Friday 10.5 One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Those few seconds are imperative in the world of PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS, where being mounted for eight seconds means qualification for top spots. After a seven-year sabbatical, the PBR is back at the E Center, featuring the top 45 bull riders in the world. The competition is one stop on the road to the world finals in Las Vegas at the end of the month, so saddle up. After all, what’s eight seconds? Professional Bull Riders @ E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 6, 6:50 p.m. Tickets: 467-TIXX, SmithsTix.com
Saturday 10.6 When agnostic MARK SALZMAN wrote a book that captured the essence of a middle-age Carmelite nun (Lying Awake), many readers’ suspicions were confirmed: Salzman is a walking anomaly. His eclectic personal interests—ranging from kung fu to the cello—combined with his unexpected literary insights, make him a perfect candidate for the Dewey Lecture Series, which brings nationally known authors to Salt Lake City. He may talk about his experiences in China or those teaching in a juvenile-detention center. You won’t know until you check it out. Mark Salzman @ Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, 7:30 p.m. Call for ticket availability.
• What comedian dons a trademark suit and tie for every performance, holds a can of Diet Pepsi and always has a stool to sit on? PAULA POUNDSTONE. That question would be too simple for the National Public Radio quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! on which Poundstone is a frequent guest. So, onto Round 2: What is Poundstone’s first book called? There Is Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say. That question’s a bit better—and Poundstone will sign copies after her performance. Paula Poundstone @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 581-9100, 7:30 p.m., KingTix.com
Sunday 10.7 Sometimes resolutions take place in the most unlikely places. In Joan Ackerman’s play THE BATTING CAGE, two estranged sisters try to reconcile after the death of a sister, with the help of an extended stay at the Holiday Inn and a batting cage. You’ll have to see the rest for yourself at the PYG (Pygmalion Production’s preferred name) production. A postplay discussion takes place on Oct. 20. The Batting Cage @ Leona Wagner Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, Oct. 5-20; Oct. 20, postplay discussion. Tickets: 355-ARTS, PygmalionProductions.org
Monday 10.8 Once upon a time, robots were intriguing for the far-fetched world they represented. Today, robots are intriguing in that soon they may become commonplace. ROBOTS: THE INTERACTIVE EXHIBITION—inspired by the 2005 animated feature Robots—introduces children (and adults) to cutting-edge robotics concepts that will likely seem commonplace to the next generation. See the Build-a-Wonder-Bot exhibit or cruise the Movie Star Robots Hall of Fame, featuring life-size electronic friends from C-3PO (Star Wars) to Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still). The future is here. Robots: The Interactive Exhibition @ Discovery Gateway, 444 W. 100 South, 456-KIDS, through Jan. 2, 2008, DiscoveryGateway.org and RobotsTour.com
Wednesday 10.10 Yes, the characters are actually fundamentalist polygamists, but there’s no denying that HBO’s Big Love often perpetuates the belief that Mormon women are submissive. The Sisterhood by DOROTHY ALLRED SOLOMON provides a long-overdue account of the importance of Latter-day Saint women to the history of the religion. Choose the right and listen to Solomon speak tonight at The King’s English about the LDS female perspective. Dorothy Allred Solomon @ The King’s English, 1511 S. 1500 East, 484-9100, 7 p.m.
• Had Hans Christian Andersen been vacationing in the Caribbean while writing The Little Mermaid, the tale may have turned out more a little more like ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. Based on Rosa Guy’s novel My Love, My Love—which itself is based on Andersen’s tale—Once on This Island incorporates supernatural beings, a magical island and an ill-fated love story. Disney’s Flounder and Sebastian aren’t there, but lively African and Haitian drumming and dancing should suffice. Once on This Island @ Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, 984-9000, Oct. 10-Nov. 24, HaleCentreTheatre.org