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Utah Makes Good in Art World
 
 

By Stephanie Geerlings

 
 

rt lovers, lusty artists, mockingbirds, homemade trinkets, garage sailors, children of any height and professional coffeehouse regulars may be interested to know that the Utah Arts Festival is coming.


The festival’s capriciously poppy theme this year is “Check It Out.” Pink bubblegum chewing tennis players snap, point, sway and say, “Hey, it’s art! Art sure is fun!” The Utah Arts Festival, UAF, will run from June 19 to 22 and will attempt to include as many people as possible. There will be more than 1,000 artists representing several genres, from post-modern strangeness to safe, tailored arts and crafts. Even though this festival has that disturbing fun element, there will certainly be art.


This year the festival will be held at Library Square after being bounced around from The Triad Center to The Utah State Fairgrounds to last year’s venue, The Gallivan Center. The UAF board members hope to make this their permanent home.


There will be 129 artist booths lined up for your perusal. The Artists’ Market Place has great gifts. Late Gemini and Leo reap the benefit of this.


The UAF is a great festival because of its street theater, performing artists, outstanding selection of visual artists and music. There is always something happening.

 
 
Wow. Charlie Chaplin and Mary Poppins in some sort of magical orgy, we think. For the truth, go to the Utah Arts Festival.


Lacking pure rock and obscure art music from deep under the ground, the festival’s music selection consists of many jazz and blues bands, as if they were generic filler. There will be no atonal hip-hoppers here. There will be some outstanding musicians in the mix, however. Eric Ross will show his mastery of the theremin. The theremin is the eerie “waaa” sound in ’50s sci-fi films. It is played via interrupting electrodes, without touching the instrument. Ross is professionally trained and highly regarded for his playing and composing.


Orchestra Baobab is an 11-piece band from Senegal that plays African-Cuban traditional music. Representing authentic blues is Grammy award-winning harp player James Cotton. Also, a figure called The Junkman, Donald Knaack, will play his raucous music. Knaack, makes use of all of his materials for sound. Drums are expensive and music wasn’t made for the bourgeois.


New to the UAF is a short film program titled “Fear No Film.” Among UAF’s sponsors, The Salt Lake Film Society has selected some good films. These will be viewable in the Library auditorium.


Don’t attempt to comprehend the cinematic arts without filling up on the culinary arts. “You Americans sure know how to make a perfect sandwich,” Yas, my Japanese friend, exclaimed to a limp sandwich I made. Though he was being a sarcastic jerk from the island where food is gorgeous with perfected taste, the culinary arts at the UAF will include the artistic antithesis peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk, fried pickles and perennial favorite Navajo fry bread (the real reason we go to most Utah festivals) among other local cuisine.


Also new to the UAF is the Festival Idol Competition. So, the name is based on a shitty TV show; at least its purpose is pure. The competition aims to recognize deserving arts. There will also be a Composer Competition, the Jazz Composer Commission and the Mayor’s Artist Awards.


The best part of the festival in past years has been the impromptu street performers. What UAF has up their sleeve is still a secret.


There will be a choreographed acrobatic team that will perform on 14-foot high poles. For those of you who prefer the ground activity, a tiny flea circus is coming to town. Professor Humbug’s Flea Circus is on its way from Seattle.


Fortunately for our environment, the people from eARTh Friendly Festival will be there to encourage public transit, bicycle riding and active recycling.


The UAF opens at noon and runs till 11 p.m. Adults are $7.00, Seniors (60+) $3.50, Kids (12 & under) free. Should they be applauded for forgetting the student? If you show up from noon-3 p.m., admission is a mere $3.50 and there is still possibly time to volunteer at the festival for a free ticket. Regardless, it is one of the best festivals Salt Lake puts on, so save your beer money and a little extra.
stephanie@red-mag.com