- Rick Egan
Samba Fogo: Xiré
The act of creating something new and original artistically often feels like playing with fire—and in the case of Samba Fogo, sometimes that means literally playing with fire. For their new creation Xiré, the creative team uses music and dance to suggest the unique fusion of African and European cultures that occurred in Portuguese-occupied colonial Brazil.
Artistic director and choreographer Lorin Hansen and composer George Edgar Brown collaborated on a project exploring the tradition expressed in the Yòrúba word xiré, which translates roughly as "dance" or "dance circle." The West African slaves transported to Brazil brought with them their animist tradition of songs and dances dedicated to specific nature spirits, or orixá. In order to preserve those traditions in a Catholic country, the enslaved Africans often linked those nature spirts to Catholic saints.
To suggest this synthesis, Brown composed a score that combines the cantomblé rhythms of Afro-Brazilian music with a more typical European use of string quintet and vocal quartet. The 16 individual pieces that make up the Xiré program convey the unique characteristics and rhythms attributed to each orixá through that music, original choreography and elaborate costumes representing the orixá. It's a fascinating mix of sound and movement celebrating a folklore tradition that might easily have been lost. To learn even more about the cultural background for the production and the creative process, join Hansen and Brown before each performance at 6:15 p.m. for a "Talk Forward" conversation. (Scott Renshaw)
Samba Fogo: Xiré @ Regent Street Black Box, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2787, Nov. 15-16, 7 p.m., $18-$20; 6:15 pre-show "talk forward" session, artsaltlake.org
Since Yvie Oddly was named one of the top 100 Most Powerful RuPaul Drag Race queens by New York magazine, it's considered a coup to snag a prized date from the performer's busy tour. "I'm elated to have the current reigning queen from Season 11," promoter Jordan Clements says. "It is nice to finally see someone on the show from so close to home, who's also a great representation of alternative misfit drag and has a fabulous sense of humor."
Fusing conceptual artistry with drag and serving a "commodity of drag oddity," the 26-year-old né Jovan Bridges hails from Denver. Despite an underdog status on the Emmy-winning show, she went on to win the crown in May with a captivating performance to Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory," with four faces and killer lip-synching. She entered the hallowed Werk Room and issued the warning, "Move over, ladies—this race just took an odd turn," making it clear that Yvie Oddly was a force to be reckoned with.
With a penchant for taking the "scrappiest, dirtiest, most back road option and making it work," Oddly pushes the boundaries of drag with unconventional looks and a signature cackle, seemingly fearless in giving the audience something they haven't seen before.
Hosted by local drag superstar Gia Bianca Stephens, the show also features other area queens, like Terra Flesh, Aphrodeity, Kay Bye and more. (Colette A. Finney)
Yvie Oddly @ Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 385-528-0952, Nov. 15, 9 p.m., $20+, 21+, metromusichall.com
- Leg Management
Many of us aspire to the title of ultimate "party person." Yet only comedian, actor and author Bert Kreischer can claim that official designation. In 1997, he was attending Florida State University, ranked by such sources as Rolling Stone and The Princeton Review as the Top Party School in the United States. That's when Rolling Stone singled him out. With an entire student body competing for the "party person" title, Kreischer stood out. It's amazing what excessive drinking and a fondness for public nudity can earn you.
Kreischer's fame soon spread. The film National Lampoon's Van Wilder was reportedly based on his outrageous antics, though Kreischer denies any involvement. Nevertheless, he did make the most of his rowdy reputation by turning to stand-up comedy while often performing shirtless. That led to Showtime and Comedy Central comedy specials, a podcast, various television series (on FX and the Travel Channel, no less), a YouTube program, appearances on the late night TV circuit and even a book, aptly titled Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child. Pollstar recently cited his current Body Shots World Tour as one of today's top-grossing tours, prompting the organization to tap Kreischer as host of their annual Pollstar Awards. Even Forbes magazine gave him kudos for proving "there's a way to take his [party-boy] antics into middle-age."
Wow, way to go, dude. Party on! Immaturity can matter. Hopefully his parents realize their investment in his college education was well worth it. It's good to know that sometimes, partying can pull in a profit. (Lee Zimmerman)
Bert Kresicher @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2787, Nov. 17, 7 p.m., $39.75-$59.75, arttix.org
- Walter Smith
Tanner Lecture: Maya Lin
The names of thousands are inscribed in black, on highly-polished walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The wall cuts into the earth like a scar, representing the pain of loved ones lost in war, and the potential for healing from such suffering. It's iconic ... a monument as familiar to most Americans as the Lincoln Memorial.
And it almost didn't happen.
While today the memorial annually draws 3 million visitors and tremendous praise for its design, veterans' groups, politicians and others initally balked at its unconventional color and design, and bemoaned the lack of ornamentation. Additionally, people were astounded that Maya Lin, a then-21-year-old female Asian-American undergraduate student, was entrusted with its design.
On Wednesday, Lin recounts designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Civil Rights Memorial and others at the prestigious Tanner Lecture in Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus. She will focus on how her work combines the natural world with politics, history and culture.
If you miss the chance to see her at Kingsbury, you're in luck. Maya Lin will be at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Dumke Auditorium (410 S. Campus Drive) on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 9 a.m. Along with professors from the U's Department of English and College of Architecture and Planning, Lin analyzes the role of memory in monument creation. Seating is free and available to the first 256 people on a first-come, first-served basis. (Kylee Ehmann)
Maya Lin @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Nov. 20, 7 p.m., free, tickets.utah.edu