State of Art: The Spenard Jazz Fest goes online while Anchorage keeps its distance. Plus, who was the charismatic criminal Joe Spenard?

This week on State of Art we’re talking with Spenard Jazz Fest director Yngvil Vatn Guttu. She tells us about pivoting to a virtual fest, what’s happened so far, and what’s coming up. She also tells us about their efforts to raise money for struggling musicians with the Spenard Jazz Fest COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Keeping with the theme, we also hear from a local historian who recently wrote a column about the colorful character Joe Spenard. We learn about Spenard’s shady past, why we have a neighborhood and road named after him and the legend of how Spenard Road got its curves from a drunken cow.

Spenard Jazz Fest runs from May 16 – June 7


Ammon Swenson is Alaska Public Media’s Audio Media Content Producer. He was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He graduated from UAA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and integrated media. He’s previously worked for KRUA radio, the Anchorage Press, and The Northern Light.

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