Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, December 01, 2000

Once or twice a month in Juneau in the winter local museums or art galleries will host receptions for new art exhibits. These are great - a chance to get together with friends and look over new works of art, meet artists and indulge in some snacks and beverages. Artists are usually more than happy to talk about their work and offer insight into their techniques and creative process. It's entertaining, especially if you go with art-loving friends. It's also a great way to meet people.

Tonight there will be the equivalent of about two dozen exhibits opening simultaneously. Gallery Walk is a great social and art event.

Almost a dozen artists are coming from Anchorage, Haines, Sitka, Angoon and Hoonah, and more than a dozen local artists will be out in local galleries. Most downtown galleries will be open and the JuneauDouglas City Museum is hosting a Native Arts Market as well. In the Mendenhall Valley The Big Picture in Lyle's Home Furnishings will have 10 artists and a big reception and exhibit as well, and across the street Rie Munoz will have her gallery open.

The weird thing about Gallery Walk is going from the chilly, often rainy outside into a hot crowded room to mingle. I'm going to leave my coat at home. I'd rather be a little cold outside than deal with the claustrophobic stuffiness of being bundled up in a crowd.

Friday is the big night, but galleries will be open Saturday and Sunday as well. Saturday at Centennial Hall KTOO is hosting a joint show with a number of local artists, Art for Radio's Sake.

I have regretted not buying art more than I've ever regretted purchases I've made, with the exception of some eight-track tapes I bought as a teenager. Keep your eyes peeled there are thousands of things to buy, but there are always a few gems, especially original, one-of-a-kind pieces that won't be around later.

Alanna Malone is directing "Greater Tuna" at the Palace Theatre and it's a funny show well worth seeing. It's fast paced and well-written, and the fact that two actors play almost 20 parts makes it even funnier. Matt Turner and Bill Hurr have some lightningfast costume changes backstage, and seeing a cowboy walk out a door and reemerge seconds later as a cranky old woman in curlers adds to the comedy.

Shelly Aisner deserves credit for that. She's busy backstage throughout the play stripping the fatsuit off Turner and pulling on the wigs and dresses on Hurr to make those changes possible. Her husband, Keith Axt Aisner, put together the sound design and music for the show and runs the sound. It's a successful spoof of smalltown life, and some elements especially ring true for Juneau.

Jerry Harper of Anchorage is doing a one-man show on the life of famed Alaska artist Sydney Laurence next week at Perseverance Theatre. Laurence was a colorful character and he profoundly influenced painting in Alaska. Harper is in Juneau playing Ephraim Cabot in Perseverance's "Desire Under The Elms." His one man show, "Syd," promises to be good. It runs at 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on the Perseverance Main Stage, and tickets are $10.

This is the final weekend for "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown." Last weekend the kids in the audience were heartily amused. I'd recommend this show for families. The musical, based on the "Peanuts" comic strip, is at 8 tonight and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the JuneauDouglas High School Auditorium.

"Unbreakable," the new film by "Sixth Sense" director M. Night Shyamalan is a winner. It's along the same lines as "Sixth Sense," with Bruce Willis involved in the supernatural. Shyamalan wrote and directed it, as he did "Sixth Sense." It's also set in Philadelphia and has a fairly prominent role for a 10yearold boy.

Shyamalan is a fine writer and an excellent filmmaker who gets the most from his cast. "Unbreakable" isn't perfect, but it's very entertaining and suspenseful. It's playing downtown at the 20th Century Twin.

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