THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUN 16 – 22

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An Other Theater Company: The Normal Heart
Larry Kramer clearly understood that there were many different ways to get a crucial message out into the world. As an activist, Kramer was one of the driving forces behind the creation of ACTUP, an organization that pushed for increased research and public health funding during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s at a time when the disease’s association with the gay community increased the politics surrounding it. But he also became one of the first writers to give voice to the epidemic in dramatic form, with his 1985 play The Normal Heart.

The story deals with several people facing the earliest days of AIDS in circa-1981 New York City. Writer/activist Ned Weeks is attempting to pull together an organization to spread the word about the as-yet-unnamed mystery illness affecting the city’s gay men; Dr. Emma Brookner, a medical researcher, tries to pull together what little information there is about the disease; Ned’s brother Ben, an attorney not particularly accepting of Ned’s sexuality; and Felix Turner, a reporter with whom Ned falls in love. Ned and his allies fight for funding into the disease and getting information into the media, even as those within Ned’s organization battle over whether their tactics should be more accommodating or confrontational.

An Other Theater Company presents it’s delayed-from-2020 production of The Normal Heart June 15 – July 1 at Utah Valley University’s Ragan Theater (800 W. University Parkway, Orem), with performances Wednesdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are TBD at press time; visit anothertheater.org for tickets and additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

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ThreePenny Theatre: Love and Information
ThreePenny Theatre has a unique artistic mission, in its attempt to engage impoverished, lower income and homeless communities in the theatrical world. So it only seems appropriate that it would take on more experimental work, like Love and Information by Obie Award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill.

Love and Information takes an unconventional route to exploring the role of technology in our modern lives, and how it impacts our interactions. The cast includes no characters identified by name, nor is the dialogue specifically assigned in the script to any specific character. That means the director and actors can create meaning of the scene by virtue of who is selected to read each line, and that every production is likely completely different from any other.

“The breakneck speed at which scenes alternate between slicing chicken brains, watching far-off (maybe long dead) stars, walking through a house made of memories, falling in love with a virtual person, and answering non-sequitur trivia questions, potentially feels like a scattershot collage without purpose,” says director Jonah Ericson. “However, like all collage as an art form, through careful juxtaposition Churchill orchestrates a symphonic whole of questions and answers, emotions and logic. … The power in Churchill’s piece lies not in her universal understanding of the, albeit evocative, nouns of love and information, but in her understanding of communication.”

ThreePenny Theatre’s production of Love and Information runs June 16 – 25 at the Utah Arts Alliance’s Arts Castle venue (915 W. 100 South). Performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with tickets a $20 suggested donation. Visit threepennytheatre.com/current-production for tickets and additional event information. (SR)

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Juneteenth Festivities in Utah
In the wake of the 2022 legislative session, Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill making Juneteenth (June 19th) National Freedom Day a state holiday, recognizing the date in 1865 when Union troops finally informed remaining enslaved people in Texas that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. While organizations throughout the state have recognized Juneteenth for many years, some of them take place in 2022 with a special nod to the long-awaited official designation.

Project Success holds its annual Juneteenth Festival at Ogden Amphitheater (343 E. 25th St., Ogden) on June 18 – 19. The event is scheduled to include music performances, speakers, vendors, and a “barber battle and crown braids battle.” The organization also hosts a special Juneteenth evening during the Real Salt Lake match vs. the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, June 18. Visit projectsuccess.org/Juneteenth-2022/ for additional information.

Salt Lake County Library Services hosts a Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18 at the Veridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan) from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a fashion show, poetry slam, traditional food, scavenger hunt, crafts, a performance by comedian Arvin Mitchell (pictured) and more in recognition of the occasion. Visit slcolibrary.org for additional information.

On Monday, June 20, stop by The Gateway (400 West & 200 South) from noon – dusk for a celebration and Black-Owned Business Expo, with live entertainment and exhibit of visual art by Black artists. Visit saltlakejuneteenth.org for more information. (SR)

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Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival
Every year, the streets of The Gateway (400 West & 200 South) come to life with remarkable original art work celebrating fun popular culture characters, local icons and even eye-popping, brain-teasing 3-D experiences. It’s all part of a fundraiser and awareness-raiser for Utah Foster Care, which for more than 20 years has worked to provide nurturing homes for children in the state foster care system.

The Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival itself celebrates a 20th anniversary in 2022, with the theme of “Finding Joy.” The artists begin their work on Friday, June 17 at 5 p.m. on the ground level of the mall, and visitors can watch the creations in progress while enjoying food and beverages at The Gateway, or bringing young ones to the Kids Korner activities. The artwork continues on Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., with additional activities for guests including face-painting, superhero and princess guest appearances, food trucks, evening entertainment (featuring DJ Rob and Nathan Osmond) and the Foster Families of the Year awards presentation. And on Sunday, you can visit to see all of the completed works, and perhaps even make a Fathers’ Day outing of it.

All events and activities for the Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival are free and open to the public. Come and support this worthy cause and experience some unique works of art in the process. Visit utahfostercare.org for event information, as well as information for supporting the organization’s work. (SR)

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

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