This weekend's events help welcome in the summer season.
A sign of the season is the Concerts in the Park series, which begins tonight. The 15-year-old Juneau tradition kicks off at 7 p.m. in Marine Park. Performers include the Juneau Tlingit Dancers, magic by Jeff Brown, a cappella vocals by the Buckley Women and the Celebration Singers, a group visiting from Athens, Ga. Claire Richardson MCs.
Concerts in the Park are great, casual evening entertainment - even if you just drop by for a few minutes, you're bound to see people you know. Tonight's guest artists come highly recommended, and if you like what you hear, they're performing at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday at Northern Light United Church.
Also adding to the summer spirit is the Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club's Annual Family Day at the Lake on Saturday. Twin Lakes waters have been stocked with small chinook salmon, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., families will have the opportunity to fish, play games and win prizes. Boats, bait and tackle are free, and picnic food - hot dogs, chips and soda - is available for extremely reasonable prices. If the weather cooperates and we get a sunny weekend, this should be a great opportunity for parents and kids to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
In keeping with the water theme, the Juneau Aurora Knights will host a synchronized swimming meet and show this weekend. Teams are coming in from Whitehorse and Bozeman, Mont., and three of the Juneau swimmers who are performing will be competing in the national synchronized swimming championships in July. This is a wonderful sport to watch because it incorporates theatrical elements like music, costumes and dance into challenging athletic routines.
The girls will be judged in the morning - figures competition at 8:45 a.m. and routines from 10 a.m. to noon - and awards will also be presented at the evening's show, which begins at 7:15 p.m. All events are free, and take place at the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool.
Summer movie season kicked off early this year with "The Mummy Returns." Of the movies showing in town now, "Shrek" has gotten the best reviews. I haven't see it yet, but word of mouth says it's fantastic. I did see "Moulin Rouge" last weekend and adored it - I'm a musical junkie, and "Moulin Rouge" is a dazzling spectacle of dancing and beautiful costumes. Plus it's got a great love story. Be warned, though, that the editing is extremely frenetic, and many elements of the story are intentionally over the top. Critics have alternately raved about and panned it, but if you like flashy fairy tales, give it a try.
For something a little more immediate, you could try Perseverance Theatre's production of "Moby Dick." This is the last weekend to catch the show; I saw it several weekends ago and was blown away. Perseverance has staged a creative, successful reworking of Herman Melville's novel. If you don't like the book - and I didn't when I read it several years ago - don't let that deter you. Perseverance's show is all about getting to the ideas at the core of the novel and exploring the wider themes Melville evokes in his story.
The actors in the production - Ishmael Hope, Darius Jones, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, Owen Stokes, Jake Waid and Sara Waisanen - helped create the show, and they all play numerous roles. Their dancing, acting and singing are highly polished and involving, and the hand-puppet show they put on part way through the first act is hilarious. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Perseverance Theatre in Douglas.
If you'd like to get up on stage yourself, both Perseverance Theatre and the Juneau Lyric Opera are holding auditions for upcoming productions. Perseverance's are for the 2001-2002 season, and will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 364-2421, ext. 8 to schedule an appointment. Those interested in auditioning for the Lyric Opera's fall show, Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte," should call 789-4604. Auditions will be held Wednesday.