Essentials: Entertainment Picks March 20-26 

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THURSDAY MARCH 20

Lance Olsen & Melanie Rae Thon
Lance Olsen is one of the foremost proponents and practitioners of experimental writing. He’s taught experimental narrative theory and practice in the creative-writing program at the University of Utah since 2007 and also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Fiction Collective Two, a progressive art community that has published some of the most progressive experimental writing in the world. Olsen’s publications are too numerous to list here, but he’s been a Fulbright scholar and has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. On March 20, he will be joined by author Melanie Rae Thon (Sweet Hearts) for a reading of his new books, Theories of Forgetting and There. The former is inspired by Robert Smithson, the earth artist who created the Spiral Jetty. There was written during Olsen’s five-month residency at the American Academy in Berlin as the Mary Ellen von van der Heyden Fellow. They are two very different books that show just a few of the many facets of one of the most fascinating American writers.
Lance Olsen & Melanie Rae Thon @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, March 20, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com

Mars/Venus Live
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 20 years, you’ve heard that Men Are from Mars, Woman Are from Venus. The best-selling book by John Gray has been brought to life in a quick-witted and relatable show that combines theatrical performances and stand-up comedy. Couples and singletons across the globe have been laughing and nodding along with this book-to-stage interpretation since 2007, as they learn that the human condition of being male and female is similar no matter where you are from, or with whom you’re in a relationship. Topics ranging from dating, marriage and issues in the bedroom may have you blushing a bit as you chuckle—but you’ll likely leave feeling both enlightened and wildly entertained.
Mars/Venus Live @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, March 20, 7:30 pm., $50. ArtTix.org

Annie Boyer: Depth
Our perception of the surrounding world often depends on our understanding of depth. But just what does this word really signify? In a new show of abstract painting at Finch Lane Gallery, artist Annie Boyer attempts an extreme in abstract painting by choosing depth as her subject. Although her technique explores the quality of depth literally—layering paint to create actual, physical depth—the true depth of this show is found in what she evokes as she works with her subject on a conceptual level. Boyer uses a process of paint-layering, usually with water added to allow for visual texture and difference. She can never predict how each layer will appear as it dries, but when each is multiplied with layer upon layer of paint—responding to air and water in differing ways—Boyer manages to convey the physicality of depth.
Annie Boyer: Depth @ Art Barn, 54 Finch Lane, 801-587-5433, through May 2, free. SLCGov.com/Arts

Joi Aoki: Tenacity
Common to many philosophies—especially Buddhism and Hinduism—is reverence for nature. The art in Joi Aoki’s show Tenacity addresses those ideas, such as how something like a seed can prove to be powerful beyond the specifics of any context. “The pieces that will be exhibited are my interpretation of how something that struggles under the most adverse of conditions can be incredibly beautiful by means of the result of their struggle,” Aoki says in her gallery statement. “Coastal Windswept Pine with Needles” features a web of pine branches and needles pulled by a tremendous force of wind as they cling to the rock that is their security. This representation of struggle in a truly most adverse condition should be viewed not merely as it relates to the physical form, but with an understanding of its significance to the artist’s philosophy. Viewers may be able to connect those external struggles to the internal, and the capacity to transcend limitations in the face of adversity.
Joi Aoki:
Tenacity @ The Gallery at Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, through April 25, free. SLCPL.org/Events


FRIDAY MARCH 21

Jimmi Toro: Faces
Every painting is abstract. If you look closely enough, you can get lost in the shapes of the brushstrokes and the forces of pigment and color as they move across the canvas. Jimmi Toro—the Best of Show winner in painting at the 2013 Park City Kimball Arts Festival—uses the application of oil paints to explore the nature of faces in his new solo show, opening today at Urban Arts Gallery. Toro, who says he believes that the faces in his paintings capture “the spirit of the individual,” has a style that is idiosyncratic and masterful, yet seemingly effortless. Often, the techniques he employs—such as “drawing” lines with dripping paint—display the physicality of the medium without the brute force of pushing paint around the surface. As a result, there is a lithe, playful quality to his figures, even amid their electric energy. His lines recall those of an ink drawing, and his style owes something to illustration. For this exhibit, Toro collaborated with six local photographers and interpreted their work with paint. He will also show examples of art and music from a collaborative music project he’s working on, and a video presentation will demonstrate his working methods. The exhibit will also include experiments, sketches, early childhood works and a look at the influences on his art, which is an essay on the sheer joy of painting.
Jimmi Toro: Faces @ Urban Arts Gallery, 137 S. Rio Grande St., 801-651-3937, March 21-April 7; reception March 21, 6-9 p.m., free. UtahArts.org/Locations/Urban-Arts-Gallery

Pauly Shore
Before he ever made himself the fool in movies like Encino Man and Bio-Dome, Pauly Shore was already living the life of an entertainment insider: His father, Sammy, was an opening act for Elvis Presley, and his mother, Mitzi, is the grand madam of the legendary Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Almost as if he had no choice in the matter, having learned the ropes by hanging around the likes of Sam Kinison and Richard Pryor, Shore started doing stand-up at the ripe age of 17. He soon developed the loveably annoying surfer-dude personality commonly known as “The Weasel,” on which he rode to stardom with the slurred catchphrase “Hey, buddy.” Even though those mainstream movies and MTV hosting duties were limited to a short period during the ’90s, Shore has continued to entertain the masses by playing comedy clubs, as well as writing, directing and producing his own small-budget independent films. Shore’s newest project was the 2011 Showtime comedy special Vegas Is My Oyster, shot during the AVN (Adult Video News) Awards, in which he plays the emcee and doofus straight guy on a variety-type show opposite guests like Andy Dick and Tom Green. It may be the perfect vehicle for Shore, since he’s the kind of celebrity who’s more comfortable around people like Ron Jeremy than Julia Roberts. But funny-guy Shore is fine with that, and he’s the first to self-deprecate—trying to beat everyone else to the punch because he knows full well what’s coming, and that he probably deserves it.
Pauly Shore @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, March 21 & 22, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $22. WiseguysComedy.com


SATURDAY MARCH 22

Real Salt Lake home opener vs. L.A. Galaxy
If it seems like it was just yesterday that Real Salt Lake was playing for the MLS Cup, you’re not all that far off. It was Dec. 7, 2013, that RSL lost on penalty kicks at Kansas City in their quest for their first title since 2009. Just 105 days later, Real is back home at Rio Tinto Stadium for their home opener against the L.A. Galaxy. And you thought the NBA season was long. Saturday is actually RSL’s third match of the season. The season-opener was against this same Galaxy team in Los Angeles, and the result from that first match could have hardly been closer, with Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando stopping a penalty kick during stoppage time to preserve a 1-0 road win. The rivalry between the two franchises goes back to RSL’s 2009 MLS Cup run, when they knocked off the Galaxy in the championship game. Since then, L.A. has claimed back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, followed by Real making it to the championship match in 2013. The home opener marks the first of 17 regular-season home MLS matches running through Oct. 22. The 2014 season is the 10th for the franchise, which started play in 2005, and is the first for new coach Jeff Cassar, taking over from Jason Kreis, who departed to lead an expansion team in New York.
Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. Galaxy @ Rio Tinto Stadium, 9256 S. State, 801-727-2700, March 22, 2 p.m., $20-$125. RealSaltLake.com


MONDAY MARCH 24

Utah Dance Film Festival
The performing arts are about collaboration. While painters and writers toil in solitude, practitioners of theater, music, dance and film rely on the talents of those around them as much as their own. That’s why it’s natural for these art forms to occasionally join forces. And as the Utah Dance Film Festival shows, film and dance are a particularly good match. The festival’s goal is to highlight work that augments the sublime emotive power of dance with the intimate gaze of the cinematic lens. This combined art form brings together the best characteristics of dance and film. The Utah Dance Film Festival has been holding educational workshops to foster this collaboration. Screenings are free to the public, but seating is limited, so obtaining a ticket in advance is recommended.
Utah Dance Film Festival @ Provo City Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-852-6650, March 24, 4:30-8 p.m., free. UtahDanceFilmFestival.org


WEDNESDAY MARCH 26

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson is quickly becoming the most popular science ambassador in the galaxy—the Carl Sagan of our time. It takes a unique mind to not only be able to contemplate and comprehend complex subjects like cosmology, astrophysics and stellar evolution, but also be able to break it down into concepts simple enough that laypeople can revel in all that mystery and wonder, too. Tyson—like Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman and Sagan before him—has just such a gift. He also has a genuine excitement and passion for sharing such knowledge. That’s clearly why he was picked to host the new Fox television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, an update of Sagan’s 1980s PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Tyson’s cultural reach—through his books, television appearances and standing-room-only lectures (like this one)—is pretty astronomical, as well. For instance, he coined the term “Manhattanhenge,” referring to the two days a year on which the evening sun aligns with the Manhattan street grid, providing a perfect view of the setting sun between the steel giants of the city’s skyline. He’s also an award-winning dancer. But, most importantly, Tyson simply wants to inspire humanity by encouraging people to look at the stars and ponder our unique place in the universe. He knows that by searching the farthest expanses of the cosmos, trying to grasp what we can by questioning everything, we end up better understanding ourselves.
Neil deGrasse Tyson @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, March 26, 7 p.m., sold out; free simulcast in three campus auditoriums. KingTix.com

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