I don't blame anyone for wincing at the cold, but I'm glad to finally see some winter weather. We're getting beautiful clear nights, short, glorious sunny days, and consistent sub-freezing temperatures. That promises great skating weather.
Forecasters are predicting continued freezing temperatures and folks have been skating on Mendenhall Lake near Skater's Cabin since Sunday. There was a hockey game there Tuesday.
As always, exercise caution and good judgment when venturing out on ice. Places freeze at different rates - Auke Lake gets more sun and stays much warmer than the glacier area, so it freezes later than Mendenhall Lake.
Twin Lakes looks great. The lakes were drained this fall but there's still plenty of open area. The section near the fishing dock was black and smooth Wednesday afternoon and looked very promising.
There's a chance of snow Saturday and an even better chance Sunday and Monday. We may have a white Christmas on the way. Next Thursday is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The sun will be up about 8:40 a.m. and down at 3:09 p.m.
For indoor entertainment there's a free film tonight, Jean-Claude Rappeneau's 1990 "Cyrano de Bergerac," at the University of Alaska Southeast. It's got wordplay, swordplay, wit, romance and more. Critics have acclaimed French director Rappeneau's "Cyrano" as the definitive film version of the classic story by Rostand. It shows at 7 tonight in room 113 of the Hendrickson Building at UAS. The film is sponsored by Cercle Francais - the French club at JDHS and Global Studies at UAS. It's in French with English subtitles.
This weekend is the last chance to see "Greater Tuna." There are two more shows, at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, at the Palace Theatre, on Franklin Street across from the Baranof Hotel. It may sell out, so go a half hour early or get tickets at Hearthside Books. It's a funny, fast-paced comedy.
The Juneau Symphony's Winter Concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday, and the group has some guests appearing at the show. The Juneau Lyric Opera Choral Ensemble will perform three pieces with the symphony - this is a choir of almost 30 top-notch singers.
The two winners of the symphony's annual Youth Concerto Competition will also perform. Violinist Megan Bush will be the featured soloist on a short Vivaldi work, and clarinetist Niko Hoskins will take the solos in a Handel concerto. The concert will include music by Bach, Brahms, Gabrieli, Handel, Wagner and some holiday favorites.
The music starts at 8 p.m., and there will be a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. by the Juneau Symphony's conductor and music director, Kyle Wyllie Pickett. He is extremely knowledgeable and articulate, and I enjoy hearing his insights. He has a good sense for the details that make a piece of music more interesting and alive - background on the composer, the arrangements and the context of the music. The concert will be in the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium.
There are three art exhibits this week, and one is opening with a reception from 4 to 7 tonight at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. It's the Second Annual Juneau-Douglas High School Art Show, which features a wide range of works by 10 students. The show includes drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. It will be up for a month or so, and Jan. 6 the students will be back to demonstrate various art techniques.
After ice skating in the cold, you can warm up at the Alaska State Museum and check out the All Alaska Juried Art Exhibition. There are 52 works by artists from across the state.
There are two more weeks to see the exhibit at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery. Juneau metalsmith and artist Lynne Parker and painter Deborah Hansen have an assortment of metal and paper works, jewelry and oil paintings on display. The gallery on Franklin street, a block up the hill from the Palace Theatre, is open weekday afternoons.