THURSDAY JULY 4
Stadium of Fire
With Salt Lake City saving its big July celebrations for Pioneer Day, it has gracefully ceded the state’s federal patriotic duties to a little town down south. Provo’s annual Freedom Festival is a multiday affair that includes markets, pageants, parades, hot-air balloons and many, many performances by local choirs, dance troupes and budding country stars. But the grand culmination of all the flag-waving is always the annual fireworks display, music performance and patriotic extravaganza known as the Stadium of Fire.
Founded back in the early 1980s by the Osmond family, the event was intended to be a celebration that represented family fun, wholesome music, red-white-and-blue revelry, perhaps a bit of spirituality thrown in for virtuous good measure and more explosions than just about any other party planned for July Fourth. Over the years, the festivities have just gotten bigger, employing a mostly volunteer cast of thousands—think hundreds of Boy Scouts, regional symphonies and church choirs—to pull off what has proudly become the largest stadium fireworks spectacular in America.
This year, the festival committee managed to land both American Idol alumna Kelly Clarkson (pictured) and earworm generator Carly Rae Jepsen, who will undoubtedly belt out her hit song “Call Me Maybe.” We’ll just have to wait for July 24 to see if SLC can step it up to match such a wholesomely glorious enterprise. (Jacob Stringer)
BYU Lavell Edwards Stadium, 1700 N. Canyon Road, Provo, 801-422-2981, July 4, 8 p.m., $26-$124. FreedomFestival.org
Angels, Demons & Animals
Of all the winged creatures of the Earth, raptors are some of the most awe-inspiring. And they are also the most in need of conservation. Local artist Todd Powelson celebrates the overwhelming power—and frailty—of falcons, as well as ravens, in this solo show. He also attempts to make a human connection to his “spirit animals.”
Birds have been used to represent a wide variety of human emotions, from freedom to dreamlike states to the basic survival instinct of a bird of prey. Powelson has depicted them from various perspectives, looking up in awe at their flight patterns against the sky, as well as examining their wind- and weather-beaten bodies close up.
They also lend themselves to flights of artistic fancy and stylistic experimentation. In addition to sketches of ravens, Powelson designed a poster based on his somewhat Cubist drawing of a hawk, the sales of which will benefit HawkWatch International. (Brian Staker)
Utah Arts Alliance Gallery, 127 S. Main, 801-651-3937, through July 27, free. UtahArts.org, ToddPowelson.com
FRIDAY JULY 5
In a two-person show, the artists’ work often plays off each other in interesting ways and directs the viewer to interpretations you might not have arrived at otherwise. That’s the case with the current exhibition at CUAC.
Portland artist Eva Speer’s use of industrial materials—casting resins, oil, glass, Plexiglas, in addition to acrylic paint—results in works that are more like abstract art constructions than paintings, until you start to see representational elements in them: ocean waves or a floral print pattern. Her Soothsayers show plays with a series of seemingly random elements as a kind of augury, like an industrial I Ching.
Utah artist Kasey Lou Lindley, who has shown her work around the world, says, “I’ve been transgressing painting,” with her Backyard Oasis show. That may be putting it lightly, as her work expands beyond the picture plane to use the entire wall of the rear space of the gallery, utilizing architectural elements of the building as well, to create an experience that engulfs the viewer. Lindley has shown her work around the world. As her show’s title infers, the work is a kind of oasis or respite from the traditional expectations or demands of looking at art within frames in a gallery setting. But it’s also aggressive, in that it captures the viewer in a kind of environment that seems to demand a certain kind of reaction, and thus plays on the concept of leisure and the “backyard.”
Once you’ve made a circuit around the gallery space to view the entire show, these works suggest that the world itself, as a visual surface, is painterly. (Brian Staker)
CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 385-215-6768, through Aug. 10, free. CUArtCenter.org
Fred Hunger: 2-D to 3-D
It feels like a cliché to refer to someone as a “Renaissance man,” evoking unique, legendary historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci, whose creative endeavors ranged from painting to scientific invention. But it’s hard to imagine that there’s a better term for Fred Hunger, whose career has found him at various times managing art galleries, teaching drawing … and working as an engineer in the aerospace industry.
So of course it makes sense that, after 60 years as artist, teacher and literal rocket scientist, Hunger is now … an art student at Weber State University. Curious minds seek out other curious minds, and Hunger has said that he enjoys the ongoing stimulation of interacting with other students and department faculty members. But he still does the homework.
Hunger’s amazingly eclectic sensibilities are on display in a one-man show at Weber State’s Shepherd Union Art Gallery. Among the works scheduled for the exhibit are several bronze castings, an acrylic painting, an oil painting, airbrush watercolor, 3-D drawings, wood sculpture and steel sculpture (“Yellow Steel” is pictured). His sleek designs and use of materials—as well as his practice of creating scale models to demonstrate the intended size of commissioned works—draw from his technical background, while also demonstrating the whimsy he can bring to those materials. It’s fascinating to see so many talents coalesce in one exhibit; let’s hope his fellow students aren’t annoyed at the guy who must always be wrecking the curve. (Scott Renshaw)
Shepherd Union Art Gallery, Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, 801-626-6431, July 5-26; Ogden First Friday Art Stroll reception July 5, artist closing reception July 26, 6-8 p.m.
Many comedians trying hard to make a name for themselves at some point get their big television break. And when it finally comes, they’re virtually forced to choose between Team Coco and Camp Leno.
Brooklyn native Dwayne Perkins is one exception. On a recent Conan, Perkins explored such topics as racial differences in dancing and naming babies, as well as why Africans are so bad at sports trivia—because all the T-shirts prepared for the eventual losers of Super Bowls get shipped to distant shores. Since then, he has also made a name for himself doing spots on The Tonight Show called Great White Moments in Black History, in which he celebrates the actions of white people that had a significant impact on black culture—i.e., the decision by Star Trek to cast a black man in the role of a commanding officer on Deep Space 9, celebrated because black people could rest assured that they’ll still exist in the future. (Jacob Stringer)
Wiseguys Comedy Café, Trolley Square, 505 S. 600 East, 801-532-5233, July 5-6, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; July 7, 7:30 p.m., $12. WiseguysComedy.com
Egyptian Theatre: Evita
Andrew Lloyd Webber holds a conflicted place in the hearts of many theater lovers. Something tells us that we’re supposed to find his musicals bombastic and lacking in the charms of other beloved Broadway classics. But damned if the guy doesn’t know how to combine earworm tunes with larger-than-life characters.
He and lyricist Tim Rice found an improbable subject in Eva Perón, the alternately adored and despised former first lady of Argentina. Evita tracks her rise from humble beginnings to a seat of power, and a public image as “woman of the people” that clashed with her opulent lifestyle. Narrated by the cynical revolutionary Che, the story includes memorable musical numbers like “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” “Buenos Aires,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You.” While many local theater companies take the summer off, enjoy this show’s soaring music during a mountain getaway. (Scott Renshaw)
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main, Park City, 435-649-9371, July 5-28, see website for times, $39-$54. ParkCityShows.com
SATURDAY JULY 6
Arrival: The Music of ABBA
Remember the 1970s? Remember white-leather platform boots? Feathered hair? Pop musicians unabashedly swaying back and forth in capes and sequined tunics? Well, I don’t—but this weekend, those who do and those who want to know more can experience the best parts of the decade through the immortal music of ABBA.
Arrival From Sweden, the world’s premier ABBA cover band, has performed in venues across the globe, and reviewers emphatically agree that this group looks and sounds like the real deal. In fact, Arrival From Sweden is so spot-on that it’s the only cover band to receive ABBA’s blessing to use all their original costume designs and to perform with the original instrumentalists who backed ABBA during the glory days.
Playing hits at Sandy Amphitheater from “Dancing Queen” to “Waterloo,” Arrival From Sweden promises to ABBA-solutely impress even the most devoted ABBA fans. (Julia Shumway)
Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, Sandy, July 6, 8 p.m. $15-$25. SandyArts.com/sandy-amphitheater
TUESDAY JULY 9
Local Authors Showcase
It’s time again for the King’s English Bookshop to shine the spotlight on Utah writers at the local author’s showcase.
Park City-based author and motivational speaker Pamela Carlquist presents Moving With God Past the Pain …, an unconventional memoir using a fictional conversation between herself and God. City Weekly columnist and BigShinyRobot.com head honcho Bryan Young presents Operation: Montauk, a 1930s pulp-fiction-style time-travel novel that starts at the dawn of World War II and ends in Jurassic prehistory.
Phillip Wright, better known in television and radio, presents Not Without Mercy: The Black Death, the first in what will be a series of novels set during the 1348 Black Plague pandemic in England. And professor of sociology Gordon E. Moss brings The Dawning Age of Cooperation, a critical look at the glorified American spirit of individualism that argues the do-it-yourself attitude has taken us as far as it can, and Americans must now work toward embracing a more cooperative society. (Katherine Pioli)
The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, July 9, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com
WEDNESDAY JULY 10
Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre
Every July, Logan turns into one of the state’s great spots to get a concentrated dose of amazing theatrical presentations performed with a full orchestra. And it happens in a context that makes it feel more like a film festival for live performance than a mere repertory season.
For 2013, the season once again includes two classic operas and two classic pieces of more contemporary musical theater. The former category is represented by Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman—the tale of a 19th-century encounter with a ghost ship—and Verdi’s legendary interpretation of Shakespeare’s Otello. On the other side are familiar stories of two very different Jewish families: Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s Fiddler on the Roof (with festival founder Michael Ballam as Tevye) and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And special concerts include a showcase of Irving Berlin songs.
But even beyond the gloriously staged performances, there’s more one can absorb to appreciate the stories and work behind them. Visit the pre-show “informances” to learn a little more about the history of each show, or get up-closer-and-personal in a Breakfast With the Stars. Add a variety of seminars—on the technical and design elements of putting together a production, or the history of Joseph—plus backstage tours, and the magic that comes together for every performance will feel all the more extraordinary. (Scott Renshaw)
Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan, 800-262-0074, July 10-Aug. 10, see website for full performance schedule; full season tickets $38-$258, individual tickets $10-$76. UtahFestival.org
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