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THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 28 - FEB 3 

Kurt Repanshek: Re-Bisoning the West, Dreamscapes Gallery reopens, Finch Lane Gallery, and more.

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TORREY HOUSE PRESS
  • Torrey House Press

Kurt Repanshek: Re-Bisoning the West
For centuries, bison dominated the landscape of North America, numbering between 30 and 60 million before European settlers came to the continent. At first it was disease that was the threat to the herds, and then, in the 1800s, the westward expansion of white settlers that involved building railroads and gaining control over the Native American populations that depended on bison for food, housing and clothing. Millions of bison were slaughtered throughout the 1870s, and the number of bison in North America was estimated to have reached as few as 325, before conservation efforts gradually increased the numbers to approximately 500,000 today.

In his 2019 book Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape, journalist and founder of the national parks news website National Parks Traveler Kurt Repanshek explores the history of the bison in North America, its importance to indigenous peoples and the dark history behind their near-extinction. Yet the focus is on what happens going forward: how we can continue to repopulate the west with this majestic creature, as well as the biological, political and cultural obstacles that such efforts continue to encounter.

On Thursday, Jan. 28 at noon, Repanshek discusses Re-Bisoning the West as part of the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law "Green Bag" series, in conjunction with The King's English Bookshop. The one-hour virtual event is free with registration required at law.utah.edu/event/stegner-center-green-bag-kurt-repanshek/. Join the author for an intriguing conversation about what it might look like to see bison once again roaming the American landscape. (Scott Renshaw)

ALEX GREGORY
  • Alex Gregory

Dreamscapes Gallery reopens
According to Utah Arts Alliance executive director Derek Dyer, plans had been percolating to relocate the Dreamscapes space for some time. However, as is often the case, it took a bit of necessity as a kick in the pants to actually accomplish that relocation.

"It was partially because there was some other tenant moving into the previous space, but we were okay with that," Dyer says. "We were happy because the timing was good. No one was in the space across the street from us; it's bigger, with more infrastructure. So it's kind of a happy situation."

After closing its original location on Dec. 4, Dreamscapes re-opens Jan. 29, with the interactive gallery space including both new spins on previously-existing experiences and brand new offerings. "Nothing is going to look exactly the same," Dyer says. "The Enchanted Forest, The Mirror Maze, we still love those concepts, but we're re-envisioning all of those. So there will be some familiar things, but for example, the Enchanted Forest now is divided into daytime and nighttime. Then there are some entirely new rooms, like a fully-immersive projection room. ... I think people are really going to be able to see that it's been really improved and elevated."

Reservations are required at showclix.com/event/dreamscapesslc-org as part of the COVID restrictions, and other changes remain in place reducing high-touch surfaces. But according to Dyer, the new Dreamscapes offers even more chance to add a kind of story to your visit. "Depending on the level of interaction someone wants, they can sort of build their own adventure," he says. (SR)

essentials-210128-finchlane-credit-tk.png

Finch Lane Gallery
We humans too often think of ourselves as separate from the natural world, existing outside of it and able to control it. Two new exhibitions at Finch Lane Gallery dig into that notion from two very different perspectives, interrogating the intersection of the wild and the "civilized."

Andrea Jensen's solo exhibition Storms (pictured) explores the cultural disconnect that lies between understanding our relationship with the natural environment, and our drive toward perpetual economic growth. With a curious eye, Jensen connects seeming insatiable material desires to the consumption of resources in the world around us, and does so with a style that employs recycled materials, turning the very act of her painting into a kind of restorative process.

The works of Jacques Derrida provide the title inspiration for The Animal That Therefore I Am, a joint exhibition of collaborative collage works by Max Barnewitz and Joshua Graham. These artists also use scavenged and gleaned materials like newsprint, masking tape and photocopies, employing their pieces to dissolve the boundaries between homo sapiens and other denizens of the animal kingdom, as well as building the distinctions between the creatures monolithically referred to as "animals." As part of the exhibition, materials will be provided to allow in-person visitors to create their own art in response to the show's themes.

Works are available to view online, or by appointment only in person at the gallery (1340 E. 100 South) now through Feb. 26. Visit saltlakearts.org/program/finch-lane-gallery/ to make an appointment or for additional exhibition information. (SR)

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH DEPT OF THEATRE
  • University of Utah Dept of Theatre

University of Utah Dept. of Theatre: Henry V
What are the qualities that make for a successful leader? It's not that we never thought about that question before 2016, but over the past four years, it feels as though we've been thinking about it a lot. So as we watch the shift in America to a new leader, it is perhaps an ideal time for us to look at one of the ways William Shakespeare investigated that subject—through the story of a young king having to deal with those who question whether he's up to the job.

Henry V continues a cycle begun in the Henry IV plays, with the protagonist who was then the callow Prince Hal assuming the throne. The new king's challenge becomes changing the narrative around himself, which includes placing a claim on the throne of France, an action which leads to war. It climaxes with the battle of Agincourt, including the celebrated St. Crispin's Day speech in which Henry exhorts his troops with promises of glory, even as the outcome of the battle is very much in doubt.

The University of Utah Dept. of Theatre presents Henry V in a virtual production which will be performed live for each individual showtime, Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 4-6 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 31 and Feb. 6-7 at 2 p.m. Discounted $5 tickets are available to the general public, though $15 "Champion" tickets to support the program are encouraged; high school students are being offered the opportunity to view shows for free. A talkback with the cast and creative team will be included after the Feb. 5 performance. (SR)

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