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THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 3 - 9 

Urban Arts Gallery: Salt City, Pioneer Theatre Company: "Let It Show", Dead City Haunted House Krampus Night, and more.

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KATE WILHITE
  • Kate Wilhite

Urban Arts Gallery: Salt City
For those of us who are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, the world has narrowed considerably for most of 2020. Some folks have limited their world to their homes and essential supply trips; other adventurous souls expand the circle a few more miles. As travel became a risky proposition, it became necessary to focus on our immediate surroundings, which often meant an increased appreciation for the fascinating place in which we live. From nearby natural settings to vibrant urban scenes and the people who inhabit them, Salt Lake City shows that if you have to be stuck somewhere, this is a hell of a great place to be stuck

Running now through Jan. 3 at Urban Arts Gallery (116 S. Rio Grande St., urbanartsgallery.org), the group exhibition Salt City offers local artists the chance to show us how they view our city and its environs. Guest curator Hank Mattson—whose work also appears—brings together work by several other artists whose creations express their feelings about this place through portraits, interiors, local graphic arts and much more, collectively creating a vibrant portrait of the place and its inhabitants. Brigham Young University BFA graduate Nancy Andruk Olson presents vibrant, colorful landscapes with an impressionistic bent. Kate Wilhite (whose work is pictured), meanwhile, captures faces with her own unique style.

Natalie Allsup-Edwards, Troy Forbush, Molly McGinnis, Maddie Morrill and Dennis Reynolds round out the lineup with more exciting images. Share their distinctive views of Salt City, and see the place you've been seeing a lot of lately through new eyes. (Scott Renshaw)

SCOTT RENSHAW
  • Scott Renshaw

Pioneer Theatre Company: "Let It Show"
The pent-up creativity of local theater artists needs somewhere to go; you can't keep this many talented people bottled up for months at a time. While we miss the productions at Pioneer Theatre Company, the holiday season is providing multiple opportunities to get reacquainted with the kind of entertainment they can provide, from lively visual designs, to dramatic interpretations, to musical productions.

Let It Show: PTC's Perfectly Pandemic Productions provides the umbrella designation for these multiple endeavors, which launched at the beginning of December and run throughout the month. Currently on display at the Pioneer Memorial Theatre building (300 S. 1400 East), winter-themed holiday window displays come alive at dusk in the west-facing windows, created by Utah-based scenic designer Jo Winiarski. Beginning Dec. 5 and available via PTC's Vimeo channel (vimeo.com/pioneertheatre), actors present a five-episode dramatic reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol based on the novel's original narrative chapters. Also debuting virtually on Dec. 16 and Dec. 24 will be two musical concerts directed by PTC artistic director Karen Azenberg with music direction by Phil Reno, and a pair of special holiday cooking and craft shows on Dec. 11 and Dec. 21.

All of these presentations are provided to audiences free of charge, as a holiday thank you to the community for its support, funded in part by the CARES Act and the Utah State Legislature through Utah Arts & Museums. Visit pioneertheatre.org/calendar for the full schedule of events, and bring a spark of seasonal cheer to your quarantine days. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Dead City Haunted House Krampus Night
Let's face it: 2020 has been one big house of horrors. We've been living in terror of pretty much everything for several months now, and probably welcomed the Halloween season with a chance to take control of our fears in a safe way. Now that it's officially the Christmas season, it feels a little weirder to still be living in that scary space when we want to be thinking of jingle bells and presents under the tree. So maybe an appropriate compromise is bringing in the Central European tradition of the Krampus—the horned goat-demon who knows just want to do with all the boys and girls who are on Santa's naughty list.

This year, Dead City Haunted House (5425 S. Vine St., Murray, deadcityhauntedhouse.com)—one of the newest additions to the state's illustrious tradition of seasonal scare venues—welcomes visitors to Krampus Night on Dec. 4-5, 7:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. nightly. The COVID-revised presentation turns Christmas cheer into Christmas fear, and holiday lights into holiday frights. The immersive theatrical experience features plenty of gruesome surprises, and also invites guests to participate in the "Ugly X-Mask" contest showcasing your seasonal face coverings with a selfie at a designated location.

Tickets are available online starting at $24.95, with a less-scary option available for youngsters or the more timid. The attraction's one-way walking path will preserve distance between groups of visitors, masks are required of all patrons and performers, and sanitation stations are available inside—so you can make it a scary Christmas, but not that scary. (SR)

WHITNEYCUMMINGS
  • WhitneyCummings

Whitney Cummings @ Wiseguys
The world of standup comedy is notoriously tough for anyone to break into, but even more so for women given its male-dominated history. It takes a mix of talent and resilience to climb the ladder, which is exactly what Whitney Cummings has done over the course of a 15-year career making people laugh. Yet even as she made her way into the rarified air of being able to create network sitcoms—including Two Broke Girls and her self-starring Whitney—she still dealt with struggles. A stint as writer and show-runner for the revival of Roseanne ended in her quitting after star Roseanne Barr's controversial public statements, and Cummings acknowledged that she dealt with an eating disorder in the early 2010s while juggling her multiple professional commitments.

It's a weird world, indeed, and Cummings still knows how to bring it into focus in her stage act. In her most recent one-hour comedy special, the 2019 Netflix offering Whitney Cummings: Can I Touch It?, she addresses the complicated climate of increased awareness surrounding sexual harassment: "My guy friends are like, 'What, now I can't even hug a woman at work anymore?' You never could. That's why we're in this mess. Nobody wants to bump nipples with you at 9 a.m. by the Keurig machine." Or men's assumption that women might not understand some other women are crazy: "We know ... we see the text messages she didn't send to you."

This week, Cummings visits Wiseguys Gateway (194 S. 400 West, wiseguyscomedy.com) Dec. 3-5 for several performances, $30 per person. Tickets are limited to allow for social distancing. (SR)

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