The Essentials | City Weekly’s Entertainment Picks May 22-28 

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EXHIBIT
By Jacob Stringer
Salt Lakers in the literary know are aware that Ken Sanders Rare Books is a revolving door of alternative goings-on. Not only is the antiquarian book shop a center for all things associated with the late Edward Abbey and friends, it also acts as a small gallery exhibiting any and all things underground, subversive and counter-cultural here in Utah.

In other words, it’s the ideal venue for OFF THE BEATEN PATH, an impressive collection of Beat Generation literary paraphernalia graciously provided by a rather unlikely source: Utah State University’s Merrill Library. Not even a decade old, USU’s collection begun back in 1993 with the purchase of more than 2,300 books and pamphlets of poetry; 1,400 magazines and serials; 150 anthologies and random works of literary criticism and a number of broadsides and posters—and has grown to include thousands more books and magazines from both private and public donors. Although the core collection consists of mainly Beat-era artifacts, one-off printings and amazingly preserved ephemera, the Logan collection has broadened its base to include a wide range of artifacts documenting one of the most distinct times in American literary history, including the San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain and the New York schools.

So, once again, Ken Sanders has taken center stage in presenting another facet of American literary history. Catch the show in its final couple of days.

Off the Beaten Path: The American Literary Underground Comes to Utah @ Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819, through May 23.

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MUSIC
By Brandon Burt
Ah, Moab—where the rocks are slick and the chicks are hip. The place was made for a jam-band festival; it must be the very spot God was talking about when He looked down from the heavens and said, “Let there be rock!”

And it was very good, indeed.

So good, in fact, that many a grim-faced urban scenester has returned from the DESERT ROCKS FESTIVAL with a strange new interest in dreadlocks and patchouli. Call it a desert miracle, but there’s something about the hot sun and the 12-minute guitar solos—not to mention $4 growlers from Moab Brewery—that can transform the most morose of city dwellers into a grinning, yellow happy face within a single afternoon.

And, if our calculations are correct, there are four such afternoons spanning from Thursday to Sunday, featuring such mind-blowing bands as The Derek Trucks Band, Blue Turtle Seduction, Del Tha Funky Homosapien and the Eric McFadden Trio. Potcheen is usually on hand to round things out and, of course, Gigi Love (above) is a many-splendored thing.

And, before you get too hung up on that “12-minute guitar solo” crack, check out the funky Rhodes EP vamp on Wisebird’s “They Gotcha.” If that doesn’t make you smile, you’re a heartless bastard—there’s a little something for everybody here.

Grab your camping gear and live like a nomad among the nighttime fire dancers. Or, if you’re a pretty, pretty princess, make reservations in Moab. If you’ve got $85 in advance, you’re in for four days—including camp fees.

Desert Rocks @ Kane Creek Canyon, eight miles west of Moab, May 22-25, DesertRocks.org

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VISUAL ARTS
By Brian Staker
Saltgrass Printmakers—a haven for print artists as well as for the printmaking art—is a nonprofit organization providing printmaking facilities, classes and studio space. This month, notable local artists and newcomers take on an innovative technique with fascinating results. REVISITED guides an even dozen artists—including Saltgrass co-founder Stephanie Dykes—through the relatively uncharted realm of the “excavated print,” a technique in which layers of ink are built up and then removed with solvent or even sandpaper to create a more painterly surface and reveal lost details.

Dykes’ work is full of medieval-looking architectural forms and mythical beings. Joey Behrens (“Untitled” detail pictured) sketches cityscapes; her intricate yet airy compositions provide insight into the life of a metropolis. You never know what Trent Call is going to pull from his bag of tricks: graffiti-influenced textures or serene landscapes and portraits. Sri Whipple combines pop-art elements with abstraction to create his own style. Blake Palmer is a mixed-media artist known for work with his wife, photographer Cat Palmer.

Also featured in the show are Dave Boogart, Clyde Ashby, Cameron Bentley, Julian Hensarling, Michael Gaffney, Damon Smith and Jared Nielsen. It’s intriguing to see works by artists new to the medium, and the technique adds the mystery of what details are revealed or kept hidden.

Always pushing the limits of the printmaking art, Saltgrass is taking applications from community groups for an event this summer to create a giant image that will be printed with … a steamroller.

Revisited @ Saltgrass Printmakers, 2126 S. 1000 East, 467-1080, through May 30.

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