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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / CW Arts Picks /  Essentials: Entertainment Picks Feb. 6-12
CW Arts Picks

Essentials: Entertainment Picks Feb. 6-12

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // February 6,2014 -

THURSDAY FEB. 6

Jeff Ross
Jeff Ross has a well-earned nickname in the entertainment industry-and it's a rather fitting one, too. Following in the footsteps of old masters such as Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett, Ross has perfected the artful sling of the insult, making him the Roast Master General. It is an art; taking someone down with a witty barb is harder than it looks. It has to be personal enough to sting, yet not personal to the point where you come off as jealous or simply mean. Ross has sharpened his wit to the point that it can cut straight to the bone of his target without severing any arteries. In fact, Ross has become so good at delivering biting barbs that he literally wrote the book on the matter: I Only Roast the Ones I Love: Busting Balls Without Burning Bridges. Of course, the simplest way to be able to deliver a great zinger is to use self-deprecating humor to your advantage, as Ross does. It's hard to blame the snarker when they themselves admit to being a complete idiot at the same time they're taking down Shaq or David Hasselhoff. As part of his "Roast You" tour, Ross also invites audience members onto the stage to take part in an impromptu neighborhood roast. If anybody has proven that he can pull off taking down the local librarian with a few bawdy jokes, or poking fun at your neighbor and his insane yard decorations, it's everybody's favorite Roast Master General. (Jacob Stringer)
Jeff Ross @ Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main, Park City, 435-649-9371, Feb. 6-8, 8 p.m., $39-$70. EgyptianTheatreCompany.org

Connie Borup: Waterscapes
Water assumes a meditative serenity and gentle motion in "A Surface Story" by Connie Borup. Perched on the bank of this tranquility is a small aspen with leaves arching over the water. The leaves have an airy randomness, casting a capricious reflection on the water. Only with this essential reflection are the distinctive qualities of this surface made manifest. Landscape painting is the primary art subject of Utah's past and present, making it difficult for any of the numberless landscape artists to make a significant mark; few truly stand out from the rest. Without using inventive processes, Borup is nevertheless a standout landscapist, currently with a solo show at Phillips Gallery. How she manages to accomplish the exceptional requires a unique vision of her subject. Though landscape painters most often alter their subject, in accordance with the methodology of the form, Borup instead works with it to create lush, clear compositions, bringing out the natural essential substance. Along with "A Surface Story," other canvases demonstrate equally rich and lucid surface views of water energized by their immediate environments-flora, boulders, reflections, grasses- acting as a proscenium for the water. As the focus, water is brought to life by reflection, light, shadow, ripple, current or variation in hue and tonality. The environmental features appear purposeful; what could have been only a mass of color instead reveals the beauty of each unique surface. (Ehren Clark)
Connie Borup: Waterscapes @ Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284, through Feb. 14, free. Phillips-Gallery.com

Perspective Realia: Real World Art
Since 2003, the unique University of Utah program Perspective Realia has brought student artists out of the studio space to participate in the planning, facilitating and creation of street art alongside student art historians who've been given a respite from studying to take part in the project. Finch Lane is currently hosting Perspective Realia: Ten Years of Urban Art, celebrating the success of what amounts to five miles of painted murals presented in 21 prints with video on the subject of urban art planning. "Street art" is a term applied to the synthesis between graffiti, street installation, spray paint, tagging and murals, within their contemporary urban landscape. Mural creation requires exacting collaborations in planning, officiating and production. For those choosing to pursue art as an occupation, this experience will be invaluably insightful. (Ehren Clark)
Perspective Realia: Real World Art @ Art Barn, 54 Finch Lane, 801-596-5000, through March 7, free. SLCGov.com/arts/vizarts


FRIDAY FEB. 7

Ballet West: The Sleeping Beauty
Hardly a child today is not familiar with the beloved tale of Sleeping Beauty, first published by Charles Perrault in 1697. The story has everything a fairy tale should: a lost princess, handsome princes, magical fairies and strange spells. And through the centuries the story has been told in many forms, including an 1890 ballet originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and scored by Tchaikovsky. This week, Ballet West presents The Sleeping Beauty, which easily makes it onto the list of the 10 most famous, must-see ballets along with The Nutcracker and Swan Lake-also with original choreography and music by Petipa and Tchaikovsky. It begins at the christening of the newborn Princess Aurora, when an uninvited guest-Carabosse, the Fairy of Jealousy-casts an evil spell cursing the princess to die by the prick of a spindle. The remaining acts follow Aurora as she pricks her finger on her 16th birthday, sending the entire kingdom into a deep magical sleep to be broken only by the kiss of a prince. The colorful performance includes a large and enchanted cast that includes, along with Aurora and the royal court, six fairies, princes from the four corners of the earth, and a contingent of fairy-tale characters including Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. And in order to reinvigorate a ballet that might seem slow to modern-day audiences, Artistic Director Adam Sklute has produced a newly conceived ballet with the help of choreographers Pam Robinson-Harris and the late Mark Goldweber. (Katherine Pioli)
Ballet West: The Sleeping Beauty @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355- 2787, Feb. 7-9 & 12-16, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays & Sundays, $29-$79. BalletWest.org

Salt Lake Acting Company: Grant & Twain
Playwrights and authors have long been drawn to the interactions between famous artists, statesmen and celebrities-sometimes real, sometimes speculative. New York playwright Elizabeth Diggs, in her Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award winner Grant & Twain, was able to explore the real-life friendship between two American icons: Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain. Set in 1883-84, the story deals with the years in which Twain is approaching completion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, while Grant is bankrupt after having been defrauded in a Ponzi scheme. The celebrated author, looking to help the Civil War hero restore his reputation after personal setbacks and scandals during his presidential administration, encourages Grant to write his memoirs-an enterprise Twain is willing to put much of his own money into financing, even as Grant battles cancer. In the sesquicentennial year of Grant taking command of the Union armies, this worldpremiere production provides a uniquely intimate look at a friendship of mutual respect and inspiration. (Scott Renshaw)
Grant & Twain
@ Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, 801- 363-7522, Feb. 7-March 2, $24-$39. SaltLakeActingCompany.org


SATURDAY FEB. 8

Midway Ice Castles
In the mountains of the Heber Valley, a small group of farmers figured out how to grow a locally produced, natural product that can be harvested daily throughout the coldest months of the year: icicles. At the Ice Castles in Midway, the ice makers use the cold temperatures to grow icicles every day. They use those icicles to build the skeleton for various formations and then spray them with water at night until it freezes into a sturdy, solid object. After doing that day after day through an entire mountain winter, they've built walls of ice well over 10 feet tall that run for dozens of yards in multiple directions. The result is a genuine winter wonderland. You'll feel like you ended up in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoon as you wander through slot canyons with ice walls running up on either side of you. There's also a maze, continuously running fountains, an ice slide and countless nooks and crannies to crawl into and take photos. The property is open in the afternoons, when you can watch the sun play off the ice in a hundred different shades of blue, but the experience is most impressive at night-the formations are lit from the inside, giving the setting a magical feel. The Ice Castles are scheduled to stay open through Feb. 20 (weather permitting). If Midway stays cold, they could stay open beyond that. (Kathleen Curry & Geoff Griffin)
Ice Castles @ 150 W. 100 North, Midway, through Feb. 20, closed Sundays, $5-$10. IceCastles.com/Midway

Edward Lewis Theatre Festival
In 2010, several local theater companies banded together to honor Edward Lewis, the pioneering founder of African-American-themed theater company People Productions, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2009. Then these companies presented portions of upcoming works on African-American themes-but the concept has evolved for 2014. People Productions has been re-imagined as Radical Hospitality Theatre, exploring dramatic works focusing on a variety of ethnic experiences. But the Edward Lewis Festival continues, presenting a two-day showcase of free readings from Utah theater companies. Highlights include portions of Salt Lake Acting Company's April production 4000 Miles, about a young man coming to New York and staying with his 91-year-old grandmother; Good Company Theatre presenting August Wilson's Fences and Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, about Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before his assassination; and Radical Hospitality offering Ted Shine's Contribution. Musical selections from local artists will bridge the performances. (Scott Renshaw)
Edward Lewis Theatre Festival @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8400, Feb. 8, 2-4 p.m., Feb. 9, 1-3 p.m., free. SLCPL.org


TUESDAY FEB. 11

Gallim Dance: Blush
What happens to the body and the mind in the precise moment when we break out in a blush? Be it embarrassment, shyness or stimulation, the blush is a unique physiological occurrence triggered from deep within our psyches. Something seemingly personal and private becomes publicly exhibited. This is the framework for the award-winning modern-dance piece Blush, choreographed by Utah native Andrea Miller. First developed at Jacob's Pillow in 2009, the evening-length work premiered at the Joyce SoHo in New York City to rave reviews. Set to music by Manyfingers, Andrzej Przybytkowski, Chopin, Kap Bambino, Arvo Part and Wolf Parade, Miller's movement is filled with athleticism and strong imagery over the course of a riveting 60 minutes. The key ingredient that Miller seems to excel at is tension. Whether it's tension created between dancers, or between performers and the audience itself, there's a palpable pressure created onstage that propels the piece forward-much like the catalyst for an actual blush. (Jacob Stringer)
Gallim Dance: Blush @ Marriott Center for Dance, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, Feb. 11-12, 7:30 p.m., $29.50. KingTix.com

Willy Vlautin: The Free
It's not all that surprising when singer-songwriters try their creative hand at penning a novel or two. Perhaps after working on storytelling through lyrics, the leap to longform writing just feels natural. Unfortunately, being good at one thing doesn't guarantee your abilities in the other. But Willy Vlautin-of the alt-country band Richmond Fontaine-has managed that transition well. Having penned three previous literary novels (The Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete), Vlautin's newest book, The Free, has him exploring the same realist voice that resonated so honestly in his earlier work. Set in the West that he knows so well, The Free follows three people down and out in modern America. Struggling with depression, financial ruin and the monotony of daily routines, the three characters are faced with the task of finding meaning and connection while surrounded by hopeless banality. Although it sounds like a bit of a downer, Vlautin's focus is more on the reality of life-and yes, sometimes that can be sunny as well. Vlautin will read from and sign The Free at the event (Jacob Stringer)
Willy Vlautin: The Free @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484- 9100, Feb. 11, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com

 
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