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Armchaired and Dangerous Live
"In the future, everyone will have a podcast for 15 minutes." Okay, that's not technically what Andy Warhol once said, but it feels accurate. Celebrity podcasts have been birthed at a seemingly exponential rate over the past decade, so it must take a certain something to stand out from the crowd. Launched in 2018 by actors Dax Shepard and Monica Padman—who co-starred together in the 2017 film version of the vintage TV series CHiPs—Armchair Expert quickly became a go-to source for long-form interviews with actors, comedians, musicians, writers and political figures, and was the most downloaded new podcast of 2018 on iTunes. Over the course of more than 300 episodes, guests have included Shepard's wife Kristen Bell, Hillary Clinton, Prince Harry, Justin Timberlake and Bill Gates.
Also like a lot of hugely popular podcasts, Armchair Expert has become an occasional live-tour event, under the label Armchaired and Dangerous Live. These performances, accompanied by New Zealand-based journalist and filmmaker David Farrier (Tickled), become recording sessions for special monthly episodes of the podcast that focus on conspiracy theories, with previous installments touching on topics like the JFK assassination and simulation theory. In a historical moment where conspiracy theories have seeped into the mainstream of political discourse and policy-making, it becomes even more intriguing to explore where they come from and how they spread.
Armchaired and Dangerous Live visits the Eccles Theater (131 S. Main St.) on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m., with tickets $39-$79. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test will be required for all attendees. Visit live-at-the-eccles.com for additional information. (Scott Renshaw)
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Good Company Theatre: Fremont Junior High is NOT Doing Oklahoma!
Among the many crazy things we've had to witness over the past 18 months, some of the craziest have involved people losing their minds over what should or should not be considered threatening in a school setting. Requiring masks for public safety? A danger to the very foundations of America! Teaching kids about racism? Call a special legislative session to make sure our precious youth don't learn history!
In their first production of the COVID era, Ogden-based Good Company Theatre presents a world premiere that finds comedy in—among other topics—the things that can become controversial where public school students are involved. Fremont Junior High is NOT Doing Oklahoma!, by Chicago-based writer Paul Michael Thomson, involves the decision by Chrysanthemum (Joseph Paul Branca), the high-maintenance new president of the Fremont Junior High Drama Club, to make Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! the school's spring musical. There's just a little bit of pushback, however, over some of the classic show's potentially iffy content and questions of representation—as well as the question of whether Chrysanthemum's best friend, Phylicia (Talia Heiss), is as much of a shoo-in for the lead role as she thinks she is. "After the uncertainty of 2020, it's nice to get back to what GCT does with a play like Fremont Junior High," says company co-director Camille Washington.
Fremont Junior High is NOT Doing Oklahoma! runs Sept. 16 – Oct. 3 at Good Company Theatre (2404 Wall Ave., Ogden), with tickets $25 general admission. Masks will be required for all patrons during performances. Visit goodcotheatre.com for showtimes, ticket purchasing and other information. (SR)
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Ririe-Woodbury: Total Ellipse
Like so many performing-arts companies, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company spent most of 2020 figuring out how to present work to audiences virtually, and did so splendidly. Now however, also like so many companies, they're cautiously returning to live performances, as the Rose Wagner Center Jeanné Wagner Theater welcomes Ririe-Woodbury back for the season-opening production Total Ellipse.
The schedule includes a world-premiere commission, Two Hearted by New York-based artist Keerati Jinakunwiphat. Also featured is a return performance of the 2017 premiere Pantheon by Raja Feather Kelly, which takes Stravinsky's infamous Rite of Spring and moves it to the world of 21st-century popular culture. Rounding out the evening is a world-premiere work by Ririe-Woodbury's artistic director, Daniel Charon, titled On Being; the piece explores social healing, and (according to a press release) "how looking within can inform the greater good." Running in conjunction with the performances is a lobby installation of work by visual artist Jordan Johnson. "We were able to weather the storm that last season brought and have emerged strong and inspired to continue to bring dance to our community," Charon says.
Total Ellipse runs Sept. 16-18 with live performances 7:30 p.m. nightly, with general admission seating $21. In addition, the Sept. 17 performance will be live-streamed as an option for those who are not yet comfortable returning to a live theater space, and a matinee performance on Sept. 18 will be a "Moving Parts Family and Sensory Friendly" version of the performance, including ASL interpreter, reduced lighting and sound effects and other special accommodations. Visit ririewoodbury.com for more info, including health & safety protocols. (SR)
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Brent Godfrey: Matter of Time @ "A" Gallery
We'll all recall many bits of conventional wisdom emerging from the earliest days of the pandemic, among them the notion that with everybody stuck at home, it would be a time for everyone to suddenly burst forth with energy to take on those creative projects that had always been on the back burner. Never mind that most of us were just figuring out how to survive; somehow it would also mark a golden age of symphonies, novels and other art born out of lockdown.
For local artist Brent Godfrey, that conventional wisdom kind of turned out to be accurate. In his new solo exhibition Matter of Time, Godfrey displays works that might have been started any time over the past 25 years, but completed over the past two years. Originally scheduled for spring 2020, Matter of Time now features even more pieces that had a long gestation period (including "Drone," pictured, begun in 2017 and completed in 2020), as well as works created entirely over the past 18 months. The result is a uniquely compelling exploration of what it means to call something "new work," as well as a chance to observe the evolution of an artist's style over time not just within the range of the exhibition, but within a single piece.
A Matter of Time runs Sept. 17-Oct. 30 at "A" Gallery (1321 S. 2100 East), with an artist reception scheduled for Friday, Sept. 17, 6-9 p.m. Masks are required indoors at all times. Visit agalleryonline.com for regular gallery hours, additional health & safety protocols and more information about the show. (SR)