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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / CW Arts Picks /  Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 23-29
CW Arts Picks

Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 23-29

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // January 23,2014 -

THURSDAY JAN. 23

Wasatch Theatre Company: Page-to-Stage Festival
Wasatch Theatre Company’s 14th-annual Page-to-Stage Festival caters to two of the hallmarks of our modern era: short attention spans and romantic angst. Audiences will be presented with six back-to-back plays—the most original and comedic short plays of dozens of submissions about how people behave (and misbehave) in relationships.
In Melissa Rasmussen’s Fast Food, two women bond in unexpected ways while venting about their relationships. E-Jipped is Sheri Allred’s take on love, loss and archeology. Ryan Noufer’s piece, This Play Is Sponsored by E-Harmony, is a lot less predictable than the name implies—which may or may not be a positive for you, depending on how sentimentally you feel about eHarmony advertisements. Many questions are asked by Gene Washington’s play, Existential Vertigo; some questions are answered. The Jam, by Hayley Simpson, explores the concept of the muse and how a real relationship might combat writer’s block; only by attending this play and asking Simpson herself will readers be able to discover just how autobiographical this script is (or isn’t). And finally, no exploration of modern dating would be complete without addressing blind dating or workplace drama, and John Franceschini’s play does both: In Hooking Up, a woman agrees to go on a blind date at the last minute when her co-worker has to suddenly cancel. The plays are directed by Elise Hanson and Daniel Torrence, and the cast of actors switch from role to role throughout the night, offering a fresh and lively theater experience. (Julia Shumway)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Jan. 23-25, 8 p.m., 2 p.m. show Jan. 25, $15. WasatchTheatre.org

Tracy Morgan
Comedian Tracy Morgan starred in seven seasons of Saturday Night Live; he then moved on for seven more seasons to 30 Rock, where he played a semi-fictionalized version of himself starring on a variety show called TGS With Tracy Jordan. That’s 14 seasons spent either playing sketch characters or as a parody of himself playing sketch characters.
Although the more recent stint on 30 Rock is probably what made him a household name (even if it’s Jordan instead of Morgan) it’s some of those earlier characters developed at SNL that really showcase his odd sense of funny— especially the likes of Safari Planet’s Brian Fellow, who was always getting mad at the animals for looking at him strangely. And don’t forget Astronaut Jones. But now that the long-running television stints are over, Morgan has decided to head back out on the road. Morgan has done several specials over the years for HBO and Comedy Central, but his stand-up routine is far from routine. The loveably innocent and affable persona that he developed on the small screen perfectly takes the edge off his more scattered and frantic comic stylings. And no matter what he may be riffing on—like the difference between white-people-speak and black-people-speak when it comes to medical conditions like diabetes (“Oh man, you got the sugar!”)—it’s still easy to find yourself following him through every unexpected turn, and cracking a smile when he throws out “That’s crazy!”, a catchphrase that has spanned all of the different Tracys. (Jacob Stringer)
Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463- 2909, Jan. 23-25, 7:30 & 10 p.m., $40. WiseguysComedy.com

Figures, Faces & the Masks We Wear
In the age of the “selfie,” the face we present to the world is seemingly everything—and in the world of art, that’s no less true than anywhere else. The Utah Arts Festival Gallery is celebrating the art of mask-making with a group show of 18 artists who have crafted masks in a variety of media—everything from acrylic and leather to mixed media, spray paint, steel and sculpted clay.
Participating artists include Utah Countybased Cassandra and Dan Barney; Pop-art influenced Craig Cleveland; multimedia artist Mason Fetzer; Art Access Gallery Director Sheryl Gillilan; glass artist Sarinda Jones; jewelry artist Kali Mellus; photographer Cat Palmer; printmaker James Rees; graphic designer Stephanie Swift; and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s interim director, Maggie Willis. It will be not only a showcase of some outstanding local artists, but also a look beyond the surface of what a mask can be. Showing concurrently with the exhibit of masks will be artworks by Paula Montes in pencil and charcoal, and mixed-media works by Adam Fernandez—all while the UAF gears up for the annual festival in June. The mask exhibit also serves to help promote the Utah Arts Festival’s Masquerade Party fundraiser Feb. 22. A portion of proceeds from mask sales will help support Utah Arts Festival programming. (Brian Staker)
Utah Arts Festival Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, Suite 120, 801-322-2428, through Feb. 14, free. UAF.org

Alpine Art: Oh the Places We Go!
“Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes,” wrote Henri Cartier-Bresson. For photographers showing at Alpine Art’s exhibition Oh the Places We Go!, this show is about the journey, about the process—the emotional inspiration, obligatory for photographers in their explorations. In these shots, there is something candid, something left undone and incomplete—and this is honest and beautiful.
“Bright Desert Sun” by Vanessa Kay traverses a crevasse to reach her destination. The divide could not be more red-hot, the sun could not shine brighter against a more azure sky in a scene more lucid. “Medinet Habu Temple, Egypt,” by Rosanne Bruegmann, captures a single small figure set against the magnificent enormity of an ancient place. Resonating with the words of Cartier-Bresson, it unrolls before the eyes, the structure and the beauty of those single images seizing that whole essence. (Ehren Clark)
Alpine Art, 430 E. South Temple, 801-355-1155, through Feb. 14, free. AlpineArtInc.com

Sidnie White Crawford: Scribes, Scrolls & Scriptures
Discovered in a cave by a shepherds in 1947, the collection of manuscripts that are now commonly referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls consists mostly of non-biblical texts. But what biblical texts are there represent the oldest known copies of most of the books of the Hebrew bible.
Professor Sidnie White Crawford—a scholar in Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls and textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible—will deliver a lecture in conjunction with The Leonardo’s exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls called Scribes, Scrolls & Scriptures: What the Dead Sea Scrolls Teach Us About the Old Testament. Crawford will discuss not only the importance of the found biblical-related scrolls, but also how the other collected manuscripts can help shed light on the local culture that existed during the important canonization of the biblical texts—theories like why the only biblical book not represented in the found collection is Esther, and how the local inhabitants may have disregarded it because she was a Jew who disappointingly married a Persian king. (Jacob Stringer)
The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, 801-531-9800, Jan. 23, 7 p.m., free. TheLeonardo.org

SB Dance: Strange Beast Studio Bar
Ask a dancer to describe a pre-performance rehearsal and you’ll likely hear words like: long, tedious, repetitive. Turn rehearsal time over the Salt Lake’s innovative SB Dance Company, however, and you get a party. During the two days leading up to the Saturday performance of The Little Beast of SB Dance, curious onlookers are invited into the rehearsal space for an event known as the Strange Beast Studio Bar—one night with these dancers obviously isn’t enough. The creative process and the hard work of fine-tuning a dance will be on display all evening Thursday and Friday in the rehearsal studio. And the company welcomes audience members to make the experience interactive. Go ahead, throw out an observation or a suggestion—but watch out, they just might drag you out onstage to show off your moves. Luckily, you’ll have already lost your inhibitions by the time you end up on stage, thanks to the on-site cash bar serving Epic beer and Five Wives vodka. The party will culminate on Saturday night with The Little Beast of SB Dance, a “behindthe-scenes journey into SB Dance’s laboratory,” an annual performance that samples some of the company’s most sexy, athletic and terrifying work. (Katherine Pioli)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Jan. 23-24, 5 p.m., free; The Little Beast of SB Dance @ Rose Wagner Center, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., $20. SBDance.com

Marion Jensen: Almost Super
What child hasn’t dreamed of obtaining a superpower? And that desire is not just a wish of children; even adults have moments when a particular superpower would come in handy, like maybe X-ray vision. That said, not every supepower would have an obvious advantage—like those bestowed upon the main characters in Marion Jensen’s debut novel, Almost Super. This story explores the journey of two brothers born into a family of superheroes, who finally receive their super-lame superpowers of striking matches on polyester and the ability to turn a belly button from an innie to an outie. The brothers are then charged with using their seemingly inconsequential powers to help protect the world from evil alongside their other family members, and even their archnemesis. Middle-grade readers will enjoy the brothers’ unique heroics, funny antics and gumption as they navigate their world. (Aimee Cook O’Brien)

The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801- 484-7100, Jan. 23, 7 p.m., free with book purchase. KingsEnglish.com

FRIDAY JAN. 24

Pioneer Theatre Company: A Few Good Men
Jack Nicholson bellowing “You can’t handle the truth!” at Tom Cruise in the 1992 film version of A Few Good Men is a case where a line takes on a life of its own and grows to the point where it overshadows the work it originally came from. “You can’t handle the truth!” has become an everyday joke you toss off to friends when they ask you how you make such good coffee. But before Nicholson gave us all a go-to phrase, A Few Good Men debuted on Broadway in 1989 as the first big success for writer Aaron Sorkin—yes, the Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, Moneyball, The Newsroom, etc. Beyond Nicholson’s line, the play offers an intriguing courtroom drama about the murder of a U.S. Marine in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. See the play and you’ll find out what a “Code Red” is—that is, if you can handle the truth. (Geoff Griffin)
Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-6961, Jan. 24-Feb. 8, $33-$39. PioneerTheatre.org

Tacita Dean’s JG: The Spiral Jetty Existentially
The subject of the Great Salt Lake and the Spiral Jetty is currently at the forefront on the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ artistic agenda. Beginning with Alfred Lambourne’s poetic painterly visions of the lake currently on display, the subject has now become material for contemporary English artist and filmmaker Tacita Dean, who quite literally sees the lake and the Jetty through a new lens: a 35mm camera. Dean’s film JG—named after J.G. Ballard’s science-fiction short story “The Voices of Time”—is a new investigation of nature: playful, visionary, thrilling, strange and mesmerizing. UMFA has constructed a 35mm projection booth within its first-floor galleries to show JG, which, according to the UMFA, explores notions of “time and place.” Dean explores the land art independently of materiality or space, including a focus on duration. More than most contemporary sculpture, Robert Smithson’s land art has allowed those who have studied it over the decades to consider temporality as it applies to the longevity of art, both in subject and in physical existence. JG grapples with this existential factor on an astute level, through a juxtaposition of images that have captured the Spiral Jetty from many perspectives over a span of time. (Ehren Clark)
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah, 801-581-7332, Jan. 24-May 4; artist talk Jan. 24, 5 p.m., Dumke Auditorium, free. UMFA.Utah.edu
 
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