Author: Samantha Davenport

Women farmers are on the rise in the Last Frontier

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News
Martha Lojewski of Mount McKinley Peonies harvesting flowers during their peak season. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Peony Cooperative)

This article was originally written for the Modern Farmer.   In Alaska, where farmers battle grueling winters and short growing seasons, women are almost as likely as men to be planting seeds and pulling crops. On average, 36 percent of farmers in the US are women, but in Alaska, women account for almost half—47 percent. National trends have seen women on the rise, too, with the percentage of male farmers dropping between 2012 and 2017. […]

What busking winters in downtown Anchorage taught KillBill Sax

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People
Saxophonist Bill Hauser performs at Tequila 61 on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   It’s quite a sight to exit an Anchorage bar in February and see a saxophone player busking alongside two propane heaters at 1 o’clock in the morning. But for a year and a half, that was Bill Hauser’s hustle — known to Alaskans by his stage name KillBill Sax. Hauser got the idea from another local sax player — Nelson Felix — who was […]

‘Umiak,’ ‘quesa-deer-a’ and fresh oysters: How Alaskans put their own spin on state fair food

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Food

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   State fairs are typically known for the powder-sugared, fried classics like elephant ears, corn dogs and cheese curds. The Alaska State Fair has all those too, but there are also more than a handful of vendors selling items with an Alaska twist. Here’s what a few of them had to say during the first weekend of the fair in Palmer. Fish On! Camp Grill […]

Daredevils, funnel cake, bonsai: Scenes from the Alaska State Fair

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People

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   Every August, hundreds of thousands of Alaskans make the trek to the state fair in Palmer to chow down, conquer rides and enjoy the last days of summer. Here’s what some of them had to say Sunday during the first weekend of the fair. Erica and Amy Klementson The anticipation while you’re waiting in line for the fair’s slingshot ride can be almost as […]

Alaska’s Trumpian Governor Just Threatened the Health of the Entire State

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton/Wikimedia Commons.

This article was originally written for Vice. Alaska is the largest state in the union, bigger than Texas, California and Montana combined. And it’s in trouble: The state has been grappling with a budget crisis triggered by a drop in oil prices four years ago, leading to a decrease in population, a recession, and Alaskan politicians dipping into the state’s savings. The governor, a right-wing ideologue who dismisses climate change, is further jeopardizing the state’s economy by attempting to deliver […]

Anchorage singer-songwriter embarks on tour after winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest

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People

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Quinn Christopherson and Nick Carpenter. After they were crowned NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest winners last month, the Anchorage duo was flown to Washington, D.C., to play their set at NPR headquarters. On Monday, they’ll head out on tour with NPR Music until the end of June. “I’m just so excited to get on the road […]

Anchorage singer-songwriter wins NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest

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People
Musician Quinn Christopherson, photographed in Anchorage on April 30, 2019. (Marc Lester / ADN)

This story was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   Quinn Christopherson, a singer-songwriter in Anchorage who is Athabascan and transgender, has won NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest — a nationwide competition that invites musicians to submit a video of one of their songs. “Quinn’s entry astounded our judge panel from start to finish. His powerful song ‘Erase Me’ is a nuanced take on his experience as a transgender man coming to terms with the […]

A little electro-pop, a little outlaw country: Jared & the Mill is back in Alaska

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Arts and culture

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News. Jared Kolesar is no stranger to being on the road. He and his bandmates of Jared & the Mill — an indie-rock band with southwest roots — have been playing together for seven years on tour anywhere between seven to nine months out of any given year. Kolesar says his bandmates — Michael Carter, Larry Gast III, Chuck Morriss III and Josh Morin — have […]

Inuit actress plays lead role in ‘Twilight Zone’ episode set in Alaska

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Arts and culture
(Photo by Robert Falconer/CBS)

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News.   Trouble is brewing in the fictional town of Iglaak, Alaska: It has entered “The Twilight Zone.” The 2019 CBS All Access series is the third revival of the original 1959 series. This time it’s narrated by actor and filmmaker Jordan Peele. Canadian actress Marika Sila plays Sgt. Yuka Mongoyak in the series’ fourth episode, “A Traveler,” which is set in a town above the […]

Here are some up-and-coming art galleries to check out in downtown Anchorage

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Arts and culture

This article was originally written for the Anchorage Daily News. The sun is still shining at 8 p.m. and the ice is almost entirely melted off the sidewalks. That means Anchorage is entering into the best time of year to walk around downtown and check out the First Friday art openings. There are plenty of places downtown April 5 that First Friday-goers are familiar with — the International Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Anchorage […]