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Home / Articles / Guides / Artys /  Artys 2008 | Staff Picks Page all
Artys

Artys 2008 | Staff Picks Page all

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // September 10,2008 - /
BEST LEAP FORWARD
Ballet West’s
Innovations
Inside every great classically trained ballet dancer, there is a choreographer aching to create an original work. Ballet West’s Innovations program showcased three fresh, exciting, and … well, innovative original world premiere works created by company dancers for company dancers. Artistic Director Adam Sklute was so pleased with the dancers’ magnificent achievements and the audience’s enthusiastic reception, Innovations is slated to become an annual addition to Ballet West’s season. 323-6900, BalletWest.org

BEST DANCE SAMPLER
Studio D
Have you ever wished that you could see a little Ballet West, a bit of Repertory Dance Theater, and a dash of Ririe-Woodbury all on the same evening? Thanks to Studio D—an annual program dedicated to offering affordable tickets to young audience members—you can. Ballet and modern dance never merged so seamlessly—especially since the audience is allowed to drink and snack throughout the performance. Now that’s brilliance. StudioDUtah.org

BEST BEEHIVE BURLESQUE
Slippery Kittens
Recently featured on TV’s America’s Got Talent, the Slippery Kittens Burlesque Troupe count David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff among their growing fan base. Composed of sexy ladies of varying shapes, sizes and tattoo coverage, this all-mom group is helping put the age-old art of burlesque back on the map—as well as their home state of Utah. SlipperyKittens.com

BEST HALF-KIWI HUNCHBACK COMEDIAN
Dave Metcalfe
“Once you go hunchback, you’ll never go back” boasts Metcalfe’s fan group, “The Hunch Nation.” And with good reason. From his many comedy-festival wins to sharing the stage with comedy heavyweights like Frank Caliendo and Lewis Black, this Utah-based New Zealand expat turns what some may call a handicap into a laugh-filled comedy riot, delighting local and national audiences. DaveTheHunch.com

BEST DIRECTING DOUBLE-PLAY
Keven Myhre, Moonlight & Magnolias and The Clean House
His dynamic sets have long been a highlight of Salt Lake Acting Company productions, but Myhre has begun to show how much magic he can work when he’s running the whole shebang. The 2007-2008 season showed the range of his directing talents, beginning with a terrific sense of screwball slapstick in Moonlight & Magnolias. But he hit even greater heights with his staging of The Clean House, including magnificent, surreal use of stage space and creative elements like scene “captions” on video monitors. The conventional wisdom may be that theater is a medium for writers and actors, but Myhre’s doing his best to apply the auteur theory to local theater. SaltLakeActingCompany.com

/BEST POETRY COLLECTIVE
Salt City Slam
Making their bones hosting regular Saturday night open mic-nights, Salt City Slam recently represented the Beehive State at the prestigious 2008 National Poetry Slam in Milwaukee. Ranking in the top 50 among spoken-word artists at the festival, Utah’s NPS team continually seeks out and grooms new talent during poetry slams at Baxter’s Coffee, 1615 S. State. MySpace.com/SaltCitySlam

BEST DEPARTING ARTIST
Olivia Glascock
Known for her sometimes controversial mixed-media paintings, often defying the patriarchal conventions of the female role in society, artist Olivia Glascock now calls Boston home, as she pursues her graduate studies at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. However, with her exquisite work on display in both private and public collections throughout the state, Glascock’s feminine influence on the Utah art scene will still be felt for years to come. OliviaGlasscock.com

BEST MUSICAL NEWCOMER
Salty Cricket Composers Collective
Yes, it could be called classical music. But wait a second before you turn away: Salty Cricket concerts are unlike anything you’ve seen before, in any genre. The collective is a group of local composers who got tired of having no venue to play their music, so they started their own series. Their performances might include video projection, traditional opera vocals, or a piano/banjo combo. You’re almost guaranteed not to like some of it, but it will open your ears to the possibilities—and demonstrate talent you didn’t know was here. SaltyCricket.org

BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN
Poor Yorick Studios’ open house
Held every spring and fall, the artist collective’s open houses are a chance to see dozens of local artists’ work in one fell swoop. It’s also an astonishing array of more beautiful people than you thought could possibly live in Salt Lake City. For that alone, it’s a refreshing experience. Mark your calendar for Sept. 26-27 (“private” party 6-10 p.m. Sept. 26 and public open house 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 27), and start putting together your outfit now. Poor Yorick Studios, 126 W. 2590 South, 759-8681

GUTSIEST (AHEM) SPOKEN-WORD SHOW
“Blood, Fertility and Magic”
Ken Sanders had second thoughts about saying yes to the show at his bookstore in May when he considered what could happen with four very pregnant performers in one room. But poets Melissa Bond and Sara Caldiero, plus photographer Cat Palmer and artist Kindra Fehr, pulled off an energetic night of ruminations on their impending motherhood without a single broken-water episode.

BEST LECTURES BY THE NUMBERS
Salt Lake City Public Library’s Dewey Lecture Series
The classification system for general knowledge known as the Dewey Decimal System, developed by Melvil Dewey, has brought order to our understanding of the world. As part of the Salt Lake City Main Library’s celebration of its new digs back in 2003, a free monthly lecture series was established utilizing that system as a framework. Going strong still, the lecture series has brought such notables as William Safire to speak on language and continues with such speakers as Bel Canto author Ann Patchett. 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, SLCPL.lib.ut.us

/MOST PRECOCIOUS PERFORMANCE
Erica Richardson, Caroline, or Change
As the lead in Wasatch Theatre Company’s production of Tony Kushner’s play, the 20-something Richardson was convincing as a 37-year-old housekeeper and single mother facing racial discrimination in 1960s New Orleans. With an impressive voice that never wavered and a larger-than-life personality, she led her castmates and their audience into a complete suspension of disbelief. We forgot that this was a small-budget company in a state with a tiny black population, and remembered only that we came away caring about this character. WasatchTheatre.com

BEST REASON TO SPEND TIME IN A BARN
Guest Writers Series at the Art Barn
The University of Utah Department of English and Creative Writing Program co-sponsor this free monthly reading series with the Salt Lake City Arts Council. Not only do they bring first-rate authors in from all over the world, they ensure diversity by selecting from a variety of genres—e.g. essayist Jo Ann Beard, experimental fiction writer Ben Marcus and poet Arthur Sze. Just to make sure the Thursday evenings in the barn live up to their full potential, two different authors are scheduled for every reading. 54 Finch Lane, 801-596-5000, SLCGov.com/Arts

BEST ATTEMPT TO DEFINE ART
Salt Lake Art Center Art Talks
These informal discussions provide the opportunity to engage with artists, critics, curators and historians regarding each and every exhibition at the Salt Lake Art Center. With subjects ranging from “Defining Art and the Artist” to “The Role of Art Institutions,” lectures typically run an hour and include a presentation and a question/answer period for audience participation. With approximately 35 Art Talks every year, you have ample opportunity to learn how to define art through this uniquely educating series. 20 S. West Temple, 328-4201, SLArtCenter.org

BEST CONVERSATION-STARTER
Salt Lake City Reads Together Book Club
For all the controversy that our illustrious former mayor helped instigate, Rocky Anderson started something enjoyable and inarguably innocuous for all with his citywide book club. Although not necessarily as successful as he may have wished—he imagined virtual strangers everywhere talking about the same piece of literature at bus stops, picnic benches and public queues—the idea was a good one and the reading torch undoubtedly should be picked up by our new mayor, Ralph Becker. SLCReads.com

BEST SUNDANCE SCREENINGS A LITTLE LATER
Sundance Institute Documentary Series and Outdoor Film Series
We all know that, every January, the Sundance Film Festival inundates Utah in a way that makes it increasingly difficult to navigate to see the entries. So how does one go about seeing such great films without all that headache and hassle? Running at different times throughout the year, these two free series provide the best opportunities to view both award-winning documentaries like My Kid Could Paint That and past festival favorites such as the Coen Brothers’ classic Raising Arizona. Sundance.org

BEST REASON TO QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
Salt Lake Film Society screenwriting workshop
The Salt Lake Film Society created its annual Utah Screenwriters Project to provide those interested in screenwriting the opportunity to learn everything it takes to create a screenplay, from writing narrative and engaging dialogue to finding an agent and marketing their work. To up the ante, several fellowships—including prizes such as grants, the use of a production team provided by Fast Eddie Productions and screenwriting software—are awarded to the best of the graduating scripts. SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

BEST USE OF MEMORY FOAM
The Weight of Memory, Repertory Dance Theatre
RDT’s final performance of its season this past year was an evening-length work by choreographers Della Davidson and Ellen Bromberg, based upon text written by Karen Brennan. Besides the innovative choreography and intriguing way the group wove various multi-media projections and spoken word into the piece, the use of good old memory foam to temporarily record the movements and impressions of the dancers was wholly captivating. RDTUtah.org

/BEST NON-RETIREMENT
Ai Fujii Nelson
After eight seasons with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, the Japanese native finally decided to call it quits. Known throughout the community for her intelligence, beauty and fluidity upon the stage, she can still be seen, larger-than life, gracing the banners hanging on the face of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Luckily for Utah, instead of simply bowing out, Fujii Nelson will still be active within the arts community here in Salt Lake City, playing with Brazilian drum core and dance companies Jinga Boa and Samba Fogo. RirieWoodbury.com

/BEST IRISH “SESSION”
Monday nights at The Republican
It’s the best (not to mention only) weekly session in town. Players of traditional instruments—from fiddles to tin whistles to the uilleann pipes (a bagpipe-like instrument held under the arm)—gather each Monday to play jigs and reels. Anyone who can play is welcome and there is a different cast each week. Others are learning. For the listener enjoying a pint it’s like a quick trip to Ireland. Musicians begin showing up around 7 p.m.; music is in full swing by 8. 917 S. State, 801-595-1916, www.uilleann.org/Events-Sessions.html

BEST PLACE TO MEET COOL LITERARY TYPES
Utah Humanities Book Festival
Now in its 11th year, the festival actually takes place all over the state, in cities from Brigham City to St. George. Held every autumn at the Salt Lake City Public Library, the festival gathers local and national authors discussing their creative inspirations, engaging with readers’ responses, and offering advice to writers/groupies. But really, it’s a great place to meet people who share your like-minded passion for reading—of stuff other than Harry Potter. The Utah Humanities Book Festival, Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Oct. 22-25, UtahHumanities.org/BookFestival.htm

BEST STAGE DANCE WRANGLER
Patti D’Beck, Pioneer Theatre Company
She may call Virginia Commonwealth University home as an instructor, but she’s made her presence felt so strongly in local theater over the past decade that it feels like she’s one of us. For years, D’Beck has been PTC’s go-to choreographer for lavish productions like Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies and Smokey Joe’s Café. This season, she made the most of two plum assignments. Last fall, she energized Paint Your Wagon with a rousing full-cast hoedown. And in the spring, she took the familiar choreography elements of Mel Brooks’ The Producers and gave them her own distinctive touch. If you’ve been dazzled by dancing on a Salt Lake City stage, it’s a good bet D’Beck was responsible. PioneerTheatre.org

BEST LOCAL PODCAST
A Damn Podcast
So named because of hosts “Adam” (Sherlock and Palcher), this freewheeling duo rates a bevy of new entries filing their way to the screen, from comedies Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express to more serious fare. They also provide lessons in flexography, looking back at great works like Apocalypse Now and Annie Hall. Top five lists like “Best Relationship Films” and “Worst Movie Titles” provide fodder for impassioned ranting without going off the deep end. Their style is breezy yet educating enough that you’re glued to your earbuds as fixedly as the silver screen. ADamnPodcast.com

BEST NEW GALLERY/CULTURAL HUB
Mestizo Coffeehouse
Mestizo opened for a few months in 2002 as part of the Cultural Olympics, then closed. After six years in which their dream of a haven for Latino and other artists on the west side of town lie dormant, Mestizo Gallery owners Ruby Chacon and Terry Hurst reopened just west of the North Temple overpass, with a new site serving coffee, art and poetry that’s brighter, larger, more versatile and, most importantly, friendlier than before. Residents responded with help in everything from construction to business planning to help create a place for people from diverse cultures to congregate and forge stronger bonds of community. 631 W. North Temple, Ste. 700, 596-0500. MestizoCoffeehouse.com

/BEST PROMISING ARTIST
Jared Gillett
Gillett is an up-and-coming artist who is known for his larger-than-life muddy cows who stare back at you with a “WTF?” attitude. And his retro toy robots paintings (“Masudaya Robot” is pictured above left) are clever pieces on childhood simplicity. But the paintings that seem to stand out capture the color, essence and style of suburban life of the 1970s and 1980s. Their snapshot essence can be seen in paintings such as “Eric’s Bicycle,” “Vanagon” and “March, 1981.” A promising artist with his best surely yet to come, catch his work at Magpie’s Nest, David Ericson Fine Art and Phoenix Gallery. JaredGillett.com

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src=data/449BBE6E-021E-D69E-7A3370304BA7D31B/userData/Image/080911/artys_coverstory/StaffPicks.jpgBEST EYE FOR UTAH NOSTALGIA
Paul Heath
A self-described love of Salt Lake City and nostalgia, Heath frolics liberally with both in his paintings. On his Website he describes his style as “pop-nostalgia.” Several of Heath’s whimsical paintings of Salt Lake urban landmarks are hanging throughout September at the downtown wine store at 255 S. 300 East. Look for Dee’s Hamburgers signs (“Dee’s Clown” is pictured below), funky old North Temple motels and lots of beehive motifs. With regional artist Donna Pence, Heath is finishing a glass mosaic for the new fire station in Emigration Canyon. A great artist for a pretty, great state. PaulHeathArt.com

BEST BOOK ON PIONEER CANNIBALS
Desparate Passage: The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West by Ethan Rarick
That poor Donner Party just can’t get a break from our lurid fascination. In Rarick’s new account, he revisits that California-bound journey, revealing previously unpublished material that flesh out the story for a new audience. His gripping narrative details the mistakes and accomplishments that courageous individuals attempted in their desire for a better life, struggling against winter’s harsh nature that led some early pioneers to feast on each other for survival. Oxford University Press, 2008

BEST ARTIST WITH STAYING POWER
Trent Thursby Alvey
Mixed-media artist Alvey never rests. Whether it’s sculpture, painting or in her work with sound and light, Alvey has evolved, beautifully and unpredictably, during more than two decades of prolific output. She likes to explore places in her art where dualities come together and find common ground. A lover of Utah wilderness (serving for several years on the board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance), Alvey has journeyed into Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism and African culture, with profoundly spiritual paintings documenting those experiences. This past year, she exhibited work in Exposed, an installation to accompany the debut of Mary Dickson’s play of the same name and in Present Tense: A Post-337 Project at the Salt Lake Art Center. TrentThursbyAlvey.com

BEST TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Hooligan: A Mormon Boyhood by Douglas Thayer.
Thayer’s memoir about growing up in Utah County during the Great Depression reminds us of how easy it used to be to be a kid, particularly when there was limited adult intervention. Thayer grew up with “Mormonism seeping into our blood and bones,” but he has an excellent memory for the way LDS doctrines made sense to a young boy who preferred exploring outdoors to sitting in church. Zarahemla Books

BEST SPOOKY READ
Lost Landscapes: Utah’s Ghosts, Mysterious Creatures, and Aliens by Linda Dunning

From the Bear Lake Monster to Bigfoot to unwanted passengers on Route 666, Dunning brings together tales of the paranormal from across the Beehive State. Although she gives each story a thorough examination through the lenses of history and science, what makes the book enjoyable are Dunning’s observations about the nature of belief, which she sums up by stating, “If we stop imagining those things both real and unreal, then we stop being human altogether.” Cedar Fort, 2007

BEST NEW FICTION WRITER
Ben Roberts
One big buzz at the 2008 Writers at Work Conference in Salt Lake City swirled around fiction fellowship winner Ogden resident Roberts, a 2006 graduate of Weber State University in radiological science. The plot of the story he submitted, “The Three Nephites,” revolves around a group of friends at various levels of their faith in Mormonism, and a tragic choice and its consequences. Visiting instructor and best-selling author Steve Almond called Roberts’ voice “absolutely fearless, ecstatic and dangerously wise.” The story will appear in an upcoming issue of the University of Utah’s literary magazine Quarterly West, and Roberts—with any luck—has a big writing future.

BEST LIMITED SCREENS
Signed & Numbered
Located in the basement of Slowtrain Records downtown on Broadway, Leia Bell’s Signed & Numbered gallery/shop hits on the perfect mix of art snobbery (“I just bought print No. 3 of 500”) and on-a-budget availability (“Hey, there’s 497 left”). You’ll find prints by artists from around the world and down the street but, surprisingly, there’s only a small collection of Bell’s own acclaimed work on hand—S&N is less a vanity project than a poster art showcase. Plus, every month, Bell features “Bring It, Screen it,” wherein she’ll screen a select design on any piece of fabric you bring in for only $5. 221 E. Broadway (below Slowtrain Records), 801-596-2093, Signed-Numbered.com

BEST HYPNO-VET
Vincent Lords
It’s hard to recall a time when you didn’t hear the name Vincent Lords tossed around in local entertainment circles; the flashy, outspoken hypnotist has been performing locally since 1994. Maybe you remember when he broke magician David Blaine’s record for being buried alive in 2001 or his marathon weekend tenures at the Avalon Theater (five years, pre-rock venue) and the Murray Theater (three years, including a recent stint in the new Murray Super Theater). Or not: The local media, including City Weekly, hasn’t paid much heed to Lords’ tireless work, which may be why he’s taking his own headlining show on the road this fall (Utah date pending), with the intent of relocating his production to—where else?—Las Vegas. You’ll be able to say you knew him when … if he wills it. VincentLords.com, MySpace.com/VincentLords

BEST STAGE MOTHERS
Alexandra Harbold and Claudia Mejia, Living Out
It’s not easy to explore the topic of parenthood dramatically without becoming a cliché. In Pygmalion Theatre Company’s production of Living Out, two characters—one a working upwardly mobile new mother, the other her immigrant nanny—represent two sides of the phenomenon of parents who think they’re giving their children a better life by spending plenty of time away from them. And whether they’re onstage together or expressing their doubts individually, Harbold and Mejia give brilliant life to the complex choices faced by contemporary mothers. PygmalionProductions.org

BEST WEIGHTY DOCUMENTARY
Killer At Large
Local documentary filmmaker Steven Greenstreet explored the local manifestation of a national phenomenon in his Michael Moore-vs.-Sean Hannity study This Divided State. His follow-up project paints a bigger picture of an even more serious subject: the national epidemic of obesity. And the most fascinating aspect of his approach is how complex he makes the issue—a tangle of biology, sociology, psychology and even politics that makes it hard to toss off the old “eat less and exercise” rejoinder. This truly is film journalism, the kind of documentary that works precisely because it raises more questions than it answers. KillerAtLarge.com

BEST NEXT STEP
Present Tense: A Post-337 Project
From City Weekly contributor Cara’s Despain’s vertigo-inducing multi-media installation to Trent Call and Sri Whipple’s wall-mounted 3D-optional collaborative painting, Present Tense established itself as much more than just curtains on one of Salt Lake City’s most groundbreaking art projects. Featuring works by 25 artists/337 building participants, plus documentary photographs by Lewis Francis, the Campbell Gray-curated exhibit honored the memory of the original hands-on experiment while leaping forward to embrace a newly invigorated local visual arts community. 337Project.org

/BEST ’ZINE FOR THE BUCK
The Leviathan
Erstwhile columnist Mike Brown doesn’t pay the bills with his monthly SLUG magazine gig; if his lifestyle is really anything like the one documented sporadically in his self-published ’zine The Leviathan, who knows if the bills are being paid, period. He’s rightfully adamant about you forking over $2 (“Free shit is for hippies and dorks who use Craigslist. I’m trying to become a master capitalist!”) for his dizzyingly DIY mag, usually 28-ish pages of hysterical insights about whatever the hell’s on his mind at the moment, random celebrity encounters and the only remotely interesting writing about the Utah Jazz in town. Just give him his two bones and he’ll be on his way. MikeBrown@slugmag.com

BEST BARD UPDATE
Salt Lake Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
You be illin’ if you think the Bard is boring. Salt Lake Shakespeare proved as much with its summer update of Twelfth Night, turning the classic tale of mistaken identity inside out with the help of a few clever devices—a web cam, cell phones, 1990s-era costumes and musical sequences based on hit singles by Run-DMC and Twisted Sister. Watching Malvolio recite sweet nothings from a fake love letter while playing a mean air guitar and screaming old English to “We’re Not Going to Take It” added a hilarious dimension to the villainous character played by Whit Hertford (Provo native, Upright Citizens Brigade alum and voice behind Tiny Toons). The entire cast, comprised of U of U Actor Training Program students, brought new life to the classic, somewhat complicated, story and produced several Shakespeare converts through its deft manipulation of ribald humor.

/BEST PLACE TO HANG ART AND/OR HANG OUT
Ken Sanders Books
We say it every year, but for lovers of literature by Ed Abbey and Wallace Stegner, lovers of Western history and rare Mormon books, lovers of wilderness, national parks and the Colorado River, Ken Sanders’s got your number. Here, you can check out Sanders’ personal collection of vintage rock posters as well as work by exceptional and often unsung artists and photographers. He hosts frequent music and poetry performances to round out a Gallery Stroll or book signing. If you want to gauge Salt Lake City’s cultural vital signs, this jam-packed indie bookstore must be on your radar. 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819, KenSandersBooks.com

/BEST “SECRET” ART SHOW
Camilla Taylor at Kayo Gallery
It wasn’t really a “secret” secret; Salt Lake expat Camilla Taylor just made another in a long string of returns to the Beehive from her new home in Phoenix, another “print exchange” in which she challenges local artists to come up with a small series of works good enough that other artists want to exchange with them, but also that the public wants to look at and buy. This time, artists express their own innermost secrets, and it’s a fascinating look at psychological as well as aesthetic varieties of experience. It’s her last visit at the relocated Kayo Gallery before continuing her studies in Long Beach. 177 E. Broadway, 532-0080. KayoGallery.com

BEST SIGHT FOR SORE EYES
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Let’s face it: Utahns have had been treated to exceptional art exhibits in 2007-08. At the Springville Museum of Art, for example, the relaxed, playful work of Wayne Thiebaud was on display this summer in his 70 Years of Painting exhibition. The Salt Lake Art Center gave us a remarkable 30-year retrospective of Gaylen Hansen’s gigantic colorful animals and topped that off with this summer’s Present Tense: A Post 337 Project. But the Utah Museum of Fine Arts has gone the extra mile with last fall’s Andy Warhol’s Dream America and with the current Monet to Picasso from the Cleveland Museum of Art offering that includes masterworks by Renoir, Degas, Monet, van Gogh, Dalí, Picasso and Matisse. Utahns may be terminally spoiled by such visual largesse. Gather ye eye candy while ye may, people. 410 Campus Center Drive, 581-7332, UMFA.Utah.edu

BEST PLACE TO SHOP YOUR NOVEL
Writers at Work
Every June since 1985, this nonprofit has hosted an annual conference consisting of workshops, panels, readings and one-on-one meetings with agents and publishers. If you’ve started your book of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or memoir, this conference will introduce you to local writers and challenge you to move forward. It also sponsors a popular annual writers competition in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry genres of which Rick Bass and Pamela Houston were once winners. In 2009, the conference, which has long been associated with Westminster College, will return to its early roots and offer attendees a true retreat experience in Park City. WritersAtWork.org

BEST EXPLOITATION CINEMA SHOWCASE
Red Light Books
Nestled along Broadway, a crimson beacon of counterculture has been luring the denizens of the night out most Mondays to the Red Light. Down in the store’s basement, free classic exploitation films delight patrons who come to savor the classic grindhouse-style cinema of the 1970s. The modest space has infrequent concessions such as popcorn and vegan cupcakes as patrons take their seats on D.I. couches and plastic chairs. The real draw is the fantastic lineups from Shaw Brothers kung fu classics like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and The Five Venoms to vintage “blaxploitation” flicks like Coffey (where a vengeful, shotgun-wielding Pam Grier drops the bodies of drug pushers and junkies almost as fast as she drops her top). 179 E. Broadway, 355-1755

/BEST CONTROLLED CHAOS
Cein Watson
On paper—or wall, cloth, canvas, etc—Cein Watson’s works appear quite abstract, with graceful lines swooping up and around, in and out, over and under, in a stark, stately fashion. The concepts behind each creation, however, reflect mind-bending theories based on an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Watson’s 2005 exhibit Emergent Properties, for example, explored the interplay between innate ideas and their resulting valued objects. Since then, he’s mapped out metaphysical problems through a variety of mediums in galleries, boutiques and coffee shops. You can track down Watson on The-Rookery.com, a collaborative effort with Jen Sorensen, with services ranging from design to needlepoint. The-Rookery.com

BEST LIBERATING ART
A.C.E (Art and Creative Expression), Salt Lake Art Center and the Salt Lake County Metro Jail
In the Salt Lake Art Center, a display features small crayon sketches. Hands lashed together reach out to help free a turtle caught in a net; a stark three-headed figure breathes flames. The works are liberating to the artists, even if they themselves are not liberated. That’s because they’re Salt Lake Metro County Jail inmates, selected to take part in special six-week art programs. Since 2007, the program—founded by curator Jay Heuman and co-taught by Annie Kennedy and Rick Nast—has offered basic instruction in color theory, self-portraits, dimension, shading and famous art subjects, all leading up to inmates’ final projects being displayed at the art center. 20 S. West Temple, 328-4201

BEST GLIMPSE OF BIG BROTHER
Operation Salt: Surveillance, Gallery at Library Square
Just call it art imitating life at a time when it seems somebody is always watching you. In the era of wiretap immunities and the Patriot Act, when Big Brother has never been quite so big, the Surveillance installation used different media to look at the way we monitor ourselves, through video pieces, paintings and sculptures. “Surveillance” by Laina Thomas provided a split-screen display of security-camera footage of an office building where we see a janitor singing and dancing with her broom, a businessman asleep at his desk, empty hallways and store rooms. The piece is transposed with the soft sound of a bubbling fish tank, as if the viewer were peering in on a human fish bowl. Another piece paid homage to a Smith’s Fresh Values card as the way a grocer keeps tabs on loyal customers. 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200

BEST CHILDHOOD DREAM
Edie Roberson
Every July, Pilar Pobil hosts a three-day art soiree in her gorgeous Avenues mansion. Her neighbors gorge on catered food while contemplating paintings by Pobil and other local stars. This summer, one such artist was Edie Roberson. Her delightful celebrations of childhood, whether borrowing characters from Alice in Wonderland or reproducing old-fashioned kids’ toys socializing with purely adult expressions on their faces, evoke all the wonder of childhood innocence shot through with a knowing, if at times melancholic, adult humor. EdieRoberson.com

BEST EARLY-IMMERSION ART PROGRAM
The Visual Art Institute
Pottery, print, painting and studio facilities are not often readily available to the K-12 age group. And private lessons just aren’t the same as being in classes focused completely on art. The Visual Art Institute reels kids into an arts academy that aims to supplement their public school experience—and the best part is, it does. It gets them hooked on art while they are young, and keeps them thinking outside the box. 1838 S. 1500 East, 474-3796 VisualArtInstitute.org

BEST NEW BIG/SMALL ART SPOT
Sego Art Center
Provo art scene: fairly small. Roster of artists at the New Sego Art Center? Pretty big. And even though the space itself is also pretty small, it’s making a big splash in Happy Valley. With international, national, and local artists booked into 2010, and its programming and commitment to bringing contemporary art to Utah, Sego Art Center has brought an exciting new challenge to the region. Here’s to making that window to the outside just a little bigger! 169 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-599-0680. SegoArts.org

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