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THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUN 30 - JUL 6 

Traverse, Interdisciplinary Arts Collective: Erik Satie's Vexations, Morgan Talty: Night of the Living Rez, and more.

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TWIG MEDIA LAB
  • TWIG Media Lab

Traverse
The pandemic impacted the timing for a lot of creative projects, and that's certainly true for TWIG Media Lab's dance-for-the-camera documentary/art film Traverse. Originally planned for an April 2020 premiere, the project is only just now getting its first public showing—six years after the project was initiated.

Traverse marks a collaboration between TWIG's Chris and Alex Lee and choreographer Nick Blaylock, who was a graduate student in dance at the University of Utah in 2016. The Lee brothers both grew up as dancers themselves, and according to Chris, who directed Traverse, the goal was to "capture that harmony between what the dancers and choreographer can do, and what you as a filmmaker can do." The resulting film captures Blaylock's site-specific work with several dancers at locations in Southern Utah, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the work's development.

Blaylock, now a faculty member at Southern Utah University, believes that the COVID-era increase in recording live performance has changed the perception of "dance for the camera" somewhat since Traverse was shot in 2016. "I was kind of grateful I'd had this opportunity before all that happened," he says. "When we did this, we were at the fore of the technologies we were using. At the time it felt like a really big leap."

Traverse premieres Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Center (138 W. 300 South), accompanied by a live performance of new choreography by Blaylock that he describes as "an ode to the magic of the [Traverse] trip. Tickets are $10; visit arttix.org for more information. (Scott Renshaw)

INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTS COLLECTIVE
  • Interdisciplinary Arts Collective

Interdisciplinary Arts Collective: Erik Satie's Vexations
For 70 years, nobody really took seriously the suggestion by composer Erik Satie that his short keyboard composition Vexations should be played "840 times in succession." John Cage, however, was always willing to push the boundaries of art, and in 1963 created a performance of Vexations that lasted more than 18 hours. He even offered an incentive to the audience for sticking with the unique experiment, charging $5 admission and refunding a nickel for each 20 minutes that a guest remained with the performance.

Then, in 2021, Utah's own Interdisciplinary Arts Collective pushed even further, staging Vexations with dancer accompaniment for 36 consecutive hours—the longest recorded version of the work—with pianist Aaron D. Smith. And they're prepared in 2022 to take the next step. Beginning the morning of July 1 and running through 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, the company presents Vexations with one pianist (Smith, yet again), eight dancers and an epic 38 hours of continuous performance. This time around, visual artist Dani Mendez will also be presenting an art installation, adding yet another layer to the "interdisciplinary" part of the company's name.

Interdisciplinary Arts Collective's performance of Satie's Vexations takes place at the Sugar Space Arts Warehouse (132 S. 800 West), starting at 8 a.m. on July 1. Admission is on a pay-what-you-can basis, with cash or Venmo accepted at the door. Attendees are invited to join the experience for as long as they wish. Be part of a unique experiment in long, deep listening. (SR)

TIN HOUSE BOOKS
  • Tin House Books

Morgan Talty: Night of the Living Rez
If you're launching a career as a writer, it certainly helps to be coming from a unique point of view. For Morgan Talty, that point of view is his membership in the Penobscot Nation of Maine and Eastern Canada—a culture that isn't even particularly well-represented in other Native American literature. So that might make it even more significant that for Talty's first book, he isn't telling just one story from that cultural tradition, but several.

Night of the Rez collects a dozen short stories set in and around the Penobscot Nation, capturing tales of people wrestling both with their identity in the 21st century, and the legacy of the preceding colonialized centuries on that identity. In one story, an aging woman with dementia begins re-experiencing moments of the past by projecting them onto her grandson; another finds two friends looking to exploit the American fascination with antiques by raiding the tribal museum for something they can sell. Across the collection, the echoes of the past intrude into the present as characters try to carve out a place for themselves in a world where they're not sure they belong.

Morgan Talty appears at this virtual book-launch event for Night of the Living Rez via The King's English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East), in conjunction with Black Walnut Books of Glen Falls, N.Y., on Tuesday, July 5 at 6 p.m.; author Toni Jensen (Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land) moderates the conversation. The Crowdcast conversation is free to the public, but online registration is required. Visit kingsenglish.com for registration and for additional event information. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre
In the summer, it's not just the southern part of the state that hosts amazing summer theatrical festivals. While the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City has earned its plaudits, Logan-based Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre also offers a great excuse for a weekend getaway to experience some of the greatest works ever created for the stage.

The 2022 season features a repertory slate of works representing both classical opera and the American musical theater tradition. The season kicks off July 6 with Mozart's The Magic Flute, followed by Utah favorite Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on July 7. July 8 marks opening night for Bizet's Carmen, the tale of a soldier seduced by a gypsy woman. July 9 brings She Loves Me, the musical adaptation of the same source material that inspired The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail, from the composer team behind Fiddler on the Roof, followed by the rousing adventure of The Man of La Mancha. In addition to the main season, there are several one-night-only events, including a celebration of Frank Sinatra and the Michael Ballam Vocal Competition, honoring the festival's founder (pictured, playing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha).

The Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre season runs July 6 – Aug. 5, with performances at 1 p.m. and/or 7:30 p.m. Tickets for individual shows in the main season run $5 - $85, with tickets for special concert events $5 - $51; five-show series passes run $24 - $363. For the full calendar of season performances and special events, and to purchase tickets, visit utahfestival.org. (SR)

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