- Broken Anchor Photography
Salty Cricket: Melange
Sometimes it becomes all too easy to miss the trees for the forest. With so much art of all forms being created on national stages, local art can be left to the side. The Salty Cricket Composers Collective performs the works of local Utah artists in an attempt to redirect that focus. Their final event of the year is the annual Melange concert. It couples local composers of various music styles with local performers, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Sugar Space Arts Warehouse this week.
Victoria Petro-Eschler—executive director of Salty Cricket, a nonprofit organization and new music ensemble—explains that, outside of a university setting, it is difficult for Utah-based composers to have their music realized on Utah stages. However, "Utah has a wealth of innovative musicians," she says. This is why Crystal Young-Otterstrom and M. Ryan Taylor founded Salty Cricket in 2008.
Melange will showcase some of that wealth. "Melange was always created to be different," Petro-Eschler says. The Composers Collective coordinates the scheduling of venues and promotes audience interest, but leaves featured composers to use their communities for the pieces' performers. "The result has been a mix of performers, performances and somewhat unpredictable concerts to end our year," she adds.
For its 10th anniversary, Melange is going all out. Petro-Eschler says that 2018 marks the transition to a festival-concert format where, in addition to locally-grown music by local performers, the event will also include food and drink. "The event will be fun, the music will be new, and Melange will be memorable," she says. (Casey Koldewyn)
Salty Cricket: Melange 10.0 @ Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, 132 S. 800 West, 919-274-3845, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m., $10-$20, saltycricket.org
- Enrique Limón
Viva La Diva: Once Upon a Diva
With the growing popularity of regular shows like "Those Bitches" at Club Try-Angles and a slew of regular performance nights at Sun Trapp and Metro Music Hall, it's clear local drag is experiencing a well-deserved renaissance. Leading the charge is Jason CoZmo, who two years ago—aided by a makeup case and and an arsenal of Dolly Parton-approved wigs—set out to put his Viva La Diva show on the map.
Endless laughs, gasps and thematic performances later, CoZmo and the crew are back with Once Upon a Diva, an all-ages storybook-themed show on Friday. As to which characters will be receiving the drag twist, the showman is cautious not to tempt Disney's legal ire, and in a scene reminiscent of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, skirts around any copyrighted names. "A fierce snow queen, an angry sea witch, a cowgirl, a singing poodle and more," the Magna native, who for the night will adopt the moniker "Miss CoZmoBell," teases.
The night also marks the debut of a new home for the show—The Art Factory, a mixed-use space in South Salt Lake—in anticipation of the impending sale of the troupe's current Club X home. "It's a beautiful space with a big stage fit for a diva," CoZmo says of the factory. "We're still in discussions with a couple other places, but hopefully everything will work out and we can make this stage our new home." Could 2019 usher in a brick-and-mortar CoZmo Cabaret? Time to wish upon a star. (Enrique Limón)
Viva La Diva: Once Upon a Diva @ The Art Factory, 193 W. 2100 South, South Salt Lake, 801-888-9638, Nov. 16, 8 p.m., $30, thevivaladivashow.com
- Danielle Levitt
There are comedians with the reputation for a naughty streak in their stand-up acts. And then there's Nikki Glaser, who in a recent appearance on national television on Conan, described her vagina as follows: "You know how when most women stand up, it looks like a line? Mine looks like a hastily-packed suitcase."
That frank sensibility has been part of Glaser's stage persona since she started her career as an 18-year-old, and it's hard to believe that the fresh-faced performer has been working at her craft for more than 15 years. Her saucy willingness to dig into every possible off-color topic—but mostly into the eyebrow-raising elements of her own sex life—have made her a favorite in comedy clubs and late-night talk show appearances, as well as a season of her own Comedy Central series, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, in 2016.
So if you're deciding to check out a Nikki Glaser show, there should be no confusion or pearl-clutching over the material she mines for her jokes. But that doesn't mean she limits her biting observational humor to matters below the belt. In a routine about the way some women give up their last name when they get married, Glaser laments that "your name is nothing after you get married. All it is is your shithead son's bank account security question answer. ... It's like, 'What worthless question could we ask, that no one would ever know about this man, to protect his finances?' 'What about his mother's name?' 'Perfect! Who gives a shit, right?'" (Scott Renshaw)
Nikki Glaser @ Wiseguys SLC, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, Nov. 16-17, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $20, wiseguyscomedy.com
- Kimberly Butler
An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Anyone keeping count of the number of literary awards accumulated by any one author would likely have Neil Gaiman at the top of their list. He's accumulated dozens of accolades, among them literary honors from any number of societies and organizations that recognize excellence in the realms of fantasy and graphic novels. Revered by young readers and sci-fi enthusiasts alike, his work has landed him the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list, and his comic brand, Sandman, even inspired Stephen King to describe his work as a new contemporary art form. The Los Angeles Times boldly called the Sandman series an "unmatched epic." His efforts also earned the distinction of becoming the first comic book to be lauded as a literary triumph, confirmed by the fact that it garnered a World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.
Not surprisingly, then, the British-born author, comic book creator and screenwriter has become the object of ongoing analysis over the course of his 25-year career. To his credit, Gaiman doesn't distance himself from the discussion. Instead, he's frequently found tweeting, posting commentary on his blog and speaking to adoring audiences, creating a direct connection with his ardent admirers.
"Everybody has a secret world inside of them," Gaiman insists in his book The Kindly Ones, Volume 9 in the Sandman series. "I mean everybody—no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds ... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe." That's both generous and philosophical. Credit Gaiman for pondering that possibility. (Lee Zimmerman)
An Evening With Neil Gaiman @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, Nov. 17, 8 p.m., $20.50-$59.50, artsaltlake.org