The eyes and ears of three very different bars tell us about their normal—and not-so-normal—nights on the job.
Here in the 49th state’s largest city, there’s a saying that goes, “When you’re in Anchorage you’re just five minutes away from Alaska.”
Plopped in the middle of a vast wilderness, Anchorage—a city of nearly 300,000—isn’t typically described with the same effusive prose bestowed upon the state’s magnificent mountains, bays and tundra. Bland, boxy and weather-worn, its essence is cheekily captured by a mysterious Instagram account, @keepanchoragebeige, which features churches, high-rises, even a Cadillac cloaked in the city’s unofficial colorway. Anchorage is a city that wears its flaws on its chest—if not proudly, then at least with painful self-awareness.
It’s said that even during hard economic times, bars don’t suffer, yet in the midst of the state’s years-long recession and following a recent shooting at a downtown bar, some locals have opted rather to stay home. But the recession has also prompted Alaska to invest in tourism, and today the state welcomes more than a million cruise passengers each year. For this installment of PUNCH’s “A Night at the Door,” we spoke with security at three Anchorage bars to find out how they cater to throngs of international visitors and take responsibility for locals’ safety.
Will establishing the Arctic as its own food region save the culture? These chefs hope so. (For Edible Alaska)
When asked to name German foods, most people would say bratwurst, pretzels, schnitzel, and beer. Southern food would elicit responses like fried chicken, grits, collard greens, and barbecue.
But what about Arctic food? As it turns out, there aren’t any easy answers. A group of Arctic chefs and academics is trying to change that.
Meet John and Cheri Francis of Alaska Ghost Hunters
Cheri was lying in bed when she heard the whisper, “Did you hear that?” She awoke thinking it was her husband John, but he was fast asleep. She heard footsteps walk across the ceiling and concluded it was guests on the floor above her.
The next day, she realized they were on the top floor.
That same day she was taking a nap, when John heard a voice next to her bed saying, “Wake up! Wake up!” He was recording at the time and caught the sound. When he played it for Cheri, she already knew the voice—the same one from the night before.
Gathered together on a couch, I listened to their ghost stories by the light of the fire, thankful for its warmth with chills from running down my spine. But they weren’t just out to scare me; John and Cheri Francis are ghost hunters.
The current owners of 601 F St. are making sure the new building stands on the principles of its past.
Built where the old Covenant House once was, Williwaw has decided to continue supporting young people by partnering with the Alaska Music Project for Youth (AMP) to help kids develop a lifelong passion for music. This Saturday, the venue is hosting a free music workshop for kids put on by local artists and AMP, followed by the first-ever benefit event for the project.
Ever wish there were ways to increase your health and stamina before taking on a challenge? Maybe a first aid kit, a cache of ammo and a bigger weapon hiding in a trunk conveniently located on the way? Real life doesn’t have checkpoints or power-ups before the big battles, but local gaming group 907 Gamers is working to equip children and families to take on villains like cystic fibrosis and cancer.
The Midnight Sons Drag Kings challenge gender norms one show at a time
The people you meet in a dimly lit corner of a bar next to a blaring jukebox are rarely what they seem. What better place to meet three strangers by the names of Dr. Feel Good, Random A. Danger and Silkk—the core members of the Midnight Sons Drag Kings, a group of three women who dress and take on the persona of men during live performances since 2012.
On any given Thursday, you can hear the sound of their skates glide across the smooth, waxed floors. The soft thud as the skate hits the wood, followed by the whir of the wheels and bearings spinning. Then the clap of gear hitting gear, the crack of one helmet colliding with another and the slap of bare skin as a skater goes down. Sometimes, you can almost hear the bruises forming.
Erase what you think you know about roller derby. Forget Ellen Page and the movie Whip It (except the feminist bad-ass part), forget the costumes and the short skirts—keep the tattoos and add uniforms. Think hockey, mixed with speed skating and some Xena the Warrior Princess thrown in for good measure.
Allow me to cordially re-introduce you to the Rage City Rollergirls and the select few skaters who make up the elite Rage City All Stars, as they prepare for their season-opener bout.
PABLO — History can be told through culture.
Last Friday in Pablo, culture was celebrated through footwear.
In honor of Native American Heritage month, The People’s Center celebrated Rock Your Mocs Day with a round dance and potluck at the center.
Education director at The People’s Center, Marie Torosian, said someone started the day last year and it went viral on Facebook. The idea is for everyone to wear moccasins to work or school to spread cultural awareness. This was the second year the center has participated, she said, and she hopes to continue the annual Nov. 15 event.
“It’s a small way to bring awareness to our heritage,” she said, adding that events like Rock Your Mocs are a way for the center to honor not only local tribes, but also the 70 other tribes represented at Salish Kootenai College.
How a hobby changed a life
Published on MakeItMissoula.com
See the full story and additional photos by clicking here.
People often find solace in alcohol. For Martha Gergasko, a good beer was the key to her salvation.
Just three years ago everything seemed to be coming together for her. Gergasko had graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in biology. She had a job in Billings as a resident technical assistant and planned to make contacts with Zoo Montana. Her dream to work as a zookeeper was becoming a reality.
Then the mash soured.
Gergasko has a phobia of driving and a condition of her job was driving large vans from office to office. In the middle of a behind-the-wheel-instruction course, she had a panic attack and could not continue. She notified her employer she could not take the position.
“So I moved home, dream crushed,” Gergasko said.
Home is where the brew is
Gergasko’s kitchen features a kegerator and other home brewing equipment.
Her father, Mike Gergasko, had begun home brewing beer at their family home in Santa Fe, N.M. while Martha was attending college.
When Martha returned home from Billings, Mike asked her to help with the latest batch to cheer her up. As they worked on a brew, she said her inner mad scientist kicked in and she was hooked.