Essentials: Entertainment Picks June 25-July 1 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Essentials: Entertainment Picks June 25-July 1 

The Illusionists, Depart, Jenna Kim Jones, Star Party and more

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THURSDAY JUNE 25

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The Illusionists
The Illusionists launched on Broadway in 2014, and subsequently set box-office records. This month, the group makes its debut in Utah, featuring seven of the world's most talented illusionists, an army of both humorous and scary sidekicks, a dance troupe and a live band. Together, they are bringing the art of magic and illusion back into the 21st century—think David Copperfield meets Cirque du Soleil. There's a little something for everybody. All the magicians in the group have nicknames. Dan Sperry (The Anti-Conjuror) rocks an intimidating gothic look and is probably the most widely recognizable, thanks to his time on America's Got Talent in 2010, where he performed an unforgettable trick with dental floss. Jeff Hobson (The Trickster) is a Vegas-style showman and comic. Andrew Basso (The Escapologist) has attempted dangerous escapes from flaming cars, underwater confinement and 150 feet in the air. Aaron Crow (The Warrior) is more of the strong, silent type, and he specializes in weapon magic. Kevin James (The Inventor) uses his innovative mind to create awe-inspiring illusions. The Academy of Magical Arts named Yu Ho-Jin (The Manipulator) the Magician of the Year in 2014; he utilizes graceful manipulation and sleight of hand to baffle the audience. Lastly, there's Adam Trent (The Futurist) who fuses magic, dance and technology to keep the audience fully engaged. (Shawna Meyer) The Illusionists @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, June 23-25, 7:30 p.m.; June 26, 5 p.m. & 8 p.m.; June 27, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; June 28, 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m., $25-$75. TheIllusionistsLive.com, ArtTix.org

THURSDAY JUNE 25

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Justin Carruth: Depart
CUAC Contemporary Art has partnered with the Salt Lake Film Society, which has devoted a sizeable space in the lobby of the Broadway Centre Cinemas for exhibits curated by the not-for-profit arts organization. After the opener—Tyrone Davies' installation "Cathode Memory" with its nostalgia for the televised image, Wild-West variety—Justin Carruth's collection of paintings, titled Depart, seems like it might more readily accompany movies of the film noir or horror genre. But it's not an attempt at artistic programming to match anything cinematic, and in reality, the paintings of Depart (such as the one pictured above) manifest some fairly complex expressions of the theme, based on a word that has subtle shadings of significance. These canvases utilize a few expressionistic touches, but what is most striking isn't the style, as accomplished as it is. Instead, it's particularly noteworthy that this Captain Captain studios denizen takes on the aesthetic challenge of attempting to represent what is, in a sense, a ghost or an apparition. These figures of departure designate a distance, a separation, under different guises, whether that signifies what simply has left perhaps to return, or what has passed on permanently. Upon contemplation, Carruth's paintings evoke departures of various sorts, but the tension arises in the fact that the evidence of these absences is still palpably present. This act of return serves to revivify, bring the subject back to life in the form of an image, even if that is only its shadow. It seems fitting for the venue, because in a sense, that is what films do as well. (Brian Staker) Justin Carruth: Depart @ Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South, through Oct. 3. CUArtCenter.org

FRIDAY JUNE 26

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Jenna Kim Jones
Things have been going pretty awesome for former Utah comedian Jenna Kim Jones over the past few years. After leaving her sweet gig at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jones packed up her life and dove headfirst into the Los Angeles comedy circuit. While living the dream of being a professional standup comedian, Jones has become an Internet darling on social media after getting a nod from the Huffington Post in 2012 as one of the "18 Funny Women You Should Be Following on Twitter." Since that time, she's seen media success as the narrator for the film series Meet the Mormons, released her own comedy special called #SorryNotSorry through Amazon (filmed at the former Wiseguys Trolley Square location), launched her own podcast under the same name in the spring of 2014, and launched a campaign (supported by Larry King and a variety of comedians) to get to host America's Funniest Home Videos. Jones has crafted a fantastic comedic niche for herself, appealing to PG-rated audiences looking for humor that isn't completely disgusting, while at the same time touching on topics that may make those same people uncomfortable. It's like lighting a campfire to keep them cozy, then swiping her hand through the flames for the thrill—she knows their boundaries and their comfort zones. And isn't that the sign of a good standup comedian: The ability to make a crowd laugh at whatever you may throw at them, even if they're not ready to go there, all delivered with the cutest smile? (Gavin Sheehan) Jenna Kim Jones @ Wiseguys, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City June 26-27, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., $12, 21 and over. WiseguysComedy.com

FRIDAY JUNE 26

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The Hive Theatre Co.: Cock
Over the course of its short lifespan thus far, The Hive Theatre Co. hasn't been timid about presenting daring productions, venturing into the avant-garde or risking offense. And all you need to do is look at the title of its latest production—Mike Bartlett's Cock—to wonder if the title is merely a provocation. But there's more going on in Bartlett's 2009 Laurence Olivier Award-winning play than attempts to shock. It's the story of John, a man who is involved in a long-term relationship with another man, a stockbroker identified only as M. But John gets a surprise when he meets a woman—similarly identified only as W—with whom he goes to bed. With whom does John's long-term happiness lie? Or, perhaps more importantly, what does he have to figure out about himself and his own identify before he can even begin to make that choice? Fluidity can be a funny thing—and strange. (Scott Renshaw) The Hive Theatre Co.: Cock @ Sugar Space, 616 Wilmington Ave., June 26-27, 8 p.m., $15. HiveTheatre.com

SATURDAY JUNE 27

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Salt Lake Astronomical Society Star Party
For those looking to explore the vastness of space from the comfort of solid ground, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society will be hosting a star party at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex. Experts will be on hand to help stargazers utilize some of the observatory's more advanced telescopes, and attendees of all ages are welcome. Organized in 1971, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society has dedicated itself to providing a free and supportive environment to anyone interested in learning more about astronomy. While the society organizes many different events to promote interest in astronomy, its star parties are the most popular. These events take place at various locations throughout the valley, but the opportunity to catch one at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex offers stellar aficionados a chance to play with sophisticated telescopes. Here, society members help amateur astronomers use Grim & Ealing Telescopes to peer into the cosmic vastness. Due to its location away from the light pollution that exists around Salt Lake City, the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex—aptly named SPOC—is ideally situated for getting a clear look at stars, nebulae and planets that populate the night sky. With the help of SLAS experts, attendees will see the crags and valleys of the moon, as well as magnified views of Mercury and Venus. Star parties typically begin after dusk and go well into the evening, so attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly. (Alex Springer) Salt Lake Astronomical Society Star Party @ Stansbury Park Observatory Complex, 252 Highway 138, Stansbury Park, 435-882-1209, June 27, dusk-11p.m., free. SLAS.us

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