Best Bets: Folk fest, the symphony and Wojo's mojo

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2003

Here's a little folk fest highlight I forgot to mention in my article: Detective Stan Wojciehowicz. That's right, Max Gail, the actor who played "Wojo" on the 1970s' hit sitcom "The Barney Miller Show." He's a piano-playing singer/songwriter who lives in L.A. now. He'll be playing a 15-minute set at the folk festival next Thursday, April 10.

There were no Barney Miller re-runs on "Nick at Nite," and I was, like, fetal in the 1970s, so Wojo didn't ring any bells at first. Luckily, my pal Collette Costa remembers.

"Wojciehowicz. I can't believe you don't know that guy. What are you, like, 22?" Costa asked me. "He was on 'Barney Miller,' he acted with Abe Vigoda, and Abe Vigoda was in 'The Godfather.' This is huge, like, I would consider it a huge Juneau brush with fame. I am so interviewing him on the radio."

Gail also has a Web site, www.maxgail.com, where he is featured in full 1970s Wojo gear, complete with flowing locks, v-neck that exposes chest hair and a little dolphin choker around his neck. I have to say he looked familiar, sort of sprung from hazy childhood TV memories, like how Morgan Freeman always looks familiar because I used to watch him on the "Electric Company."

On the site, you can click on links for Gail's poetry and songs, as well as something called "Wojo's Mojo." You'll have to go there to find out just what mojo Wojo is talking about.

Gail was on "The Drew Carey Show" in 2001 and he has a movie coming out called "Fool's Moon." If you have HBO, you can see him Saturday, April 5, in "Dangerous Touch," a movie about how "revenge, lust and blackmail color a radio sex therapist and author's affair with a dangerous ex-con." It plays at 2:30 a.m. He also was in "Forest Warrior" with Chuck Norris. That will play on Wednesday at 4 a.m. on TNT.

So, anyway, mark it down: Wojo, Thursday.

Which brings me to a very obvious best bet for this week, the 29th Annual Alaska Folk Festival, which begins Monday night. The folk fest is totally free (though you should buy a membership) and totally fun, so you have no excuse. A schedule of all the events and activities will come out in Sunday's paper. And I will write more about it in next week's issue of This Week.

Wojo and folk fest aside, there's a whole other mess of arts and entertainment fun happening this weekend. First, there is the First Friday Art Walk, happening downtown this Friday, April 4. I would recommend especially visiting "Art Against War: Juneau Artists For Peace" at the Empire Gallery, where two dozen artists' work will be on display, the third annual Alaska Photographic Arts Association spring exhibit at the KTOO building, and the preview of "Looking Both Ways" at the Alaska State Museum.

You also might try to catch the Juneau Symphony's 40th Anniversary Concert on Saturday night, if you can get your hands on a ticket. Young violin virtuoso Franz Felkl will perform, along with internationally known pianist Alexander Tutunov. They also will show a silent film of photographs local fourth-graders took of Juneau. For those who would like a shorter version of the concert, minus Tutunov, there will be a family concert at 1 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall.

Now, I have to give you some news. There are some big changes in store for This Week. The Empire will become a morning paper starting this Monday, April 7. When that happens, This Week will start coming out on Friday mornings, rather than Thursday afternoons, as it does now. The deadline for submitting information for publication in This Week will not change, however. If you want to get written up in here, you have to contact us at least by the Thursday a week before publication.

Also, this column's days are numbered. Best Bets will go away after this week and be replaced by a new column, to be unveiled next Friday.

Finally, at the end of the month, I will no longer be the Empire's arts reporter. Instead, Korry Keeker, a writer from the Bay Area, will take over. I wish I could tell you more about him, but he isn't here yet. He's on the ferry as I write this.

I have been transferred to an equally entertaining beat, city government, where I will have a somewhat smaller chance of rubbing elbows with Wojo's mojo.

Anyway, that's it for the week. Thanks for reading.

Julia O'Malley can be reached at jomalley@juneauempire.com.



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