- Dat Nguyen
Daniel Mont-Eton: Homeward
The 2016-17 season marks University of Utah alum Daniel Mont-Eton's first with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co., after spending the past five years working in his native Colorado and New York City, while also producing work in Montana and Idaho. It's not surprising then that, after such a peripatetic period of time, Mont-Eton would find himself considering the concept of "home" in his work.
"I've been moving constantly, and have never felt truly grounded in a location," he says in an email interview. "I kept searching for what feels like home. When I moved back to Salt Lake City last summer, after accepting the position with Ririe-Woodbury, I finally started feeling the ground underneath my feet. But even in feeling grounded, that true sense of home is ever-elusive. I've come to realize it is not a concrete place, but an abstract thought."
Homeward is a world-premiere of an original work choreographed by Mont-Eton, in collaboration with dancers Amy Falls and Samantha Matsukawa. The modern dance piece finds him exploring various concepts of home—as a memory, as a person, as a routine, as a body or as a feeling. But as often happens with creative work, Mont-Eton found that the process generated more questions than answers.
"In defining home and digging deeper into the meaning of what we were doing," he says, "we started to discover that we were chasing something nonexistent. So in a sense, we became lost on this journey home ... wherever that may be." (Scott Renshaw)
Daniel Mont-Eton: Homeward @ Rose Wagner Center Studio Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, July 7-8, 7:30 p.m., $10, artsaltlake.org
- Abdiel Ibarra
The Bboy Federation: They Reminisce
Joshua Perkins came a little late to the hip-hop scene. It was 1999 when a VHS tape of a "legit" break-dancing battle pulled his interest away from roller-blading and toward the more creative pursuit of hip-hop dance. It was also, he concedes, a great way to meet girls.
Now, Perkins is in his mid-30s and still dancing. "I can't do some of the athletic stuff I used to do," he says, "but I would still beat my younger self in a battle because there are so many ways to be creative. Breaking is about style and personality."
To spread his passion, Perkins started The Bboy Federation in 2009. Now a nonprofit with Perkins serving as executive director, the organization teaches street-style dance, promoting it as an art form for people of all ages, as well as a tool for self-expression and empowerment. Through the group's annual stage performance, They Reminisce—the fourth incarnation takes place this weekend—the Bboys are able to reach out to a wider audience and share their skills and their message with the Salt Lake City community.
They Reminisce features a Hip-Hop 101 crash course with dance, DJs and little history lesson. This time around, seven choreographers have created new pieces that span movement styles from the 1980s and '90s—breaking, popping, house, locking and new jack swing. Come an hour before each show to catch the pre-performance cypher (improvisational jam dance) and try out your own moves alongside troupe members. (Katherine Pioli)
The Bboy Federation: They Reminisce @ Rose Wagner Center Jeanné Wagner Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, July 7, 7:30 p.m., July 8, 4:30 & 7:30 p.m., $15, artsaltlake.org
- Courtesy SLC Public Library
Alt Press Fest
One of the Salt Lake City Public Library's treasures is its unique, massive catalogue of zines: small, independent, self-published periodicals, often devoted to intimate looks at subcultures like punk and feminism that most mainstream publishers wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. That collection was started 20 years ago by former librarians Julie Bartel and Brooke Young to augment and increase the diversity of the periodical section. Today, the library contains one of the largest zine archives in the country. While the library continues to show its respect for that creative form, zine-lovers can get a first-hand look at the ninth annual Alt Press Fest.
This year's iteration is bigger than ever, expanding to multiple floors to encompass growing demand. The afternoon includes zine-making workshops, local artists showcasing their work and various print-making events.
Tommy Hamby, the library's adult services coordinator, says the event provides not only a fun, vibrant atmosphere, but serves as a tribute to the alternative press in an age when more and more publishers are consolidating. "Zines are really important because they provide outsider voices and perspectives not really represented in media," he says. "There are interesting, weird, awesome people who do this work."
In conjunction with the fest, the library hosts a discussion with zine creator, DIYer and former SLC resident Alex Wrekk. The talk focuses on Brainscan, a 20-year-old renowned personal zine about her life in Portland, Ore., five copies of which are available at the library. (Kylee Ehmann)
Alt Press Fest @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, July 9, noon-4 p.m., free; Alex Wrekk discussion, Level 4 Conference Room, July 6, 7 p.m., free, slcpl.org
- Mindy Tucker
When comedian Hari Kondabolu performed in Salt Lake City in August 2016, he was visiting for the first time. It's fair to say that he was happy enough with his findings that he was keen to return.
"I'd heard about the great counterculture of SLC," Kondabolu says via email, "and I certainly saw that at my show. I was surprised by the number of people who shared my values and frustrations and humor."
Those values and frustrations are inextricable from his humor, as Kondabolu is unafraid to put his progressive politics on display. From his work with W. Kamau Bell on the podcast Politically Re-Active to his own comedy CD releases like Mainstream American Comic, Kondabolu pokes into uncomfortable areas like the way people respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, or the surge of racism and hate crimes in the age of Trump. As he noted in a May 2017 appearance on A Prairie Home Companion, "Somehow, over the last several months, people now think George W. Bush was a good president. ... But I get what's happening: Compared to now, it looks good. It's like if you lost your leg and said, 'Man I miss gangrene!'" He's also savvy enough to know that people at his shows are likely to be on his wavelength; in that same Prairie Home Companion show, he responded to a round of applause over his thoughts on immigrants by saying, "Thank you, choir."
Kondabolu might have been pleasantly surprised at finding so many members of that choir here in Utah, but it's also plenty of caustically funny fun to be part of it. (SR)
Hari Kondabolu @ Wiseguys SLC, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, July 9, 7:30 p.m., $15, wiseguyscomedy.com