THURSDAY MARCH 6
Art at the Main Group Show: Light, Shadow, Space
Art at the Main is a cooperative gallery on the ground floor of the Salt Lake City Main Library, a cozy nook where pieces from more than a dozen local artists mingle on the walls. Now, this cadre of artists is taking their work to Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery. Most of these artists are representational and have a command of the techniques needed to create works in landscape and still life that are faithful depictions, yet also exhibit the artist’s personal style and include some impressionistic touches. Joy Nunn’s works are reminiscent of French Impressionism, and one of Marsha Ercegovic’s paintings includes flowers that might have been transplanted from a Renoir. On the other hand, Cary Griffiths uses these elements to shape completely abstract works, using colors in the manner of Mondrian. Light, shadow and space—in addition to the visible spectrum of colors—make up the visual vocabulary of a painter. The illusions of perspective and the mass of objects are created with these tools. And the space at the Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery is an excellent place to give these works a bit more breathing room than their cozy library home can provide. The jewelry store seems to have a luminous quality: light pours in its windows, which enhances the quality of light, as well as the shadow and space in these works.
Art at the Main Group Show: Light, Shadow, Space @ Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery, 1409 S. 900 East, 801-521-7711, through March 15, free. CharleyHafen.com
An Honest Aperture
Photography, just like painting, has the capacity to tell a story, although the possibility to manipulate and embellish is practically unlimited. But it’s stark realism that Gini Pringle travels extensively to find, seeking honesty and photographic truth. Her most iconic images seem straightforward, yet allow viewers caught in this narrative to speculate on the moments caught by an aperture set on authenticity. Pringle has spent most of her artistic career shooting on the streets of Cuba, Mexico and urban centers of the United States. Her Cuban scenes are a candid and frank portrayal of an entirely different culture, capturing life and vitality through momentary narratives as they unfold. Her oeuvre in its entirety is enormous, capturing street life at its most genuine. One riveting portrait portrays three young men shadow-boxing. Their unflinching focus—disregarding the photographic presence as they punch the air, one in metallic gold knee shorts and another in a turquoise blue tank against a sun-bleached background—illuminates the image. In another untitled photo, a young man with lean muscles and a weathered face is wearing a white tank top and holding a package of cigarettes; a woman wearing a fuchsia tube top reaches toward him. The composition is set to the left, and this unbalance enhances the sense of unease with two figures in the shadows beyond. Nothing is hidden. The streets do not lie.
Gini Pringle: An Honest Aperture @ Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284, through March 14, free. Phillips-Gallery.com
Jennifer Adams: BabyLit Huckleberry Finn and The Jungle Book
For a 30-year run from the 1940s through the early 1970s, the Classics Illustrated comics provided an entry point into the great works of Western literature by turning stories like Moby-Dick, Robinson Crusoe and The Three Musketeers into comic books for young readers. But what if there were a way to introduce these classics even earlier—say, perhaps, to young not-yet readers? Utah’s own Jennifer Adams—working with illustrator Alison Oliver—launched the brilliant BabyLit series a few years ago, using colorful board books to familiarize toddlers with the works of Jane Austen, Bram Stoker, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and others. This week, Adams launches the latest installments in the series, showcasing Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Why not get those little darlings ready for high school English class by the time they’re in kindergarten? Jennifer Adams: BabyLit Huckleberry Finn and The Jungle Book @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, March 6, 7 p.m., places in signing line reserved for those who purchase books at King’s English. KingsEnglish.com
Pygmalion Theatre Company: Women of Lockerbie
At 19 hours, 2 minutes, 44 seconds, on a December day in 1988, London’s Air Traffic Control lost contact with the Boeing 747 Clipper Maid of the Seas. Shortly afterward, Scottish authorities responded to a fire reported by a British Airways pilot. The authorities found the remains of the Clipper—Pan Am Flight 103—in what would become known as the Lockerbie bombing. Women of Lockerbie, by Deborah Brevoort, approaches this story of tragedy and loss with dignity and without hate. Loosely based on true events, the play follows a New Jersey couple visiting the site of the bombing in an attempt find closure by recovering any remaining effects of their deceased son. There they meet a group of Lockerbie women on a crusade to obtain the clothing of the bombing’s victims and—in a symbolic act of cleansing and healing—wash them and return them to the victim’s families. But the United States government won’t release the clothes.
Pygmalion Theater Company: Women of Lockerbie @ Rose Wager Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, March 6-22, Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m., $20, $25 day of show. ArtTix.org
The digital world is getting more and more ubiquitous, seemingly encroaching more and more on our everyday reality until it can start to seem like it is real. The works of Vort Man utilize the techniques and technology of digital art on, and in conjunction with, traditional art forms and techniques. His work is really about what kind of landscape we live in—and that includes the media landscape. The images in this series begin as photographs, which are then reduced to their barest black & white outlines before the landscapes are re-colored digitally. The native of Pittsburgh, who moved to Utah in 2012, produces screen prints of some of the landscapes, while others become digital images printed on canvas. He recently showed in Chicago, London and Salt Lake City’s Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery. Presenting him as living a somewhat mythical existence as an artist, Man’s website, TheVortMan.com, traces his life as a timeline through business and art across numerous decades and continents.
Vort Man: Digital Landscapes @ Salt Lake City Main Library Canteena, Level 2, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, through March 9, free. SLCPL.org
FRIDAY MARCH 7
Utah Symphony: Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World
As a child in Sussex, England, long before studying music at Manchester University and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Utah Symphony guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth fell in love with Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9. Dvorák wrote the work, most commonly referred to as From the New World, in 1893 as a celebration of America shortly after arriving on these shores. His final symphonic composition, the work demonstrates the skill of a the Czech composer—well known for innovatively incorporating the folk traditions of his own country—in capturing the excitement and opportunity of America at the time. According to Wigglesworth, who will also conduct two other symphonies—No. 35 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lutosu0wski’s Symphony No. 4, a premier for Utah Symphony—the piece was the first he ever purchased himself, the first he ever fell in love with and the first composition that really turned him on to the power of music.
Utah Symphony: Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, March 7 & 8, 8 p.m., $18-$69. UtahSymphony.org, ArtTix.org
Nearly 30 years into his professional career as a stand-up comedian, Jake Johannsen—unlike many of his contemporaries from the 1980s stand-up boom—hasn’t starred in a sitcom. He hasn’t lent his voice to animated TV or feature-film characters. He doesn’t sell out arenas or have a million Twitter followers. He simply continues, week after week, knocking audiences silly with a brand of smart, brilliantly timed storytelling comedy that he has mastered. It would be easy to look back on all the things that didn’t happen—especially if, as Jerry Seinfeld has said, Johannsen turned down the role of George Costanza when it was offered to him. But there’s no reason to shrug dismissively at a win in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition, or dozens of appearances with David Letterman over the years. And while the observational topics he covers may have changed since the ’80s as he moved into middle age and parenthood, he still tells stories about the world’s weirdness in that same incredulous, slightly quavering voice that suggests sympathy with our deepest confusion. On his 2011 CD/DVD I Love You, for example, Johannsen wrestles with that annual task that most of us are facing right now: paying our taxes. “The government acts like, ‘You have to pay your fair share,’” Johannsen says. “All I want to know is, what do I owe? They won’t tell us. They’re like, ‘No, you figure it out.’ Really? I’ve got to do my job, plus a big-ass math problem for you every year?”
Jake Johannsen @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, March 7 & 8, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $12. WiseguysComedy.com
SATURDAY MARCH 8
Salt Lake Film Society: This Is Digital
As movie theaters made the conversion from conventional film projectors to digital projection over the past few years, film buffs lamented the loss of film as a medium for showing classic movies. But it’s the reality of the brave new digital world, one that the Salt Lake Film Society had to face in 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign to upgrade its equipment. Now, SLFS is going to let audiences see the new digital projection for themselves with four features that demand big-screen appreciation. Beginning Saturday, the Broadway Centre will showcase a daily repertory menu. On the bill of fare is Stanley Kubrick’s space epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1953 romantic classic From Here to Eternity, the globe-spanning, impressionistic 2011 documentary Samsara and the magnificent Lawrence of Arabia. Check theater listings for individual showtimes, and get a taste of what the 21st century at the movies is all about.
Salt Lake Film Society: This Is Digital @ Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South, 801-321-0310, March 8-14, see website for times and prices. SaltLakeFilmSociety.org
SUNDAY MARCH 9
Jim Henson Company: Puppet Up! (Uncensored)
There are many jokes that a puppet can pull off that a human just can’t—especially when bawdy and blue humor is left on the table. In fact, because they are puppets, the bawdy and blue tends to get a bigger punch, like when children’s toys are talking about having a hand up their ass. Jim Henson made his mark with material like Sesame Street aimed at the kids, but he also liked to push the boundaries with his beloved cast of puppets. Brian Henson (pictured), son of the pioneering puppeteer, decided to go all in with Henson Alternative—an improv-heavy theater company specifically geared toward adult-skewed performances designed to entertain while also shedding light on the behind-the-scenes artistry of puppeteering. Spearheaded by the younger Henson and Patrick Bristow (of Ellen, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame), the “Miskreant Puppets” gleefully wade into everything highbrow and low—think a crass re-enactment of a Shakespeare classic. Performed by a cast of six expert puppeteers with improv backgrounds, the touring production is never the same twice. The puppeteers are actually present on the stage, filmed “from the puppet up” for large screens, so the show is kind of a two-for-one in which you can either focus on the performers working their craft or the magic of the puppets playing to the camera. Or it will likely be a combination of the two—such as watching the uncomfortable face of a puppeteer as the felt dog they control enthusiastically dry-humps another.
Jim Henson Company: Puppet Up! (Uncensored) @ Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, March 9, 7:30 p.m., $20-$69. EcclesCenter.org