My favorite things Alaska

I haven’t done many of these in a while, mostly because I haven’t been in many new states or countries recently.  But Alaska I had never visited before (my remaining state, in fact), so here goes:

Classical music: John Luther Adams.  “The other John Adams,” his reputation continues to rise, now I would like to see one performed live.  I am fan of the sound textures and the broad expanses of his works, even if the programmatic aspects do not always delight me.  Become Ocean is his best known piece.

Popular music: There is Jewel, I guess she is OK, and I can’t think of anyone else.

This is tough!  Nor did Andre Marrou acquit himself especially well over the years.  How about “theatre builder-upper”?  Then I can cite Edward Albee.

Affiliated writer: Jack London, obviously.  Still worth reading, not archaic, has held up remarkably well.

Movies, set in: Plenty of competition here.  There is Herzog’s Grizzly Bear, and Never Cry Wolf (oddly forgotten but moving, plus the protagonist is named Tyler, which was rare in the early 1980s), and of course Chaplin’s The Gold RushInto the Wild I haven’t seen.  Maybe I watched Abbott and Costello Lost in Alaska as a kid?  What am I missing?

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Artist: Taking the entire cake has to be Alaskan indigenous art, but who should be the favorite?  I can’t bring myself to elevate Florence Nupok Malewotkuk to the number one position, so perhaps Nathan Jackson, who did Tlingit art?

Watercolor, of: Try this John La Farge, currently up at auction.

Throat singer: A strong area, but which ones exactly are from Alaska rather than Canada?  Janet Aglukkaq?  Don’t ask me!

Here is a good essay on Alaskan totem poles, from Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.

I can’t name a mask-maker, but the masks are arguably the highlight of the Alaskan indigenous tradition.

Any NBA players?  Am I supposed to like Carlos Boozer?

The bottom line: There is more than you might think at first.

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