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Acoustic music, fiction, fine art and a dance with a new local big band look to be the best bets for this weekend.
Singer, guitarist and songwriter David Lynn Grimes will present "An Evening of Music and Democracy" at 8 tonight at The Back Room at the Silverbow. Admission is $5. Grimes is a musician and environmentalist from Cordova, and the concert is a benefit for the No on One campaign.
Grimes will be playing solo. He's a fine guitarist and singer, as his CD "Raven River" attests. He said he incorporates storytelling and environmental commentary into his performances as well as music. If you like James Taylor, you'll probably enjoy Grimes' show. He's clearly a protg of Taylor. He can turn a catchy phrase and he's good with words. He'll be featuring his own songs in the concert.
I hesitate to call them original songs, since they are more like collages than creations. Grimes has taken traditional Irish tunes, American folk songs, Biblical references, poetry by Rumi, a Doobie Brothers riff and a children's song, lines by Stephen Foster and Bob Dylan, sound effects from nature, heartwarming sentiments and John Denver-esque themes and glued them together. And he's done it well. His songs take you places.
On Monday night, the Back Room will host another event: Between The Lines, a fiction and poetry reading with Heidi Gosho and Tom Linklater. This is the second in what organizer Alexis Ross Miller plans as a winter-long series.
I've long enjoyed Linklater's poetry. I've seen it in Explorations, the University of Alaska Southeast annual literary magazine. He has a good sense of humor and an observant eye, and it comes through in his writing. He also has an appreciation for theater and for engaging and entertaining an audience.
I don't know Gosho, but she expressed similar sentiments. Both will be reading short fiction, and Linklater may even bring in some folks to read different parts - like a playreading. This promises to be a good pair Monday night. A short open mike for poets will follow the featured guests. Admission is $5.
The AWARE Shelter is sponsoring an all-ages community dance with the new Thunder Mountain Big Band from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the National Guard Armory. Admission is $2 - this is not a fund-raiser, it's a party. Ann Marie Sack of AWARE said the idea is to build solidarity and support for domestic violence awareness and to simply bring people together.
This is essentially the debut performance for the Thunder Mountain Big Band. The group played a few weeks ago as the Juneau Big Band, and the new name might imply the players are still settling in. There are some strong musicians in this 18 piece band and leader Ron Maas said they've learned a bunch of new arrangements and new tunes. He said the band is tight and excited about the music, and playing better than ever.
Judging from the number of folks I see trying to swing dance to rock 'n' roll and bluegrass, I think dancers would love to see a new band that can really swing. Thunder Mountain also does ballads and standards, said Maas, and Vicki Van Fleet and John Moore are singing.
Speaking of music, the very close cousin of bluegrass music, the style known as crabgrass will be served up this weekend at the Alaskan. The Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band plays 9 p.m.1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. This is a fun band with a good feel for the high, lonesome sound of bluegrass. And they're not such purists that they can't throw in a little country, old-time and folk. I know some of these guys grew up listening to hardcore, punk, rock and pop music, but traditional music speaks to them today. Go figure. There's no cover charge.
Finally, in the visual art realm, there's an art exhibit opening Saturday morning featuring new works by painter Rick Clair. I like Clair's paintings and it's good to see he's got new work out. The show opens at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at The Big Picture gallery at Lyle's Home Furnishings. Come have coffee and doughnuts and check out the art.