Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 30-Feb. 5 

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THURSDAY JAN. 30

Bonnie Sucec & Susan Beck: Short Stories
Two popular artists showing in one gallery space—what could be better for the gallery-goer? Bonnie Sucec and Susan Beck, showing in the newly renovated Finch Lane Gallery spaces, offer a collaborative effort, and both artists respond to the same subjects—mutual drawing projects—in a way that is wonderfully complementary. According to these seasoned Salt Lake City artists in their dual statement, “Strong partnerships initiate and excite experimental approaches to materials, imagery and compositional devices as part of a larger practice. The goal is not to duplicate but to achieve a greater personal fluidity within a very complex visual arena.” Sucec and Beck have worked together since 1978, and both are adept at depicting visual narratives in the most complete, yet most abstract and perplexing, telling of that narrative. For example, the artists present distinct visions of “It was neither alive … Nor the other thing”. Sucec paints “It was neither alive,” and in her representation of the same original subject, Beck answers with “Nor the other thing,” completed independently. “You’ll walk away with a new perspective … Ready to spill the beans” has a darker subject, and one can see how the artists have responded in disparate ways. At first, these images seem crude, rudimentary and raw. But the artists are aiming for the sensibilities not of visual beauty, but pure, abstracted meaning. The compositions have their differences, while their similarities find them married through beautiful, meaningful connections. How they work independently, while the art resonates between them in a discourse of symbolic meaning, is something remarkable. (Ehren Clark)
Bonnie Sucec & Susan Beck: Short Stories @ Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane (1320 East), 801-596-5000, through March 7, free. SLCGov.com/Arts

Urban Arts Gallery: New Beginnings
Urban Arts Gallery is leading off the 2014 Gallery Stroll year with New Beginnings, a group show with new works by 15 of its house artists, in addition to the work of more than 30 artists in the boutique setting around the gallery space, which displays jewelry, gifts and smaller works. Featured artists include Derek Dyer, whose photographs utilize different media, in the sense of materials like glitter, paint and even mud adorning his models; his newer works use mixed media in highly idiosyncratic ways. Also featured are Cat Palmer’s photographs, which are always empowering depictions of femininity. Todd and Renee Keith have branched out from artistic photography to painting in the same stylized technique, with titles like “Victorian Octupus” adding some whimsy as well as romance. The photographs and encaustics of Chris Madsen create a dreamlike atmosphere through the use of filters and digital effects, which includes a sensual quality and some nudity. The common thread between the artists at the Urban Arts Gallery, especially in this exhibit, is that there’s a fantastical element to the works— as in Christopher Wallace’s pictured piece—either in subject matter, style or even artistic medium, using found materials like scrap metal. There is a strong pop-art pull in the works often shown there—and in the space itself, given its location in a shopping center—but for the most part, it works. There is a way art can sell without selling out, be fun and taken seriously at the same time, and be experimental as well as highly accessible. (Brian Staker)
New Beginnings
@ Urban Arts Gallery, 137 S. Rio Grande St., 801-651-3937, through Feb. 8, free. UtahArts.org

Mary Pusey
Mary Pusey, Art at the Main’s featured artist for this month, has demonstrated her talents in variety of media. But for this exhibition, the focus is on abstraction. The semi-abstract “Flowers in a Vase I” does a good job at revealing Pusey’s talent in that area. The colors are not shy, and like the most academic abstractionist, Pusey takes the medium of color outside of its natural realm and demonstrates its possibilities: vermillion reds setting the canvas alight; blues like a Greek island vision; greens more like a turquoise; yellows that look something between lemon or banana. More true to nature is the watercolor “Secret at Cecret Lake: Albion Basin”. Two children are the primary subjects of this watercolor—something subdued after the flowers, yet at the same time, heightened by an anticipatory energy as the subjects lean into the crystalline blue lake. We wonder with them. It is a marvelously articulated watercolor, alive in spirit. (Ehren Clark)
Mary Pusey @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-4088, through Feb. 15, free. Facebook.com/ArtAtTheMain

Willow Stories: Contemporary Navajo Baskets & Native American Treasures
The exhibit Willow Stories is a contemporary update on traditional Navajo baskets, and also highlights Native American artifacts from local communities. As the title implies, it’s all about the stories these items tell, and this collection of work from 10 of Utah’s present-day practitioners of the Navajo basket-weaving art includes their photographs and biographies. The tradition of Navajo basket weaving was thought to be lost, as their function began to be displaced by modern containers. But a revival took place in the 1970s in the Monument Valley area. The items in this show—presented by The Utah Cultural Celebration Center, the Adopt-A- Native-Elder Program and Utah Division of Arts & Museums—tell an integral part of the history of our region, even though their designs have undergone something of an update. (Brian Staker)
Willow Stories:
Contemporary Navajo Baskets & Native American Treasures @ Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, 801-965-5100, through Feb. 26, free. CulturalCelebration.org


FRIDAY JAN. 31

Utah Jazz: Jerry Sloan Banner Night
The Utah Jazz will recognize former coach Jerry Sloan during their game against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 31, raising a banner in his honor to reside in the arena rafters with some of the immortals he coached, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton. What numbers could the organization have considered to go on Sloan’s banner? As a player, he wore No. 4 during his all-star career with the Chicago Bulls. But Adrian Dantley’s banner already has No. 4 on it, although there’s certainly no rule against double-using numbers on banners. The laws of how to do recognition banners seem pretty flexible, so jersey numbers aren’t mandatory. When the Jazz honored broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, instead of using his No. 33 from his playing days, they went with 3,051, the total number of games he called for Utah. Ultimately, the Jazz opted to go with 1,233— the total number of regular-season and playoff victories he racked up on the Jazz bench. But it might have been even better to go with 22—the total number of years he coached the franchise. It’s an NBA record, and perhaps the most amazing number that could be linked to this legend. Twenty-two seasons is about 308 years in NBA coaching years, where the average number of coaches fired in a season is seven, and 13 of the league’s 30 franchises switched bench managers in 2013 alone. But maybe the best way to remember Sloan isn’t a number at all. When Jazz fans think of him, the first thing that comes to mind is him walking the sidelines in a suit, shouting out directions to players and glaring at refs. Maybe the banner should include a jacket and tie? (Geoff Griffin)
Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors: Jerry Sloan Banner Night @ EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. Temple, 801-355-7328, $20- $256, Jan. 31, 8:30 p.m., UtahJazz.com

Ririe-Woodbury Dance: Flabbergast
Choreographer Tandy Beal found her inspiration for Flabbergast, Ririe-Woodbury’s latest performance, while working with children. In a single Salt Lake City public school, Beal counted more than 23 different spoken languages. Some of the children she taught had never met their grandparents; many had never seen their family’s homeland. All this left her wondering how a distant grandmother might break the boundaries of time and space to reach out to her grandchildren to show them love and affection. With these ideas of love, connection and wonder, guest choreographer Beal launched into creating a truly original dance performance for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s 50th anniversary season. The result is an evening of work that draws modern dance into the spectacular realm of the circus ring. Beal is well known nationally and internationally as a performer, choreographer, writer, teacher, producer, dreamer and circus director. Her impressive portfolio includes full-length dance and circus performances as well as numerous shorter works that have toured 48 states and four continents. For Flabbergast, Beal drew inspiration from her past work with the Moscow Circus and the Pickle Family Circus. In re-envisioning her movement for Flabbergast, Beal has created something unique and specific for the strengths and skills of Ririe- Woodbury’s dancers and guest artists—a multigenerational cast that includes children, adults and Ririe-Woodbury company alumni. The circusstyle stunts are unlike anything the company has done before, enhanced by vibrant costumes and a compelling score by longtime collaborator Jon Scoville. It’s a performance designed to astonish. (Katherine Pioli)
Ririe-Woodbury Dance: Flabbergast @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355- 2787, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 7 p.m., 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 1, $35. RirieWoodbury.com

TJ Miller
TJ Miller is That One Guy in so many films—good and bad—that you find yourself walking out of saying, “I’ve got to figure out who That One Guy is.” He’s the type of actor who, with his mere presence, can make any scene more honest and funny. Take, for instance, Miller playing opposite Paul Rudd in 2011’s Our Idiot Brother as Rudd’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. By the end of the movie (spoiler alert), Miller and Rudd are just two dudes making candles. Originally from Denver, Miller made the rounds through Chicago’s Second City and toured the country extensively with his stand-up. But you might remember from Yogi Bear, Gulliver’s Travels, She’s Out of My League or Get Him to the Greek. No? What about Cloverfield, or the voice of Tuffnut in How To Train Your Dragon? If he’s still not ringing any bells, trust in one of the most written things about him: “scene-stealer.” And typically, he pulls that off with a laugh. (Jacob Stringer)
TJ Miller @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20. WiseguysComedy.com

Utah Symphony: Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky & Chen
The names of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky are surely familiar to classical aficionados, but the name of Qigang Chen may still elude many—unless, of course, you’re familiar with his work as the musical director for the opening ceremonies at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Just in time for the Chinese New Year, the Utah Symphony under the direction of Maestro Thierry Fischer will feature world-renowned pianist Conrad Tao for a selection of works, including Chen’s suite, Wu Xing (The Five Elements). “Wu Xing” refers to traditional Chinese fields of study and belief—from political regimes to internal organs and medicines—organized by the five qualities of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Conrad will also join the symphony for Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. But as the Chinese New Year is both a celebration of the past and a renewed beginning, so is Chen’s unique suite, running through the cycle of Wu Xing. (Jacob Stringer)
Utah Symphony: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 8 p.m., 801-355-2787, $18-$69. UtahSymphony.org

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