Artys 2011: Staff Choice | Artys | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Artys 2011: Staff Choice 

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Stevan Novakovich in
The Very BEaST…
It’s not that you didn’t want to see what was hiding behind the newsprint, because, in fact, you couldn’t help but beg for a glimpse. As Novakovich ran through choreography by SB Dance founder Stephen Brown, clad in cowboy hat, boots and nothing but skin in between, it was the strategically placed newspaper held in front of his big show that stole the show, if you will. For all its provocative nuances, Novakovich’s lean ballet-trained body gracefully turning through the plodding and breaking movement mesmerized audiences to the point that they forgot he was quite nearly naked.


Juan Aldape

Juan Aldape is a man on the move. From his humble beginnings in Mexico to his childhood in Rose Park to his graduation from the U of U where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in modern dance, Aldape’s dedication and passion for life and movement are carrying him to an even bigger stage, literally: the world. Aldape recently earned a scholarship through the European Commission’s prestigious Erasmus Mundus Program to study international performance research in England, Serbia and Finland for 18 months. This comes after a five-year stint of frequent travel to New York City, where he worked with partner Molly Heller to choreograph a hybrid ballet/hip-hop movement. Aldape’s passion for dance and movement will again grace Salt Lake City, as he plans to return to operate his own dance company after he earns his master’s degree.

GoGo37 Gallery

It’s hard being a cultural hotspot when one of the biggest in the country is a two-hour drive away. But a pair of local artists/musicians have brought new life to St. George’s downtown area with a brand-new all-ages gallery and music venue. Featuring quality work from local artists and boasting sold-out shows from well-known Utah bands, GoGo37 has become a cultural focal point for the area and given entertainers down south a new platform on which to showcase themselves. Without question, this venue is the cultural jolt the city has needed for years. 37 E. St. George Blvd., St. George, 801-520-4871,

Daniel Lyman’s “Sway’d”

University of Utah architecture undergrad Daniel Lyman’s entry of hundreds of grasslike shafts won the Ballet West: Fluid Adagio Installation (BWFAI), a first-ever joint competition initiated by the the Utah chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Young Architects Forum. The goal of the competition was to create a temporary (one- to two-year) installation to occupy the future building site for Ballet West adjacent to the Capitol Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City. Launched in early June 2011, the installation’s 1,200 nylon poles bend in the breeze and play with sunlight and shadows, creating a soothing (and sometimes surreal) moment of artistic meditation. The idea of filling empty city lots with temporary art might just catch on: The AIA Young Architects Forum and the Salt Lake Art Center are on the lookout for new “empty” art opportunities. Located west of the Capitol Theatre at 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Film Society

Ten years ago, the Salt Lake Film Society started out with one rustic theater, a downtown multiplex, a modest membership and the goal of creating a home for artistic cinema in Utah. Change reels to a decade later, where the society has become the leading nonprofit for artistic and obscure films that would have never come to our state otherwise. Aside from being a Salt Lake City home for Sundance films, catering to local directors with Open Screen Night, screenings old classics and debuting new material rejected by major chains, it revitalized the independent-filmmaking base in the state—not a bad birthday present.


Started in the Japanese architecture community to get the local muses flowing, PechaKucha nights have become stimulating phenomenon in cosmopolitan cities worldwide, including Salt Lake City. The concept is fairly simple: 10 invited presenters share 20 slides of their own work and talk about each one for 20 seconds as the attending social milieu is sparked into rousing discussion. With horizons forever broadening, a PechaKucha (“chit-chat” in Japanese) might see an inventor wax on, wedged between a fine artist and a graphic designer, and then afterward casually talk with other like-minded individuals, even you, over a cocktail or two.

Angels in America

In revisiting Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America to celebrate the launch of its 40th season, the Salt Lake Acting Company’s executive producers Kevin Myhre and Cynthia Fleming said that the play was arguably the sole past production that could encapsulate the theater’s legacy of producing new and daring works. What became clear while watching Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (the second half, Perestroika, was delivered as a staged reading after Millennium’s run) was that Kushner’s intense interplay of relationships during the onset of the AIDS crisis is just as stirring today as when SLAC was one of the first regional theaters to produce it in 1995. Strong performances—particularly by Charles Lynn Frost as Roy Cohn, Alexis Bague as Louis and Lucas Bybee as Prior Walter—made the updated production a must-see.

The Drowsy Chaperone

On the surface, The Drowsy Chaperone is a standard Jazz Age musical, complete with a spunky flapper leading lady, a Latin lothario, mobsters and an aging diva. After a few minutes, though, it’s clear that this musical is both a send-up and a cheeky parody of the genre, a fizzy cocktail of tap dances and self-referential winks that’s a delight to both those who would enjoy the show’s source material and those who would yawn their way through it. The musical’s goofy sight gags were staged perfectly at Hale Center Theatre, its round stage providing many opportunities for characters to disappear and appear via trap door or refrigerator.


Blonde Grizzly’s Utah Jazz-themed Group Show

The Utah Jazz basketball team has always been one of the most consistently unexciting in the NBA when it comes to off-court personnel turmoil, but that changed this year when longtime coach Jerry Sloan abruptly quit on Feb. 10, and superstar player Deron Williams was traded Feb. 23. Smack dab in between those dates, the Blonde Grizzly hosted the previously planned Utah Jazz Themed Group Show that included more than 20 local artists—including Sri Whipple, Trent Call, Dan Christofferson and others—creating works inspired by the team and its players. Sloan’s sudden departure inspired a slew of last-second additions to the show, including some superfly T-shirts adorned with the stern Midwesterner’s visage that are still available, months after the show’s end. 15 E. 400 South, 801-355-9075,

Sundance Film Fest’s New Frontier at Salt Lake Art Center

The partnership seems so natural; it’s a shame it didn’t come together sooner. The Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program has consistently showcased experimental art, film, technology and live performances, but only those daring enough to brave the madding crowds of Park City during the festival had a chance to see the New Frontier selections. This year, the Salt Lake Art Center welcomed the program for an extended stay, allowing the SLC citizenry to check out, say, James Franco’s mixed-media video installation inspired by 1970s sitcom Three’s Company, or the interactive film The Wilderness Downtown that allowed users to play with Google maps to create their own videos for Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait.”,

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