Essentials: Entertainment Picks Aug. 7-13 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Essentials: Entertainment Picks Aug. 7-13 

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Art Access Galery: Nolan Baumgartner/Kent Fairbanks
The designs of Nolan Baumgartner's ceramics (pictured) embody an unconventional aesthetic. Instead of colorful glazes common to Southwestern-style vessels, he uses a Middle Eastern influence—stripes and dark polka dots, arranged with a compositional precision—which is then subjected to the physical changes of being fired in the soda kiln. Their sameness affords them a solemnity, a ritual quality and also a quiet beauty. This associate professor of ceramics at the University of Utah has shown his work around the country, as well as Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and was featured in Artists of Utah's 2013 35x35 show at Finch Lane Gallery. His pieces exhibit a thorough control of the ceramic form, process and medium. Kent Fairbanks' work in also very physical, but in a different way. The photographs in his exhibit, The Living Machine, depict the ways in which the forms of objects made by humans relate to and parallel the forms of natural objects—and the two aren't as separate as you might think. Railroad cars, buildings and machinery­­—as solid and formidable as they may appear—still bear the impressions of weathering by natural forces: wind, dust, sand and rain. With all that, his images still impart a sense of vibrant life through their use of light and color. Visit the Art Access II gallery space to see the third-annual Kindred Spirits exhibit, displaying work from the nonprofit organization's children workshops. (Brian Staker)
Nolan Baumgartner/Kent Fairbanks @ Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, No. 125, 801-328-0703, through Aug. 8, free.


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Maria Bamford
Listening to Maria Bamford, with her wispy, almost mousy, comedic delivery, is by far the sweetest way to hear stories about anxiety, depression and the trials of a dysfunctional life. Bamford has a gift for overanalyzing every flaw while simultaneously chuckling at her self-deprecating analysis of depression; it's the kind of hilarity that makes you question whether you should really be laughing at it. With 25 years of stand-up experience, Bamford has explored every aspect of her own mental stability with plenty of humor, and became a must-see touring act by the late '90s. She was the first female comedian to have two half-hour specials on Comedy Central. Later, she, along with heavy-hitters Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis and Brian Posehn, starred in The Comedians of Comedy, a parody of the comedy-tour documentaries popular in the early 2000s. Over the past 11 years, she's released six comedy albums through the network's record label, including the 2009 hit Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome, and created a comedic web series called "Ask My Mom," based on advice from her own mother. Bamford's also become recognizable from her stint in holiday Target commercials, her voicework on Catroon Network's Adventure Time and playing drug addict DeBrie Bardeaux in the fourth season of Arrested Development. The versatile comedic actress will be making a one-night-only stop in Salt Lake City on the last leg of her national tour. (Gavin Sheehan)
Maria Bamford @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m., $20.,


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Krishna: Lord of Vrindavan
In the Utah Museum of Fine Arts' current exhibition Moksha: Photography by Fazal Sheikh, viewers enter the ancient city of Vrindavan through photography to explore the somber subject of the widows who turn to this sacred city as a place to spend their final days free from the social injustices they encounter in the outside world. The message offered in the new companion exhibit, Krishna: Lord of Vrindavan, presents an entirely different tone and mood. It's an enchanted visitation through art from UMFA's permanent collection, revisiting the origins of this ancient, sacred city and a deity-to-be whose legacy would become transcendent. In his mortal life, Krishna was called a "prankster, lover, warrior, philosopher," whose "flute playing could cause young women to drop everything and follow him." This amorous aspect is the primary element that make Vrindavan "the site of the greatest love stories in India," particularly between Krishna and Radha. The historic art objects on display at the UMFA are of the kind that influenced the many widows who seek Krishna's message of devotion as leading to salvation. In the 1740 image "Krishna and Gopis Swimming in the Yamuna from Harivamsa" (detail pictured), we can see the kind of affections this would-be devotee of salvation would incite in women. He, one of two males, wades in a river surrounded by women; the other male looks discreetly away. All objects, paintings, statuettes and relief carvings in the collection are devoted to amorous affairs, praising Krishna and sanctifying women. (Ehren Clark)
Krishna: Lord of Vrindavan @ Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Dr., 801-581-7332, Aug. 8-Nov. 20, free for UMFA members, University of Utah staff & faculty and Utah college students, $9 adult non-member.


Sandy Balloon Festival
Even in a technological age, there's still something vaguely magical about hot air balloons. Maybe it's their role in pop culture favorites like The Wizard of Oz or Around the World in 80 Days, or the idea of seeming at the mercy of the winds, that makes them hard to avoid watching if you see one in the air. Every year, Sandy City offers a unique chance to get up close and personal with these 10-story-high balloons before watching them soar. On Friday morning, learn about the nuts and bolts of operating while watching them inflate, or even experience a tethered ride. On Saturday night, catch a glimpse of the balloons once again as they take to the night sky with burners glowing—a truly spectacular twilight sight—then stick around for music from The Soulistics. Refreshments are available for both events. (Scott Renshaw)
Sandy Balloon Festival @ Storm Mountain Park, 11400 S. 1000 East, Aug. 8, 7 a.m., free; @ Sandy City Promenade, 173 W. 10000 South, Aug. 9, 8 p.m., free.


Stay Cool and Creative
Local Colors' August exhibit seems designed to ward off the heat of the hottest part of summer. Stay Cool and Creative features the watercolors of plein-air artist Blaine Clayton and encaustics by Doug Quillinan. With their sometimes heavy layers of wax, encaustics aren't the first thing that comes to mind for "keeping cool" artistically, but Quillinan uses the medium to depict sailboats upon the jagged sea. Clayton portrays oceanic scenarios as well, but his are more placid. Quillinan's fondness for history informs his scenes, lending an air of an epic saga, while Clayton's are more gentle and dreamlike, even though dark clouds sometimes loom on the horizon. Their exhibit will be featured as part of the Sugar House Art Walk, and an artists' reception will be held Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. (Brian Staker)
Stay Cool and Creative @ Local Colors of Utah, 1054 E. 2100 South, 801-363-3922, Aug. 8-13, free.



Craft Lake City DIY Festival
According to SLUG editor Angela Brown, creator of Craft Lake City, the impetus behind the DIY event is to change the way ordinary people think about crafts and crafting. The artisans she wants to highlight are far more about the do-it-yourself ethos than a classic sewing circle (although those are cool, too). The arts at Craft Lake City generally fit into three categories: wearable arts, edible arts and somewhat more traditional visual arts. Wearable arts range from knitted hats and hand-bent jewelry to repurposed silk-screened kerchiefs and tie-dyed T-shirts. There are the various incarnations of bags—such as messengers, leather satchels and purses—and a burgeoning field for artisan makeup, hand creams and perfumes. The edible arts often take a bit from Portlandia in the form of pickling things, but they also include such items like small-batch coffee roasting, hand-dipped chocolates and various jams, preserves and spreads. And the visual arts include everything from books and posters to ceramics, plus sculptures that could hang on the wall or fit perfectly into your peaceful urban garden. There are other types of artisans who hand-make their goods and fit under the quite broad Craft Lake City umbrella, including creators of DIY engineering projects. The whole point of the festival is to highlight the number of artistic people living in Utah who take the time to put an interesting spin on items that might—or might not—be widely available, but are better when produced with local care. (Jacob Stringer)
Craft Lake City DIY Festival @ Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 801-535-6110, Aug. 8, 5-10 p.m.; Aug. 9, noon-10 p.m., free.


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Bill Maher
It's not uncommon for comedian Bill Maher to offend people—a lot of people, even those who might proudly defend his brash sensibilities. If you're an outspoken atheist and liberal on a large soapbox, upsetting people is par for the course. Then again, making a whole lot of people laugh in the process is also fairly common. Maher's most recent controversies stem from his flippant use of Twitter, like a "sacrilegious" tweet aimed at outspoken Christian quarterback Tim Tebow for blowing a big game on Christmas Eve. And though Maher may upset people by tweeting, "Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her," his whole career has involved stepping up to "The Line" before obliterating it. For all the people who find him tasteless, there are crowds who find his trampling on cultural oversensitivity to be the funniest thing imaginable. (Jacob Stringer)
Bill Maher @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, Aug. 9, 8 p.m., $55-$95.


SLC Zombie Walk
Halloween might still be 12 weeks away, but you can warm up by trudging through Salt Lake City's downtown streets during the seventh-annual SLC Zombie Walk, sponsored by Salt Lake Comic Con. For maximum suspense, the route won't be announced until a few days before the walk. That night at 6 p.m., the living-impaired of all ages will meet at 400 South and State Street to arrange rules and guidelines, then slowly march through the streets. If you'd rather try to live, join with the human survivors, who'll be running ahead of the pack of flesh-eaters. Costumes are a must, and zombies from all media and decade are welcome. No nudity is allowed, but there's no limit to how much blood you can use. The event is partnering with the Utah Food Bank, so bring a non-perishable food item from your zombie-apocalypse food storage. (Gavin Sheehan)
SLC Zombie Walk @ downtown Salt Lake City, route TBA, Aug. 10, 7 p.m., free.



Godzilla: The Japanese Original
The monsters of our imagination, our folklore and our films reflect society's deepest and most personal paranoias and fears. For the people in post-Hiroshima/post-Nagasaki/post-hydrogen bomb Japan, that fear was of overwhelming nuclear disaster. Today, the original Godzilla monster might seem like a lumbering plastic toy on the big screen—but for the makers of the 1954 filmGojira, he was the embodiment of the horrors they had lived through, right down to his scaly black skin that resembled the burns on Japanese radiation victims. This week, celebrate the 60thanniversary of Gojira, one of the greatest monsters ever seen on film, at a screening of the original movie Godzilla, presented in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Utah, the Utah Film Center and the Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The screening will be followed by a discussion on the genetic implications of radiation exposure by Nicola Barber of the University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Center. (Katherine Pioli)
Godzilla: The Japanese Original @ Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200,Aug. 12, 7 p.m., free.

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