Remembering Buddy Tabor’s Summer Concert 2010

Alaskan singer and songwriter, Buddy Tabor

Although this particular blog entry was first posted on August 22, 2010 directly after Buddy’s Juneau concert, I’m posting it here again because it’s one of of the last times I had seen Buddy; he passed away last night, February 5th, 2012, in the comfort of his home in Juneau surrounded by his wife, Jeanette,  family and close friends.

The big wave of Buddy’s passing will move throughout Alaska, Canada and parts of the Lower 48.  His music, life and character touched many lives; we will greatly miss this man!  The following was the original blog entry a year and a half ago:

To tell the truth, I was never a fan of Buddy’s, even with all his CD’s of songs, his practicing in the living room, on the front porch, back porch and garden, with his quirky sense of humor.  I wasn’t a fan until years later in 2006 when he was warming up for the upcoming house concert we were sponsoring;  I walked into my kitchen and he was sitting on a high stool playing this song:  “Box of Pain.”  He had his eyes closed; the lyrics, tune and guitar picking bowled me over.  I was stunned.  I burst into tears.   I’ve been bowled over since.  How is it that it took almost 30 years of hearing his music that I couldn’t really HEAR his music?  I guess I was too close to the guy or something, I dunno.

Buddy is an old family friend – met him way back in 1972 at the Zach Gordon’s Teenage Club where I used to play racketball and developed my black & whites in their darkroom; I was standing next to Buddy whom I had never met or seen before and asked him:  “Well, who are you, buddy?”  He answered nonchalantly:  “Buddy.”  And I said to myself “Yeah, sure…!”  and I walked away.  The next time I saw him was a couple of years later at the underground coffee shop called “Gandolf’s.”  He was playing out of tune to a small crowd.  He became friends with my then boyfriend, Bill, and since then our families grew up with one another and I came to  know him, his wife Jeanette and their two sons Jesse and Joshua.

Under Artstream Cultural Resources, we sponsored the first Whistlepig House Concert in Pagosa Springs, Colorado in 2000; Buddy was our first performer.  Every year when he would make his road trip to the Lower 48, he’d book a concert at my home in Pagosa.  Fall wasn’t Fall without Buddy’s annual visit and music.  In exchange or us producing the house concert and housing him for a week to a month, because he was a house-painter (as his 2nd job; music was his 1st!), he would paint our house every other year.

Because of back problems, Buddy isn’t able to travel long distances anymore and I don’t have my home in Colorado anymore, so I’m not able to sponsor concerts in my home, BUT I have had good timing to attend a few of Buddy’s  local concerts at the Lutheran Church in Juneau.  It was a pleasant sight to see a packed house for Buddy…I know it made him and his fellow musicians feel downright good!

Buddy Tabor sings to a full house in Juneau's Lutheran Church on West 10th

Buddy Tabor was born March 12, 1948 in Roanoke, Virginia. He started playing guitar at age seventeen after he first heard Bob Dylan. His musical and poetical influences are Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Hazel Dickens, and Townes Van Zandt.

Buddy hitchhiked to Alaska in 1967. He worked in salmon canneries, on fishing boats, the Alaska Pipeline, and as a house-painting contractor. In 1976, he met his wife, Jeannette Chee, while working on the pipeline. Jeannette is a Navajo from White Water, New Mexico. Her Native and Western culture has greatly influenced his writing.

His song “Get Up Dogs” was used in several documentaries and by ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His work has also appeared on numerous NPR stations. The Undertakin’ Daddies, a Juno Award nominated Canadian roots band, recorded Buddy’s “New Fallen Snow” for their 2001 album, Post Atomic Hillbilly.

Buddy is a veteran of the Alaska Folk Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, and Yukon Frostbite Music Festival.

Vocalist Betsy Sims, bass player Albert McDonald and lead guitarist Jason Caputo accompany Buddy

Dobro player Paul Disdier joins Besty, Albert and Buddy

Back Row: Paul Disdier, Terry and Frederick Hoskinson, Greg McLaughlin, Betsey Sims, Albert McDonald, Lis Saya, John Ingalls, Jason Caputo Front Row: June Hall, Buddy, and Rainee Godwin

The above photo of Buddy Tabor with some of his musician friends and producers who have supported him in his career.  Terry and Frederick Hoskinson have produced many of his local concerts here in Juneau.  Local musicians Lis Saya, John Ingalls an Rainee Godwin have been Buddy’s sidekicks for almost 30 years.

We’re missing you, Buddy!

View Buddy’s “Black Crow Night” music video by Riley Woodford and Buddy at:

The Canvas Hosts a Poetry Block Party Street Fair

10am Saturday - let the fair begin...! (High school art teacher, Miah Lager's "collage poetry" booth) Notice the banners, they are made of collage materials

The Canvas Community Art Studio and Gallery hosted the first “Poetry Block Party” street fair last  Saturday, April 30th beginning at 10am to 3pm.  They received permission from the City & Borough of Juneau to close off Seward Street between 2nd and 3rd Street (which is where The Canvas is located).  The theme of this year’s block party (as they may continue as an annual event), was the writing of poetry through artistic means, whether it be the written word, visual arts, or performing arts.

Miah demonstrates the collage-making "poetry"

Most of the businesses within 2nd/3rd Street block (and 2 blocks down or around the corner) participated in the event.  They include Silverbow Bakery where you could participate in the “Baking” Haiku Contest; Big Brothers/Big Sisters poetry chain; Nana’s Estates theme hats; Capital City Weekly’s found poetry; The Plant People poet tree; Copy Express fill in the blank poems; Juneau Public Library Haikubes (“Scrabble” poetry), poetry books, library card registration and prize raffle; The Canvas word necklaces, mixed media poetry paintings, window word painting and crazy quills; Art Photography write photo-inspired poetry; Memuluck Furs beading and sewing; CHOCO in the REACH window “Tailored Words” poetry through fashion; Nail Jazz airbrushed temporary tattoos; Wells Fargo coin toss poetry; Nana’s Attic decorate hats and visors with the Hat Lady; K3Radio/UAS Media Club record poems to be read on the radio and turn in Scavenger Hunt cards for prizes; Juneau Arts & Humanities Council sidewalk chalk art contest; Hearthside Books receive 15% off all Poetry Books during the Block Party; Jewel Box drop off a “proposal poem” by 3:00pm for a chance to win a Jewel Box gift certificate; and DJ Manuel music all day, freestyle session.

Sidewalk/street art

Creating poetry writing wands

Love and friendship bubbles

The DJ played awesome tunes...especially for hula hooping

The street fair also included activities for adults...!

Performances throughout the day included the Hula Hoop Collective, Free-style Session with DJ Manuel, Spirit Lodge Drumming, The Kinetics (hip hop dance group), and Open Mic hosted by Woosh Kinaadeiyi Poetry Slam.

There were a few food vendors including the "Urban Eskimos" Gallery selling Kettle Korn and the classic Cotton Candy

Restaurants and food vendors included:  Silverbow Bakery’s beer garden; Chef Stef word cookies; Lola’s Filipino BBQ and desserts; Wild Oven organic artisan bread; Glory Hole alphabet soup; Pie in the Sky trade an original poem about pie for a free cookie; and Urban Eskimo kettle korn.

Painting body poetry

"Scrabble" poetry - roll the words and create a line of poetry (as seen in the photo below), then write your line down on a paper "leaf" and tie it to the tree for everyone to read...

An example of a line created from Scrabble poetry...

For more information on the Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery in Juneau, visit their website at:

Gilles Rips at Northern Lights

Violin Virtuoso Gilles Apap

“Hailed as a true violinist of the 21st Century by Yehudi Menuhin, Gilles Apap is a classical violinist who is in great demand as a soloist with orchestras around the world. Among many are the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. He has also become widely known for his extraordinary ability to integrate a variety of musical genres. Gilles not only crosses boundaries, he unites music with his distinct talent for incorporating styles of music as diverse as American oldtime, Irish, and Gypsy fiddling, with the standards of the classical repertoire.

Born in Algeria, Gilles Apap was raised in Nice, France, where his violin studies commenced with Andre Robert. He continued his education at the Conservatoire de Musique de Nice with Gustave Gaglio, and then at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon with Veda Reynolds. He traveled to the United States to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, and chose in 1986 to live in California, where he still resides. He was later appointed Concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra and served in that position for over a decade.”  (to read more on Gilles, please visit Gilles’ website at:

So what’s guy like this doing in a little ho-dunk capital city of the most beautiful state in the Nation?

Well, it started out when local musician Lis Saya met Gilles back in the early 90’s…and that was that!  With the hard organization work of Lis to benefit the Alaska Folk Festival, he has performed here in Juneau several times.  Finally, due to my return to Juneau and my schedule working out, I got to see Gilles perform last Friday the 22nd at the Northern Lights Church; what a treat, that guy is pretty dang goooooood!

Opening (comedy) act and M.C., Collette Costa

I don’t know much about Collette except that she (next to my sister, Dee), can make people laugh.  I have no idea if she gets up on stage with an idea of what she is about to say or she just shoots from the hip with spontaneous combustion of the practical sorts – (I’ll never look at another Bible the same way again!)   Collette was the opening act M.C. for Gilles – I know you might ask the question of  “how does her comedy act coincide with a violin virtuoso?”… – it doesn’t!  And that’s just the fun of it!  In my opinion, her act was perfect because it’s just what Gilles would want in the first place anyway for his opening act cuz he’s IS that:  fun!

A "normal" image of Gilles

Gille Apap Trio (L to R: Gilles Apap, Chris Judge & Brendon Statom

Guitarist Chris Judge

A wonderfully, lively, uplifting concert! - Next time they come to town (next Spring?), you must attend!

Note:  You may ask yourself:  why does Clarissa  post things like concerts, plays, funerals, other artists’ presentations, art shows, etc. on her blog when they seem to have no direct correlation to the work she is  doing as an artist?  Hmm….that’s what most people may think.  However, the things I post on my blog DO HAVE A DIRECT CORRELATION TO MY LIFE AS AN ARTIST!  How?  These things affect my spirit, and can have direct affect on my life, which of course, can inspire me, depress me, anger me, or make me feel great love, and in turn, affects the work that I create and produce!

37th Annual Alaska Folk Festival

Sales table at the 37th Annual Alaska Folk Festival featuring T-shirts, mugs, caps, stickers and the program guide!

“Once again the musicians, dancers, callers, performers, volunteers and sound technicians have worked hard through the cold, dark winter months to bring this week of fun-filled merriment.  AFF had our share of set backs and tragedies this year, not the least of which was the loss of our sound engineer, Warren Argo, but in spite of it all we pulled it together once again to bring you the annual event that heralds spring and puts smiles on the faces of all who attend.  From one night at the Alaska State Museum (in 1974) to the week-long string of concerts, dances and workshops, the Alaska Folk Festival has grown into a delightful musical smorgasbord with something for everyone!” – Greg McLaughlin, President, AFF  (Note:  Greg has been the AFF for approximately 15 years – let’s give a big hand to Greg and every volunteer throughout the years:  clap, clap clap, clap, clap…!)

While 15-minute per performance are going on in the main hall, musicians play in the lobby and children are hula-hooping on the lawn

Local musician Leif Saya

At the Thursday night dance bands, The "C" Notes (aka Danny and the C-Notes) Danny Constanstine with friends John Hartle, Bob Banghart, Jeff Bridges, Clay Good (and I apologize I do not remember the others' names)

Cutting loose at the dances (Thursday, Friday and Saturday night dances at the JACC - Old Armory)

MC and 37-year festival member and performer, Jeff Brown

Buddy Tabor and friends - If I am not mistaken, I think Buddy has been performing every Folk Festival since the very 1st one in 1974

Buddy Tabor fans sing along

Jerry Fiscus & Friends Tom Paul, George Trani and Lis Saya

Musicians continue to play and play and play whether on or off the stage! - Here we have the elders teaching the up and coming new performers of the next generations

Michael Jackson (alias Lance Twitchell) Visits a Potlatch

Almost fluent in the Tlingit language, Lance Twitchell (alias Michael Jackson) spoke entirely in Tlingit with an occasional English word - and when he spoke the English word, oddly enough that's when we laughed!

On Friday, November 12th at the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Hall, Michael Jackson (alias Lance Twitchell) made a cameo appearance during the Mark’s Family pay-off potlatch for their three siblings who passed away last year.  “Michael” was a highlight of the 19-hour event.

Eagle and Raven clan members' mouths hung open in laughing shock

When I watched in awe of Lance, I realized suddenly that while I was growing up, the potlatches were spoken in the Tlingit language.  I remember always asking my mother what was being said.  During the past 20 years or so, little by little, English has been replacing the language during the potlatches.  There are few fluent Tlingit speakers now.  10 years ago, when Lance was in his early 20’s, he set a goal of learning the Tlingit language – this is a big deal as our language has less than 200 fluent speakers; most speakers are in their 70’s to 90’s.  We know in just 10 years our language will be die with these folks, if it were not for a few young folk as Lance who are determined to help retain it and bring it back to life!

I had better get on the ball and learn the language – yet, I currently have so many other things I am doing and want to accomplish in this immediate now and future.  We’ll see.  it would be good to begin learning while I am living here with my mother though!  Now THAT”S an idea!

Mendenhall Visitors’ Center Halloween

Parrot Betty digs in da bag for da goodies!

At first I thought it an odd thing that the Mendenhall Visitors’ Center had a Halloween party for Juneau children to dress up in their costumes and come out and play.  Like why the Visitor’s Center way out there by the Glacier?  Once I got there, on this fine sunny day, I thought, well why not? – what a beautiful place to play!

Mendenhall Glacier (in the background) Visitors' Center hosts the kids Halloween party

My granddaughter, Betty, kind of enjoyed herself.  It was her naptime at 11am, so this event cut into her beauty sleep – yet she was still able to “bowl the bones”, “feed the bear”, “sneak a preview” , “blow a balloon” and “paint the  apple.”  There were more fun stations for the children to partake, but like I said, Betty was ready for her beauty sleep, so after an hour, we left just as the place with getting crowded with over 100 kids!

Beak to beak, the Seagull lady greeted everyone at the door!

Tony Tengs created the "peek-a-boo cave" - a miniature mysterious cave showing a small bubbling cauldron lake with spider webs and bones strewn about, lit up with a black light

One at a time, Betty tossed 6 salmon into the bear's mouth - never missing the target!

Betty painted the wooden apple stamp preparing to stamp her paper making a "block" print!

Balloonist Jeff Brown hands another of his creations to a "transformer"

Jeff now employs an electric balloon-blower-upper; he can blow up a balloon in 5 seconds

Even though Betty received her doggie balloon, she watches Jeff continue to make a variety of balloon shapes

A small barn owl is part of the Raptor Center visitors

Betty checks how her parrot self is doing in the motorcycle's chrome

Theatre in the Rough’s “Cyrano DeBergerac”

TR's theatre co-founder, Aaron Elmore plays Cyrano DeBergerac

Thanks to Jeanette, last night I was treated to the first play I’ve seen produced by the 19-year-old Juneau theatre company, Theatre in the Rough.  I know, I know – some of you are thinking “how is it that she hasn’t seen a production in 19 years…especially since she is experienced in theatre and acting!?”  It’s because I have been living in Colorado since 1992 and just returned to Juneau this Summer.  Hello?

There are performances this weekend and next weekend.  Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and one matinee this Sunday, October 31st at 2pm; held at the Old Elks Hall on North Franklin St. just one door down from the Baranof Hotel.  You may buy tickets at Hearthside Books or at the door – but I suggest you buy your tickets in advance and get there early for a good seat!  Also, I suggest you bring a pillow if you sit in the bleachers.

I’ve only included a few photos of the play – I want folks to be delightfully surprised with the fabulous costumes, the music, the choreography and the creative props and set design.  Most of the photos I’ve chosen to include here are of the actor Aaron Elmore who plays Cyrano DeBergerac.  You will have to see the play to see everyone else!  I encourage one and all to go!

The list of actors and actresses include:  Megan Behnke, Malik Jones, Katie Jensen, Connor Chaney, Carl Broderson, Diane Anderson, Mike Matthews, Frank Katasse, Hunter Davis, Lael Harrison, Peter Freer, Becky Orford, Donice Gott, Patricia Hull, and Rebecca Gaguine.

Cyrano DeBergerac was written by Edmond Rostand; translated by John Murrell.  This version was directed by Theatre in the Rough’s co-founder Katie Jensen.  Set and costume design – Aaron Elmore; choreography – Katie Jensen; stage management – Hannah Schempf; lighting design – Catherine Melville; master electrician – Mike Mathews; sound tech – Betsy Sims; box office management – Larri Spengler; stitchers – Inga Gregovitch and Toni Fratzke.


Fun choreography!

Theatre in the Rough – This vagabond love child of Katie Jensen and Aaron Elmore has lived in Juneau for 19 years, produced 15 of Shakespear’es  36-odd plays as well as numerous other works in the classical vein.  In 2002, it received the Governor’s Award for Excellence from the Alaska State Council on the Arts.  TR would like to thank every actor, designer, associate expert and audience member.  The Rough loooks forward to becoming Theatre in Residence in the new McPhetres Hall in the spring of 2011.  For information on how to help us get there, call 209-0867 or visit our website at

Mark Whitman Provides Definition of Willoughby Avenue

Poster designed by Paul Gardenier and Jackie Manning

The Juneau names of streets are like any in other American towns.  We’ve numbered streets, the Main street, and Front street.  Then as the town expanded, the streets were named after prominent figures in the community like Egan Drive and  Willoughby Avenue.  As many of you know, Egan Drive was named after Governor Bill Egan who I believe served 2 terms from the late 60’s into the mid 70’s.  I wondered about Willoughby; I thought he too was a political figurehead from the turn of the century:  not!

Local librarian, independent historian and storyteller, Mark Whitman

Richard “Dick” Willoughby was a gold prospector originally from Missouri.  Gold panning his way up the West Coast from California through Vancouver Island area, he arrived in Juneau in the late 1800s and made his fortunes.  Who was this character?  There is no one alive today who knew this character; he died in 1902.  However, through the research of local historian, librarian and storyteller Mark Whitman, Juneauites were treated to Mark’s several years  of researching factual accounts about Willoughby compiled into 2 hours of historical, fascinating and sometimes comical, storytelling.

A photo of Juneau' waterfront in the late 1800's shows where Willoughby's home was located

Mark’s presentation left the audience hanging at the end of each sentence – I literally experienced sitting at the edge of my seat.  He accompanied his storytelling with a display of Willoughby’s banjo, a few invented percussion instruments, a compiled document listing all of Willoughby’s mining claims along the West Coast on up to Juneau, and a fascinating Power Point Presentation of archival images of Willoughby’s family images from Missouri, his West Coast mining claims and photos of his home in early Juneau (at the base of Telephone Hill in almost the exact spot of Dan DeRoux’s recent art installation at the new public transportation facility).  We discovered this man was not just a miner, he was also a musician and storyteller who could bamboozle his audiences with first-hand experiences and tall tales.

Mark Whitman presents a document listing all of Willoughby's mining claims

Mark touched upon the subject of the social/political effects of the non-Native miners who “married” Tlingit women (until the non-Native women arrived, and then some of the miner’s “returned” to their “own kind” as Willoughby eventually had).  This was a very interesting aspect to his presentation because my maternal grandmother’s older sister was married to Joe Juneau’s partner, Richard Harris.   Did you know that Juneau was once named Harrisburg?  I surmise because Harris was married to a Native woman, a T’akDeinTaan clan member from Hoonah, he lost his credentials to his own people.  The locals could not support the town’s name being Harrisburg because this would acknowledge Harris’ “half breed” children who would have equal rights and privileges, and back then, this was unheard of, and definitely unacceptable.   Of course, to appear as though there was ever any discrimination in the town’s image that it wants to portray, there is probably another explanation of why this town’s name was changed from Harrisburg to Juneau.  The name change in itself probably has many a tall tale to tell; it’s part of  Juneau’s “color.”

Understand I appreciate the “good works” of the bureaucratic approach to solve the “problems” of Juneau, yet Juneau has lost its public display of “colorful” characters.  We have been “tempered” and seduced into a certain image.  Have we have lost touch with a truth about our image as a whole.; or has it just shifted into something else?

In my lifetime, I remember certain characters who once graced our town with their interesting personalities  (those of us who are at least 40+ years may also remember them.)  We no longer have characters like town drunk, Henry, nor the legless, Tlingit Horace Marks, the brilliant, eccentric politician Belle Blue, the elderly walking couple of Mr. & Mrs. Cashen, the Alaska Home-Health Aide Service director, Dove Kull or the Admiralty Island bear man, Stan Price. (Even our Governor Bill Egan was a commoner with the locals at the Triangle Bar).  I could say not one of these characters were harmful to the general public.  As children, we weren’t afraid of these folks; their characters and the very fact that they were amongst us were accepted as the norm.  Their obvious tragedies and/or accomplishments added to the human aspects of our society; they each contributed to the “Alaskan” experience in their own special way.  Their multi-faceted characters were out in the open; this dynamic lent itself to the very human quality and character of Juneau.

For almost 40 years I lived in downtown Juneau.  I no longer live downtown, but I still do business at the downtown stores, restaurants and banks.  During my walks through town, I cannot say I am aware of any real “characters.”  On occasion I’ll recognize someone.  On occasion there will be someone getting thrown out of a bar.  Yet, there are no longer “consistent” contributions to our unique, Alaskan society.  All seems so bland.   How come we have seemingly become sterile?

Recalling the early years following the oil money in the mid to late 70’s,  local politicians wanted to create a certain “clean” image for the arrival of the thousands of tourists they were anticipating from the increasing number of enormous tour ships.  Politicians proposed to “clean up the act” and erase the “unsightly” aspects of downtown; to name a few such as “Wino Alley”, moved the lower class from downtown and provided “low income housing” near the Juneau Garbage Dump/Land Fill and created the Glory Hole for the homeless.  During the “tourist season” we now have a sterile downtown Juneau – flowery, painted and paved – alive and bustling for 5 months of the year with strangers from around the world, to dull and lifeless for 7 months (especially the South end of South Franklin Street!).   Maybe I am the only one with this perspective; maybe I’m the only one wearing dull, lifeless glasses.  Maybe all our characters are indoors watching other characters on YouTube.

Local musicians Bob Banghart on fiddle, and Jack Fontanella on banjo were the live “soundtrack” for Mark Whitman’s presentation.  This production was held at and sponsored by, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.  This is the same location where the Alaska Folk Festival began its musical roots almost 37 years ago in 1974.  There is no comparison between the number of musicians in this country to the number of performing storytellers, yet wouldn’t it be a fine thing to help promote the art of storytelling by the creation of an Alaskan storytelling festival?  The stories could be told by a one-man show, or various theatrical styles (mime, speaking actors, etc.), with a live “sound track” by a musician or an entire orchestra.   The evening of stories could be held in a variety of venues (starting at the Alaska State Museum?), indoors in a coffee shop, outdoors around a fire, hosted in someone’s large living room?   (Can you tell Mark Whitman’s presentation on Willoughby was an inspiration?)

Alaska still has a unique character; could it be that we’ve been molded, shaped, and evolved into a more “controlled” society reflecting a change – a transition from individually-known characters to group-characters that reflect the diverse nature of each individual town?  We have groups that never existed 40 or even 30 years ago  such as the Montessori School, the Alaska Folk Festival, Juneau-Jazz and Classics, Arts & Humanities Councils, Juneau Dance Unlimited, Habitat for Humanities, Alaskans for Life, and the Raptor Center to name a few.  Why we could add another group character called the Alaskan Storytelling Festival?  Maybe Alaska’s colorful history is now defined in organized groups outnumbering the more colorful, outstanding, characters of today such as Sarah Palin?

Alaska Native Guitarist Jam

Andy Cadiente, Ben Quick, Arnold Haube, Betty Marvin and Rick Hutseson

Do you know any of these people?  Did you know they knew how to play the guitar? – Half of these folks I did not recognize, the other half, well, I had no idea they played music!  Like where have I been?

Familiar faces in Southeast Alaskan towns is a given.  Depending on the town, some of us are related to everyone!  If you are a public figure head, then everyone knows or at least recognizes you, even if you are the town clown or the town drunk.   Then there are those of us who are independent and reclusive; few people remember our face – (now listen up people, I’m not necessarily referring to me!)

Andy Cadiente and Ben Quick

Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsored a Native Guitarist Jam on Monday, August 30th from 5-7pm at the Old Armory, now called the JACC (Juneau Arts and Culture Center).  The poster design caught my eye a couple of weeks before the event.  The poster had a Tlingit design by Preston Singletary on the front of the guitar.  (The colors of the poster and the concept of a Native design on a guitar reminded me of the poster that my Ex designed and silk-screened for an Archie Cavanaugh performance back in the 80’s.  In fact, Archie will be using this design concept for his second album to be released soon this Fall/Winter.)   The poster for this event too was quite striking and intriguing –  “Native Guitarist Jam?”  What’s that?  Huh? – On a Monday late afternoon?  Huh?

Just the event title alone was enough of an impetus let alone a Monday and a late afternoon?  Later, I figured that the event was accommodating to the Alaska Summit conference held next door at the Centennial Hall?  I’m not sure, I’m just guessing.

(Hey, how come it took an entire 2 weeks before this event was posted to this blog?  Cuz my laptop would not receive my photo disc because it said there was “an error” so I had to take it to Fred Meyers to get the photos onto a disc and just how often do I go to Fred Meyers?  And hey, I’m a busy girl, so there.  No more excuses.)

Cyril George plays a jazz riff

I first met Cyril George in Angoon when I was 16 on a Totem Center youth trip led by Gilbert Lucero back in the Fall of ’72.  I’ve known him in the context of Native leadership in culture and politics.  What a surprise: I had no idea he could play the guitar.

Andy Cadiente

And did I know the Cadiente family had another older brother – like where does he stand in the long line of service-oriented  Cadiente’s?

George Paul Gospel singers include his wife, Verna with back up from Ben Quick, Arnold Haube and Betty Marvin

Betty Marvin explained to the audience that the group had only practiced together 3 times before this public performance.  Even as modest a venue and crowd, they were brave to share their music.

Arnold Haube and Betty Marvin

An appreciative audience

Matriarch Irene Cadiente and some members of her family

An estimate of 150 folks showed up for this first-time event.  Rosita Worl, Executive Director for the sponsoring organization Sealaska Heritage Institute, would like to make this an annual event, and include other Native musicians locally, regionally and nationwide.  Well, you just never know.  I remember how the Alaska Folks Festival got started back in 1974 at the Alaska State Museum; it was a one-night, 2-hour gig with about 8 local acts.  My Ex and I were one of the acts.  So ya just never know how big something may get; if you have a strong personality with a strong vision who is organized and who can gather up a bunch of volunteers, that’s all it takes to expand.  Rosita has it all.

Rosita Worl, Executive Director of Sealaska Heritage Institute thanks all the guitarists

Many thanks to Rosita and her staff at the Sealaska Heritage Institute for introducing these closet musicians to this community.  I feel it’s just the beginning!

Cedar House – an evening of Tlingit stories retold by Ishmael Hope and Frank Katasse

Lily Hudson and Elizabeth “Betty” Hope wait for daddy to appear on stage

Ishmael Hope explains the shape of Alaska by using his hand - a perfect visual for demonstrating to the tourists where Juneau is located in relationship to the rest of Alaska! Yet, even we locals laughed at the hand demonstration because many of us had never seen that gesture before!

If you guys didn’t get a chance to see Cedar House’s last performance this past Saturday, August 28th, you missed out on the re-telling of four old Tlingit stories by Frank Katasse and writer of Cedar House, Ishmael Hope.  Ishmael had re-written the stories to set for the stage recorded by the late Robert Zuboff. The play was directed by Flordelino Lagundino (

The play was staged for this Summer’s tourist season, however, there was so many requests for the play to be performed for the locals, Perseverance booked a couple of weekends.

Four stories were enacted out on stage between Frank and Ishmael.  The kept us quite entertained hearing the dialogue exchanged between the two as the stories were conveyed with motions, shouts, quick costume changes and facial expression – so much fun!  The four stories included:

The Origin of the Mosquito – about how a young man overcame a terrible evil during the earliest years of Tlingit history.

The Birth of Raven – about how the major figure in Tlingit mythology came to birth, survived his treacherous uncle and arranged the Tlingit world today.

The Salmon Box – about how the Raven created the salmon cycle.

The Raven and the Brown Bear – about the Raven at his most scheming and devilish.

I had heard these stories several times before, and even acted out the mosquito turned cannibal giant story with the Native theatre group Naa Kahidi Theatre back in the early 90s, but to see two expert storytelling actors portray these stories in a different light was just so much fun!

A full house and standing-room-only at Perseverance Theatre's last performance of Cedar House

Storyteller Frank Katasse and Ishmael Hope refer to their list giving thanks to all those who assisted with this production

After the play was over, Frank and Ishmael stuck around to answer more questions from audience members

Miah Lager and Lily Hudson with their children pointing to the "stars"

HUH!?  you are probably wondering why I didn’t include any photos of the actual storytelling!? Like, what happened!?

I couldn’t.  The audience was not allowed to take photos during the show.

Sorry folks.  I was just being a good girl and did what I was told; for once!