THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR NOV 16 - 22 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly


RDT: Venture, Justin Willman: Magic for Humans in Person, The Path and the Gate: Mormon Short Fiction @ King's English, and more.

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  • Izzy Arrieta

RDT: Venture
Artistic competitions are a tricky matter—aesthetic judgments will always be extremely subjective—but they have plenty of advantages. Not only can they give less experienced creative people a plaudit to add to their résumés, but it can introduce them to the organizations where they compete in a way that builds relationships that continue even after the awards are distributed.

That's the case with Repertory Dance Theatre's Venture program, a showcase of new world-premiere commissions for three choreographers who are all alums of the company's annual Regalia competition. That includes Sweetspot by Regalia 2022 competitor Shane Urton, a work Urton describes as "a short work that aims to use movement to articulate and abstract various interpretations of what a sweet spot could be" using "many short constellations of dancers to inhabit different interpretations of sweet spots." He is joined on the program by 2020 Regalia performer Rachel Barker, and 2023 Regalia winner Ruger Memmott. The evening-length show also features Polish choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska's Oktet: In Situ—a full-company work set to a selection of Bach's Goldberg Variations as arranged by composer François Meïmoun—as well as performers from RDT's Prime Performance Workshop for dancers 55 and up, performing original choreography developed by Meghan Durham Wall exploring movement and the aging body.

RDT's Venture runs Nov. 16 – 18 at 7:30 p.m. nightly at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center Jeanne Wagner Theater (138 W. 300 South). Tickets are $30; visit to purchase tickets and for additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Courtesy Photo

Justin Willman: Magic for Humans in Person
As much as humans try to understand things, we also kind of love the mystery of not understanding things. For many, that's the appeal of magic and sleight-of-hand, like the kind that magician Justin Willman has brought to three seasons of his Netflix series Magic for Humans—and now, to a Salt Lake City audience with Magic for Humans in Person.

Magic for Humans finds Willman in person-on-the-street (or person-in-a-mall) scenarios, amazing and delighting everyday folks with his gift for weird, wild up-close tricks and illusions, even as he connects them to a particular episode's theme. In a season 3 episode focused on "Self-Care," for example, Willman showed a woman how to remove the bags under his eyes by literally extracting a teabag from his eye socket and then giving himself a caffeine boost. In the episode about "Traditions," his focus on becoming the "reverse Tooth Fairy" showed him putting a spin on the childhood tradition by instead turning money into teeth. And while contemplating death, disasters and "The End," he demonstrated preparedness by slurping orange juice through a straw from a passerby's clenched fist.

That's the same mix of wonder and whimsy that Willman brings to his all-ages-appropriate live shows, making the unbelievable impossible to ignore as it happens right in front of your eyes. Justin Willman brings Magic for Humans in Person to Kingsbury Hall (1395 E. Presidents Circle) on Friday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $41.25 - $56.25, and are available at; visit the website for additional event information. (SR)

  • Signature Books

The Path and the Gate: Mormon Short Fiction @ King's English
As easy as it is for anyone on the outside of a religious or cultural group to generalize, those on the inside know that the experiences are as unique as the humans who have them. And in Utah, "gentiles" might think they know the big picture of the LDS experience. But it was an interest in that specificity that inspired The Path and the Gate, a collection of short fiction pieces stemming from a prompt based on a quote from the prophet Nephi about the journey to eternal life as going through a gate of ordinances and traveling a "straight and narrow path." 

Twenty-three writers took up the challenge for the volume edited by Andrew Hall and Robert Raleigh, creating tales at times based in the minutiae of real life, and times ranging into the fantastical. These journeys through faith and doubt take place in settings ranging from the slums of Mumbai to cyberspace to heaven itself (though not a simplistic puffy-clouds version of heaven), and they follow characters dealing with challenges of reconciling their beliefs to the events of their lives, including a survivor of violence calling a divided community to repentance,

On Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m., The King's English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East) hosts contributing writers David G. Pace, Annette Haws, Phyllis Barber and Larry Menlove for a reading of selections from The Path and the Gate. The event is free, but space is limited, and attendees should reserve a space via Eventbrite, where they can also pre-order a copy of the book for signing. Visit for reservation link and additional event information. (SR)

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