This week at the Bookstore: Coffee, cartoons, and the meaning behind ancient ‘Fire Trees’

There are two unique upcoming events being held in the UAA Bookstore Loft on April 20 and 21.

On Friday, April 20, the Bookstore is presenting “George Gee presents Flutters from Side Street: Dry Erase Drawings, Social Discourse and Political Ramblings” from 4 – 6 p.m.

George Gee, along with wife Deborah Seaton, opened Side Street Espresso in 1992. Soon after opening the cafe, located on G St. in downtown Anchorage, Side Street Espresso began gaining local notoriety for the dry erase artwork the cafe debuted daily on its whiteboards, reflecting and commenting on local issues and politics.

In 1997, Gee began to preserve the daily artwork by taking pictures of the whiteboards, ultimately resulting in his book “Flutters from Side Street: Volume One, Dry Erase Drawings, Social and Political Commentary, and Reflections From A Morning Walk to Work.”

George Gee event Poster
Photo credit: UAA Bookstore

The book is a collection of dry erase drawings that highlight pieces of Anchorage and American history.

“George Gee is an amazing person with a lot of stories… He is a big part of the Anchorage landscape,” Rachel Epstein, special events coordinator for the Bookstore, said. “George has done so much for the people of Anchorage with his kindness and unique personality… George has a great heart, and whether you’re new to Anchorage or you’ve lived here a long time, it will be a great experience.”

The following day, April 21, from 1 – 3 p.m., the Bookstore will host an event called “Author and Artist Mary Ida Henrikson presents The Mystery of the Fire Trees in Southeast Alaska, with Dr. Steven Langdon.”

- Advertisement -

Mary Ida Henrickson was born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska. According to the event description, Henrickson was “surprised when she realized she had an ancient cedar on her property that appeared to have been altered for fire storage.”

This realization prompted her to investigate the trees further and discover “dozens of other centuries-old trees with deeply burned interiors.” After researching the trees in detail, Henrickson wrote a book, titled, “The Mystery of the Fire Trees, An Artist’s Quest for an Ancient Truth,” which was published in 2017.

Henrickson will be joined at the event by anthropologist Steve Langdon, as well as journalist, publisher and author, Lael Morgan.

“I think many people in the community will come and talk about culture… Alaska native culture but also nature, what we learn from the footprint of nature, and what the story is behind these trees,” Epstein said.

Both events are free to attend and open to the public. Parking is free at UAA on both Fridays and Saturdays.