Dickens Christmas Festival • 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Dec. 15-17, Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West. The sights and sounds of 19th century London come alive at the Dickens Christmas Festival. Admission: adults $7, seniors (age 65 and over) and children (age 4-12) $5. For more information, www.dickenschristmasfestival.com or 801-538-8400.
American West Symphony • 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 8575 S. 700 East, Sandy. Holiday concert. Admission: $10 adults, $8 students. For more information, www.americanwestsymphony.org.
Carols of Christmas • 7:30 p.m. Friday, Kaysville Tabernacle, 198 W. Center, Kaysville. The Weber State Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Mark Henderson will present choral music from their 2011 Christmas concert. Admission free. For more information, 801-546-8575.
Layton hayrides • 5-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 17, Burger Stop, 323 E. Gentile, Layton. The hayride leaves the Burger Stop and goes through Layton Commons Park. Admission $2. Proceeds go to local charities. For more information, www.burgerstop.net or 801-544-8090.
Blue Man Group • 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle. With no spoken language, Blue Man Group is a unique form of entertainment. Admission $42.50 to $67.50. For more information, www.kingtix.com or 801-581-7100.
Antelope Island - Beacon Knob Hike • 5 p.m. Saturday, meet at the Antelope Island marina to caravan to the trailhead. Join the park naturalist on this easy to moderate, five-mile roundtrip, full-moon hike to Beacon Knob. For more information, 801-721-9569.
Breakfast with Santa on the moon • 8:30-10 a.m. Saturday, Clark Planetarium, 110 S. 400 West. Join Santa at the planetarium for breakfast, photos and science demonstrations followed by a special 10:15 a.m. screening of Arthur Christmas at the Megaplex 12 at The Gateway. Admission $18-$25. For more information, www.clarkplanetarium.com/blog/santa-the-moon-and-a-movie-2 or 385-468-STAR(7827).
Santa visit (Clearfield) • 8:45-11 a.m. Saturday, North Davis Junior High, Clearfield Aquatic Center, 835 S. State St., Clearfield. Kids from 2-12 can join Santa for a group photo, continental breakfast, activities in the gym and a coin dive in the aquatic center's leisure pool. Admission: $7.50 per child, $5 for adults (breakfast only). For more information, www.clearfieldcity.org or 801-525-2640.
Santa visit (Farmington) • 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Community Arts Center, 120 S. Main, Farmington. Admission free to city residents. For more information, 801-451-0953.
Family Art Saturday • 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Salt Lake Art Center, 20 S. West Temple. Kick off the season by making message garlands that spell out Happy Holidays or Fa! La! La! Admission free. For more information, www.slartcenter.org or 801-328-4201.
What a Woman Wants Show • 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. On the spot makeovers, skin care, the latest in home decor, health and wellness. Admission $5, seniors half price, children under 5 free. For more information, www.whatawomanwantsshow.com.
Westminster Chorale Holiday Concert • 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College, 1840 S. 1300 East. Admission free, limited to those at least 6 years old. For more information, www.westminstercollege.edu/culturalevents or 801-832-2457.
29th Annual Vivaldi by Candlelight Benefit Concert • 8 p.m. Saturday, First Presbyterian Church, 12 C St. (& South Temple). Admission $40. Proceeds benefit the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy. For more information, www.utahdiplomacy.org or 801-832-3270.
Voice Male Christmas • 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan. Admission $8-$15. For more information, www.centerforthearts.us/events.html or 435-752-0026.
Christmas Feast • 6-9 p.m. Saturday, American West Heritage Center, 4025 South Highway 89-91, Wellsville. Enjoy a wagon ride, a delicious meal and "A Wild West Christmas Carol." Admission: $24.50 adults, $19.50 kids 3-11. For more information, www.awhc.org or 435-245-6050.
Utah Valley Handbell Ringers Christmas Concert • 3:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville. Tickets are free but required, available at the Springville Museum of Art. For more information, www.smofa.org/events_programs/sunday_concert_series.html or 801-489-2727.
St. George Motocross RMX Series • 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, St. George Motocross Park, east off exit 2, St. George. Admission: $25 per rider. For more information, www.stgeorgemx.com or 435-668-4908.
Creche Festival • 6-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Canyon View LDS Stake Center, 1985 N. Main St., Cedar City. Festivities include live musical performances, displays from around the world and a live children's nativity. Admission free. For more information, 435-586-9783.
Handel's Messiah • 7:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Heritage Center, 105 N. 100 East, Cedar City. The Orchestra of Southern Utah and the Southern Utah Chorale performs their 71st concert of Handel's Messiah. Admission free. For more information, http://www.orchestraofsouthernutah.org/.
KRCL Polar Jubilee Benefit • KRCL 90.9 FM will host the second annual "Polar Jubilee Benefit: A Rock and Roll Circus," featuring tribute bands playing the music of David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. In addition, the event will feature acrobatic feats by Aerial Arts of Utah, Bad Brad Wheeler's Hanukkah Harmonica Army, tricks by Utah's own National Yo-Yo Champion Grand Master Dale Myrberg, holiday photos with Santa (aka KRCL's Circus Brown), prizes and a silent auction.
When • Friday 7 p.m.
Where • Salt Lake Hardware Building, 155 N. 400 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $30 at krcl.org
The Entrance Band • The Entrance Brand, a trio based in Los Angeles, crafts psychedelic rock that has earned them praise from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, who signed the crew to his Ecstatic Peace label. Spell Talk and Dark Seas will open.
When • Friday 9 p.m.
Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10 at 24Tix
Winterlicious • Imagine That and Nightsneak present Winterlicious, featuring the return of DJ BL3ND and Tonic, at Saltair.
When • Saturday 6 p.m.
Where • Saltair, 12408 W. Salt Air Drive, Magna
Tickets • $25-$100 at SmithsTix
The Knux • New Orleans-based rappers The Knux are touring in support of their latest release ,"Eraser," with guest Jordy Towers.
When • Saturday 6:30 p.m.
Where • In The Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10 at SmithsTix
A Kurt Bestor Christmas • Featuring 45 musicians on stage, Kurt Bestor presents his annual Christmas show, with special guest Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester.
When • Friday 8 p.m.; Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where • Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $17.50-$38.50 at ArtTix.org
Streetlight Manifesto and Reel Big Fish • Ska-punk bands Streetlight Manifest and Reel Big Fish perform with Rodeo Ruby Love.
When • Sunday 6 p.m.
Where • In The Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $19.50 at SmithsTix
Rev Theory • 94.9 Z-Rock presents Rev Theory with guests Burn The Gallows and Hooga. Formed in 1997 under the name Revelation Theory, the hard-rock band Rev Theory is singer Rich Luzzi, bassist Matty McCloskey, guitarist Julien Jorgensen and drummer Dave Agoglia.
When • Sunday 6:30 p.m.
Where • In The Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $12 at door
Jazz Vespers: A tribute to the Beatles • David Halliday and Courtney Smith will lead local jazz musicians in a tribute to the Fab Four.
When • Sunday 7:30 p.m.
Where • First Unitarian Church, 1300 E. 569 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • No cover charge, but a plate is passed
BYU men's basketball vs. Utah • Noon Saturday, Huntsman Center, 1825 E. South Campus Drive. Tickets, utahtickets.com.
Utah women's basketball vs. BYU • 3 p.m. Saturday, Marriott Center, 500 E. University Parkway, Provo. Tickets, www.byucougars.com.
If you don't have a date, New Year's Eve is the longest holiday of the year. Even if you do have a date, "New Year's Eve" will feel like the longest movie of the year.
It's another collection of random and cliched romantic subplots, in the same vein as last year's inexplicable hit "Valentine's Day" which, like this one, was directed by veteran comedy guy Garry Marshall. The unifying symbol is the ball dropping in Times Square, and getting to that moment takes an eternity.
While I was watching "New Year's Eve," not laughing at the not-jokes and not responding to the non-chemistry between co-stars, I entertained myself by considering which coupling had the most disturbing age differential. Oddly enough, it's not the 29-year gap between Michelle Pfeiffer (53) and Zac Efron (24), but the 16-year space between Katherine Heigl (33) and Jon Bon Jovi (49). You know what they say: It's not the years, it's the mileage.
The other studio movie this week "The Sitter," a comedy starring Jonah Hill as a slacker turned babysitter was not screened for critics. Draw your own conclusions.
The good stuff this week is in the art houses.
"The Skin I Live In" is the latest from Spanish bad-boy director Pedro Almodóvar, a tale of an obsessive plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) and his greatest creation, Vera (Elena Anaya), a beautiful woman who has been given the doctor's experimental artificial skin. The movie goes through some strange twists, which explain the source of the doctor's behavior, all seen through Almodóvar's glossy lens.
"Le Havre" is a gently offbeat story of a shoe shiner (André Wilms) who shelters an illegal immigrant (Blondin Miguel) in a French harbor town. The director, Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki, delivers with a deadpan charm and deliberately flat tone that generates quiet chuckles and tears in equal measure.
Lastly, the Sundance Institute has compiled a program of seven short films from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Some are better than others, of course, but the best are well worth the time.
Sean P. Means
ONE CHEAP CHICK
Two fun holiday websites • You can track Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve at http://www.noradsanta.org/en/ on the NoradSanta.org website, and leading up to Christmas, children can play a variety of online games on this popular site. At PortableNorthPole.tv, you can make a free personalized video message for your child from Santa at http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home.
Michaels 40 percent off in-store • Go to http://weeklyad.michaels.com/stores/7782/coupons to print a coupon worth 40 percent off one regularly priced item at Michaels arts and crafts stores. This coupon is good through Saturday.
Roberts Arts & Crafts closeout sale • Roberts is closing its five remaining stores in South Jordan, American Fork, Provo, Orem and Washington and is taking 30 percent off all merchandise in those stores. The company plans to close the stores by the end of January, but will continue to sell online at RobertsCrafts.com. Go to https://www.facebook.com/robertsartscrafts for updates on store closures and discounts. Next week, remaining merchandise will be discounted by 40 percent. Go to http://robertscrafts.com/default.aspx?PageID=74 for a list of Utah stores.
Free $10 Target gift card with purchase • If you're planning a large purchase at Target, you can go to http://coupons.target.com/target-holiday-elves-coupons to print a coupon that's good for a free $10 Target gift card when you purchase at least $50 in merchandise at one time in-store. Thanks TotallyTarget.com!
$5 off The Help movie • Go to http://thehelpmovie.com/us/ to print a coupon worth $5 off the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of the movie The Help. You can also go to http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=ylfqcgp73029750&bt=xg&o=95632&c=ZB&p=TW2ep1If to get a coupon worth $3 off Barbie: A Perfect Christmas. You'll also find a number of movie coupons at http://www.coupons.com/ under the Home Entertainment category.
Free music • Amazon.com is offering a free holiday song to download each day through December. Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000453281 to listen to today's selection. Plenty of other holiday tunes are available for free on the site as well. Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/dmusic/digital-music-track for a complete list. More than 100 albums are available to download at no cost as well. Go to http://amzn.to/tdj3GQ for those titles.
More free music • People magazine is offering a free 10-song holiday music collection by country artists at https://styleentertainment.timeinc.net/people/countryplaylist/.
The disappearance of Susan Powell takes center stage Friday night on Dateline (9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5). For locals who couldn't have avoided coverage of the story if they'd tried, there's not going to be much of anything new.
Obviously, the story isn't as high-profile in other parts of the country. And you could certainly argue that publicizing the 2-year-old case could help solve it.
But as is so often the case with "Dateline," it takes real-life crime story and turns it into something resembling a bad TV movie. It's almost embarrassing the ominous music, the film footage manipulated to look sinister, the over-the-top narration.
"This began as a search for a missing woman, but there is so much more you haven't heard," intones NBC's Keith Morrison. "Wild allegations of abuse, of religious conspiracies, of sexual deviance."
Morrison has interviews with Susan Powell's husband, Josh; with Josh's father; and with investigators from the West Valley police.
Maybe you have to package the story like bad melodrama to get people to watch. But how sad how disturbing is that?
Elsewhere on Friday •
Frosty the Snowman (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) is a holiday classic. Frosty Returns (7:30 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2), not so much.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (7 and 8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): The team helps build a home for the family of a teen who lost his hand in an accident.
Chuck (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Chuck tries to track down a computer virus.
Grimm (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): An arson case exposes an enduring family feud.
Elsewhere on Saturday •
Men's college basketball (noon, ROOT/FSN): BYU at Utah
Women's college basketball (3 p.m., BYUtv): Utah at BYU
Video Game Awards 2011 (6 p.m., Spike): Geek out!
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Classic animation. (Repeat)
The American Giving Awards (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Honoring charities.
Republican presidential debate (8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): From Des Moines, Iowa.
Saturday Night Live (10:30 p.m., Ch. 30): Katy Perry hosts; Robyn performs.
Elsewhere on Sunday •
NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (11 a.m., CBS/Ch. 2); Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos (2 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13); Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers (2:15 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2); New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (6:15 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5)
The Amazing Race (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): One of the three remaining teams races to victory in the season finale.
Once Upon a Time (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): The Queen tries to find someone to assassinate Snow White.
The Simpsons (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): It's 30 years in the future, and Bart, Lisa and their children come home to spend the holidays with Homer and Marge.
Leverage (7 and 10 p.m., TNT): A thief targets Parker's friend,
The Good Wife (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Kalinda is arrested in an attempt to intimidate the firm.
Hell on Wheels (8, 9 and 11 p.m., AMC): Cullen and Elam scramble to prevent bloodshed.
CSI: Miami (9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): A mom is murdered at a junior beauty pageant.
White House Christmas (9 p.m., HGTV): Touring the White House all decorated for the holidays.
All-American Muslim (11 p.m., TLC): Shadia and Jeff move into a new house; Nader and Nawal bring their baby home.
Boardwalk Empire (10 p.m., HBO): In the second-season finale, Margaret considers a life-changing decision.
Dexter (11 p.m., Showtime): Dexter closes in on the Doomsday Killer; Debra confronts LaGuerta.
Luck (11 p.m., HBO): This is a "preview" of the new series that stars Dustin Hoffman. Only the first episode is airing now; the regular premiere will be Jan. 29.
Homeland (11 p.m., Showtime): Carrie is hospitalized.
Scott D. Pierce