THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUN 6 - 12 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUN 6 - 12 

Ballet West Choreographic Festival VI: Asian Voices, SALTCon Summer Convention, Utah Asian Festival, and more.

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Ballet West Choreographic Festival VI: Asian Voices
Like the rest of society, arts organizations are often still playing catch-up at representing the diversity of society. Ballet West and artistic director Adam Sklute are using the occasion of the annual Choreographic Festival to address that need with Asian Voices, a showcase of new work by Asian choreographers. The program is scheduled to include American Ballet Theater soloist Zhong-Jing Fang's Somewhere in Time, set to newly-commissioned music by composer Deanna H. Choi; New York-based choreographer Caili Quan's Playing on Impulse; the Ballet West premiere of Amber Waves by Phil Chan; and guest performers BalletMet presenting Edwaard Liang's Seasons.

 "For an art-form that has had so many brilliant Asian performers, ballet and dance in America has far too little Asian representation in choreography, composition, and directorship. While it is my honor to celebrate Asian leadership in ballet, I hope given time we see more and more great Asian creators and leaders to bring ballet further into the 21st century."

Chan adds, ""Adam has been a leader on this conversation since 2010 when he updated the Chinese variation in The Nutcracker to really get this right. ... Asian artistic excellence has a home at Ballet West, and the next step is to weave them into programing, beyond these festivals."

The Ballet West Choreographic Festival runs June 5 – 8 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 W. 300 South), with performances 7:30 p.m. nightly plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, June 8. Tickets are $50; visit arttix.org to purchase tickets, or balletwest.org for additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

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SALTCon Summer Convention
The word "gaming" can mean different things to different people, depending on their particular avocations. For many, it refers to the entertainments that involve computers and video-game consoles, whether for individual home use or for online multiplayer experiences. But for others, it involves a world of sitting around tables, rolling dice, flipping cards and otherwise engaging in the experience of in-person board gaming. Welcome to the world of SALTCon.

Several events take place throughout the year under the SALTCon umbrella, and the Summer Convention provides a fairly typical experience. Throughout the three-day event, attendees have a chance to sample offerings from the Game Library, with more than 2,000 games available to try out. Many hot new games are set up at dedicated tables, with experienced players helping newbies to learn the ins and outs; publishers bring new games for "Play to Win" events, allowing players a chance to win the game in exchange for playing and trying it out. You can even bring games to buy, sell or trade at the Game Flea Market. Mostly, it's about gathering with other folks, either to share the fun of your already-favorite games or to discover a new favorite.

The 2024 SaltCon Summer Convention takes place at the David Conference Center (1651 N. 700 West, Layton) June 7 (10 a.m. – midnight), June 8 (9 a.m. – midnight) and June 9 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.). Admission badges range from $15 - $40 per day, to $70 for all three days, and quantities are limited at press time. Visit saltcon.com/summer to purchase badges and for additional event information. (SR)

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Utah Asian Festival
For 47 years, Asian diaspora communities from throughout Utah have come together for a grand celebration of many unique heritage traditions in the Utah Asian Festival—an event programmed by the Asian Association of Utah that drew more then 20,000 attendees in 2023. According to Festival Co-chair Gechlang Ear, "This celebration is important to us because we believe in the 'Utah' that isn't celebrated enough. The 'Utah' that is home to over 60,000 asylum-seekers and thousands more, like myself, who have come from far-away lands but take pride in calling this place our refuge... Of course, we walk in the footsteps of giants. Thank you to all who kept the flame of Pan-Asian unity in Utah burning for decades, without whom we might have never found each other in the first place."

Every year, the Utah Asian Festival showcases cultures including Chinese, Japanese, Pacific Islander, Vietnamese, South Asian and more, featuring more than 60 distinctive modern performances. The festival area also includes vendors representing Asian-owned businesses, plus artisan handcrafts and educational activities for children. And of course, there's an opportunity to sample cuisines from more than 40 Asian-owned purveyors of food, with flavors spanning the pan-Asian spectrum.

The 2004 Utah Asian Festival comes to the Grand Building at the Utah State Fairpark (155 N. 1000 West) on Saturday, June 8 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Admission is free, but if you download a ticket ahead of time, it can serve as your TRAX fare to and from the venue (use the Fairpark station on the Green Line). Visit utahasianfestival.org for tickets and additional event information. (SR)

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