The Essentials (24-Seven) | Critics Picks Dec. 6-12 

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By Jamie Gadette
On Dec. 8, 24Tix and SLUG magazine break with tradition and launch an electric alternative to straight-laced fund-raising affairs through COMMUNITY FOR A CAUSE, a benefit concert that brings together local businesses, artists and music fans to help those in need. Why spend another long evening with society-page, black-tie socialites and sweater-clad Samaritans donating money and/or perishables to hear Josh Groban, Kenny G and an elegantly robed choir quietly perform Christmas standards? Your $5 ticket goes toward providing food, toys and clothes for selected families and children who might otherwise go without. Entrance fees also include performances by local loud-and-proud rockers Vile Blue Shades (an expansive collective specializing in primal, percussive heavy bacchanalia), Accidente (heavy, heavy rock with largely unintelligible, highly enjoyable wailing, pictured above), Eagle Twin (Form of Rocket drummer Tyler Smith joins forces with Iceburn/Smashy Smashy guitarist Gentry Densley to wreak highly amplified, doom-blues-rock havoc suitable for the End Days), and Azon (rapid old-school punk six-piece with former Knvz-leader Carri Wakefield unleashing the beast, along with members of All Systems Fail, Subrosa and the now-defunct Stiletto). Now that’s entertainment! Don’t forget to bring an open mind, an open heart and a decent pair of earplugs.Community for a Cause @ In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, Saturday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m. Tickets:

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By Jenny Poplar
I am a seasoned Nutcracker veteran. In my 26 years, I have seen Ballet West’s production of THE NUTCRACKER 23 times.Through the years, the undisputed highlight has always been the surround-sound commentary from the under-10 set. If you want the truth about the costumes, sets or the young dancer selected to play the role of Clara, all you need to do is listen to the discerning comments of the burgeoning critics around you. Trust me, chatty 8-year-olds who are allowed to inject a few opinionated whispers are much more entertaining than civilized audience members who sit perfectly still and don’t say a word.The real beauty of The Nutcracker is its spark that has ignited more than one lifelong love affair with art. The young cast, live music, ornate costumes and, of course, lively-yet-graceful dancing have prompted legions of boys and girls to sign up for dance and music lessons that ultimately transform and enrich their lives. The young party girls milling around the Capitol Theatre’s lobby after the first act, decked out in stage makeup and ringlets always prompt a chorus of, “Mom, can I sign up for dance lessons so I can be in the Nutcracker, too?”To this day, I adjust my alignment at the barre and squeeze the last bit of endurance from my exhausted feet when I think about the distinguished casts of Claras, sugarplum fairies and Spanish dancers who inspired me to sign up for my first dance class at the age of 4.The Nutcracker @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Dec. 7–29, 355-ARTS

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By Brian Staker

ANGELA BROWN is well known in Salt Lake City as longtime publisher of indie music monthly SLUG. But she is also an accomplished photographer, having interned with noted local portraitist Brett Colvin.Fifteen years ago, as a junior at East High, she began frequenting the Artspace area on Pierpont Avenue where she started working for Colvin at a startup company out of his studio. The block was at that time entering what residents of the low-cost artist housing project consider its high point, a fertile space to nurture artists’ work as well as their daily existence. When Colvin vacated his studio in 2004, it seemed only natural that SLUG moved in.Learning that Artspace’s lease of the building expires at the end of February 2008, Brown’s and the other residents’ collective frustration found an outlet in this collection of portraits of Artspace residents—Brown’s first show in five years.Brown’s experience with Artspace in a wide variety of contexts has enabled her to create portraits—including Cordell Taylor, pictured—that are intimate yet available, expressing the poignancy of the residents’ situation. Her view camera’s unmounted prints and attached comments eloquently document a story that is all too familiar in the art world, and slow the demise of the site where the Gallery Stroll was born. Television production worker Norman Klein says it most pointedly: “This artist’s search for the Holy Grail has turned into gruel.”Angela Brown: The Last Tenants of Artspace Pierpont @ Nobrow Coffee, 315 E. 300 South, 364-3448. Nov. 16–Dec. 18.

Here & Now: Other New Happenings This Week
HOLIDAY AUTHOR PARTY Local authors including Gordon Campbell, Sara Zarr and Pat Bagley gather to sign and discuss their latest works. The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 484-9100, Thursday, Dec. 6, 5:30–7 p.m.

SLC HOLIDAY FASHION STROLL Gather goodies for the fashionistas on your Christmas shopping list and donate to charity—a silent auction for the Children’s Center of Salt Lake—at the same time. East Broadway shopping district (150–350 E. 300 South), Friday, Dec. 7, 4–10 p.m.

THE FOREIGNER Pioneer Theatre Company presents Larry Shue’s comedy about what you can learn if you pretend not to speak English. Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, 581-6961, Dec. 7-22.

UTAH SYMPHONY What better way to celebrate Christmas than with Stravinsky’s pagan celebration-inspired Rite of Spring? Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 533-NOTE, Dec. 7–8, 8 p.m.

LIGHTNING LARRY Repertory Dance Theatre’s “Ring Around the Rose” presents a musical Western for the kid in all of us. Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, Saturday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. 355-ARTS,

SNOWCITY.DANCE Three local dance studios—Artistic Dance (5 p.m.), Groove (6:15 p.m.) and LOUD League of Urban Dance (8 p.m.)—get to showcase their stuff. Rose Wagner Center Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, Saturday, Dec. 8. 355-ARTS,

CELTIC SANTA In case mall Santas give you the corporate willies. Gypsy Moon Emporium, 1011 E. 900 South, 521-9100, Saturday, Dec. 8, 12–3 p.m.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. Environmental activist, attorney and scion speaks on the role of our natural surroundings in our American identity. Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, Sunday, Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.

DR. BRIAN MOENCH Member of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment discusses health threats from air pollution. City Library 4th floor conference room, 210 E. 400 South, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.

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