THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 27 - FEB 2 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks


MUSE presents George Takei, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company: Fill in the Blank, Isabel Allende: Violeta, and more.


  • United Talent Agency

MUSE presents George Takei
The multi-ethnic, multi-racial cast of the original Star Trek TV series provided a uniquely optimistic vision of the future, but it also provided rare opportunities for some actors to get standout roles. George Takei has taken full advantage of the celebrity offered by his role as Star Trek's Sulu over the ensuing 50-plus years, including becoming a forceful advocate for LGBTQ rights after coming out as gay in 2005, and sharing the story of his family's experience during the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans at California's Tule Lake relocation camp.

Now 84 years old, Takei is still far more than a pop-culture icon whose trademark "Oh, my!" has launched a thousand memes. This week, he provides the keynote address for the University of Utah's annual MUSE (My "U" Signature Experience) Theme Year, which for 2022 is focused on "Rebuilding." The centerpiece of that theme is Takei's New York Times bestseller graphic novel They Called Us Enemy about the internment camp experience. His presentation includes stories from the book, and lessons for moving forward after adversity, with Q&A and book-signing to follow.

Takei visits Kingsbury Hall (1395 E. Presidents Circle) on Thursday, Jan. 27 at noon, with tickets available to the public via; tickets are free but a ticket is required for admission. While tickets were still available at press time, should there be an official sell-out, there will be a wait list line with admission beginning at 11:45 a.m. Visit the website for up-to-date health and safety information, including mask requirements. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Tori Duhaime

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company: Fill in the Blank
Local companies have come up with many creative ways to keep dance alive during the COVID-19 pandemic—including door-to-door performances and virtual presentations—but there's no question that live performance brings out the vitality of dance. If you're in a head- and body-space where such an option is available to you, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company offers you an invitation to fill in the blank that had been left by live dance's hiatus.

Fill in the Blank offers a program of three original works by gifted choreographers. Stephanie Batten Bland's 2018 Look Who's Coming to Dinner is inspired by the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, exploring who is and isn't welcomed around our tables. Company alum jo Blake brings the trio piece Coincidences, when we meet up, with original music by local composer Trevor Price. And Andrea Miller of New York-based Gallim Dance presents the full version of I can see myself originally scheduled for 2020 and presented in abbreviated form in 2021.

Live performances of Fill in the Blank were still scheduled at press time for the Regent Street Black Box Theater (131 S. Main St.), Jan. 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. nightly, with general admission tickets $25. A family-friendly and sensory-friendly matinee performance—including partially-raised lights and reduced sound and lighting effects—is also available Saturday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m. for a reduced price. For those who prefer not to attend live performances at this time, a virtual live-stream and on-demand option for $25 is also available for purchase. Visit for additional information, including up-to-the-moment health and safety information. (SR)


Isabel Allende: Violeta
virtual event

The life of Isabel Allende might have turned out quite differently, had geopolitical events not intervened. Born into the family that included Chilean president Salvador Allende as her second-cousin, Isabel Allende wound up in exile in Venezuela after the 1973 military coup by Augusto Pinochet. Yet according to her, those events were part of what shaped her ultimate career path. "I don't think I would be a writer if had stayed in Chile," Allende once said. "I would be trapped in chores, in the family, in the person that people expected me to be."

Her family history shaped her 1982 debut novel The House of the Spirits, and that connection to family continues to shape her work 40 years on with her new book, Violeta. Told in epistolary form, it recounts the life of a woman born in South America in 1920, as her life is shaped by world events including the Spanish Flu pandemic, the Great Depression and worldwide struggles for women's rights. It's a historical epic told in Allende's distinctive voice, built on personal experience of an individual life shaped by the circumstances of her time.

In conjunction with Miami-based Books and Books and other bookstores around the country, The King's English presents Isabel Allende discussing Violeta. This ticketed virtual event takes place Saturday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m., with tickets $40 including access to the event and a hardcover copy of Violeta (shipped after the event). Zoom link will be sent within 24 hour of event time via email. Visit for tickets and additional event information. (SR)

  • Cybele Malinowski

An Evening With Fran Lebowitz
Through America's history, precious few individuals had the skills—and the attitude, frankly—to earn the descriptor "public wit." From Mark Twain through the regulars at the Algonquin Round Table, occasionally we get folks whose pointed observations and way with a sardonic turn of phrase just make people want to listen to what they have to say, no matter the subject. Over a career spanning more than 50 years, Fran Lebowitz has evolved into just such a person: a writer, yes, and a personality, most definitely, but first and foremost a person who people find it hard not to listen to when she speaks.

The glory of Lebowitz simply holding court on the things that dazzle, delight and irritate her was certainly evident to legendary director Martin Scorsese, who has devoted not one but two film projects to Lebowitz's charms: the 2010 documentary Public Speaking, and the 2021 Netflix limited series Pretend It's a City. The most recent program is a great introduction for the uninitiated to her distinctive style, where personal essay meets the conversational orneriness of someone just wants people to be less dumb all the time.

Spend An Evening With Fran Lebowitz at Eccles Theater Delta Hall (131 S. Main St.), Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m., with tickets $25 - $55. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is required for all Live at the Eccles performances, and masks are required throughout the performance per current health guidelines. Visit for tickets and additional event information. (SR)