Essentials: Entertainment Picks June 26-July 2 



Utah Jazz NBA Draft Party

June 26 has been circled on the calendars of Jazz fans since Oct. 30—the first night of the 2013-14 season, when Utah lost to Oklahoma City. Utah fans swallowed 56 more nights like that on the way to a 25-57 record. As the losses piled up, the only things to look forward to were the promise of summer and the NBA draft in June. After the Nov. 24 loss at OKC that dropped Utah to 1-14, fans gave thanks for what’s supposed to be the deepest draft since LeBron, D-Wade and Melo came into the league in 2003. A 33-point loss in Atlanta on Dec. 20 meant that Santa was on his way, and so was a lottery pick. The 38-point loss in Houston on St. Patrick’s Day gave hope that the Jazz would have the luck of the Irish when the draft order was set. The season eventually ground to an 82-game halt, and now we’ve got nothing but high temperatures and high picks. In this year’s draft in Brooklyn, broadcast on ESPN, the Jazz have picks Nos. 5, 23 and 35. The No. 5 pick is intriguing since basketball fans seem to agree who the first four picks will be—Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum—but No. 5 is open to a lot of speculation, with the names of Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle being tossed around. Show up to the arena and keep your eyes on the 42-by-24-foot twin screens for signs of hope for the future while enjoying live entertainment by the Jazz Bear, autographs and photos with the Jazz Dancers, and basketball competitions presented by Zero Fatalities with prizes like Jazz tickets and jerseys. The first 3,000 entrants will receive a complementary draft guide and a voucher for a free hotdog and drink.
Utah Jazz NBA Draft Party @ EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 801-355-7328, June 26, doors open at 4:30 p.m., draft starts at 5:30 p.m., free.

Creative Differences
Nonprofit arts organization Art Access marks its 30th anniversary this month with a photographic exhibition that celebrates local artists who have contributed significantly to the Salt Lake City creative landscape. Creative Differences includes 20 portraits by longtime local photographer Kent Miles, as well as interviews with people whose work has helped Art Access’ mission of making art experiences available to disadvantaged people. Whether by exhibiting in the gallery, teaching workshops, conducting mentoring programs or supporting Art Access’ role in the community, these artists have helped Art Access fill a critical niche in this city. What makes this exhibition so fascinating is to see the organization’s story told through interviews from so many different points of view. While Miles’ carbon-pigment ink prints are unadorned portraits, they nevertheless capture the committed gazes of the men and women behind Art Access’ work. The exhibit is showing concurrently with The Brian & Joe Show, featuring works by Brian Kershisnik and Joe Adams, two mainstays of the gallery and the local arts scene over the years.
Creative Differences @ Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, 801-328-0703, through July 11, free.

Plein Air Invitational
The word “plein” in French means full, ripe or fecund, so “plein air” refers to contemporary takes on Impressionism. With Utah’s shifting seasonal light, infinite natural landscapes and other intriguing subjects, plein air painting is a popular pursuit in the state. At the Plein Air Invitational at Slusser Gallery, 12 award-winning plein air artists exhibit work from not only all over Utah, but also farther afield from areas including Northern and Southern California as well as France and Russia. Artist Joli Beal uses her oils to capture both the play of light and lucid color with throbbing immediacy in “San Clemente Alley” (pictured). It’s a work that’s alive with a symphony of colors; teal-blue trash cans, mandarin-orange rooftops, a rose-pink and mint-green street, and a sky bright with azure blue and lavender. This plein air painting reveals a simple alley as the passer-by rarely stops to see it, full of vibrant possibility in the afternoon sunlight.
Plein Air Invitational @ Slusser Gallery, 447 E. 100 South, 801-536-1952, through Aug. 8, free.

Makia Sharp: Passing
A recent Brigham Young University graduate with a BFA in painting, Makia Sharp explores both simple and complex ideas about how we see the world around us and the nature of transcendence. The title piece of her exhibition Passing at the Central Utah Art Center is a hanging sculpture consisting of two pieces of cloth: One is the transformation of a light cloud into darkness, the other cloth is its opposite. The viewer must transcend the light into the dark, and then cross over back into the light and transcend the darkness. The theme of transcendence to some degree infuses her show, which includes two hanging sculptures, a sculpture installation in a pile with a wall sculpture, a diptych wall sculpture, a video projection and a large box in which viewers can watch video projections. “Untitled 2014” is composed of cast Quikrete cement, and the viewer must transcend the coarseness of this material and appreciate that each item in the pile is shaped like a large gem. Above “Untitled 2014” is a sheet of smoky mylar resin through which a photograph in gradations of violet can be seen. The wall sculpture, “Haze,” resonates deeply; you have to, in essence, penetrate the “haze” to see the truth—in this case, the essence of violet.
Makia Sharp: Passing @ CUAC, 175 E. 200 South, 435-283-5110, through July 12, free.

Utah Arts Festival
In the June 19 issue of City Weekly, we offered a few detailed suggestions for how visitors might want to organize a visit to the Utah Arts Festival, the state’s largest annual celebration of visual, performing, literary and (fill in the blank with whatever other creative endeavor you can think of) arts. Whether you’re a planner or an improviser, however, there’s a way to make the festival just right for you. It’s important to start with the premise that you will end up missing something great; there’s just not enough time, and too many talented performers and visual artists spread throughout the festival grounds. Better to think of it as a tasting menu—literally, in the case of the new culinary-arts presentations—allowing visitors to see dance companies, filmmakers, painters, comedians and much more all in one place. And it works best if it inspires you to keep looking for Utah arts throughout the year.
Utah Arts Festival @ Washington Square/Library Square, 200 East & 400 South, June 26–29, noon-11 p.m. daily, $10 daily, $12 Friday-Sunday; four-day pass $35 at the event.


Utah Shakespeare Festival
The Adams Shakespearean Theatre is the center stage of the annual Utah Shakespeare Festival. Upon its boards, ghosts hauntingly beseech their heirs, royalty are routinely beheaded and desperate star-cross’d lovers plunge daggers into their own hearts. Similar to the famous Globe in London, the Adams is an open-air theater with classic Tudor stylings; this one just happens to be located in Cedar City. This summer, the Adams will once again be showcasing three Shakespeare plays. Contrary to the title, Henry IV Part One is really about his son, the prince of Wales—the future Henry V—who chooses to slum it in local taverns with the fat and gregarious Falstaff rather than play his royal role. Measure for Measure is a seldom-performed dark comedy that explores the corrupting influences of society. The third is the early play Comedy of Errors, a farcical slapstick featuring two sets of identical twins; this version is set during the California gold rush. While the Adams’ Theatre is home to Shakespeare’s classics, the Utah Shakespeare Festival likes to use its second theater to branch out from the works of its namesake. This year, the indoor stage presents more modern works like Into the Woods and Boeing Boeing alongside the Bard’s Twelfth Night. There will also be a world premiere of an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Sense & Sensibility and a new adaptation of an old fan favorite, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.
Utah Shakespeare Festival @ 351 W. Center St., Cedar City, 800-752-9849, through Oct. 18, $28-$73.

Salt Lake Acting Company: Saturday’s Voyeur 2014
For nearly two generations, Salt Lake Acting Company has been raising hackles, ruffling feathers and causing big guffaws with a production that allows Utah’s cultural minority to shake off the frustrations of the previous year dealing with the cultural majority. And if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it. Salt Lake Acting Company’s 36th production of Saturday’s Voyeur once again finds writers Nancy Borgenicht and Allen Nevins taking barbed musical shots at the politics, topical controversies and general insanity that are part of living in Utah. The cast of 12—including veteran Alexis Baigue returning for his 14th spin on the Voyeur cabaret stage—delivers songs and vignettes organized around a look behind the scenes at a bustling Temple Square during conference weekend. Bring a picnic lunch, and prepare to blow off the steam that’s been coming out of your ears since last year’s production.
Saturday’s Voyeur 2014 @ Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, through Aug. 31, Wednesday-Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1 & 6 p.m., $40-$55.

Utah Symphony: Patriotic Celebration
When it comes to the soul-stirring frenzy of patriotic tunes during Fourth of July weekend, you might be surprised at some of the toe-tappers that get included these days as Ol’ Glory unfurls. The Utah Symphony’s 2014 Patriotic Celebration features the overture from West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein 1950s classic musical about immigrant struggle. The bulk of the annual summer program is made up of more typical marches and patriotic fanfares—including pieces by the great John Philip Sousa, with The Stars & Stripes Forever bringing the evening to a rousing close. There will also be other anticipated classics like The Star-Spangled Banner and The Armed Forces Salute. But another oddity perennially stuck into such programs is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It has nothing to do with America, instead commemorating the victory of Russian forces over Napoleon’s invading troops. But still, nothing seems more befitting a patriotic celebration than cannon fire echoing off the surrounding mountains.
Utah Symphony: Patriotic Celebration
@ Sundance Resort, 8841 Alpine Loop Road, June 27, 8 p.m., 801-355-2787, $18.,

Tipsy Point Project: DinoMato
When thinking of dance innovation from the not too distant past, it’s American talent that usually first comes to mind with choreographers like Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. But these days, we also look beyond our shores for emerging new talent. Tipsy Point Project, a performance duo coming this week to Sugar Space, could be one of those groups. Ching-i Chang and Kuan-Yu Chen—the Project’s co-artistic directors and performers—both began dancing in their home country of Taiwan. Chang completed her BFA in dance at the University of Utah and Chen at the University of Illinois, before the two came together in 2010 to form Tipsy Point. Often drawing on unconventional objects like balloons and bananas in their performance art/movement pieces, Chang and Chen were inspired by Andy Warhol and his use of repetition—think Campbell Soup cans—for their Sugar Space performance, DinoMato. With audience interaction that moves beyond the stage, Chang and Chen hope to challenge the idea of an audience as a passive body and ask the question, “Who is watching whom?”
Tipsy Point Project: DinoMato @ Sugar Space, 616 E. Wilmington Ave., 888-300-7898, June 27 & 28, 8 p.m., $12.

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