Gypsies, hip-hop artist, acrobats, a capella comedians, belly dancers, magicians dominate Utah Arts Festival’s street theater0 Comments Published by les June 22nd, 2012 in Communication, Community Dialogue, Music, Performing Arts, Pop Culture, Salt Lake City, SLC, Theater, Tourism.
By Amy Childress
Assistant Editor, The Selective Echo
Juana Ghani, an underground Eastern influenced gypsy band, is set to perform on the west side of festival grounds near the City-County Building tomorrow (Saturday) at 7:45 p.m. Leisl Bonell, one of the band’s vocalists as well as concertina player, characterizes Juana Ghani as ‘a community’ that includes 11 musicians. The performances usually consist of some of the best belly dancers and cirque performers in the Intermountain West, she says.
Juana Ghani began in 2009 with Leisl and Brian Bonell sharing their music online. As the couple gained popularity in digital media channels they invited musicians including Tony Semerad, Nick Newberry and Chris Futral to join. Leisl considers gypsy music ‘the heartbeat of a people. It is the unblemished and open expression of love, pain, betrayal, joy, loss, freedom, fun and passion. It is life and all it has to offer to those who are willing to open their arms, hearts and souls to it.’
The band will perform songs from its recently released album ‘Shall We Live Forever.’ The title is the rough English translation of the band’s demo EP ‘Budmo.’ Or, as Leisl describes it, ‘this is a toast that wishes health, happiness and all the joys of life in one simple phrase.’
Burnell Washburn, among the best-known local names in the Utah hip-hop scene, will sgare his contemporary hip-hop and beats artistry at The Round Sunday at 7:45 p.m. along with VJ artist Raw Xtract. At only 21, Washburn already has shared the stage with RJDJ, Brother Ali, Blue Scholars, and many others. He also is touring nationally with Toki Wright.
Mister Tim, a live loop artist, and SLAPercussion, a group of non–traditional musicians who create music from found objects like railroad spikes, buckets, and plastic tubes also will add to the cool, experimental feel of the street performers. For a more traditional feel youth artists from Pizzicato Strings and Company will perform selections from American composers.
Two groups that completely embrace the phenomenal capabilities of the human voice are Throat and Plumbers of Rome: a flipside to a capella. With their comical originals and witty parodies, Plumbers of Rome combine human beat boxing, live-looping, and singing artistry. The group has been invited to perform internationally and it won the 2012 International Harmony Sweepstakes, considered to be the ‘Super Bowl’ of a capella singing.
Although the group consists of four plumbers – Richard Steighner, Peter Driscoll, Lauren Woodbury, and Mister Tim – festivalgoers should only expect to see three of the Plumbers as they rotate for performances. One plumber, who will certainly be on stage, is Mister Tim, who on top of Plumbers of Rome, and his solo performance, will also perform with Throat, an indie-rock all vocal band and the 2011 Rocky Mountain Harmony Sweepstakes champions. Throat will perform today at 7:45 p.m. (The Round). Plumbers of Rome is set for Saturday at 8:45 p.m., also in The Round.
When you are all done shaking your booty to many musical acts that will grace the festival stages, groove on over to the Round Amphitheatre or the City-County Building steps and let the belly dancers from Davina Tribal Collective, Habibi Habibi, Scimitar Dance, and Desert Journal entertain. In addition to troupes of belly dancers, the Round will also be home to performances by DF Dance, and Aerial Arts of Utah, which performed at last year’s festival.
The Aerial Arts group will perform off the City Library’s Crescent Wall, dangling from trapeze fabric high above the Library Square. Part Cirque de Soleil, part full-blown lunacy, these ladies go vertical, horizontal, diagonal and travel freely along the entire length of cloth without any fear of losing their grip – or their lunch. Be sure to look up as these fearless acrobats will perform today through Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
Also make sure your eyes are pointed toward the sky as fairies, dragons, elves, buffoons and beasts from Dark Knight Stilt Theatre cavort throughout the festival grounds all weekend.
Delightful local comedian and magician acts will leave festival audiences sore with laughter. One performer Utahns surely love is Al Lampkin. Comedian and magician based out of West Valley, he entertains his audience with a quirky sense of humor and his impressive magician artistry.
Lampkin was selected as the best close-up magician of the year by the Pacific Coast of Magicians and has performed at Hollywood Magic Castle, a prime venue for the best performers of the genres. Festivalgoers of all ages will enjoy his show which will take place tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:30 p.m. at the City-County Building venue, and at 6 p.m. at The Round.
Magic Russell, the performer behind Magic Century, has been fascinated by the performing arts since he was a child. Mixing illusions and comedy, Russell has been performing in Utah since the late 1970s at venues such as Promised Valley Playhouse, the Center Theatre and other local nightclubs.
Russell is a master of classic and contemporary magic illusions. ‘Contemporary magic is magical entertainment that is suited to today’s audiences, using current trends in style and language,’ he explains. He adds, ‘festivalgoers will see me perform some tricks that are hundreds of years old, and some that are new. I like to feature magic tricks that are rarely seen by today’s audiences, such as “Serviette Autrement”.’ He will perform at the City-County Building venue on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
For more information about all street theater performers at the festival, see here.
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