For many, getting on stage in front of a crowd is a scary prospect. Even scarier would be getting on stage without any idea what you are going to say or do and trying to entertain your audience.
But for Martty Zeller and the other improvisational actors of Fresh Produce, a fluid group that has been gelling together off and on for three decades, that’s the fun of it all. You never know what’s going to happen, except you can almost be certain laughter will be a part of it.
Zeller said he first experienced improv theater in Vancouver, British Columbia, when he stumbled into a theater late at night with no idea what to expect. What he saw were two guys making up a scene on the spot. A very strange scene.
Salmonstock’s story is a classic David and Goliath one; a group of dedicated activists working to preserve a world-class salmon fishery from a giant mine – and its role in successfully raising public awareness means some of the fight is over.
Now with its name changed to Salmonfest, the three-day concert July 31-Aug. 2 is under the new stewardship of Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, said promoter Jim Stearns. Five years ago, fighting against the Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay, the Renewable Resources Coalition developed the event to highlight its “Salmon First” mantra.
How do you put meat to the bones of Alaska issues without stepping into the overtly political or the insanely technical?
You embark on an adventure — and take others on the journey with you.
Local filmmaker Bjorn Olson believes such a method is the best way to talk about issues both present and on the horizon in Alaska. After all, throughout history, stories have been a primary tool to draw our attention to things happening right in our backyards that passing time seems to disguise.
“We call this kind of story telling ‘cheese and broccoli’” said Olson. “In order to get someone to eat their broccoli, you put some cheese on it. The aim I have as the filmmaker, the storyteller, is to create an engaging story that focuses on the adventure and the great Alaska spirit of getting out and enjoying and enduring the wilderness and the personal lessons that come with that.”
The project Olson would like to see on his plate is a feature film following the journey of a small Seldovia family, Erin McKittrick and Hig Higman — and their two young children.
When Homer’s popular Blackbeary Bog announced its sudden closure, employee Becca Dalke was as shocked as the many faithful patrons that frequently visited the enchanting store.
What Dalke jokingly refers to as “the apocalypse” — a three-day fire sale that ended the Bog’s 23 years of service in Homer — became the catalyst for her big opportunity – open a shop of her own.
Though Dalke described the closure of the store as “devastating,” she said it was Homer’s sweet Shawnee Kinney that handed her the baton.
Public radio station KBBI has scheduled their two-day music celebration, Concert on the Lawn, a little early this year, with tickets being bought online before July 7 at a discount.
The show starts at noon, Saturday, July 12 and concludes at 9 p.m. Sunday. This year marks KBBI’s 35th anniversary. Homer’s first public radio station signed on the air Aug. 4, 1979.
As always, outstanding musicians from the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and beyond are booked for the weekend. Some are performing at their first Concert on the Lawn.
Saturday features the Spur Highway Spankers, Hillary Arwen, Jon Crocker and Trina Uvaas, the Blackwater Railroad Company (a folk rock band from Seward specializing in upbeat, unique covers and catchy, danceable originals), a new local band, Raised by Humans, Gary Sloan’s American Music, Nervis Rex, a band from Anchorage and a modern rock band from the Mat-Su valley, The Quiet Cull, complete the Saturday show.
In yet another display of support for Arts in the Homer community, more than 200 people paid $30 each to eat “dinner in the street” Sunday evening. Sponsored by the Bunnell Street Art Gallery, the dinner raised approximately $6,000 for Bunnell’s “creative placemaking” in Old Town Homer.
The community “Bouillabaisse Dinner in the Street” fundraiser ran from 4-8 p.m., and started with appetizers at picnic tables, loaned by the Homer Chamber of Commerce. The tables were set up right in the middle of the street, where organizers had blocked off a piece of Bunnell right in front of the gallery.
The crowd then wandered down the street for the main course at the Elks Lodge, and then headed back to the street tables for dessert.
Food was prepared by several popular restaurants, including Maura’s Cafe, Two Sisters Bakery, AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse, MonkeyFist Charcuterie, Mermaid Cafe and Fat Olives.
They spin. They roll. They leap and they shine. This weekend, 46 community members will take to the Mariner Theatre stage to mesmerize audiences with their dance moves. Some are dancing for the first time, while others are seasoned performers. These are Homer’s Jazzline dancers.
Ranging in age from seven to over 50, 13 males and 33 females will dance, making this the largest performance ensemble in Jazzline’s 14-year history.
Homer community members are stepping out of their comfort zones and into the spotlight on the Mariner Theatre stage in an evening of artistic exploration with Homer Council on the Arts. And, while many have performed on stage before, others will perform in public for the first time. All of the performers, however, will be stretching beyond the familiar during this year’s production of “Stepping Out.”
“We encouraged artists to step out of their role in the community, their comfort zone and their usual performance and try something new, different and unexpected,” said Gail Edgerly, HCOA director.
At times it was hard to believe that the word-power and masterly crafted emotional grit coming off the K-Bay Caffe stage Saturday night was from such young poets. Using the natural rhythms and cadence of the spoken word, they delved deep into relationships, history, family and tragedy. They did it with humor, grace and above all, style.
This week Bunnell Street Arts Center and Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic’s R.E.C. Room will present Brave New Alaskan Voices, a national slam troupe from Anchorage. BNAV works with youth to develop literacy through poetry and performance by providing opportunities for performance, workshops, individual mentoring and community cultivation.