THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR MAY 20 - 26 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press | Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984. Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

Culture » Entertainment Picks


Black, Bold & Brilliant: Black Joy Edition, Sky Lantern Festival @ Utah Motorsports Campus, Royal Bliss @ The Royal, and more.


  • Courtesy Photo

Black, Bold & Brilliant: Black Joy Edition
After the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last year—and the nationwide demonstrations of protest that Floyd's death triggered—the Utah Film Center, KRCL 90.9 FM and Utahn Convos came together to create Black, Bold & Beautiful, a series of events that uses art, cinema and discussion to explore the frustrations of the Black community.

For the group's latest installment, organizers are partnering with the Utah Juneteenth Festival to host a live-streamed discussion on Black joy, described in event materials as "a form of radical self-care to have grace, hold space and work on yourself to continue persevering in an uncertain world." The panel discussion features a high-powered slate of speakers, including veteran broadcast journalist James Brown, comedian Arvin Mitchell, ecologist-turned-city planner Ashley Cleveland and Utah's Wynter the Poet, who in recent years has built a local and regional resume participating in slam poetry competitions.

"Black Bold and Brilliant is a safe space that allows us to explore, celebrate, and speak to our culture. This project allows us to lift up our joy and celebrate our stories through film." Franque Bains, a programming team member, said in a prepared statement.

The free, virtual event is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 26. To reserve tickets, or to find more information, visit

  • Courtesy Photo

Sky Lantern Festival @ Utah Motorsports Campus
A lux of lanterns—yes, that is the proper collective noun—will take to the sky over the Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville May 21-22 as part of the two-day Night Lights Sky Lantern Festival. Tickets range from $32 now to $49 on the day of the event (children age 6 and younger can attend for free) with each guest provided a personal lantern kit, complete with lighter and writing materials for crafting a message to cast into the heavens. Also on hand will be food, music and games, plus the option of upgrading to a personal fire pit for $30 ($10 dollars more and they'll throw in s'more-roasting supplies).

If you're worried about the mess, don't be. Night Lights—the national touring outfit hosting the event—says their lanterns are made from 100% biodegradable rice paper, bamboo and natural fibers, with an intentionally-limited fuel source to avoid fiery crash landings. There's also teams of "lantern chasers" employed to hunt down detritus. "We like to humblebrag that we leave grounds cleaner than they were when we arrived," boasts an FAQ section on the event website.

Outside food and drink—beyond sealed water bottles—are not permitted, but attendees are free to bring their own chairs, blankets and other lounge items. And being outdoors, Night Lights cautions that the event is subject to the weather, with a makeup date held on a date TBD in the event of a cancellation. For tickets and more information, visit

  • Courtesy Photo

Royal Bliss @ The Royal
Are you looking for some live music? Millcreek bar and nightclub The Royal is celebrating its eighth birthday on May 21 with a headline show by veteran—and fittingly named—SLC rockers Royal Bliss. And as long as we're talking anniversaries, Royal Bliss are well-into their third decade of rocking out together so if it's been a while since you heard them play, or if you've never had the opportunity, what better time than now?

Openers Ginger and the Gents and American Hitmen will get the night going with a listed start time of 8 p.m., but The Royal's website reminds visitors that doors open at 6 p.m. for any pre-show drinking and dining.

General admission tickets are $16, available at the venue or through And because the premises are licensed as a bar, not a restaurant, attendance is limited to folks over the age of 21. Find the details, and the listings for future events at The Royal, at

  • Courtesy Photo

Bird-A-Thon @ Tracy Aviary
Tracy Aviary is celebrating its annual Bird-A-Thon fundraiser on Saturday, May 22, with a call for birders to assemble a list of sponsors for a day of philanthropic bird watching. The general idea for the event is that birders find their own donors, who in turn agree to contribute donations of varying sizes based on the bird species spotted by their designee throughout the day.

The aviary is sponsoring a series of field trips for birdwatchers, or entrepreneurial folks can head out on their own into the wild, documenting what birds they see and sharing their results and their list of supporters with organizers to tally up the money. Beyond the bragging rights, birders will also be competing for various prizes.

Not into birdwatching but want to contribute? You can also sign up as a field trip sponsor by pledging a dollar amount per species or backing some of the more exotic animals that organizers are hoping to spot. Field trips are limited in size, with spots available first-come/first-served. More information and registration details are available at