THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR APRIL 11-17 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


Checkmate, Silent Dancer, Gabriel Iglesias, Richard Gate

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The Bee: Checkmate

The Bee is modeled, unapologetically, after The Moth, a live storytelling forum and podcast that lets everyday people—like you, perhaps—tell their stories on stage. The Moth started in 1997 with five storytellers in a Georgia living room, and grew to larger events with a trademark format: 10 storytellers, five minutes, one theme, no notes. The Bee adapts it for Utah storytellers speaking to Utah audiences, because as we all know, there are some stories you can only really understand if you know the state and its peculiarities.

Since 2014, The Bee has hosted their forum monthly; in 2017, they also began hosting periodic storytelling workshops led by Giuliana Serena, the organization's founder, and Nan Seymour, whom The Bee calls their "director of narrative encouragement." Their call to action: "We believe that stories matter, that we are all storytellers and that everyone has stories to tell."

If that resonates with you—or terrifies you—consider how you might tell your story. Audience members put their names in a hat before the show starts; attendees are not required to participate. Then 10 storytellers are picked at random to speak on the theme of the night—which for April is "checkmate": "Stories of surprise moves, worthy opponents, sudden endings and the times you realized something was really, truly over." A picture of storyteller Emily Mkrtichian at a previous gathering is pictured. It is, always, an evening for laughter, tears, gasps, groans and emotional honesty. At the end, a panel of guest judges composed of local community members evaluates and scores performances, and chooses a winner. But really, when we tell our stories, everyone wins. (Naomi Clegg)
The Bee: Checkmate @ Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, April 11, 7 p.m., $15, 21+,

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Salt Lake Acting Co.: Silent Dancer

It probably doesn't sound like groundbreaking art to say that Salt Lake Acting Co.'s world premiere of Kathleen Cahill's Silent Dancer is a theater piece that includes dance; choreographed movement has been part of musical theater for almost as long as there has been theater. But there's something unique about the way the play's creative team—playwright Cahill, choreographer and Ballet West veteran Christopher Ruud, director Cynthia Fleming—and their cast make use of dance.

Set in 1920s Jazz Age New York, Silent Dancer combines the fictional story of an aspiring dancer with famous real-life figures from the era. The dance sequences at a cabaret club are era-appropriate pieces choreographed by Fleming, but the narrative also includes actors speaking—not singing—their dialogue while moving to Ruud's choreography.

"With all the years we've been developing plays, I feel that we're diving into this new form," Fleming says. "I had a lot more fear going into this project than I would ever let anybody know.

The development process has taken more than four years, from Cahill's initial broad concept, to approaching Fleming and SLAC, to inviting Ruud on board, and then through workshops and feedback from longtime friends of the company as the artists tried to balance text and movement. The result is something that Fleming proudly refers to as "a COLLABORATION, in all-caps."

"I'm proud of the artists and actors, that they all know what they're getting into," she adds. "These actors have to think differently. Speaking while dancing, it's two different ways of thinking." (Scott Renshaw)
Silent Dancer @ Salt Lake Acting Co., 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, through May 12, dates and times vary, $41,

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Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias is hard to miss. The veteran stand-up comedian is a big guy, a fact he consistently references in his self-effacing monologues. He refers to himself as "fluffy," suggesting that with all his bulk, he's really kind of cuddly. That said, he notes that there are four other overweight categories: "big," "healthy," "husky" and "damn!" He later added one more: "Oh hell no!" The fact that he takes pride in his size suggests he's not exactly a prime candidate for the next Weight Watchers spokesperson.

As a Mexican American, he's also well versed in sharing the cultural quirks that accompany his heritage, with the ultimate result that even as the crowd laughs along, they recognize a common connection that's obvious to all. That might be part of the reason he's garnered tens of millions of followers on social media and has been accorded an international audience.

His penchant for wearing shorts on stage has also become one of his trademarks. Iglesias insists he simply hates wearing pants. Besides, he says, a nice breeze makes for a really good day. Hmmm ... nothing wrong with a cheap thrill.

While Iglesias touts the fact that his shows are family-friendly, he admits that sometimes an obscenity will slip out. That often finds him apologizing to the families with children he meets after his shows. "It's nothing they don't hear at home," he quotes the parents as saying, adding that he finds it sad to see a 4-year-old shrug and nod in agreement. Too true. Too funny. (Lee Zimmerman)
Gabriel Iglesias @ Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 801-745-3000, April 12, 8 p.m., $37-$52,

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Richard Gate: Anthology

Presenting a pictorial autobiography spanning 30 years of work and many decades of transformation, Richard Gate's Anthology intertwines his personal experiences with the influences of science, history and art. Born in Ontario but raised in the red rock country of Southern Utah, Gate has spent a lifetime sketching impressions born of his travels. With a childhood spent mainly outdoors, Gate had very little exposure to art or culture. Yet inspired by Utah's landscapes, jazz, and the subcultures of the '60s, Gate began making collage artwork in high school.

Merging modernism with key personal moments, Gate's pieces display the heavy influence of the Southern California hard-edge painting movement, fusing geometric abstraction and bold color into patterns of poetry on paper. "Even though Abstract Classicism seeps into my collages, making them crisp and colorful, I work hard putting images together so they don't look like they are collaged," Gate says.

He works seasonally from his rural studio in Sanpete County, Utah, traveling to remote areas of Canada to fish and visiting Los Angeles to connect with the art scene. These pilgrimages are evident in the evolution of his creative process. His work is included in collections as far-reaching as Kanagawa, Japan. Gate recalls selling an original piece to Wrigley Field in Chicago, only to find out the artwork is now floating around in the Pacific Ocean on a yacht. "You hate to lose the good ones," he says. "But it is very interesting to have a piece of art somewhere out there in the world." (Colette A. Finney)
Richard Gate: Anthology @ Granary Arts, 86 N. Main, Ephraim, 435-283-3456, through May 10; reception April 12, 6-8 p.m.,

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