Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Arts Outlook


April 28, 2022

Canadian pianist and comedienne Sarah Hagen interprets classical music on piano and mixes it with wacky humor.

Musical comedy at Chilkat Center

Canadian pianist and comedienne Sarah Hagen interprets classical music on piano and mixes it with wacky humor.

Her show, "Perk Up Pianist," takes the stage at the Chilkat Center 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 for a show sponsored by Haines Arts Council. Arts council president Tom Heywood said he expects Hagen's show will have wide appeal.

"It's fantastic piano and good, dry humor. We hope music lovers of all kinds come to this show because it's not just classical piano," Heywood said.

Hagen's experience includes touring the U.S., Scandinavia and Europe and playing twice at New York City's Carnegie Hall. Her interpretations of classical music have been described as "flawless" and "outstandingly inventive." Last year she released a double-CD album of the Goldberg Variations.

The Montreal Rampage said her solo act "reminds us how the beauty of an honest solo performance can make you so easily fall in love with its performer."

Doug Cox, the director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest, said Hagen takes classical music "and makes it truly accessible and fun for your average roots music crowd, at a house concert or a festival like hours" and that her mixture of humor and virtuosity is a "perfect combination."

The show, originally slated for 2020, was postponed due to COVID-19. For more of Hagen's work, go to Tickets are $15 for adults.

Figdor goes back to his photographic roots

Decades ago, resident George Figdor specialized in black and white photography, operating a makeshift darkroom at locations including the Southeast State Fair, a fish-processing shop on Second Avenue and a room at Fort Seward's Alaska Indian Arts building.

His subjects were Alaskans and Alaska landscapes and included some professional work and a contract to document commercial fishing. Also, a lot of photos of eagles.

"After 20 years in Alaska, I had to re-focus. At a certain point, you can't take any more eagle pictures," Figdor said this week.

He started into digital color photography about 20 years ago, zeroing in on vivid colors he found in places as far-flung as Asia and Africa.

Now Figdor has returned to his roots, processing black and white images in Photoshop of people and places he has seen in a recent decade of travels and work in such locales as Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos and Rwanda.

An exhibit of his recent work will be featured at the Alaska Arts Confluence office on May 6 as part of the First Friday art walk.

"So much of what I printed in color used intense color, and going after the visual impact of color. Now, with black-and-white, the emphasis is more about lighting and composition," Figdor said. Like other senior photographers who cut their teeth in chemical darkrooms, he doesn't rue the transition to digital processing on a computer. "My hands stay dry, which is lovelier."

Many of Figdor's shots in the exhibit are portraits, including candid photos. "They're photos of people going about their business." Those shots aren't always easy to get and the best come without a photographer's prompting.

"Every once in a while, you just catch a person in a moment. That's the challenge of portraiture," he said, "not to get a routine smile" but a deeper, more natural image. Figdor thinks he's done that in a few of the photos in the upcoming show. "You have to push the shutter at the exact moment, or it's gone."

HEDC to update residents on recent work

Next weeks' First Friday art event will include a chance for residents to catch up with recent efforts by the Haines Economic Development Corporation, including work on a "community prospectus.'

The event is an HEDC open house 5-7 p.m. in the lobby of the Chilkat Center on Friday, May 6.

The prospectus is an online information guide designed to give prospective location-neutral workers curious about Haines a great first impression of the community. "The ultimate goal is to get them to move here," said HEDC executive director Lee Hart.

A representative from the team at Element Agency, the firm that designed and built the website, will be on hand. The same firm recently refreshed HEDC's website.

Representatives of some of the 15 local businesses that joined as partners in the HEDC's Pivot Program also will be on hand. The program was designed to help businesses improve marketing strategies and recover from issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Partners will have information and products on display. Branding agency partner Aasman Brand Communication will also be on hand to showcase Pivot Program progress to date.

Businesses and organizations participating in the Pivot program included Adventure Harvest, Alaska Arts Confluence, Alaska Fjordlines, Body IQ, Clearwater Plumbing, Fairweather Ski Works, Foundation for the Chilkat Center for the Arts, Haines Huts and Trails, Josie's Bagels and Breads, Port Chilkoot Distilling Col, Rainbow Glacier Adventures, SEAK Expeditions, Sockeye Cycle, Southeast Alaska State Fair and Spruce and Birch.

Refreshments and libations will be served.

Amber Long features jewelry

A display of wrapped jewelry creations by crafter Amber Long will be featured at Port Chilkoot Distillery during the First Friday event.

Long said she was noodling around on YouTube and learned how to make coiled baskets, an indigenous tradition practiced in many parts of the world. But her basket took about a year to create.

Looking to create something on a smaller scale that could be completed more quickly, about two years ago she staring using the same technique using crochet thread and embroidery thread to create pendant necklaces and bracelets and other pieces.

"Generally (for baskets), people use yarn, but I wanted to do something finer than that, something smaller," Long said. "Jewelry is the twist."

She wraps threads around themselves, then anchors them, sometimes adding copper or brass bezel to create different squiggly or modernistic designs.

Long will have about 40 pieces on display at the distillery. She also makes concrete planter pots in geometric shapes and dabbles in painting.


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