Essentials: Entertainment Picks May 21-27 

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Wasatch Theatre Co.: Deadly 7 Page-to-Stage Festival
For 14 years, Wasatch Theatre Co. has provided one of Utah's most reliable showcases for new work by new playwrights with its annual Page-to-Stage Festival. For the most part, the works produced are the same ones presented to the company for consideration. But in an effort to shake things up, Wasatch has thrown a little devil into the details. In the spirit of artistic "iron [fill-in-the-blank]" challenges that give creative people a fixed time frame to create works within certain specific parameters, the 2015 Page-to-Stage Festival welcomed playwrights accepted through the regular submission process, then presented them with a twist. The seven writers would each be assigned to write a short play thematically connected to one of the seven deadly sins—pride, envy, greed, sloth, lust, wrath and gluttony. But they'd also be given a few additional tasks: incorporating a predetermined line of dialogue, one specific prop and writing for a specific cast. Playwrights Sherry Allred, Beth Bruner, Elise Hanson, Jim Martin, Ryan Noufer, George Plautz and David Sanderson make up the lucky septet who took on the challenge—and handed it off to the seven-member cast: Alyssa Franks, Michelle Hall, Natalie Keezer, Malinda Money, Brian Pilling, Michele Rideout and Allen Smith (with writers Martin and Plautz also acting as segment directors). The result is a diverse evening of theater, from comedy to drama. And you get a chance to pay for their sins. (Scott Renshaw) Wasatch Theatre Co.: Deadly 7 Page-to-Stage Festival @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, May 21-23, 8 p.m., matinee May 23, 1 p.m., $15.


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Trent Alvey, Lindsay Frei & Steven Larson
Hot on the heels of a show in April featuring some of the area's most outstanding abstractionists, 15th Street Gallery opened for Gallery Stroll on May 15 with a trio of artists whose work, at least in this show, is representational. Steven Larson's works are fascinating in the way they sketch out landscapes—sometimes with human imprints—with a tentativeness that renders them almost ephemeral. On the other hand, Lindsay Frei's figures are so definitive that they emphasize the bold compositional element. The wild card in this show is Trent Alvey, known for her mixed-media works ranging from whimsy to Buddhist profoundness. In this exhibition, however, the work includes landscapes that more than hint at abstraction—emotive yet well-balanced, reflecting the seasonal transitions in Emigration Canyon near her home ("Emigration Canyon #5" pictured)—as well as mixed-media collages echoing the white of the gallery walls. With its expansive, open interior and white walls that welcome the eclectic collection of artists they exhibit, the 15th Street Gallery is one of the most well-designed gallery spaces in Salt Lake City. It's in a walkable neighborhood, yet is not difficult to park in, and a visit to the gallery also invites a stop at nearby bookstore or eatery. The back area of the gallery often showcases pieces by artists not represented in the current featured show, which gives patrons a chance to check out some other notable locals they might have otherwise missed. (Brian Staker) Trent Alvey, Lindsay Frei & Steven Larson @ 15th Street Gallery, 1519 S. 1500 East, 801-468-1515, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m; through June 12.


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Salty Cricket Composers Collective: Low, Lower, Lowest
If you've got it in your head that the world of classical music—even chamber music—is stuffy and locked into familiar formats, then clearly you haven't been paying attention to Utah's Salty Cricket Composers Collective. Not only does the organization offer opportunities for producing brand-new classical work by local composers, but occasionally a format will turn all of your expectations upside-down. For the one-night-only performance , for example, you could hear works performed for a unique trio of instruments: the deep notes of the bassoon, string bass and tuba. Utah Symphony musicians Leon Chodos (bassoon) and Ted Merritt (bass) will join University of Utah Ph.D. candidate Ben Ordaz on tuba for music by Margot Murdoch, Aaron Kirschner, Doug Wood, Kathryn Jones and others that truly is all about that bass. (Scott Renshaw) Salty Cricket Composers Collective: Low, Lower, Lowest @ Ladies' Literary Club, 850 E. South Temple, May 21, 7:30 p.m., $10-$20, tickets half-price if purchased online before May 21.


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Utah Symphony: Mahler's Symphony No. 4
During his lifetime, composer Gustav Mahler was far better known for his conducting than he was for his own music. Sure, people knew he wrote symphonies, and some of them were even performed occasionally, but his compositions were considered to be minor contributions to the modern canon. As another small twist of fate, Mahler made his name conducting music by Wilhelm Richard Wagner—Hitler's favorite composer—only to later have his own music banned during the Nazi era as "degenerate" because of his Jewish roots in Bohemia. Mahler completed nine symphonies, helping to bridge the Romantic period of classical music with the Modern, and Utah Symphony is in the middle of a two-year cycle celebrating the composer. While Mahler is known for his fixation on everything in his compositions—choirs, large horn, percussion sections and little-known instruments—Symphony No. 4 is actually one of Mahler's simpler, not to mention shortest, works. It's commonly considered the final instalment of the symphonies, an end cap for the previous three that deal with a similar theme culled from an even earlier work, (The Child's Magic Horn). Mahler's conducting chops are now a historical footnote, but his works have clearly found appreciative ears—although, as is so often the case, long after his death. Other works on the bill for Utah Symphony's season closer will be Dmitry Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 (featuring violinist Veronika Eberle), and Morgen, Op. 27, No. 4 by Richard Strauss. (Jacob Stringer) >Utah Symphony: Mahler's Symphony No. 4 @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, May 22-23, 8 p.m., 801-355-2787, $18-$63.,


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Downtown Yoga Festival
When the Indian practice of yoga began gathering a popular following in the Western world in the 1980s, a little something was lost in translation. In the most traditional sense, yoga was—and is—a lifestyle practice, encompassing spirituality, health, diet and philosophy, as well as the physical aspect that has become de rigueur in gyms and studios across the United States. This weekend, the Downtown Yoga Festival, organized by the nonprofit Yoga for the People, will, in many respects, return yoga to its classical roots, offering classes and seminars in health, food and (of course) yoga. Before founding Yoga for the People, Santosh Maknikar was a successful software engineer for companies like Citigroup,, InComm and Goldman Sachs. In 2011, he started his nonprofit with the mission of giving underserved populations of children and adults access to health and wellness through yoga. He began giving free yoga classes to people in local homeless shelters, hospitals, schools and prisons. When not teaching class, Maknikar organized yoga festivals; he previously organized the annual Great Salt Lake Yoga Festival at the Salt Lake City Krishna Center. This weekend's two-day festival will be the first that Yoga for the People has brought to downtown Salt Lake City. All levels and styles of yoga will be represented—Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, prenatal and others. Additionally, participants will have access to film screenings; panel discussions and seminars exploring yoga studies in the medical field, cooking and nutrition classes; and workshops covering topics from meditation to gardening. Online registrations closes May 22. (Katherine Pioli) Downtown Yoga Festival @ The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, 801-533-6683, May 23-24, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., $59-$90 in advance, $70-$108 day of festival, $25 kids' one-day pass.

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