Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2001

Halloween weekend is upon us. Many folks will be celebrating on Saturday night, although Oct. 31 actually comes next week. There are activities for kids, a costume barn dance, scary movies and costume parties in bars for grownups. This weekend also brings two nationally-recognized comedians to Juneau.

There will be an afternoon of family activities at Nugget Mall Saturday including a haunted house, a costume contest, a guest witch and a birthday party for Curious George. The birthday party for Curious George is 1 to 3 p.m., and most of the events seem to be taking place from noon to 5 p.m. From 5 to 8 p.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 31, the mall will host trick-or-treating.

On Saturday it will be important to stick with kids, especially younger kids. Parents have been known to drop off small children at the mall for this kind of event and disappear, and that's quite a burden for the staff.

Saturday morning, the U.S. Forest Service launches its fall Kid's Day Programs with Beautiful Bats, a look at Alaska's bats. Naturalist Denise Wolvin will dispel myths about bats and talk about these cool little animals. The free programs will be presented from 11 a.m.-noon Saturdays at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, through December. It's aimed at kids ages 7 to 12, but kids 7 and younger are welcome with adult supervision.

Comedian Bob Smith and "The Shadow of the Vampire" come to the Back Room at the Silverbow this weekend. The restaurant theater - nightclub idea is appealing, especially if you're patient with quirky service.

It's a nice venue, but it's often hard for the staff to get folks seated, take orders, get the food out and keep up with tables. When it comes to movies, the system for paying is convoluted and confusing and requires patience, as well. In spite of those problems, the Silverbow has shown excellent taste in some of the classic and new independent movies they've screened and it can be worth the hassles.

I saw the vampire movie Thursday night and it's creepy. John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe are excellent.

Smith's act at 9 p.m. should be funny. He pokes fun at the foibles of being gay, and the event is a benefit for the Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance. I just found out the Back Room is planning a whole evening of related events tonight, including music before the comedy, and a drag show, cabaret and dance afterward.

Juneau has a wealth of comedians tonight - veteran stand up comic Bil Dwyer, the host of "Battlebots," performs at 8 p.m. at Marlintini's Lounge. Comedian Jerry Evans will open.

Saturday will include four more Halloween events:

Peabody's Monster Halloween Party, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday at The Alaskan. The band plays Friday as well. The band has been laying low, the players have been woodshedding and working on new stuff with a reconfigured lineup, and it will be good to hear them.

Groove Cult plays for a Halloween costume party, with a costume contest Saturday night at Marlintini's Lounge. The band also plays tonight after Dwyer's show.

Northern Pacific plays tonight and Saturday at the Hangar. Saturday night there's a costume party; judging is at 11 p.m. Both Marlintini's and the Hangar will have cash prizes for individual and group costumes. Get your glue guns and imaginations warmed up.

Finally, there's a Halloween Barn Dance kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall, with live music by Grateful Celtics and dances called by Odette Foster. It's a costume ball, all ages are welcome and the dances will be taught. Admission is $7.

The arts council is offering a reprise screening of "Jung (War) in the Land of the Mujahedin," at 7 p.m. Sunday at Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. This look inside modern Afghanistan is well worth seeing. Admission is $2.

Longtime Juneau theater activist Mary Lou Spartz has written a piece called "The Sinking of the Princess Sophia," based on the 1918 shipwreck just north of town. It will be presented as a staged playreading at 8 p.m. today and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, House of Wickersham. Donations will be accepted.

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.

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