THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR MAR 3 - 9 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR MAR 3 - 9 

Candacy Taylor: Overground Railroad @ King's English online, Utopia Early Music: Call of the Sea, Riverdance, and more.

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KATRINA PARKS
  • Katrina Parks

Candacy Taylor: Overground Railroad @ King's English online
For many Americans who watched the Oscar-winning 2018 film Green Book, it was the first time they heard about the titular publication—a resource for Black Americans traveling in the Jim Crow-era South to know about the safe places to eat, stay the night, buy gasoline and generally attempt to avoid the direct discrimination of that time and place. But there was, of course, much more to the "green book" than an episodic friendship in which two people of different races learn Very Important Lessons from one another.

That's the story author, photographer and multimedia artist Candacy Taylor explores in her 2020 book Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America. Taylor tracks the period of its publication between 1936 and 1966, addressing how it was more than just a directory, but an act of courage, since those who volunteered to be included were opening themselves up to harassment or violence. Overground Railroad honors those merchants by telling their stories, while also contemplating where we are on the continuum of "not as bad as it was then" to "how far we still need to go." Overground Railroad the book is also part of a multidisciplinary approach Taylor has taken to telling this story, including a companion book for younger readers, a board game and a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition.

Taylor appears in a virtual Crowdcast event via The King's English Bookshop on Friday, March 4 at 6 p.m. Tickets are free, but registration is required; visit kingsenglish.com to register, and for additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

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Utopia Early Music: Call of the Sea
Like most of what is commonly referred to as "classical music," the term "early music" likely evokes a sense of high culture from its era—quartets performing for the entertainment of the upper classes, or in royal courts. Yet while the Baroque and Medieval pieces performed by Utopia Early Music do often draw from that tradition, they also acknowledge a rich musical history that is considerably more common in its roots, drawing from folk tunes and the music of the working people—like the sea chanteys and ballads that make up Utopia's latest program.

Call of the Sea presents a rich program performed by vocalists Emily Nelson (soprano), Christopher LeCluyse (tenor), John Bergquist (baritone) and Ricky Parkinson (bass), with accompaniment by Otter Creek instrumentalists Mary Louise Otterstrom (fiddle) and Mandy Danzig (mandolin, mountain dulcimer and banjo). The songs range from troubadour songs to Judeo-Spanish music, plus the choral work "Euroclydon" by early American composer William Billings, spanning several hundred years in exploring the ways that composers of all kinds tried to capture the spirit and majesty of the ocean through music.

Utopia Early Music offers Call of the Sea at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark (231 E. 100 South) for two performances: Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 6 at 5 p.m. Admission is pay as you are able, with a recommended donation between $10 - $15; face coverings will be required of all attendees, and masks will be offered at the door for those who do not have one. Visit utopiaearlymusic.org for additional event information. (SR)

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Riverdance
If it feels as though Riverdance has been part of the pop-culture landscape forever, you're not far off. The roots of the wildly successful Irish music-and-dance spectacle trace back more than 40 years, to a performance for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin created by composers Bill Whelan and Dónal Lunny. Thirteen years later, with Eurovision once again in Dublin, Whelan was invited to create a piece that would be performed during the interval of the song performances, and wrote the music to what would become Riverdance, performed by Irish dance champions Michael Flatley (later of Lord of the Dance fame) and Jean Butler. When the husband-and-wife producing team of Moya Doherty and John McColgan saw the enthusiasm with which Riverdance was received, they financed the creation of a full-length production that launched in Dublin in 1995—and a worldwide phenomenon was born.

The current iteration of the show hasn't rested on those decades-past laurels, however. Riverdance's tour includes a newly re-recorded version of Whelan's original score, in addition to state-of-the-art lighting, costuming and production design elements. As befitting a show with roots both in traditional Celtic folk performance and contemporary music and dance, it remains an experience that fuses stage grandeur with the emotional pull of bygone times.

Riverdance visits the Eccles Theater (131 S. Main St.) for five performances, March 4-6, with tickets ranging from $35 - $80. Proof of COVID vaccination or recent negative test is required for entry to Live at the Eccles performances. Visit live-at-the-eccles.com to purchase tickets or for other event information. (SR)

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Dave Attell @ Wiseguys
Good heavens, how the time files: Somehow, it's already been 20 years since comedian Dave Attell brought his Comedy Central series Insomniac to Salt Lake City, showing some of the more unusual ways that the valley got its groove on after-hours. That episode included Attell sharing a cocktail with then-SLC mayor Rocky Anderson, and dropping in on the amateur "fight night" at Sandy's Club 90. It's interesting to contemplate what present-day activities Attell might be prowling through as exemplary of the Beehive State's current demimonde.

Like Salt Lake City itself, Attell has changed some over the course of two decades—but it has been a consistent theme of his career that he enjoys poking around on the social fringes. In 2008, he hosted a short-lived Comedy Central re-launch of the vintage amateur-hour-for-weirdos competition The Gong Show; in 2011, the Showtime series Dave's Old Porn found him commenting Mystery Science Theater 3000-style on 1970s and 1980s adult films. And as host of Comedy Central's Comedy Underground circa 2014, he showcased mostly-uncensored performances from the likes of Nikki Glaser, Ali Wong and Ralphie May.

Attell's own standup remains a draw as well, of course, and that's where his down-and-dirty persona can connect most directly with audiences. You might not share a drink with him like Rocky did back in the day, but you can catch him at Wiseguys Gateway (194 S. 400 West) March 4-5, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. nightly, with tickets $35. Visit wiseguyscomedy.com for tickets, health & safety protocols and other event info. (SR)

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