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Anchorage Pop Culture

Alaska has been the star of dozens of books and movies for its wild, uncompromising land, climate, animals and people. Anchorage, not so much. Insomnia, with Al Pacino, has an urban start, but is mostly set in a bush Alaska town; it’s a great depiction of midsummer’s difficulties sleeping. Into the Wild, the Jon Krakauer book and Sean Penn movie about an Alaska dreamer whose naivete ended both his dream and his life, illustrates the state’s rugged appeal and harsh realities. James Michener’s Alaska paints the author’s usual pot-boiled, sweeping picture of an exotic place. Country singer Johnny Horton’s North to Alaska is likely the most famous song about the state; Horton was an Alaska fisherman for a while and spent time in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Country-folk singer Jewel was raised in Homer, south of Anchorage, and cites her Alaskan upbringing as key to her character, but she honed her musical skills in California and Michigan.
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