- Mike Cassidy
From the Depths of the Great Salt Lake
The last remnants of a massive inland sea, the Great Salt Lake might have given our city its name, yet it's still often more of a punch line that a source of pride. Sometimes it seems like it's merely that thing that gives the air a particular pungency, or the reason a neighborhood a couple of miles away gets three inches more snow than you do. But what do you really know about it?
STEAMpunk Academy, Utah Arts Alliance and Salty Sirens dig into the fun, the facts and the myths of the Great Salt Lake's biome on April 1 at 7 p.m. for the virtual presentation From the Depths of the Great Salt Lake. The centerpiece will be a livestream roast of the 1980 cult film Attack of the Brine Shrimp (pictured), Mike Cassidy's 1980 25-minute short that takes the tiny arthropod inhabitants of the Great Salt Lake and turns them into a kaiju wreaking havoc across the downtown SLC cityscape. Local filmmaker Brian Higgins will offer his perspective on Attack of the Brine Shrimp. Other scheduled presenters include Chris Merritt, Industrial Archaeologist with the State of Utah, discussing the history of the Great Saltair and rumors of whales living in the Great Salt Lake, while Jaimi Butler and Bonnie Baxter of the Salty Sirens regale attendees with the truth about brine shrimp and other lake facts.
Register in advance to receive a free link at zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wX_eI0vqTtuL82R. For those unable to attend the live event, a recorded version will be available later via steampunkacademy.org (Scott Renshaw)
- Winston Inoway
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
It's been a full 18 months since the 7th annual Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival was hosted by the Salt Lake City Library, for reasons that might be fairly obvious. And while the world is nowhere near back to normal, the arts have shown a remarkable ability to adapt. That includes the format for the 8th annual Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival, which will take a virtual form this year with two days of programming showcasing 16 local, national and international creators via Vimeo.
Each day is broken up into individual blocs of presentations, with two on Friday, April 2 and three on Saturday, April 2. Many of the scheduled works explicitly explore the past pandemic year, how it has affected us, and how it has affected the creation and presentation of art. Myriam Laplante's You have to be there explicitly addresses what is lost when the artist is not physically present to the audience. Chilean artist Alexander del Re also dives into this topic through his piece Exercises in Reality, and Salt Lake City's Eugene Tachinni (pictured above left, with festival curator Kristina Lenzi from 2019) looks into his own experience of having his apartment building change ownership in the middle of the pandemic.
But there is also an opportunity for this virtual format to present notions that wouldn't have been possible in person. Boston-based Marilyn Arsem's Signs of Spring will find her livestreaming a walk through a local park in her home city, looking for evidence of the changing seasons, while inviting those watching remotely to do the same. Visit events.slcpl.org/event/4880736 for additional program descriptions and Vimeo links. (SR)
- Courtesy Photo
loveDANCE more: Only the Lonely
When a "new normal" presents itself—even if the "new normal" might only be temporary—there aren't many options. Either you can bang your head against reality, or you can embrace reality and use it to your advantage. Faced with the reality of staging live dance during a pandemic, loveDANCEmore leaned into the circumstances for Only the Lonely, a series of virtual dance performances that could be created and performed safely and remotely.
According to loveDANCEmore's Samuel Hanson, Only the Lonely was originally planned to support two artists, presenting projects that were "happening either entirely virtually, or with the safest possible inter-household interaction." But after receiving the responses to the call for submissions, the company's panel of judges decided to support seven works. "I think it's fair to say that we were interested in what new kinds of creativity might be elicited by the comparatively strict but sensible (we think) COVID-restrictions we put in place," Hanson says. "The results have been exciting — the old axiom about the power of limits still holds up!"
Only the Lonely programming begins April 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. with two pieces: Nora Lang's TV Dinners Presents Binary Coding, an interactive experience with a game show-like component; and the double-feature of dance films Blinding Light and Companion (pictured) created by Dmitri Peskov and Jung Ah Yoon and featuring local dancer Warren Hess of Ephraim. Two additional programs are scheduled for April 23-24 and May 4. The presentations will feature a live Q&A after the programs; register at lovedancemore.org, with a $10 donation encouraged. (SR)
- University of New Mexico Press
Edison Eskeets & Jim Kristofic: Send a Runner @ King's English online
The United States' long history of cruelty to Native peoples includes too many individual incidents to number, but some of them have achieved a special level of infamy. Such was "The Long Walk"—the forced repatriation in 1865 of Navajo (Diné) people from their ancestral homelands in Arizona to a reservation in New Mexico. The 18-day, 330-mile journey cost at least 200 lives, and while the Diné eventually made a return journey to their original lands in 1868, the event left a deep mark on the people.
The year 2018 marked the sesquicentennial of the Diné's return to Arizona, and to mark the occasion, Edison Eskeets—a former All-American long-distance runner—decided to honor the occasion by re-tracing the steps of "The Long Walk," all 330 miles from Canyon de Chelly, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a plan a decade in the making, with a goal of the then-58-year-old Eskeets finishing the journey on July 1, 2018—the exact 150th anniversary of the return.
In Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk, Eskeets and writer Jim Kristofic relate the story of Eskeets' 15-day run to honor his ancestors, bring a focus back to "The Long Walk," and provide a vision for the future of the Navajo people. Eskeets and Kristofic participate in a virtual author event via The King's English Bookshop (kingsenglish.com) on Wednesday, April 7 at 6 p.m. The event is free, but advance registration is required via the website; patrons who purchase a copy of the book via the website will receive an autographed bookplate. (SR)