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Home / Articles / · Archive / Arts & Entertainment /  The Essentials | City Weekly's Entertainment Picks Dec 25-31
Arts & Entertainment

The Essentials | City Weekly's Entertainment Picks Dec 25-31

Posted // December 24,2008 - src=/data/449BBE6E-021E-D69E-7A3370304BA7D31B/userData/Image/081225/Essentials_081225-a.jpgVISUAL ART
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By Ehren Clark
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What makes the Brigham Young University Museum of Art the most visited collegiate museum in the country? The secret: consistent, solid and well-curated exhibitions seeking to entertain but primarily to educate students and the public. A new exhibition of works by internationally known artist DAN STEINHILBER maintains these aims. His innovative oeuvre exposes students and the community to cutting-edge contemporary art, challenging popular norms and demonstrating the strength and validity of today’s art. n

People can be squeamish about contemporary art. What they don’t realize is that this art is not comprehensible only to an elite nucleus of artists and critics, as it has been in the past. Today’s art as a whole can be appreciated on many levels by those willing to give it a chance. Steinhilber’s exhibit is Contemporary Art 101 for the uninitiated, where everyone will make an A. Steinhilber works with familiar modern objects—neon lights (pictured), hangers, PVC pipe and other materials—and reinvents them. The result is stimulating, provocative and unintimidating. Viewers are encouraged to contemplate these reinventions, their dynamic artistic rebirth unleashed from the once-mundane.

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Jeff Lambson, the new curator of contemporary art, is responsible not only for Steinhilber’s exhibit but for many of the recent initiatives at the museum to educate the public on modern and contemporary art. The community can appreciate in Steinhilber’s work, like much good contemporary art, engaging experiences that don’t require a Ph.D. in art to enjoy.

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Dan Steinhilber @ BYU Museum of Art, North Campus Dr., Provo, 801-422-8287, through June 6, 2009 MOA.BYU.edu

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style=color:DANCE
nBy Jenny Poplar
nHow does one preserve a classic holiday performance like THE NUTCRACKER which has become a Utah institution without lulling seasoned audience members into a deep winter sleep, where they will invariably dream about their own incarnation of the sugarplum fairy? By flawlessly executing all of the classic crowd-pleasing components of this time-honored ballet—from beautiful music, to breathtaking costumes, to graceful, spirited dancing—and by encouraging the performers to make the production theirs in sly, subtle ways that are only noticeable to discerning audience members.

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Never in all my 20-plus years of Nutcracker attendance have I witnessed the Rat King pick his nose and flick it at the audience, or one of the adult party-goers in the first section smile suggestively at the audience after giving his lady a diamond necklace. These small flourishes catapult this age-old Christmas tale into the 21st century.

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Furthermore, these sorts of joyful liberties remind even the most jaded audience members why performance art is far superior to sitting at home in front of the telly. It is especially exhilarating seeing naughty dancers momentarily wink at the audience—and, of course, seeing one of the perceptive audience members catch such a wink. This sort of minxy behavior adds an extra dash of magic to a beloved holiday masterpiece that is already brimming with enchantment.

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Besides, who doesn’t need a few extra laughs this holiday season?

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Ballet West’s The Nutcracker @ Capitol Theater, 50 W. 200 South, 355-ARTS, through Dec. 27. ArtTix.org

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style=color:BOOKS
nBy Dallas Robbins
nWith an endless stream of books on polygamy and its discontents, do we really need another one? If the answer includes mention of NAUVOO POLYGAMY: “… but we called it celestial marriage” by George Smith, it would be a definitive yes. Ten years in the making, Nauvoo Polygamy traces the origins and establishment of Joseph Smith’s vision of “spiritual wives” before it ever stepped foot in the State of Deseret. The book should dispel forever the common misperception that Joseph pined after only one wife, and polygamy was Brigham’s idea while crossing the plains.

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The book argues that good brother Joseph engaged in extramarital affairs—e.g., Fanny Alger—before officially marrying his first plural wife, Louisa Beaman, in 1841. Afterward, he married women at an average rate of one per month until late 1843. By early 1846, nearly 200 men and 717 women entered the practice, making up the polygamous pioneers who would later lay the foundation in the Great Basin. The book fills a gap in exploring how polygamy was established and worked at this early stage.

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Revealing the drama, secrets and sexual politics along with historical issues, Nauvoo Polygamy places a human face on the men and women who struggled with their strange lives in a new religion. So whether you are a history buff, interested in starting your own unique marriage practice or just waiting for the new season of Big Love to start, Nauvoo Polygamy should be on your reading list.

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Nauvoo Polygamy: “… but we called it celestial marriage’ by George D. Smith. $39.95. SignatureBooks.com

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here&now Other New Happenings This Week

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IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Celebrate Christmas Day with a free screening of the Frank Capra holiday classic. Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South, 321-0310, Thursday, Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m. SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

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OCTAPELLA CHRISTMAS Bid the season a fond farewell with the octet’s 10th annual showcase of secular and spiritual Christmas favorites. Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 355-ARTS, Dec. 26-27, 7 p.m. ArtTix.org

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KWANZAA CELEBRATION Visit the Utah Museum of Fine Arts for a free afternoon of music, dance, poetry, crafts and children’s activities. Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Dr., 581-7332, Saturday, Dec. 27, 12-4 p.m. UMFA.Utah.edu

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DEER VALLEY TORCHLIGHT PARADE Hot cider and cookies, plus a glorious march of flames across Bald Eagle Mountain’s Big Stick run. Deer Valley Resort, Park City, 435-649-1000, Tuesday, Dec. 30, dusk (6 p.m.) DeerValley.com

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CASH ON DELIVERY Michael Cooney’s comedy about a scam to continue receiving a dead person’s government checks. Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Dr., 984-9000, Dec. 31-Feb. 14. HaleCentreTheatre.org

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RYAN HAMILTON Celebrate a funny New Year’s Eve with the Utah native and erstwhile Last Comic Standing competitor. Wiseguys Comedy Café, 269 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-5588, Dec. 31 & Jan. 1-2, 8 & 10 p.m. WiseguysComedy.com

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UTAH MEN’S BASKETBALL The Utes get a visit from America’s favorite perpetual underdog, the nationally ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. Huntsman Center, 1825 S. Campus Dr., 581-UTIX, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m. UtahTickets.com

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FIRST NIGHT SLC From The Leonardo to the Gallivan Center to The Gateway, music, dancing, art, skating and much more to ring in 2009. Various downtown Salt Lake City venues, 359-5118, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m.–midnight. FirstNightSLC.org tttt

 
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