Essentials: A&E Picks Sept. 12-18 

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THURSDAY SEPT. 12

The Second Lore
In addition to having the ability to open the mind, art has the ability to expand the mind and challenge consciousness. The Second Lore, currently showing at CUAC, is curated by Berliner-based artists Margherita Belaief and Marta Fontolan, and features the work of artists Jeremy Deller from the United Kingdom, Aleksandra Domanovic from Slovenia, Patricia Esquivias from Spain, Marinella Senatore from Italy, Lucy Raven from the United States, and Anetta Mona and Lucia Tkacova from the Czech Republic. Each was, according to the CUAC, to “utilize narrations to retell certain historical situations and events mediated by their own individual viewpoints.”

The reality of history, the reality of narrative, the reality of structures of the world as it passes by through key events, and even the reality of realities all become subject and suspect through these artists’ lenses.

Ideas and words are enough to generate a dialogue on social existentialism, but the art in The Second Lore is an unavoidable reality check. One installation focuses on history and the way human attempts to bring past events into a present context wind up inevitably subverted. A documentary film of the “ceremonial” realities of the external world asserts from a detached vantage point its own view on arbitrariness. And a film production from provincial Italy—recontextualizing authentic traditions of mining into the experiences of glamorous moviemaking—alludes with absurdity to the interconnectedness of life. (Ehren Clark)
The Second Lore @ CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 385-215-6768, through Oct. 5, free. CUArtCenter.org

O-Town Artists: Creating Absence

Ogden (aka O-Town) is sometimes conspicuous—or not so conspicuous—in its absence in the commonplace narrative of Utah’s identity and character as a state. It often also gets overlooked as a site for the creation of art. It does boast a small but lively art scene, however, and four of its most intriguing artists, from the collective O-Town Arts, are showcased in the newest Locals Only gallery exhibit at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

Josh Winegar’s Folds series alters found photographs, evoking a double sense of nostalgia—for the past depicted therein, and also for what is lost between the folds (“Girl in Pink” is pictured). Bruce Case’s sculptures use assemblage and structure as a means of response to the landscape of urban life with its waste and refuse. English-born Holly Jarvis’ mixed-media works observe idiosyncratic interiors, whose subjects seem to be undergoing uncanny transformations. Derek Rigby’s assemblages use native materials like beeswax to create objects that evoke local surroundings. In these works, absence almost becomes a palpable quality; in a sense, it’s the raw material in which their artistic impulses are inscribed.

Creating Absence is the first offering in UMOCA’s Locals Only gallery (which began in 2011 to support local artists) to be curated by a group outside the museum, and the first non-solo show there. The space continues to provide a crucial spotlight for some of the most progressive local artists. (Brian Staker)
O-Town Artists: Creating Absence @ Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201, through Nov. 23, free. UtahMOCA.org

Wasatch Theatre Company: Closer
As fall creeps up on us, many local theater companies are preparing seasons filled with complex, probing studies of the human condition. Wasatch Theatre Company comes out of the gate for 2013-2014 with a brilliantly uncomfortable character piece: Patrick Marber’s 1997 drama Closer.

The narrative follows four characters over the course of nearly two years, their lives crossing and entangling in increasingly complicated ways. Aspiring author Dan begins a relationship with a stripper named Alice, eventually building his first novel around her life story. Then Dan meets Anna, the photographer assigned to take his publicity photo, and becomes infatuated with her. Meanwhile, Dan has also met a man named Larry in an Internet chat room, pretending to be a woman. Infidelities, hidden truths and other dishonesties swirl at the center of a tale in which the title—the possibility of getting closer to others—seems increasingly ironic. (Scott Renshaw)
Wasatch Theatre Company: Closer @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 12-28, 2 p.m. matinees Sept. 21 & 28, $15. WasatchTheatre.org, ArtTix.org

Kent Christensen
The pop-art works of Kent Christensen’s are—and are not—about a few of his favorite things. Where other pop artists would rest with iconic images, Christensen infuses his works with cryptic references. The word “Celestial” can be found on his installation of Coke bottles, replacing the word “Coke.” But the myriad references are not necessarily subversive, such as the tiny Statue of Liberty painted next to the tantalizing chocolate, strawberry and vanilla “Liberty Cone” (pictured)—raised like a torch.

These paintings are, on the surface, about the sugary and the sweet. He paints ice cream sandwiches, giving new proportion—and also prominence of place—to commonplace objects. After lingering over tiers of luscious of ice cream and tempting layers of cookies, from behind one sees the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building: The piece is titled “Ice-Cream Sandwiches of New York.” They are appealing and enjoyable on many levels, epicurean being just one. (Ehren Clark)
Kent Christensen @ The Lab at The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, 801-531-9800, through Sept. 30, free with museum admission. TheLeonardo.org


FRIDAY SEPT. 13

Utah Symphony: Beethoven’s Triple Concerto
As the calendar turns to fall, the excitement of starting a new season returns. The players have been practicing hard and can’t wait to perform. The fans are ready and waiting for the home opener. The Friday-night lights will come on for the kickoff of the new season—well, actually, the first downbeat.
While all of the above apply to football, September also marks the opening weekend of the Utah Symphony season, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights in Abravanel Hall. No need to paint your face or pack a grill for tailgating; just show up before 8 p.m. ready to listen. And remember: You cheer at the end of, not during, the performance.

Under the baton of Thierry Fischer, the Utah Symphony begins not only a new season but a new cycle of performances based on the symphonies of Carl Nielsen. The orchestra opens with the first symphony written by the Danish composer, with five more to follow between now and May. Nielsen is so honored in Denmark that, for many years, his face was on the 100-kroner bill.
While the season-opening performance is highlighted by the beginning of the Nielsen cycle, the headliner for the evening is Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, which will feature soloists David Finckel (pictured) on cello, Wu Han on piano and Philip Setzer on violin. Finckel and Setzer are also members of the Emerson String Quartet.

The program will also include Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, Saint-Saens’ “The Swan” and Wagner’s “Forest Murmurs,” from Siegfried. (Geoff Griffin)
Utah Symphony: Beethoven’s Triple Concerto @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, Sept. 13-14, 8 p.m., $18-$69. ArtTix.org


SATURDAY SEPT. 14

Classical Greek Theatre Festival: Oedipus the King
No one quite knew how to do Greek tragedy like Sophocles. Case in point: After nearly everyone of note is either killed or blinded by their own cursed hand, Oedipus Rex ends with an empty stage and the chorus implicating the audience in what they’ve just seen, repeating the lines, “Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last.”

The classic tale of Oedipus—a man trying to escape his destiny of parricide and incest—pits fate against the intrinsic flaws of human nature. No matter how hard the players try, the prophecies handed down by the oracles will always be fulfilled. Westminster College’s Classical Greek Theatre Festival knows that all that drama makes for great theatrical fodder, touring a new American translation of Oedipus the King by Marianne McDonald, directed by Sandra Shotwell.

There’s a reason why Sophocles’ work has remained so popular in our society, often pitting universal truths against the ungainly willfulness of humankind. But really, it’s that darned nagging chorus that’s most intriguing in these tragedies—regularly misguided and inconsistent, typically advocating for stasis and the status quo. With Sophocles—as in all three of his Theban plays, in which Oedipus Rex is chronologically the first—the chorus always gets the final word. (Jacob Stringer)
Classical Greek Theatre Festival: Oedipus the King @ Dixie State College O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, 357 W. Lion Blvd., Springdale, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.; BYU de Jong Concert Hall, Campus Drive and 1200 North, Sept. 23, 5 p.m., $11; Weber State University Wildcat Theater, 3750 Harrison Blvd., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m., $8-$10; Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, Sept. 21-22 & 28-29, 9 a.m., $7-$15. WestminsterCollege.edu/Greek_Theatre

9th & 9th Street Fair
Like most Salt Lake City neighborhoods, the 9th & 9th area has undergone a few changes over the years. But it has retained its local character as a community: friendly to foot traffic, locally owned businesses and, perhaps most importantly, a feeling of neighborliness among residents. For two decades, the busy little corner has hosted a celebration of what makes this part of Salt Lake City special: It’s about being friendly and welcoming.

Craft and food vendors will show off their wares, local restaurants will be open and shops will be offering sidewalk sales. The lineup of musical performers include Wasatch Coaching Academy, Wasatch Jazz Project, The Slick Shifters and Controlled Burn. As one of several Salt Lake City neighborhood fairs during the summer, the 9th & 9th Street Festival isn’t just a celebration of one area of town, but a microcosm of what makes living in Salt Lake City unique. (Brian Staker)
9th & 9th Street Fair @ 900 South & 900 East, Salt Lake City, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. 9thAnd9thStreetFestival.com

It’s Been a While Dance Company: Escaping Darkness: A Journey to the Light
South Jordan-based It’s Been a While Dance was started eight years ago, and it’s a group of dancers that’s as unique as its name and brings an element to the stage that no other dance group. Comprised of non-professional dancers—each one participating when and how their “regular life” schedule permits—the company brings a passion for dance that is sure to translate into their performance.

This eclectic group of dancers, ranging in age and skill, will be performing Escaping Darkness, A Journey to the Light, their annual performance at the Rose Wagner Center. There are certain expectations an audience member brings to a dance performance—maybe being mesmerized by the beauty and technique of the dancers onstage is what you’re after—but above all, we want to be entertained. These performers dance simply because they love it, and because they can. (Aimee Cook O’Brien)
It’s Been a While Dance Company: Escaping Darkness: A Journey to the Light @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., $4. ArtTix.org

Theron Humphrey: Maddie On Things

 Theron Humphrey’s popular Tumblr Maddie On Things is one of those rare cultural singularities that is somehow exactly what its name denotes. Yet it’s also both greater than the sum of its parts, and far more interesting in reality than in concept.

Maddie is a coonhound, and Humphrey has somehow made a career out of literally putting her on things—mostly signs, walls, random roadside Americana, etc.—and snapping a photo. Think a more organic version of William Wegman’s stylized still-life portraits of Weimaraners.

Humphrey is now visiting all 50 states promoting a book of his and Maddie’s work subtitled A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics, while also raising awareness for Why We Rescue. The amazing thing is Maddie’s incredible balance and downright remarkable patience to be put on top of all sorts of things—fire hydrants, edges of scenic overlooks—while retaining a general sleepy-eyed and disinterested but loving disposition. (Jacob Stringer)
Theron Humphrey: Maddie On Things @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Sept. 14, 2 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com

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