Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 22-28 

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THURSDAY JAN. 22

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SB Dance Box Bar
The Sundance Film Festival brings a party atmosphere to Salt Lake City every year, and SB Dance wants to bring a local flavor to that party. So, after 2014's successful hybrid dance/bar experiment, Salt Lake City's most alternative dance company welcomes back the interactive pop-up Box Bar to downtown during the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival. The Box Bar combines two of the company's favorite things: creativity and libations. SB Dance founder Stephen Brown says there's no wrong way to experience the Box Bar, which is designed to be an a la carte experience. Some visitors may choose to drop in during the open hours—between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.—for a quick drink, served up by sponsors Epic Brewing and 8 Seconds Canadian Whisky. But Brown hopes that most folks will be prepared to make their pint-glass pit stop an all-night affair. In addition to drinks, SB Dance has an assortment of interactive diversions for their visitors. A late-afternoon warm-up workout with company members tops the list. Next, during the company's open rehearsal, barflies can contribute their two cents to the creative process as the dancers work on generating new material for future performances or rework old pieces. Jess Greenberg, the company's new lighting director, will demonstrate how stage magic starts, and, as the evening wears on, visitors can once again put on their dancing shoes as the guest band—Big Wild Wings on Jan. 22; Totem & Taboo on Jan. 23-24—closes this all-out Sundance-style bash. (Katherine Pioli) SB Dance Box Bar @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Jan 22-24, 5-11 p.m., free, SBDance.com

THURSDAY JAN. 22

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Billy Schenck: West of the Wasatch
New Mexico artist Billy Schenck is one of the true innovators of the Western pop-art movement over the past 40 years, a creator of images that add a strongly stylized sense to timeless imagery of the classic American West. With a manner that can be alternately irreverent and respectful, Schenck does not reinvent history, but instead uses it to his advantage in creating narratives, portraits and genre scenes that speak of the past while reflecting the present. These works retain his signature classical character, transcending time and place. An example of such is "A Lonely Journey II" (pictured). This magnificent image addresses no specific historical moment in terms of past or present. It is not a cowboy on horseback or a native warrior, but a cowgirl heading to an unknown destination. The presentation of her iconic form is reduced to strong, bold color and light and shadow, with a classical beauty that could be from the 1920s, or from 2015. Set against a monumental sky of tall, billowing clouds that look more like sails, she is propelled on her universal journey. Simpler, yet no less iconic, is "Tom Mix—Black and Yellow." This graphic representation of the famous star of vintage silent serials, in stark yellow and black, still speaks to contemporary viewers. Schenck combines a bit of kitsch with pure fine art, and a heart that's as big as the West. (Ehren Clark) Billy Schenck: West of the Wasatch @ Modern West Fine Art, 177 E. 200 South, 801-355-3383, through March 13, free. ModernWestFineArt.com

THURSDAY JAN. 22

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Vort Man: Made In Utah
Who is Vort Man? Perhaps a more appropriate way of phrasing the question might be what the enigmatically named artist is. The Pittsburgh native works with an array of different artistic media, from collage and digital art to good old-fashioned painting, but the self-taught artist with a degree in marketing and international business has presented his work in unconventional venues for years, creating collaborative live paintings to music under the moniker Vorcan. The media as subject matter is key to all Vort Man's works, such as screen prints on T-shirts and other surfaces that bear his visage and the urging to "Vote Republican," sarcastically or not. This show consists of work created in the 2 1/2 years since Vort Man moved to Utah, and he has been prolific indeed. From the start of 2012 through the middle of 2013, he made a work every day that he displayed in public, and he's in the process of working on an animal collage every day for a year. In addition to digital-imaging techniques, Vort Man's work combines disparate elements, like the work titled "Screen Printing, Melting Crayons, and Spray Painting in the Snow." The works in this show demonstrate his technical advances and stylistic growth, as well as the way his work builds on itself. (Brian Staker) Vort Man: Made in Utah @ Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery, 1409 S. 900 East, 801-521-7711, through Feb. 17, free. TheVortMan.com

FRIDAY JAN. 23

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Utah Repertory Theatre: Bare
Utah Repertory Theater Company's production of Bare is the product of a deep emotional connection with rich material by a talented group of collaborators. Based on the book by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo, Bare makes clever use of Romeo & Juliet—that the use was clever is itself an accomplishment, given how exhausted R&J is as a reference in popular culture—to parallel and foreshadow its gay love story at a Catholic boarding school. >What lends Bare its emotional heft is less literary cleverness than the fullness of the characters, and the empathy with which they're crafted. Even the "unsympathetic" characters are granted full lives. Part of that is in the acting, and this ensemble is superb. Lead actors Brock Dalgleish, John Patrick McKenna and Emilie Starr all have ample room to shine, and do, brightly. In another performance of note, late replacement Carolyn Crow did a remarkable job with a key supporting role, to the point where if there hadn't been an announcement, one never would have known she hadn't had the part all along. Beyond the terrific work eliciting rich and harmonious performances, director Johnny Hebda creates compelling visuals. He uses Chase Ramsey's ingeniously designed set to create sight lines that work with and enhance the text, and effectively employs multimedia for expository purposes. (Danny Bowes) Utah Repertory Theater: Bare @ Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, 130 S. 800 West, through Jan. 31, $16-18. UtahRep.org

FRIDAY JAN. 23

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Slamdance Film Festival
Over the years, Park City has seen multiple upstarts move into town during the 11 days of the Sundance Film Festival, taking advantage of industry and visitor presence to deliver different, often specialized alternatives. But none of them has survived—and thrived—as long as Slamdance, which now begins its third decade since Dan Mirvish, Peter Baxter and other "co-conspirators" decided to take their frustrations with Sundance and do something about them. Today, Slamdance continues its tradition of focusing on first-time filmmakers and unique voices, with a history of introducing directors like Christopher Nolan and Lynn Shelton. A full slate of dramatic features, documentaries and short films is supplemented by panels and special guests like James Franco. Whether your taste runs to horror and comedy, or real-life stories about colorful characters like Batkid, Dennis Rodman and pro wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Slamdance has something to make it more than Sundance's little brother. (Scott Renshaw) Slamdance Film Festival @ Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main, Park City, Jan. 23-29, passes $125-$325, single screenings $8-$12. Slamdance.com

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