Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2001

Perhaps in preparation for Father's Day, this weekend offers plenty of activities geared toward families.

The Juneau Symphony's pops concert on Saturday should be great fun for all ages - they're playing a number of familiar, danceable tunes that range from Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube" to Broadway's "My Fair Lady." The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, and groups are invited to picnic on the lawn beforehand. Inside, sparkling cider and food catered by the Silverbow Bakery will be available for purchase.

The symphony has only improved since Kyle Wiley Pickett was hired as music director. This year, it sold out the final concert of the season for the first time in the symphony's history, and board members are already planning next year's series of concerts. This weekend's show is a new, more casual addition to the symphony schedule. Anyone who likes to dance - especially waltz or polka-aficionados - and listen to familiar classics such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" or "Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" should check it out.

Families can also celebrate dads on Sunday at the Juneau Family Birth Center's Father's Day Event, 2 to 5 p.m. at McPhetres Hall. Organizer Joyce Parry Moore described the carnival-like event as "family fun day," which seems accurate. There's activities for both kids and parents, and food such as hot dogs and popcorn will be for sale. Games include face painting and putt-putt golf, while other entertainment will be provided by performers from the Alaska Youth Choir and storyteller Marjorie Hamburger. Tickets are $5 with $20 maximum for a family, and can be purchased either at the door or from a JBC board member. Call Moore at 586-4991 for more information.

For those seeking out Juneau traditions, Janice Holst's "Gold Nugget Revue" opens this weekend and plays at 7 p.m. Friday through Monday at the Thane Ore House for the rest of the summer. The Revue features can-can dancers and a fanciful retelling of the adventures of city founders Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. It's the longest-running show in Juneau, and is appropriate for all ages. Dinner and a show is $29; the show only is $10. Kids under 4 are admitted free of charge.

On a more avant-garde note, Juneau poets will gather from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the Nickelodeon Theatre - just behind Heritage Coffee in the Emporium Mall - for a poetry "slam." Slams, which are a sort of performance art meets poetry reading, have been cropping up with increasing frequency in popular culture. Several documentaries have been made about the phenomenon, including Paul Devlin's "Slam Nation" and Marc Levin's "Slam," and event organizer Michael Christenson said that a number of singers now open their concerts with a performance by a slam poet.

Would-be stars can sign up to read at the door; prizes will be awarded by judges chosen from the audience. Be warned - the audience is invited to express its opinion on performers with loud boos or cheers. The goal is to ratchet up the energy and make everyone feel involved, but performing's not for the faint of heart. Admission is $3 at the door.

Entertainment seekers who feel an evening's not complete without blueberry pancakes should check out the Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band's performance at the Alaskan Bar and Hotel on Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to closing. The performance will feature "special effects and blueberry pancakes," said Sean Tracey, who plays harmonica in the group. Other band members include Andy Ferguson on fiddle, group founder Johnse Ostman on guitar, Erik Chadwell on banjo, Ethan Abbott on mandolin and Maridon Boario on bass. All members of the band sing. Their music?

"It's bluegrass and old time half-collided and turned into crabgrass," said Tracey. The group has been together for 2 1/2 years in its current configuration, and played most recently at the Juneau Pride Festival.

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