THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 31 - JAN 6 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks


Last Hurrah at The Gateway, New Year's Eve Diva, Municipal Ballet Co.: River of Rosewater, and more.


  • Hilary Reiter

Last Hurrah at The Gateway
I mean, 2020, amirite, folks? We've spent at least the past nine months living with this cliché, but clichés get that way for a reason. From isolation in lockdown to financial uncertainty, from the threat of a deadly disease to the threat of an idiot president, this has been one annum to forget. It feels as though it has lasted forever, and we want to let loose as we finally get ready to kick its ass into history. But how do we do it in a safe way?

As we head into 2021, The Gateway presents its fourth annual Last Hurrah, in a way that acknowledges one of the main reasons 2020 was such a suck-fest. A presentation including a 45-minute pre-show concert and a fireworks spectacular will begin at 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 31, streamed live via the websites for The Gateway (, Last Hurrah ( and The Gateway's YouTube channel. Every 20 minutes, prizes will be given out live to viewers.

For those who want to experience the event live, there are limited in-person spaces available. Register at or the Facebook event page to be one of 102 groups of no more than six household-only groups allowed in for socially-distanced, masks-mandatory reserved spots; remaining spots the night of the event may be available on a first-come, first served basis. As a special thank you to healthcare workers, 10 of the reservation spots will be available exclusively to University of Utah ICU staff and their families. Sign up now, and ring in a much-desired new year. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Viva La Diva

New Year's Eve Diva
There are other ways to ring in the new year, of course, besides literal fireworks. Maybe instead you'd be more into the sparks that fly when the talented performers of the Viva La Diva female impersonation show—featuring City Weekly Best of Utah winner Jason CoZmo—set their sights on a celebration to say hello to 2021.

In the fine tradition of other Viva La Diva spectaculars, audiences will be regaled with comedic and musical interpretations of some of the queens of the performing world, including Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Liza Minelli and, of course, Jason CoZmo's own legendary, City Weekly-cover-immortalized interpretation of Dolly Parton (who herself has only become more legendary during the pandemic thanks to her much-lauded charitable contributions). The show leads up to a midnight celebration including a balloon drop, and a chance to toast to a year with a lot less anguished and stress. The event begins Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. at the Divas' home at Metro Music Hall (615 W. 100 South), with doors open for the general admission seating at 8 p.m.

At press time, due to social distancing requirements, no reservations remain available for parties of two. Individuals can join existing reservations at $40 per ticket, and parties of four ($140) or more are still available. Tickets may be sold out closer to event date, so please visit the to confirm availability and purchase tickets. What better way to shake off the 2020 blues than by making your New Year's Eve into a NewYear's Diva. (SR)


Municipal Ballet Co.: River of Rosewater
We're winding up the holiday season, but there's still an opportunity to catch up with some holiday-themed entertainment that you might have missed out on in all the hustle and chaos. And it might be easier than ever to experience some of these performances as they migrate into virtual spaces—including a unique filmed presentation of Municipal Ballet Co.'s distinctive interpretation of The Nutcracker.

River of Rosewater has been a holiday tradition for Municipal Ballet for five years, using the one-of-a-kind space of the historic McClune Mansion as a setting for a dance performance that moves through the various rooms, with live musical accompaniment by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys doing a special 1920s-themed arrangement of Tchaikovsky's beloved Nutcracker score. Its narrative, as crafted by director Sarah Longoria, follows the original Nutcracker heroine, Sarah, now 23 years old and transported into a hallucinatory fantasy after drinking too much absinthe at a holiday party, transporting her to a snow forest and an encounter with the Absinthe Fairy (inspired by a stained-glass window in the mansion showing a woman in a green dress).

This year's version of River of Rosewater once again makes use of the McClune Mansion setting, and a partnership with non-profit Social Antidote to capture the production. The choreography has been modified to allow for safe social distancing between dancers; those dancers who appear together unmasked are from the same household. View the performance free at Social Antidote's YouTube channel ( Christmas might be behind us, but that doesn't mean we still can't enjoy wonderful creative storytelling. (SR)

  • Random House Books

Jennifer L. Holm: The Lion of Mars
As 2021 kicks into gear, it's worth thinking about what lifestyle changes necessitated by the pandemic are worth hanging on to. For example, plenty of people found themselves with a lot more time for reading, or for encouraging their kids to do the same. So maybe we should continue to support the authors and the local booksellers who helped us through a rough time—and we get great entertainment out of it, so everyone's a winner.

On Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m., The King's English Bookshop welcomes New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm for a virtual author appearance on the release date of her new novel for middle-grade readers, The Lion of Mars. It's the timely story of Bell, an 11-year-old who has spent his entire otherwise normal tween-kid life in an American colony on Mars. And that colony is isolated from other nations' Martian colonies—a fact that confuses Bell, who wants to understand the reasons behind the lack of contact. It takes a crisis to begin exploring the reasons behind this isolation, as a virus begins afflicting all of the adults in the colony, forcing Bell and the colony's other children into the unexpected role of saviors who need to save their families' lives by uniting a divided planet.

The California-based Holm has a résumé including the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and Newbery Honors for her books Our Only May Amelia, Penny from Heaven and Turtle in Paradise. Join her for an all-ages-friendly reading and virtual conversation. (SR)