THURSDAY SEPT. 5
Salt Lake City Greek Festival
Alexis Coplin grew up in the Salt Lake City Greek Orthodox community and has attended the annual Greek Festival every year since its humble beginnings, even volunteering as a child. Now, it’s hard to pin down all the different responsibilities she has with the annual affair: volunteer coordinator chair; working with the Sponsorship Committee; and advertising, marketing and assisting the church office in any other way to help get ready for the state’s largest ethnic festival.
The multiday extravaganza has become so large that, by attending, you really become immersed in Salt Lake City’s Greek culture. And that’s important for Coplin, because she firmly believes that the event not only helps to bring others in touch with their Greek neighbors, but also helps to keep her community tight-knit: “For me, it is also a yearly gathering of family and friends that get to spend a weekend working together, building friendships, creating memories and celebrating our Greek culture.”
If asked about a particular aspect of the festival that has remained dear to her heart as it has grown from a small potluck bazaar to the type of affair with tents in the parking lot and mechanical rides, Coplin finds it hard to decide: The festival “is filled with so many things that I love that it would be hard to choose a favorite,” she says. “From the cathedral tours, choir, food, pastries, music, dancers and the many guests from the Salt Lake City community that attend, the festival is filled with entertainment and the forever amazing Greek hospitality.” (Jacob Stringer)
Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, 801-328-9681, Sept. 5-8, $3. SaltLakeGreekFestival.com
Salt Lake Comic Con
We’ve already devoted a feature article to how big the Salt Lake Comic Con seems to be in only its first year. Yet somehow, in the intervening week, it has actually managed to get bigger, adding new guests to the roster of invitees like Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumus Kevin Murphy, Lois & Clark Superman Dean Cain, and Henry “The Fonz” Winkler.
The guests are only part of the complete package, however, as the Salt Palace will turn into a playground for geeky pop-culture enthusiasts of all kinds. Whether you’re there to enjoy celebrations of your favorite classic TV shows and movies, or to see brand-new work like that in the film festival or creations in the Artist Alley, you can find a place.
Dozens of panels provide insight into the creation of your favorite works, or just a place to talk about why you love them so. (Scott Renshaw)
Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, Sept. 5-7, per-day tickets $12-$30, three-day passes $30-$150. SaltLakeComicCon.com
Utah already has established its reputation as a hotspot for showcasing challenging filmmaking through the Sundance Film Festival. But Utah also serves as home to one of the most compelling annual festivals dedicated exclusively to nonfiction films, covering a broad range of topics from filmmakers around the world.
Now in its fourth year, launched by director of the Dixie State University film program, DocUtah screens documentaries in four southern Utah cities—with St. George serving as the hub—plus screenings in Mesquite, Nev. And that includes opportunities to see outdoor screenings in beautiful red-rock country, plus a variety of free seminars providing insights from the filmmakers.
The 50 documentaries in the 2013 lineup represent 30 countries, exploring fascinating people and issues with a staggering breadth of perspectives. Competition features include films about civil rights-era veteran Joan Trumpauer (An Ordinary Hero), the lives of LGBT senior citizens (Before You Know It), the complexity of technologies promising to make humans “better” (Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement), grieving pet owners (Furever), individuals who improbably survived aviation disasters that killed every other passenger (Sole Survivor) and the black market in human parts (Tales from the Organ Trade). From stories of gay Africans whose life and liberty are at risk every day to one man’s efforts to save a Coney Island landmark, the films show us that truth often continues to be stranger—and more compelling—than fiction. (Scott Renshaw)
Multiple venues in St. George, Ivins, Kanab, Zion National Park and Mesquite, Sept. 3-7, day passes $5; full event pass $20. DocUtah.com
Javier Núñez Garcia: Up Close & Fantastic
Cultures communicate their ideals, traditions, beliefs and individuality through their art. Dan Beck honors the unique Peruvian artistic tradition, specifically, the impressive work of his uncle, Javier Núñez Garcia, as he has curated an exhibition of 15 of his paintings, which are currently being shown at Alpine Art. These paintings are monumental works of Peruvian animal life, infused with color, pattern, texture, motif and a respect for nature, serving to represent the best in Peruvian contemporary fine art.
Even if you know nothing about Peru, through the work of this great contemporary artist, you can recognize the beauty, dignity and magnificence in these animals. Garcia’s methods grant them distinction as not only superb paintings of venerable animals, but animals that are distinctively Peruvian.
“Pez Tropical” is a painting of tropical fish sparing no bold color or finely detailed pattern. The scales of the fish—raspberry red, iridescent purple, mango orange and fiery yellow—might be a pattern in a handcrafted blanket in a marketplace. The surrounding churning swirls of sea-foam green, teal and underlying hints of color could become a pattern to be fired and glazed into a porcelain vase. “León” represents Peru in this painted face of a lion; rendered in the most minuscule detail, it conveys the uninhibited nature of the Peruvian environment. The eye of this lion, sensitively depicted by Garcia, captures the pride of the Peruvian people, who love and honor their homeland and its creatures. (Ehren Clark)
Alpine Art, 430 E. South Temple, 801-355-1155, through Sept. 16, free. AlpineArtInc.com
Utah State Fair
School has started and the temperatures will be dropping soon. Summer is almost over. But before you start planning your Halloween costume, there’s still the main event bridging the gap between summer and fall: the Utah State Fair.
Beginning this week and running for the next 10 days, the Utah State Fair is packed with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to hear the classic rock of 38 Special, catch the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, take a ride on the Ferris wheel or admire the livestock, there’s no shortage of entertainment.
This year, Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby from American Pickers will be taking the Grandstand Stage on Saturday night. Fair attendees are encouraged to scour their basements and garages for something unique and bring it to the show; Fritz and Colby will be selecting a handful of guests to join them onstage and decide whether it’s treasure or trash. (Trevor Hale)
Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City, 801-538-8400, Sept. 5-15, see website for complete schedule, ticket prices vary according to event, fair entry $7 in advance, $10 at the gate. UtahStateFair.com
Ashley Anderson: dead dog song
According to choreographer Ashley Anderson, her newest work, dead dog song—to be performed at the Ladies’ Literary Club as part of The Utah Heritage Foundation Cultural Series—is specifically designed to honor and promote collaborations between women artists. “The [club] came to be at a time when women often lacked scholarship and community, and this project honors that by pairing myself and Mary [Boerens Sinner] together with dynamic female performers from Salt Lake,” Anderson says.
The piece is designed to be viewed from above, as three dancers swirl and loop across the main ballroom space while the other three move about a smaller stage. Local visual artist Boerens Sinner created a unique design for the short performance piece, using a combination of lights and black paper to create a sort of moving projection. “This shadowy environment produces images which aren’t concrete, adding to the abstract and fractured narrative created by the dance,” Anderson says. “It adds a lot of texture to the space and maybe invites more interpretation from audience members.” (Jacob Stringer)
Ladies’ Literary Club, 850 E. South Temple, Sept. 6, 7 p.m., 8 p.m. & 9 p.m., free. loveDANCEmore.org
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz
One way to give the classic Wizard of Oz a new twist, as underground common knowledge has it, is to begin Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon precisely when the MGM Lion roars for the third time at the beginning of the timeless movie. Another, perhaps less “out-there” way, is to get master of musicals Andrew Lloyd Webber to take the iconic L. Frank Baum tale and create a brand-new theatrical production.
Still in previews, this stage version will raise its curtains here in Utah before hitting the road to see how the rest of the country feels about Webber’s adaptation—which is really a remix of sorts, stirring in a few new songs with all the familiar tunes from the beloved 1939 film. Add a reconceived stage production and some surprises to keep audiences on their toes, and the familiar tale of Dorothy and friends skipping arm in arm down the yellow brick road can only get bigger, better and more magical on its way to Broadway. (Jacob Stringer)
Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Sept. 6-7, 8 p.m., $29.50-$59.50. KingTix.com
Gangrene Comedy Film Festival
For 14 years, Craig Nybo and the stalwart crew of Gangrene Productions have dedicated themselves to a different kind of film festival: one where suffering, melancholy families, environmental disasters and political scandals take a back seat in favor of good old-fashioned chortling. Welcome to the Gangrene Comedy Film Festival.
As has been the case in previous years, the collection of shorts accepted from submissions around the world will be divided into two sessions. The early session features content that’s suitable for the whole family; the late session features a bit more mature content, including the possibility of comedic violence or light profanity, but would still top out at a PG-13 rating. Join in Q&As and conversations with the filmmakers, and generally prepare for aching sides and sore cheek muscles. (Scott Renshaw)
Ed Kenley Amphitheatre, 403 N. Wasatch Drive, Layton, Sept. 6, 7 p.m. (general audience session) & 10:30 p.m. (late session), $10 individual/$35 family for single session, $15/$50 for both sessions. Gangrene Productions.com
SATURDAY SEPT. 7
Kirstin Scott: Motherlunge
Weller Book Works will celebrate the achievement of a former local writer when Kirstin Scott reads and signs her novel Motherlunge (New Issues Press), published earlier this year. The book has won both the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Award Series for the Novel and the Utah Original Writing Competition.
The novel is built around the story of two sisters in a small college town in Montana in the 1980s and details all the insecurities of early adulthood: first sexual experiences, bitter sibling rivalries and questioning the nature of love. With all the trepidations, the book’s also about joy and the experience of being female—and, as the title suggests, motherly guidance, as well as the emotional jolts that motherhood brings. Scott’s writing is incisive because it mixes poignancy with irreverence; the pangs of growing up and growing older are combined with a bleak, resigned sense of humor. The narrative doesn’t become overwhelmed by melancholy, however, because a sense of hope for the future surges in these characters.
Scott has published short stories in a number of literary reviews, including the Western Humanities Review and Hayden’s Ferry Review, but this is her first novel. She earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of Utah, and currently lives with her family in Chiapas, Mexico, where she works as a medical writer. (Brian Staker)
Weller Book Works, Trolley Square, 602 E. 600 South, 801-328-2586, Sept. 7, 4 p.m., free. WellerBookWorks.com
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