Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2016
The Dan Farr/Bryan Brandenburg geek machine that detonated a pop culture bomb in downtown Salt Lake City in 2013 is back for its own kind of trilogy. This third FanXperience—an overture of sorts to September's Salt Lake Comic Con—promises to once again unite various communities of comic-book nerds, cosplayers, film buffs and die-hard collectors.
Where Salt Lake Comic Con plays out like a no-holds-barred fandom battle royale, FanX tends to dedicate its programming and guests to more specific cultural tastes. One of this year's predominant trends is inspired by the zombie phenomena captured by AMC's The Walking Dead. In addition to assembling members of the show's cast—including Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon, pictured) and Danai Gurira (Michonne)—FanX will be the site of "The Walking Dead Experience," an interactive zombie apocalypse that allows attendees to assume the roles of survivors or the undead.
If shady government conspiracies are more your thing, FanX will host an X-Files mini-reunion with Gillian Anderson (Scully), Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) and William B. Davis (The Smoking Man). Even fans of early '90s boy bands have something to look forward to as Backstreet Boys Nick Carter and A.J. McLean join forces with NSYNC's Joey Fatone. All three will be appearing in Syfy's zombie Western Dead 7 this April. Attendees can also attend panels that will cover everything from Star Wars to David Bowie. It's also a great place to celebrate the talent and work of local artists, authors and performers, such as Bree Despain and City Weekly contributor Bryan Young. (Alex Springer)
Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2016 @ Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, 801-953-1967, March 24-26, registration 8-10 a.m., vendors & programming 11 a.m.-8 p.m. SaltLakeComicCon.com
Tablado Flamenco Dance Co.: Uno, Dos y Tres
Tablado Flamenco Dance Co.'s spring concert shares its name with the performance's opening number—inspired by a poem of the same title—which tells the story of three banderilleros (a type of bullfighter) facing off against their beastly opponent inside a crowded arena. It's a story and a dance, says Tablado founder, artistic director and choreographer Solange Gomes—with power, drama and passion, a perfect distillation of everything the art of flamenco offers.
Though flamenco is most strongly associated with European Romani (or Gypsy) and Spanish culture, the dance form as we know it was born in the southern regions of Spain (Andalucía, Extremadura and Murcia), and its cultural and musical roots stretch as far as India and the Arabic world. And flamenco is unique for more than just its international pedigree. Unlike other movement forms, flamenco is a strict combination of three traditional components: cante (singing), toque (flamenco guitar) and baile (dance). That's why, Gomes says, flamenco needs to be performed and seen live. Only a live performance has true duende, or soul.
The artistic director, along with six other performers, will present nine original works, all choreographed and staged by Gomes. It will be a performance with variety, spiced up with castanets, hats and hand fans, exploring many of the different styles in flamenco—including the more surprisingly celebratory fiesta styles (flamenco can often come across as brooding and dark) of Tanguillos and Bulerías. The performance also features accompaniment by four local musicians and vocalists, because a flamenco concert wouldn't be complete without cante and toque. (Katherine Pioli)
Tablado Flamenco Dance Co.: Uno, Dos y Tres @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, March 25-26, 7:30 p.m., $20. ArtSaltLake.org
Holi Festival of Colors
It has almost become a rite of passage over the years for the youth (and young-at-heart) in Utah to make a yearly trek to Spanish Fork in March for the annual Holi Festival of Colors, which recognizes the traditional Hindu festival marking the coming of spring.
You've likely seen hundreds of Instagram photos of the event—people caked from head to toe in different colors of chalk in their cars on the drive home. Shots showing a flurry of brightly colored powder covering the field in front of the Krishna Temple are plentiful. But actually attending it is an entirely different matter.
The best way to experience this event is to plan a trip with a group, so you can share in the fun and the conversation later. Preregister or purchase tickets the day of, which will give you the chance to buy clothing and face protection, as well as the special chalk used for the event (you can't bring your own) at $2 a bag. Take a breathing mask and goggles if you're sensitive to dust.
When you arrive, take in the farmland and scenery of the temple, enjoy the people watching, wait for the countdown and hurl the chalk up as high as you can. Savor the music and dance performances throughout the day, which include TK & the Namrock Band, Srikalogy, The Householders, Malini Bollywood Transcended, Dharma Beats and DJ Starlett.
Oh, and remember to shower three times. That chalk will stay with you for longer than you'd expect. (Gavin Sheehan)
Holi Festival of Colors @ Spanish Fork Krishna Temple, 311 W. 8500 South, Spanish Fork, March 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; March 27, 11 a.m-4 p.m., $5 adult, kids free. UtahKrishnas.org
Farewell, Kobe: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz
Kobe Bryant first came onto the radar of Jazz fans on May 12, 1997, in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals. The Jazz eliminated the Lakers that day as 18-year-old Kobe put up three air-balls in the final minute. His final stat-line was four air-balls on 4-of-14 shooting. Nearly 20 years later, Utah fans get their last chance to watch Kobe on March 28, when the Lakers visit the arena that during his two-decade career has been known as the Delta Center, EnergySolutions Arena and now Vivint SmartHome Arena.
One thing that hasn't changed is Kobe still isn't afraid to keep shooting—regardless of the results. Through the first 66 games of the season, he was hitting at 36 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point range on a Laker team sitting dead last in the Western Conference.
Other than that, it seems that everything about NBA basketball has changed since teenage Kobe first appeared in Utah during the Clinton administration. In 1997, 260-pound Karl Malone was league MVP, "analytics" was Jerry Sloan yelling at guys to play harder and the Jazz averaged 11 three-point attempts per game. In 2016, rule changes have made it so 190-pound Steph Curry will be the MVP, cameras follow every player movement and feed the data into computers to be reviewed by an analytics team, and the Jazz jack up 23 three-pointers per game.
The only other thing that's remained the same? Kobe's somebody whom fans either love or hate. Whichever camp you're in, Monday's your last chance to cheer or boo him in person. (Geoff Griffin)
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers @ Vivint SmartHome Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 801-325-7328, March 28, 7 p.m., $35.25-$350.50. UtahJazz.com
Ally Condie: Summerlost
It's easy to pigeonhole a writer—especially when that writer experiences the kind of success Ally Condie has had within a specific genre. But while Condie's best-selling Matched trilogy and her follow-up Atlantia set youthful romances in worlds of fantasy, she now presents a story set squarely in hard reality, and shows herself just as capable of enthralling readers.
Inspired by events from Condie's own adolescence, Summerlost tells the tale of 12-year-old Cedar, whose family has been devastated by an accident that took the life of her father and younger brother. Relocated with her remaining family to the town of Iron Creek, Cedar soon meets a boy named Leo, who introduces her to the world of the local summer theater festival. There Cedar finds a special friendship, a compelling mystery in the legend of an actress who haunts the theater, and a chance to find healing from the grief she still feels. (Scott Renshaw)
Ally Condie: Summerlost @ Provo City Library Ballroom, 550 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-852-7685, March 29, 7 p.m., free. ProvoLibrary.com