Arts lovers in Juneau would be hard-pressed to call the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s the darkest days of the year: Every weekend in December is overflowing with activity, from large-scale stage celebrations such as JDU’s “Nutcracker” to more intimate musical performances such as the Juneau Bach Society’s Christmas concerts at Northern Light United Church. For many, the problem isn’t what to do, it’s how to do it all. Here’s a very brief look at some of the things going on in the Capital City in the coming weeks.
King Island Christmas, an oratorio based on a children’s book by Jean Rogers and Rie Muñoz that was first produced by Perseverance Theatre, was revived in 2010 by the dynamic trio of Sharon Gaiptman (producer), Deborah Smith (director) and Missouri Smyth (musical director). It’s back this year, with performances by children from the Alaska Youth Choir and adults from the community.
Valley performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 29 and 30, and at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Downtown performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 6-8, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the JACC. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/339466666151714/.
The Juneau Public Library will host a special OWL videoconference presentation, “What Makes the Holidays Special to the Tlingit People,” tonight, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. Led by Smith Katzeek, who will be speaking from Haines, the presentation is supported by the Chilkoot Indian Association and the Haines Borough Public Library.
The Juneau Bach Society will host their Christmas concerts, “Cantatas for the Beginning and Ending of Time,” this weekend, Dec. 1 and 2, at Northern Light United Church. Bruce Simonson will direct Kathleen Wayne, Mark Calvert, Philippe Damerval, Lisa Ibias, Jetta Whittaker, Emily Weaver, Rick Trostel and others in performances of Cantata 19 and Cantata 140. For more details, see page C3.
This weekend’s Gold Street Music concert will feature longtime Juneau musician Jane Roodenburg (who is back in town after a few year’s absence) and her husband, David Crossman, as well as John Palmes, Tony Tengs, Russell Strandtman, and Warship Harbor (Guy Unzicker, JD Miller and Mackenzie Merril). The concert will be held Saturday, Dec. 1, at Resurrection Lutheran Church. For more details, see page C3.
The KRNN Concert Series continues on Wednesday, Dec. 5, with Saints and Sinners, featuring gospel vocals from Collette Costa and blues guitar from Sammy Burrous. The series combines live music and informal interviews conducted by KRNN DJs; this edition will be hosted by the Blues Goddess, Grace Elliott. The show runs from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the Gold Town Theater, and includes beer and wine for purchase and free snacks. For details, visit www.krnn.org.
Gallery Walk, the granddaddy of all First Friday Art Walks, traditionally begins on Friday and runs all weekend, with many local businesses and galleries offering extended hours. This year’s featured Gallery Walk artists include Elizabeth Knecht, a mixed-media artist, who will be showing her new exhibit “Line” at the Juneau Douglas city Museum; Christy NaMee Eriksen, who will have an exhibit of hand-pulled silkscreen prints inspired by her son’s words at Heritage Cafe on Franklin Street; MK MacNaughton, who will show new paintings from her Artist in the Wilderness residency in the Noatak National Preserve in the empty store space at 209 Seward St.; Terri Gallant, who will be showing new paintings focusing on women in popular culture at Paradise Cafe; and artists Brenda Schwartz, Sandra Greba, Sherri McDonald, Karen Beason, and Alice Tersteeg at Annie Kaill’s. Many more openings and artists will be featured during Gallery Walk, Dec. 7; check next week’s Arts section for a full list.
Local group Theater at Latitude 58 will produce the one-act play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” for three weekends in December at the Juneau Urgent and Family Care Center. The show, directed by Cinnamon Simpson, will feature junior actors ages 7-11 as well as adult actors. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on three sets of Friday and Saturday nights, Dec. 7-23. For more, visit www.theateratlatitude58.com/best-christmas-pageant-ever
The fifth season of Juneau Lyric Opera’s Holiday Pops concert, directed by Sally Smith, will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9. Saturday’s performance will be at 7:30 p.m. at Northern Light Church, and Sunday’s will be at 4 p.m. at Chapel by the Lake. The Holiday Pops features a community chorus singing holiday favorites; find out more at www.juneauopera.org or in the Dec. 6 edition of Arts.
Perseverance Theatre’s current production, “Oklahoma!” will have its final round of shows Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 6-9. Directed by Shona Strauser, with choreography by Ricci Adan and musical direction by Sally Smith, the show is a collaboration between Perseverance and JDU. For more information, visit www.perseverancetheatre.org.
The line to get in to the annual open house at the Governor’s Mansion can be a deterrent for the busy and impatient, but it’s never as long as it appears (and hot cider is usually distributed while you wait). Once inside, you can greet the Gov. and stuff yourself with cookies with listening to choral music. This year’s event takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and runs from 3-6 p.m.
Mudrooms, a community storytelling event based on Anchorage’s Arctic Entry series, continues its second season on Wednesday, Dec. 12 with a holiday-appropriate installment based on the theme of “Gifts.” Seven local storytellers will share their “gift” stories with the audience at 7 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Sanctuary. Most participants are not practiced storytellers. More information is at www.mudrooms.org.
Also scheduled for Dec. 12: the Gold town Nickelodeon’s Second Annual Super Slick Christmas Bazaar Extravaganza, described as a “gloriously kooky night of live music” including performances from Kari Groven and Alaska’s Kit, and special guest appearances by the Off-The-Hook Honeys. A family-friendly show will be offered at 6:30 p.m., and a slightly more grown-up show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, visit the theater online at www.goldtownnick.com.
LATER IN DECEMBER:
Juneau Dance Unlimited produces Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet every December, showcasing the abilities of some of their most advanced dancers while offering a large-scale dance performance for audience members of all ages. Philip Krauter, artistic director of JDU, said this year’s show will include two new duets (pas de deux) and will highlight the work of advanced dancers such as Misha Culver and Maire New, as well as many others. Shows run Dec. 14-16, Friday through Sunday, with matinees on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see the Dec. 13 edition of Arts or visit juneaudance.org.
A few years ago, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council hosted their first Hit the JACC Putt mini-golf course, and the event’s success encouraged them to make it an annual event. This year, the fifth, will once again showcase local artists’ designs on the holes in the theme of “Fairytales.” Hit the JACC Putt runs from mid December through the end of the year. Find out more at www.jahc.com.
December’s Woosh Kinaadeiyí Poetry Slam & Open Mic is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21, at the The Rookery Cafe. Hosts for the evening will be Mike Christenson and Christy NaMee Eriksen, with DJ Manu on the turntables. the theme is “Ebb and Flow.” Show up at 6 p.m. to sign up for a slot; all performers of any level of ability are welcome. To find out more, visit the group on Facebook.
And looking ahead to year’s end, Juneau Jazz & Classics has once again organized “Swing in the New Year,” for New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, at the JACC. This year’s gala, the third annual, will feature special guest vocalist Cassie Miller and the Thunder Mountain Big Band, as well as vocal trio Pat Belec, Scarlett Adam, and Rebecca Albert. For more on this, visit jazzandclassics.org.