THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUL 22 - 28 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly


Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow & Festival, Sophie Schwabacher & Best of Craft Lake City @ Modern West Fine Art, Spence Roper, and more.

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Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow & Festival
Recent news stories about the treatment of First Nations children by colonizing entities in North America have been a reminder that the legacy of colonization still carries wounds. As challenging as it may be for many people of European descent to confront this history, it's vital for achieving healing. And it has always been important that Utah's Pioneer Day celebrations are juxtaposed in the same time frame annually with Utah's Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow & Festival, as a reminder that this was the place for many people thousands of years before Mormon settlers arrived.

On Friday, July 23, from noon to 10 p.m. Liberty Park (600 E. 900 South) hosts the 27th annual powwow and festival, taking on the theme this year of "Heal & Strengthen." It is primarily a cultural celebration, with music, dance and drum offerings contributing to an overall goal of cultural preservation. Groups representing tribes throughout the country participate in the formalized dance and drum offerings, with Thunder Horse Drum Group of Ft. Hall, Idaho serving as the 2001 host drum group. The festival grounds will also feature a wide range of vendor booths, traditional food, arts & crafts presentations and plenty of kid-friendly activities, all making for an event that is as entertaining as it is informative.

At press time, the entertainment headliner is not yet set, but the evening performance will lead into a fireworks presentation at 10 p.m. Visit for full schedule and up-to-the moment participant updates. (Scott Renshaw)

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Sophie Schwabacher & Best of Craft Lake City @ Modern West Fine Art
Often, the artistic creations that appeal to us most strongly have a pull of the familiar, whether through the subject matter or the practicality of their use. Two exhibits currently on display at Modern West Fine Art's Upstairs @ Modern West Gallery (412 S. 700 West) provide two distinct ways of looking at that real-world connection to art.

Modern West's gallery manager Sophie Schwabacher presents watercolor works that take commonplace objects like commercial brands ("Rainier" is pictured) and make them personal. These works demonstrate an affection towards the role that ubiquitous objects and their memorable iconography play in our lives, with vivid and charming representation through a nostalgic lens.

Sharing the space with Schwabacher's show is a product of the collaboration between Modern West and Craft Lake City, the organization that sponsors the annual DIY Festival (see p. 9). This first-of-its-kind joint show features a curated selection of items representing the wide range of work—including textiles, scarves, handbags, original jewelry designs and more—that falls under the umbrella of Craft Lake City's mission to "educate, promote and inspire local artisans." Featured artisans include Concrete and Copper Co., Desert Rose Jewelry, Honovi Design, Lyman & Brown and Niknak, providing an enticing sampler platter leading up to the DIY Festival itself in August.

The two exhibitions run concurrently through Aug. 31. Visit for current gallery hours and other details. (SR)

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Spence Roper
Over the past decade, Logan native Spence Roper has become a fixture in the Salt Lake City comedy scene, bringing his deadpan, self-deprecating sensibility to gigs at Wiseguys Comedy Club locations and to the stage of the Utah Arts Festival, where even his own name became a punchline. But as the past year has taught us all, becoming a fixture doesn't mean things stay fixed, especially when you're dealing with a pandemic.

Roper has found himself doing what comedians do best, as he finds laughs in the craziness of the COVID world. Pondering the logistical challenges of forgetting a mask for a trip to the grocery store, Roper notes, "I could walk into the store without a mask. ... But I don't want to do that, because as soon as you do, that's when you get someone who comes up to you and is like, 'Hey, the meeting to overthrow the government's Thursday at 9.'... Don't follow me outside, because I came here in a car with like, no flags on it." And then, while in a public restroom with his son washing their hands: "Some guy walks in and looks over and says, 'Coronavirus got you runnin' scared, huh?' It's a public restroom, so if you're trying to pin down what we're runnin' scared from, it's more like hepatitis A & B."

Spence Roper headlines Wiseguys Ogden (269 25th St.) on Friday, July 23 for a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $15; visit for ticket purchases and additional event information.

  • Beau Pearson

Utah has long been home to an amazing dance scene, with its highly-regarded university programs and several acclaimed professional companies. But it's yet another sign of how much we appreciate the art of dance when an established company decides to pick up stakes from a home in New York and relocate here—which is exactly what Michele Wiles has done with her 10-year-old BalletNEXT company, now setting up shop in Park City.

Since the beginning of July, Wiles—a veteran who has been training with the best since the age of 10, and includes on her résumé previous membership with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre—has been opening up rehearsals to the public for the company's first planned performances in its new home, featuring members of ABT and Florida-based Sarasota Ballet. The results of those efforts come to the Rockwell Listening Room (268 Main St., Park City) for performances July 23-24 and July 30-31, featuring live music by local musicians Koji Attwood (piano), Bree Fotheringham (violin) and Sophie Stanley (Spanish guitar). Additional performances are scheduled for July 26-27 at the Parkite on Main hotel and July 29 at Talisker Club in Deer Valley.

For those who want to catch up on the 10 years of BalletNEXT prior to coming to Utah, you can check out the premiere of a 10th anniversary film created in partnership with Park City Film and Flying Goat Productions, July 25 at the Park City Library Santy Auditorium. Visit for a full calendar of events and ticket information. (SR

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