THURSDAY FEB. 27
Municipal Ballet Company: Son et LumiÃ¨re
An unassuming, red-brick building near downtown that served, for more than 100 years, as the headquarters of Salt Lake City’s Ladies Literary Club has now become a source of inspiration for and the site of the Municipal Ballet Company’s latest performance, Son et LumiÃ¨re.
The building was once the social center for the city’s intellectually minded women. Women weren’t often encouraged to seek higher education and so met here to pursue knowledge and culture, studying drama, literature, music and dance. The architecture of the historic club, constructed in 1913, has a restrained elegance, an aesthetic marked by simple horizontal lines, thought to evoke the prairie landscape, and hidden details like wood inlay on the porch ceiling.
Such classic architecture provides a rich though highly unusual inspiration for dance, especially ballet. It’s the perfect challenge for this new company. After all, the mission of the Municipal Ballet Company—a collective of ballet-trained dancers and choreographers founded a year ago by University of Utah graduate student Sarah Longoria—is to create ballet that speaks to a wider audience and sheds the reputation of a boring, elitist art form. Presented in two acts, with six dancers, the abstract concept will allow the group to take a contemporary approach to this classic art form.
And, in the spirit of artistic collaboration, the performance will include live music by local group St. Boheme, whose ethereal, French-jazz infused sound—a mix of mandolin, banjo, trumpet, acoustic guitar and accordion—will undoubtedly help guide the audience into a world of son et lumiÃ¨re: light and sound.
Municipal Ballet Company: Son et LumiÃ¨re @ The Ladies’ Literary Club Building, 850 E. South Temple, Feb. 27 & 28, 7:30 p.m., $10 suggested donation. UtahHeritageFoundation.com/LLC
Sober: Mixed-media works
by Shad Roghaar
Addiction is as much a corporeal, ingrained condition as an emotional and psychological one, and the February Gallery Stroll at Art Access uses very visceral works to explore the experience.
Shad Roghaar, who earned a BFA in art from Utah State University, works in a variety of media; this show displays his mixed-media work. His pieces are an uncompromising confrontation with the effects of this disease, isolating various organs as the subject matter and using metaphors of isolation and constriction—almost as though the organs were struggling to be free of the body under the duress of addiction.
It’s a clinical, almost medical look at addiction— as though dissecting (one work is titled “Dissection”) the body could locate the roots of the problem—as well as a deeply moving one. These works use the visual vocabulary of science to explore the connection between the physical and psychological. They are reminiscent of images of dissection from the Renaissance period, when artists as well as scientists believed that by simply looking at the realities of the human body’s physical existence, they could arrive at truths about what it means to be human that run deeper than the surface.
Sober is showing at Art Access concurrently with Strong Women, a mixed-media group show in the main gallery space.
Sober: Mixed-media works by Shad Roghaar @ Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, No. 125, 801-328-0703, through March 14, free. AccessArt.org
Great Salt Lake Landscan
Everyday objects of practical utility can, without transformation or alteration, become examples of sublime beauty in art. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ contemporary-art curator Whitney Tassie recognized that potential in what is called the Great Salt Lake Landscan, from the Wendover/Los Angeles-based Center for Land Use Interpretation.
Walking into the large, dark, silent gallery space that houses the massive projection of the landscan onto an enormous screen, one is immediately transported into an otherworldly environment. All references to context are removed beyond the sense of flying in an unseen helicopter over the Great Salt Lake. The viewer is at one with a feeling that’s like being in a fast-moving aircraft and looking at a ground creeping slowly by, transfixed by endless natural formations passing slowly through the screen, through the silence and through themselves. The existential possibilities are limitless.
Great Salt Lake Landscan @ Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, 801-581-7332, through May 4, $7-$9. UMFA.Utah.edu
YA Boot Camp
You want to bring that young adult novel that you have inside you out into the world—not because it’s some fast-track to success, but because it speaks to you. But maybe it’s all too intimidating. Finding the time, developing the habits of a writer, dealing with the realities of the business: Where do you begin?
This spring, The King’s English Bookshop hosts a series of events as part of a YA Boot Camp designed to help give aspiring writers the tools to make their creative dreams come to life. This first session features book editor Martha Mihalik—a veteran of 12 years at Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins—to explore what publishers look for and how they work with writers. Subsequent sessions will cover diversity writing with Matt de la Peña (March 6), contemporary fiction with Sara Zarr (March 27) and fantasy fiction with Brodi Ashton (April 3). Your literary life may be just a few sessions away—and scholarships are available.
YA Boot Camp @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Feb. 27, 7-9 p.m., $300 registration. KingsEnglish.com
FRIDAY FEB. 28
There just aren’t that many comedians who can deliver a captivating standup routine while comfortably sitting down—Bill Cosby is even perhaps the only one.
He hasn’t always taken a seat on the stage, and it’s clearly not just because he’s getting on in years that he does it now. But the comic elder statesman is so used to being in the spotlight that he settles into a chair and comes across as relaxed as if he’s chatting in his own living room.
His audiences feel the same way. Cosby has been coming through the television and into households across America for more than half a century, beginning with I Spy in the 1960s, through his cartoon series Fat Albert, television staples like the guffawing host of Kids Say the Darndest Things and, of course, his turn as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
So many comedians grew up either listening to his award-winning records, watching him on the tube or actually getting the opportunity to witness his stage magic live that you could imagine there would be any number of imitators. But as ubiquitous as terrible impersonations might be, no budding comic dares even try to touch Cosby. In fact, even in the digital age, younger entertainers can’t keep up with him. If you have any doubt, just follow him on Twitter or visit his website for more Cosby links than you can possible handle—including a plethora of YouTube clips of him sitting comfortably in a chair humorously responding to fan mail.
Bill Cosby @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, Feb. 28, 8 p.m., $42.50-$68.50. KingTix.com
In 2010, comedian Brian Regan self-released an album called All By Myself. Featuring more than an hour of new material, the album was recorded during Regan’s then-record-setting run of five sold-out shows at Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall.
The crazy thing is that when he returned to Utah in 2012, his increased popularity required him to book an incredible 10 shows, blowing his own record out of the water.
This time around, the celebrated clean comic brings his self-deprecating broad comedy to town for a shorter run at the much larger EnergySolutions Arena. It takes a special kind of comic to be able to command a basketball arena filled with nearly 20,000 adoring fans. Regan is clearly that type of entertainer, especially by using one of his distinguishing traits: physicality. It’s not quite slapstick, but more along the lines of odd faces and planking on the ubiquitous stand-up stool.
Still, his local popularity is hard to pin down. Sure, he likes to ham it up about everyday situations—like getting the phone company to set up a new line, visiting the doctor for a check-up, or reading the dumbfounding labels on food packaging (like peanut warnings on bags of peanuts). But his appeal here in Utah has something to do with his clean routines, and perhaps because every incoming class of college freshmen down in Utah County surely gets introduced to Regan’s comic stylings by the more worldly upperclassmen.
An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was raised in the segregated American South, a young middle-class white woman who described her mother as a “typical Georgia redneck.” It would have been the most natural thing in the world for her to stand against the Civil Rights movement when it erupted around her in the early 1960s. Instead, she participated in sit-ins, dropped out of Duke University after being pressured by the administration to end her activism, and became one of the legendary Freedom Riders.
An Ordinary Hero—directed by Mulholland’s son, Loki—tracks Mulholland from her childhood toward a worldview-changing experience when African-American youths spoke at her church about the injustice they faced, through actions that landed her in jail and risked her life.
Joan and Loki Mulholland will both attend this week’s free screening at the Salt Lake City Main Library for a panel discussion, which is also scheduled to include activist/filmmaker Darius A. Gray; Davis School District’s education equity coordinator, Jackie Thompson; and professor Forrest Crawford from Weber State University.
An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., free. SLCPL.org
SATURDAY MARCH 1
Belly Dance Spring Fest
It feels like it’s been winter for about 14 months now, and white sands and hot sun are probably starting to sound really appealing. Well, lucky for us, the Belly Dance Spring Fest is bringing that exotic desert feeling to Salt Lake City.
The day-long celebration brings together the sights, sounds, tastes and scents of the Middle East in a cultural fusion of jewelry, music, costume, Mehdi tattoos, tarot readings and, of course, dancing. In addition to belly dancing, audiences will see folk dances from around the Arab world as well as modern dances that meld eastern and western styles. Organized by Thia Kapos (who also offers lessons, in case you’re interested in performing at next year’s festival), over the past 13 years, the Belly Dance Spring Fest has moved belly dancing from the artistic fringes to a lively cultural pastime enjoyed by people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
Belly Dance Spring Fest @ Utah State Fairpark Promontory Building, 155 N. 1000 West, 801-466-4337, March 1, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., $7. BellyDancingByThia.com
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
For the past decade or so, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has earned a name for itself as a world-class performing-arts company by regularly challenging the foundation the dance world is built upon, ultimately pushing the field forward by gracefully razing the stage.
It’s hard to pin down one thing that Cedar Lake does best. Yes, it hires some of the most captivating dancers working in the industry. It also regularly commissions brave new work by some of the best choreographers in the world—including, in this show, the cutting-edge pieces Violet Kid by Hofesh Shechter, Tuplet by Alexander Ekman and Rain Dogs by Johan Inger.
That combination accounts for a lot. But perhaps the point upon which their success turns is the fact that they are genre inclusive. It’s not enough to be a great dancer; you must be a master of multiple techniques, from ballet to modern to contemporary. Cedar Lake’s original works innovatively blend genres and generate breathtaking movement.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet @ Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, March 1, 7:30 p.m., $20-$69. EcclesCenter.org