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Friday, September 26, 2008

Just Curious

posted by on September 26 at 14:16 PM

Alaska doesn’t seem to be a—um, how do you say?—culture of ideas. Has any writer/thinker/artist of distinction ever come from Alaska?

UPDATE: Brendan Kiley was born in Alaska. The question stands.

UPDATE 2: Jen posted about this yesterday. (Not even The Stranger’s own staff can keep up with Slog.)

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Posted by DOUG. | September 26, 2008 2:19 PM

rie munoz.

oh, you wanted GOOD artists. my bad.

Posted by max solomon | September 26, 2008 2:20 PM

@1: Good call.

Posted by Aislinn | September 26, 2008 2:23 PM

@1 Jewel is hot.

Jack London wrote about Alaska, does that count? I'm pretty sure he never actually went to Alaska though.

Posted by Little Red Ryan Hood | September 26, 2008 2:24 PM

Seth Kantner's novel Ordinary Wolves that came out a few years ago is flat-out amazing, it's a very autobiographical coming-of-age story about the child of survivalist hippies raised in an Eskimo community. Everything about that description runs against the realities of the book itself: it is poetic, fully-realized funny, deep, and impossible to put down. The writer might be the only novelist in English living above the Arctic Circle.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | September 26, 2008 2:28 PM

Burn on me.

Still—I'd rather be from Alaska (which has few people, ergo few ideas) than Thousand Oaks, California (which has many people but even fewer ideas).

Posted by Brendan Kiley | September 26, 2008 2:30 PM

Jack Motherfucking London is a genuine A to the K artist, even if he was not born there. Plenty of hicks live in WASH also.

Posted by Scott Dow | September 26, 2008 2:32 PM

That should be amended to say that no writer/thinker/artist of distinction ever stay in Alaska.

(And full disclosure- I was born and raised in Eagle River, just a short distance from Wasilla.)

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | September 26, 2008 2:38 PM
Posted by the man who couldn't blog | September 26, 2008 2:45 PM

Or, wait. No. I guess he just lives there now. Sorry.

False alarm.

Posted by the man who couldn't blog | September 26, 2008 2:47 PM

Not a particularly inspiring list.

Posted by blank12357 | September 26, 2008 2:55 PM

Seems like no. But looking at Alaska's wikipedia page taught me a couple things:
1) Curt Schilling is from Alaska.
2) The word for the word for a person from a certain place (e.g. "Alaskan" or "Bay Stater" (you know, I'm from Massachusetts and never knew what to call myself)) is "Demonym."

Posted by Levislade | September 26, 2008 2:56 PM

Anastasia Blue is from Alaska. She won the 2000 AVN Award for "Best Anal Sex Scene (Video)" for her role in "Whack Attack 6", a classic of the genre, although Whack Attack 4 is better representation of her unique style and technique.

Posted by blank12357 | September 26, 2008 3:00 PM

John Luther Adams (composer) (not the same as the other composer John Adams). I'm not sure he was born there, but he's lived and worked there for a long time.

Posted by David | September 26, 2008 3:00 PM

Probably not since Alaska is the last refuge of people who just want to get the fuck away from everyone else. Which is probably why their politicians are so corrupt. No one really gives a shit as long as they get their subsidy check and are left alone.

Posted by laterite | September 26, 2008 3:04 PM

Jewel's got fucked-up teeth. Or at least she used to...when she was blowin' me! ZING! (Turns into moth, flies into light, dies)

Posted by swedish fisherman | September 26, 2008 3:12 PM

Local songwriter R.B. Reed is from Alaska.

But none of you ever heard of him.

Posted by Monty | September 26, 2008 3:13 PM

Not really an artist per-say but, Soapy Smith an American con artist and gangster from the 1800s. Oh, and he wasn't born in Alaska but he did die in Skagway. Does he count?

Posted by Simon | September 26, 2008 3:35 PM

John Haines, although not born there, is considered an Alaskan poet (he's been in AK since 1947). He's the real deal.

Posted by merry | September 26, 2008 3:42 PM

@17 - Ah, I know and love R.B. Reed, but was not aware he was from Alaska. Thanks!

Posted by Levislade | September 26, 2008 3:45 PM

No-Fi Soul Rebellion.

Posted by Miss A | September 26, 2008 3:51 PM

Jewel is an obvious one. Her later worked didn't reach as far, but "Pieces of you" was innovative and certainly progressive in its messages.

Tom "We'll leave the light on for you." Bodett has done better work as a writer (As Far as You can go Without a Passport, etc) and NPR guest than as a Hotel 6 spokesman.

Ray Troll has a whimsical and sometimes warped view of fish and pithy sayings in his oils, t-shirts and political posters.

I'd note that if you disaree with Palin, you'd really like the politics of all three of these.

Posted by David | September 26, 2008 3:59 PM

BOB ROSS you asswipes...

And until we recently added discrimination to our Constitution we had the best in the WORLD.


Posted by AK Rob (aka disgruntled AK artist) | September 26, 2008 4:06 PM

Well, he's a bit too Small Town Folksy Wisdom for some peoples' taste, but Tom Bodett -- in addition to appearing in seemingly every episode of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me ever made -- has written quite a few novels about Homer, Alaska. They appeal to the same people that enjoyed Northern Exposure. (Full disclosure: I am one of those people). He wasn't born in AK, but he does have a cabin near Homer.

Jewel, in case you were wondering, is also from Homer. It is a rad place: It has gays and everything.

Posted by Kalakalot | September 26, 2008 4:10 PM

@1: Defend this, please:

I am not from here,
my hair smells of the wind
and is full of constellations,
and I move about this world
with a healthy disbelief.
And I approach my days and my work
with vaporous consequence
a touch that is translucent,
but can violate stone.

Posted by Ziggity | September 26, 2008 4:36 PM

As much as I hate Palin, I can see what a provincial shitwipe Frizzle is. Frizzle is a liberal, and this gives him zero authority to judge Alaskans. I say this because as backwards as a lot of Alaskans are, it was the liberals in congress that gave Bush the Authority to wage his racist fucking wars in the middle east, that voted for his patriot act, that did nothing as he and his cronies gutted our constitution and economy like a salmon in a cannery. It is not the strength of liberal dogma, or the charisma of Obama that is going to win this election. The only way a liberal will make it into the white house in this day and age is by the complete incompetence of the right, and the fruits of their ability to get most of what they wanted from Pelosi and the rest of the cowards with a D in front of their name. Fuck you Frizzle.

Posted by Alaskan Born | September 26, 2008 4:48 PM

The nerve of you, you white motherfucker to paint us with the same brush as Palin. What is the meme you are trying to start here, people born in Alaska are hicks? Palin may be a kook, but at least she cares about Alaskans, and actually muscled money out of the oil companies for her people. What are your precious Democrats going to do for you? Bail out Wall Street? Strap Americans with 700 billion dollars of debt? America is over, the Liberals have failed, and the right and their death cult religion have won, even if Obama moves into the White House. The end times are here. Do not come to Alaska Frizzle, or I will nail you to a moose, and sick a pack of wolves on you. Seriously though, have a nice day retard. Love you. God Bless.

Posted by Sitka Jack | September 26, 2008 6:13 PM

Sitka jack has just demonstrated what is typical Alaskan ignorance. Good job. Alaska is getting fucked by the bush administration. Palin is not a "fighter" or a maverick. She is a fucking bitch evangelical Republican who "prays" on ignorant fucks like Sitka jack-off...

Posted by Alaskan against GOP | September 26, 2008 7:01 PM

Splain to me something.

Why is judging a politician on the merits of their fellow-staters different than judging a member of a minority by the characteristics observed in different members of a minority?

In other words, why is this not considered a bigoted question?

I think Sarah Palin is dumber than a sack of hammers, but that doesn't mean that everybody in Alaska has the dumb.

Come on. Aren't Seattleites smarter than that?

(oh wait, by my own argument, NO.)

Posted by Lee Gibson | September 26, 2008 7:35 PM

John Roderick of the Long Winters grew up in AK (same era as me). The late Don Simpson of Simpson & Bruckheimer fame—Top Gun, Flashdance, etc.—was also from AK. If I'm not mistaken, Simpson, a notorious coke and plastic surgery addict, died on the toilet. Hey, at least we've given the world a few interesting people.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | September 26, 2008 7:52 PM

Fred Machetanz was American Artist of the Year in 1981, according to American Artist magazine.

Our family has a book he signed, dedicated to my grandfather's sons, back when they were boys.

It's difficult to believe that such a beautiful book, which he wrote and illustrated, could have been published a lifetime ago.

Posted by JohnCToddJr | September 26, 2008 9:57 PM

john hoover, denise!

Posted by Jiberish | September 29, 2008 1:55 PM

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