Probably the only Americans in Afghanistan these days are mercenaries, Marines and military advisors. But 25 years ago, before a Soviet invasion, a coup and a couple of civil wars, Dick Marshall and his wife, Chrissie, spent a month traveling through Afghanistan's northern provinces.
Tonight, Dick Marshall will narrate an hour-long slide show about his 800mile road trip through Afghanistan in 1976. The show, at 7:30 p.m. at McPhetres Hall, is a benefit for Southeast Alaska Land Trust. Admission is $5.
"I put together a show when we first returned in the mid-1970s and I haven't looked at it in a good many years," Dick Marshall said. He dusted off the slides after Sept. 11 and reworked the program. He referred to notes he took during the trip and created a new show featuring areas that have been newsworthy of late.
Deborah Marshall, director of SEALTrust, invited her father to come up from Seattle and give the presentation.
"He's been doing it in Seattle, because people have been so interested in Afghanistan," Deborah Marshall said.
Marshall will bring several detailed maps of Afghanistan, and the show includes pictures he took flying over the country, images of communities and the countryside, and pictures of the Buddhist monuments at Bamiyan that the Taliban destroyed earlier this year.
The show is the first of a monthly series that will benefit the SEALTrust. Marshall said the rest of the programs will be Alaska-based.
Imagine hearing voices sing hallelujah. Instead of a kumbiyalike intonation, my bet is you hear in your mind's ear the rousing chorus of Handel's "Messiah."
This weekend at Chapel by the Lake a community chorus of 75 singers and about 7 musicians present Handel's "Messiah." Soloists include Joyce Parry Moore and Cyndee Simpson-Sugar, who played the sisters in the recent Juneau Lyric Opera production of "Cosi Fan Tutte." Tenor Thomas Gross and baritone Morgan Reed from Fairbanks also will be featured.
There will be three performances, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available in advance at Hearthside Books and are $12, $9 for students and seniors. Because of the number of singers and musicians involved, Chapel by the Lake will be pretty full, so come early.
There are several opportunities to hear some fine secular music this weekend as well.
Rev. Neil Down is performing this weekend at the Alaskan. The Reverend, a blues rock singer and guitarist, is a refugee from the professional scene down south. He settled in Skagway a few years ago, trading the road and honky-tonks in the West and Midwest for a quieter Alaska life. He'll be backed by Juneau musicians. The shows start at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band is a good bet for rousing bluegrass and old-time music. Crabgrass plays Saturday night at the Imperial Saloon, starting about 10 p.m. and playing until at least 2 a.m.
There's a Holiday Barn Dance at 7:30 Saturday night at Centennial Hall, with music by Rex and Sherri. Valerie Delaune will call the dances. Beginners always are welcome and all the dances are taught.
Karaoke mavens should head out to Marlintini's Lounge next week. Marlintini's has been hosting a weekly karaoke contest this fall, and the finals will be Dec. 23. Only the winners of the weekly competitions are eligible for the big grand finale and the $500 prize. One more contest night will be held before the finals and that is Tuesday starting at 9 p.m. You can brush up at the Viking Lounge this weekend if you want some karaoke practice in front of a live audience. For best results sing something up-tempo that people recognize.
"Ocean's Eleven," is held over at the 20th Century Twin. Steven Soderbergh's latest movie is entertaining and worth seeing, but it's no Oscar contender. In spite of the all-star cast, it's George Clooney and Brad Pitt's movie, and they don't disappoint.
A better caper flick is last year's British independent, "Snatch," which also features Pitt. They do this goofy thing in "Ocean's Eleven" where the characters speak unintelligible passages of dialogue. It's funny, but it's a lot funnier in "Snatch."
"Ocean's Eleven" is a little overblown, with scenes that don't contribute to the plot and characters that are completely extraneous. But they are well-acted and fun to watch. You don't really know what's important and what's just film rolling until you are digesting the movie on the way home, but I guess that's part of the satisfaction.
If you'd like to see a really tight Soderbergh film, check out the video "The Limey" with Terrence Stamp and Peter Fonda.
Riley Woodford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.