By John Christensen
Writing this just hours after Gov. Dunleavy’s announcement that the state will move through Phase 3 and into Phase 4 of reopening means that there is no real idea what this column will look like in the weeks ahead. But as it stands, here is the week ahead!
Spenard Jazz Fest continues
Spenard Jazz Fest is currently in its first week, and looking ahead to week two (and week three!) of the festivities. So far SJF has been an awesome success, with musicians from Ketchikan, Juneau, Willow, and Anchorage taking to the virtual stage. Events remaining in Week 1 and looking into next week take audiences to Chugiak (Hunker Down Dance Party), New Orleans (HeidiJo), Vancouver, BC (Paul Walde), and New York City (Amina Figarova). Normally a very local festival that brings some of jazz music’s finest musicians to Alaska, SJF decided to take the virtual route this year, hosting online concerts, conversations, and workshops streamed from locations around North America, right into audiences homes. Tickets for each night’s double-bill concert are $10 (except the exclusive virtual house-concert experience which runs at $30), or you can buy or renew an annual membership for $100, which will get you into all virtual and physical SJF events for free for one calendar year. More information can be found at spenardjazzfest.org.
Danger Money returns
A near-staple in the local music scene in the last month, Anchorage-based Danger Money will take a physical stage for what has been impossible to come by in recent months — a LIVE show! In honor of Memorial Day, Danger Money will be joining the American Legion picnic, this coming Monday, May 25th. At publication of this article, the time has yet to be determined, but it seems to be sometime in the mid/late-afternoon. For more information, check out Danger Money’s Facebook Page,facebook.com/dangermoneyband.
Anchorage Museum Listen Up Live feat. Foresteppe
Continuing in its incredible Hunker Down Listen Up series, this coming Thursday, the Anchorage Museum presents, Foresteppe. Foresteppe is an auditory experience project by artist Egor Klochikhin of Berdsk, Russia. Klochikhin takes “sounds of tape cassettes, acoustic instruments, field recordings and electronics” and creates with them something hauntingly beautiful and new. As with all of the Anchorage Museum’s Listen Up series, the show will begin at 6pm, this Thursday (the 21st), on the Anchorage Museum Facebook Page. This globe-spanning virtual world music experience is free for all to enjoy (given that you have access to Facebook).
As Alaskans wait with baited breath to see what comes of these next phases of the economic re-opening, the music economy is still taking a huge hit, and is sure to take months to come back to even near-full strength.
That means the onus is still in the hands of us music fans to support our local musicians — and venues — however we can. If you have read this column any time in the past couple of months you surely understand that buying merch, dropping a few dollars into the virtual tip jar at any online shows, and streaming local artist’s music online are all great ways to support the local music economy. But there is currently something new. Spenard Jazz Fest has recently started a fund in support of many of its musicians. At time of publication the fund has raised $3k on its way to a $10k goal. The fund can be found on their website under the ‘Donate to the ‘SJF COVID-19 Relief Fund’ tab.