- Lex B. Anderson
Utah Symphony: A Symphonic Space Celebration
It hardly seems possible, especially for those who were around at the time. It's been 50 years—July 20, 1969, to be precise—since Neil Armstrong took his "one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind," and walked on the surface of the moon. Although our fascination with outer space—as affirmed by such otherworldly fantasies as Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica—might extend beyond real-world events, the mission of Apollo 11 still looms large in the annals of scientific accomplishment.
This year, that first mission to the moon is being marked in many ways, but possibly none quite as stirring as the Utah Symphony's A Symphonic Space Celebration. Conductor Conner Gray Covington, soprano Melissa Heath and a full orchestral present a program that soars to the stars, courtesy of songs and symphonies inspired by otherworldly horizons. Much of the music will seem familiar, including themes from Star Trek and other films that involve space flights of both fact and fantasy (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, The Martian). You'll also hear great classical compositions that have become part of the popular musical lexicon (Holst's The Planets, Also Sprach Zarathustra, "Clair de Lune," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," among them). A video provided by Clark Planetarium complements the aural imagery.
Most of us won't ever experience an interstellar adventure of our own. But being earthbound needn't inhibit our imagination. Suffice it to say, this program provides all the right stuff. (Lee Zimmerman)
Utah Symphony: A Symphonic Space Celebration: Deer Valley Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, July 26, 7:30 p.m., 801-533-6683, $15-$57, utahsymphony.org
- Susu Feltch
Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month Kickoff
Pacific Island culture includes much more than the infamous luau, and Utah residents will get a chance to experience it firsthand this week with a kickoff to a month-long celebration. Presented by Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR), the opening night's engaging activities draw more than 4,000 attendees, according to Salt Lake County.
"The kickoff is better than any Pacific Island travel trade show you could ever go to," Susi Feltch-Malohifo'ou, PIK2AR executive director, says. "It is a way for communities of all ages to engage and learn in a fun way."
Along with traditional music, food and dancing, the interactive activities begin with the tournament at 8 a.m. and run all day, including 13 Pacific Island cultural stations, free film screenings, kid's area and a dance contest. New this year are a volleyball tournament, an art exhibit highlighting performing artists "Malialole Dance," a Talk Story Stage and much more.
However, this single day is only the beginning of the month-long celebration featuring a variety of events from Logan to St. George. With August officially declared by the governor as "Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month," festivities feature a variety of events throughout the state including art exhibits, live music and food festivals. Assorted festivals throughout the state offer a diversion from the heat with art, Reggae, and even ukuleles. "This is a fun and free event for the whole family," Feltch-Malohifo'ou says. "Come learn about Pacific Island communities here in Utah while celebrating our similarities and differences." (Colette A. Finney)
Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month Kickoff: Sorenson Multicultural Center, 855 W. California Ave, July 27, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., free, 385-468-1300, slco.org/sorenson
Big 3 Professional 3-on-3 Basketball
Do you ever wonder, "What ever happened to so-and-so who used to play for the Jazz?" Chances are, he's coming to town this weekend as part of Big 3, a professional 3-on-3 league which will play three games at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Big 3 was founded by rapper-actor-producer Ice Cube in 2017, and features several former NBA stars. Former Jazzmen making their way back to SLC include Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson, who play for the "Triplets" team coached by Lisa Leslie. Former Utah player DeShawn Stevenson will take the floor for the "Ball Hogs," while Brandon Rush returns as a member of the "Aliens." Carlos Boozer and Carlos Arroyo also play in the 12-team league, but their teams are not scheduled to appear. Other big names coming to Salt Lake include Stephen Jackson and Greg Oden. The list of coaches includes ex-NBA stars Rick Barry, Nate Archibald and Michael Cooper.
The minimum age to play in the Big 3 is 27, and while many of these 30- and even 40-somethings no longer have the legs to play 48 minutes of full-court hoop, they can still show their skills in 3-on-3 half-court exhibitions that play 10-minute periods until one team reaches 50 points. Think of it as the basketball equivalent of your favorite aging rockers playing an acoustic set.
The 12-team league began competing in June and travels to different cities, playing once a week throughout the summer. Playoffs begin in late August, with a championship game scheduled Sept. 1 in Los Angeles. (Geoff Griffin)
Big 3 Professional 3-on-3 Basketball: Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, July 27, 7 p.m., $15-$125, 801-325-2000, big3.com, vivintarena.com
- Lex B. Anderson
Mariachi de mi Tierra & Ballet Folklórico de las Américas
In a week of parties and parades celebrating Utah's Pioneer Day, a Mariachi and traditional Latin American dance concert provides a balance by celebrating other cultures within the state. The Utah Cultural Celebration Center's weekly Summer Concert Series presents Mariachi de mi Tierra, co-headlining with Ballet Folklórico de las Americas.
Mariachi de mi Tierra is a local Mariachi group that performs all around Utah. Mariachi music originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and through the appearance of mariachi bands in 20th century popular films and television programs, the genre has become synonymous with Mexican culture and music. Ballet Folklórico de las Americas has performed along with Mariachi de mi Tierra several times, so this show should be a fine-tuned dual showcase.
Ballet Folklórcio performs under the direction of Irma Hofer, who has worked her way from the bottom to the top of this organization, starting as a dancer. The troupe has been around since 1979, specializing in traditional folk dance from Latin America. In an interview featured in an episode of KUED Channel 7's This Is Utah, Hofer says that the ballet group is about connecting people to either their own heritage or serving as a bridge to other cultures: "It might be your history, and if it's not your history, human history, which is important," Hofer declares. Take a moment in your week to expand your cultural horizons. (Sean Hemmersmeier)
Mariachi de mi Tierra & Ballet Folklórcio de las Américas: Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, July 29, 7:30 pm, free, 801-965-5100, culturalcelebration.org