The Arts in Brief

Seldovia Solstice music
fest is June 16-19

The 15th annual Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival will be held from Thursday, June 16, to Sunday, June 19, in Seldovia. Headliners performing Friday and Saturday evenings are flautist Tomoka Raften with classical guitarist Armin Abdihodžic, and the Nervis Rex band from Anchorage. Other performers include Food for the Soul, Dan Pascucci, Amy Lou Hettinger, Jeni and Mark Davis, Betsy Scott, The Grandmother Drum, Dirty Hands, Brian Slover, Bonnie Nichols and Jimmy Kimball, Andrea Pearson, Robert Pepper, and Glen Simpson. Events include  an Open Mic night Thursday, performers busking around Seldovia Friday,  workshops Saturday afternoon, evening performances Friday and Saturday, and the “En Plein Air” event for visiting artists.

Tickets are $49 for adults for the entire weekend, teens $16 and children under 12 Free. For more information, call-907-399-7379, visit or see the festival on Facebook at Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival.


Movie to be made from
‘Castner’s Cutthroats’ 

Nate Lewis of Atoifilms has announced that he will be making a feature film based on the book “Castner’s Cutthroats” Saga of the Alaska Scouts” by Homer writer Jim Rearden. Rearden and Lewis have signed a detailed film option agreement allowing the book to be used as the basis for the feature film. Currently Lewis is scouting Alaska for filming locations and has been as far north as Prudhoe Bay and is currently seeking sites on the Kenai Peninsula, Rearden said in a press release.

“The Alaska Scouts” or “Castner’s Cutthroats” was the name commonly used for The Combat Intelligence Platoon, Alaska Defense Command, 1941-1943. The Scouts were unique in the type of members they recruited, and were unique in their duties. Col. Castner was the top intelligence officer for the Alaska defense command during WWII. He conceived of the Alaska Scouts, personally hand picked its members and was the platoon’s leading commander. The Alaska Scouts, with 68 members at its greatest strength, was an assemblage of some of the finest woodsmen in the world. The volunteers were expert woodsmen familiar with Alaska’s wilderness. Miners, Natives, trappers, commercial fishermen and experienced hunters became members through trials of various kinds. Castner received the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership of the platoon known as The Alaska Scouts. During the battle of Attu, members of the Scouts were assigned to various military groups as guides and to teach them how to survive on the wet tundra and steep mountains of Attu Island. Plans for the movie are still in the developmental stage. Hopefully, Alaskans will be included among the actors chosen for the feature, Rearden said.


Homer students win, place
in UA-ADN writing contest

Homer writer Casey Otis took first place in nonfiction, grades 3-6, in the 34th annual Alaska Dispatch News-University of Alaska Creative Writing Contest. Otis, a student at West Homer Elementary School, won for her essay, “Kevin Bell.” She won $25 for her work.

Two other West Homer students also received honorable mentions. Victor Romanko was honored for “Mushroom: An Autobiography” in the grades 3-6 fiction category and Seamus McDonough was honored for “The Grand Slam” in the grades 3-6 poetry category. A Connections Homeschool Program student, Autumn Baker, received an honorable mention for her story, “The Woman at the Post Office,” in the grades 7-9 fiction category.


Storyknife Writers Retreat Inaugural Fellow announced


Storyknife Writers Retreat in Homer announced that Hawaiian writer Kim Steutermann Rogers will be its inaugural fellow. Rogers was selected by a jury of writers for a one-month residency in September 2016. 

Rogers has lived in Hawaii since 1999. Rogers shadows scientists into rainforests, volcanic craters and throughout

the uninhabited atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to learn more about Hawaii’s endemic — and often endangered — flora and fauna. She holds a bachelor of journalism from Missouri School of Journalism and a master of fine arts in Nonfiction from Antioch University, Los Angeles.

She is at work on a book about Mark Twain’s Hawaii and the psychological concept of place attachment. For more about her work and her blog, visit

The inaugural Storyknife Fellowship will provide a one month’s residency with a $1,000 stipend to offset the costs of food and travel. 

Storyknife Writers Retreat will have six cabins and host multiple residencies throughout the year when it is completed. At that time, there will be a main house where the chef/site manager will provide meals for residents throughout their stay. Storyknife is beginning to raise funds to complete the construction and furnishing of these buildings on 10 acres outside of Homer, Alaska.

The vision of Homer and Seldovia-raised author Dana Stabenow, Storyknife seeks to support women writers by providing uninterrupted time for development of their craft. In 1989, Stabenow won a residency at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island in Washington. The profound impact of that residency, and the fact that Hedgebrook receives many more applications than  they have spots to host writers, has inspired her to develop such an opportunity for women writers. For more information, visit


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