Kirstin Chavez: Carmen Inside Out
The woman at the center of Bizet's ever-popular operaCarmenis complicated. And like a lot of complex female characters, she tends to get reduced to her worst characteristics, leading to many performances where she becomes the stereotype of an evil seductress. Carmen Inside Out, a one-woman show starring world-renowned mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez (pictured), looks to change this perception. With the help of monologues, an original flamenco dance and a unique musical arrangement of the opera's iconic score, Chavez channels Carmen for about an hour, bringing often overlooked depths to this character.
Currently an artist in residence at the University of Utah, Chavez has performed Carmen in more than 35 productions since 2000. "I never get tired of her because she feels like a living being to me," Chavez says. "And the joy and passion she feels are infectious."
Chavez says she wants to share with audiences the character's strength, charisma, loyalty and independence—all of the things she loves about her. "I hope that audience members—both those who know the story of Carmen already, and those who don't—will come away with a genuine love and appreciation for this 'person' that has taught me so much over the last two decades," she says.
Chavez sings some ofCarmen'sbest known songs in their original French, with monologues and supertitles presented in English. For those looking to dive even further into this character, Chavez and members of the music community host a discussion on the importance of nurturing "strong female spirts in today's modern society" after the show. (Kylee Ehmann)
Carmen Inside Out@ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100,Sept. 13, 7 p.m.; Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.,$5-$20, tickets.utah.edu
José Torres-Tama: Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers
José Torres-Tama is a man of conviction, and an artist who feels the responsibility to address the struggles Latinos face in today's climate of intolerance and denial. As the title of his one-man show Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers implies, it repudiates those who would deny anyone seeking a better life and an escape from the poverty, crime and injustice they faced in their countries of origin.
"I aspire to forge performances that exemplify a divine marriage between experimental form and socially conscious content," Torres-Tama says via email. "I cannot bask in a privilege I'm not afforded to make—experimental theater about nothing—because the urgency confronting my brown body and my immigrant community is far from abstract."
Employing heart-wrenching stories, satire, makeup, evocative lighting, visuals and film, Torres-Tama (pictured) portrays people who suffer indignity in their quest for freedom. He finds a connection between use of the word "alien" to describe both those from other countries and sci-fi extra-terrestrials to illustrate how our nation has drifted to "The Dark Side," forgetting the essential covenants it was founded on.
Developed through aNational Performance NetworkCreation Fund, and commissioned by the GALA Hispanic Theater, the Ashé Cultural Arts Center,and Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, Aliens provides a personal perspective on the horrors and hardships suffered by so-called "illegals." Or, as Torres-Tama says, "No guacamole for immigrant-haters!" (Lee Zimmerman)
José Torres-Tama: Aliens Immigrants and Other Evildoers @ Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, 132 S. 800 West, Sept. 14-15, 7:30 p.m., $12, web.ovationtix.com
New Frontiers: Science Friday Live
The National Public Radio program Science Friday is best known for taking scientific discoveries, research, theories and news and making them explicable and relatable to students, concerned citizens and, well, those of us who were humanities majors.
The program goes beyond the airwaves on Saturday night when New Frontiers: Science Friday Live in Salt Lake City arrives at the Eccles Theater for a 90-minute program. In addition to a behind-the-curtain look at how the radio show gets made, the program includes demonstrations, video screenings and even a live band. The event will be recorded and played later on KUER 90.1 FM, which airs Science Friday on a weekly basis.
Host Ira Flatow acts as emcee for the night, and will be talking with Utah scientists about the new frontiers they are exploring. On the bill are Jaimi Butler of the Great Salt Lake Institute, talking about rare white pelicans nesting on Gunnison Island that herd fish with their feet and bills, and forest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni, speaking about what she is discovering in forest canopies. Utah has long been a paleontologist's dream, and Randall Irmis of the Natural History Museum of Utah (pictured) discusses the remains of protodinosaurs, also known as "dinosaur aunts and uncles," found in Bears Ears National Monument. Finally, photographer Mark Bailey and Dark Sky SLC president Jessica Dwyer raise the claim that dark skies are important to human health. (Geoff Griffin)
New Frontiers: Science Friday Live @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2787, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m., $27.50-$65, artsaltlake.org
Scott Westerfeld: Impostors
Author Scott Westerfeld can affirm that children's books aren't just kid's stuff anymore. He's written 22 novels, mostly for younger readers, earning both popular success and a wide range of awards, including the Philip K. Dick Special Citation, the Aurealis Award, the Victorian Premier's Award and placement on The New York Times list of Notable Books.
With his new novel, Impostors, Westerfeld returns to his best-selling Uglies series. Inseparable twins Frey and Rafi, for all their similarities, are poles apart: Rafi is an ideal daughter, but Frey has been trained to kill. Determined to protect her sister at all costs, Frey impersonates Rafi as part of a ploy initiated by their father. However, when the charade unravels, she must decide whom to trust with the truth while grappling with the possibility of assuming her own identity.
"Since the Uglies books came out, countless fans have told me how reading the series changed them," Westerfeld says via email. "These conversations have, in turn, changed me. All that fan fiction, art and critique has enlarged the Uglies world in my head, making it messier, more real."
Westerfeld, who discusses the book in a conversation with best-selling Utah author Shannon Hale, says Impostors draws parallels with today's world: "The original Uglies books were about revolution. But overthrowing an oppressive regime is just the start. The question of 'what next' kept hitting me—especially given everything happening in our own reality. So I decided to return to the world of the Uglies and find new heroes." (LZ)
Scott Westerfeld: Impostors @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., free, kingsenglish.com