Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, December 08, 2000

There is so much happening this weekend it will take a clone - or careful planning - to take it in.

There are two plays and a ballet, four concerts and several art exhibits, as well as a couple folk dances.

The venerable ballet the "Nutcracker" is ripe for a new rendering. There's nothing wrong with the classic, but we've all seen it. Ballet masters and choreographers Christian Martinu and Rio Mitani have produced a new version, "Nutcracker@2000." The Juneau Dance Unlimited directors and more than 200 dancers from JDU will present two performances of Peter Tchaikovsky's ballet.

Every December, JDU presents its biggest production of the year, combining student recital and professional performance. "Nutcracker," with its many dance vignettes, is a perfect vehicle.

"Nutcracker@2000," is performed at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at JuneauDouglas High School auditorium. Tickets are $12 in advance at JDU and Hearthside Books. They're $14 at the door and $10 for children.

One of the weirdest love stories I've seen in a long time is masterfully brought to the stage at Perseverance Theatre, and this weekend in the last chance to see it. "Desire Under The Elms," shows at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, and the very last show is 2 p.m. Sunday at Perseverance Theatre.

There's plenty of romantic love, but the love of the land is almost as strong. It's such a wellwritten story and brings up interesting aspects of love. Longing, how love and hate are tied together and how complicated it is to be satisfied. The direction is snappy and fast and it clips right along it's about 85 minutes with no intermission.

If you like the play, you might check out a film called "Girl in a Swing."

Sunday night at 7 p.m. there's a benefit concert for Buzz Ritter, who was injured in a motorcycle accident this fall while on vacation in Arizona. Ritter, a guitarist and singer, has been active in the Alaska Folk Festival and a variety of musical groups in Juneau for many years. Some may know him as the baker and proprietor of Paradise Bakery.

A variety of musicians and bands are playing short sets at the Alaskan Bar on Sunday night. There's no charge and donations will be taken for Ritter.

Traditionally woven Ravenstail robes, leggings and pouches will be on display, as will Northwest Coast style baskets, at a free weaving display and demonstration this weekend at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

In addition to the display of work, members of the Ravenstail Weavers Guild and basketry students of Jan Crisswell will demonstrate their skills. Crisswell teaches at the University of Alaska and is extremely knowledgeable about traditional basketry. Baskets woven from cedar bark, spruce roots and grasses will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the visitor center. Admission is free.

"Greater Tuna" runs this weekend and next and is well worth seeing. It's a funny, two-man show spoofing smalltown life, and shows 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Palace Theatre, 100 N. Franklin. Tickets are $12 at Hearthside Books and the door.

The U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific performs at 7 p.m. Saturday in Centennial Hall. The band is based in Anchorage and last year about this same time they came down and performed. I heard great things about that show. It's an eight-piece band, and they'll do contemporary popular music and Christmas tunes.

For a full-blown Christmas concert with angelic voices singing traditional favorites, check out the Alaska Youth Choir holiday concerts. There are two chances to see these singers, at 7 p.m. Friday at Northern Light United Church and 4 p.m. Sunday at Chapel by the Lake. They also have guest performers sharing the stage, the Juneau Youth Symphony and Juneau Children's Peace Choir. Tickets $8, $5 students and seniors, $20 for families, at the door.

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