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Utah Arts Festival on display, by way of 4 artists



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"I said, ‘Oh, great, I can make pillows,’ " she said. "Then I said, ‘Oh s---, I can make pillows. Now I have to sell them.’ "

She isn’t sure if the objects will sell. "If it doesn’t work, then everyone I know will have a Cotton Bottom chair for Christmas," she said.

At a glance

The best of the rest

Here are a few other happenings at the Utah Arts Festival:

Music headliners » The range of acts includes Utah homeboys Royal Bliss, New Orleans band The Iguanas, world music from African Showboyz, Mexican-influenced band Y La Bamba, “junkyard” musician Shovelman, The Sensations Soul Band, blues rocker Kenny Neal, bluegrass band The Steeldrivers, “The Voice” contestant Ryan Innes, collaborative experiment Sound Mass and singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.

Local music » A wealth of Utah bands will be performing, including King Niko, Holy Water Buffalo, Big Blue Ox and Orquesta Latino.

Street theater » BBoy Federation will be performing street dance moves around the grounds, and the Salt Lake City drum group Kenshin Taiko will play Japanese-style percussion at The Round (by the Library).

Fine Art Exhibition » The All-State Utah High School Art Exhibition will bring its touring show, featuring works from 16 up-and-coming artists, to the prime space of the fourth-floor gallery of the City Library.

Art Yard » Children can get hands-on with arts and crafts projects, and the instrument petting zoo (sponsored by Summerhays Music Center) lets kids try out band and orchestra instruments. There’s also a stage for kid performers to show their talents.

Film » The Fear No Film Festival includes some 40 short films from filmmakers both homegrown and far-flung. The shorts programs at the City Library auditorium will have some adult content, but there’s a kids’ program playing at the Art Yard.

Literary arts » Comic-book authors Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan (“Boilerplate”) return to teach interactive workshops. Also, the Big Mouth Stage will feature performance poets and a Team Slam performance. And the “Mailbox Diaries” display will allow festivalgoers to add their own entries on the subjects of grief and love.

The Leonardo » Salt Lake City’s art-and-tech museum is open to festivalgoers, with exhibits on the second-floor galleries and workshops in the Art Lab. (Admission to the new exhibit, “101 Inventions That Changed the World,” is $5 in addition to the festival admission.)

Urban Arts » Take part in a community art project by painting a piece of a 20-foot puzzle mural, or help local graffiti artists on the “interactive graffiti wall.” Spy Hop will be running its Found Sound Studio, mixing noises from around the grounds into music, and creating “an undercover animation project.”

Utah Arts Festival

Where » Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City.

When » Thursday through Saturday, June 20-23.

Hours » Noon to 11 p.m. each day.

Admission » $12 a day for adults; free for kids 12 and younger; $6 for seniors 65 and older; $35 for a four-day pass.

Discounts » $10 opening-day special Thursday only; $6 lunchtime special, Thursday and Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; and a “y’all come back” pass, good for 2-for-1 admission on a return visit, available upon exit.

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The toughest part of Swift’s art is finding usable images for places that aren’t around anymore.

"It took me three years to find the Dee’s clown," she said, referring to the mascot of the old Utah burger chain. And she would love to get her hands on a photo of the old Terrace Ballroom, which was demolished in 1981.

"If I had a time machine, you know how bitchin’ my life would be right now?" she said with a laugh.

Portland Cello Project

Is the cello a chick magnet?

"Not as much as a guitar," said Douglas Jenkins, leader and arranger of the Portland Cello Project, one of the headlining musical acts at the Utah Arts Festival. The group, known as PCP, performs Sunday, June 23, at 9:45 p.m. on the festival stage.

The cello may be the perfect instrument, though. "It has the range of the human voice, from the low lows of a baritone to the high highs of a soprano," Jenkins said in a recent phone interview. "You can get attached to every single sound you’re bringing out of it."

The cellists of PCP bring out a lot of sounds. Their playlist goes beyond the classical standards to include songs by Radiohead and Kanye West.


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The band started in 2007, Jenkins said, with "a confluence of random, serendipitous good events" involving several cellists who were living in the Portland, Ore., area.

They got together to play some music and have a few beers, and one night decided to play at a rock club. They performed some classical works, but the number that got the most response was a rendition of Britney Spears’ "Toxic."

They once played A-ha’s "Take On Me" at the halftime of a Portland Trailblazers game, and one of their crowd favorites is a version of Outkast’s "Hey Ya."

The band’s current tour is called "Beck, Brubeck and Bach." The group’s repertoire has long included Johann Sebastian Bach and jazzman Dave Brubeck. PCP’s arrangement of Brubeck’s "Take Five" includes a bit of Lalo Schifrin’s "Mission: Impossible" theme, which also was written in 5/4 time.

The group recently recorded an album, "Beck Hansen’s Song Reader," with songs taken from a project that Beck published in the online literary magazine McSweeney’s. It consisted of an album’s worth of songs, but Beck didn’t record them — he printed them as sheet music.

"We didn’t know what to expect, because we had never heard the songs," Jenkins said.

While purists may scoff at classical musicians playing pop music, Jenkins sees a connection.

"They all speak the same language," he said. "It’s all the same 12 notes, it’s the same concept of harmony."

Amber DeBirk

Amber DeBirk has worked a booth at the Utah Arts Festival before, selling her fused-glass artwork.

This year, the Salt Lake City artist is setting up shop at a different part of the event: the food row.

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