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Utah Arts Festival 2011

35 years, 35 must-sees

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10. Holy Water Buffalo: Retro rock
This Heber-based band of youngsters has a sound evocative of a time well before any of the members were born. When you look at the flying hair and band van, you might label Holy Water Buffalo as retro-rock revivalists, but these boys have serious chops, practice like crazy and play shows somewhere on the Wasatch Front seemingly every day. Their first show at the arts fest should introduce a lot of new fans to this band on the rise. Sunday, June 26, 6:15 p.m., Park Stage

11. Summerhays Music Center Instrument Petting Zoo: Make some noise
The festival always has a bevy of activities for kids—hey, this is Utah. And beyond the usual face-painting and the comedy-for-kids portion of the Fear No Film schedule, you can find plenty for the young’uns at the Art Yard, from youth-oriented literary workshops to hands-on artistic experiences. You’ll also find the Instrument Petting Zoo, where kids can strum, blow and hit all manner of fun noise-making devices, potentially sparking a lifelong love of music. June 23-26, noon-9 p.m., Art Yard

12. Urban Arts: More of an Edge
You won’t want to miss this little corner of the fest, where Uprok Records will have DJs spinning and The Cube will showcase an ever-changing graffiti art piece. Copper Palate Press will be on hand to teach people printmaking and silkscreening, and a few graffiti artists familiar to fans of the 337 Project will be there to create custom trucker hats. Also affiliated with the Urban Arts portion of the festival is the City Weekly Out of the Box Art Project, in which local artists took plain black newspaper boxes and turned them into one-of-a-kind artworks; check them out at the library’s Urban Room daily during the festival.

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13. Leia Bell: Poster child
City Weekly
readers have seen Leia Bell’s work around town for years, via prints promoting shows at Kilby Court and elsewhere. 2010 was her first year at the Utah Arts Fest, which used Bell’s work as the “official look” of the festival’s promotional materials. This year, she’s showcasing her slice-of-life images along with an alphabet- themed look at birds. LeiaBell.com

14. Revisiting Utah Arts Festival History: A long strange trip
Curators from the U’s Marriott Library put together this show of photos, memorabilia and assorted artistic detritus offering a look at the festival’s first 34 years. June 23-Aug. 5, The Gallery at Library Square, 4th Floor, Salt Lake Main Library

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15. The Old World: Fiddle me this
The band formerly known as Matt Ben Jackson hits the Utah Arts Festival for the first time with a new name and a fine new self-titled album full of pleasing folk-rock. Touches of fiddles, mandolins, organs and horns make songs like “Mexico” and “Battle Creek” come to life, and the guys prove remarkably pliable musicians via the intricate-yet-uncluttered arrangements. Thursday, June 23, 6:30 p.m., Park Stage

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16. Christine Fedor: Dressed-up vintage
Calling all steampunks! Christine Fedor, one of the Poor Yorick Studios’ resident creative forces, takes recycled vintage jewelry based in brass and silver and adds modern flourishes through a blowtorch flame and metal solder in forming her one-of-a-kind pieces. PunkensteinJewelry.com

17. Blue Lotus Dance Collaborative: Shakin’ it
Obviously, one of the benefits of a massive arts festival is being able to delve into something new with little to no effort. So, if you’ve never been drawn to one of the belly-dancing festivals that pop up around town, you might want to consider wandering toward the Salt Lake City & County Building when Blue Lotus Dance Collaborative performs some of its mesmerizing Middle Eastern moves. Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m., Salt Lake City & County Building steps

18. The American Shakes: Okey-dokey folky
This group led by former Band of Annuals steel-guitar man Brent Dreiling doesn’t play a ton of shows, so finding a place to catch them performing tunes from their excellent 2010 debut, Begin, is always a treat. If sunny folk-pop and classic ’70s-sounding country are your thing, The American Shakes have what you need. Friday, June 24, 2:30 p.m., Park Stage

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19. Fear No Film: Quick flicks
I love going to the movies, but I never go see short-film collections. The arts fest’s Fear No Film program is the exception, though, and the one time each year I delve into the short-film world. It offers a nice mix of local and international films and the promise of a cool hour in the library on days that can be scorching hot. Visit UAF.org for a complete schedule. June 23-26, all day, Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium

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20. Cat Napier: Rising signs
Sometimes it’s amazing what an artist can do with simply a pen, ink and piece of paper. West Jordan artist Cat Napier creates remarkably intricate illustrations with just those tools, and her “Cerebral Illustrations” series turns astrological signs into incredibly detailed representations of the zodiac. SwanGraphx.com

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