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Sugar House Journal

‘12 Minutes Max’ shines spotlight on local talent

Mar 16, 2020 14h51 ● By Drew Crawford

Dancers unleash their moves during performance. (Drew Crawford/City Journals)

By Drew Crawford | [email protected]

If you are craving your fix of local talent you should definitely attend “12 Minute Max,” an event held the third Sunday of every month in the Downtown Salt Lake City Library.

It features local artists, filmmakers, dancers, musicians and comedians who give a 12-minute performance followed by a Q&A session where the audience can ask questions about their work.

On Feb. 15, the show included improvisational comedy, performance art, and modern dance with about 50 people in the audience.

The performance art involved six members of the audience getting on stage and having an article from The Economist or Psychology Today taped on their back. They were instructed to walk around the stage and figure out what was going on based off of reading the articles on their fellow participant’s backs.

At first the participants walked around in a circle trying to read what was on the other person. They then stooped over, taking turns individually to try to figure out the other person’s article.

The performance generated laughter and interest from the audience due to the varying height of the participants and the unexpected nature of the task that was assigned to them.

The idea behind the work of art was to show the audience how people react to information and other’s interpretations of it.

Christine, the creator of the piece, wanted the audience to take away their own personal meaning from the art.

“I had some tape and some magazines, so I had the group line up and tape stuff on the back of them and said, ‘Now try to figure out what’s going on in the world.’ Christine said. “It’s just an experiment that’s ongoing.”

The library has hosted “12 Minutes Max” for almost six years now, turning out many families in the community to the performances.

“It just works. It’s long enough for a piece that has all of its form, but they’re short and sweet. I think part of the formula that makes this thing work is that we only do three pieces every time and they are only 12 minutes long,” Paul Reynolds, the curator of the show, explained.

“Twelve minutes is short enough that it’s okay to bomb, it’s also long enough that you can really pack an entire piece into 12 minutes,” Reynolds said.

The inspiration originally came from when Reynolds lived in Seattle during the 1980s and attended their version of the local show.

He liked the idea of what they did so much that he asked them if they could borrow it. Together, he and his colleague, Jason Rabb, who both work full time in the nonfiction audiovisual depart, came together and created the event.

There are only two rules for the performances: they can only be 12 minutes long, and they must feature original work.

“There’s all kind of wonderful performers that play Bach, or that do a traditional dance form, but there are other venues for that and that’s not what we do,” Reynolds said highlighting the experimental nature of what he created.








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