Essentials: Entertainment Picks July 24-30 

THURSDAY JULY 24

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Pioneer Day/Days of '47
Utah's Pioneer Day has been celebrated annually almost every year since the momentous day in 1847 when Brigham Young and company declared this valley to be the place. The holiday took just one year off, during the Utah War of 1857, as the then-Utah Territory was occupied by federal troops. Only when Abraham Lincoln himself declared his hands-off policy in the early 1860s did the grand party resume. From those early days, July 24 has been spent in some combination of parading, trekking and lighting fireworks. The parade is actually one of the oldest in America, and continues to be the state's largest. As if the parade isn't enough, each year, scores of people re-enact the pioneers' descent into the valley by dressing up in period attire and pulling handcarts for five miles along Emigration Creek, from Donner Park to the First Encampment Park. And as far as fireworks go, residents of the Beehive State likes to light it up to celebrate the Days of '47 even more than they do the Fourth of July. The Days of '47 celebrations last a lot longer than just Pioneer Day, too. The annual rodeo goes for almost a full week around the state holiday; pageants to crown a local beauty have been happening since spring; and youth parades and activities occur over several weeks leading up to the 24th. There's even a ceremony that takes place the week before, honoring modern-day pioneers who embody the same hard-working and industrious spirit this great state was founded upon. (Jacob Stringer)
Pioneer Day @ various Salt Lake City locations, July 24, parade starts at 9 a.m., fireworks at dusk. Pioneer.Utah.gov, DaysOf47.com

THURSDAY JULY 24

Native American Celebration in the Park
Native American powwows are a time and place for gathering and sharing both cultural and spiritual practices. The Native American Celebration in the Park is an intertribal powwow that encourages participation from tribes across the continent, and has been serving that purpose here for 20 years. According to Cal Nez, president and founder of the event, it's no longer just for Native Americans; everyone is invited to attend and encouraged to engage, as a sort of cultural outreach. During the daylong affair in Liberty Park, there will be traditional dance competitions (like Fancy Feather and Fancy Shawl), shared songs, drum circles and ceremonies. There will also be plenty of opportunities to sample native foods and purchase crafts. The powwow also serves another role: that of passing traditions from elders to the next generations. The principle has always been important, but is even more necessary in a rapidly changing world. (Jacob Stringer)
Native American Celebration in the Park @ Liberty Park northeast quadrant, 900 S. 600 East, 801-688-9297, July 24, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. fireworks, free. Facebook.com/NACIPPowwowFestival

FRIDAY JULY 25

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Piper Brett: Poolside & Allison Lacher: Nonnative
In the summertime, thoughts turn to images of leisure—lounging by the pool, perhaps, or playing basketball. Piper Brett's installation Poolside at CUAC pieces items together to form a loose narrative of her life centered on urban north Philadelphia: a gold shopping cart hanging from the ceiling (pictured), a replica of Belgium's Manneken Pis fountain, a basketball with handle affixed and, most notably, a painting of water on the gallery floor. One wades into this exhibit; you almost want to wear beach attire. If one can't spend enough time at the pool, one can indulge in the images and symbols of the poolside life. In this case, however, the water also stands for the mirage of memory. Through this filter, experience is detached from the weight of presence, which renders these objects even more haunting and effective. The bifurcated layout of the gallery space also offers another aesthetic. Alison Lacher's installation Nonnative explores images of the openness of the West and the idea of things that aren't native to this place. The saguaro cacti that dominate the works in this collection seem to be welcoming, familiar and optimistic, yet there is a barrenness and desolation in her visual landscape that contrasts against the fluidity of Brett's. (Brian Staker)
Piper Brett: Poolside & Allison Lacher: Nonnative @ CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 385-215-6768, through Sept. 12, free. CUArtCenter.org

FRIDAY JULY 25

Wildflower Festival
Wildflowers are back in bloom inside the beautiful Cottonwood canyons, and the annual Wildflower Festival will be doing more than showing them off. For three days, hikes of all difficulty levels—including an activity hike for kids—will take place in the mountains, with options for the mornings and afternoons. Mind and body will both be activated, as breaks will be taken along the way for conversation and information about canyon ecosystem and history. There will also be tram options available for getting to certain trails or to easy explorations and nature walks. The Cottonwood Canyon Foundation, which hosts the Wildflower Festival, believes that with awareness comes progress and preservation. So, whether you are an advanced mountaineer or a beginner, the festival makes it easy to take a limited-time gander at these lovely blooms. (Camri Mecham)
Wildflower Festival @ various locations at Brighton, Alta and Solitude ski resorts, July 25-27, various departure times 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 optional donation. CottonwoodCanyons.org/events/wasatch-wildflower-festival

FRIDAY JULY 25

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Moksha: Photography by Fazal Sheikh
It's no new realization that the United States is a land of comfort and freedom compared to most of the world, but looking at injustices abroad can increase appreciation of our home. A current exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts takes an intimate look at a great injustice in India—one that garners little media attention, but whose dynamics remind viewers of the essential value of human life. Photographer Fazal Sheikh made a preliminary visit to the sacred Indian city of Vrindavan, where thousands of Indian widows join each year—escaping "physical violence, sexual abuse and neglect," according to the artist's statement—to spend their remaining days on earth worshiping the god Krishna, hoping to be released from the cycle of reincarnation called samsara and find peace and unity at one with the universal spirit, the state of moksha. Sheikh had to make numerous attempts to gain full entrance into these temples and be accepted by the widows so that he could take their portraits and hear their stories. The images are inspiring—warm, with a soothing glow. "What the women find in Vrindavan is not just religious solace, but in the sisterhood of other widows, they find companionship and support," Sheikh says. Krishna "asked me if I was sad, and I said no," says Suniti Chatterjee (pictured). "He told me he was with me and he would protect me. He loves me too much. There is nothing left in me; everything is Krishna's." (Ehren Clark)
Moksha: Photography by Fazal Sheikh @ Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah, 801-581-7332, through Nov. 30, $7-$9, college students, military families and children under 6 free. UMFA.Utah.edu

SATURDAY JULY 26

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Rob Delaney
One of the first comedians to harness the potential of Twitter to launch his career, Rob Delaney quickly became ubiquitous in the 140-characters-or-fewer format, with jokes ranging from surreal scatology to the political. Two examples of the latter: "I love gay people. Or as I sometimes call them, 'people,'" and "If your response to calls for gun control is 'Should we get rid of cars too?' the answer is, for you, yes. You should not have a gun or car." Part of his appeal is the fact that outside of Twitter, he is, to all outward appearances, almost comically normal: strong, generically handsome features, wife and kids, the whole bit. All that added to the illusion that "anyone can make some jokes on Twitter and get famous." But Delaney has certainly proven that not just anyone can do what he can do. He was named one of the 10 funniest people on Twitter in 2010 by Paste, then, in 2012, the funniest by Comedy Central. He now has more than a million followers, and has been on TV shows like Conan, Chelsea Lately, Key & Peele and even Cougar Town. Recently, he detailed his life—including his struggles with depression and alcoholism—in the memoir Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. As the title suggests, despite the sometimes-heavy subject matter, the book isn't lacking laughs. And this week, he'll be bringing that comedy to Wiseguys in West Valley. (Danny Bowes)
Rob Delaney @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, July 26, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20. WiseguysComedy.com

SATURDAY JULY 26

Utah Peruvian Festival
You don't have to be Peruvian to appreciate and enjoy their culture. In honor of Peru's Independence Day, Utah is hosting the Peruvian Festival to celebrate all things Peruvian. Daily festivities will be held at the Gallivan Center and include a fun-filled day of cultural entertainment. From singers and dancers to food vendors—including local favorite Del Mar al Lago—serving authentic cuisine, you are sure to get a feel for the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Peru. Later that evening, the Double Tree Hilton Hotel will be hosting a special Gala Night for an added ticket price. The dinner and show will include a headline performance by Peruvian comic actor Tulio Loza. Be prepared to laugh out loud while you dine on some of the foods Peru is known for. (Aimee Cook O'Brien)
Utah Peruvian Festival @ Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, July 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Gala Night @ Double Tree Hilton Hotel, 110 W. 600 South, July 26, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., $25.

SATURDAY JULY 26

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Brian Krans: Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story
These aren't easy times in which to be a journalist, as author Brian Krans knows all too well. Krans has covered hard stories like Hurricane Katrina and homicides, yet his profession is still endangered by changing economic models and a seemingly insatiable public desire for "news" that's as salacious as possible. He taps into that cruel world in his new novel Assault Rifles & Pedophiles, telling the story of John Danielson, who once made a name for himself on the ghoulish beat of celebrity suicides, including documenting the tragic stars' last words. But covering the wrong story led to an involuntary change of occupation, forcing Danielson to take a job at a big-box retail store. And his past may come back to haunt him when he finds himself in the breakroom, in the middle of a police standoff, holding the shotgun that killed the store's manager. (Scott Renshaw)
Brian Krans: Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story @ Weller Book Works, Trolley Square, 602 E. 600 South, 801-328-2586, July 26, 2 p.m., free. WellerBookWorks.com

SATURDAY JULY 26

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Flying Ace All-Stars Aerial Show
During the summer months, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Utah is a winter wonderland and a training ground for some of the world’s best winter-sport athletes. But on summer weekends through August, there’s an opportunity to get away from the heat of the valley and catch some of those talented folks showing off some of their best tricks, in a way you might never have seen them before. Presented by Montage Deer Valley, the Flying Ace All-Stars Aerial show features Olympic and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association riders showing off some of the tricks that make them great—with a few twists. After rocketing down the slopes, instead of landing on winter powder, they’ll splash down in a 750,000-gallon pool. And as many as 12 athletes will be in the air at the same time, performing their flips, corkscrews and spins for a a gasp-inducing spectacular. (Scott Renshaw)
Flying Ace All-Stars Aerial Show @ Utah Olympic Park, 3429 Olympic Parkway, Park City, 435-658-4200, through Aug. 31, Saturdays 11 a.m., Sundays 1 p.m., $5-$10. UtahOlympicLegacy.com/Park

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