THURSDAY SEPT. 19
SLC Comedy Carnivale
During the stand-up comedy boom of the 1980s, comics might have had a shot at sitcom deals while selling out sports stadiums. Today, they get to do their own podcasts while slogging it out in the thousands of small comedy clubs littering the country.
Still, cities continue to stage comedy festivals, gathering the funniest people into the downtown areas of Vancouver, Montreal, Edinburgh, Melbourne and more. And now, Salt Lake City has its own laugh fest with the brand-new Comedy Carnivale. The multi-day, multi-venue event seems like more of an all-out comedy blitz and features a lengthy lineup of both local and national comics; sketch comedy troupes like Quick Wits, ToySoup, Jokyr & Jesster and Squeeze from Los Angeles; various one-person shows like comedy sex therapist Famke’s How to F; and even short films. The main headliner for the inaugural fest will be the New York touring company of the Upright Citizens Brigade, presenting one of the longest-running improvisational shows in the industry, ASSSSCAT, in which a guest monologist provides the framework for spontaneous sketches.
It’s hard to imagine that you won’t find something to sit back and laugh at. Just remember: Even though it is called a Comedy Carnivale, the motto clearly states that some funny bones have indeed been left behind during this newest revival: “No clowns, just comedy.” (Jacob Stringer)
SLC Comedy Carnivale @ various locations downtown Salt Lake City, Sept. 17-21, see website for times, all-access pass $40.; Upright Citizens Brigade: ASSSSCAT @ The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Sept. 20, 10 p.m., $15. SLCComedyCarnivale.com
The current Utah Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation features more than 100 works from, according to museum materials, “40 iconic modern and contemporary printmakers.” It’s also a “must-see for fans of contemporary art or for those who want to learn more about it.” This is not just an exhibit for those with academic interest in art history; the galleries housing this monumental exhibition pulsate with color and energy—like that found in Sol LeWitt’s “Color Bands” (pictured)—and provide appeal for the casual observer as much as for the cognoscenti.
Novices and connoisseurs can both enjoy the manner in which historical and contemporary artists—including Jasper Johns, Kiki Smith and Kara Walker—have adapted their styles to the medium of printmaking. This is another triumph for curator Whitney Tassie, following her brilliant achievement with salt 8—and, as with salt 8, Tassie lets the ideas of the work shape her curatorial decisions.
Visitors to the exhibit may browse through the works independently, or make use of multimedia “audio stops,” QR codes, gallery guides and interactive stations that facilitate a virtual tour with Tassie as guide. Viewers of all levels of art-history expertise can leave this exhibition with a deeper knowledge of the substance of post World War II art. The immensity of understanding is rendered strictly through flat paper, the curatorial vision allowing the artists’ work to resonate universally. (Ehren Clark)
Under Pressure @ Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah, 801-581-7332, through Jan. 5, $5-$7. UMFA.Utah.edu
Wasatch Theatre Company: Closer
On the surface, Patrick Marber’s Closer feels like one of those in-your-face “isn’t the world mean and horrible” plays of the Neil LaBute school, scabrous at times merely for the sake of scabrousness. Yet beyond the edgy, mature content—and make no mistake, this is not for those with delicate sensibilities—there’s something desperately sad and yearning in Marber’s study of four characters falling in and out of something that, for lack of a better word, they call “love.”
Over the course of several years in London, the play follows Dan (Tyson Baker, pictured right), Alice (Emilie Starr), Anna (Latoya Rhodes, pictured left) and Larry (Carleton Bluford) as their connections shift and overlap. Aspiring writer Dan begins a relationship with Alice after he rescues her from an auto-pedestrian accident; Dan meets Anna, a photographer, at a shoot for his debut novel’s author photo; Dan fakes being a woman in an online sex-chat room, inadvertently leading to the start of a relationship between Larry and Anna; and Dan eventually begins an affair with Anna himself.
These are messed-up people who at times do terrible things to one another, yet Marber is more interested in the complex intersection of honesty and lies, real intimacy and sex. And the four cast members in Wasatch Theatre Company’s production are terrific—particularly Bluford and Rhodes—at navigating Marber’s treacherous emotional terrain, creating indelible portraits of relationships collapsing through self-destruction and self-absorption. Even when the material is shocking or bracingly funny, it’s always fascinatingly human. (Scott Renshaw)
Wasatch Theatre Company: Closer @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, through Sept. 28, 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinees Sept. 21 & 28, $15. WasatchTheatre.org, ArtTix.org
FRIDAY SEPT. 20
New Chapters/Nuevos Capítulos: A New Understanding Of Utah’s History
History isn’t complete without including everyone’s story. The oral-history project New Chapters/Nuevos Capítulos: A New Understanding Of Utah’s History—Entendiendo Una Nueva Historia de Utah chronicles the history of five local artists whose lives and work add to the state’s rich cultural tapestry.
Visual artists Jorge Rojas, Veronica Perez and
Ruby Chacón (founder of the Mestizo Institute of Culture & Arts,
which is hosting the exhibit); professional dancer/choreographer Jessica
Salazar; and Frida Kahlo’s goddaughter, Tina Misrachi Martin, were all
interviewed over the past year for the project by the group Artes de
México en Utah.
These are tales of people bridging two cultures to
create art and make a life for themselves. Sometimes they were told to
not even try, but ultimately succeeded in the work for which they had a
passion. The project was funded by the Utah Humanities Council. (Brian
New Chapters/Nuevos Capítulos: A New Understanding Of Utah’s History @ Mestizo Institute of Culture & Arts, 641 W. North Temple, Suite 700, 801-596-0500, Sept. 20-Oct. 12, free; opening reception Sept. 20, 6-8 p.m. ArtesdeMexicoEnUtah.org, MestizoArts.org
Pioneer Theatre Company: Something’s Afoot
For all the glories of the summer weather, there’s something missing for much of the season: the productions of our amazing professional theater companies. Fall brings the launch of new theater seasons, including Pioneer Theatre Company’s 2013-2014 kickoff production, the musical mystery Something’s Afoot.
And it’s a great sort of romp to get the
season rolling, an affectionate parody of twisty-turny whodunits in the
style of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Naturally, that
means setting the action at a remote English estate, where a number of
guests arrive to find that the host is dead (of course), a storm has
isolated them from everyone (naturally), and one among them—Miss
Tweed—is an amateur sleuth. Throw in shifting alliances and clues
pointing to a variety of suspects, then set it all to music, and you’ve
got something that will have you perfectly content to realize that we’ve
got a while to go until next summer. (Scott Renshaw)
Something’s Afoot @ Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-6961, Monday-Saturday, Sept. 20-Oct. 5, see website for times, $38-$64. PioneerTheatre.org
University of Utah Department of Theatre: Metamorphoses
It’s impossible to find a bad review for other productions of Metamorphoses, the Babcock Theater’s first pick for its 2013-2014 season. Some reviewers point to the grace and beauty of playwright Mary Zimmerman’s script as the source of the play’s brilliance, but I am willing to bet that a good part of its popularity comes from the set. I mean, how many plays do you find centered around a pool of water? And how many other plays come with a warning that patrons sitting in the front rows might get wet?
Told in a series of vignettes, Metamorphoses is based on
ancient Greek and Roman myths—specifically, those stories found in Roman
poet Ovid’s ancient narrative poem of the same name. Some of the
stories and characters might be familiar—King Midas with the golden
touch; Eros, god of love; Orpheus, the musician and poet—but Zimmerman
has skillfully reworked these ancient stories into tangible, useful and
engaging modern lessons. (Katherine Pioli)
University of Utah Department of Theatre: Metamorphoses @ Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Babcock Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-7100, Sept 20-29, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday/Sunday matinees 2 p.m., U of U students free, $7.50 non-U students, $15 general admission. Theatre.Utah.edu
SATURDAY SEPT. 21
This TEDxSaltLakeCity is actually “2.0,” since the first TEDx—an independently produced version of the noted “Technology, Entertainment, Design” talks—held here occurred two years ago. But the theme “How does a sustainable community behave?” is especially relevant now, considering the revitalization of downtown Salt Lake City with an eye toward environment-friendly quality of life.
Recently ranked as one of the top five cities in America to live in by publications including Forbes and National Geographic, Salt Lake City is apparently already doing something right. But there is always room for improvement, and 10 live speakers will explore various facets of the theme, including Stephen Goldsmith, founder of the Artspace housing community and Center For the Living City nonprofit group; Salt Lake City’s Urban Design Studio leader, Molly O’Neill Robinson; Adrienne Cachelin, assistant professor of environment and sustainability studies at the University of Utah; and Craig Buhler, former team chiropractor for the Utah Jazz.
Each of these speakers will describe their vision for differing dimensions of the theme. There will also be a networking luncheon, and four official TED videos. TED has always been about multidisciplinary approaches to working together to solve problems, and it’s fascinating when thinkers with a wide range of expertise get together in one room.
The event is sold out, but will be streaming live at several downtown locations: Artspace Commons (832 S. 400 West, No. B107), the Eccles Business Building at the University of Utah (1768 Campus Center Drive) and at The Project (258 S. 700 West). (Brian Staker)
TEDxSaltLakeCity @ The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. TEDxSaltLake.org. TED.com/tedx/events/9441
Nicole Walker: Quench Your Thirst with Salt
Nicole Walker may be an assistant professor of poetry and creative nonfiction at Northern Arizona University, but she’s unquestionably a product of the Wasatch Front. Writing about the terrain of the Intermountain West, Walker uses this inimitable place to color her new collection of memoir-peppered essays, Quench Your Thirst With Salt.
about the actual topography and geography, generating literary contours
creatively juxtaposed with the fleshy landscapes of her own body—like
comparing landslides and surgeries, temporary wounds and the permanence
of environmental scarring. Walker uses her personal stories—like family
instabilities—to adeptly address subjects like living on a major fault
line, providing the work with its accessibility.
The fact that it’s
all generated from the unique environs of the Great Salt Lake, and how a
nearly dead body of water creates an idiosyncratic place for unexpected
fertility, is surely no surprise to those who call Utah home. (Jacob
Nicole Walker: Quench Your Thirst with Salt @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Sept. 21, 5 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com