Essentials: Entertainment Picks Feb. 5-11 

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The Sklar Brothers
Being in a comedy duo is tricky business. Usually there's some kind of duality at work, like a straight man anchoring the funny guy, or the dummy playing the foil to the quick wit. But what happens when you develop an act with your twin brother? The Sklar Brothers—Randy and Jason—have long eschewed their differences, instead making their synchronicities into a hilarious act. Instead of playing opposite of each other, they seem to relish having a stage buddy readily at hand to pick up the joke the other may have let walk off a very unfunny cliff. The Sklars' act is so rapid-fire, it's literally like watching twin brothers finishing each other's sentences, often stepping on each other's toes trying to do so. In that way, it's similar to experiencing a couple of friends recounting their favorite stories from their shared past; each one wants to get in the funny details they find most important to the tale. Now that The Sklar Brothers are getting a bit older, though, their lives are starting to take on more idiosyncratic qualities—one getting married while the other stays wholeheartedly embedded in the dating scene, or one having kids while the other remains the beloved uncle. The two brothers have in fact deepened and broadened their act—not quite dueling personalities, but two in-sync minds with different experiences enriching a joke. So now, instead of simply finishing the other's thoughts, they can add their own hilarious singular-experience quip to the ongoing comedy routine. (Jacob Stringer) The Sklar Brothers @ Wiseguys West Valley City, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City 801-463-2909, Feb. 5-7, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20.



Ballet West: Swan Lake
In 2010, Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute astounded even the strict traditionalists with his modern-day version of the 19th-century classic Swan Lake. Ballet enthusiasts might not have even realized an updated and refreshed version of their beloved fairy tale was necessary, but they have been receptive to the re-imagined production. Sklute has transported the tragic yet romantic tale into the 21st century, shortening the production and updating both the staging and the costumes. He contends that "ballet is a living, breathing art form," and it was vital that he not produce a museum piece. Sklute and his team have been successful at changing the scenery without losing any of the imagery that makes Swan Lake such a fan favorite. The revamping of the costumes even caught the eye of pop singer Taylor Swift, who borrowed some of the costuming from Sklute's Swan Lake for her recent hit video "Shake It Off." In addition, Ballet West costume production director David Heuvel has designed six new lavish costumes to add to the 100 costumes already in the production. Rest assured, the heart-wrenching story has not been modified. Swan Lake remains the quintessential ballet, telling the tale of Siegfried, the sad prince; Rothbart, the evil sorcerer; and the beautiful Odette, who is turned into a swan. The elegant dancers illustrate through flawless choreography the love story between Siegfried and Odette as they effortlessly glide through stunning sets to the famous music by Tchaikovsky. (Aimee L. Cook) Ballet West: Swan Lake @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 6-15, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. Saturday matinees, $29-$84.,



The Bboy Federation: They Reminisce
The Bboy Federation is an influential force in the Utah dance community, bringing street-style performances to the masses and giving those who don't normally fit the classically trained model a platform to show their talent. But those who perform don't learn the craft immediately; they study its history and culture all the way up to present-day styles, so that they may innovate and experiment to create the styles of tomorrow. The two-hour program They Reminisce explores the evolution of street dance in all its genres, through every decade and every musical style it's been paired with. The Bboy Federation will bring back many performers from the 2014 production along with some fresh faces, combining previous performances with new work. The show will also explore different aspects of hip-hop culture, including the evolution of graffiti art and what it means as an art form today. (Gavin Sheehan) The Bboy Federation: They Reminisce @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.; Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m., $17.,


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Edward Lewis Theater Festival
The Edward Lewis Theater Festival honors a man who was a pioneer in bringing African-American theater to Utah by presenting scenes from upcoming plays by six local theater companies. In 2000, Lewis (pictured) co-founded People Productions with Richard Scharine. The company has since produced more than 20 plays, many of them focusing on African-American culture and history. After Lewis passed away in 2009, local theater companies decided to honor his legacy with an annual festival. The event is an opportunity to see scenes from productions that local companies are currently working on. On Saturday, People Productions will perform a scene from Sunset Baby, the story of an ex-Black Panther and his family written by Dominique Morriseau. Other scenes presented on Saturday's schedule include the musical version of The Color Purple by Wasatch Theatre, and Two Stories, a play by Elaine Jarvik currently showing at Salt Lake Acting Company. People Productions will also be on Sunday's schedule with David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face, a play about an Asian-American playwright's exploration of race and identity. Also on Sunday, Pinnacle Acting Company will showcase a scene from Time Stands Still, by Donald Margulies. Push by George Cameron Grant is the selection of Radical Hospitality Theatre. Plan-B Theatre Company will present a selection from Mama by Carlton Bluford. (Geoff Griffin) Edward Lewis Theater Festival @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, Feb. 7-8, 2-4 p.m., free.


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Alexandra Fuller: Leaving Before the Rains Come
Readers first met best-selling nonfiction author Alexandra Fuller in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, a memoir about her chaotic, ruleless upbringing in war-torn Rhodesia in southern Africa with two complicated parents. Fuller's new memoir, Leaving Before the Rains Come, offers a different perspective of this unique childhood, after she is compelled to re-examine the past for answers following the disintegration of her marriage. How do two people begin to lose sight of each other, and how does one face the suffocating loneliness when a relationship ends? Honest insights to some of these questions shine brilliantly throughout Fuller's characteristically poetic, often humorous writing about the pain of divorce. After marrying an American and making a decision she thought she never would—leaving Africa—Fuller seems to have thought she traded a high-risk, unpredictable life for one of structured calm in Wyoming with her husband and three children. That is, until her family fell apart, proving that there is no real escape from suffering in life. If there were a guide to self-care in the wake of divorce, this book is it; Fuller exposes the void a childless house leaves behind and other unexpected challenges divorced parents face. Fuller will be at The King's English Bookshop this week for a book-signing and a reading from Leaving Before the Rains Come. (Deann Armes) Alexandra Fuller: Leaving Before the Rains Come @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Feb. 9, 7 p.m.,

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