THURSDAY OCT. 3
Repertory Dance Theatre: Legacy
Repertory Dance Theatre was founded in 1966 with a unique mission to preserve modern dance in America by becoming a living art repository for classic choreography. Now entering its 48th season, RDT has decided to take a look back at that distinct mission by restaging work by choreographers who played a particularly strong role in laying the company’s foundations.
The centerpiece of the mixed-repertory Legacy will be José Limón’s 1958 classic Missa Brevis. A classically structured piece created as a moving monument to the cities ravaged by World War II, the work features more than 20 dancers—including guest performers from BYU and UVU—and is set to a grand choral score by Zoltan Kodaly.
Legacy particularly highlights male choreographers. There are a couple of strong women on the bill, like Doris Humphrey with Two Ecstatic Themes and Ze’eva Cohen with Ariadne (1985), but the rest are men—including Bill Evans with his work For Betty, created as an homage to Elizabeth Hayes, chair of the University of Utah’s modern-dance department, in 1970.
The fact that men do play such a predominant role in the program would have pleased choreographer Ted Shawn, who spent his life fighting against stereotypes and being a vocal champion of male dancers and choreographers. Two solo sections—“Solvent” and “Unfolding & Folding”—from his 1935 piece Kenitic Molpai round out RDT’s evening dedicated to the creative building blocks of their own legacy. (Jacob Stringer)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Oct. 3-5, 7:30 p.m., $15-$30 in advance, $20-$35 day of show. ArtTix.org
They Plant: Brian Kershisnik
Who’s to say if one of Utah’s most beloved contemporary artists, Brian Kershisnik, has rhyme or reason to his work? This distinctive mark of Kershisnik’s allows the viewer to connect with detached worlds, where little that you see will make logical sense, since the ideas were born in the mind of a unique artist.
And rather than being an obstacle for the viewer, this approach is actually a sheer delight. What might feel like random iconography from another artist, in Kershisnik’s work seems to have connections—poetic, spiritual, amorous, cultural or visionary—surreal as the composition may seem.
These fragments are consistent in that Kershisnik’s paintings all demonstrate a style that might be called “folksy.” The subjects have an earthy, rustic quality, and are rendered loosely, emphasizing communal likeness as opposed to difference. This is art that can be viewed and enjoyed for its comforting elements, but viewers can also look beyond the folksy fantasy to continue in a wondrous adventure with the subject.
“Sisters” is a simple but iconic painting. The subjects sit side by side, the one closest wearing a bold, textured crimson-red dress. Each stares blankly ahead as if unaware of the outside world. Beyond is a black horizon, above is a crescent moon, and to the right burns a bonfire that does not seem to exist for these sisters. How these elements came together only Kershisnik knows for sure, but the viewer has the pleasure of meandering through roads of possibility—or impossibility. (Ehren Clark)
David Ericson Fine Art, 418 S. 200 West, 801-533-8245, through Oct. 31, free. DavidEricson-FineArt.com
Sandra Fullmer: Illusions
Beginning in the 19th century, some of history’s most beloved artists—Monet, van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso—sought to break away from the traditional mold of simply copying a subject to create a work of art; instead, they studied its elemental aspects, leaving in their wake a 150-year tradition of abstraction. Now, in Illusions, featured artist Sandra Fullmer reminds the audience of the wonders of illusion and the idealism it can convey. She presents an unabashed, unapologetic, distinguished celebration of illusion.
Instead of a focus on the external formal qualities of her subjects, Fullmer allows for a visual manifestation of their essence. She paints the rose, for example, with a staggering level of finesse—tone and hue blending in imperceptible gradations over bends, under shade, through meandering curves to a dark nucleus. But this is not observed reality; it’s art that’s true to the mind’s fundamental idea of a “rose.” (Ehren Clark)
Art at the Main, 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-4088, through Oct. 12, free. ArtAtTheMain.com
Continuing the artistic tradition of the Horne family, notable local artists, Horne Fine Art has become a showcase for local painters, and the gallery’s annual Splash! water-themed show has become a long-standing tradition. This year celebrates 10 years of the group exhibition.
The show includes works by gallery co-owner Karen Horne, her mother Phyllis Horne, Barbara Edwards, Glen Edwards and others, but the show really makes a splash with oils by Jamie Wayman depicting swimmers. It may seem counterintuitive to use the medium to portray watery scenes—why not use watercolors?—but the slow-drying, earthy pigments allow her to bring remarkable colors to light, in addition to the surface tension of the water and the swimmers’ splashing .
In its “21 Under 31” feature, Southwest Art magazine listed Wayman as an emerging artist to watch, but all the artists in the show create a sense of being at home with their watery works. (Brian Staker)
Horne Fine Art, 142 E. 800 South, 801-533-4200, through Oct. 26, free. HorneFineArt.com
Salt Lake Acting Company: Venus in Fur
David Ives’ Tony Award-nominated Venus in Fur might begin with a 150-year-old text as its source, but don’t think for a moment that it’s not brilliantly contemporary. In fact, it might be the most insightful work written for this or any other era about the problem of fictional women created by men.
The play’s framing structure finds playwright/director Thomas (Patrick Kintz) casting his adaptation of the infamous 19th-century text Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch—from whom the word “masochism” originated. Thomas is struggling to find the right actress for his leading lady—until Vanda (Marza Warsinske) arrives at the end of a long day. Despite her unorthodox appearance, she begins to seem perfect for the part. Perhaps a little too perfect.
Director Tracy Callahan’s production for Salt Lake Acting Company makes marvelous use of the intimate Chapel Theatre space, making it feel as though audience members are eavesdropping on uncomfortable conversations. And Warsinske turns in a phenomenal, hilarious performance as Vanda, effortlessly sliding between the role she’s playing for Thomas and the blunt, often crude actress, all while becoming more dangerous and mysterious with every passing moment.
She’s also fortunate to be playing a magnificently written character, which is a lovely bit of irony considering the ideas bubbling under the story. In a savagely funny play, Ives uses Thomas and Vanda to explore sexual power dynamics in a context we’re not used to seeing: the way that art itself, so often filtered through the eyes of men, shapes the way that the world perceives women. (Scott Renshaw)
Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, through Oct. 27, see website for times, $15-$42. SaltLakeActingCompany.org
Every once in a while, a performance group seems to employ everything but the kitchen sink. Well, Stomp has actually thrown in the kitchen sink as well. Amid the cacophony of one of their shows, you’d be hard-pressed to find a conventional percussion instrument in the mix. But Stomp is on a mission to show how the most amazing rhythms can be created from the most ordinary household and industrial objects: hubcaps, plumbing fixtures, paint cans, push brooms and even Zippo lighters.
Stomp began as a street performance 20 years ago, so the use of utilitarian objects and implements seemed like a natural choice. This ingenuity is what makes their show so much fun to watch—and that’s part of the key to the show’s ongoing success, as cast members have performed for more than 24 million people in more than 50 countries.
The show has evolved over two decades, and this tour will add two newly created pieces to Stomp’s repertoire. In America, Stomp has assimilated the rhythms of New York City, and these infectious, urban-influenced rhythms are recognizable to audiences everywhere. Stomp is not a chaotic take on urban life, but rather a musical performance that uses the performers as characters, and their rhythmic implements as a means of communication. It’s really about using sound to relate to each other as human beings—and in that sense, it’s a celebration. (Brian Staker)
Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Oct 4-6, see website for times, $30-$52.50. KingTix.com
Between the ages of 7 and 15, Bill Cosby thought—mainly due to his father’s wickedly short temper—that his name was actually Jesus Christ. His brother, on the other hand, believed his name to be Dammit.
So goes the old standard by the beloved comic, probably known best as Dr. Huxtable from his long-running television series The Cosby Show—or perhaps the voice of Fat Albert, or that loveable pudding man from the commercials, or the funny old guy who got kids to say the darndest things. For more than five decades, Cosby has been culturally pervasive, creating best-selling books and award-winning albums. Over the years, he has continued to hone his unique story-telling comedy skills onstage—often doing his stand-up while sitting down, and spinning crazy yarns that hilariously escalate as they develop, getting more and more frantic as the punch line draws ever closer. (Jacob Stringer)
Snow College Sevier Valley Center, 800 W. 200 South, Richfield, 435-893-2223, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m., $35-$65. SV.Snow.edu
Performance Art Festival
The mere phrase “performance art” can tend to frighten away some potential viewers, worried about an experience too esoteric for them to understand. But according to Kristina Lenzi—curator for the Performance Art Festival at the Salt Lake City Main Library, as well as one of the performers—”often, it is a lack of exposure to the medium and its conceptual nature that scare people … whatever the witness or viewer takes from or feels about the art is ‘the right answer.’”
The two-day festival will showcase more a dozen artists both local (Hailee Heiner, Shasta Lawton, Eugene Tachinni) and national (Marilyn Arsem, Jeffrey Byrd, Alexandra Herrera), creating works that Lenzi describes as “real things happen[ing] in real time and real space; the artist and the witness experience an unrehearsed event together.” These thought-provoking works provide the opportunity to see a one-of-a-kind artistic creation, something that will never be re-created in quite the same way. (Scott Renshaw)
Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, Oct. 4-5, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., free. SLCPL.org/events/view/2490
SUNDAY OCT. 6
As a child, bathed in the innocence of youth, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of running around outside in your underwear. But it’s just not an opportunity often provided to anybody past kindergarten age. Until, that is, the Undie-Wear Run (now in its fourth year, albeit under a new name) started protesting against Utah’s often prudish nature—and breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people in their underpants.
The event is designed for everyone, regardless of age, shape or size, and attendees are encouraged to literally donate the clothes off their back to local homeless shelters before taking a casual run through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City in their skivvies. People are also encouraged to write a small message of protest on their exposed epidermis—maybe “Equality For All,” “Keep Your Laws Off My Body” or “Free Bird!” (Jacob Stringer)
Undie-Wear Run @ Salt Lake City Library Plaza, 210 E. 400 South, Oct. 6, 4-7 p.m., free. UtahUndieRun.com
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