Fourth of July festivities are a good bet for entertainment Thursday, and this weekend, a month after Celebration 2002, Centennial Hall will again resonate with the sounds of drumming and singing. An art exhibit featuring photographer Joe Sonneman and Paul and James Voelckers opens this week at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery.
For me, a highlight of the Independence Day activities is the Super Dog Frisbee Contest. It might seem like stupid pet tricks to some, but as far as I'm concerned, a dog that catches big air going for a Frisbee is a superdog acrobat. I don't mean the average happy-go-lucky Lab that just lifts his front paws and chomps on the disc as it falls. I'm talking about the blue heelers and border collies that leap six feet off the ground and hang suspended in space as they intersect with their quarry.
The Super Dog Frisbee Contest is at 3 p.m. at Savikko Park, adjacent to Sandy Beach. If you have a contender, show up early and register to participate.
On a related note, a group of wiener-dog lovers is organizing wiener dogs for the Juneau and Douglas parades. If you and your dachshund would like to be part of the parade, arrive early at the staging area at the lower freight lot of Alaska Marine Lines off Thane Road. The Juneau parade starts about 11 a.m. and the Douglas Parade about 1:30 p.m.
Since wiener dogs rarely do well in the Frisbee contests, it's great that they will have this chance to strut their stuff.
Native American dancers and musicians from across the country will converge on Juneau for the Gathering of the Tribes July 5, 6 and 7. Saturday, July 6, will be the biggest day, when several hundred people participating in a "pow wow cruise" aboard the Carnival Spirit join the festivities for the day.
About 2 p.m. Saturday three musicians at the forefront of the contemporary Native American music scene will perform at Centennial Hall. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Joanne Shenandoah and flutist and singer Mary Youngblood will perform together. Robert "Tree" Cody, a fancy dancer, flutist and singer, also will share the stage.
Shenandoah and Youngblood are participating in the pow wow cruise and will be performing aboard the ship. Youngblood said this will be the eighth such cruise she's been involved with and the first to the Inside Passage.
Youngblood said she is Chugach Aleut and Seminole. Her mother attended Mount Edgecumbe school in Sitka. Youngblood was raised in Seattle and this is the first time she's been to Alaska.
She studied piano and flute growing up, and began playing the traditional Native American-style flute in the early 1990s.
"I brought a lot of my classical skills to this," she said. "My first gig was Indigenous People's Day, an alternative to Columbus Day, at a college in Sacramento."
She played in the student union on campus and the response inspired her to pursue music full-time. She recorded her first CD, a collection of original instrumental flute pieces, in a cave in California, taking advantage of the natural acoustics.
Her second CD featured guitar, cittern, dulcimer, bass, drums, eagle bone whistle and Youngblood's multi-chamber Native flutes. Shenandoah also sang on six songs on the recording.
Cody is a multi-talented 6-foot-10-inch presence. He has recorded as a Native American flutist and as a jazz musician, and has competed on the pow-wow circuit as a prize-winning dancer. He is of Dakota heritage and lives with his family in Phoenix, Ariz.
The pow wow will include music and dancing. Arts and crafts booths will be set up at Centennial Hall.
Sonneman will open a show of his photography Friday at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery, with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The show will also include recent work by father and son ceramic artists Paul and James Voelckers.
Sonneman has an interesting, low-tech approach to photography. He uses inexpensive cameras to create good, crisp negatives with a distinctive look. He prints full frame and uses a copy machine to create his final prints.
This is prime time of year to be outdoors and I'll be gone for the next two and a half weeks to enjoy some fishing, backpacking and exploring. I'm headed to the alpine ridges above Sheep Creek and at the south end of Douglas Island, and then to Atlin Lake and the Yukon.
If you're interested in getting out, check out the new trail work at the end of Perseverance Trail. It's great that this area is opening up again.
Riley Woodford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.