“Walkabout” Held at KTOO Through March

Reprinted with permission

Juneau writer and painter, Jerry Smetzer, continues his show “Walkabout—A Young Woman’s Journey of Exploration” at KTOO through March. The show consists of 10 20 inch by 26 inch oil on canvas paintings. Each painting includes a framed block of about 250 words of text to help set the context. The word “panel” refers to the combination of the painting and the context. Panels are in sequence beginning with Panel 1—Savannah, and ending with Panel 10—The Tree of Life. Continue reading ““Walkabout” Held at KTOO Through March”

Gotta Get Down on Friday

For the UAS Whalesong

On November 6th, I attended First Friday in downtown Juneau for the first time in my almost 4 years of living and going to school here. Since it was my first time, I honestly had no idea what to expect; I knew that it was supposed to be some kind of gallery walk, but that’s hard to form a mental image of when you’ve never actually been on a gallery walk before. In my mind, I was picturing something that was probably more similar to a set from Owen Wilson’s film “Midnight in Paris;” I imagined a sort of promenade down an entirely fictional boulevard downtown, lined with galleries that would have brought some of their best pieces out to display on the sidewalk while people walked along under twinkling lights strung up overhead and sipped wine set out for sampling and murmured appreciatively while being exposed to culture. Continue reading “Gotta Get Down on Friday”

This Sequel is Better: The New Mendenhall Valley Public Library

For the UAS Whalesong
Rarely are sequels better, but in the case of the Valley Public Library take 2, it’s a no-brainer. Having escaped the confines, burnt-pizza-and-pull-tabs ambiance of the Mendenhall Mall, the Valley Library has a new home and, for UAS students, this new venue for studying and hanging out is not to be missed.  It’s the long awaited, recently completed new Mendenhall Valley Library at Dimond Park. That’s right, you can get your swim, soak, sauna on at the Dimond Park pool and then walk next door to the second most beautiful library in Juneau (ok I’m biased because I get to work at Egan Library every day).  Before heading inside, on the walls flanking the entrance be sure to check out the engraved donor bricks.  There are over 800 bricks featuring the names of community members, favorite literary characters and quotations including the bittersweet, “Here lies Dobby, a free elf”.  You’ll also find the names of many UAS alumni and likely those of future UAS students considering the convenient proximity of the facility to Riverbend Elementary and Thunder Mountain High School. Continue reading “This Sequel is Better: The New Mendenhall Valley Public Library”

Othello: The Experience

For the UAS Whalesong
For the past month, Perseverance Theater has been putting on a stage performance of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Othello. I attended the performance in an attempt to branch out from my usual cinematic theater experience, and also because I won a free ticket at Campus Kickoff earlier this year. So, one rainy night that didn’t really differ from the usual kind of Juneau night in any way, I headed downtown with my friends to see if I could become a more culturally edified person.
My recollection of Othello was fairly limited going in. I remembered reading the play in high school – a “Shakespeare Made Easy” version with the original convoluted English on one page and the modern translation on the other. I also remembered that the general gist of the plot (sorry about spoilers, but it’s been out for a couple hundred years now) was that a guy named Iago works his hardest to break up the Moorish general Othello and Othello’s new wife, Desdemona. This culminates in Othello flying into a jealous rage and murdering Desdemona, then having Immediate Regret and killing himself. Other than that, though, I only really recalled dialogue, so I was interested to see what the Perseverance Theater had in store for me.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the theater was that the stage was fairly empty for a play. It was just a sort of dark blue square, with doors in the walls. This immediately tipped me off: this play was going to involve a lot of Monologues. It seems to me like there are two kinds of plays – ones where the characters move around and do stuff in different settings, like Pirates of Penzance, and then there are ones where the characters mostly just stand around talking to each other and to the audience. Othello ominously promised to be one of the latter. Continue reading “Othello: The Experience”

An Interview with Chancellor Caulfield

For the UAS Whalesong

The UAS Whalesong’s Lexi Cherry had the opportunity to sit down with newly-minted Chancellor Rick Caulfield.

Lexi Cherry: Tell us your story. Who are you? Where did you come from?
Rick Caulfield: I came to Juneau in 1975 on the ferry Columbia, and I ended up moving up to Anchorage and then to Fairbanks. I spent a good part of 2 years in the interior, and then I came back down to Southeast Alaska and I worked here during the summers in the late ‘70s. My wife and I met here and were married in Gustavus in 1979, and then we ended up moving back up into the interior so she could finish her college degree. I got my master’s degree in education at UAF, and then took a job out in western Alaska in Bristol Bay. We lived out in Dillingham for 5 years, and then I decided to go back and work on a doctorate in the UK. …I ended up doing field work in Greenland, focusing on aboriginal subsistence whaling. I finished my PhD in 1993, and then came back to Alaska and worked as a professor and later on as a campus director at UAF. Five years ago, I was offered the position of provost here at UAS, so in 2010, my family and I moved back down to Southeast Alaska. … when the position of chancellor opened up this past year, I applied for and was lucky enough to get it. Continue reading “An Interview with Chancellor Caulfield”

Poetry is the Art of Literature


According to Esther Lombardi in her article, “Literature”, literature is a term used to describe written or spoken material. “Literature” is used to describe anything from creative writing to more technical or scientific works, but the term is most commonly used to refer to works of creative imagination, including works of nonfiction, drama, fiction, and poetry. Personally, I think poetry is the best form of literature. Poetry is the only form of literature which needs no translation to be appreciated. With poetry, the emotions the author is expressing are translated without the need for interpretation.

Continue reading “Poetry is the Art of Literature”