THURSDAY MAY 30
Daniel Tosh is the type of comedian who finds punch lines in race, gender, sexual orientation, rape, abortion, AIDS, religion—basically, anything that you, or anyone else, might find to be off-limits topics for humor.
Sure, his act has garnered a fair share of controversy over the years. But he never backs down, because in his own words, “I do find those jokes funny, so I make them.” Other comedians have periodically come to his defense, sticking up for his right to remain uncensored, and Tosh has made it into a very popular form for himself while hosting the hit Comedy Central show Tosh.0. The show follows a rather simple formula: Tosh standing in front of a green screen, watching online videos and commenting on the often hilarious/dumbfounding/absurd content within. He then augments those clips with related sketches, and even a weekly “Web Redemption” for one of the featured YouTube sensations.
The fact that Tosh has repeatedly stated over the years that he will end his career (or possibly his life) on his 38th birthday—which just happened to take place May 29—might have momentarily given some of his critics hope. The conflicting fact that he begins his The June Gloom Tour—which finds him doing more than 50 shows across the country in 31 days—the very day after that birthday is just one more joke that Tosh is happy to unleash upon the world. Although with that kind of workload, combined with the high cost of tickets, it’s hard to know who’s really getting the last laugh. (Jacob Stringer)
Daniel Tosh @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, May 30, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $59.50-$75. ArtTix.org
Josh Hanagarne: The World’s Strongest Librarian
Josh Hanagarne is many things. He’s a librarian at the Salt Lake City Main Library. He’s a husband, father, blogger and 6-foot-7-inch, 260-pound strength trainer. He writes about all these roles—and the fact that he also has extreme Tourette’s syndrome—in his new memoir, The World’s Strongest Librarian.
Working in a library, a place popularly known for iconic shushing, seems completely contradictory for someone with Tourette’s. It is specifically that incongruity, consciously sought out by Hanagarne in many ways, that provides insight into how this super-size book lover ticks. As he writes in his memoir, “One of the reasons I work here is because I have extreme Tourette’s syndrome. The kind with verbal tics, sometimes loud ones; the kind that draws warning looks. Working in this library is the ultimate test for someone who literally can’t sit still. Who can’t shush himself. A test of willpower, of patience and, occasionally, of the limits of human absurdity.” (Jacob Stringer)
Josh Hanagarne: World’s Strongest Librarian @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, May 30, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com
E3 Modern Grand Opening Art Show
Although E3 Modern was open for the April Gallery Stroll, the Gallery Stroll on May 17 marked the official grand opening of Josh Stippich and company’s vacuum-tube hi-fi audio equipment and modern-furniture store, at the former site of NoBrow Coffee.
In audio and furniture, everything retro seems new again, and that’s especially true of vacuum-tube audio, long beloved by electric-guitar players and audiophiles craving its warm, rich sound. The speakers are fashioned to fit into furniture cabinets mod enough that they seem like something out of a New York high-rise apartment on Mad Men, and the finished pieces have elements of comfort and cool that make them seem like fixtures of a former, fondly recalled era—which is now back.
Then there’s the art on the walls, by 14 of the most design-minded artists in town. That includes Trent Call’s urban, graffiti-influenced prints, which, along with his paintings in a very different style at 15th Street Gallery, again make his work some of the most indelible to stroll attendees.
There’s a sense of beatnik cool to the characters in John Bean’s work, as well as often a nod to film noir. Craig Cleveland’s “Dada Face” project is an intriguing visual play on language. Mark Seely’s “art brut” mixed-media pieces bear a surprising veneer that makes them seem almost urbane. (Brian Staker)
E3 Modern Grand Opening Art Show @ E3 Modern, 315 E. Broadway, 801-808-9782, through June 15, free. E3Modern.com
FRIDAY MAY 31
There’s an iconic image of a solo stand-up comic—microphone in hand, back against a brick wall, just one person telling jokes to the many people sitting out in the dark. For a while, it was also the way Jerry Seinfeld opened up his award-winning self-titled television series.
The thing about Seinfeld’s humor is that he relies heavily on good old jokes. Sure, he might be able to spin a funny yarn or two, but he really likes the turn of phrase that creates interesting cultural observation with a funny bone: “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.” Such simple-yet-funny quips were also the base structure for Seinfeld. But after that success tsunami, Seinfeld the comedian has remained largely behind the scenes. There was Bee Movie and The Marriage Ref; he even started an odd Internet series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But all those are really ripples in comparison to the popularity of the semi-fictionalized and televised world of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer.
So, it’s a pleasure to find Seinfeld going back out on the road to find a slew of brick walls in front of which to deliver his material. Or in this case, because you’re Jerry Seinfeld, you find a few symphony halls, opera houses and large theaters to tell a finely tuned joke or two—something like, “It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.” (Jacob Stringer)
Jerry Seinfeld @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, May 31, 7 p.m., $46-$78.50. ArtTix.org
SATURDAY JUNE 1
Thelma & Louise
The Thelma & Louise Half Marathon route runs along the Colorado River in Moab, on a flat course guaranteed to deliver fast times. It’s the spring partner to Moab’s fall half marathon, known as The Other Half.
The race takes its name from the 1991 movie, and the climactic scene that was filmed in the Moab area. Don’t worry: You won’t be required to go over a cliff with your BFF at the end of the race. However, since the course starts and ends at the Gold Bar Campground, racers can jump off the banks and right into the Colorado River after the race for a cooldown.
If you want to see one of the actual dummies used in the final Thelma & Louise scene, head out Highway 128 after the race to Red Cliffs Lodge and check out the movie museum, which includes artifacts and information about the many Hollywood films shot in the area. (Geoff Griffin)
Thelma & Louise Half Marathon @ Gold Bar Campground, Highway 279 (Potash Road), along Colorado River, Moab, June 1, 6:30 a.m., $95. MoabHalfMarathon.com
Spring Art Adoption
The annual Art Adoption is starting to become a welcome part of spring for the local art community. With the departure of winter, the event is a chance to do a little spring cleaning by donating clothing to the Homeless Youth Resource Center, nonperishable food to the Utah Food Bank, and financial contributions to the Utah Arts Alliance.
Hopefully, the cleaning frees up some space for more art, because more than 20 local artists have artworks—at bargain prices—in need of a loving home. From jewelry and pottery to paintings and prints, it’s one of the best times of the year to add to your art collection without breaking the bank.
This season’s Art Adoption will also feature prints, paintings and collected garbage from organizer Josh Scheuerman’s Four Corners Kickstarter project. Scheuerman’s project documents the natural beauty across Utah that’s being destroyed by plastic litter, and promotes voluntary recycling of single-use plastic bags. (Brian Staker)
Spring Art Adoption @ SLC Arts Hub, 663 W. 100 South, June 1, 7-11 p.m., free. Facebook.com/SLCArtAdoption, UtahArts.org
SUNDAY JUNE 2
Utah Pride Festival
The recent announcement by NBA player Jason Collins that he’s gay was greeted as a ground-breaking moment in terms of professional athletes coming out publicly. That might have come as news to, among others, MLS soccer player David Testo, who came out in a 2011 interview, and has since served on the board of the “You Can Play” campaign to fight homophobia in sports.
Testo serves as the 2013 Grand Marshall for the Utah Pride parade, which makes its way through downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday morning. But the parade is only part of a multiday celebration by the local LBGT community, including a Saturday-morning 5K, headliner musical performances (see Music Live, p. 52) and a wide variety of vendors, crafts and information booths. After a watershed year for LGBT rights issues nationwide, spend a little time kicking up your heels. (Scott Renshaw)
Utah Pride Festival @ Salt Lake City & County Building, 450 S. 200 East, June 1, 3-11 p.m.; June 2, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday tickets $13 in advance, $15 at festival; Sunday tickets $8 in advance, $10 at festival; Pride Parade begins at corner of 400 East & 300 South, 10 a.m., free. UtahPrideFestival.org
MONDAY JUNE 3
Brandon Sanderson: The Rithmatist
Utah’s own Brandon Sanderson is hardly a newbie at this whole writing thing. His best-selling works have created unique fantasy worlds (including the Mistborn series and Elantris), as well as continuing the world of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. But sometimes when you’re at the top of your game, that’s the perfect time to try something a bit new.
The Rithmatist marks Sanderson’s first work specifically for the young-adult audience, yet he’s still traveling in a comfortable milieu of magic and imagination. He introduces us to the world of the Rithmatists, whose unique magical gifts allow them to turn two-dimensional drawings into living Chalkings to help defend humanity against the Chalkings’ evil, wild counterparts. But when student Rithmatists begin vanishing from their academy, their fate may be in the hands of Joel, a chalkmaker’s son whose dream of being a Rithmatist may turn into a nightmare. (Scott Renshaw)
Brandon Sanderson: The Rithmatist @ Provo Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-852-6661, June 3, 7 p.m., free but ticket required. KingsEnglish.com
TUESDAY JUNE 4
Broadway Across America: Jersey Boys
The term “jukebox musical” has taken on a pejorative connotation—a swipe at theatrical productions that manufacture a thin structural foundation on which to hang a bunch of familiar tunes and cash in on nostalgia. But Bob Gaudio—chief songwriter for the legendary 1960s vocal group The Four Seasons—saw the idea somewhat differently. What if you could take that bunch of familiar tunes, and actually use it to tell the story of the artists who made them so familiar?
Or, perhaps the more accurate term would be “stories”—because Jersey Boys takes an unconventional approach to artistic biography. When writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman interviewed three of the surviving members—Gaudio, Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito—they found widely varying recollections of their lives and careers. So, the writers folded those differing perspectives into the show itself, giving all four members—those three interview subjects, plus fourth original member Nick Massi—a turn at narrating the story, from their formation through their chart-topping success, with plenty of behind-the-scenes drama.
But the songs that led to that chart-topping success are still the star of the show, and Jersey Boys delivers all those great hits: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “My Eyes Adored You,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” The darker side of The Four Seasons’ lives may have been hidden from fans for decades, but you can experience all that amazing music while learning the real story—or at least, everyone’s version of the real story. (Scott Renshaw)
Broadway Across America: Jersey Boys @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, June 4-16, see website for times, $40-$130. ArtTix.org