Weekend bestbets

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2000

The movie ``The Perfect Storm'' has been held over another week. It has been well-attended in Juneau, which is understandable. Any movie where bad weather plays the villain and fishermen are heroes is bound to score with Southeast audiences.

This is probably the best film about a storm since ``Key Largo.'' ``The Perfect Storm'' has great characters and tells a good story, but it's too long. It doesn't help that the previews seem to take 45 minutes and you're assaulted by kidnappers, Satan, exploding fireballs, stabbings and beatings before ``The Perfect Storm'' has even started.

I'd suggest getting up for a walk about the time George Clooney has the Andrea Gail steaming for The Flemish Cap. If I had, I would have enjoyed the second half more. I love action and excitement, but how long can anybody endure guys in rain gear yelling at each other?

Someone might say the same about the film ``Eating'' - how long can anyone listen to women talk about eating? The difference is ``The Perfect Storm'' is a good, big-budget Hollywood product, and ``Eating'' is a very funny low-budget indie film that addresses some surprisingly profound topics. It manages to be serious without being heavy.

The premise is simple - a group of women gather for a triple birthday party and spend the day talking about food, marriage, food, growing up and getting old. But especially food and eating. It's very funny, and the humor is well balanced with some insightful commentary. The dialogue is great and the characters are also excellent.

``Eating'' shows at 9 p.m. Saturday night at the Back Room Cinema.

Living in Juneau it's easy to forget how amazing it is to see tens of thousands of salmon schooled up. This is a good time to head down to DIPAC and check out the fish. It doesn't last long, and it may not last forever.

When I grew up in Oregon, we had pretty healthy king, steelhead and coho runs. The charter and commercial fleets were successful, and sport fishing was almost a requirement for Oregonians. But they added a few more dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers and extensively logged right down to the water's edge in prime habitat, and those days are gone. Coho are an endangered species in Oregon. Many of the king runs are extinct.

I know the situation at DIPAC is somewhat artificial, but it's mighty impressive to see those swirling hordes of fish. There are acres of water packed with dog salmon and they're drawing in eagles and seals. It's a sight to behold.

A group of musicians from California are coming north next week, the Black Irish Band. The band played in Juneau two years ago, and at that time it had seven albums recorded. Three members came, and all three sang and played multiple instruments, from acoustic bass, guitar and mandolin to banjo, trumpet, melodeon and concertina.

The band plays a huge variety of folk music styles - Irish, British, Italian and American tunes. Gold-rush-era songs, traditional Celtic music, maritime ballads, Irish drinking songs, railroad songs and original music in those same folk styles.

The group is coming up to participate in the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad Centennial celebration next weekend.

The name Black Irish Band is a reference to Irish history. After the English defeated the Spanish Armada, many Spanish ships took port in Ireland and hundreds of men jumped ship. They intermarried with the Irish and their descendants have the fair skin of the Irish and the dark hair and eyes of the Spanish and are called the ``black Irish.''

The band plays at the Hangar on the Wharf from 8 to 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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