Friday, March 30, 2007

Ice Classic

Ice Classic (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 2 minutes.

The town of Nenana, south of Fairbanks, marks the approach of spring with the Ice Classic Festival. During the festival the town erects a four-legged "tripod" on the frozen Tanana River. The tripod marks the official moment the ice goes out, and break-up begins. All across Alaska, bars and stores sell tickets, on which people guess the fateful moment. In 2000, the jackpot was $335,000. We came to watch the tripod go up, and got shanghaied into helping out. It was about 20 below zero and plenty windy out on the ice. So we warmed up in Moocher's Bar with beers and hot toddies.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

North American

North American (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 1 minute.

Dog mushing is Alaska's iconic sport. And in mid-March, most of Fairbanks gathers downtown on Second Street for the starts of the Open North American. I heard the dogs yelping from my office. They make a din like gulls at sunset, straining at their traces, eager to run toward supper.