Essentials: Entertainment Picks March 12-18 

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THURSDAY MARCH 12

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Plan-B Theatre Company: A/Version of Events
Continuing Plan-B Theatre Company's excellent current season is the world premiere of Matthew Ivan Bennett's A/Version of Events, which opens with a married couple working through things on a road trip, and builds a visually (Jesse Portillo's lighting design is tremendous) and aurally (as is Cheryl Ann Cluff's sound) compelling piece of theater, using all the tools of the trade to complement the text. It's a lovely show, with form and content in near-perfect harmony. The pillars supporting the enterprise are performances by Carleton Bluford (who also wrote Plan-B's excellent February premiere Mama) and Latoya Rhodes as the central couple. They're both terrific actors, and they work splendidly together. That chemistry carries the play through a first hour that feels a bit shapeless; an abbreviated trip to New York to the 9/11 memorial leads to seemingly random talk about movies and other ephemera, as well as a detour to Pennsylvania's Hershey Park. It would be an eminently pleasant night at the theater simply to watch Bluford and Rhodes talk about stuff and occasionally sing, but eventually it becomes clear, as per the title, that there's something specific that they're avoiding. And when this part of the show kicks in, director Christy Summerhays' staging moves the actors to a point almost directly on top of the audience, making it impossible to look away even if one wanted to. (Danny Bowes) Plan-B Theatre Company: A/Version of Events @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, through March 15, Thursday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m., $20. PlanBTheatre.org, ArtTix.org

FRIDAY MARCH 13

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Other Places
Utah in the 1800s was settled by immigrants. These pinoeers established a strong sense of pride in building the civic environment into what it is today, but they also brought strong identities and experiences of elsewhere—of "other places"—that helped forge a sense of who they are. That sense continues with those living here today. At the Utah Division of Arts & Museums' exhibition Other Places at the Alice Gallery, artists Anna Laurie Mackay, Meredith Prevot and Jean Richardson explore the concept of those other places. Mackay's works depict Midwestern landscapes and illustrate the dislocation she experienced moving from the West to the Midwest. Prevot's paintings ("Delft I" is pictured) utilize textile patterns and decorative illustration to explore the idea of place. Richardson highlights her personal geography with collections of objects from her experiences living in different cultures and environments. In a sense, the local and the familiar exist only in contrast to the "other," the unfamiliar and the global; Utah's history is one of taking the unfamiliar and making it hospitable. As society has become more mobile, and we travel more and more, our awareness of those contrasts between places has deepened our connection to the region in which we live. The gallery will host a reception Friday, April 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., during Gallery Stroll. (Brian Staker) Other Places @ Alice Gallery, 617 E. South Temple, 801-236-7555, March 13-May 8, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Arts.Utah.Gov

SATURDAY MARCH 14

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St. Patrick's Day Parade & Siamsa
March 17 might be the official day for wearing that green and avoiding pinches, but in Salt Lake City, the celebration of all things Irish comes when it's easier to find time for the celebrating. That means the closest Saturday to St. Patrick's Day turns into an all-day party full of shamrock wishes and leprechaun dreams. The Hibernian Society of Utah presents its annual parade beginning at 10 a.m., with floats and performing artists marching through the Gateway Mall to get everyone in an appropriately festive mood; be sure to wave to the City Weekly entry. After the parade, it's just a short walk to the Siamsa—Gaelic for "entertainment"—at Holy Trinity Cathedral, where music, dancing and tasty treats await. Music headliners include traditional Irish music from Red Branch and the trio of Una, Nick & Tiff, followed by an unrehearsed jam session, called a "trad," where all traditional Irish musicians are invited to participate. Meanwhile, on the dance stage, five different local groups will kick up their heels in jigs & reels. If you're looking to fill your belly, Therese from Carlucci's will be serving up Irish stew and corned beef. And you can even try an Irish stout created specially by Squatters—Wellied Irish Stout—for the occasion, a first for a local brewery. Build up enough Irish spirit to carry you over the three days until it's actually St. Patrick's Day. (Scott Renshaw) St. Patrick's Day Parade @ Gateway Mall, 400 West & 200 North, 10 a.m.; Siamsa @ Holy Trinity Cathedral, 300 W. 200 South, doors open 11 a.m., free. IrishInUtah.org

SATURDAY MARCH 14

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Utah Opera: Così fan tutte
The title of Mozart's opera buffa (comic opera) Così fan tutte translates roughly as "Women are like that." But with the way this romantic comedy unfolds, it is the men who act like brutes by setting up elaborate traps and situations to trick their lovers into betraying them. It could just as easily be subtitled "... and men are like that, too." The story follows sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, and the two soldiers with whom they are respectively madly in love, Gugliemo and Ferrando. With the conniving help of their friend Don Alfonso and the maid Despina, the soldiers pretend to be called to war, and return disguised as "Albanians" to test their sweethearts' loyalty. After much goading by the Don and Despina, the sisters finally give in to advances and reluctantly pick each other's disguised lovers for some innocent flirtation. Only after an elaborate ruse for the alter-egos to marry before the return of the soldiers does the whole deceit come to light. The women are mad at being tricked, and the men are mad at being betrayed, but, this being a comedy, mutual forgivemess will eventally occur. Utah Opera's version of this classic work is transported from its original setting of late-18thcentury Naples to a 1920s-era world filled with flapper dresses and zoot suits. Come also for the Opera Prelude Lecture scheduled before each performance, a post-show Q&A and even a Libretti & Libations event that will feature eight mixologists crafting cocktails inspired by the opera. (Jacob Stringer) Utah Opera: Così fan tutte @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, March 14, 16, 18 & 20, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinee March 22, $18-$95. UtahOpera.org, ArtTix.org

SUNDAY MARCH 15

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An Evening With Kevin Smith
It's not common for a filmmaker to become as much of a celebrity as the people he casts in his movies. But Kevin Smith has charted his own course, casting himself as the taciturn Silent Bob in several of his own films and going in front of the camera for the AMC TV series Comic Book Men and his online movie review show Spoilers. The common thread has been his role as a kind of pop-culture Everyman, never being shy about bringing his love of genre works to the public. Though the venue for An Evening With Kevin Smith is Wiseguys Comedy Club, don't expect a traditional stand-up performance. Smith's live appearances have tended to be free-flowing conversations with the audience, full of uncensored opinions about the stuff he loves and the stuff he hates in the world of TV, movies, comics and more. Get a taste of what Silent Bob is like when he's not so silent. (Scott Renshaw) An Evening With Kevin Smith @ Wiseguys Comedy Club, 2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-463-2909, March 15-16, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $35. WiseguysComedy.com

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