By Jacob Stringer
As arguably the most notable house DJ in town, Jesse Walker has been doing his part to make Salt Lake City a modern, livable space for a decade. It was 10 years ago that he and Sergio Hernandez started a house-music party called “New City” at the legendary Club Manhattan. Ever since, Walker’s NEW CITY MOVEMENT has been thumping strong.As you can imagine, cheerleading a local underground movement hasn’t always been the easiest of tasks, but the efforts have been rewarding. Through regular house parties and his SLC culture-promoting Website, NewCityMovement.com, Walker has not only paid witness to an ever-evolving scene, he’s made sure to play an integral role in keeping Utah fresh.“With Salt Lake [City] always reliably behind the curve with regard to music and culture,” says Walker, “we decided that New City would serve as an imaginary, futuristic version of it, where everything was up to speed. You know, flying cars, ethnic diversity, a virtual party in the streets 24/7. Today, it’s still a fun concept that I hope connects progressive-minded people to interesting music, design and culture from a Utah perspective.If the general state of the house scene isn’t reason enough to celebrate, one man’s 10-year odyssey in creating a vibrant New City out of good ol’ Salt Lake City seems worth attention.New City Movement 10 Year Anniversary: NiteLite with Jesse Walker & Nick James @ W Lounge, 358 S. West Temple, 359-0637, Saturday, April 19. $5 cover after 10:30 p.m.
By Christy Karras
The title of Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land refers to southeastern Utah—a place that fit writer and activist AMY IRVINE geographically but not socially—and to Irvine’s fight for the imperiled natural environment there. But the book is less about her activism than the problem of living in a culture where you feel you don’t belong yet can’t bring yourself to leave.Irvine, a Salt Lake City native who now lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter, opens her memoir with a haunting account of her father’s suicide: “On the first night of the new millennium, as the rest of the world toasted a new era, my father put a bullet through his own heart.” Her father, a closet alcoholic, mingled fine with his Mormon neighbors but preferred to hunt on Sundays rather than go to church. Like her father, Irvine, a competitive rock-climber, aches to be part of something larger than herself. But her neighbors in small-town Utah aren’t welcoming, especially when they discover she works for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, possibly the region’s single most-hated organization.Trespass has impressed critics nationwide (the Los Angeles Times wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a personal history more transporting than this one”) but probably won’t earn Irvine many friends in San Juan County. She’ll have better luck on Thursday among those who identify with her battles against conformity and anti-environmentalism—and the more universal struggle of how to find one’s place in the world. Amy Irvine @ Westminster College Gore Auditorium, 1840 S. 1300 East, 484-7651, Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m.
By Rob Tennant
THE EYES OF BABYLON is not a gay show about a Marine who happens to be in Iraq; it is a show about a Marine in Iraq who happens to be gay. Though his sexuality informs his experiences and egalitarian values, it is by no means the central theme of the one-man show written and performed by Jeff Key at the Rose Wagner theater. No, this enthralling 90 minutes, much of it taken directly from the journal Lance Cpl. Key kept during his tour in Iraq, explores different kinds of courage: The courage it takes to act on true patriotism when it is difficult to discern or define, or the courage it takes to listen to the soundtrack from Rent on portable speakers in the middle of a military camp. Most importantly, it is about the courage it takes to be compassionate while surrounded by cruelty.Key takes us from his mother’s phone call the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, through the invasion of Iraq and his return stateside to leave Middle Eastern sand on a San Diego Denny’s floor. He switches between gritty Marine-speak and lyrical descriptions of desert insects and sunrises. The majority of the show is a Beat prose-poem recited in the tone of a coffee shop reading, as if Jack Kerouac had gone to war. Above all, the script and performance shine with sincerity. There are no clichés here. This is one man telling his own unique story, and being there to hear it is an evening well spent. The Eyes of Babylon @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 355-2787, through April 19.
Here & Now: Other New Happenings This Week
DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN Rob Becker’s prehistoric exploration of the battle of the sexes, now starring Michael van Osch. Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City, 435-649-9371, April 17-19, EgyptianTheatreCompany.org
U OF U STUDENT ART EXHIBITION A look at the next generation of Utah visual artists, today! Alvin Gittins Gallery, 375 S. 1530 East, Room 161, April 17–May 2. Reception/awards April 17, 6-8 p.m.
THE SEAGULL Pinnacle Acting Company presents Chekhov’s classic of love, despair and literature—how very Russian. Midvale Performing Arts Center, 695 W. Center St., 613-5217, April 17-26, PinnacleActingCompany.com
REMEMBERING SUGAR HOUSE: PAINTINGS BY KEN BAXTER Original paintings documenting the Salt Lake City neighborhood’s history. Horne Fine Art, 142 E. 800 South, 533-4200, April 18-May 10.
NINE SINATRA SONGS Ballet West’s Utah premiere of the Twyla Tharp original headlines a program of four works. Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 355-2787, April 18-26, BalletWest.org
CANDIDE University Lyric Opera Ensemble serves up Leonard Bernstein’s comic romp. Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 581-7100, April 18-19. KingsburyHall.org
WILLIAM MACKINNON The author and historian discusses At Sword’s Point, about the 1857-1858 confrontation between the Utah Territory and U.S. government troops. Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819, Saturday, April 19, 7 p.m. KenSandersBooks.com
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT Stand-up comedy legend, Sundance-pedigree director … can we forget about those Police Academy movies now? Wiseguys Comedy Café, 3500 S. 2200 West, 463-2909 Sunday, April 20, 7 & 9 p.m. WiseguysComedy.com
AN EVENING WITH TERRY GROSS Long-time host of NPR’s Fresh Air discusses the art—and occasional flop—of the interview. Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 355-2787, Tuesday, April 22, 7 p.m.