- Ron Campbell
Beatles animator Ron Campbell
In the mid-1960s, at the height of Beatlemania, anything having to do with the Fab Four was bound to be an instant sensation. One manifestation of that unrelenting obsession was a Saturday morning cartoon series that featured the cuddly combo. Never mind the fact that John, Paul, George and Ringo had nothing to do with it—other than the fact that their music was the essential element.
Indeed, when Australian animator Ron Campbell (whose credits included Popeye, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Yogi Bear) was tapped to direct it, he didn't even know who the group was. "I asked the name of the show and he [the producer] said The Beatles," Campbell recalls via email. "I replied, 'The Beetles? Insects make terrible characters for children's cartoons.'"
Fortunately, by the time he was chosen to oversee the band's animated film Yellow Submarine, he was far more familiar with his subjects. Although he never met the group, he still considers it an essential part of their legacy. "Yellow Submarine perfectly captures the feel of the late '60s," he suggests. "If you were alive back then, it brings you right back to that time. And if you weren't, it gives you a sense of what it was like.'Yellow Submarine' will be enjoyed by people for generations to come."
Campbell brings his memories and memorabilia with him when he makes a rare personal appearance over Memorial Day weekend. He'll have original art for sale, making it a draw for collectors, cultists and devotees. (Lee Zimmerman)
Ron Campbell @ Relics Framemakers & Gallery, 4685 S. Holladay Blvd., May 23-24, 4 p.m.–8 p.m.; May 25, noon–6 p.m.; May 27, noon-4 p.m., free, relicsgallery.com
- Suzanne Dean
What better way to kick off your summer than with a parade, fireworks and eating some good old-fashioned aebelskivers and kottbullar at the annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival? The two-day festival celebrates the early Danish and other Nordic immigrants who settled the area. The roots of these immigrants remain deep in the area—Sanpete County and its neighbor Sevier have the second and fifth largest percentages of Danish-Americans in the United States.
Those who make their way to Ephraim have the chance to experience these roots by watching people create traditional Nordic crafts, take a bus tour of landmarks and buildings from Ephraim's pioneer days and watch actors re-create a glimpse into the pioneer lifestyle. And, of course, there will be plenty of food—traditional and modern—for visitors to snack on while taking it all in.
The festival offers plenty of entertainment options for those who aren't so interested in history. Guests can wander and look at historic and custom automobiles during the car show or stop by the main stage in front of Snow College's Noyes Building to hear storytellers, musicians and an improv group perform. And, for the more athletic among us, there will be a 5K, 10K and a half marathon, a bike race, pickleball and tennis tournament.
Entry into the festival and parking is free, though participation in some events will require a $5 or $10 fee. Festival organizers recommend attendees bring cash to ensure easy entry on the tours and races. (Kylee Ehmann)
Scandinavian Festival @ 100 N. Center St., Ephraim, 435-283-4631, May 24, 9 a.m.-8:45 p.m. & May 25, 5:30 a.m.-4 p.m., free, scandinavianfestival.org
- Dat Nguyen
Queer Spectra Arts Festival
What does queer identity have to do with belonging? Artists submitting entries to Queer Spectra Arts Festival were asked to answer that question with this year's festival theme "BE/LONGING." The curated result—a combination of gallery, timed performances, a keynote and workshops on LGBTQ arts topics—is open to audiences on May 25 at the Commonwealth Studios.
Following a welcome, the 2D and 3D gallery open for the public, after which University of Utah MFA candidate Alex Barbier provides the event's keynote. The time-based performances includes a variety of poetry, dance, film and music followed by Q&As and workshops.
Representation and dialogue are central themes for the festival founded by dancers Dat Nguyen, Emma Sargent, Aileen Norris and comics enthusiast and writer Molly Barnewitz. "Talking about my own works—they are inherently queer, but I don't know about it until I have to articulate with other people about my choices within the process," Nguyen says. "The more conversations I have about my works, the more obvious it is that my works root from my identity as a queer person of color."
Norris adds, "I think that's the beauty of this festival. We get to ask ourselves, our artists, and our audience these questions of personal identity as it relates to art."
The entrance to Commonwealth Studios is wheelchair accessible. Bathrooms will be gender neutral for this event. (Casey Koldewyn)
Queer Spectra Arts Festival @ Commonwealth Studios, 150 W. Commonwealth Ave., Ste. 104, May 25, 1-10 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation, queerspectra.com
- Evan Zimmerman Murphy
School of Rock
Jack Black stole the show when he starred as a die-hard rocker turned substitute teacher in the 2003 film The School of Rock. The film's success, however, was due in large part to his enthusiastic comedic performance. What would happen if you subtracted Black from the story, and built it around songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes?
The Eccles Theater hosts the musical adaptation of School of Rock that follows the same story of Dewey Finn, who has been kicked out of his band for a stage dive gone wrong and is stuck bumming at his friend Ned's house. When he answers a phone call offering a substitute teaching position for Ned, he jumps at the opportunity to earn some extra cash—even if it means impersonating Ned to land the job. On his first day teaching, Dewey overhears his students practicing during music class and decides to teach rock 'n' roll rather than the standard middle-school curriculum, hoping to coach his students to victory in the upcoming Battle of the Bands competition.
While the musical includes familiar tunes from the movie like Dewey's arena-rock anthem "In the End of Time" and the climactic title song, most of the score consists of brand-new songs by Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, such as "You're In the Band" and "Stick It to the Man." The show earned four Tony Award nominations, and has become a popular touring favorite with its mix of anarchic comedy and high-energy rock 'n' roll—so maybe it's not all about Jack. (Colby Russo)
Broadway at the Eccles: School of Rock @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, May 28-June 2, show times vary, $35-$125; broadway-at-the-eccles.com