Essentials: Entertainment Picks March 27-April 2 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks

Essentials: Entertainment Picks March 27-April 2




Loveland Living Planet Aquarium Grand Opening

The Living Planet Aquarium has been kind of like that favorite home-aquarium-dweller, the hermit crab, over the course of its decade in Utah. In 2004, it opened in a small “preview” space in The Gateway; in 2006, it outgrew that shell and moved to a former retail space in Sandy, where attendance and interest continued to grow. And when that space became too small to contain all the fascinating exhibits and educational opportunities, it was time to move to another, bigger space. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium—its brand-new facility in Draper—more than triples the square footage of the previous Sandy location, to 136,000 square feet of exhibition and classroom space. The South American exhibit that once featured simply aquarium tanks now includes real trees from the South American rain forest in a two-story exhibition space; the sharks that could once only be seen by standing in front of glass can now be experienced in a walk-through “shark tunnel.” A new theater promises “4D” experiences, including smells and other sensations beyond 3D images. And there’s still a chance to visit with the old aquarium’s popular residents, the North American river otters. The aquarium celebrated its official grand opening March 25, but that’s only the beginning of getting to know all the new exhibits and their inhabitants. It might be quite a while before The Living Planet has to worry about outgrowing this shell. (Scott Renshaw)
Grand Opening @ Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, 12033 S. Lone Peak Parkway, Draper, 801-355-3474, March 25-30, $10.94-$15.95, memberships available.

You’ve Been Instantly Framed
Twelve international photographers and 12 local photographers were asked to contribute one photograph each to Alpine Art’s You’ve Been Instantly Framed exhibition. Their contribution was not to be sophisticated works of photographic complexity, but one image from what is often several thousand on any given iPhone. The change in technology—as most people now carry a high-definition camera that’s accessible at any moment—has forever changed what we understand as photography. But what about the singular photograph—something extra-special that becomes lost within the device? Alpine Art is launching a free iPhone app called InstantlyFramed that lets artists, businesses or individuals upload an iPhone image and have it reproduced in a choice of sizes, with archival ink on acid-free paper, and matted with archival-quality board in a handcrafted walnut wood frame—a permanent showcase for the exceptional photograph. It’s an ingenuous and exciting extension to the 30-year tradition of Alpine Art’s contribution to the framing industry. (Ehren Clark)
You’ve Been Instantly Framed @ Alpine Art, 430 E. South Temple, 801-355-1155, through May 1, free.,

Plan-B Theatre Company: 3
Plan-B Theatre Company has dedicated an entire season to the work of local playwright Eric Samuelsen, and it has shown just how many compelling stories Samuelsen has up his sleeve. In fact, just this final production in the “Season of Eric” finds him exploring three different tales of contemporary Mormon women facing tensions between their faith and the broader world. The evening of three short plays—each featuring a cast of three performers, which Samuelsen describes as a way of co-opting the significance of the number “3” in Mormon theology—begins with Bar & Kell, about two women helping a neighbor for perhaps ulterior motives. Community Standard finds a Mormon woman serving on a jury for an indecency trial, facing the state’s unique climate for objectifying women. And Duets addresses the struggle of a woman who finds out that man she married is gay. Perhaps there’s plenty of truth in the old saying that good things come in threes.
(Scott Renshaw)
Plan-B Theatre Company: 3 @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, March 27-April 6, 8 p.m. Thursday & Friday, 4 & 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $20.

David Rothman: Living the Life
There’s a certain type of person who chooses such the ski-bum life—or, some claim, the life chooses them. They populate small mountain hamlets—like Telluride, Jackson Hole and Park City—that spring up around snow-capped mountains. These aren’t the wealthy, living in mega-cabins, but those who simply eke out a living just so they can ski on a daily basis. Author and skier David Rothman is part of that clan, and his new collection of stories and essays, Living the Life: Tales from America’s Mountains & Ski Towns, provides an insider’s look into these close knit communities. He writes of the “adrenaline rush versus impending peril” dynamic that every skier faces at some point, be it in the backcountry, at a resort, racing or even cross-country trekking between snowbound huts. Rothman also writes about the disquiet of the off-season, when everyone else departs for other climes and the skiers are left on the snowless mountain, painfully and eagerly waiting for next year’s powder to arrive. (Jacob Stringer)
David Rothman: Living the Life @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, March 27, 7 p.m., free.


Finding time to play board games in a busy schedule can be a daunting challenge. Finding a whole weekend to do it can be even harder. Or perhaps the most difficult thing to find is a group of like-minded people who love games as much as you do. You can only force your uninterested friends and family members to play Settlers of Catan so many times. Thankfully, those inclined to play board games have SaltCon to look forward to every year. SaltCon serves as a place to play games with people who are as into them as you are, to play unreleased games from game developers looking for feedback, and to attend seminars dedicated to gaming-related topics. It’s a great place to try new games, too. With the price of admission, you get access to an extensive game library with games available to try out and play with whomever might be around, to determine if you like it or not. SaltCon isn’t just for board games, either. If you’ve ever been interested in role-playing games, this is your place to learn about and even play them. It’s a fun, relaxing three days and, best of all, the guys from Big Shiny Robot (including Bryan Young) will be there playing games with all who dare. (Bryan Young)
SaltCon 2014 @ Davis Conference Center, 1651 N. Layton Drive, Layton, March 28-30, $20-$50.

Pioneer Theatre Company: Deathtrap
Sidney Bruhl hasn’t written a hit play in years. So when a hot new script comes into his hands—a murder mystery penned by one of his former students—the washed-up old playwright doesn’t want to let it go. Offering to help improve the play, Sidney invites the young playwright to his home. But Sidney’s wife isn’t so sure that her husband’s offer doesn’t hold sinister designs. Would her husband go so far as to kill for a good script? So begins Ira Levin’s 1978 hit play Deathtrap, Broadway’s longest-running comedy-thriller, opening this week at Pioneer Theatre Company and guest directed by Yale School of Drama professor May Adrales. The play’s set-up is simple—one set with five actors. It’s against this simplicity that the plot is allowed to shine. Cleverly set as a play within a play, Deathtrap is also the name of the coveted script, and the plot holds enough twists and turns, deceits and thrills to keep an audience on its toes. (Katherine Pioli)
Pioneer Theatre Company: Deathtrap @ Pioneer Memorial Theater, 300 S. 1400 East, University of Utah, 801-581-6961, March 28-April 12, 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, $33-$39.

Utah Ties
The Utah Ties exhibition has been a Central Utah Arts Center tradition since right before Adam Bateman took over as director in 2004—well before the gallery moved to Salt Lake City from Ephraim in 2012. Designed to help Utah artists get in-state exposure—as well as get noticed in the larger art community by being selected by noted gallerists from outside of the state—the exhibit has smashingly achieved its goals, as some of its artists have gone on to become known and respected in the larger art sphere. As the title implies, it isn’t limited to in-state artists, but includes those who’ve moved from Utah, or spent time in Utah as students or professionals. This Utah Ties exhibit will be the 10th, and makes a suitable splash. This year’s juror, Adam Gildar, owns Gildar Gallery in Denver, one of that city’s most progressive galleries. He’s is also the director of Art Plant, a residency for professional artists that serves to connect artists and curators to the Denver art community. Out of 550 submissions, Gildar selected 52 artists whose work will be on display, and they represent some of the foremost local artists who are pushing boundaries, including photographer Christine Baczek, Saltgrass Printmakers’ Erik and Sandy Brunvand, Russian-influenced surrealist David Ruhlman, out-of-state transplant Laura Sharp Wilson and photographer Noah Jackson. Awards totaling $1,000 will be given to some of these artists’ works during the course of the show, and that supports local artists as well. (Brian Staker)
Utah Ties @ CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 385-215-6768, through April 12.

Josh Blue
Comedian Josh Blue has a routine about being born in Cameroon, West Africa. The fact he now resides in Denver, he says, technically makes him an African-American. “It’s awesome being an African-American, especially a white one.” The bit continues on with a cop pulling him over: “‘Do you know why I pulled you over?’ ‘Yes, it’s because I’m African-American.’ ‘No, it’s because you were driving on the sidewalk.’” Underlying the punch line is the fact that the Last Comic Standing winner is probably best known as a comedian with cerebral palsy, a disability that causes some jerky movements and slurred speech that Blue often mines for self-deprecating humor. It’s not that he spends a ton of time poking fun at his disability, but he does like to highlight the miscommunication that often comes because of people’s reaction to him (like constantly thinking he’s high or drunk). His other notable talent? Being a steady presence on the U.S. Paralympic soccer team. (Jacob Stringer)
Josh Blue @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, March 29, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20.


Blue Man Group

In Season 2 of the comedy series Arrested Development, David Cross’ character, Tobias, was determined to make it into the percussive Blue Man Group, and routinely sported their trademark body paint. He wound up looking far more like a desperate Smurf than a Blue Man. Such has become the cultural reach of one of the longest-running theater troupes residing just off Broadway. Founded by a trio of friends in 1987 on the streets of New York, Blue Man Group quickly gained popularity by doing club gigs and variety shows. After finally developing an entire show in 1991, the group moved into The Astor Place Theatre in Manhattan. Since then, it has become a full-fledged theatrical production that continually reinvents itself, doing regular tours around the world—including long-run residencies in cities like Boston and Chicago—and all sorts of television and film appearances. Basically fronted by three silent blue men playing a lot of random percussion instruments—think giant modified PVC tubes turned into things like the “drumbone” and barrel drums surfaced with colored water—backed by a full band, each show has a bit of drama, a lot of comedy and tons of music. Over the years, the group has been able to sustain its popularity by continually updating and refreshing the show. The broader success of Blue Man Group can be attributed to the fact that they keep the material family-friendly while being ecstatically entertaining, in addition to a bit odd and mysterious—just weird enough for shows like Arrested Development to mine for laughs. (Jacob Stringer)
Blue Man Group @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, April 1-6, $35-$57.50.