The Bee: True Stories From the Hive—Migration
The Bee has helped transform the poetry/spoken word/storytelling culture in Salt Lake City around in a way that few organizations before it ever did. By incorporating a lottery system into live spoken performances, authors premiere original works based around a single theme to an audience with no idea who they're going to hear any given night.
Over the past two years, the semi-fluid organization has put together monthly shows where people can pop in for a cheap ticket, grab a drink and hear emotional works by some of the best writers the city has to offer—from college students to professional writers to armchair poets. Past themes have included the Wild, Dirt, Attachment, the Here & Hereafter and "Fer Rude." These shows have garnered sold-out performances at venues like The Urban Lounge and the Leonardo—and now they're bringing that same enthusiasm to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.
In partnership with the Utah Coalition of La Raza (UCLR), UMOCA hosts The Bee's Migration. Branded as "a departure from our usual lovingly competitive storytelling," the evening will feature selected writers who will be presenting their own true stories of leaving home and finding new ones in various ways. It's a fitting theme, as the local entertainment culture has often described Utah as a home you wish to leave, but are always pulled back to.
Sponsored by KRCL 90.9 FM, Utah Humanities and Catalyst magazine, the night will also feature a cash bar and catering from Even Stevens. (Gavin Sheehan)
The Bee: True Stories From the Hive—Migration @ Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, April 21, 6 p.m., 18+, $25 (20 percent goes toward UMOCA). TheBeeSLC.org
People Productions: Grounded
We live in a world that's always being recorded. From grocery shopping to what we post on social media, our lives are being watched. We know it—and are, presumably, OK with it. In People Productions' one-woman show Grounded, written by George Brandt, this message comes across loud and clear as it weaves a story of a fighter pilot-turned-mother-turned drone pilot into an illustration of Big Brother omniscient awareness.
The pilot (Alison Lente) loves flying in the big blue. It isn't until she gets pregnant and married that she's torn between the ground and the sky. Pretty soon, she doesn't have to choose, as the Air Force moves from pilot-operated planes to drones. After relocating to Las Vegas, the pilot has to balance civilian life with her family with her military life, staring at a grey screen flying drones striking "the guilty." Eventually, the line between reality and the grey screen begins to blur.
Lente is a force on stage. Alone, she commands the room, saying so much even when she's saying nothing at all. The pilot's inner conflict of wanting to be a good mother and wife, but also a soldier keeping troops on the other side of the world safe, shines through. Richard Scharine's direction only strengthens Lente's tenacious performance.
Grounded will make you think about how often we are watched—and question, if we are not guilty, why being spied-on is necessary. (Missy Bird)
People Productions: Grounded @ Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, 132 S. 800 West, Thursday-Saturday, April 14-24, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m., $10-$15. PeopleProductions.org.
Utah Symphony: Let's Dance
Get out your dancing shoes; the Utah Symphony has invited you to an evening dedicated to "movements" that don't just refer to sections of a symphony. Guest conductor and Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik, along with a slew of riveting dancers and vocalist, will be bringing the waltz and the tango to Abravanel Hall in the dramatic show Let's Dance.
A variety of dance and musical numbers will be featured throughout the program, with a unique style and attitude created by Tyzik. Be prepared to tap your toes to a medley of 1950s classic dance numbers like "Blue Suede Shoes," "Twistin' the Night Away" and "Johnny B. Goode", while ending on an even higher note with Dirty Dancing's iconic "I've Had the Time of My Life", which may leave you tempted to dance in the aisle.
The evening kicks off with the "Mambo" from West Side Story, sure to get you in the mood to kick up your heels. No dance party would be complete without the cha-cha and the can-can, so rest assured, those numbers will take center stage as well, plus the familiar melody of Strauss's "Blue Danube" waltz. From the incredible, energetic dance numbers to the vocals of Michael Lynche—best known for his appearances on American Idol—this show promises a little something for everyone. Whether you sing, dance in your seat or simply sway in time to the music, you won't miss a beat. (Aimee L. Cook)
Utah Symphony: Let's Dance @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, April 22-23, 7:30 p.m., $18-$80. UtahSymphony.org
Urban Arts Gallery: eARTh
For its April offering, Urban Arts Gallery is exhibiting the collection eARTh, featuring work by seven local artists—including Carol Berrey, William Cannon, Craig Fisher, Alex Hall, Mike Jensen, Brooklyn Ottens and Todd Powelson—whose pieces explore the world we live on and our relationship to it. Since Earth Day is April 22, the artistic theme seems like a natural fit.
As the title suggests, these works remind us that the earth itself is a thing of beauty, not an artifact. But it's the inspiration for the creation of artifacts that pay tribute to our home. Berrey's portraits, in graphite on repurposed tar paper, make new art out of old. The photography of William Cannon employs the human form in compositional harmony with nature. Fisher's sculptures using toy soldiers have a political edge. Animals are captured in spray paint and acrylic in the canvases of Hall. Jensen assembles found materials into sculptures by turns silly and serious. Ottens' geometric shapes on reclaimed wood retain a sense of the organic as well as indigenous cultures. Powelson's paintings, drawings and sculptures draw from the natural, supernatural and even superhero mythos fusing in dynamic, occasionally surreal images (his "First World" is pictured).
As enjoyable as gallery stroll can be, visiting a gallery on another night allows guests to view the art during a less-crowded, more meditative environment. That is especially beneficial for a show about the planet, with the quietude that solitary communion with nature can afford from the buzzing blur of humanity. (Brian Staker)
eARTh @ Urban Arts Gallery, 137 S. Rio Grande St. 801-230-0820, through May 1. UrbanArtsGallery.org
The Hive Theatre Co.: The Pillowman
Martin McDonagh has crafted a varied career as a writer, from his celebrated plays The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Beauty Queen of Leenane to his Academy Award-winning short film Six Shooter and his subsequent features In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. The latter in particular have shown his gift for mixing edgy, often violent content with uniquely fascinating characters and hilarious dialogue.
The Hive Theater Co.—which produced McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane in 2013—returns to that talented source for The Pillowman. It deals with a writer named Katurian who is undergoing an interrogation by two policeman in an unnamed country. It seems that Katurian's dark, violent short stories may be connected to a series of child murders—for which Katurian's mentally handicapped brother may be a suspect. Or perhaps Katurian himself is a suspect, as McDonagh addresses questions of the responsibility of artists for their work, and silencing the work that makes us uncomfortable. (Scott Renshaw)
The Hive Theatre Co.: The Pillowman @ Sorensen Unity Center, 1383 S. 900 West, April 22-23 and 29-30, 8 p.m., $15 advance, $17 door. HiveTheatre.com