Best bets

Posted: Friday, May 05, 2000

Juneau is comedy central this weekend.

I watched the preview for ``Wild Nights With Emily'' this week and was highly amused. It's a funny, fast-paced comedy with some intriguing subtexts.

The construction of the play is imaginative: a half-dozen actors play 36 different characters, and the play jumps from Dickinson's time to modern day in sometimes overlapping scenes. It works well - the characters fly past, but the point of each scene is clear.

I have always had a hard time believing that a reclusive spinster could write so eloquently about love drawing only upon her imagination. It's much more satisfying and plausible to think of Emily Dickinson as a vibrant, funny and romantic woman with a hidden, requited love. It certainly makes for good theater.

If you're a big fan of world premieres, tonight's the night to go. Otherwise, the play runs four nights a week through the end of the month at Perseverance Theatre.

Saturday night is the only chance to see ``A Fine and Pleasant Misery.'' Actor Tim Behrens plays 16 different characters in this one-man show. I've heard from folks who have seen it that it's very funny. Great and terrific, in fact.

The show is based on the characters and writing of outdoor humorist Patrick McManus, and I can attest to his talent. He captures the over-the-top, imagination-fueled enthusiasm boys have for the outdoors. Especially boys with beat-up army surplus camping gear and a little bit of wilderness within biking distance.

The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium and McManus himself will be there the hour before the show.

For even more over-the-top entertainment of a completely different kind, there's La Fabulous Femme Fatales at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the New Penthouse. This is karaoke at its best and worst. Watching a man in drag lip-synch a slow Barbara Streisand ballad can be painful, but something about an unabashed female impersonator strutting around to ``Bad Girls'' is hilarious. The overall scene is a blast, especially if you go with friends.

If you're in a dancing mood, there's Salsa Borealis at the Hangar and The Bluesband at the Alaskan. If you're wondering about the guys in drag showing up at midnight, see above.

For outdoor recreation, things look great. This weekend will be a good time for tide pooling. There's an almost minus-4-foot tide at 9:40 a.m. Saturday morning, a reasonable hour to be checking out urchins, anemones and polychaetes. Sunday morning is ideal as well. While you're out, you might as well fish the incoming tide. Trout and even a few steelhead are moving in.

Droves of birds have moved in as well, and the forests are full of bird songs. The Audubon bird walk at 8 a.m. Saturday on the Mendenhall Wetlands offers an excellent opportunity to take advantage of a guide and learn a little bit about who's singing and what they're singing about.

The walk starts from the end of Radcliffe Road, which is back by the airport wetlands trail, off Berners Avenue. Bring binoculars and rubber boots.

Saturday is also Kayak Play Day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Twin Lakes. There will be kayaking on the lake, demonstrations, an obstacle course and a rubber duckie race. It's all free.

Bears and mountain goats are also out and about. If you enjoy viewing the macro fauna of the Juneau area, cruise up Basin Road and check out the slopes above the flume, or the avalanche chute across from the overlook at the Perseverance trailhead. Goats have also been active near Nugget Creek falls and can be seen from the trails and the visitor center.

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