THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUN 11 - 17 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks


Storytellers Wanted: Playwriting Classes, Bountiful Davis Art Center Summerfest: Conversations in Culture, Red Butte Garden Virtual Instruction



Storytellers Wanted: Playwriting Classes
If you have a story buried inside that wants to live onstage, learn how to write a script for it. Develop your playwriting skills in upcoming online workshops at The Box performing arts space at The Gateway. Playwriting With RJ and Elise runs three weeks (June 15 to 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m.), at which you will actually create a new, short piece that will be performed as a stage reading in a virtual public event. Registration is $20.

Teens age 14-18 can register for Teen Playwriting Virtual Camp held daily for a week, June 22-26, from 10 a.m.-noon., where they will learn playwriting basics, compose a new piece and showcase it at a virtual recital June 29 at 7 p.m. Registration is $100 for the week, and the camp will be led by RJ Walker. Scholarships may be available for those in need.

Instructors include RJ Walker, a Salt Lake performance poet and voice actor who hosts The Greenhouse Effect Open Mic, Salt Lake's longest running open mic event, and Elise C. Barnett-Curran, a Salt Lake writer, director, producer and actor, who serves on the board of New World Shakespeare Company and is head of Kallisti Theatre Company.

The Box at the Gateway provides space for new and experimental works and is home to Wasatch Theatre Company, Laughing Stock Improv, New World Shakespeare and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival. For more information and to register for these virtual events,

(Jerre Wroble)

  • Courtesy Bountiful Davis Art Center

Bountiful Davis Art Center Summerfest: Conversations in Culture
For more than 30 years, Bountiful Davis Art Center has celebrated cultural diversity by presenting its annual Summerfest, offering speakers, performances and food representing the experiences of people from around the world. While BDAC is unable to present the usual live-and-in-person version of that event in 2020, the goal remains the same. And moving it online just means the opportunity for even more folks potentially to experience what Summerfest is all about.

The 2020 virtual Summerfest takes place every Monday in June with a focus on a specific country for each session, with Germany already represented on June 1 and India on June 8. Programming continues June 15 with a focus on Serbia, followed by South Sudan on June 22 and Hungary on June 29. While specific presenters and performers are not confirmed for every date at press time, expect a combination of music, dance and spoken presentations, along with delicious authentic recipes that you can try at home; check for regular updates. Live sessions take place 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. each Monday via Facebook Live ( if you want to participate in Q&A, or watch recorded sessions later via YouTube (

If, after Summerfest, you're still looking for a BDAC experience, you can take in the annual Plein Air Art Show, now through July 17. The sixth annual competition—which took "Adam and Eden" as its theme—celebrates art created in the great outdoors, specifically depicting Utah locations. And heaven knows we should celebrate anything that reminds us of the world outside our front door. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Courtesy Red Butte Gardens

Red Butte Garden Virtual Instruction
While many Utah venues began to re-open in May, Red Butte Garden has opted to remain closed for the time being, including the cancellation of the popular summer concert series. While it's disappointing not to be able to enjoy the beautiful delights of the gardens, there are still plenty of ways to remain connected to their programming through online means.

During the month of June, Kristin Vance of Fluid Heart Yoga leads "Virtual Yoga in the Garden" classes. Experience the sights and sounds of Red Butte while Vance leads vinyasa, restorative and Yoga Nitra sessions on Tuesdays (7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.), Thursdays (12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.-10 a.m.). Registration is required—$20 for Garden members, $25 for nonmembers—for unlimited access to these sessions throughout the month.

If you've always wondered how to make your home's landscaping more appropriate to the climate, check out Red Butte's series of "Localscapes" classes. Learn everything you need to know from Jordan Valley Water Conservation District's Cynthia Bee on how to convert a parking strip or even a larger area into water-wise plantings, including tips on best plants to use, irrigation methods and maintenance. Classes run throughout the summer, and costs vary for Garden members and nonmembers; visit for more details.

Finally, expand your cooking skills with lessons in Indian cuisine by chef and cookbook author Purnima Gandhi. The interactive online classes will include all of the ingredients for recipes sent to your home beforehand, allowing you to follow along as you learn about spices, techniques and other tips. Learn more at (SR)

  • Courtesy Photo

Utah Podcast Summit
Podcasts are one of many ways to tell a story and create a conversation. Because of podcasts' easy availability, their wide variety and the relationship that listeners build with podcasters, the popularity of podcasts is on the rise—they seem poised to stay.

Locally, for the third year in a row, Utah Podcast Summit will bring podcasters together, virtually. Where previously the event was tailored for Utah locals, in light of the current pandemic, they've opened it up beyond Utah as the "Not-Only-Utah Podcast Summit," via on the dates June 12-13, for a $47 registration fee.

During this two-day conference, podcast veterans and newcomers will hear from experts in the field and have the opportunity to vote in a "Voice of the West" competition, with the winner to be revealed during the summit. Newbies may be interested in the "Hall of Experts" available to offer advice regarding marketing, editing and more. Networking opportunities abound with the "Net Working Hours," where you'll be connected to people with similar interests.

On the opening "Friday Festival," popular podcasters will live-stream their shows and tell tales of social distancing and the podcast world. "Saturday Summit" gives the opportunity to podcasters everywhere to learn and grow through different presentations. Keynote speakers include John Lee Dumas (pictured, Entrepreneurs on Fire), Tracy Hazzard (Podetize) and Dave Jackson (The School of Podcasting).

Whether you're wanting to start a podcast, continue to grow one or if you're just a fan, the Utah Podcast Summit will be a podcasters paradise. (KR)