WSU's Cultural Affairs season announced

Friday , August 01, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

A veteran actor exploring work of a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. Three acts featuring two dancers and one radio show host. And music from around the world.

Weber State University’s Cultural Affairs series will bring all that to Ogden in six shows at two venues.

“I’m actually so pleased with the diversity we have,” said Diane Stern, Cultural Affairs program director. “And I’m really pleased also to have some theater on the ticket, because even through this is a significant program, we don’t have the budget to bring in huge productions, but we do have the budget to bring in someone like Julian.”

Sands, that is. The actor, best known for film roles in “A Room With a View,” “Arachnophobia,” “Warlock,” and television’s “Crossbones,” opens the season in September.

All shows are at 7:30 p.m., with tickets available through or 801-626-8500. Here’s the lineup.

• Julian Sands presents “A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” Sept. 5 at the Browning Center, WSU, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden. $15-$20.

“Film, television, theater, he’s done all of it,” Stern said. “Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize winning playwright, had approached him to put together a special event about his (Pinter’s) poetry. Julian did it a few times, then it became a sort of one-man show, exploring who Harold Pinter is as a person. That’s the show he is bringing here.”

• Noam Pikelney and Aoife O’Donovan, Nov. 1 at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden. $15-$20.

“I’m personally and professionally excited about Noam Pikelney and Aoife O’Donovan,” Stern said. “Noam is a preeminent banjoist, and he was here with Punch Brothers recently, and he is coming with a young lady, Aoife, who has been with several groups. She is still touring with Sometymes Why, and she has such a lovely voice.”

• Vieux Farka Touré and Idan Raichel, with Yossi Fine and Souleymaine Kayne, Nov. 14, Peery’s Egyptian Theater. $15-$20.

“When Idan Raichel came here before, he played to a sold-out house, so to bring him back was a no brainer,” Stern said, of the Israeli singer-songwriter and musician. “His philosophy is to use music to bring understanding of other cultures, and peace.”

Raichel will perform with Touré, a Malian singer and guitarist.

“They met by chance in an airport,” Stern said. “They talked, they jammed, they got together later.”

That impromptu get-together in Tel Aviv included Israeli bassist Fine and Malian calabash player Kayne.

“And they put together this tour,” Stern said. “I am really excited to have Raichel back.”

• Sybarite5, Jan. 16, Browning Center. $15-$20.

This young, classically trained quintet was praised by a Sarasota Herald Tribune critic, who said “Their rock star status is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixed the audience....” Sybarite5 is the first string quintet selected as winner of Concert Artists Guild International Competition in the competition’s 60-year history. Sybarite5 members are Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass.

• On Ensemble, Feb. 13, Peery’s Egyptian Theater. $15-$20.

With Japanese drums at the foundation of its world fusion mix, On Ensemble takes the ancient instruments of taiko into new realms. The group infuses rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica. Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.”

• Ira Glass with Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, March 7, Peery’s Egyptian Theater. $20-$30.

The “This American Life” host worked with two dancers to combine their art forms that “have no business being together,” Glass said.

“It’s pretty spectacular,” Stern said. “When I saw the piece showcased in New York, he said, ‘Who doesn’t listen to a radio program and saw this would be better with a couple of dancers?’”

Stern said the show follows the format of Glass’ radio program, with three different stories that touch on a common theme.

“In this case, it’s three stories about the world of dance,” Stern said. “It was a lot of fun. After the showcase, I said ‘Sign me up.’”

Contact Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or Follow her on Twitter at @SE_NancyVanV; on Facebook at

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