THURSDAY NOV. 7
Ricky Allman: Recalling Future Self-Portraits (Selfies) as Still-Life
The medium of printing seems to offer an accessible avenue into the subconscious, especially since the rise of abstraction. As a child of the 1980s, Ricky Allman has naturally incorporated elements of technology into the representations that have emerged in his work. Architectural shapes are balanced with florid effusions of paint that imply organic forms, like flowers. The color palette of these works also balances warmth and coolness with very intelligent and subtle techniques.
Originally from Provo, Allman received an MFA with honors in 2007 at the Rhode Island School of Design, and lives in Kansas City, Mo., where he teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.The large scale of the works in Allman’s CUAC show compels viewers to take in each painting in its totality—to stand back and witness the entire composition of these dystopian landscapes, which have a sheen that appears reflective, like a distorted mirror of some radical interior life.
Showing concurrently in the back room of the gallery is Printshow, featuring works by Allman and six other printmakers, who also push the boundaries of the medium in exhilarating ways. Printshow is being held in conjunction with the Western States Printmaking Conference, which was hosted at the University of Utah during the opening weekend of Oct. 18.
Throughout his show, Allman has been drawing and painting on one of his silkscreen prints that was installed in the gallery, offering a fascinating example of a work in continual evolution. (Brian Staker)
Ricky Allman: Recalling Future Self-Portraits (Selfies) as Still-Life @ CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 385-215-6768, through Nov. 9, free. CUArtCenter.org
Sue Martin: Seasonal Affection
While some artists don’t produce their best work until late in their careers, a true artist never peaks. Although painter Sue Martin has been working at her art for a long time, she is currently showing what may be her very best work.
Martin is a semi-abstract artist whose past projects have touched on a broad range of subjects and incorporated many different elements. But her most recent work shows that both she and her paintings have matured and reached a level of control; a control that has also liberated her to bring her remarkable artistic talent front and center. Striking this balance is akin to striking gold.
Martin, always an exciting colorist, explores more depth and range in her latest series of landscapes, and seems to have hit her mark here, making the theme of the collection—Seasonal Affection—evocatively felt.
Consider Martin’s wondrously rich and earthy piece “Fall—TollGate Canyon” (pictured), with its rustic palette applied to a patchwork in fields, brush and trees. What makes this mostly abstract painting—one of the most difficult types to master—so magnificent? The myriad colors allow for the gradations of hue and tone to operate compositionally, capturing a fragmented narrative of actual changes in nature, revealed in full glory. It is exciting work from an exciting artist who should be watched, for there is no question as to her talent. These are the best of times for Sue Martin. (Ehren Clark)
Sue Martin: Seasonal Affection @ Art at the Main, 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-4088, through Nov. 9, free. SLCPL.org
Pygmalion Productions: The Twelve Dates of Christmas
There’s nothing radically new about a narrative in which a 30-something woman bemoans the state of her romantic life. Yet there’s more to Ginna Hoben’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas than a premise that makes it sound like Sex & the City: Holiday Edition. And a whole lot of that comes from the performance at its core.
Deena Marie Manzanares plays Mary, a New York actor who shares with us the trauma that changed her perspective on the holidays forever: spotting her fiance kissing another woman on the broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Over the course of the subsequent 13 months, she wades back into the dating pool, every attempt to mend her broken heart seeming to leave her even more disillusioned than she was before.
While many of the situations feel like genre clichés—the wonderful night followed by never having the guy call again; the too-good-to-be-true guy who, of course, is too good to be true—Barb Gandy’s direction often gives those situations a spiky kick, using the Greek chorus of Angela Trusty, Marylynn Ehrengard and Tamara Johnson-Howell in multiple roles to supplement Manzanares’ richly sympathetic Mary. She’s a wonderful mix of frustration and optimism, connecting the friction between Mary and her family in this funny, wistful story to another all-too-familiar notion of the holidays: how hard it is to let go of what isn’t perfect about them, so that you can embrace what brings you joy. (Scott Renshaw)
Pygmalion Productions: The Twelve Dates of Christmas @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, through Nov. 16, see website for times, $20. PygmalionProductions.org, ArtTix.org
Spy Hop: PitchNic 2013
Each year, the SpyHop film program continues to grow, giving kids a chance to experiment with the medium before they hit college to pursue a degree or strike out on their own as aspiring filmmakers. And every fall, the nonprofit holds its annual PitchNic fest to show off the latest works coming out of the program.
The evening will feature four films, touching on topics like a snake-oil salesman looking to make money off miners, a look into a younger generation’s thoughts on “the N word,” a documentary on a Utah Quidditch team looking to win the world cup, and a film noir based on an Emily Dickinson poem. If you want a look at the talent coming down the road and some of the creative minds that are going to help shape the local entertainment scene in the future, this is a show you need to see. (Gavin Sheehan)
Spy Hop: PitchNic 2013 @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Nov. 7, 7:30-9 p.m., $8. SpyHop.org
When Jackass ringleader Johnny Knoxville first encountered Steve-O, looking to recruit him for a new stunt-based reality show he was pitching to MTV, the young aspiring performer had just graduated from circus college and was doing odd fire-based tricks for a third-tier flea market somewhere in the backwoods of Florida.
Willing to do just about anything for a laugh—stapling his scrotum to his leg, swallowing fish and puking them back up alive, shooting bottle rockets out of his anus—the skater punk Steve-O fit brilliantly into Knoxville’s roving band of stuntman misfits. Several seasons of Jackass and a spinoff (Wildboyz, with Chris Pontius) later, the group took to the big screen with their unique brand of gross-out bro humor, releasing several box-office hits based on the same shenanigans.
All that was not enough for Steve-O, as he chose to go out on the road on his Don’t Try This At Home tour, doing live bits that always seemed to get censored by the higher ups—like running into Mike Tyson’s fist and breaking his own nose. (Jacob Stringer)
Steve-O @ Wiseguys Comedy Club, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 8, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; Nov. 9, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m., $20. WiseguysComedy.com
FRIDAY NOV. 8
Babcock Theatre: Avenue Q
Sesame Street for adults? That’s how New York critics have described the Tony award-winning Avenue Q, where singing actors and foul-mouthed puppets with names like the Bad Idea Bears and Mrs. Thistletwat don’t shy away from the subjects of sex, porn and unemployment.
The 11 puppets used in the Babcock Theatre production are all original pieces. Initially, the project started as a new course for the University of Utah theater department’s costume crafts class, with puppeteer Honey Goodenough guiding the students through designing and building their foam counterparts. Then, original Avenue Q cast member and puppeteer Jennifer Barnhart taught the student cast members the tricks and gesture vocabulary necessary to bring puppets to life.
Though generally considered appropriate for teens and up, Avenue Q will likely interest the near-30 crowd, who might closely relate with the play’s main character, a late-20-something wondering what to do with his life and a bachelor’s degree in English. (Katherine Pioli)
Avenue Q @ Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Babcock Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., 801-581-7100, Nov 8-24, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sundays, $10.50 students, $18 general. Theatre.Utah.edu
Young Adult Boot Camp
You know that young-adult novel about a star-crossed wood-elf/water-nymph romance you’ve been thinking of writing? Well, now’s your chance to bring it to fruition! The King’s English’s Young Adult Boot Camp promises to teach you “(nearly) everything you ever wanted to know about young-adult fiction, from idea to publication,” and the instructors lined up are certainly qualified to do it.
The boot camp will be led by several luminaries in the industry. Michael Bourret is a literary agent for authors of a variety of fiction and nonfiction genres. Sara Zarr’s first novel, Story of a Girl, was a 2007 National Book Award finalist. University of Utah associate professor Anne Jamison teaches and writes about literature, culture and fanfiction. And Jennifer Adams is both an editor and author, best known for her BabyLit series of board books based on classics like Pride & Prejudice. While there’s no guarantee you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, this boot camp will at least get you on the right track. (Julia Shumway)
Young Adult Boot Camp @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Nov. 8, 6:30-9 p.m.; Nov. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $150 includes Friday reception and Saturday lunch. KingsEnglish.com
Utah Symphony: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
It’s not uncommon for classical works to musically paint quaint pastoral scenes filled with the natural beauty of the great outdoors. But nobody does it better than Antonio Vivaldi and his acclaimed 1723 baroque work The Four Seasons. The Utah Symphony is set to perform the four violin concertos, featuring guest violinist Nicola Benedetti (pictured) with Maestro Thierry Fischer conducting.
Each concerto consists of three distinct movements, with slower adagio or largo ones in the middle, typically bookended by faster allegro or presto sections. With the accompanying sonnets—many believe written by Vivaldi himself—describing scenes particular to each season and typically used as program notes, the work is easy for the novice listener to follow.
But it’s the musical mimicry that makes the work so fun to experience. More than just babbling brooks and chirping birds in the Spring, thunderous storms in Summer, the cool air of Autumn and the chill of blowing ice come Winter, Vivaldi actually puts people and action in every scene—including a barking dog, singing and dancing, hunting and even a little bit of teeth chattering.
As the four seasons often get conflated with time periods in a human life or, for that matter, actual human emotions, it also seems fitting that the second half of the performance will feature Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2. Known as The Four Temperaments, the piece explores the proto-psychological theory that the essence of the human soul could be boiled down to four distinct parts: choleric (ambitious), phlegmatic (relaxed), melancholic (thoughtful) and sanguine (sociable). (Jacob Stringer)
Utah Symphony: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, Nov. 8-9, 8 p.m., $18-$69. UtahSymphony.org, ArtTix.org
Of Myth & Mud
We all know the classic stories of Pandora’s Box and the sphinx. Now, Weber State University is giving them a new twist. Of Myth & Mud—written by Sarah Saltwick and part of a season of WSU theater producing brand-new plays—takes the audience through the cycle of life through nine different stories with characters from mythology put into a contemporary setting.
The play starts off with a tale about the beginning of life, featuring friendly mythical creatures such as mermaids and unicorns. Because they take place in contemporary times, the stories change; the mermaid who gets her legs is more concerned with finding shoes than with the guy she runs into. As the stories progress, the themes—and the creatures, including beasts like Cecilia the Selkie and Medusa the Gorgon—become darker. (Laurie Reiner)
Of Myth & Mud @ Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, Weber State University, 3750 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, 801-626-7000, Nov. 8-16, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 16, 2 p.m., $9-$12. WeberStateTickets.com