Arts Picks Dec. 29-Jan. 5 

What to do this week

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Theater | Visual Arts | Out & About | Sports | Comedy | Music

OUT & ABOUT

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EVE SLC
In its third year as heir to First Night’s role as the downtown gathering destination for New Year’s Eve, EVE SLC has found a slightly different focus: appealing to the younger crowd who, according to Downtown Alliance executive director Jason Mathis, are “the ones who would stand outside in a blizzard to listen to cool music.”

Much of that cool music will be found in the new Temple of Boom—a 40-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide scaffolding structure designed in the style of an Aztec/Mayan pyramid in the south plaza area of the Salt Palace that will house live and DJ performances, including Dec. 29’s headliner EOTO. Also Dec. 29, the Salt Palace will host the Reggae Snowsplash, featuring Natural Roots, Afro Omega and Smiling Souls. While EVE SLC certainly hasn’t abandoned the idea of a family-friendly event—the BounceTown activities remain, along with the fun-for-all-ages, giant-inflatable-ball-filled Ballroom—it continues to grow and evolve.

Other changes for 2011 include a prominent role for the newly renamed Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly the Salt Lake Art Center), which will feature Fear No Film short films and participatory arts events. The Broadway Centre Cinemas (with university-student short films), Clark Planetarium and Off Broadway Theatre (improv comedy) return as venues for the wide range of entertainment options.

With added parking in the new City Creek lots and additional TRAX lines from Daybreak and West Valley, it may be easier than ever to attend—with more than ever to keep you entertained, no matter your demographic subcategory. (Scott Renshaw)
EVE SLC @ various downtown venues, Dec. 29-31, three-day tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Visit EVESLC.com for full schedule




THEATER

Desert Star Playhouse: It’s a Wonderful Life
After rushing around, being stuck in traffic and generally dealing poorly with all the myriad frustrations that come your way this time of year, wouldn’t it be nice to slow down a bit and contemplate how, even with the world state of affairs, it is indeed a wonderful life?

Let Desert Star Playhouse console your downtrodden spirit by reminding you that you’re not alone in being remiss to what the holiday season is really all about. This altered version of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life begins in the modern era and, with the help of a 1960s-style biker named Johnny Angel (think The Fonz), flashes back to the swinging days of the ’80s and ’90s. Add a few tricks and turns from the traditional plot line, not to mention eats and drinks in the theater, and in no time at all you’ll surely be heart-warmed once again, like George Bailey, into believing in the miracles of Christmas. (Jacob Stringer)
It’s a Wonderful Life @ Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State, 801-266-2600, through Dec. 31, $9.95-$19.95. DesertStarPlayhouse.com


Hale Centre Theatre: The Game’s Afoot
There are many ways—and places—to ring in 2012 in Utah. Hale Centre Theatre, for its part, offers up a unique mix of theater and countdown party.

The Utah premiere of The Game’s Afoot, by celebrated contemporary farceur Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor), tells the story of a stage actor renowned for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes who has been the target of a murder attempt. When he invites some of his acting colleagues to his home for Christmas weekend, he winds up enmeshed in more foul play and is required to do some sleuthing of his own to find the culprit.

The New Year’s Eve opening night includes special party favors, music and refreshments, plus the chance for an audience member to interrupt the show for a countdown to “Auld Lang Syne” and merriment. Then, the game will again be afoot to conclude the show. (Scott Renshaw)
The Game’s Afoot @ Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, 801-984-9000, Dec. 31-Feb. 4, $15-$26, $44 on New Year’s Eve (10 p.m. curtain). HaleCentreTheatre.org


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Broadway Across America: South Pacific
One of the more fascinating elements of musical theater is the way improbable-seeming source material can be transformed into a genre that leaves audiences humming and tapping their toes. After all, who’da thunk that a collection of James Michener short stories about life on occupied islands during World War II could come to be associated with effervescent romance?

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific focuses on two stories from that collection: love affairs between a U.S. Navy nurse and a French plantation owner, and between an American airman and a local native girl. Broadway Across America’s touring production spins off from the Tony Award-winning 2008 Lincoln Center revival, but the core remains the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and the score that features some of the most beloved songs in the musical-theater canon: “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali Ha’i,” “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame” and more. (Scott Renshaw)
Broadway Across America: South Pacific @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Jan. 3-8, $32.50-$57.50. BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com, ArtTix.org





VISUAL ARTS

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Nic Annette Miller: Horny
Nic Annette Miller had a “lofty” goal for her show Horny at Stolen & Escaped: to fill an entire wall of the space with her print-covered woodcuts of birds. She completed only 114 out of an attempted 204 before her time was up. She still had one extra to place on the wall beside the empty cage on the Stolen & Escaped logo.

Miller (full first name Nicole) adds an extra dimension to the printmaker’s art by mounting her prints on woodcuts, some life-size. If you are looking for some real antlers in your phallic symbols, try her “Horny Utah Dudes” on for size: A bighorn sheep is standing on a deer standing on a moose standing on an elk standing on a buffalo.

Nothing like Ted Nugent’s mythologizing of animals, this vegetarian’s perspective is one of empathy with living creatures of sometimes imposing scale. It’s about nature, as well as maleness—and somewhere in all that, there’s a statement in support of gay rights.

Among Miller’s accolades is an Award of Merit from the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) 100 Show 2010. She does graphic-design work—the menus at the Vertical Diner, for example—and volunteers at the Book Arts program at the University of Utah. Her Friends Make Prints Website promotes the work of Miller and friends. (Brian Staker)
Nic Annette Miller: Horny @ Stolen & Escaped Gallery, 177 E. Broadway (downstairs), 415-624-9093, through Jan. 13, free. StolenAndEscaped.wordpress.com, FriendsMakePrints.com




COMEDY

Jenna Kim Jones
Utah native comedian Jenna Kim Jones is not living a typical Mormon girl’s life. After graduating high school in Utah, she spent a summer performing at Lagoon and applied to NYU on a whim. Though she was surprised when she was accepted, she decided to go for it and moved away from her family to study television and writing.

The NYU program allowed her the opportunity to intern with Martha Stewart and with shows such as The Late Show With David Letterman and The Daily Show. After graduation, The Daily Show hired her as a full-time script production assistant. Her boss recommended that she start doing open-mic nights in New York, and though she admits bombing a lot in the beginning, she eventually found her voice and began building her routine and her confidence. Though she still works at The Daily Show and does voice-over work from time to time, she’s building her stand-up routine in New York City clubs and headlines at Wiseguys whenever she’s in town. (Jennifer Patterson)
Jenna Kim Jones @ Wiseguys Comedy Café, 505 S. 600 East, Trolley Square, 801-532-5233, Dec. 30-31, 7 & 9 p.m., $10. WiseguysComedy.com




SPORTS

Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The BRI, mid-level exceptions, sign-and-trades and all of the other contractual terms that dominated NBA headlines through summer and fall have finally been put to rest. Now we can get on to PPG, mid-range jumpers and pick-and-rolls. The Jazz—who usually open the season right after Halloween—are getting in their first home contest of the regular season just before the calendar rolls over to 2012.

The home opener against Philly—the Jazz will have already played the Lakers in Los Angeles on Dec. 27 and at Denver on Dec. 28 before coming back to SLC—is the first of 33 home games in a brutal “abbreviated” schedule that sees Utah playing 66 games in 122 days, 22 of them back-to-backs, including a three-road-games-in-three-nights stretch in February.

While the schedule might be rough, Jazz tickets still remain a remarkably affordable entertainment choice, given that you’re getting to see people who are the best in the world at what they do. A mere $8 gets you in the door at many home games to see the Jazz enter the post-Sloan, post-D-Will era with a series of high draft picks like Enes Kanter and Alec Burks (pictured), who are making millions of dollars while still being too young to be legally served alcohol.

Two highlight dates on the home schedule for BYU fans will feature Jimmer Fredette returning to Utah with the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 28 and March 30. (Geoff Griffin)
Utah Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers @ EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 801-355-7328, Dec. 30, 7 p.m., $8-$130. UtahJazz.com, EnergySolutionsArena.com




MUSIC

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Utah Symphony: Video Games Live: Bonus Round!
What do Beethoven, Vivaldi and Mahler have in common with Sonic the Hedgehog, Tetris, Halo and God of War? All are responsible for producing music that sounds very good when played by the Utah Symphony. For Beethoven’s bunch, sheet music will suffice, as it has for centuries. In the case of Sonic and his digitally rendered friends, the orchestra will be synched up with the Snow College Choir, video footage, a light show, soloists and electronic percussionists to create a unique evening of entertainment for Video Games Live: Bonus Round! There are even live and interactive portions of the evening.

Besides the actual concert, there are pre- and post-show activities that include game demos, a costume contest, a Guitar Hero competition and the chance to meet and greet video-game designers and composers.
If you’re a symphony fan, it’s a great chance to show the gamers in your life just how fun an evening at the symphony can be, and that they might enjoy getting out of the basement once in a while. If you’re a gamer, it’s a chance to show the music lovers in your life that there is indeed some art to be found in your fascination with pixelated worlds. It’s not just killing and explosions—it’s art!

The Video Games Live shows feature music from all across the genre, from the latest downloads to clear back in the days of yore when video games could be found only in arcades. (Geoff Griffin)
Utah Symphony: Video Games Live: Bonus Round! @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., $28-$85. UtahSymphony.org, ArtTix.org

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Festivals & Fairs

Salt Lake International Tattoo Convention

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Brian Posehn

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