THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR MAY 27 - JUN 2 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


Craig Childs: A Voice from the Desert, Utah Dance Film Festival, Evaporated @ Granary Arts, and more.

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  • Sarah Gilman

Craig Childs: A Voice from the Desert
During a time of distance, the Utah State Library developed a notion designed to bring us a little closer together: What if there was a statewide book club that could allow us all to share an artistic experience, and come together virtually to reflect on it? That was the genesis of One Read, One Utah—and this week marks the culmination of the first selection in that program.

Author Craig Childs has long had a fascination with the American Southwest, which he has explored in books like Atlas of a Lost World, in which he followed the footsteps of the first Ice Age humans to inhabit North America. His latest collection of essays, Virga and Bone: Essays from Dry Places, finds Childs continuing the tradition of writers like Edward Abbey in celebrating the haunting beauty and stark realities of the Four Corners desert region. The unique features of this landscape are brought to life in pieces exploring places like a sheet of virga over Monument Valley, seashells from ancient waters in the desert sand, or the precariously-balanced boulders in Arizona.

The Utah State Library sponsors a virtual author event with Childs on Thursday, May 27 from 7 – 8 p.m. Interested participants can register at to receive a link to the event, and don't feel shy about coming along even if you haven't read the book. If you'd like to get a head start on the next One Read, One Utah selection, pick up a copy of Utah author Ally Condie's 2016 coming-of-age novel Summerlost. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Alice Pennefather

Utah Dance Film Festival
Over the past year, many dance organizations—forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to rethink their performance paradigms—moved to remote presentations that embraced recorded productions. But there was nothing radically new about the concept of "dance for the camera." Indeed, the form has been a vital one for many years, both as a way to preserve the legacy of live performances and a stand-alone cinematic genre celebrating movement.

Our own Utah Dance Film Festival, now in its eighth year, provides a showcase for a wide range of filmed expressions of dance. Several individual programs are made up of short pieces by choreographers and dancers from around the country and around the world including Alice Pennefather's In Her Hands (pictured), inspired by the relationship between sculptors Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, and a creation by the University of Utah's own Tanner Dance. Also on the docket is a free screening of a long-form interpretation of Anne of Green Gables by Toronto-based Ballet Jorgen. Saturday also includes the premiere screening of pieces created as part of the Move 48-hour filmmaking challenge, with artists creating original films from scratch—including surprise elements announced at the start of the time period—over the weekend of May 14-16. Networking opportunities, workshops and a live/online awards showcase fill out the schedule.

The Utah Dance Film Festival will be held May 28-29 at the SCERA Center for the Arts (745 S. State, Orem), with multiple individual programs throughout the two-day event. Visit for full schedule, tickets and additional details. (SR)


Evaporated @ Granary Arts
It can often seem that creative art and the hard sciences exist in separate, parallel worlds. Yet it can be particularly fascinating when those worlds to intersect, whether through employing technology as a creative tool, or using artistic methods to investigate realms of scientific inquiry.

This summer, Granary Arts (86 N. Main St., Ephraim, presents Evaporated: Explorations in Art Science and Salt, a unique exhibition marking a collaboration between artist Wendy Wischer and geologist Brenda Bowen. Their subject is the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah's distinctive landmark that has sparked the imagination with its desolate, alien-seeming topography, and become famous worldwide as a site for land speed records. Dr. Bowen, an associate professor at the University of Utah, has spent nearly a decade studying the salt flats and their unique ecosystem, her research helping to inform land-use decision-making. Wischer, also a Salt Lake City resident, began participating in field visits in 2018, and her work ("To Breathe" is pictured) explores our relationship with this place in an installation the juxtaposes art works with excerpts from Dr. Bowen's research.

Evaporated runs now through Sept. 17 at Granary Arts' Main Gallery. Running concurrently with Evaporated, you can also experience Work in Progress, spearheaded by the mother/daughter team of Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake. This ongoing collaborative mural celebrates pioneering women throughout history, employing unique materials to represent (at press time) more than 300 portraits created by more than 250 participating artists. The work has been designed specifically so that it can be added to constantly, and transported to different sites. (SR)

  • Courtesy Photo

Scandinavian Heritage Festival
And while you're in Ephraim for the Granary Arts exhibits, a classic annual Utah event returns. While the pandemic put the kibosh on most of our traditional ethnic and cultural heritage festivals over the past year-plus, those who are vaccinated and/or comfortable returning to group activities can now look forward to getting back to those events. You don't have to have lived in Utah for very long—with its population chock full of Jensens and Hansens and Christiansens and so forth—to realize that Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian blood runs through the veins of many of our friends and neighbors.

The 2021 Scandinavian Heritage Festival takes place May 28-29 and May 31 at locations throughout Ephraim, featuring a wide range of activities. Food and craft booths are located on the primary festival grounds intersection of 100 North and Main St., open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday. Plenty of game opportunities fill the weekend, including pickleball and cornhole tournaments, plus the traditional Finnish throwing game molkky. The Main Street parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, with other events including a quilting exhibition and historical tours, plus live music from performers including Peter Breinholt and a Memorial Day morning half-marathon. And there really is nothing quite like a good beard contest (Saturday at 2 p.m.).

Visit for the full schedule of events, and maps to venue locations. Don't miss this chance to get a flavor of Utah's distinctive cultural history, and feel like the world is a bit more normal again. (SR)

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