Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, December 29, 2000

I'm hoping to wake up Monday morning with a tall black slab rising from my backyard, heralding an evolutionary milestone for humanity. Instead, I'll probably have to settle for playing with my Christmas presents.

There are several promising New Year's Eve parties. First Trax, a hip hop reggae dance band from Anchorage, is playing all weekend at the Hangar on the Wharf.

"We're a big ska band with a horn section," said John Earle, the drummer and band leader for First Trax. The band played the Hangar in August and did well. Earle said they have the same set list.

Earle said the band plays modern rock, ska, disco and rock steady as well as hip hop reggae, which is a blend of the two namesake styles.

"We do a lot of originals and a lot of our covers are tweaked - our own versions," Earle said.

The band sports a two-piece horn section and a second percussionist as well as guitar, bass and drums. Earle said the trumpet player, who was not here in August, just got back from a tour of Japan where he worked with a different band.

"He's been just incredible since he got back. He's something special," Earle said.

First Trax plays from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Hangar on the Wharf. There will be a $5 cover only on Sunday.

Funk Mighty Five is back in action after four or five months of retirement. The band plays from 9:30 p.m. to closing Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Marlintini's Lounge. There's a $5 cover Sunday and free party favors.

The band's lead guitarist left last summer to pursue an education in Boston and he's back in Juneau for the holidays.

"Scott Hamilton's back from the Harvard School of Music. It's a big reunion for the Funk Mighty five original members," said Jim Cashen, one of the owners of Marlintini's.

Funk Mighty Five will also play at Marlintini's Jan. 5 and 6 and 12 and 13. The band features pop, rock and top 40.

For folks looking for a nondrinking and nonsmoking New Year's Eve party, there's a New Year's Eve Contradance from 8 p.m. to midnight Sunday at the Juneau Dance Unlimited studio in the Scottish Rite Temple. The Grateful Celtics and Mike Sakarias and Friends will provide the music, and Valerie DeLaune and Tom Paul will call the dances. All the dances are taught and no experience or dance partner is needed. The cover is $5.

Tabby's Restaurant is hosting a New Year's Eve spaghetti feed beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday. Tabby's owner Bob Harris said they were unable to get a band for New Year's and decided to host a feed with all the trimmings instead.

"There'll be salad, fruit and garlic bread. And it's free. Then we'll have karaoke from 8 to at least 1 a.m.," said Harris. Tabby's will also have complimentary noisemakers and party hats.

"Castaway" has gotten fine reviews locally and it's sold out several times this week. There was a 20-minute line Wednesday night, so plan to go early if you want a seat. "Castaway," with Tom Hanks, shows nightly at 7:20 at the 20th Century Twin. It's a long film. There are matinees at 2:20 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday's snowstorm was a welcome sight, but didn't really dump much snow. Jeffra Clough, the Eaglecrest Ski School director, said Thursday that folks are hiking up to the ridge to ski, but there's almost no snow at the base.

"Snow conditions up top are pretty decent," she said. "But there's not much down below. We need a couple more feet to open."

The lodge is open and the food service is working, so lunch and lockers are available.

The rule of thumb is if it's raining and 38 degrees in town, it's probably snowing at Eaglecrest. We've had normal levels of precipitation, but warmer than normal temperatures. That means rain at Eaglecrest.



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