Artys 2010 | Artys | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Artys 2010 

Celebrating Utah's Arts: The best in local theater, dance, art & more.

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Best Paper Tiger
Jared Steffensen

Perhaps best known for his chipboard-and-paper sculptures, and Utah colloquialism works, Steffensen has made some great stuff this year. He’s shown at Sam Weller’s Bookstore and Kayo and Garfo galleries—and his installation and sculptures just get better and better. They’re truly one-of-a-kind—good craft and good design with an acute sense of simplicity, topped with just the tiniest hint of humor and cultural reference. Gotta love those paper mountains!

Best Intro to SLC’s Theater & Dance

First Night’s blossoming into EVE was especially rewarding for those unfamiliar with Utah’s many talented performance artists. A $15 three-day whirlwind tour at the Rose Wagner allowed audiences to see performances in short, easy-to-consume doses. The 2009-10 celebration featured performances from the Utah Contemporary Theatre, Wasatch Theatre Company, Dance Theatre Coalition, and Salt Lake City dance staples Repertory Dance Theatre and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company sharing a stage.

Best Re-re-adaptation
Too Much Memory, Salt Lake Acting Company

Playwright and director Meg Gibson’s first play unabashedly asked audiences tough questions, like: “When a country is in crisis, what are the rights of the individual? Of the government? How are we silenced? How do we lead? How do we maintain democracy?” Aided by playwright Keith Reddin, she wrote an adaptation of an adaptation of a translation of Sophocles’ Antigone. Their fresh take of a young woman coming into her own voice in modern times and how she collides with the established power attracted a young, hip crowd. And, unlike some lengthy Antigone productions, this one was concise and meaningful.

Read the 2010-2011 Utah Theater & Dance Schedule

Best Way to Walk
The New Pedestrian

When going from Library Square to the Broadway arts district on any given gallery stroll you could: A. walk, B. bike, C. drive or D. dance. Performance troupe New Pedestrians would say that’s a no-brainer. They dance for the love of dance but also to challenge preconceived notions of movement and transportation. They get inquisitive looks and, at times, have people join them, which they wholeheartedly encourage. Every third Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., look for a group wearing white jumpsuits and headlamps treating the city streets like it’s their playground.

Best “You-Be-The- Author-Too” Novel
Velwythe by Bonn Turkington

A book, once written, is permanent. But author and literature theorist Bonn Turkington thought since life is constantly evolving, a novel series should, too. He created an imaginary warring world, Velwythe, with protagonist Vaan venturing forth after consulting a priest about night tremors and being visited by a presence one evening. That first volume sets the stage and serves as a catalyst for readers’ interaction, through social networking—Facebook, Twitter and Wiki—and its Website to create additional characters, places and things in Velwythe that will ultimately dictate Vaan’s adventures in subsequent books. Readers, then, see the influences of their creativity.

Best Geometry
Circle Cycle
Sure, rhombuses are fun—but they don’t roll. And in life, you never hear anyone say, “life revolves in pentagons.” That’s why circles were chosen for January’s Circle Cycle, performed by the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. The narrator, looking back at her elementary school years, helped bridge choreographed pieces that consisted of flips, somersaults, gigantic weather balloons and, the finale, balloons dropped onto the audience from the ceiling. They only lacked the Flaming Lips’ human-size hamster ball. If you missed it, don’t worry, because they’re performing the family-oriented pieces in 2011 to give everyone—locals and the many schools that receive free tickets—a chance to go.

Best Big Loving
Brady Udall,
The Lonely Polygamist
Brady Udall’s novel shows that even a polygamist daddy with multiple wives and dozens of kids can get lonely, as Udall masterfully illustrates how polygamy is both so much more—and less—than it’s cracked up to be. The Lonely Polygamist follows Golden Richards as he is forced to take a job building a whorehouse in Nevada so that he can support his ever-growing clan of four wives and 28 children back in southern Utah. Udall shows his chops by expertly weaving in an underlying theme that will become a metaphor for the Richards family.

Best Recent History
Brian Q. Cannon, Jessie L. Embry,
Utah in the 20th Century
In between Utah’s insular, Mormon-dominated 19th century and its 21st-century attempts to capitalize on its status as an international Olympic city capable of hosting the outside world and the attendant dollars sits Utah in the 20th century. Utah in the 20th Century, edited by Brian Q. Cannon and Jessie L. Embry, explores the main themes of those 100 years, but also has room for the quirkier parts of the state’s past, touching on everything from State Street motels to sugar beets.

Best Use of Chocolate Sauce
Ashley Anderson and Regina Rocke,
In & Out
Sugar Space’s production highlighted one Utah choreographer (Ashley Anderson) and one from outside the studio (Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Regina Rocke). Rocke’s racy work was certainly something Utah rarely sees, challenging dance’s status quo in the performance’s final provocative piece. She spoke over a prerecorded, original “Johnny Teabag” monologue; the New York accent and vulgarity made even Anderson crack a smile. In conclusion, Rocke said, “What would a performance art piece be without blackface?” and proceeded to lather Anderson in Hersheys chocolate sauce and glitter. The historical, gender and racial jokes left the audience with something to chew on—or, in this case, lick off.

Best Dance Innovation
Innovations (Ballet West)

According to Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute, the reason he created Innovations three years ago was to use it “as a platform to present and experiment with new ballet creations.” Its mission is two-fold: To expose audiences and artists alike to new and cutting-edge creations from around the world and to develop artists’ abilities as dancers and choreographers. This year, three Ballet West dancers got their chance to premiere original work alongside two other prominent choreographers, Helen Pickett and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s artistic director Charlotte Boye-Christensen.

Best Community Dance Outreach
Repertory Dance Theatre

Almost all of the professional dance companies that call Utah home have some sort of community outreach program. RDT, though, goes way beyond the expected norm. Not only does it take performing arts into the schools, it also offers a wider array of dance classes open to anybody wishing to try their hand at tango, African rhythms, modern, etc. The Ring-Around-The-Rose series helps the company combine forces with all sorts of other community performing groups, and the Green Map initiative has them “creating paths of inquiry, exploration and expression [while] investing in a more sustainable future” for our community.

Best Localized Comic Book
Brandon Dayton,
The Green Monk
Just a year ago, Brandon Dayton was an unknown illustrator out of BYU working for a game company. But all it took was one comic book to get him massive local attention. The Green Monk—a small action story based around a traveling fighter with a bloody past looking to right the wrongs of his chaotic world—made its way around the comic shops in late 2009 and gained a following in the comic and zine communities. Since that time, his work has become in-demand, and plans are already under way to continue the promising series.

Best Art Consigliere
Salt Lake City Arts Council

If there’s one reason for a national magazine recently naming Utah’s capital city as one of the “Nation’s Top Arts Destinations,” it would be the Salt Lake City Arts Council. Housed in the Art Barn at Reservoir Park, the arts council is responsible for everything from the Living Traditions Festival to Flying Objects 2.0, a series of sculptures enhancing the cityscape. The council is also behind several galleries and a number of other art happenings, including the Guest Writers Series, Brown Bag Concert Series and the ever-popular Twilight Concert Series. 54 Finch Lane, 809-596-5000,

Best Wino Art
State Wine Store No. 35

At DABC Wine Store No. 35—the flagship store on 300 East—you’ll find a vast array of wines for every budget, along with a knowledgeable staff to help with all your wine questions and purchases. But, Store No. 35 offers something the other wine stores around town don’t: an in-store art gallery. Peruse the store’s walls and you’ll see frequently changing exhibits of art produced by Utah artists. Recent hangings include Parowan-based Valerie Orlemann’s realist landscapes in oil on canvas, and Joshua Baird’s landscapes that blend the representational with the abstract. So, the next time you’re hunting down that rare bottle of Lafite Rothschild, you might just wind up taking home a painting or two, as well. 255 S. 300 East, 801-533-6444

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