By Dallas Robbins
After Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race, many people gave a sigh of relief that we would not have to possibly endure years of Mormon jokes delivered on late night television. But a century earlier, Reed Smoot—an LDS Apostle who was elected to the U.S. Senate—caused an even greater media controversy. Congress refused to let Smoot take his seat—because, as everyone knew, Mormons were weird. Soon after, Congress did what they do best: held hearings to determine how weird they really were.THE MORMON CHURCH ON TRIAL: TRANSCRIPTS OF THE REED SMOOT HEARING is the first scholarly examination of this moment in American history. Testimonies by LDS leaders were brought before Congress, ultimately uncovering skeletons in the LDS Church and Utah politics.The major skeleton exposed was the continued practice of polygamy, 14 years after it “officially” ended in 1890. So Congress did what they do even better: investigate people’s “sexual relations,” because, as everyone knew, a man having sex with more than one woman was weird. These revelations resulted in the church’s stronger policy against polygamists, including two apostles who “resigned” and were later disciplined.Michael Harold Paulos’ edited transcripts explore a watershed moment in national politics when the LDS Church finally gave up part of its 19th-century identity and was brought kicking and screaming into the modern age.The Mormon Church on Trial: Transcripts of the Reed Smoot Hearings, edited by Michael Harold Paulos, forward by Harvard Heath, Signature Books, 709 pages, $49.95. Available online for purchase at SignatureBooks.com
By Jennifer Heaney
By Jacob Stringer
You can’t tell everything from a name, but rest assured that a GoGoVertigoat dance project is hellbent on staging works stressing the company’s rebellious, offbeat ideology. According to founding member Lindsey Drury, Vertigoat is a response to what she perceived as the lack of a multidisciplinary dance subculture here. Now what began as an ambitious artistic venture between two young friends and colleagues—Drury and eunkyungkim—back in 2005 (a 2006 performance is pictured) has developed into a less hierarchical, fully collaborative structure encompassing thematically linked works by seven full time company members.The genre-blending company’s newest offering, DEMONSTRATIONS: NEW TRICKS FROM THE UNENTHUSIASTICALLY VIRTUOSIC, is a somewhat transitional performance in that it combines six separate works, each one built off of varying structures based on the idea of demonstrations. According to Drury, more than this overarching concept linking the various pieces, it is the company’s use of playful satire and unabashed self-deprecation when presenting such wicked social commentary that ultimately holds its dance project together.In order for such a production to remain vital and interesting for the company, it is necessary for everything to remain alive and fluid. As Drury puts it, “This show is somewhat of a question mark for us. That’s how we like it. And really, it will be putting it in front of an audience that will help us in providing an answer.”Demonstrations: New Tricks From the Unenthusiastically Virtuosic @ The Sugar Space, 616 E. Wilmington Ave., April 3-5, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.) TheSugarSpace.com; GoGoVertigoat.com>
HERE & NOW: Other New Happenings This Week
JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL Eleven films screen over five days, providing both documentary and fiction perspectives on contemporary Judaism. Various Salt Lake City Venues, April 2-6, SLCFilmCenter.org for complete schedule.
BLOOD WEDDING Federico García Lorca’s fact-based drama about feuding families in rural Spain, presented by the University of Utah Department of Theatre. Babcock Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, 581-7100, April 2-13.
REBECCA GUEVARA The local author reads from and signs her new novel My Family, Mi Familia, about an Anglo girl meeting her Mexican-American boyfriend’s family. The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 484-9100, Thursday, April 3, 7 p.m.
THE EYES OF BABYLON Marine Lance Corporal Jeff Key brings a one-man performance based on his Iraq War journals. Rose Wagner Studio Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, 355-ARTS, April 3–19. TheEyesOfBabylon.com
19TH ANNUAL GEM FAIRE Dealers offer finished and unfinished stones; plus classes, demonstrations and prizes galore. South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State, 565-4490, April 4-6, GemFaire.com
LEAHY If you didn’t get your required dose o’ the Irish last month, enjoy the Ontario-based, Celtic-blooded family act’s music and dancing. Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, Saturday, April 5, 7:30 p.m. EcclesCenter.org
JOSHUA BAIRD/VALERIE ORLEMANN Landscape paintings on exhibit to benefit the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners Organization. Utah State Wine Store, 255 S. 300 East, 533-6444, April 5-June 28.
ANNIE A touring production about a little orphan girl who always thinks the sun will come out tomorrow. Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 581-7100, April 8-13. KingsburyHall.org
DR. BART GRUZALSKI The activist and founder of the Pacific Center for Sustainable Living speaks on “The Heart of Ghandian Nonviolent Action.” City Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, Tuesday, April 8, 7 p.m.