THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR NOV 26 - DEC 2 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


Pauly Shore, Thanksgiving Point: Luminaria, Virtual Festival of Trees, and more.

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  • Holly Parker

Pauly Shore
There are a lot of directions Pauly Shore's life might have gone; after all, his siblings didn't all go into stand-up comedy. But when you grow up literally surrounded by some of the legends of comedy—as Pauly did, since his mother Mitzi Shore's Los Angeles landmark The Comedy Store birthed the careers of legends like Jim Carrey, David Letterman, Roseanne Barr, Damon Wayans and Sam Kinison—there's a better-than-average shot that some of it might end up rubbing off on you. And so it was that a 17-year-old Pauly Shore made his stand-up debut at a neighboring Southern California club in 1985, creating a surfer-dude alter-ego known as "The Weasel."

What wasn't at all inevitable was that Shore would parlay his foot in the show-biz door into becoming an almost ubiquitous pop-culture fixture in the late 1980s and early 1990s. From his breakout opportunity as a VJ and host of his own show Totally Pauly on MTV, he was launched into comedy movie stardom with a succession of vehicles built around his persona: Encino Man, In the Army Now, Jury Duty and others. Even when his five minutes of fame appeared to have expired, Shore turned his rapid descent into the self-deprecating mockumentary Pauly Shore is Dead.

Now, however, he's back in the milieu that first introduced him to the world. Shore visits Wiseguys Gateway (194 S. 400 West, Nov. 27-28 for shows at 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. each day, $25 per ticket, with socially-distanced limited seating. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving Point: Luminaria
If your neighbors decided to put up Christmas lights earlier than ever before, or leave them up longer, nobody better be giving them any crap about it. We're looking for joy where we can find it, and for a lot of people, that means the beautiful lights of the holiday season. So much the better if you can find a glorious display of those lights in an outdoor setting.

This year, Luminaria: Experience the Light returns to Thanksgiving Point's Ashton Gardens (3900 Garden Dr., Lehi, for the fifth year, with a spectacular array of nearly 3 million lights set to 25 "beats" along a pathway of more than a mile. Individual areas include the Merry Mosaic of 6,500 programmable luminaries, Himalayan Heights, and a Light of the World garden representing events in the life of Jesus Christ. At the Luminaria Village, visitors can find food options, interactive games, fire pits and a warming tent. "This year has been tough on us all," says Thanksgiving Point signature experiences director Austin Brown via press release. "We are excited to show some new features, new songs, new foods, and more. Our crew has outdone themselves and we are excited to show everyone."

The magic of Luminaria has even attracted the attention of ABC's holiday series The Great Christmas Light Fight, premiering Dec. 9. If you want to experience the spectacle in person, visit for a variety of ticketing options (including VIP, fire pit reservations and more) and COVID safety procedures, and plan to dress warmly. (SR)

  • Courtesy Photo

Virtual Festival of Trees
The COVID pandemic has shown itself to be utterly lacking in sentiment, so the fact that 2020 marks the 50th installment of Utah's much-loved Festival of Trees didn't mean that it would suddenly be okay to hold an indoor event that regularly welcomes thousands of attendees. But it also doesn't mean that the Festival of Trees won't be taking place, as the organizers took a cue from many other 2020 events and found a way to turn it into a safe, virtual event that the whole family can enjoy, while still supporting its great cause.

Once again, the Festival of Trees supports the work of Intermountain Health Care's Primary Children's Hospital, largely through an auction of holiday-themed items. That silent auction takes place online this year, beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., featuring marvelously decorated trees, wreaths, centerpieces, Nativity sets and much more. The online store also offers quilts, sweet treats, crafts, clothing and other items, all supporting the work of the charity. Kids (and playful grownups) can even take advantage of the chance to decorate their own virtual tree or Zoom with Santa at the festival website.

The event culminates in a live-streamed broadcast on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m., from Vivint SmartHome Arena, wrapping up the silent auction as well as several live performances and appearances by special guests (TBD at press time). Visit to shop or bid on the silent auction items, and for the full schedule of events and activities, to be part of this special and very unique 50th anniversary celebration. (SR)

  • Sharon Kain

Repertory Dance Theatre: Flying Solo
A season-opening collaboration with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company allowed Repertory Dance Theatre to get their feet under them in terms of adjusting to a virtual dance performance. But while Double Take's multi-dancer pieces required masks for a safe performance, RDT is turning to a format that allows dancers to perform with all the expressiveness that's possible in the human face: a solo.

Flying Solo's program includes multiple works from the company's existing repertory catalog, including choreography by Ted Shawn, José Limón, Daniel Nagrin, Molly Heller, Sharee Lane, Nicholas Cendese and Zvi Gotheiner. On top of that, RDT presents the world-premiere of Marina Harris's Remote, created as Harris worked with dancers via Zoom from her home in Nova Scotia.

RDT artistic director Linda C. Smith believes that Flying Solo provides a unique opportunity for audience members to focus on the skills and choices of individual performers. "The RDT dancers are skilled artists, but don't often get an opportunity to perform solos," Smith says via email. "When you watch a dance featuring more than one person, you see choreography, group design, relationships and atmosphere that is more communal in nature. ... A soloist can show off their individual characteristics and the audience has an opportunity to focus on the details of a singular voice."

The streaming performance premieres Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. MT, with tickets $15. Guests are also invited to a virtual reception on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m., to join RDT dancers to discuss the show. Visit for tickets and additional details. (SR)

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