- Rain Tanner
The Sting & Honey Co.: Snow White
Several years ago, Javen Tanner—artistic director of The Sting & Honey Co.—was working on a production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale when it occurred to him that there was a connection between the play and the set-up for many classic fairy tales. "A girl goes out, gets lost, goes through some big experience," Tanner says. "I looked at Shakespeare's romances and tragic comedies, and they all had this 'lost daughter' character. That piqued my interest."
Two years ago, that piqued interest resulted in Sting & Honey's production of Sleeping Beauty's Dream, but Tanner actually started first on an adaptation of Snow White, which he has since re-written. That adaptation was also influenced by the ancient Greek theatrical tradition of the "satyr play," which connected the theatrical experience to its origins in Dionysian ritual. "In the history of the story of Snow White, we're used to her being among dwarves," Tanner says. "But it's been told many ways—with dragons, with soldiers. I turn them into satyrs."
While the word "satyr" might typically be associated with a carnal element, Tanner emphasizes that this is in fact a show appropriate for all ages, with familiar components like the magic mirror and the dangerous, threatening evil woman (here an aunt rather than a stepmother). "The Dionysian ritual connects us to the wilder part of being human, unconstrained by rules," Tanner says. "I definitely see Snow White's experience as a coming of age. She has to find the strength to face evil." (Scott Renshaw)
The Sting & Honey Co.: Snow White @ Regent Street Black Box, 144 S. Regent St., 801-353-2787, July 13-28, Fridays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 7 p.m., $20, stingandhoney.org
- Omar Villalba
Utah Arts Alliance: Connect
Starting out as an artist can be an isolating experience, one where it's hard to imagine your dream ever becoming your livelihood. Eight years ago, Utah Arts Alliance launched a program designed to help burgeoning artists get their work out into the world.
"I was hearing about artists in the community looking for opportunities to connect with other artists, or to connect their work with the public," Utah Arts Alliance Executive Director Derek Dyer says. "I kept hearing this word 'connect.'"
That Connect idea was itself connected to a concept by UAA Programming Director Michael Christensen, which involved a gallery where visitors could vote on their favorite pieces. Now, on the second Friday of every month, local artists are invited to bring up to two pieces of their work, with no curator, for a chance to get votes during the evening event. The top five vote-getters then have their work exhibited in the gallery space until the next month's event, and also become eligible for the year-end showcase of all winners with $4,000 in prize money for the final winners.
Since the launch of Connect in 2010, Christensen estimates that around 1,200 artists have participated in this first-of-its kind program, including artists from under-represented groups like veterans, LGBTQ, at-risk youth and more. "For some artists, this has changed the course of their career," Dyer says. "They had never shown before, got voted on, within a week [the work] got sold, it gave them the confidence to know their work was good enough to sell, and now they're full-time artists. It's been pretty powerful." (SR)
Utah Arts Alliance: Connect @ Urban Arts Gallery, 137 S. Rio Grande St. (The Gateway), 801-230-0820, July 13, 7-9 p.m., utaharts.org
- Robyn von Swank
Doug Loves Movies
Comedian Doug Benson could be considered a show biz insider, courtesy of his starring role in Super High Me and frequent appearances on Comedy Central. He also enjoys serving up cinematic sarcasm on his popular podcast, titled, naturally enough, Doug Loves Movies. Benson does love movies, and now he's inviting local audiences to witness the manifestation of that affection.
While Benson's deadpan, every-guy delivery might strike some as amateurish, the show's featured segments give it an offbeat appeal. "The Leonard Maltin Game," which follows the format of the old TV quiz show "Name That Tune," finds him reading excerpts from the famed critic's reviews while challenging guests to guess which film Maltin was critiquing. That tends to be tame in comparison to bits like "Not for Emetophobes," "A-B-C-Deez Nuts," "How Much Did This Shit Make?," "Doing Lines with Mark Wahlberg," "Whose Tagline Is It Anyway," and "Now Buscemi Now You Don't." And let's not forget his once popular sign-off: "As always, Willem Dafoe is a shithead." (For the record, Benson doesn't actually believe Dafoe is a shithead, but it did get people talking.)
While Doug Loves Movies is clearly Benson's crown jewel, his other off-beat credits include Getting High with Doug (or, Getting Doug with High when the weed is particularly potent), a talk show that finds him inviting guests to, well, get high with him. Or, one can opt for Comedy Central's The High Court with Doug Benson, another on-air opportunity for Benson to, well, get high. There seems to be a pattern here, so expect Benson's movie takes to come with a slightly blurry perspective. (Lee Zimmerman)
Doug Loves Movies @ Wiseguys SLC, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, July 14, 4:20 p.m., $20, wiseguyscomedy.com
- Camille King via Wikimedia Commons
Culture is a marinade you can taste in foods throughout the world. It's impossible to have one without the other, so it makes sense that festivals celebrating ancestors and the traditions they passed down regularly incorporate well-crafted meals shared by family and friends, both old and new.
Kangi-e—or the Obon festival—is a Japanese celebration providing just that. Combining food, dance and remembrance of those who have died, the festival is an annual event taking place over the course of three days around the 15th day of the seventh month. It's intended to honor those who have come before and appreciate the culture they helped create. While in most areas of Japan the event takes place in August—the seventh month based on the lunar calendar—in Tokyo and elsewhere it lands in July, as is the case at the SLC event hosted by the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple.
All are invited to take part in this cultural celebration and join the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple's community at their Obon Festival. The Temple has a long history in Utah: Starting with the arrival of Rev. Koyu Ichida from San Francisco in 1912, the Temple has grown from its smaller roots to a pillar of Japanese culture in Salt Lake City's downtown.
As in previous years, the 2018 festival features traditional Japanese foods, and though general admission is free, all proceeds from food purchases benefit the temple. Later in the evening, the Ogden Buddhist Temple puts on a resounding taiko drum performance, which is followed by traditional Japanese dancing. Come explore Japanese history in Salt Lake and taste a bit of culture for yourself. (Casey Koldewyn)
Japanese Obon Festival @ Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, 211 W. 100 South, July 14, 1-10 p.m., free, slbuddhist.org