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Arts & Culture: Where it’s @ for the week of Sept. 6-12

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Thursday 9.6 With all due respect to the teaching profession, history classes can be boring. But maybe it isn’t the short teenage attention span to blame so much as it was the material presented. According to James Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me), much of history’s excitement is left out of schoolbooks to simplify the past, leaving students only with the knowledge that American Indians lived in teepees and the Vietnam War just … sort of … happened. Loewen addresses this idea as part of the 55th annual UTAH STATE HISTORY CONFERENCE in a lecture that sets the tone for the remainder of the weekend, which attempts to make lackluster history lessons a thing of the past. Utah State History Conference @ Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 533-3553, Sept. 6-8. History.Utah.Gov

Friday 9.7 There are film festivals intended for people thrilled by subtitled foreign films and the sort of complex plots that other people just aren’t intelligent enough to appreciate. And then there are the folks behind the GANGRENE FILM FESTIVAL, happily giving them the middle-finger salute. The eighth annual festival—with a pirate theme this year—has a simple mission: to make you laugh and not think too hard. Head north to find out if their mission was accomplished.
Gangrene Film Festival @ Ed Kenley Amphitheater, 403 N. Wasatch Blvd., Layton, 544-8989, 9 & 11 p.m. GangreneProductions.com

• When his father’s car reached 350,000 miles, Erik Stern saw more than an old vehicle that needed replacement. The choreographer saw the perfect (and unlikely) metaphor for his life as primary caretaker for a mother and father he eventually lost to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively. Stern brought the artistic result DEMOLITION DERBY to Utah for the first time back in November, but if you missed it then, here’s another opportunity to experience a show that avoids “therapy theater” clichés in favor of genuine emotional connection.
Demolition Derby @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, Sept. 7 & 8, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 355-ARTS, ArtTix.org

Saturday 9.8 Not to pick sides or anything, but optimism is in the air for the crimson and white college football team despite a season-opening loss to Oregon State. Tonight, the UNIVERSITY OF UTAH takes on AIR FORCE at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the team’s home opener. The road to Oregon may have been unkind, but home is where the fans are. University of Utah vs. Air Force @ U of U, Rice-Eccles Stadium, 451 S. 1400 East, 4 p.m. Tickets: 581-8849, UtahTickets.com

• Playing Gordon on Sesame Street for more than 30 years, ROSCOE ORMAN was a surrogate TV dad to many. Now a speaker as part of the Dewey Lecture Series, Orman won’t be teaching you how to count or learn your letters but will recount his experiences on the show and how they influenced him in his personal and charitable life. Call for ticket availability.
Roscoe Orman @ Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday 9.9 As the largest cultural festival in Utah, the annual GREEK FESTIVAL needs no detailed introduction. But if you need a specific reason to say “Opa!” how’s this: The festival has added an extra day this year, beginning on Thursday, Sept. 6, giving you one more reason to attend. Bringing in nearly 40,000 attendees each year, the festival still boasts delicious Greek fare and continuous live entertainment by musicians and Greek dancers (including yours truly). Greek Festival @ Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, 328-9681, Sept. 6, 5-11 p.m.; Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sept. 9, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Monday 9.10 Chivalry may be all but dead, but that may be OK when you see the outlandish outcome of it in Heritage Theatre’s MAN OF LA MANCHA. The Spanish Inquisition invades Perry, Utah, as Miguel de Cervante’s tale of Don Quixote and all his charming attributes collides with an intolerant world. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any manners. Discount family tickets are available for those who say “please.” Man of La Mancha @ Heritage Theatre, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry, Sept. 7-29. Tickets: 435-723-8392, HeritageTheatreUtah.com

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Tuesday 9.11
MICHAEL LUCARELLI The Musician is already a notable classical guitarist; now Michael Lucarelli The Painter is fighting for recognition, too. As one of two artists whose work is on display in TWO DIMENSIONAL DREAMS AND OTHER REALITIES, Lucarelli describes his work as “music on canvas,” which blends nicely with that of JAMES SULLIVAN, whose irregular and asymmetrical paintings (like “Remember You Are Mortal,” pictured) portray impressions of life. A public reception for the two artists on Friday, Sept. 7, features entertainment by Michael Lucarelli The Musician, giving the title “two dimensional” another … dimension. Two-Dimensional Dreams and Other Realities: Work by Michael Lucarelli and James Sullivan @ Utah Arts Alliance, 127 S. Main, 651-3937, through Sept. 29. Reception: Friday, Sept. 7, 6-9 p.m.

Wednesday 9.12 “On your mark, get set … release the turkeys!” The new Wild West Turkey Stampede at the UTAH STATE FAIR is giving the annual livestock competition a run for its money in the best source of good ol’ American fun. After cheering on your favorite bird, enjoy entertainment by comedians and musical performers—too many to name. Separate tickets are necessary to see musical guests like Weird Al Yankovic (Sept. 7) and SheDaisy (Sept. 13).
Utah State Fair @ Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, 538-8400, Sept. 6-16, Utah-State-Fair.com
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Joey Hellrung

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