By Jacob Stringer
University of Utah associate professor Stephen Koester has had a long history of presenting innovative and intriguing modern dance. After a successful initial venture in the spring of 2007, DANCE KOESTER DANCE returns to the stage for an evening of choreography aimed at exploring the depths of humanity with enigmatic questions such as WHO WE ARE?
Koester explains that presently he is “more interested in the person doing the steps than the steps themselves…In dance, sometimes our involvement and concentration in the moment is so honest and intense that we transcend consciousness. No longer aware that we are performing, dancing or being observed, we step out of time and in that luminous moment, we may reveal a purer sense of self. Unfortunately, when performing, we often substitute one definition of self with another, that of the ‘performer/dancer’, which I see as equally removed from one’s true self. While my attempt to reveal the stripped person may be impossible, it remains a choreographic driving force.”
It is specifically that driving force that compels Koester to create such athletic and intricate movement—movement that he further describes as animalistically raw, “like a den of snakes coiling about themselves without a second thought.” With that kind of foundation, Who We Are? becomes less a strict dance performance and more like chapters of packaged energy creatively assaulting every last social construct you may hold dear.
Dance Koester Dance: Who We Are? @ Rose Wagner Center Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, 355-ARTS, Sept. 4-6, 7:30 p.m. 355 ArtTix.org.
By Kris Heitkamp
There are two kinds of people: Greeks, and those who wish they were Greek, who attend the GREEK FESTIVAL. Or those who are just in the mood for delicious Mediterranean delicacies, good wines and big Greek family hospitality. The festival offers an authentic experience of fabulous Greek traditions. The event’s food alone has been given many kudos (Greek root: kud, meaning glory, fame) for its gyros, baklava and dolmathes.
With your beverage in hand, get in line for a plate of warm sticky sweet loukoumathes (a deep-fried donut puff with honey drizzle) and snag a seat in front of the main stage to watch performances of traditional folk dancing like the Tsamiko dance, a Pan-Hellenic dance with fierce stomping and acrobatic jumping that will motivate the sedentary to a little toe tapping. Stroll the scene. Check out the Hellenic museum. Shop the jewelry and fashion booths. Or just sip your drink, savor your spanakopita, people watch and socialize. For those suffering from anthropophobia (Greek roots: anthropos, man plus phobos, fear) or who generally dislike large crowds, consider a weekday or early afternoon visit. During the festival’s three days, more than 50,000 visitors meander through the event.
Think you can’t make it? Too tired? Too broke? The ethnic spices will stir your sleepy senses and admission is only $3 (partial proceeds from the festival are used to support local charities). So spray some Windex on your excuse and come partake in the fun.
Greek Festival @ Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, 328-9681, Sept. 4-7. SaltLakeGreekFestival.com
By Kris Heitkamp
So a cock, a heifer and a pig walk into a bar. The sweaty swine snorts as he turns to the bartender and squeals “Which way to the Elvis Extravaganza?” The barkeep nods his head, “You looking for the UTAH STATE FAIR?” The cock lets out an excited cluck and a bubble of methane floats from the nervous heifer’s hind. “So what you’re gonna want to do is take a left out of the parking lot and …”
There is only one place in all of Utah where one can find an Elvis impersonation contest, pet an Angus (and eat the poor heifer’s cousin in the neighboring Beef Feast tent) and watch popular country singer-songwriter Chris Cagle: The Utah State Fair. It has a little bit of everything: livestock, living arts, agriculture, cook-offs and even a demolition derby. Test your strength with the strongest man competition, tempt your taste buds with the local treats and increase your agricultural knowledge with the diverse display of fruits and veggies. However, if you have an aversion toward fruit flies and acidic smells, visit early in the fair’s run rather than during the closing days.
It’s fun to stroll around the park grounds with candy apple in hand and visit all the sights. Pet a prize-winning sheep—don’t worry, hand sanitizer is provided—peruse the blue-ribbon photography and check out the plethora of diversions. Most entertainment events are free with paid admission at the gate. So go local and enjoy Utah’s finest and out-of-the-ordinary.
Utah State Fair @ Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, 538-8400, Sept. 4-14. UtahStateFair.com
here&now Other New Happenings This Week
MICHAEL MOUNTAIN The founder of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary reads from and signs his new book Dogtown. Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main, 328-2586, Thursday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m. SamWellers.com
DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN The hit celebration of chauvinism returns to Park City starring Michael Van Osch. Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City, 435-649-9371, Sept. 4-6, ParkCityShows.com
“MASSACRE AT MOUNTAIN MEADOWS” PANEL DISCUSSION Scholars and historians discuss the event and critique the new book. Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, Friday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m. SLCPL.lib.ut.us
CONTEMPORARY UTAH LANDSCAPES Contrasts from Michelle Condrat’s impressionist Utah landscapes and Aaron Bushnell’s urban cityscapes. Contemporary Design and Art Gallery, 127 S. Main, 809-6562, Sept. 1-30. Artist reception Sept. 5, 6-10 p.m. NewArt4Utah.com
DOWNTOWN PROVO GALLERY STROLL The Utah Valley arts scene is heating up. Be part of it. Various venues, 836-5326, Friday, Sept. 5, 6-9 p.m. DowntownProvo.org
GANGRENE FILM FESTIVAL The ninth annual collection of comedy shorts. Ed Kenley Amphitheater, 403 N. Wasatch Dr., Layton, 544-8989, Friday, Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m. GangreneProductions.com
WASATCH COMMUNITY GARDENS TOMATO SANDWICH PARTY Celebrate the locally grown spirit with handmade sandwiches and live music. Grateful Tomato Garden, 600 East & 800 South, 359-2658, Saturday, Sept. 6, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. WasatchGardens.org
WRITING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Salt Lake Tribune editor Elbert Peck and letters contributor Lou Borgenicht teach you how to vent your spleen. Community Writing Center, 210 E. 400 South #8, 957-4992, Sept. 8-10. SLCC.edu/CWC
HOW TO LOOK AT A PAINTING Utah Museum of Fine Arts curator Virginia Catherall and program intern Annie Burbidge Ream discuss basics of art appreciation. Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m.
VEGGIETALES: GOD MADE YOU SPECIAL LIVE! And you thought anthropomorphic produce was weird when it was computer-animated. Utah State Fair Grandstand, 155 N. 1000 West, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m. UtahStateFair.com