THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR OCT 22 - 28 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks


Brian Regan @ Tuacahn, Christopher Thornock: Making New Arrangements, Utah Symphony: Dvoák's Serenade for Strings, and more.


  • Courtesy Photo

Brian Regan @ Tuacahn
It's hard to think of the perpetually boyish Brian Regan as a man in his 60s, but that's one of the things that can happen when you don't become an overnight sensation until middle-age. After laboring at standup comedy for more than 15 years, Regan released his first comedy CD, Brian Regan Live, in 1997, when he was 39 years old. His first one-hour comedy special, Standing Up, debuted on Comedy Central in summer 2007, just a few days after his 49th birthday. If you've ever thought it was too late for you to find fame and fortune doing what you love to do—and are really good at—here's evidence to the contrary.

One of the reasons Reagan's stage persona makes it hard for him to think of him as an old man is that he's so ... well, goofy. His act has always made his own simple, Everyman identity an object of his humor, which has often meant taking on silly voices or even sillier walks to bolster his jokes. One of his classic bits involved what it must look like to somebody else when you walk into a spider web and begin flailing around madly to get it off of you, and the pantomime of that event is what fully sells the moment.

This week, Regan plays Tuacahn Amphitheater (1100 Tuacahn Dr., Ivins, Oct. 23-24 for a pair of outdoor performances scheduled to be recorded for his latest Neflix special. It'll be interesting to see what the consummate "normal guy" comedian has to say about these "new normal" times. (Scott Renshaw)

  • A Gallery

Christopher Thornock: Making New Arrangements
To a layperson, still life can seem like one of the most rudimentary of artistic forms. After all, a bowl of fruit or a vase full of flowers can seem to lack the personality of a portrait, the majesty of a landscape, or the mystery of abstraction. Yet there's an exploration of structure, composition and discipline in such images—the kind of artistic rules you need to know, as the old saying goes, before you can break them.

Artist Christopher Thornock—an MFA graduate of Brigham Young University and a professor of art at Utah Valley University—has built a vibrant career as an illustrator for book covers, weekly newspapers and more, ranging from fantasy images to celebrity portraits. Yet his fine-art work explores more rigorous territory, with variations on themes that bring each choice into focus. His new solo exhibition Making New Arrangements at "A" Gallery (1321 S. 2100 East, features a variety of still life images that bring bold colors and simple objects together ("Arrangement in Orange and Black" is pictured). The exhibition also includes Thornock's series of calveras—artistic representations of the human skull—where each color choice brings out a different nuance in an image associated with death.

Making New Arrangements runs through Nov. 7, with regular gallery hours Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. COVID-19 protocols are observed, and scheduled visits are welcome; the entire exhibition is also available for view online at the "A" Gallery website. Additional work by the artist can be found at (SR)

  • Via Wikimedia Commons

Utah Symphony: Dvoák's Serenade for Strings
Music might have returned to Abravanel Hall, but it has returned in a very different way. Because of protocols to protect the safety of the musicians, fewer musicians are appearing on stage at any given time—which means thinking differently about the kind of pieces that can be included on a program. While the string musicians can work together on a piece, including the brass means looking for pieces that allow them to be on the stage with only percussionists, so social distancing can be preserved.

The third Masterworks program of Utah Symphony's unusual new season—running Oct. 22-24—takes these needs into account with a program split between works for strings and works for brass, under the baton of guest conductor David Robertson. In the former category, the showcase work is Dvoák's (pictured) Serenade for Strings, written in his extremely productive year of 1875. Preceding this piece will be "Lyric for Strings," a 1996 by George Walker, the first Black composer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

As the program shifts to brass, the most familiar piece on the program is Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," written in 1942 as part of a series of patriotic commissions as the United States entered World War II. Joan Tower's 1986 "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman," which leads off this section, may be less well-known, but marks the most recent piece for brass and percussion that ranges back to the 1500s for Giovani Gabrieli's "Sonata pian' e forte." Visit for ticketing details. (SR)

  • Iran Garcia

Utah Humanities Book Festival closing events
Like most other large-scale events this year, the annual Utah Humanities Book Festival had to re-imagine its presentations in 2020. Yet they were still able to bring more than a dozen different events to lovers of writing via virtual author events, featuring local and national writers in every possible form.

This week, the month-long Book Festival draws to a close with two options scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. For the first, poets Paula Jane Mendoza and Matty Layne Glasgow read from their respective work. University of Utah faculty member Mendoza presents works described by Utah poet laureate Paisley Rekdal as cataloguing "how bodies become objects of consumption, voyeurism and desire, and [using] the imagery and politics of climate change to describe the immigrant and female body." Glasgow (pictured)—a Vice Presidential Fellow at the University of Utah, where he serves as the Managing Editor of Quarterly West and the Wasatch Writers in the Schools Coordinator—is the author of the award-winning 2019 collection deciduous qween, and has been published in poetry journals around the country.

Taking place at the same time, Brigham City Library hosts a publishers panel with a local Utah focus. Representatives of cutting-edge publishers including Torrey House Press, Sugar House Review and more discuss the business of getting books out into the world, both for those who create them and those who love to read them. Visit for additional information on how to join these Zoom events and celebrate local writing. (SR)