Essentials: Entertainment Picks July 30-Aug. 5 

Park City Kimball Arts Festival, Tour of Utah, Joel McHale and more

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Park City Kimball Arts Festival
For the 46th year, during the first weekend in August, the heart of downtown Park City transforms into a showcase for the arts. Sometimes as the hottest weekend of the year, this antipode of the ski season makes use of the awe-inspiring mountain locale to host booths by more than 100 practitioners of almost every artistic medium—including ceramics, drawing, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, metal art, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and woodworking—from all over the country. Food and local-music offerings also abound. Arts festival fare is often stereotyped as overly commercial, but some of the more innovative works at the festival are the sculptures of C.J. Rench of Hood River, Ore., and Jeffrey Zachmann of Fergus Falls, Minn., as well as the prints of Marina Terauds of North Branch, Mich. Zachmann's work utilizes a futuristic design aesthetic, and Terauds' prints incorporate a Seussian sense of cartoon whimsy to create something fresh. The event has been lauded as one of the "Top 20 Summer Festivals" in Smithsonian Magazine and the "Top 9 Festivals" in Ski Magazine. Special activities for kids will be found at the Kimball Art Center's back patio and parking lot at 38 Park Ave. The Kimball is a great place to start—check out its exhibit before embarking up Main Street, on your way to the food booths at the top. (Brian Staker) Park City Kimball Arts Festival @ Historic Main Street, Park City, 435-649-8882, July 31-Aug. 2, Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; adult weekend pass, $10; child/student weekend pass, $5; children 5 and under, free. Friday locals night: Summit County residents free.



Utah Symphony: "1812 Overture"
We who live along the Wasatch Front—perhaps more than nearly anyone else in contemporary America—are not unfamiliar with the sound of cannons, as winter days often find the mountains ringing with the boom of avalanche control. Yet that doesn't mean there isn't something uniquely thrilling about hearing a legendary symphonic work that climaxes with a martial blast. The Deer Valley Music Festival continues with a Utah Symphony program highlighted by the performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"—commemorating the brave stand of the Russian army against Napoleon's invading forces—accompanied by Cannoneers of the Wasatch. The program features several other pieces with similarly epic sensibilities—from John Philip Sousa's "The Thunderer" to George Gershwin's "An American in Paris"—but we know everybody's just waiting to feel the ground shake, and for the mountains around a ski resort to ring with cannons that are all about starting an avalanche. Of feeling, that is. (Scott Renshaw) Utah Symphony: "1812 Overture" @ Deer Valley Snow Park Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, 801-355-2787, July 31, 7:30 p.m., $10-$52.



Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a multiday cycling race, spins through northern Utah beginning this week. Supporting its claims of "America's Toughest Stage Race" is the tour's new 2.HC rating. Normally, climbs in cycling are rated on a 1 (hardest) to 4 (easiest) scale, taking into account the steepness of terrain, the length of climbs and where the climbs occur in the stage. Races with climbs so difficult that they don't even register on the scale are called HC, for "hors categorie" ("beyond categorization"). Combine that with seven days of racing, covering 712 miles, with a total vertical gain of 51,442 feet, and you've got a pretty tough event. The Tour of Utah, like its more famous French counterpart, is designed for spectator viewing. It's totally free to post up along the race route at any of the seven stages, but if you want to follow the tour in a VIP car or claim front-row seats at the start and finish lines, you'll need to pay. Opening day, Aug. 3, will be one of the most entertaining stages for spectators and challenging for competitors. Riders on the 132-mile loop leave downtown Logan for a climb up Logan Canyon to a height of 7,799 feet, then drop into Garden Valley for a lap around Bear Lake before heading back. Tips on where to watch can be found on the Tour's website. (Katherine Pioli) Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah gatherings @ Logan, Tremonton, Ogden, Antelope Island State Park, Bountiful, Soldier Hollow/Heber Valley, Salt Lake City, Snowbird and Park City, Aug 3-9, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. most days. Free along stage routes, VIP passes $75-$2,500.



Joel McHale
If the ability to insult important figures is comedic gold, Joel McHale is among the wealthiest of Hollywood's smart alecks. As longtime host of E!'s weekly TV recap The Soup, McHale shares highlights from the week's TV airings and serves up pointed commentary that makes the state of television seem both alarming and hilarious. It's a war on "stupid culture," and McHale is the commander in chief. How brave, then, that organizers of the 2014 White House Correspondents Dinner invited him to headline the annual event with a stand-up set, where New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's weight, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's face and U.S. military drone strikes were among the targets. "I want the audience to hate me," the sarcasm-aficionado told Conan O'Brien in a recent interview. That reputation follows him; even in the early years, he played a very convincing jerky-jerk in a brief scene as a banker in Spider-Man 2. More recently, he garnered praise for his role as Jeff Winger in the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community, playing the narcissistic leader of an island-of-misfit-toys study group. He also played the part of a womanizing boss in the buddy comedy Ted, and an NYPD officer in the horror flick Deliver Us From Evil, showcasing some dramatic flair. His stand-up sets venture away from modern media, as he shares snippets from his married-with-kids life between snarky remarks about 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls. Little doubt he will have some self-deprecating remarks about the Seattle Seahawks and their Super Bowl performance—he is an avid fan. (Robby Poffenberger) Joel McHale @ Wiseguys Live Comedy, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-463-2909, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., $30,



Downwinders work-in-progress screening
Throughout the 1950s and into the early '60s, American above-ground nuclear testing in Nevada sent radiation into the atmosphere, where it scattered throughout the West. More than 50 years later, those who lived in those areas are still suffering increased rates of cancer, and the federal government continues to evade full responsibility. In their feature documentary Downwinders—receiving a free work-in-progress screening this week through the Utah Film Center—directors Tim Skousen and Tyler Bastian explore the legacy of those tests and the lives they changed, or in some cases ended. The film touches on key elements of Cold War history such as how nuclear testing became a tool to send saber-rattling messages to enemies. It also examines research about the impact on downwind civilian populations that was covered up for years. In one fascinating footnote, the film looks at the production of the 1956 John Wayne/Susan Hayward film The Conqueror in southern Utah, and how the cast and crew of the production may have been the most famous victims of downwind fallout. This is primarily a human story, addressing the frustrations and efforts by downwinders in Utah, Idaho and elsewhere to get adequate government compensation and acknowledgement of the impact of this testing. With activist and Utah native J. Truman (pictured) serving as the primary guide through these efforts, Downwinders combines history with the stories of those still living with that history. (Scott Renshaw) Downwinders work-in-progress screening @ Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., free.

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