THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR APR 7 - 13 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly


Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival, Shonto Begay: New Works, Plan-B Theatre Company: Aftershock, and more.

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  • Paola Paz Yee

Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Due to the omicron surge this past winter, organizers of the 2022 Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival had to plan for another virtual festival. According to festival curator and participant Kristina Lenzi, it's not an ideal setting for performers, who prefer the feedback that comes with a live audience. But given the choice between holding the festival virtually and not holding it at all, she says, "we want to have the festival, so this is our best alternative."

Still, the festival will bring an in-the-moment component, as all of the performers will be working live and unrecorded, so that the experience is as much like a live performance as it can be. And it once again offers the opportunity for performers to offer their work from wherever they happen to be, like Iowa-based Jeff Rufas Byrd with his piece Sensory Monotony exploring the mediated reality of video chats, or Salt Lake City's own Sam Forlenza as he presents The Palermian from Palermo, Sicily. They join Lenzi and seven other artists, from Salt Lake City and elsewhere, for a diverse range of works that showcase theater, visual art and technology.

The 2022 Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival takes place virtually, with performance blocs on Friday, April 8, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m. – noon and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. All performances are free, accessible via Vimeo link from the Salt Lake City Public Library site. Visit for the full schedule and additional information for each piece. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Courtesy of the Artist

Shonto Begay: New Works
For nearly 40 years as a professional artist, Arizona native Shonto Begay has used his work to explore the influence of his experience as a Diné (Navajo) in the American Southwest, including attending the cruel U.S. government boarding schools typical of the first half of the 20th century. "My paintings are expressions of the purity of the Shonto Plateau I still call home," Begay writes on his website. "Beauty in the truth, beauty in the sacred, and the mysteries. I paint to share colors as an expression of having been."

Begay brings his distinctive style—small brush strokes, his biography notes, "that repeat like the words of a traditional Navajo blessing prayer—to a series of new works on a smaller scale. At times he investigates the relationship between human figures and the landscape, as he does in "Cleaning the Morning Earth," which shows a woman tending to the path connecting her hogan to a sheep corral. Or he might present a landscape devoid of obvious human figures, but which evokes the history of his people; "Centering of a Presence" (pictured) focuses on an image of a juniper tree, which in the Diné tradition represents a grandfather figure respected for strength and wisdom.

New Works by Shonto Begay are offered in an exclusive online exhibition through Modern West Fine Art's platform, through May 31. Visit for the exhibition and additional information; you can visit the gallery in person to see works by other represented artists at 412 S. 700 West. (SR)

  • Sharah Meservy

Plan-B Theatre Company: Aftershock
While the entire world dealt with the disruption of the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, Utahns faced the unique one-two punch of the "lockdown" and an earthquake that hit just a few days later. That unique setting inspired Iris Salazar's Aftershock, but she believes that you didn't "have to be there" for the play to resonate. "While some people are now trying to live their 'normal life,' Salazar says, "others struggled, and are still maybe struggling, to get back to a place of comfort."

There's also specificity in the experience of Salazar's main character: Teah, a middle-aged Mexican-American woman, a faithful member of the LDS church and still unmarried. Aftershock explores how those identities inform one another, in issues ranging from experiencing harassment to dealing with familial expectations after 20-plus years in a "singles ward." "My mother raised my sister and me in a very strict manner, particularly when it came to dating, but at the same time we were taught to be very independent women," Salazar says. "When you belong to a religion where you are taught that creating an eternal family is important, it is impossible to get by without the topic of marriage being brought up."

Plan-B Theatre Company presents Aftershock at the Rose Wagner Center Studio Theatre (138 W. 300 South) April 7-17. Tickets are limited for live performances (proof of vaccination and masking required) at press time, but a streaming version of the production will be available April 13-17. Visit for tickets and additional information. (SR)

  • NBC

John Mulaney
John Mulaney has always drawn from his life for his stand-up comedy, but that doesn't mean he was about to change his approach when that life got tangled up in high-profile personal tribulations. As he noted with more than a touch of understatement in the opening monologue for his hosting appearance on Saturday Night Live in March, "Since I last hosted, different things have happened." Those "different things" included an intervention by friend over his drug use, a stint in rehab, and a new baby. Some of those things might seem easier to turn into comedy than others. Mulaney doesn't shy away from any of them—even if that means turning the unique circumstances of "breaking up" with his drug dealer into a bit.

His current From Scratch tour has a title that suggests not just all-new material, but really a life that kind of had to start all over again. He is starting from a pretty solid professional foundation, of course, with a career in comedy that stretches back nearly 20 years—improbable though it may seem for the still-baby-faced Mulaney—and includes Emmy Awards for his time on the writing staff of Saturday Night Live and for his 2018 solo stand-up show Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.

Mulaney visits Salt Lake City for a one-night stand at Vivint Arena (301 W. South Temple) on Saturday, April 9. Tickets are $71 - $176, with VIP packages available for $295; phones will be secured and cannot be used during the performance. Visit for tickets and additional event information. (SR)

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