THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR SEP 3 - 9 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR SEP 3 - 9

Urban Arts Fest Elements, Jena Schmidt @ "A" Gallery, Thanksgiving Point Labor Day Luau, and more.

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DAVID VOGEL
  • David Vogel

Urban Arts Fest Elements
Every challenge is also on opportunity. In an ordinary year, The Urban Arts Festival would attract huge crowds to a weekend of in-person events and activities. But when circumstances made such a festival unsafe and impractical, the choice was made to make the 10th annual festival not smaller, but actually larger—a month-long celebration of a wide range of art forms, rebranded as Urban Arts Fest Elements.

"We have pivoted the event to be able to safely connect artists to the community," says festival founder and Utah Arts Alliance executive director Derek Dyer. "Instead of the large two-day festivalthat draws tens of thousands of people,we are splitting up the signature elements of the Urban Arts Festival over the month of September. We invite the community to safely enjoy and celebrate these free and accessible elements of community-driven expression."

In-person events begin Sept. 5, with a live painting exhibition and art & craft market on Rio Grande St. at The Gateway, with artists and artisans selling their work in an open-air setting. Opening weekend activities also feature exhibitions from Hard-N-Paint basketball league and the Lowrider Custom Car Culture exhibit. Later in September, the "Night Market" allows more chance for buying arts & crafts work on Sept. 18, 5-10 p.m., while Gateway storefronts exhibit artworks from throughout the 10-year history of the Urban Arts Festival all month long, plus voting for the annual Skate Deck Challenge of original art created on the canvas of a blank skate deck. Visit utaharts.org/urban-arts-fest for a full schedule of events, and make your plans for supporting local creators. (Scott Renshaw)

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Jena Schmidt @ "A" Gallery
In her online biography, artist Jena Schmidt—a Salt Lake City native and MFA graduate of Brigham Young University—recalls a transformative experience after the death of her grandfather. Her family had inherited a lot of his old camping gear, and included among the items was a brass compass. Inside the lid, Schmidt's grandfather had etched the words "Black North."

"When I saw this, my mind lit up imagining this was a clue to an undiscovered place," Schmidt recalls, "one only my grandfather knew about. I later found out the words were just a reminder that the arrow for North on the compass was black, yet I still found Black North pulling at me towards its wild and mysterious landscape."

Schmidt's vision of wild and mysterious landscapes is on display in her latest solo show at "A" Gallery (1321 S. 2100 East, agalleryonline.com), running Sept. 3 – Oct. 3. In her new series of oil on canvas paintings ("Mons Luma (daytime)" is pictured), Schmidt continues using abstracted landscapes to explore, as the gallery describes it, "expressive blueprints of physical structures she finds in nature." The gallery exhibition is free and open to the public during regular business, with COVID-19 procedures in place, but the entire exhibition is also viewable online.

"For me, painting is about a search, though I don't always know what I am searching for," Schmidt adds. "But as I allow my eyes to be open to possibility, my perspectives are changed both in life and in art and a new piece to the story is uncovered." (SR)

WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Walt Disney Pictures

Thanksgiving Point Labor Day Luau
As one of the first Utah public venues to re-open after the March pandemic shutdown, Thanksgiving Point (3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, thanksgivingpoint.org) has had a lot of time to get their procedures just right. Like most events that would have typically taken place this summer, their annual Labor Day Luau on Friday, Sept. 4 has had to undergo a few tweaks, but it's still taking place as a way to give visitors a chance for an end-of-summer party in a safe, outdoors way.

Thanksgiving Point's beautiful Waterfall Amphitheater will be the setting for the festivities, which begin with a served buffet dinner when doors open at 6:30 p.m. Offerings include kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, macaroni salad, green salad, rice, rolls, fresh fruit and pineapple/coconut cupcakes. All food will be served by trained catering staff, and masks will be required of all guests as they go through the food line. Entertainment begins with Polynesian dance by award winning youth dancers Jade and Lia, before the main attraction: a screening of Disney's Academy Award-winning 2016 animated musical Moana, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available online for $25 adult general admission, $20 children, at thanksgivingpoint.org/events/labor-day/luau, or onsite (if available) for $30 and $25; purchase tickets in advance to guarantee admission. The amphitheater will be divided into sections to allow for great viewing from either low-back chairs, high-back chairs or blanket seating, so bring your favorite way to relax outdoors and let the whole family enjoy an evening of food and fun in a lovely setting. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Utah Phillips documentary Tales of the Long Memory virtual premiere
It's not uncommon for a Labor Day weekend to pass without giving much thought to the actual movement that inspired it. Initiated on the state level in the 1880s before the first federal Labor Day recognition in 1894, it recognizes the hard work of the trade union and labor movements of the 19th century in a time of massive wealth consolidation—and among the artists who dedicated themselves to chronicling that movement, and living its principles, was Salt Lake City's own U. Utah Phillips.

Tales of the Long Memory—a new documentary directed by Charlie Hall, and associate produced by Phillips' son, Duncan Phillips—tells the story of the folk singer and dedicated rail-rider from his early years in Cleveland, Ohio, through his family's relocation to Salt Lake City, his service in the Korean War and his subsequent decision to begin tramping around the American West. While he ran independent campaigns for Utah Senator and for President, Phillips is best known for his music about the traveling life and for his organizing work for the International Workers of the World (Wobblies). Phillips also became a philanthropist, opening a homeless shelter in his late-life home of Nevada City, California, where director Charlie Hall first met him.

Narrated by Phillips himself from words recorded before his death in 2008, Tales of the Long Memory presents "stories of the America you didn't learn in school," as well as stories of those inspired by his memory. Join the virtual premiere at ForAiFilm.com beginning Friday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. MT, through Labor Day, and learn the story of a true original. (SR)