Casual fans may only know Brian Posehn from his time on Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program, where he played her gay neighbor for three seasons. But Posehn boasts a far more expansive career, with diverse influences.
The writer/actor/comedian has been active for more than 20 years, gaining his first national exposure on Mr. Show With Bob and David (including its revival on Netflix), and then as a recurring role on the NBC comedy Just Shoot Me, all while touring the country as a stand-up comedian. Over the years, he's been a guest voice on shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Mission Hill and 3 South, as well as dozens of guest appearances in comedy shows and dramas.
But his biggest contributions have come in the past decade, primarily to the nerdy comedy fan. First came his podcast, Nerd Poker, featuring comedians playing Dungeons & Dragons as they make fun of both the game and each other in a loving way that only D&D players could understand, but casual fans could love. He also served as the lead writer on the third volume of Marvel Comics' Deadpool. If you loved this year's hit movie version of Deadpool, you owe part of the attitude and humor of the character to Posehn.
This Friday, Posehn rolls through Salt Lake City to perform two nights at Wiseguys, talking about his personal adventures of being a husband and father, along with his own distinctive array of geeky commentary and awkward moments. (Gavin Sheehan)
Brian Posehn @ Wiseguys Salt Lake City, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, April 29-30, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20, 21 and over. WiseguysComedy.com
When drag performer Kim Chi entered the set of Rupaul's Drag Race, her tagline set the tone for what has proven to be one of the most memorable runs of the current season: "I came to chopsuey the competition!"
Second to none when it comes to beating a face and coming up with insta-couture for the show's various runway challenges, Kim Chi is enjoying the sudden spotlight. "It's been amazing. Social media has been crazy," she tells City Weekly from her Chicago home, adding that she now is recognized most everywhere she goes. "I'm like, 'Ah ... so this is what it's like to be on television.'"
On Friday, she brings that notoriety to Metro Bar during Glazed—a night of drag and doughnuts hosted by the Bad Kids Collective. Chi says this visit to Salt Lake City, her second, promises to be filled with "drama, tears, blood and confrontation ... I'm just kidding!"
Listing Marina Abramovic and K-pop as her main influencers, and self described as a "cultural hybrid with a preternatural understanding of style and conceptual fashion," it came as a surprise to find out what she was wearing when the interview was happening—an old T-shirt and no bottoms. "I'm cleaning the bathroom right now, and I didn't want my pants to get wet," she says with a chuckle.
A personal tidbit Chi revealed during the show is that she is still a virgin; a thing that could change after her visit to Salt Lake City. "If you're tall and handsome, feel free to holler at me," she says. (Enrique Limón)
Glazed with Kim Chi @ Metro Bar, 615 W. 100 South, 801-520-6067, 9 p.m., $8. BrownPaperTickets.com
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
Prepare to be beamed-up into the intergalactic world of the iconic television show and feature films, Star Trek. On stage for one night at Kingsbury Hall, music from the past 50 years of Star Trek will be performed in concert by a live symphony orchestra led by renowned principal conductor/producer Justin Freer, accompanied by scenes highlighting the beloved characters and stories from those movies and TV episodes.
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage brings the music to life in a concert experience while also projecting footage from the television shows and movies on a 40-foot-wide screen. The combination of live music and streamed images creates a unique interactive experience that both music fans and moviegoers will enjoy. Classic franchise pieces like Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: Insurrection, along with many others, are on Friday's program.
Freer began his career playing the trumpet in wind ensembles, community orchestras and marching bands before turning to piano and composition. He has worked as a composer for several independent films as well as motion picture advertising for movies such as Avatar, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Aliens in the Attic. The sights and sounds created by Freer and the talented musicians are sure to delight even the most skeptical Trekkies. (Aimee L. Cook)
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage National Concert Tour @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, April 29, 8 p.m., $45-$65. Tickets.Utah.edu
Utah Museum of Fine Arts ARTLandish: Sun Tunnels Community Meet-Up
While its building is closed for remodeling, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is sponsoring several events for patrons. This week, the organization has planned a west-desert excursion to noted land artist Nancy Holt's work, "Sun Tunnels."
The pieces, constructed of four large concrete cylinders laid on the ground in an "open X" configuration, was completed in 1976. The tunnels are arranged so that you can look through at sunrise and sunset during the solstice. Holes drilled in the tunnels are arranged to let in the light from the constellations Capricorn, Columba, Draco and Perseus. This unique work of art melds the experience of being grounded on Earth with the awareness of the planet's existence in the cosmos, and, as Holt said, "brings the vast space of the desert back to human scale."
Activities planned for this field trip include art-making; educational projects; talks by UMFA curator of modern and contemporary art Whitney Tassie and visiting scholar Annika Schlitte, and live music performed by cellist Tessa Seymour.
The museum says it's a great opportunity for first-time visitors to the site, but stresses that its location is in the middle of the desert, with Wendover and its closest amenities several hours away, and recommends planning accordingly, as there are no bathrooms or other on-site services. The remote location is an essential part of the experience, and contemplating our place in the world and the universe, and the place of art as well. (Brian Staker)
Utah Museum of Fine Arts ARTLandish: Sun Tunnels Meet-Up @ Highway 30 near Lucin, April 30, 1-4 p.m., free. UMFA.Utah.edu/Artlandish
Nihon Matsuri Japan Festival
In the early 1900s, Salt Lake City was divided geographically, with culturally and ethnically specific businesses and houses of worship in neighborhoods much like you see in San Francisco and Manhattan. We once even had a prominent Japan Town, but, over time, the area shrank as people moved out, and eventually, in the mid-'60s, much of what remained was demolished to make way for the Salt Palace. All that remains of the area today is the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple and Japanese Church of Christ.
Every spring, Utah residents of Japanese descent put on the Nihon Matsuri—Utah's official Japan Festival—on Japantown Street where these two buildings remain. The festival is a chance for people to learn about Japanese culture, food, music and more. Expect cosplay contests, dozens of vendors and activities for all ages. This year, the festival will feature Taikoza, one of the world's biggest Taiko drumming and dance groups, performing on genuine ancestral Japanese drums. (Gavin Sheehan)
Nihon Matsuri @ Japantown Street, 100 South (between 200 and 300 West), April 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. NihonMatsuri.com