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Posted: Friday, January 21, 2000

Death, resurrection and legacy are the themes for the weekend. The Elvis show tonight captures all three in one event.

Elvis really is dead. He didn't get tired of being rich and famous and fake his demise so he could live in secret in Lansing, Mich. But like that other charming, self-destructive southern white mama's boy (the president, not the king), Elvis won't stay down.

I doubt Elvis fans will be disappointed by Clayton Wagy's portrayal of King Elvis. Strangers greet Wagy on Seattle sidewalks with, ``Hello, Elvis.'' He embodies Elvis even when he's off-duty. He's an avid, but not rabid, fan. I think he'll do justice to the king.

Wagy will deliver both the 50s Elvis and the 70s Elvis. The hip-shaking seminal rocker and the bombastic showstopper. It's bound to be the best of both. There's no peanut butter and banana cheese burgers for Wagy - he's got to be young Elvis, not merely old Elvis singing young Elvis songs.

In a perfect world, Wagy would bring his four-piece rock band and two go-go dancers to Juneau for the show. But then it wouldn't be just $10. So we get recorded backup. But who ever went to see Elvis Presley for his backup band?

Wagy and singer Stephanie Mead go on stage at Centennial Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The concert is a benefit for the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.

Hospice and Home Care of Juneau provides a tremendous service to the community every day. This weekend, they're going beyond care giving, counseling and support into the realm of art and entertainment.

``Unexpected Gifts: Hospice, A Community Journey'' is an hour-long reader's theater performance, which Hospice has produced with dozens of local volunteers. The stories of three Juneau families' experience with death provided inspiration for writer Jack Cannon, who prepared the script. Six actors will deliver those stories.

Co-director Jamie McLean said the goal is to dispel some of the fear and denial that surrounds death. She hopes to offer some insights into a natural, inevitable event and help people look at death in a different light.

``Unexpected Gifts'' will be performed four times, at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission tonight is $50, while all other shows are $10. The proceeds benefit Hospice.

Three good movies are also in store this week. The Backroom Cinema at the Silverbow Inn presents ``The Opposite of Sex'' at 3 p.m. Sunday. Christina Ricci stole the show as the character Wednesday in the ``Addams Family'' movie 10 years ago, and she's lived up to the promise she showed. Her talent for sass and biting wit are showcased in the character she plays in ``The Opposite of Sex.''

``Cookie's Fortune,'' Robert Altman's most recent film, opens next Tuesday at the Silverbow. This is considered Altman's best film since ``Short Cuts'' by some critics. The 1955 classic ``The Night of The Hunter,'' will be screened Monday at the Goldtown Nickelodeon.

Clearly, none of these are new. If you'd rather stay home and watch videos and cable, you can probably see them privately. But if you like the social experience of movie-going, this is your chance.

``Alaska Gold: Life on The New Frontier'' is another option on the arts scene this weekend. A new exhibit at the Alaska State Museum, ``Alaska Gold'' illustrates the legacy of brothers Edmund and Wilfred McDaniel.

The brothers came to Nome in 1900 and spent six years as gold miners. Wilfred was a talented photographer, and hauled a 20-pound large format camera from California. More than 60 of his fine photographs illustrate their Alaska adventure. Historical artifacts, Native carvings and souvenirs collected by the brothers compliment the photos, and text tells the story. It's a nice trip back in time.

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