Essentials: Entertainment Picks June 19-25 

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THURSDAY JUNE 19

ParaCon West 2014

Do you ever wonder what lies beyond the stars? Do you hear bumps in the night, or reach out to those no longer living? At the first ParaCon West, you won’t be alone; the convention is advertised as “The Ultimate Paranormal Experience.” At ParaCon West, you’ll not only get the chance to listen to paranormal tales, get chilled by psychic readings and go on actual ghost hunts, but also be able to experience a live-action end-of-the-world scenario with BRAINS: The Interactive Zombie Apocalypse Live Theater Rock Opera. Or, attend the 21-and-older Dead Man’s Party to really get down like you’re six feet under. Celebrity guests such as comedian Marcus and psychic medium Serenity Moore will be there to sign autographs and share in your paranormal fascinations. (Camri Mecham)
ParaCon West @ Maverik Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, June 19-21, Thursday, 5-9 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., $35-$150. ParaconWest.com

Must Come Down
The 2012 indie film Must Come Down has already been making a splash in the festival circuit as an official selection at the Cinequest, Newport Beach, Phoenix and Mineapolis St. Paul Film festivals. It’s writer and director, Kenny Riches, had a hand in the Visual Art Institute at the former Garfield School, and Must Come Down, about the quarter life crisis of two 20-somethings (played by Ashley Burch and the late David Fetzer), was filmed in Salt Lake City, so it should resonate especially well with locals of that demographic. Riches’ assertive, self-assured aesthetic sensibility is well-known to locals from his non-cinematic artworks, and carries over into his cinematic style. He has a remarkably strong instinct for visual storytelling. The screening will be followed by a question & answer session with the cast and crew. (Brian Staker)
Must Come Down @ Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, June 19, 7 p.m., free. SLCPL.org


FRIDAY JUNE 20

Olympic Day

On June 23, 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin organized the committee that would launch the modern Olympic Games movement. Annual events around the country recognize that landmark moment as Olympic Day, looking to the stories of great athletes that have inspired us for more than a century, and promoting sportsmanship and fair play. Utah’s own Olympic Day will take place at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, featuring a variety of events—most included in the free general admission—for Olympic enthusiasts of all ages. Local Olympic athletes are slated to attend (specific participating athletes not set at press time) for photo opportunities and autographs. Local blues band Changing Lanes Experience will provide live music, while attendees can enjoy a free skate or participate in a “learn to curl” clinic for an additional fee. You can even get in a little pin trading. Citius, Altius, Fortius. (Scott Renshaw)
Olympic Day @ Utah Olympic Oval, 5662 Cougar Lane, Kearns, 801-968-6825, June 20, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. free admission, $14 per person for learn to curl clinic. UtahOlympicLegacy.com

Phillips Gallery: John Erickson & Ed Bateman
History suggests that as artists become more experienced, their work becomes less literal. Secure in their medium, artists feel free to venture into avenues that require less explanation, as their reputations mean they no longer have to “prove themselves.” It’s been a long time since John Erickson or Ed Bateman has had to prove anything, and their new show at Phillips Gallery—with new bodies of work—is a demonstration of how far each of them has come. Both artists work with the figure—in the case of Erickson, not only the human figure, but also the animal, including several very expressive figures of dogs. The human figure in “Spartacus of Sharpie” as an acerbic realism, composed graphically of squared strokes, frenzied line and stark color. The result is a portrait of an aggressive artist with nothing to hide—including the rawness of his own flesh. Ed Bateman takes a journey with “Agnosia and Forgetting (Afterwords),” where the figure from a pinned photograph has vanished. Then there’s “Dancing on the Head of a Pin (After Bouguereau),” a semi-figural composition of safety pins with a blurred image of figures in the rear, possibly a painting by Bouguereau. And his “The Sound of One Pin (for Etienne-Jules Marey)” is a majestic upward or downward spiral, in the abstract, of strait pins, with no reference to the figure other than its relation to the human condition. (Ehren Clark)
John Erickson & Ed Bateman @ Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284, June 20-July 11, free. Phillips-Gallery.com

Collision: Ballstaedt, Crosby & Frioux
When artists’ works are shown together, especially in small groups, something amazing happens: They seem to relate to one another, much like small groups of people, in a kind of conversation. There are different tones of conversation, from quiet and meditative to animated, and every once in a while, you have a discussion that’s so lively that it’s more like a collision—of opinions or emotions. Rio Gallery’s Collision exhibition—featuring paintings by Andrew Ballstaedt, Lisa Crosby and Jonathan Frioux—is just such an artistic conversation. In Ballstaedt’s work, the color palette is seemingly run amok, though fastened down to abstract compositional grids. The pieces slightly resemble architectural drawings, but the lines oscillate and breathe energetically. Crosby’s work is more atmospheric and massive, as colors dissolve and fade into each other, creating the effects of depth and texture.
Frioux’s colors are mapped out, seemingly more deliberate, but stretch and strain at their boundaries, as though seeking a more expansive resolution. In an artistic trio, it’s tempting to triangulate or try to play some kind of aesthetic rock-paper-scissors game with the artists. But the common theme of color, so dazzling when applied by their brushes, is like a small chamber music group charting out experimental sound, echoing against one another. The result comes together as resounding and eye-opening for the viewer. (Brian Staker)
Collision: Ballstaedt, Crosby & Frioux @ Rio Gallery, 300 S. Rio Grande St., 801-236-7555, through July 11, Gallery Stroll artist reception, Friday June 20, 6-9 p.m. ArtsAndMuseums.Utah.gov

Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton is a clean comic hailing from Idaho, and he looks the part—kind of like the guy next door. Not the creepy one; more like the friendly neighbor who goes out of his way for the smallest favor and always has a smile on his face while doing it. Now that he calls New York City home, it’s hard not to equate him with the small-town character played by Jack McBrayer on 30 Rock. Still, for Hamilton, playing it clean hasn’t slowed him down in the often-bawdy world of comedy; Rolling Stone named him one of Five Comics to Watch. The fact that he’s been picked to open for the likes of Drew Carey pays testament to him being on the rise. And although he now plays around the country to a growing fanbase of his own, he still regularly makes the rounds out here in the west, where he can make people laugh in St. George and Boise as well as Las Vegas. (Jacob Stringer)
Ryan Hamilton @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, June 20-21, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $15.  WiseguysComedy.com


SATURDAY JUNE 21

Salt Lake Bees Tavernacle Dueling Pianos Night

Baseball has a long tradition of having everybody sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” together during the seventh-inning stretch. It doesn’t feel like you really went to the game unless you raise your hand and start putting your fingers out as you count, “For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out!” Singing with the crowd at a baseball game is about as American as it gets. When it comes to getting everybody to sing together, who better to get the crowd going than the dueling pianos players from the Tavernacle (201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900, Tavernacle.com) piano bar? Name a song, they’ll start pounding out the chords, and pretty soon, everyone is screaming along on the chorus. The Tavernacle’s ivory-ticklers will be on hand for the Bees game Saturday—against a team from Nashville named the “Sounds,” no less—to take requests all night long. Everybody will also get to sing along during a post-game concert that will be synchronized with a fireworks show.
Get your arm and your vocal cords warmed up, and take somebody out to the ball game. (Geoff Griffin)
Salt Lake Bees Tavernacle Dueling Pianos Night @ Smith’s Ballpark, 77 W. 1300 South, 801-350-6900, June 21, 6:35 p.m., $9-$27, SLBees.com

Junction City Roller Dolls Double-Header Beach Party
We may not have many suitable beaches in Utah, but no matter; the Junction City Roller Dolls are throwing their own beach party inside the Golden Spike Event Center this weekend, so you can bring your bathing suits, Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops and beach towels and party down with the entire Junction City league as they play games and give prizes to the kids. The derby action will be a double-header. Kicking off the evening will be JRCD’s LOCO-Motives (coming off an impressive win over Idaho Falls’ Portneuf Valley Bruisers), who will compete against the Beet City Bombers from Nampa, Idaho. The second match will feature the JCRD Trainwrecks—who have had a near-dominant season so far—to take on some friendly rivals from Salt Lake City: the Uinta Madness men’s roller derby team.
Throughout the evening, funds will be raised to support the Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency. (Gavin Sheehan)
Junction City Roller Dolls @ Golden Spike Event Center, 1000 N. 1200 West, Ogden, June 21, 6 p.m., $8-$12. JCRDolls.com

Miller Motorsports Park: Lucas Oil Off-Road Series
For most folks who think about auto racing—if they think of it at all—it’s the kind where cars roar around an asphalt oval. It’s very fast, very skilled driving, but for those not tuned in to its rhythms, it can seem like one long left turn. And then there’s the radically different sensibility of off-road racing, where modified cars, carts and trucks hit the dirt courses, often zooming over hills and bottoming out in valleys. This weekend, the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series returns to the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele for the fifth year, with a full slate of racing on the off-road short course. Stars of the sport like Jeremy McGrath, Brian Deegan and Carl Renezeder fight for points with all the energy that 800 horsepower vehicles can provide. The event also provides more for visitors than the races themselves; it’s practically a festival experience. While some attendees come for a day in the grandstands, others tailgate or make a full weekend out of it with RV and camper parking. Drivers will be available for photos and autograph sessions, and you can even go for an adrenalized ride of your own, whether it’s on the Miller Kart Track or on the zip line. But leave the most breathtaking motion to the drivers, who know how to energize a crowd by taking a truck soaring into the air. (Scott Renshaw)
Lucas Oil Off-Road Series @ Miller Motorsports Park, 2901 N. Sheep Lane, Tooele, 436-277-8000, June 21-22, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., $10-$250; season passes and special rates for campers also available. MillerMotorsportsPark.com

Sundance Author Series: Eric Schlosser
It’s rare for an investigative journalist to be able to turn shorter work for magazines and newspapers into best-selling books that are captivating reads. Eric Schlosser is just such a talent, with his work Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal; Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market; and Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. Schlosser’s newest book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety, applies his trademark investigative diligence to America’s aging nuclear arsenal. He begins back in the middle of the Cold War, with a little-known tale about a near nuclear disaster a few miles north of Damascus, Ark. What was supposed to be a fairly routine maintenance procedure on a Titan II—the largest intercontinental ballistic missile in the United States arsenal—soon turned into a full-scale alert when a worker dropped a socket wrench and punctured the rocket’s aluminum shell. Schlosser turns this simple incident into a cautionary tale about how American citizens live in ignorance while being surrounded by weapons of mass destruction that, like all infrastructure, need routine maintenance that could go wrong at any moment. As if being surrounded by imminent doom weren’t enough, Schlosser’s next project—one that he’s been working on for over a decade—is taking a look at the dire state of the American penal system. (Jacob Stringer)
Sundance Author Series: Eric Schlosser @ Sundance Resort Tree Room Restaurant, 8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 866-734-4428, June 21, 11:30 a.m., $75 includes lecture, discussion, signed copy of author’s book and brunch. SundanceResort.com

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