- Elly Baldwin
Al Ahad: The Hijab Project
The concept of the hijab—the traditional head scarf worn by some Muslim women—as art might seem counter-intuitive, yet it's exactly this pre-conception that inspired a new exhibit at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. According to Ana Antunes, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Utah's School of Education, "We developed this idea of how cool it would be ... to use the hijab—which a lot of people feel homogenizes Muslim women—to show uniqueness within this population."
The "we" she refers to is Al Ahad, a group co-organized by Antunes and several young high-school-age Muslim women to change public perceptions about Islam, and named after an Arabic phrase meaning "indivisible." Al Ahad conducted surveys of both adults and high school students in the Salt Lake Valley to gauge knowledge of Islam in general, and the hijab in particular.
"We did get a lot of people who think it's related to gender oppression," Antunes says. "But a lot of people kind of talked about themselves, like, 'I wouldn't do it,' or 'It doesn't bother me.' The question was, 'What do you know?' and people still felt they needed to share their personal opinions."
The creations represent attempts by the Al Ahad students to foster perception of the hijab as a personal, independent choice. As 17-year-old Tabarak (whose creation is pictured) shared in an artist statement, "All the negative stereotypes that have been placed on the hijab, as well as Muslim women, are truly sad, but the hijab has made me nothing but stronger." (Scott Renshaw)
Al Ahad: The Hijab Project @ Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201, July 21-Nov. 18; artist reception, Aug. 25, 6-9 p.m., $5 donation suggested, utahmoca.org
- Warner Bros Pictures
Utah Symphony: Harry Potter in Concert
Following the regular pre-show warm-up on July 22, the Utah Symphony sends John Williams' ephemeral "Hedwig's Theme" resounding throughout Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater, as the words Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone appear on a giant screen. With the space lit only by the light of the movie, Harry Potter fans young and old gather, ready to watch a very young Daniel Radcliffe receive the Hogwarts letter rescuing Harry from a world devoid of happiness to one filled with love, friendship and magic.
This unique style of performance, particularly on this evening, promises a type of magic in itself. Playing the iconic Harry Potter music—which, for many, has been only heard as a pre-recorded soundtrack—the live symphony makes Hogwarts feel real and close at hand.
Taking place just a little more than 20 years after the first edition of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published, this performance is part of Utah Symphony's multi-year series in which all eight films are featured annually, in sequence. The series started in December 2016 at Abravanel Hall, and this week's engagement offers a second chance for anyone who missed it. If this component of the Deer Valley Music Festival is anything like the show the symphony delivered in December, it can't help but live up to its magical potential. (Casey Koldewyn)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Concert with Utah Symphony @ Deer Valley Snow Park Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, 801-355-2787 July 22, 7 p.m., $15-$75, utahsymphony.org
- Charles Uibel
Days of '47 Parade
Each year, an estimated 250,000 spectators gather to experience the Days of '47 Pioneer Day parade. But even those who have enjoyed it for years might not appreciate the logistics behind staging the huge—and hugely popular—event. Asked when planning begins for the following year's parade, the Days of '47 board member Kathi Izatt laughs and says, "July 25th."
That's only a slight exaggeration, as the parade's planning committee gathers in August to break down what worked and what might need improvement in coordinating approximately 110 individual entries. The pre-parade lineup area might need changing, Izatt says as an example, if a hotel complains that guest access is being blocked. This year, there's a logistical plan at Liberty Park for floats as they come off the route or the buses waiting for band members.
Little of that concerns the spectators, many of whom camp out overnight for prime locations—though Izatt encourages checking out less-populated spots in the middle of the route, around 500 or 700 South. Still, as delightful as it is to watch floats make their way down 200 East, it's another thing entirely to be part of their midnight move from the staging area at South Towne Expo Center to downtown.
"We're on I-15 in the middle of the night, only going 10-to-15 miles an hour in the HOV lane, semis zipping past," Izatt says. "Even though we have highway patrol escorts, it's still one of the most frightening things." (SR)
Days of '47 Parade @ From South Temple & State Street to 200 East, south to 900 South, then east to Liberty Park (600 E. 900 South), July 24, 9 a.m., free, daysof47.com
- Cal Nez
Native American Celebration in the Park
It's somewhat ironic that when the subject of nationalism arises and politicians coin slogans like "America First," the first Americans are rarely included in the conversation. It's heartening then that the Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow offers an array of family activities and entertainment, as well as an opportunity to celebrate indigenous peoples' cultures by bringing the local community together and sharing tradition through song, music, dance, drums, arts and crafts, food and fireworks. Now in its 23rd year, the nonprofit event brings together native people from throughout the country to showcase their skills in an intertribal contest powwow.
Cal Nez, the founder and organizer, says the celebration is about pride and empowerment. "Our people have lived on this continent before anyone drew boundaries to call states," Nez explains. "We want to keep our culture alive and strong for generations to come.
Aside from its array of family entertainment and activities, the powwow benefits local businesses, tourism and the city itself. "This celebration has never been about what's free or paid admissions, who gets the biggest audience, nor about making a profit," Nez says in describing his desire for support from the corporate community. "We dream of a year where large corporations, the city, the state and tribes can see the value in our effort as a 100 percent Native American-operated event and assist in sponsorship." (Lee Zimmerman)
Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow & Festival @ Liberty Park, 600 E. 1100 South, 801-688-9297, July 24, noon-10 p.m., $5, children under 3 and adults over 65 free, nacippowwow.wixsite.com