Two Folksters Make for fulfilling Show (3/7/2000)

Daily News music reviewer

Folk singers Christine Lavin and Robin Hopper made a well-matched pair Saturday night at Discovery Theatre, each weaving wit and wisdom into their music.

Introduced as ''the No. 1 recording artist in Chugiak history,'' opener Hopper was as warm and comforting as a favorite sweater. Clad in a long denim jumper, the unpretentious song-spinner made music of everyday life. Subjects of her songs included her couch, which sucks up all objects like a bottomless pit, dogs who wander into yards and second-graders' amusing takes on old proverbs. ''I Wished You Back,'' a wistful song, revealed Hopper in a more pensive mood, capable of lovely, fragile lyrics as well as down-to-earth humor.

Hailing from Manhattan, Lavin easily glided from silliness to serious folk music, ranging from ''Piranha Women of the Avocado Jungle of Death,'' where ''ralph noises filled the air,'' to memories of Dallas in 1963 - and our lives that go on anyway.

Her guitar strap, glasses and personality all sparkled. A dramatic performer, she used facial expressions such as wiggling eyebrows and popping eyeballs to crack up the audience, especially in a song detailing a brief encounter with Harrison Ford.

She also employed many props. To find out the truth about Alaska men, she wore a miner's hat with a light and climbed into the audience to crown one fellow as ''Anchorage Love King 2000.'' Her ''new toy,'' a Boomerang digital phase sampler that created an echo effect, was mostly used in fun, but it also added an extra dimension to songs, filling the room with a multitude of voices.

Even the intermission was interesting as Lavin provided ''halftime entertainment;'' a Mensa test, a deck of cards for a game called Old Bachelor, famous novels condensed into a few sentences and sparkle manicures.

In what seemed a wondrously goofy ending, Lavin danced in the style of various performers, including Ann-Margret, Ricky Martin and Britney Spears while the audience helped sing the Everly Brothers' ''All I Have to Do Is Dream.'' She wound it up by skillfully twirling two lit batons and lobbing the glowing tips into the crowd.

The real finale turned out to be ''Sensitive New Age Guys,'' sung with help from a group of men brought up from the audience. Lavin mingled with the ad hoc male chorus, then exited quietly.

The "cute" one
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