Utah Arts Festival and other things

Blargargharghargh. This is my 8th straight day of working pretty much all day (what with my job at the lab and a weekend landscaping contract with a friend’s grandfather), and it’s only Monday. Having a pretty-much-full-time job is kind of nice, and not as bad as I expected, but it’s pretty draining and, of course, time consuming. I need to be training waaaaaay more than I have been, and I wasn’t really having much fun until this last weekend, which included the Utah Arts Festival.

As always, the Arts Festival was pretty good. Not mind-blowingly great, not terrible.  I enjoyed it a little more than the 2009 festival (we were in Europe for the 2010 one) for several reasons. The headliner bands (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at least) were very good: Ronnie Baker Brooks delivered fun blues tunes, Incendio’s Latin guitar music was very impressive, Orlando “Maraca” Valle’s flute was stunning, and Del McCoury’s band brought down the house, so to speak (I was running out of different ways to say “they were also very good”). Unfortunately, I missed most of the dance, catching only about half of a Swan Lake duet from Ballet West and a glimpse of Samba Fogo; Children’s Dance Theatre (whose show I had already seen) and Repertory Dance Theatre also performed, and they were probably pretty good.  Apart from that, most of the lesser-known music groups were…well, let’s say they’re lesser-known for a reason. None of them were bad, and some were pretty good (Kate McLeod’s folk songs were a nice change of pace from the pop songs you hear at dance parties), but most were not worth sitting through while there was all that lovely art around.

The non-performing art (I don’t like to call it “art” as a general term, because people tend to leave out dance when they talk about “music and art”) was, also as usual, pretty good; a mix of the pretentious, quirky, kitschy, and beautiful, almost all of it overpriced for the college budget. My personal favorites this year were Carlos Montanaro’s steampunk-esque jewelry (made from watches from the 1920s through 40s), Fred Conlon’s amusing metalwork (you may know him for his sculptures of two little metal creatures carrying away a garden gnome, but my favorite was the metal skeleton holding a drawn bow with a flaming arrow), Della Goheen’s eccentric hats, and, of course, the handmade books, which I managed not to buy any of this time around. All in all, a good festival. Hopefully we can buckle down and start training for real soon.

[Featured image: slugmag.com.]

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