Essentials: Entertainment Picks Aug. 28-Sept. 3 

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THURSDAY AUG. 28

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College football kickoff weekend
Has there ever been a more unnecessary question than, "Are you ready for some football?" Since early February, you've been forced to spend time with family, make your yard look presentable and even get actual work done instead of spending hours constructing the lineup for your fantasy football team. Are you ready? Are you kidding? You don't need some country singer to question you on your gridiron preparedness. It's late August, and the long wait is over, with Utah, BYU and Utah State playing their openers this week. Utah (starting quarterback Travis Wilson is pictured) opens at home against Idaho State on Thursday night at 5:30, and also has a home game the following week against Fresno State. The home schedule for 2014 also includes Pac-12 foes Washington State (Sept. 27), USC (Oct. 25), Oregon (Nov. 8) and Arizona (Nov. 22). BYU opens at Connecticut on Friday night and plays in Texas the following weekend before its first home game on Sept. 11 against Houston. The Cougars' home slate also includes Virginia (Sept. 20), Utah State (Oct. 3), Nevada (Oct. 18), UNLV (Nov. 15) and Savannah State (Nov. 22). Utah State opens at Tennessee on Saturday before playing its home opener Sept. 6 against Idaho State. Other teams coming to Logan are Wake Forest (Sept. 13), Air Force (Oct. 11), UNLV (Oct. 25), New Mexico (Nov. 15) and San Jose State (Nov. 21). Are you ready for some football? When were you ever not? (Geoff Griffin)Utah Utes vs. Idaho State @ Rice-Eccles Stadium, 451 S. 1400 East, University of Utah, 801-581-5445, Aug. 28, 5:30 p.m., $30-$55, TV: Pac-12 Network; BYU @ Connecticut, Aug. 29, 5 p.m., TV: ESPN; Utah State @ Tennessee, Aug. 31, 5 p.m., TV: SEC Network

THURSDAY AUG. 28

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Inland/Outland: Utah
The landscape of Utah is a vast subject for photography, given the innumerable natural wonders that draw Utahns and visitors from around the world. A camera is often at the top of the checklist of must-have items for visitors and locals alike when making a jaunt into these magnificent areas. As simple as this reality may be, it's the phenomenon that Icelandic artist Svavar Jónatansson has probed in his Inland/Outland project, begun in 2007. "Questions about how landscape is perceived and experienced become more relevant," Jónatansson says of a series of his photographs now showing at Gallery at Library Square. While two room-length red rock panoramas on the east and west side of the gallery—in addition to the assemblage of crisp, focused photographs—beautifully capture magnificent landscapes, such photographic subjects are hardly anything new to those used to seeing beautiful imagery of Utah. But it's when the viewer considers the purpose of the exhibit from Jónatansson's point of view, and asks how landscape is perceived and by whom, that the images become more relevant. "United States Route 191/6" presents an intimate, idyllic country road perspective. "Arches Scenic Drive" represents a navigational route for travelers. "Interstate Route 80" might be perceived as a study of the same canal in both summer and frozen winter. "State Road Route 95" is a more formally artistic rendering of a canyon, with light starkly captured through bars of a railing. Another image also titled "Interstate Route 80" (pictured) offers a majestic panorama of the transcendental beauty of the Great Salt Lake. We may think we've seen such images before, but not quite like this. (Ehren Clark) Inland/Outland: Utah @ Gallery at Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, through Sept. 12, free. SLCPL.org

THURSDAY AUG. 28

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Michelle Condrat
Art, like anything else in life, is about putting in work. But if you also possess a natural artistic talent, so much the better. Since graduating from the University of Utah in 2007 with a degree in painting/drawing & printmaking, native Salt Laker Michelle Condrat has continually refined her aesthetic sensibilities—influenced by an updated mode of Impressionism. In the process, she has shown her work at the Utah Rio Grande Statewide Show, in the 35x35 show at Finch Lane Art Gallery, and at numerous other local galleries. She has also participated in the National Park Plein Air Invitational, the Springville Museum of Art Spring Salon and the Utah and Park City arts festivals. The 30-year-old Condrat's painting style originally tended toward photorealism, but eventually transformed into her self-styled contemporary impressionism, with emphatic brushstrokes and a strong compositional sense. But the most unique thing about her work is the way light seems to glint off of objects, almost as if through a prism. While the strong colors of objects are part of what makes these subjects assert themselves, they also slightly blend into the background, as if the two coexist in a symbiotic relationship. In true impressionist fashion, Condrat's brushstrokes portray the impression the subject made on the artist, but these canvases—whether depicting figures, still life or local landscapes—also make an assertion about the nature of light. One of the highlights of Condrat's exhibit is a dramatically executed portrait of local artist and fellow Springville exhibitor Chauncey Secrist (pictured). (Brian Staker) Michelle Condrat @ Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane (1340 E. 100 South), 801-596-5000, through Sept. 26, free.SLCGov.com/arts

THURSDAY AUG. 28

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Sandra Fullmer Williams
After a long, hot Utah summer, there's a certain level of refreshing calm in art by an artist who makes it all look so easy. In truth, there's nothing easy about the art of Sandra Fullmer Williams; her technical approach to replicating the appearances of things is complex, and comes at a great effort. The viewer might come to enjoy the casual aesthetics and no-nonsense approach that gives vigorous life to lifeless objects. Without great effort, one can appreciate the ripe beauty of the plenty of summer in a "Bowl of Tomatoes," or the juiciness underneath a thin skin in a "Bowl of Peaches." A "Bowl of Turnips" looks as if it has just come from the garden, ready for a late-summer salad. "Who's the Prettiest?" (pictured) is no longer a derelict pickup truck, but an animated vehicle from a sophisticated Pixar film. Williams adds just the right amount of vitality, ready for the bounty in the turn of seasons. (Ehren Clark) Sandra Fullmer Williams @ Art at the Main, 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-4088, through Sept. 13. ArtAtTheMain.com

THURSDAY AUG. 28

Braden Hepner: Pale Harvest
What does a boy who grew up working on his family's small dairy farm in a rural Utah town do when he grows up? He becomes a published author, of course. Braden Hepner's debut novel, Pale Harvest, hits bookstores this month. If you have ever wondered what working on a dairy farm would be like, and enjoy visualizing picturesque descriptions of the rural areas of your home state, Pale Harvest is a must read. And don't let the title fool you: Hepner goes much deeper than dairy cows and landscape. Jack, the novel's main character, is dealing with the uncertainty of his future in an all-but-dead town, in addition to the pitfalls facing every adolescent boy. And just to further spice things up, the plot takes a turn when Jack explores a first love with the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. (Aimee Cook O'Brien) Braden Hepner: Pale Harvest @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Aug. 28, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com

FRIDAY AUG. 29

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August: Osage County
It is possible, with a fair degree of ease, to put August: Osage County forth as a reigning Great American Play. Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winner synthesizes a particular—and highly venerated—tradition in America, whose standard-bearers are essentially the entirety of American theater's Golden Age: O'Neill, Miller, Williams. That tradition is the family drama, and August: Osage County is both firmly within it and simultaneously a deconstruction, with T.S. Eliot's poetry something of a Greek chorus ending the play on a gloriously fatalistic note. The new theater space at Sugar Space West is opening not with a whimper but a bang and an ambitious statement of purpose. Utah Repertory Theatre and Silver Summit Theatre's co-production manages the difficult balance of showing due reverence to a great play without sinking beneath its weight. The ensemble cast puts forth uniformly solid work, eventually gaining momentum and precision after a slow-ish opening (this, admittedly, is a curse of matinee performances, and may not factor into evening shows). The pacing issues in the beginning, however, had the ironically beneficial aspect of allowing me to appreciate the contribution of Kevin Dudley's set to the overall tenor of the production. Unfinished-looking, with some raw angles and a high platform with no guardrail, the set externalizes the raw emotions and their potentially catastrophic consequences. It's an apt visual for this play, and a sign of the attention to detail on every level put into this production—a wholly successful one. (Danny Bowes) Utah Repertory Theatre/Silver Summit Theatre: August: Osage County @ Sugar Space West, 130 S. 800 West, through Aug. 31, Fridays & Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m., $11-$18 in advance, $13-$20 at the door. UtahRep.org

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