Essentials: Entertainment Picks Sept. 10-16 

DocUtah, Salt Lake Greek Festival, Dave Chappelle and more

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THURSDAY SEPT. 10

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DocUtah
Hosted by Dixie State University, this Southern Utah film festival celebrates its sixth anniversary in 2015. It was started by DSU film program director Phil Tuckett in 2010 and focuses exclusively on documentary films, making it one of a relatively small number of such festivals in the Americas—and the only one in Utah. As with most film festivals, it has had growing pains, but in the process, more than 1,100 films have been submitted from over 70 countries. In addition to screenings, DocUtah features filmmaker seminars and panel discussions. This year's program lists more than 75 films, divided into categories such as music, environment and art. Subjects include the life of screen actor Tab Hunter, the art of glass blowing and the history of psychedelic drugs. The festival has achieved some notoriety this year for its plan to screen the film Prophet's Prey (pictured), about polygamist Warren Jeffs and the abuses of his Fundmantalist Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sect. DocUtah has found a niche in the growing world of documentary-film festivals, doing its part to help chronicle the way the genre has exploded in recent years. Its tagline—"Come for the films, stay for the scenery"—proclaims the uniqueness of this event in its spectacular surroundings. But the event also aims to "inspire a global connection," and these examples of the filmmaker's art are making strides to do just that. (Brian Staker) DocUtah @ Dixie State University, 225 S. University Ave., St. George, Sept. 8-12. For full schedule, visit DocUtah.com

FRIDAY SEPT. 11

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Utah Symphony: Beethoven Symphony Festival
It took Beethoven a lifetime to write nine symphonies, and you can hear eight of them performed live during an upcoming nine-day stretch over the next two weekends. The Utah Symphony kicks off its 2015-16 season with the Beethoven Symphony Festival, which finds the orchestra performing two different symphonies per night over a four-concert series. It's a schedule so packed with back-to-backs, it would make even Utah Jazz players wince. The Festival begins Sept. 11, with the performance of Symphony No. 4, followed by the most famous opening phrase in music, with Symphony No. 5's: "Da-da-da-dum!" The weekend continues with a Saturday concert featuring Symphony No. 8 (Beethoven's shortest and fastest-paced) and Symphony No. 6. The second weekend (Sept. 18-19) starts with a Friday night concert and Symphony No. 1, which was the composer's Vienna-music-scene debut in 1800, and Symphony No. 3. on Saturday night the performance will feature Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 7, which Beethoven reportedly conducted with such animation at the premiere that he, at times, jumped in the air. What about Symphony No. 9 and the famed "Ode to Joy," you ask? That special piece gets a weekend of its own, complete with chorale, with holiday performances scheduled for Dec. 4-5. (Geoff Griffin) Utah Symphony: Beethovern Symphony Festival @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. Temple, 801-355-2787, Friday, Sept. 11: Nos. 4 & 5; Sept. 12: Nos. 8 & 6; Sept. 18: Nos. 1 & 3; Sept. 19: Nos. 2 & 7; all performances 7:30 p.m., $10-$63. UtahSymphony.org

FRIDAY SEPT. 11

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Salt Lake Greek Festival
In the early 1900s, mining and railroad ventures in the Intermountain West began attracting Greek immigrants to Salt Lake City. As the Greek community began to establish itself in Utah, its vibrant culture, art, music and food became an integral part of Salt Lake City's downtown cultural scene. The Salt Lake Greek Festival is a celebration of Utah's Greek communities, and the ancestors who immigrated here more than 100 years ago. Evolving from a small, one-day bazaar that began in the mid-1930s, the Salt Lake Greek Festival has expanded into a three-day event that attracts thousands of visitors to downtown's Holy Trinity Cathedral. Festival attendees can enjoy a variety of entertainment steeped in Greek culture. Upon arrival, it's best to make a beeline for the food pavilions. This is where the bulk of the crowd can be found, awaiting savory, meat-stuffed dolmathes or rich, béchamel-topped pastitsio or authentic, overstuffed gyros. In addition to the vast menu of Greek delicacies, the festival is packed with multiple performances that capture the ancient Hellenic traditions of music and folk dancing. For those wanting to take a bit of the action home with them, the Greek market is also open for business during the festival. It's a great place to pick up some handmade souvenirs or at least some baklava to munch on for the road. (Alex Springer) Salt Lake Greek Festival @ Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, Sept. 11-12, 11 a.m.-11 p.m, Sept. 13, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., $3. SaltLakeGreekFestival.com.

FRIDAY SEPT. 11

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Toni Youngblood & Cordell Taylor
After opening its doors in May, Howa Gallery is now hosting its first bona fide exhibition since then, showcasing the works of painter Toni Youngblood and sculptor Cordell Taylor. Youngblood's abstract-expressionist works are informed by her early Bay Area studies of grisaille, a process of applying paint in layers in multiple steps. At the same time, the dramatic gestures in her brushstrokes suggest a dynamism and motion, and in "Bass Player," the title even lends an interpretative direction toward music. Indeed, the Atlanta-born artist's saxophone playing influences her work. This series includes encaustics, a process combining colored pigments and beeswax that has been heated; the volatile nature of the materials also affects the compositions. The industrial heft of Taylor's sculptures reflects his background: He worked in oil fields and originally studied engineering before turning to art, earning a BFA at the University of Utah in 1992. He has exhibited with the National Sculpture Society in New York, and a number of his pieces can be seen in public locations around Salt Lake City. In works like "#90" (pictured), the impact of modernist design of the 1950s and '60s can be seen in the geometric shapes and clean, polished metal surfaces. The two artists share a moment of influence, a distinctive dimension in American art. (Brian Staker) Toni Youngblood & Cordell Taylor @ Howa Gallery, 390 N. 500 West, Bountiful, 801-232-5710, Sept. 11-Oct. 3, artist reception Sept. 11, 6-9 p.m. Facebook.com/HowaGallery

MONDAY SEPT. 14

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Dave Chappelle
Given that Dave Chappelle's career as an actor and comedian spans more than half of his 42 years, it's ironic that he might still be best-remembered for something he didn't do—namely, finish season 3 of his popular Comedy Central sketch-comedy program Chappelle's Show in 2005. The assumption was that Chappelle must be dealing with substance-abuse or mental-health issues—not that a successful, talented comedic performer might have the nerve to decide when enough was enough. But over the course of the subsequent decade, Chappelle has continued to go exactly where his creative spirit moves him, and nowhere else. If that means a performance documentary like Dave Chappelle's Block Party, so be it; if it means setting a stand-up set endurance record with a six-hour performance, he'll do it. There's nothing safe about the way Dave Chappelle approaches his comedy or his career—and being in the audience means never being entirely sure what's coming next. (Scott Renshaw) Dave Chappelle @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Sept. 14, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $56. ArtTix.org

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