Essentials: Entertainment Picks Feb. 20-26 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Essentials: Entertainment Picks Feb. 20-26 

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Plan-B Theatre Company: Clearing Bombs
Economist Friedrich Hayek achieved his greatest renown with The Road to Serfdom, which opposed excess government involvement in economic decision-making and a free-market approach to personal freedom; John Maynard Keynes advocated government intervention to moderate boom & bust economic cycles. At times, the two publicly opposed each other on key issues of British fiscal policy-but in summer 1942, the two men spent a night together on the roof of King's College in Cambridge, assigned to extinguish German bombs that might drop during an air raid. Eric Samuelsen's world-premiere Clearing Bombs speculates about what the two great economic thinkers might have chatted about on that dangerous night. Set at a time when the outcome of World War II was still uncertain, but scholars were beginning to contemplate what the world should look like when it was done, it explores differing ways of thinking about the future that emerge at the end of a crisis. (Scott Renshaw)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 20-March 2, Thursday & Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 4 & 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $20.


Terrel VanLeeuwen: Color Blind
Depictions of the world with all colors removed have often been the realm of journalism or science, but Terrel VanLeeuwen uses them for a greater artistic truth: a faithfulness to the subject matter. Color Blind-an exhibit of his works in conte crayon on watercolor paper-takes on a wide swath of subjects, from geographical locations to the grand designs of architecture, canine portraits to automobile wreckage and even a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. His technique is one of exacting precision that is quite spellbinding, but the medium implies some impressionism, and several of his landscape pieces seem slightly fantastical. For VanLeeuwen, black & white creates a mood of its own, one that allows the viewer to delve deeper without the distractions of color. In his artist's statement, he explains that "black and white takes the viewer to the details of the subject. We can experience the shape of a rock formation, its eye-opening formidability and the sublime texture in a black & white medium." VanLeeuwen studied at Utah State University, and besides some group shows like the 2011 Springville Art Salon, is so far underexposed in the local arts community. In the projects for this show, he says, "I have pondered, what makes the Sacred? What compels us to marvel and contemplate rock, water, animals and trees and feel the divinity that emanates from them?" The answers are bound to be deeply personal. (Brian Staker)
A Gallery, 1321 S. 2100 East, 801-583-4800, through March 6; Gallery Stroll reception Feb. 21, 6-8 p.m., free.

Sonia Pentz & Nadia Rea Morales
An imposing mixedmedia art installation is an ideal form for presenting complex social issues. For its February exhibition, Mestizo Gallery features two such installations. Sonia Pentz's Ithaka 12 and Rea Morales's Zacuanpapalotls both deal with memory, migration, reconciliation and transformation. The common element is the monarch butterfly, a symbol of cultural identity in Mexico, where the insect takes refuge. The transformations the butterfly undergoes are symbolic of those ongoing in Mexican culture. For Uruguayborn Pentz and Morales (originally from La Paz, Mexico), the cultural experiences of their own backgrounds figures intimately in their work. A meet-the-artists reception will be held March 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., in conjunction with Artes de Mexico en Utah, followed by a discussion with the Mestizo Gallery's curator, Renato Olmedo- González. (Brian Staker)
Mestizo Gallery, 631 W. North Temple, Suite 700, 801-596-0500, through March 14; open for Feb. 21 Gallery Stroll, 6-9 p.m., free.,

Pioneer Theatre Company: Much Ado About Nothing
It's one of the most familiar conventions in all of romantic comedy: the lovers who profess to hate one another, spending most of the plot in claws-out combat before ultimately realizing they're perfect for each other. William Shakespeare had nailed the concept 400 years before the contemporary rom-com in such celebrated plays as The Taming of the Shrew and Pioneer Theatre Company's current production, Much Ado About Nothing. Fresh off the most recent film adaptation of the play in 2013, PTC presents the story of Beatrice and Benedick, the sparring duo who profess nothing but disdain for one another. But the romance between Benedick's friend Claudio and Beatrice's cousin Hero complicates their relationship-first by forcing them to be in one another's company, then when misunderstanding threatens the planned marriage between Claudio and Hero, and perhaps even those lovers' lives. It's one of Shakespeare's sharpest, liveliest comedies, with plenty of laughter before the happily-ever-after. (Scott Renshaw)
Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 400 S. 1300 East, 801-581-6961, Feb. 21-March 8, $25-$44.


Plan-B Theatre Company: Different = Amazing
In fall 2010, prompted by a growing number of media stories about gay students committing suicide, Utah actor Kirt Bateman organized a fundraiser for school anti-bullying programs. That original Different = Amazing program raised $10,000 for such programs-and as it turns out, it was only the beginning. Playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett-working with Salt Lake County educator Jim Martin and Davis County educator Denice Maedgen- collected stories from Utah children and youth about their own experiences with bullying. The contributions came in the form of narratives, pictures, poems and more, eventually becoming a 40-minute theater program featuring actors Tyson Baker and Latoya Rhodes. The world-premiere presentation on Saturday will be followed by a tour of student presentations at elementary schools in Salt Lake County and Davis County, plus a stop for public showings at Ogden's Good Company Theatre. "Shaping them was a matter of locating the most raw, or unresolved, material," Bennett says of turning the collected experiences into a production. "Onstage, I wanted to portray experience, not preach. … I got the same incident of bullying from different perspectives: an account from the victim, from a friend, and seemingly from someone more removed. I couldn't ignore that. … To see a drawing by a child, with a dialogue bubble saying 'You have ugly skin' ... that shocked me." The result of bringing these many stories and memories together is a powerful performance designed to remind kids of all kinds that they're not alone, even in their most painful experiences. (Scott Renshaw)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 22, noon, free but ticket required.

Repertory Dance Theatre: Charette
There can only be one Iron Choreographer- and Repertory Dance Theatre's fundraiser/creative soiree Charette is the annual arena where that crown is bestowed. This year's event will be hosted by Sister Dottie S. Dixon, judged by a panel of local celebrities-including X96's Bill Allred and CityHomeCollective's Cody Derrick-and will feature choreographers Ashley Anderson, Graham Brown, Karin Fenn and Satu Hummasti entering the ring to compete against reigning Iron Choreographer Nathan Shaw. Audience members will witness the creative process as each participant receives a cast of dancers, a secret ingredient and just one hour to deliver a masterpiece. As reigning champion, Shaw has the advantage this year, just as returning Iron Chefs do against their culinary competitors. His greatest strength in returning to the field of creative battle, he says, is "my sense of humor. Oh, and my glutes." And he has some advice to share with his competition: "Keep it funny. People do not want angst-ridden modern dance. They want to be entertained. The crowd imbibes all night long. Don't kill their buzz." Beyond bringing laughs, the newbies have another challenge: the serious time constraint that forces them into full-bore creative mode- without the luxury of editing. You just have to "make it and go with it," Shaw says. "Even if it is crap, you gotta keep going!" Let the competition begin. (Jacob Stringer)
Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., $35.,


Broadway Across America: Bring It On: The Musical
The 2000 film Bring It On, about competitive high-school cheerleading, could be summed up with the following snippet of the movie's witty dialogue: "I don't know what's scarier: neurotic cheerleaders, or the pressure to win. I could make a killing selling something like Diet Prozac." The teen romantic comedy about rival cheerleading squads was so popular that it spawned four straight-to-video sequels. Then, just as the film franchise seemed to be running out of steam, it went to Broadway with Bring It On: The Musical. It doesn't strictly follow any of the film's trajectories or narratives, but the 2012 production- nominated for two Tony Awards, for Best Musical and Best Choreography-is indeed inspired by the biting, competitive sass of the movies. It features an all-new storyline and a musical score that helps to deliver the simultaneously melancholy and optimistic moods of high school. And the musical really gets the highly competitive nature of high-school sports right, as well as all the raw emotions and immature social skills of teenagers trying to find their feet in a confusing world. It's also fun to watch. The choreography for Bring It On is a unique blend of traditional musical moves with the high-flying athleticism of competition cheerleading. Add to that its comedic strengths, and this version of the tale might be even more deserving than its movie counterpart of spawning sequels. (Jacob Stringer)
Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 25-March 2, $35-$52.50.

Jennifer Nielsen: The Shadow Throne
In the two previous installments in the Ascendance Trilogy-The False Prince and The Runaway King-Utah native Jennifer Nielsen introduced readers to the kingdom of Carthya, and the complex machinations involved in finding a king to unite a divided people-even if that meant creating a king where one didn't exist. Now, in the conclusion to the trilogy, Nielsen returns to the kingdom to find what new dangers await King Jaron. And there are plenty of them. The threat from the kingdom of Avenia takes a new form when the Avenian king kidnaps Jaron's beloved Imogen in an attempt to bring down Carthya. That means Jaron must venture out-perhaps even without those who have supported him in the past-to prevent tragedy. And he may ultimately need to make decisions that will risk his life, his country, those he loves, and his ability to keep the throne. (Scott Renshaw)
The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., free.


NASA Up Close
It's been a challenging time for NASA lately. With the deep budget cuts and the retirement of the shuttle program, the path forward for the national space program can seem a bit murky. Well, there's always the long-promised visit to Mars. To get there, though, NASA needs not only to find one hell of a plan, but also re-imagine its hardware-redesigning and then building spacecraft and the boosters that propel them. NASA's next rocket, called the SLS, is in the works, and Clark Planetarium is welcoming a couple of key members of those efforts-Alex Priskos, NASA's SLS boosters manager, and NASA astronaut Dominic "Tony" Antonelli-for a special one-night event to talk about their work and cut the ribbon on the new planetarium exhibit, called NASA Exploration Systems Directorate/Space Launch System (ESD/SLS). It may not be the catchiest title, but the presentation will explore the intricate, fascinating details of the new launch system, display a scale model of the SLS rocket booster and introduce the brand-new multipurpose crew vehicle, the Orion space capsule. (Jacob Stringer)
Clark Planetarium, 110 S. 400 West, 385-468-7827, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., $2, members free.

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