The Essential A&E Picks for Nov. 17-23 

Salty Cricket Composers, Repertory Dance Theatre, and more

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THURSDAY 11.17
Salty Cricket Composers Collective: Just "Duet"

When most people think of classical music, they are generally thinking of music by composers long dead, from far-off European countries they'll probably never visit. But the Salty Cricket Composers Collective is working to change that. Through performances like this one, the group is working to bring modern classical music created by local composers to Salt Lake City.

Nathaniel Eschler, a board member for the collective, says that while the group is still growing and moving beyond its grassroots origins, Salty Cricket has begun to create a more professional environment for local composers to showcase their work. To further pursue their mission of cultivating "new music and new musicians," Salty Cricket also offers a free afterschool care and music education program to low-income and at-risk students. Eschler says, not only does this help students appreciate the music, but also gives them an opportunity to become composers themselves.

This upcoming program features a diverse set of short duets and solo pieces that include their current artist-in-residence, cellist Noriko Kishi. Eschler says Just "Duet" represents a fairly broad array of composers as well, with sets ranging from the amateur to more professional in quality. While not every piece might appeal to all listeners, he asks first-time visitors to try out the experience.

"I would say to just keep an open mind, and to trust that there is generally something for everyone in a concert like this, because there's such a diverse palette," Eschler says. "Just kind of sit back and listen, and if you have questions, well, ask questions." (Kylee Ehmann)
Salty Cricket Composers Collective: Just "Duet" @ Urban Arts Gallery, 137 S. Rio Grande St., 919-274-3845, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., $7.50-$20. SaltyCricket.org

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THURSDAY 11.17
Repertory Dance Theatre: Brio

For longtime followers of Repertory Dance Theatre, the choreography in the company's latest concert, Brio, should have at least one thing that's familiar. Each of the pieces—Bolero, Jack, Dance for Two Army Blankets, Turf and Pat-a-Cake—come from the Twin Cities-based Shapiro & Smith, a company with which RDT has had a long and lasting relationship.

Back in 1997, Shapiro & Smith's husband-and-wife founders Joanie Smith and Danial Shapiro came to Salt Lake City, where they worked with RDT dancers on Dance for Two Army Blankets—a challenging work of acrobatics that requires perfect timing to avoid leaving a dancer sprawled-face first on the floor. Since then, RDT has looked to them often for works that are both fun and stimulating for dancers and audiences. RDT performed Bolero twice in 2013, in a spring and a fall concert, and the piece remains near enough to the top of the company's list of favorites to make it onto the bill again just a few years later.

Bolero (pictured), notes the RDT website, explores the "dynamic tensions that define the human experience ... the endless nature of physical struggle, from war to personal ordeal ... never letting up until after the final note," making it perhaps a fortuitous pick for those of us still trying to figure out what happened during the recent election. On a lighter note, Turf takes a playful look at the nature of competition, while Jack and Pat-a-Cake deliver clever takes on popular children's stories and games. (Katherine Pioli)
Repertory Dance Theatre: Brio @ Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Nov 17-19, 7:30 p.m., $15-$30, family package (4 tickets with code FAMILY), $60. RDTUtah.org

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FRIDAY 11.18
Now—An Exhibition of Six

Nox Contemporary Gallery—one of the most progressive and forward-looking art spaces in the valley—has had its absence keenly felt for the past three years. From 2010-2013, director John Sproul hosted adventurous visual exhibitions, as well as experimental performance pieces.

In perhaps the most eagerly awaited event of this fall's Gallery Stroll season, Sproul is re-opening Nox in the same familiar location, with a group show designed to put a finger to the pulse of the local art scene, and jump back in to the exhibit circuit with immediate impact, in a look at what is happening Now. The artists represented in the show include Adam Bateman, executive director of CUAC Contemporary Art who studied sculpture at the Pratt Institute in New York; photographer Celine Downen; Lenka Konopasek, a Czech-born painter/multimedia artist who has exhibited widely at home and abroad ("Wedge" is pictured); Lizze Määttälä's sculptures made from found materials; arts administrator Frank McEntire, whose assemblages recontextualize the sacred; and sculptures by Jared Steffensen, curator of education at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

These six artists, with their expansive array of materials and styles, provide a snapshot of the artistic environment in Salt Lake City at the moment, but also how it's been developing during the years of the gallery's absence. This is the first of a series of planned exhibitions intended to begin right where Nox left off, challenging expectations and perceptions of local gallery goers, and filling a welcome niche. (Brian Staker)
NowAn Exhibition of Six @ Nox Contemporary, 440 S. 400 West, Ste. H, by appointment, through Nov. 29; reception Nov. 18, 6-9 p.m.

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FRIDAY 11.18
Alice Wetterlund

This weekend, Alice Wetterlund brings her specialty of what she describes as "non-yelling" comedy to Salt Lake City. A somewhat familiar face to TV viewers, she got her first breakout role with a four-season run on MTV's Girl Code. During this time, she also became a frequent performer in the NYC comedy circuit and a regular on TV commercials.

Since Girl Code finished, Wetterlund's career has only continued to grow. Aside from having parts in the films The Interview and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, she was able to score recurring roles in Silicon Valley and Take My Wife, several appearances on Comedy Central's @Midnight, and currently co-stars alongside Wyatt Cenac in the TBS series People Of Earth.

"I'm lucky to be able to choose projects ... that have integrity," Wetterlund says in an email. "It's not easy. People think acting is a cake walk, that unless you're singing or crying, you really aren't working very hard. It's so much more than that; it's being very careful about your ego. There's a lot of cooks in every kitchen, and you have to learn to trust your instincts and balance that with how to do your job."

Wetterlund performs both old and new material this weekend, presenting what she calls "my signature blend of terrible, is-she-kidding-with-this-shit crowd work." Despite having what many would call a successful career so far, Wetterlund insists, "I feel like I've barely begun. So far, no one has died as a direct result of my comedy, so that's something." (Gavin Sheehan)
Alice Wetterlund @ Wiseguys, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, Nov. 18-19, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., $15. WiseguysComedy.com

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