Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 9-15 

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THURSDAY JAN. 9

Utah Iconography

As idiosyncratic and singular as Utah’s history, geography and culture is, the state is bound to have its share of icons indigenous to the state. The exhibit Utah Iconography is taken from works in the State of Utah Fine Art Collection, originally established by Rep. Alice Merrill Horne in 1899. Twenty works by 22 Utah artists take on everything from Frank Zimbeaux’ impressionistic “Temple Spires,” the most directly religious image, to more prosaic but no less “iconic” sites like Roy Butcher’s “The Brickyard” and Boyd Reese’s “Portland Cement Plant.” More elusive as straightforward representations are Trevor Southey’s “Confluence” and V. Douglas Snow’s abstract expressionist “Desert Storm.” History is embodied in Gordon Cope’s “Uinta Ute Chief,” a painting depicting Native American John Duncan. The work was completed in 1935, and the subject reportedly could remember the arrival of handcarts to the region in the mid-1800s. What could his weathered visage tell us about where we’ve come from? A few of these pieces aren’t of people or places, but evocative of a quintessential experience or expression among native Utahns, like Betty Roberts’ “Love at Home” quilt sample. They all combine to provide a patchwork of what it means to be “Utahn.” And there couldn’t be a more appropriate site for the show than the Capitol, itself an iconic location. (Brian Staker)
Utah Capitol, 350 N. State, 801-236-7555, through March 13, free. VisualArtsUtah.org

Monika Bravo: Landscape(s) Of Belief
Literature can inform and inspire works of visual art, and Monika Bravo’s sculptural time-based electronic installation Landscape(s) Of Belief draws inspiration from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which describes imaginary cities conjured up in a fictional dialogue between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. In the Electronic Gallery at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Bravo’s works are composed of projected text floating in glass panels These images are dazzling, but in them is also a distinct design. “My intention is to create a parallel between literature and architecture, as they both define, translate and shape physical and mind structures,” the Columbian-born Bravo said in her artist’s statement. The end result is a little more awareness of the ways in which our experiences of public space are conditioned, the ways in which we are all responsible for their construction, and—most intriguingly—the possibilities of envisioning new and different alternatives. (Brian Staker)
Brigham Young University Museum of Art, North Campus Drive, Provo, 801-422-8287, through March 15, free. MOA.BYU.edu


FRIDAY JAN. 10

Wastach Theatre Company: Road Show
“The show must go on” isn’t merely a plucky theatrical cliché; it can be the reality of having to face the audience even when you’re clearly fighting off a nasty cold that’s made a wreck of your voice, as Derek Gregerson did during a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show. The acoustics of the Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre are a challenge for a musical production where musicians have to occupy the same level as the actors, let alone taking into account a performer struggling to reach full voice. But Gregerson gave it his all—and in a show about characters figuring out how to deal with setbacks, his can-do spirit set a fitting tone. The story follows brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner—played by real-life brothers Cameron and Quinn Kapetanov—over the early years of the 20th century, trying to fulfill their father’s deathbed entreaty that they take advantage of the American opportunity by pursuing various get-rich avenues, from the Yukon gold rush to real-estate deals in Florida. It’s an uneven narrative, dependent on a lot of montage musical numbers to convey the brothers’ fortune-hunting endeavors, but there’s still the unique Sondheim kick to the rapid-fire, often darkly funny songs. Better still, there’s terrific emotional connection in the performances, with impressive work by both Kapetanov brothers following their tangled love-hate relationship. And Gregerson, as Addison’s business partner and lover, delivers a performance you can feel, even if the vagaries of a virus made him harder to hear. (Scott Renshaw)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, through Jan. 18, 8 p.m., 2 p.m. matinees Jan. 11 & 18, $15. ArtTix.org


SATURDAY JAN. 11

Ring Around the Rose: Ballet West

Repertory Dance Theatre’s Ring Around the Rose is what they call a “wiggle-friendly” series, held on Saturday mornings throughout the year. The programs are designed to introduce kids to the wide world of the performing arts, and what’s it’s like to be a professional opera singer, painter, violinist, etc. To start out the new year en pointe, RDT has invited Ballet West into the ring to share what life is like as a professional ballerina. Part demonstration and part interactive performance, it will feature members of Ballet West II using the story of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to show how different elements of classical dance, music and theater are intricately pieced together to create the magical production thousands enjoy each year. Besides just getting to watch a part of the ballet, the audience will also be able to ask questions about the dancers’ roles and probe them as to the way they get to live out their dreams of dancing on stage. (Jacob Stringer)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Jan. 11, 11 a.m., $5. RDTUtah.org, BalletWest.org, ArtTix.org


MONDAY JAN. 13

Janeane Garofalo & Greg Behrendt

Janeane Garofalo and Greg Behrendt are odd comedy bedfellows who were, in fact, at one time, actual bedfellows. Yep, the comedy duo were once paired up in the couple sense. They have both since moved on, yet still somehow keep their shared comedy flame burning. One way of doing so is to regularly combine forces for comedy tours, something they’ve been doing for more than a decade, although they are both more popularly known for other endeavors. For her part, Garofalo (pictured) is perhaps best known for her short stint on The Larry Sanders Show or for her many roles in ’90s romantic comedies like The Truth About Cats & Dogs and Reality Bites. Behrendt, though, is best known for something different altogether. It was as the co-author of a romantic advice book called He’s Not That Into You, penned with Sex and the City writer Liz Tuccillo, that the comedian became more of a household name, especially when a film based on the book was released in 2009. But if you think that the pairing of Garofalo & Behrendt is simply another comedian/self-help guru alliance, à la Adam Carolla & Dr. Drew, think again. Both comics got their start in stand-up, and work hard at trying to ply that trade into new territories. Their styles may indeed be different—as different as their personalities and backgrounds—but comedy is where their hearts are at. Garofalo tends to use her wit to simply and insightfully point out the humorous side of the human condition, whereas Behrendt will help you to laugh through all that pain while perhaps offering a rather tender, and surprisingly helpful, piece of unexpected relationship advice. (Jacob Stringer)
Wiseguys Comedy Club West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, Jan. 13-14, 7:30 p.m., $20. WiseguysComedy.com


TUESDAY JAN. 14

The Green Wave

In June 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran—or maybe, in reality, he wasn’t. Protests erupted over corruption in the election process, and thousands of Iranians hoping for a new, more open country to emerge from a “Green Revolution” were jailed, beaten or killed by government militia. Ali Samadi Ahadi’s fascinating 2011 documentary The Green Wave captures the voices behind the protest in a way that anticipated the new look of protest movements that emerged throughout the Arab world. Text messages, Facebook posts, blog entries and YouTube videos became the voice of the people and a way to rally together even without being together. Ahadi translates many of these stories into “motion-comic”-style animation, bringing an even more unique perspective to the lives—focusing on two young students whose experiences become the central narrative—of those who were trying to change their country. (Scott Renshaw)
The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, 801-538-9100, Jan. 14, 7 p.m., free. TheLeonardo.org, UtahFilmCenter.org


WEDNESDAY JAN. 15

Anna Deavere Smith
There’s a lot of noise about health care in America. We’ve heard spiels from politicians and speeches from activists. We’ve been given the facts from journalists, and been dished opinionated rants from talk radio, but we rarely hear the voices of the afflicted. Actress, director and professor Anna Deavere Smith wanted answers about health care—answers from the people—to cut through the BS. Playing the part of anthropologist-cum-journalist, Smith interviewed more than 300 people on three continents for her 2008 one-woman play about the resilience and vulnerability of the human body, Let Me Down Easy. Smith turned countless hours of interviews with patients, doctors and administrators into 20 thought-provoking vignettes. The subjects ranged from a rodeo bull rider to Lance Armstrong and from late Texas Gov. Ann Richards to a Buddhist monk. Their words—sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes gut-wrenchingly sad—became Smith’s script. For the 2014 David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities & Fine Arts, Smith—whose list of honors includes the MacArthur Fellowship and The Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize (two of the most prestigious awards in the arts)—brings her expertise with her speech “Health Care and the Human Story,” which weaves in pieces of Let Me Down Easy. Health care in America is complicated, and now seemingly more relevant than ever, with the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Information comes at us from all directions, but there’s something that the arts, and that Smith in particular, can connect to that others cannot: the human element. (Austen Diamond)
Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., free, tickets required. KingTix.com

Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando: Roomies
The Internet age has changed the nature of the “epistolary” novel—not just that a story built on communication is more likely to revolve around e-mails or texts, but that the work itself could be a long-distance collaboration. That’s how authors Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando—who met online—came to work together on the young-adult novel Roomies. The story follows two recent high-school graduates during the summer before both will begin college at Berkeley, when they receive the information that they will be roommates. Elizabeth “EB” Owens is an East Coast girl, eager to begin a life on the other side of the country; Lauren Cole is the San Francisco-raised oldest child in a large family who really wanted to live alone. As they begin their correspondence—the chapters alternating the story of their respective eventful pre-collegiate summers—EB and Lauren move from casual correspondents to a relationship that could become really complicated before they ever get a chance to meet face-to-face. (Scott Renshaw)
The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com

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