Essentials: A&E Picks Oct. 31-Nov. 6 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

Culture » Entertainment Picks

Essentials: A&E Picks Oct. 31-Nov. 6




Utah 2013: Mixed Media & Works on Paper
It’s time again for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums to present its annual survey of the best artworks on mixed media and paper, by artists from all over Utah. More than 400 works were submitted by 210 artists, and 84 pieces by 54 artists were selected to represent the finest of the field (detail of Brian Kershisnik’s “Dead Mermaid” is pictured). Guest curators making the selections were Lisa Tamiris Becker, director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque, N.M., and Simon Zalkind, an independent curator from Denver. Mixed media is an artistic category that has traditionally been open to progressive, experimental work, often with a bent toward political or social commentary. The porous surface of paper as a medium makes it ideal for individualistic artistic statements, often of an impressionistic nature. The distance of Utah from the major centers of the world art market seems to enable local artists to add their own idiosynracies and quirks of living in this place, helping to make these works unique. Six artists—Kershisnik, Bruce Case, Al Denyer, Edward Bateman, Fidalis Buehler and Keisha Goeckeritz—were also selected to receive cash awards, announced at the opening reception on Oct. 18. As always, it’s a treat to have an opportunity to view art in the breathtaking, historically rich and resonant setting of the Rio Grande Depot building. (Brian Staker)
Utah 2013: Mixed Media & Works on Paper
@ Rio Gallery, Rio Grande Depot, 300 S. Rio Grande St. (455 West), 801-236-7555, through Nov. 22, free.

Exploring Sustainability
Generally speaking, showcases of student art display works representing the most successful pieces in that department. What one does not see, as a rule, are collective talents joined in concept to form a unified exhibition. But for one current exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, graphic-design students in the University of Utah’s Sustainable Design Practice studio-art course all created projects that explore sustainable design strategies, with the intention that their collected works would stimulate a dialogue about ecological problems and solutions.

Each project is an artistic hypothetical model contributing to the constructive meeting of ecological and ethnographic realities. Kris Sovereen’s “New Footprint Floor Cloth” (pictured) is a seamless union of philosophy and contemporary aesthetics. She uses the very substance of his visual critique—billboard vinyl— toward what she describes as “repurposing … what normally is considered garbage,” resulting in a work of art that has purpose, meaning and bold visual appeal. Kalvin Nguyen’s contribution, “Recycle Your Aerosol Cans,” features reconditioned aerosol cans with bright “pop-ish” colors and bold text. The play of vivid color and striking design is smartly juxtaposed with the sobering statement “The U.S. produces up to 3 billion aerosol cans annually.”

The many works form a synthesis centered upon a subject of the greatest urgency. And as successful as each piece is on its own merits, they’re even more successful together. (Ehren Clark)
Exploring Sustainability @ Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, 801- 581-7332, through July 28, $5-$7.

Utah Printmakers Exhibition
The Utah Printmakers Exhibition bypasses staid and sterile prints, focusing on the lushly crafted, layered, tactile, refined, cerebral and emotive. With this strong showing and the deconstruction of the print, we are reminded of the strength of the art community that produced this artwork, major talents such as Sandy Brunvand, Al Denyer, Susan Makov, K Stevenson and Brent Haddock, among many others. Brunvand has contributed three prints—each of mixed media, each a composite of parts to make a whole. Her work is linear filigree that can be dense like reeds, or wispy and forming its own autonomous pattern. If read from part to part and line to line, it evokes an emotional response akin to that elicited by poetry. In contrast is the bold graphic work by Susan Makov; her black & white woodcut “Trash in the Woods” is as intensely rendered as Brunvand’s is delicate. She employs a cataclysm of disaster cut as beautiful shape, in a German Expressionist manner. The only life force is the blue jay guarding against chaos. (Ehren Clark)
Utah Printmakers Exhibition @ The Gallery at Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, 801- 524-8200, through Nov. 15, free.


Pygmalion Theatre Company: The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Something about the holidays conjures the most bittersweet concoction of nostalgia, regret, hope and merriment. It’s that magical blend of the saccharine and acrimonious that makes Christmas a perfect backdrop for emotional exploration and hard-hitting self-reflection. Ginny Hoben’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a one-woman show that tells a story of what it’s like to live through the holiday season freshly spurned by a lover. Using all those holiday anxieties to take a look at the pent-up anger about a cheating boyfriend and internal angst about having to date anew, Hoben’s heartfelt and humorous play explores what it’s like trying to come to terms with your life at 30.

Presented by Pygmalion Theatre Company, The Twelve Dates of Christmas is an irreverent take on how one tries to cope with all the heightened expectations of a time of year that will inevitably leave you spent and still searching for some kind of earnest human connection. (Jacob Stringer)
Pygmalion Theatre Company: The Twelve Dates of Christmas @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Nov. 1-16, see website for times, $15.,

Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway
In recent years, “jukebox musicals” have found success crafting theatrical productions around the greatest hits of popular recording artists. Composer and producer Neil Berg took that idea in the next logical direction: Why not craft a theatrical production around the greatest hits of other Broadway musicals? 100 Years of Broadway brings veteran Broadway singers including Natalie Toro (Les Misérables, Cats) and Danny Zolli (Jesus Christ Superstar) to a touring show filled with some of the most beloved show-stoppers in the theatrical canon, from shows like Rent (“Seasons of Love”), Evita (“Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”), Cabaret (“Cabaret”), Man of La Mancha (“The Impossible Dream”) and more. Yet the show is also a constant work in progress, incorporating “deep cuts” from celebrated shows and mixing in newer works from newer musicals. With 100 years of amazing music to choose from, you never know what classic composition will be coming next. (Scott Renshaw)
Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway @ Ellen Eccles Theater, 43 S. Main, Logan, 435-752-0026, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m., $30-$44.


McCarthey Lecture Series: Madeleine Albright
The annual lecture series sponsored by the McCarthey Family Foundation has, in recent years, featured speakers like Hardball host Chris Matthews and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. For the eighth-annual lecture, former U.S. Secretary of State and United Nations ambassador Madeleine Albright will take the podium. So, where’s the connection to a series dedicated to the importance of independent journalism?

Her complex, fascinating biography suggests plenty of possibilities. Born in the former Czechoslovakia just as Hitler was rising to power and forced into exile along with the rest of her family, she didn’t realize for most of her life that her grandparents were Jewish and had died during the Holocaust. And she was involved in complex, controversial international situations like the Rwandan genocide and U.N. sanctions against Iraq. How does Albright feel that the press of a free country affects the ability of that country to conduct diplomacy, for better and for worse? Catch the free lecture to find out. (Scott Renshaw)
McCarthey Lecture Series: Madeleine Albright @ Rowland Hall, 720 Guardsman Way, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., free and open to the public.


Imago Theatre: ZooZoo
Imagine a line of emperor penguins marching across the frozen tundra. Add some whimsical music and, when it stops, imagine those same penguins amusingly pushing and tumbling over each other for the few available seats. Yep: penguins playing musical chairs. It’s just one of the entertaining pieces in Imago Theatre’s ZooZoo, a mix of mime, dance and acrobatics that relies heavily on amazing costuming that perfectly blends animal behavior with human emotion—think of a giant game of leap frog (with actual frogs), hippos steamrolling over each other in bed and rabbits in suspender-ed trousers playfully marching about the stage. Just as ZooZoo magically breaks down the barrier between the animal and human worlds, it also regularly breaks the fourth wall between the characters and the audience, as fluffy polar bears cavort down aisles, or the last penguin—miserably chairless—waddles forlornly out into the theatre to mischievously con an innocent child, stunned in wonderment, out of his own seat. (Jacob Stringer)
Imago Theatre: ZooZoo @ Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, Nov. 3, 6 p.m., $15-$30.


Jay Pharoah
In 2010, young stand-up comic Jay Pharoah debuted on Saturday Night Live during a short interview with Seth Meyers on Weekend Update. It was the first time most of the public had a chance to be witness to one of his many uncanny impressions, this time as Will Smith championing his kids as entertainment geniuses and the amazing abilities of his pet, Will.I.Am a Dog. Ever since that auspicious beginning, he’s been unfairly compared to his SNL predecessor, Eddie Murphy. And he can do a mean Murphy impression, too.

But really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impressions in Pharoah’s comedy toolbox. In fact, before he even made it onto SNL, he was famous online for his rapid-fire impression videos on YouTube. And over the course of his three-plus SNL seasons, he’s given viewers uncanny versions of Denzel Washington, Michael Strahan, Shannon Sharpe and, of course, President Barack Obama. Pharoah’s stand-up act also relies pretty heavily on those same mimicking skills, although he tends to do a lot more music parody out on the road—and it’s pretty amazing to hear him create a one-man battle between the likes of Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Little Wayne and 50 Cent, all without missing a beat before he drops the mic on himself. But it’s when he takes someone like Jay-Z and places him out of his natural realm—and into, say, a haunted house—that the standup hilarity really ensues. (Jacob Stringer)
Jay Pharoah @ Wiseguys Comedy Café, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-463-2909, Nov. 5, 7 p.m., $15.

Malcolm Gladwell
The biblical story of David versus Goliath has, almost invariably, been used as a cultural metaphor for an unexpected defeat of a superior opponent at the hands of a scrappy underdog. But what if we’ve had it wrong all along? What if David’s legendary sling was clearly understood in its time as the perfect artillery weapon to take on ground troops? And what if Goliath’s size was the result of acromegaly, the pituitary condition that has, as a common side effect, nearsightedness? In short: What if the giant actually never stood a chance?

In his fascinating new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, author Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, The Tipping Point) once again does what he does better than anyone else: He takes sociology and turns it into fascinating revelations about the way we understand—and often misunderstand—the world around us. David and Goliath introduces case studies of people whose perceived drawbacks—learning disabilities, or losing parents in childhood—could actually give rise to the exact personality traits of which great innovators and leaders are made. He even challenges assumptions about the value of elite university education, providing evidence that some students are better off in the long run being the “big fish in a smaller pond.” This week, in a special lecture sponsored by the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Gladwell will share these and other paradigm-shifting ideas from his book. You may never again think about the concept of the “underdog” in quite the same way. (Scott Renshaw)
Malcolm Gladwell @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, Nov. 5, 8 p.m., $12-$34.

More Entertainment & Music Picks: