Essentials: Entertainment Picks Jan. 15-21 

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THURSDAY JAN. 15

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Silent Movies on Film
As digital exhibition becomes the standard for movies, the sound of film running through a projector may start to seem like something out of an ancient time. For the start of its winter/spring 2015 Silent Films Series, Edison Street Events takes us way back indeed, running 16mm film through a projector to showcase some of the great comedians of the silent era. The program—accompanied, as is Edison Street's standard, by Blaine Gale on Wurlitzer organ—features fun-for-the-whole-family shorts starring vintage comedy stars including Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy (a scene from Laurel & Hardy's Liberty is pictured). You'll also see a short featuring a lesser-known contemporary of those famous performers: Salt Lake City's own Mack Swain, who worked at the legendary Keystone Studios under Mack Sennett. Drop in so you can remember the magical images that made folks call movies "flicks." (Scott Renshaw) Silent Movies on Film @ Edison Street Events, 3331 S. Edison St., 801-485-9265, Jan. 15-16, 7:30 p.m., $5-$6. EdisonStreetEvents.com

FRIDAY JAN. 16

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Demetri Martin
The comedy of Demetri Martin—an Emmy-winner for his writing work on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, a Daily Show alumnus and veteran stand-up comic—is roughly like what might result if Steven Wright wandered into a Wes Anderson movie, and has built him a reputation over the years as a one-of-a-kind voice in entertainment. This week, he brings his tour to Utah. His initial rise came in the early 2000s, with a Comedy Central special and two years as a writer for Late Night. His subsequent stint as a Daily Show correspondent led to mainstream fame and a rise in his profile as a comic. Martin has also been featured in several TV shows—including Comedy Central's short-lived Important Things With Demetri Martin, which he created, produced and, per the title, starred in—and movies (In a World...), and wrote the New York Times best-selling book This Is a Book By Demetri Martin. Smart (his website features replies to quotes by everyone from Shakespeare to Dickinson to Monet) without being intimidating (said replies are pithy but down to earth), Martin also manages a similar balancing act between the dry surrealism of his material and his engaging, pleasant delivery. Martin's use of visual aids—mainly a large pad on which he draws—and music (he often has music play over his televised standup appearances to make them harder to edit down for length) are similarly distinctively his own. (Danny Bowes) Demetri Martin @ Wiseguys West Valley City, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-463-2909, Jan. 16, 7:30 & 10 p.m, $35, sold out. WiseguysComedy.com

SATURDAY JAN. 17

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The Second City
It's fair to say that The Second City changed the face of comedy—several times. Since its founding 55 years ago, the improv/sketch-comedy group, based in Chicago and Toronto, has served as the springboard for many comedic greats, including Mike Nichols and Elaine May, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and many others who would fill the lineups of Saturday Night Live for decades, SCTV (the late-'70s/early-'80s Canadian, often funnier, counterpart to SNL) and more recently, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey. The Second City's traveling theatrical show, The Second City Hits Home, finds something to lampoon everywhere it goes, and in Salt Lake City, it'll be just as topical. The cast will find plenty to skewer in local politics and culture through songs, sketches and the improv for which they are famous, in addition to routines from The Second City archives, some of the greatest comedy sketches of all time. The performance will feature some of the cream of the current Second City crop: Lisa Beasley, Scott Morehead, Alan Linic, Liz Reuss, Marlena Rodriguez and John Thibodeaux. They're a seasoned six who are sure to find the funny bone of the local audience. In addition, in coordination with Kingsbury Hall Presents' community-engagement program, two workshops have been booked with the touring company—an advanced improv workshop with actors from the local improv group at Off Broadway Theatre Company, and one with students in the University of Utah Theatre Department. (Brian Staker) The Second City @ Kingsbury Hall, 1350 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., $19.50-$29.50. KingsburyHall.org

SATURDAY JAN. 17

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Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Effect
Graeme Simsion's first novel, The Rosie Project, quickly earned a coveted spot on the New York Times best-seller list in 2013, a surprising feat considering Simsion's late entrance into the literary world. Formerly an IT consultant, the Australian native didn't sit down to "try his hand at writing" until he was 50. The story followed Don Tillman—a "brilliant, if socially awkward, genetics professor" who, though it's not expressly stated, very likely falls somewhere along the autism spectrum—on his quest to find the perfect wife. The success of that first novel, which left Don happily married to the spunky, spontaneous, understanding and loving Rosie Jarman, launched a recent sequel, The Rosie Effect. And the natural continuation of a love story, post-marriage, is a baby. The question of how Don will handle the disruption of an unplanned pregnancy sets readers up for a long trip through Don-land—and it won't be a smooth ride; the novel opens with Don obsessing over changes to his regimented meal schedule. Simsion will be visiting The King's English Bookshop this weekend to read from The Rosie Effect, take audience questions and sign books. (Katherine Pioli) Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Effect @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. KingsEnglish.com

SATURDAY JAN. 17

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Utah Opera: The Pearl Fishers
It's an opera that's new to Utah, but features a story as old as time: Two best friends fall for the same woman and things get sticky. Ever heard of that one before? Oh, yeah, and did I mention that one of the guys is a ruler who has the power to kill the other two, and he's not in a particularly good mood about being in a love triangle? French composer Georges Bizet penned the music at the young age of 18, showing the promise that would eventually be fulfilled with Carmen some years later. Set to a libretto by Eugene Cormon and Michel Carre, The Pearl Fishers was not particularly well received when it premiered in Paris in 1863. Like any good classical composer, Bizet died young, and the opera didn't become a hit until well after he was dead. Even Carmen didn't catch on until after he was gone. Set in ancient times on the island of Ceylon—the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka since 1972—The Pearl Fishers is full of boats, fishermen, a temple, a tent, a special necklace and a funeral pyre that may or may not get used. (No spoilers here.) Utah Opera is presenting The Pearl Fishers for the first time, and the opera will open Saturday night, Jan. 17, at the Capitol Theatre, and then plays on alternating nights through the following Sunday, Jan. 25, when a matinee concludes the run. (Geoff Griffin) Utah Opera: The Pearl Fishers @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Jan. 17, 19, 21, 23 @ 7:30 p.m. & Jan. 25 @ 2 p.m., $10-$95. UtahOpera.org

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