30 in the morning and send them out on the streets? It’s mean. Instead, we pull the drinks, let people stay and start serving breakfast after last call.” The bar features a pool table, big flat screen TVs, plenty of mingling space, and a sizeable dance floor downstairs that opens around 10 p.m. on weekends with DJ Missy G.

Health center offers healthy bodies outreach lectures

The Student Health and Counseling Center has emphasized the theme “Healthy Bodies” as part of its education and outreach efforts this semester. Nurse practitioner Betty Bang has put together a series of lectures and talks, including “Reaching and Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight,” a lecture by Anne Bridges, an assistant professor at the UAA culinary arts and hospitality department. The lecture will take place in Student Union room 103 April 11.

Also this semester, health center nurse Cecilia Maher has been facilitating a series of informal, open-ended discussion forums called Healthy Bodies Support Group. Each meeting has a topic to center the discussion on and offers group support, information and screening to participants. “Any time you’re trying to change a lifestyle, it’s good to have support,” Maher said. Most of the meetings so far have focused on nutrition; the next meeting is the last one for the semester, scheduled for April 19, and will focus on staying healthy during finals. To join the Healthy Bodies Support Group, contact Cecilia Maher at the Student Health and Counseling Center, 786-4040.

April 3, 2007 Kelly McLain

Noble’s Diner closes for good

Saturday, March 31, marked a somber day in the Anchorage community: It was the last day that restaurant, art and music spot Noble’s Diner was open. Named for owner Robert Kinneen’s grandfather, Noble’s has been serving the community since October 2004 with food and catering, live music and First Friday receptions. Noble’s Diner was the first Alaska member of the Chef’s Collaborative, an organization that advocates using local products and supporting local businesses. The diner was located in Mountain View, where Keenan and his wife Carolyn had been long-time supporters of revitalizing the Mountain View community with business. But Kinneen said he had to face the reality of economic hardship in an area that doesn’t flourish with business. “We always maintained that we here are for our culture district and community,” Kinneen said, “but efforts are taking kind of a long time. There’s been a great amount of improvement. As far as an economic base, it’s been limited. There’s not that cross of things to do at the destination, and that’s the biggest hurdle for us.”

Noble’s Diner hasn’t been without loyal customers, which was evident in the full list of reservations for their last days in operation. Reverse Retro hosted a vegan meal and music event at Noble’s on March 30. DJ Encyclopedia Brown (Spencer Shroyer) warmed up the crowd with a set from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. before DJ Curtis Vodka (Scott Root), back from a tour in Europe, played a set of left-field indie-rock and electronica folk. The night also kicked off a silent auction where diners could bid on anything in the diner. Local musician Bob Parsons played an acoustic set March 31, the final night of Noble’s existence. Kinneen said there had been discussion of relocating Noble’s; however, the decision was ultimately to close the establishment. Kinneen will now work at Mixx Grill in the Inlet Tower Hotel, where he will continue his tradition of serving Alaska dinners crafted from locally available foods, and where he hopes to continue to offer opportunities for local musicians and artists to perform and show their work.

Cybergrrl discusses Internet success, education for women

Internet guru Aliza Sherman Risdahl provided a lecture at UAA Consortium Library on Friday, March 30, to share her experience as the first woman to start a full-service Internet company in the 1990s. Sherman founded Cybergrrl, Inc. in New York City’s Silicon Alley in 1995. She also started the first women’s Internet organization, Webgrrls International, and developed the first searchable directory of female-friendly sites, She has been awarded on several occasions for her efforts to educate women about the Internet, including being named by Newsweek magazine as one of the “Top 50 People Who Matter Most on the Internet.” Sherman is the author of seven books, including “The Everything Blogging Book,” “Cybergrrl: A Woman’s Guide to the World Wide Web” and “Power Tools for Women in Business.” Last year she moved from Wyoming to Alaska with her husband. Her presentation was open to the public and followed by a discussion and book signing.

Abstract themes displayed in mixed mediums of 3-D artwork

A variety of three-dimensional artwork was showcased in the Student Invitational Show opening reception on Thursday, March 29 in the Student Union Gallery. The show features artwork created by UAA art students from freshman to senior level. UAA Art faculty selected student work in sculpture, ceramics, fibers and metalsmithing. Many pieces used elements of the human form, shaping busts of upper torsos and detailed faces in cedarwood, terra cotta and foamcore. Pieces ranged from a series of ceramic cocoons covering an entire wall panel, to detailed wheel-thrown ceramics made of porcelain and soapstone. The show will continue to be on display until April 12. Gallery hours are Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Following the Invitational Show, there will be a Juried Student Art Show beginning Thursday, April 19, in the Student Union Gallery.

March 13, 2007 Kelly McLain

UAF professor reads from debut novel

The UAF Creative Writing Department’s Gerri Brightwell presented a reading of her novel “Cold Country” on Friday, March 9, in the UAA Bookstore. “Cold Country” is Brightwell’s debut novel about the story of two young women and former friends, Fleur and Sandra, who are forced to survive an Alaskan winter and mend their ruined relationship. When the novel begins, Sandra is planning to move south from her desolate life in Seattle, until Fleur calls her for a ride home to Fairbanks because of a broken arm. Sandra believes Fleur is telling the truth, but Fleur still acts withdrawn, and Sandra is convinced that the woman’s family hides guilty secrets. As the winter weather takes a turn for the worse, Sandra discovers her journey to Alaska is more than she bargained for. Brightwell wrote “Cold Country” while she was in Bangkok teaching for four years. The novel is her take on strange friendships that parents force on their children. Brightwell is originally from southwest England and has lived abroad for several years. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota. She teaches graduate writing courses, undergraduate creative writing courses and academic writing about literature and women’s literature. The UAA Women’s Studies Department and the UAA Campus Bookstore sponsored this event.

‘Flight of Fantasy’ offers folktales

The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra brought folktale fantasy to the Atwood Concert Hall on Saturday, March 10. Anchorage Symphony Orchestra Principal Clarinetist Karl Pasch performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. The Concerto was written from a request from jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman. Copland wrote few major works after the completion of his clarinet concerto.

Pasch also performed Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Dvorak’s folk-like Symphony No. 8 under the conducting of Baton Rouge Symphony Music Director Timothy Muffitt. Ravel’s Suite is composed of five of the Mother Goose fairytales, including Tom Thumb and Sleeping Beauty, with the use of woodwinds and strings. Dvorak’s Symphony draws on inspiration from Bohemian folk music that Dvorak loved, with uses of percussion, brass and clarinet solo. “Flight of Fantasy” is part of Anchorage Symphony Orchestra’s Applause Series and Classic Concert Series.

Few ‘Happy Days’ at Cyrano’s Playhouse

Cyrano’s Playhouse celebrates writer Samuel Beckett’s 101st birthday with his 1960 play, “Happy Days,” that premiered on Friday, March 9, at Cyrano’s Playhouse. “Happy Days” stars Bernie Blaine as Winnie, who provides clever and incisive comments on life. Although the play focuses on Winnie, there is the brief presence of the male character Willie. The relationship between the two characters isn’t made clear with Willie’s brief presence, but it is important in the play’s metaphors for aging, an uncaring world and the tenuous connections between people. In the first act, Winnie is buried to her waist and only has access to a toothbrush, parasol and a revolver. The second act finds Winnie buried to her neck and left only to work with her eyes and her mind. Similar to Beckett’s play “Waiting For Godot,” “Happy Days” tell the story of people who are stuck literally and figuratively, where human spirit triumphs over hopelessness. “Happy Days” runs through Sunday, March 25. Tickets are available at

Cheap tasty eats

Photo by Gretchen Weiss
Grace Huhndorf operates the bakery cart at the Lucy Cuddy center. Breads and pastries baked by the students of the UAA Culinary Arts School are for sale weekday mornings. Most items are on sale for $1 including breads and bags of cookies or pastries. Also pictured; Catherine Shenk purchases a bag of 3 fruit pastries ($1).Hall on Wednesday evening.

Campus ensembles get jazzy

Click to view the gallery

Folk of the Irish

Click to view the gallery

March 6, 2007 Kelly McLain

“Winter Hullabaloo” makes light of living in Alaska during Fur Rondy

In spirit of the Fly By Night Club antics on Spenard, Platinum Jaxx presented “Winter Hullabaloo,” a comedy performance starring former Fly By Night Club performer Alice Welling and Brian Herrmann at Platinum Jaxx from Monday, Feb. 23, to Sunday, March 4. This was the first performance of “Winter Hullabaloo” since its debut at 4th Avenue Theatre last summer. “Winter Hullabaloo” is a satire of Alaskan history, starting from the purchase of Alaska and ending with Lisa Murkowski being appointed by her father. Tourists often favor the material, and are able to learn Alaska history through comedic performances. The show presents the duos performance abilities through singing, dancing in exaggerated costumes and comedic dialogue. “Winter Hullabaloo” takes place in celebration of Fur Rondy during the months of February and March.

Grooves concert features world beats

The UAA Percussion Ensemble presented an evening of percussion with worldwide cultural influences on Feb. 27 in the Arts Building Recital Hall. The music featured influences from African high life, Cuban mambo, funk, ragtime, classical and contemporary percussion. The concert also featured the world premiere of original compositions by John Damberg, Keegan Brown and Dave Talbot. The Percussion Ensemble consists of Keegan Brown, Brady Byers, Erika Ninyu and Dave Talbot. The concert also featured four of Southcentral Alaska’s percussionists with the use of keyboard, cymbals and Latin percussion. John Damberg directed the ensemble.

Hawaiian myths and legends interpreted through aerobatic dance

The IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre performed an aerobatic dance interpreting “Hawaiian Myths and Legends” on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 at the Atwood Concert Hall. The IONA Theatre has presented over 325 performances throughout the Hawaiian Islands since 1990. IONA is renowned for its blend of Eastern, Western and indigenous influences with use of elaborate costumes, witty spoken text and music for a moving theatrical experience. The performance showcased dancers suspended from strips of silk as they danced to contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music. Stage lights in a series of bright colors illuminated pieces of silk fabric used for props as dancers synchronized their movements while dressed in printed metallic-colored costumes to traditional Hawaiian ceremonial wear.

“Crunchy Con” Rod Dreher discusses new-age politics at UAA bookstore

Author and “Crunchy Con” Rod Dreher presented a lecture about the growing phenomena of Crunchy Conservatives at the Student Union March 1. His latest book is titled, “Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Home Schooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan To Save America (or at least the Republican Party).” Dreher is a conservative journalist who has worked for National Review, the New York Post and the Washington Times. After being criticized for buying a weekly supply of organic vegetables, Dreher began examining his conservative ways through conventional Republican politics. His book reports on the phenomena that he believes are redefining politics in the U.S., and has received numerous responses from people who have identified with his ideas. In his book, Dreher introduces Crunchy Conservatives from several states, including a Texas clan of evangelical Christian free-range livestock farmers, an Orthodox Jew who helped start a kosher organic farm and an ex-hippy from Alabama who became a devout Catholic while retaining his anti-establishment sensibilities.

Bike Club hosts bachelor auction

Bachelors performed tricks, stunts and dance moves in order to increase the bids during the annual biker bachelor auction Friday night. Elaborate costumes were incorporated into the bike club’s annual bachelor auction. Proceeds went to help provide bicycles to AIDS workers in Africa.

The Whipsaws rock Student Union

The Whipsaws played March 3 for an excited audience in the Student Union.

February 27, 2007 Kelly McLain

Symphony of Sounds holds benefit

UAA’s Department of Music presented the 11th performance of the concert series Symphony of Sounds in the Fine Arts Building Recital Hall on Feb. 23 and 24. Symphony of Sounds featured all of UAA’s ensembles in solo and group performances. The programs featured solo performances by the University Singers, a guitar and piccolo solo, music by the Brass Quintet, and all of UAA’s ensembles. The music ranged from jazz to classical. The concerts also featured the annual auction of the maestro’s baton, which gives the winner the opportunity to conduct the Wind ensemble in a rendition of the UAA Fight Song. Tickets for Symphony of Sounds were $20 for balcony seating and $15 for lower-level seating. All proceeds from the concert will benefit UAA Music Endowment.

Cemetery Club meets for last time

The Anchorage Community Theatre’s production of “The Cemetery Club” focuses on three Jewish widows – Ida, Lucille and Doris – who meet at Ida’s house for tea each month, followed by a visit to the local cemetery to gossip, argue, feud and reminisce with their deceased husbands. The only male character in the play, Sam the Butcher, meets the widows at the cemetery while he visits his wife’s grave and ultimately changes the lives of the three women. The play’s humor is clever and traditional while focusing on the connections between characters. “The Cemetery Club” ran Feb. 22 through 25 at the Anchorage Community Theatre.

Medina electrifies den with poetry

Gabriela Garcia Medina brought a fresh approach to poetry in the the 50 or so attendees captivated by her verse in the Student Union Den on Feb 23. A graduate from the UCLA theatre department, Medina is an international spoken-word artist and award-winning poet. She touches of a variety of topics, from political and social justice to money to just trying to make a living. Medina also incorporates themes from the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria into her poetry. She has performed at colleges, festivals and conferences in South Africa, Cuba, Brazil and Switzerland and across the states. Medina is the author of “Inkscribing Oshun,” a collection of her poems and journals that has been published since November 2006. Her next book, “In the Wake of Oya,” is due to be released in Spring 2007. Medina’s creative output spans music and film as well. She will be releasing an album in the winter of 2007. She’s the lead actress in the film “Students Like Us,” about a Latina student attending a Southern California college. Local poet Trey Josey started off the night of spoken-word poetry as the opening act. Admission was free and open to the public.

Kimura Gallery exhibit highlights

“A Man Needs A Maid” by Chris Antemann, left, and “Salmonella” by Liz Zacher, below, are on exhibit in the Kimura Gallery this month. The UAA arts department is hosting the National Figurative Ceramic Sculpture Invitational between Feb. 12 and March 14.

February 13, 2007 Kelly McLain

Chef Vern crafts chocolate love

Mouths watered over melted dark, milk and white chocolate as UAA culinary arts and hospitality chef Vern Wolfram shared his love for chocolate at the UAA Campus Bookstore on Feb 8. “Chocolate is the food the gods,” Chef Vern said. For the eighth year, he and his fellow student assistants created a variety of chocolate-themed treats for Valentine’s Day. Chef Vern gave a brief history on chocolate, explaining the different types and demonstrating the decorating techniques for each. The audience eagerly accepted his invitation to try the samples from his demonstration, which included dark chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate bread and a candy dish made of chocolate using an inflated balloon. Chef Vern suggested using a heating pad on low to keep chocolate from hardening in its container. Contrary to popular belief, he also said that it’s OK to re-melt chocolate if necessary. “There are so many things you can do with chocolate,” Chef Vern said. “It gives you the feeling that you’re in love.” Chef Vern teaches beginning and advanced baking at UAA. He is also an active member of the Alaska Culinary Association.

Film and dance form ‘Mamu’ production

Clear strips of plastic hung from above the stage’s edge, and trance music pulsated in the UAA Arts Building Jerry Harper Studio Theatre as the audience anticipated the premiere of “Mamu: A Study in Dysfunction,” on Feb. 7. The production manager and director, Ruby Kennell, received an undergraduate research and scholarship grant to create an abstract production through choreography, music and film. The show’s music was a mixture of trance and fast-paced tempos. Miscellaneous vintage footage, and footage Kennell had shot herself, flashed on a screen. The cast of three dancers – Michele Gotschalk, Mariko Sarafin and Miranda Harris – wore elaborately painted temporary tattoos and costumes. One dancer even had long fingertips in the style of Edward Scissorhands. During the performance, the dancers stripped their costumes down to plain slips. Their movement appeared erratic, yet coordinated with both the music and video components of the production. The performance was broken into segments, with one in particular where the dancers were in perfect synch with the film projection. Kennell said the performance was initially an experiment to capture dysfunctional relationships in society, with choreographed dancing being a main factor in expressing these relationships with one another. “Mamu: A Study in Dysfunction” played Feb. 7-11.

‘Fourplay’ celebrates with love, laughs

Clashes between men and women, heartbreak, and loneliness were topics of the Valentine-themed production “Fourplay” at Cyrano’s Playhouse from Wednesday, Feb. 14, to Saturday, Feb. 17. Schatzie Schaefers returned to Cyrano’s for an annual spin on Valentine’s Day with four original one-act comedies. Schaefers was born and raised in Anchorage. She has a bachelor’s degree in theatre from UAA. Since 2002, Schaefers has written and produced 25 one-act productions. She debuted “Fourplay” in 2004. This year’s acts feature “Cherry Pie” and “Boysenberry Pie.” “Cherry Pie” is about six women who delve into their relationship problems as they gather together for a candle party. “Boysenberry Pie” takes place at a men’s bonding group with the penis as the group’s focus. Schaefers herself performed in one act, as a mysterious woman trying to help a teen in conflict. This is the first role that Schaefers has written specifically for herself. “Fourplay” has received praise for its originality and comedy. Schaefers’ latest work-in-progress takes on a more serious tone, and is about the Enron scandal.

Cohen documentary shows at UAA

In celebration of Canada Week at UAA, a documentary on the legendary Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen was shown on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the UAA Fine Arts Building. The film was produced by Mel Gibson and was selected for the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival. Cohen was born in Montreal, Quebec, and has been an influential poet, novelist and singer-songwriter. His first book of poetry was published in 1956, his first novel in 1963. His early music is based on folk melodies; he transitioned to popular music, such as cabaret, in the 1970s. His music is typically sung in bass, accompanied with electronic synthesizers and female vocals. His work explores themes of religion, heartbreak, loneliness and sexuality. One of his most well-known songs, the timeless “Hallelujuah,” was covered by music notables Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainright, among others, and Wainwright’s version appeared on the “Shrek” movie soundtrack. The documentary on Cohen featured well-known musicians crediting his inspiration, and cover performances by U2, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker and others. His own candid interview reveals his upbeat humor on his career and inspiration for his past work, such as being ordained as a Buddhist monk. Cohen has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s top civilian honor.

February 6, 2007 Kelly McLain

Sleep Machine concert captures crowd with rock and film coup
The remaining two members of the formerly four-piece band Sleep Machine, Erik Braund and Brandon Hafer, wanted to play with themselves. And they found a way to do it: by prerecording themselves playing drum and bass parts of their songs in sound and video, and projecting it to life size on a screen while they played guitar and vocals live. “It took three days to shoot and a week of editing for a 60-minute set,” Braund said. The doubled duo premiered their projection-screen twins at their Feb. 3 concert in the Snow Goose Theater. Sleep Machine played an entrancing set of its signature originals, made up of equal parts dreamy and aggressive rock. Two-dimensional Braund (bass) and Hafer (drums) were just as charismatic with the audience as real, live Braund and Hafer, and the four even shared a synergistic chemistry on stage. While digital Sleep Machine played in the bottom horizontal half of the split screen, a film that had been made to go along with the concert played across the top half. The film, an outpouring of spliced and mixed footage – American jets dropping bombs, demolished buildings coming back to life, and slowly dancing baby dolls, for example – is timed so that it visually matches the music, but it would also work well as a stand-alone art film. The Feb. 3 concert was Sleep Machine’s last show in Anchorage for a while, but the band returns for two shows at the Snow Goose with Local H on March 18 and 19. For more information, go to

Jazz concert benefits Jazz Week

The UAA Jazz Week Benefit Concert Series hosted a concert Jan. 31 in the UAA Arts Building Recital Hall. The concert featured saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and his coronet-playing brother Nat Adderley. Concert performers included Rick Zelinsky on alto sax, Pat Owen on cornet, Evgeny Chernonog on piano, Errol Bressler on bass and Robert Arms on drums. The performance combined a slide show presentation with live music to showcase the Adderleys’ music and their influences. “Cannonball” Adderley is a jazz alto saxophonist who has played with influential artists such as Miles Davis. He is considered a major factor in the success of Davis’s albums “Milestones” and “Kind of Blue.” During his residence with Davis, he played a modern combination of blues and gospel music. After leaving Davis, Adderley formed his own group with his younger brother Nat Adderley. The Adderley group specializes in fusing bop, funk and jazz. Musical selections performed at the concert included a jazz repertoire from “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley, Bobby Timmons, Victor Feldman and Joe Zawinul. The proceeds from the concert will benefit Jazz Week, which runs March 7-10.

Pamyua celebrates First Tap with indigenous-funk fusion music
An infusion of Inuit harmonies, sounds of the didgeridoo and the African djembe gave the audience a taste of the cultural sound of Pamyua (pronounced bam-you-a), a Yupik musical group from Anchorage, at Bear Tooth Theatre’s First Tap. Pamyua’s music is described as “tribal funk” and “world music.” While most of their songs are based on traditional Yup’ik, Inuit and Greenlandic music, the group reinterprets them into modern styles of acapella and rhythmic beats. Their multicultural backgrounds have influenced the band members, including brothers Stephen and Phillip Blanchett, Karina Moller and Ossie Kairaiuak. They have toured across the U.S. and worldwide, performing for several world music festivals. In 2003, Pamyua won the Record of the Year for their album “Caught in the Act” from the 2001 Native American Music Awards.