Essentials: Entertainment Picks April 30-May 6 

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David Sedaris
When it comes to a writer's literary voice matching his actual speaking voice, it's hard to think of anyone who has the two parts more in sync than David Sedaris. He speaks exactly like he writes, and vice versa. His voice comes across as short, nasal, nebbishy—and gay enough that he was featured in the documentary film, Do I Sound Gay? His speaking voice also brings alive his writerly view of life. He's world-weary, but still finds a lot of fun in the world. He knows his family and loved ones will let him down, but he still can't help loving them. He constantly feels put-upon, yet can't stop putting himself in situations where he'll be put upon. You can hear the irony in every pause, balanced with just the right note of resignation. Sedaris' spoken words put him on the map before his written words. In 1992, he was discovered in Chicago by Ira Glass—who went on to create the radio program This American Life—and debuted on National Public Radio reading from his essay SantaLand Diaries, later adopted for the stage. Once Sedaris' humor was launched on radio, it became a huge success on the page, and Sedaris has gone on to publish multiple collections of essays and short stories. It's a rare chance to hear a writer's written voice and actual speaking voice joined in perfect harmony when Sedaris reads from his works tonight. (Geoff Griffin) David Sedaris @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, April 30, 8 p.m., $32.50-$47.50,


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The Little Dog Laughed
In a society that's increasingly accepting of gender and sexual-identity differences, there are still some pockets of resistance. And one of them is among the more improbable: the Hollywood movie industry. Sure, everyone there is OK ≠if you're gay—but that doesn't mean the powers-that-be want audiences to look up at a movie star and think, "Gay." Douglas Carter Beane's 2007 farce The Little Dog Laughed tells the story of a celebrity agent whose latest client, Mitchell Green, may be the next big screen idol. There's just that little problem of keeping Mitchell's fondness for men out of the public eye—especially when Mitchell himself doesn't seem to care much about remaining in the closet. Wasatch Theatre Company and Silver Summit Theatre co-present this Utah premiere about the collision between reality and movie fantasy. (Scott Renshaw) Wasatch Theatre Company/Silver Summit Theatre Company: The Little Dog Laughed @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, April 30-May 16, Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; matinee May 9, 2 p.m., $15,


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David Gessner: All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West
For three generations, the writings of Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey have shaped readers' vision of the American West, inspiring young would-be environmentalists to thoughtfulness and action. Yet as established as their legacy may be, their words may never have been more relevant than they are today in an increasingly arid region still being plundered for its resource potential. In his new book All the Wild That Remains, environmental journalist David Gessner (full interview here) explores Abbey and Stegner not just by revisiting their published works, but by following in their footsteps: journeying to childhood homes, visiting the settings of their most celebrated writings and talking with friends and family who knew them best. Along the way, he comes to terms with their distinctive roles in environmental consciousness—Stegner, the cautious, disciplined thinker; Abbey, the wild-man monkey-wrencher—and how much of what they warned of has come to pass. But while his name doesn't appear in the subtitle, there's a third central subject of Gessner's book: Gessner himself, who finds himself rafting down the San Juan River, biking through the Salt Lake City hills and drinking with the men who inspired Abbey's fictional characters. With his lively first-person voice, Gessner creates something more vital than a standard biography. All the Wild That Remains digs into the lives that inspired such distinctive perspectives on the American West, while also providing a reminder of how potent those visions can remain for the lives of those still living in this place. (Scott Renshaw) David Gessner: All the Wild That Remains @ Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, 801-521-3819, May 1, 7-9 p.m., free,


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Dave Attell
What do we know about Dave Attell from TV shows he's hosted? If we start with his comedy travelogue Insomniac, we know he's a glutton for booze and experiences. From 2001-'04 on Comedy Central, Attell redefined all-night partying—and taught us something, too! Sure, the lesson might've been that it's possible to get a job in Florida shooting giant rats (nutria, actually) on the graveyard shift, but that's information we didn't have before. Suppose we watched The Gong Show, which Attell revived on Comedy Central for a season in 2008? Well, that's an extension of Attell's hedonism: He loves a good freakshow. That's how we fell in love with Katie Balloons, a woman who takes off her shirt, undulates, then disappears into the business end of a giant balloon. And from two seasons of Dave's Old Porn—the Showtime series Attell called "the Mystery Science Theater [3000] of porn"—we know that he's an unabashed dirtbag and goofball. In other words, just the right moderator for vintage-porn commentary from comedians like Whitney Cummings and a one-dick pony like Ron Jeremy. So, what do we learn about Dave Attell from his stand-up comedy? More of the same. Attell recognizes no sacred cow, and if he did, he'd take about a nanosecond to turn it into kebabs. Attell's insult humor spares no one—not even himself; his concept of self-deprecation is self-flagellation. Always willing to go that far, Dave Attell never disappoints. (Randy Harward) Dave Attell @ Wiseguys West Valley, 2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, May 1-2, 8 p.m. & 10 p.m., $25.


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Independent Bookstore Day
Never heard of Independent Bookstore Day? Maybe that's because 2015 is the first year that Utah shops are celebrating this noble made-in-California attempt to direct a little more traffic through the doors of locally owned bookstores. Two of Salt Lake City's bookstores, The King's English Bookshop and Weller Book Works, will be among 400 independent stores celebrating this Saturday. Throughout the day at Weller, visitors can munch on free bagels and coffee, and listen to a lineup of authors—Heather Fisher, Bonnie Glee, Jenniffer Wardell—as they read from their books. More interactive activities include scavenger hunts, book binding, a literary-based improv workshop and a contest for the best alternative book-cover design. Over at The King's English, start the day with a cozy, family-friendly reading: the hour-long Seuss-a-Thon. Then, get ready for a slightly more raucous afternoon with a game-show-style literary trivia contest featuring 16 local author-competitors—including Robert Kirby and Ann Cannon—with local author Brodi Ashton serving as quizmaster. If Independent Bookstore Day makes you nostalgic for the days when turning a page actually meant touching paper, before people were plugged in and tuned out; if it brings back memories of losing yourself in the corners and stacks of bookshelves or of the scent of new bindings and fresh ink, then let yourself return to those days and rediscover why independent bookstores are local gems worth treasuring. (Katherine Pioli) Independent Bookstore Day @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100,; WellerBook Works, 607 Trolley Square, 801-328-2586, May 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.,

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