Best bets

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2000

It's a good week for music and movies.

Six dozen of Juneau's most dedicated and experienced singers are participating in the Mid-Winter Vocal Festival this week, and they'll perform Sunday. ``Bach to Broadway'' will be directed by Byron McGilvray, a visiting vocal teacher and choral conductor. As the title implies, the concert will offer a wide range of music. A select group of 20 will be featured on several songs, and soloists will be highlighted on others. The concert is 3 p.m. Sunday at Chapel by the Lake.

The vocal festival is an annual event, and if you'd like to learn some basic vocal techniques, it's a great opportunity. McGilvray works with singers of all levels, and he's good. Keep it in mind next year.

A benefit for Juneau musician Tim Wood will kick off at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Alaskan. A mix of musicians and local bands will take turns playing a few songs each.

Wood played bass in a bunch of bands here over the past 20 years, including Rockfish and Danny and The C Notes. He recently underwent treatment and surgery for cancer and his comrades wanted to pitch in and help him out. Folks will pass the hat to take a collection.

I worked with Wood in a trio in 1987, but I'm not pitching this as a good cause so much as a good time. Fiddler Bob Banghart put together a similar event a few years ago that was a great blend of music and community.

Millennium Prophets is a blues-funk-rock band debuting tonight and Saturday at the Alaskan. It features a quartet of excellent musicians - Vern Fowler, Ford James, Jay Caputo and Robert Cohen. It's great to see a new band in town.

``Being John Malkovich'' opens tomorrow at the Glacier Cinema, and probably won't stick around too long. Although it stars some well-known names - John Cusak and Cameron Diaz - it's more an independent art house film than a mainstream movie. The acting, story line and directing have gotten excellent reviews, but many said it's also oddly disturbing.

A number of reviewers called this one of the weirdest movies they'd ever seen. It has a bizarre premise - Cusak's character finds a way to get into real-life actor Malkovich's head, a power that quickly gets out of hand.

If you like quirky, imaginative, original movies, this is your heads up.

I can recommend another film also at Glacier Cinema, an entertaining experience that was well worth $8.50. ``Galaxy Quest'' is a fun movie from beginning to end. I suspect it's just as much fun for folks who aren't ``Star Trek'' fans as well.

In a nutshell: 20 years after ``Galaxy Quest'' (a ``Star Trek''-like show) is canceled, the has-been cast is doing mall openings and ``Galaxy Quest'' conventions. They're kidnapped by aliens who think the show is real, and who need some heroic mercenary types to help them fight an evil alien warlord.

As a kid, I was a big fan of the original ``Star Trek'' series. It was rerun everyday after school and my brother and I watched it religiously. When my dad came home from work he regularly pointed out that it was a stupid show, and that the fat captain was a dope. We weren't fazed. We thought Captain Kirk was cool and the stories clever and action-packed.

Sadly, as an adult, I made the mistake of renting a few of my favorite episodes on video. All I can say is I gained a lot of insight into the mind of a 10-year-old boy.

``Galaxy Quest'' captures all those elements - avid young fans and fan culture, egotistical and has-been actors, and the genuine thrill of a goofy science fiction TV show all rolled into a fast-moving goofy science fiction movie. There are scores of inside jokes that make it extra funny, but don't leave you out if you weren't a Trekkie.

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