- Kenneth Locke
Born a homeboy, Bengt (pronounced "Bent") Washburn has a worldly view. Born in Salt Lake and raised as a Mormon in a tiny Utah town, he's acquired a diverse perspective. Married to a U.S. Air Force officer, he's lived in six cities over the past dozen years, including a stint served in Stuttgart, Germany. His droll, off-kilter observations on child care, domestic discord, grocery shopping and learning a foreign language make for a hilarious combination of the weird and wacky, with Washburn situated somewhere in between.
On his website, Washburn lists personal preferences—boxer briefs, solid deodorants and Crest toothpaste—and explains that eight years ago, a lump appeared on his right thigh. "According to some kids at the water park, it looks creepy," he notes. "Many people say Bengt looks kind of like a monkey."
His self-effacing attitude aside, Washburn boasts any number of impressive accomplishments. A former winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition, he's a familiar presence at several prestigious comedy festivals and on Comedy Central, late night television, XM Sirius Radio and NPR. He has three comedy albums to his credit, and a pair of Dry Bar Comedy specials as well.
"When I started comedy, I was a 30-year-old man, divorced and living in a tent," he tells audiences. "I could have slept on a couch, but living in a tent was better for crying."
He might have a point, but that's something most of us will never know. Best to let Bengt explain it, and do our own weeping at home. (Lee Zimmerman)
Bengt Washburn @ Wiseguys SLC, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, Aug. 23-24, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $15, wiseguyscomedy.com
- Spencer Shattuck
Utah Renaissance Faire
While it has been centuries since the Renaissance, this shouldn't hinder devotees of the period from having an authentic experience. In its eighth year, the Utah Renaissance Faire offers all the "olde tyme" madness a person can stand.
With access to more than 120 attractions in a highly immersive experience, one ticket covers both days, which include jousting, armored combat fights, music, wandering performers, demonstrations, games and more. "This is a family friendly, alcohol- and smoke-free event with really great music," assistant director, Spencer Shattuck, says. "The Faire attacks all of your senses. But in a good way."
While jousting and equestrian vaulting are always popular, the armored combat event has swiftly risen as the top contender for audience members. "This year they are bringing triple the fighters and holding a chapter tournament," Shattuck adds. "Which means less breaks and more action."
Other engaging acts include musicians Stary Olsa and Bards & Nobles, magician Elias "Lefty" Caress and breathtaking fire shows provided by the Phenomenal Fire troupe.
Activities abound for the kids, with puppet shows, foam weapon battles and many hands-on activities. Taketh thou a break from modern day stress and visit the Utah Renaissance Faire for an unforgettable weekend.
"The Ren Faire is so much fun," attendee Anne Lester says via Facebook. "They're family friendly, judgment free and high energy. If you only go to one festival, let it be this one!" (Colette A. Finney)
Utah Renaissance Faire @ Thanksgiving Point, 2650 Ashton Blvd., Lehi, Aug. 23-24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., adults (12+) $15, ages 6-11 $8, 5 and under free, utahrenfaire.org
- Tori Duhaime
The Rose Exposed: #Trending
When the six resident performing arts companies at the Rose Wagner Center—Plan-B Theatre Co., Pygmalion Theatre Co., Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co., Repertory Dance Theatre, SB Dance and Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition—launched The Rose Exposed in 2012, there were no lofty goals for inter-organizational cooperation, according to Plan-B artistic director Jerry Rapier. "It was just to get people to refer to our building as something other than 'the building across the street from Squatters,'" he says.
Eight years later, The Rose Exposed boasts a legacy beyond mere name recognition. In addition to providing an annual kickoff for the performing arts season that showcases short original performances by all six groups, it has also inspired collaborations like Plan-B and Gina Bachauer's joint production of Peter and the Wolf that has evolved into an annual free elementary school tour. "We're a lot more aware of how each other works," Rapier says.
This year's event coincides with a buzz of additional activity around the Rose. In conjunction with the upcoming United Nations Civil Society Conference coming to the Salt Palace, Plan-B presents Melissa Leilani Larson's new adaptation of the 100-year-old play The Post Office performed by local high-school students; Aug. 24 also marks the dedication of "Rose Crossing," a new street mural overseen by local artist Jann Haworth. "If somebody's a die-hard and really wants to experience the Rose," Rapier says, "this is the day." (Scott Renshaw)
The Rose Exposed: #Trending @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Aug. 24, 8 p.m., $10-$15; The Post Office @ Rose Wagner Center, Aug. 24-25, 4 & 7 p.m.; Aug. 24-26, 7 p.m., $10, artsaltlake.org
- Jones Entertainment Group
David Feherty: Live Off Tour
Golf is the most serious of all of the sports. Announcers whispering. Players staring at blades of grass trying to determine which way a putt will break. Crowds hushing on a backswing.
It's the perfect situation for somebody to crack a few jokes, and David Feherty has been relishing his role as golf's court jester for more than 20 years. Just as P.D.Q. Bach did with classical music, Feherty found a stuffy party, walked in with a whoopee cushion and became a hit with his sense of humor and skill at storytelling.
Feherty also falls into the tradition of sports broadcasters who experienced enough career success to be able to communicate expertise, but did not reach such lofty heights that they can't find humor in the game, including poking fun at themselves. The Northern Ireland-native spent most of his career on the European Tour, where he won five tournaments and made a Ryder Cup team in 1991. He played on the PGA Tour for a couple of seasons in the mid-'90s before putting down his clubs and picking up a microphone.
He made his presence known in his first broadcast with CBS in 1997. After Tiger Woods had just finished a round at Pebble Beach, abutting the Pacific Ocean, Feherty corralled him for an interview and asked, "Were you concerned at all by that big blue thing to the left?"
This will not be Feherty's first time in Utah. In 2013, as part of his Golf Channel television show, Feherty visited retired pro Billy Casper, who tricked Feherty into rehearsing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Geoff Griffin)
David Feherty: Live Off Tour @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m., $51-181, tickets.utah.edu