We're here to help you plan your weekend, with best picks from our entertainment reporters, critics and bloggers.
OUT AND ABOUT
Draper Christmas Festival • 3-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Hidden Valley Shopping Center, 1166 E. Draper Parkway. Live entertainment, shopping booths and fun activities. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Santa and his elves will be riding around Draper distributing treats before ending up at the Hidden Valley Shopping Center. For more information, http://www.draperchristmasfestival.org.
8th Annual Christmas Extravaganza Ice Show • 7 p.m. Friday, South Davis Recreation Center, 550 N. 200 West, Bountiful. The Utah Figure Skating Club is staging its annual Christmas ice show. Admission $3 per person. For more information, http://utahfsc.site.aplus.net/utahfigureskatingclub/.
Cirque de la Symphonie • 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Abravanel Hall, The daredevils of Cirque de la Symphonie return with a new twist on holiday music. Tickets $27-$85. For tickets and more information, http://www.utahsymphony.org.
Liberty Park Nativity • 7-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Dec. 19-21, Liberty Park, 900 S. 600 East. Live Nativity performance; groups form every 20 minutes, it takes about 30 minutes to see all the stations. Admission free. For more information, http://echoesofchristmas.com/index.htm.
Southern Utah Heritage Choir Christmas Concert • 7:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Cox Auditorium, Dixie State College, 400 S. 700 East, St. George. Admission free. For more information, heritagechoir.org or 435-673-5507.
Heber Valley Christmas Bird Count • 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Wasatch Mountain State Park Visitor Center, 1281 Warm Springs Road, Midway. Local birders and nature enthusiasts are invited to participate in the 112th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Intermediate and expert birders are welcome to participate. Cost is $5 per person or free for those 18 and under or participating through feeder watching. For more information or to register, contact Wasatch Mountain State Park Naturalist Kathy Donnell at 435-654-1791 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc.
Elk Festival • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. Activities will focus on winter wildlife-watching opportunities and safety. Some activities will include balloon elk antlers, fish printing, animal track stamping, wildlife Christmas decorations and more. Sleigh rides will be at the regular price: $5 for adults (ages 9 and above), $3 for kids (ages 4-8), and free for toddlers and infants (ages 3 and younger). For more information, http://wildlife.utah.gov/hardwareranch/activities.php.
3rd Annual Unsilent Night • 6:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, meet at Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple. Unsilent Night is a free outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts, recorded on cassettes, CDs and mp3s, and played through a roving swarm of boomboxes carried through city streets every December. For more information, http://www.unsilentnight.com/download.html.
Breakfast with Santa • 9 a.m. Saturday, Davis Conference Center, 1651 N. 700 West, Layton. Fundraiser for the Family Connection Center. Hot breakfast buffet with Santa, face painting, cookie decorating, entertainment. Bring non-perishable food items or baby items to donate. Admission: $18.99 for adults, $16.99 for seniors and $12.99 for kids (4-12 years old). For more information, 801-416-8888.
Santa at the Town Lift Plaza • 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Town Lift Plaza, Main Street, Park City. Welcome Santa and Rudolph as they fly their sled full of goodies into Park City on the Town Lift. Enjoy an evening of carols, hot cocoa and cookies. For more information, http://www.parkcitymountain.com/winter or 800-222-7275.
Here Comes Santa Claus • 11 a.m. Saturday, Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple. Hear all of your December favorites performed by the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall. And bring your wish list because rumor has it that Santa will be in the lobby to consider any last minute requests. Admission: $6-$20. For more information, http://www.visitsaltlake.com/events/ or 801-869-9027.
Life & Times of Lake Bonneville • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Antelope Island Visitors Center, Syracuse. Come discover the past of the ancient granddaddy of the Great Salt Lake. Admission: $9 per vehicle state park fee. For more information, 801-721-9569.
Layton hayrides • 5-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 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, http://www.burgerstop.net or 801-544-8090.
North Pole Express • Mondays through Saturdays, through Dec. 24, Heber City. Take a train ride to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Admission $18 to $47. For more information, http://www.hebervalleyrr.org/ or 435-654-5601.
Ogden Christmas Village • Nightly through Jan. 1, 2500 Grant Ave., Ogden. Visit a replica of Santa's village at the North Pole. Live entertainment Tuesdays through Fridays. For more information, http://www.ogdencity.com or 801-629-8247.
Candlelight Christmas • 6-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 6-10 p.m. Fridays through Saturdays through Dec. 23, This is The Place Heritage Park, 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave. Observe a Christmas of over a century ago quieter, simpler, fun; you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. Admission $10 adults, $7 seniors/children 3-11, free for children 2 and under. For more information, http://www.thisistheplace.org or 801-582-1847.
Holiday Central at Thanksgiving Point • Daily except Sundays, Thanksgiving Point, 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi. Holiday lights, live reindeer, ice sculpting on Monday nights; breakfast with Santa on Saturday. Admission varies by event. For more information, http://www.thanksgivingpoint.org or 801-768-4900.
Spanish Fork Festival of Lights • 6-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Canyon View Park, 3300 East Powerhouse Road, Spanish Fork. The Festival of Lights displays are animated and contain motion lights or moving parts. You can view lights from your car or take a hayride through the park. Hayrides available for groups of 20 or more. Admission $5 per car, $15 large van and vehicles with trailers, $25 for buses. For more information, http://www.utahvalley.com or 801-804-4500.
Christmas in the Canyon • 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, through Dec. 23, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins. A live Nativity is presented each night in the amphitheater at 7 and 8 p.m. Nativity admission $2 per person or $10 per family. For more information, http://www.tuacahn.org or 435-652-3300.
In the Oscar-bait month of December, the best things hitting theaters today are action blockbusters.
Topping the week is "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," the fourth in the rousing Tom Cruise-starring actioners based on Bruce Geller's iconic TV series. Cruise's Ethan Hunt gets framed for blowing up the Kremlin, so he must re-assemble his now-fugitive IMF team (Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and returning Simon Pegg) to find the real culprit, a madman (Michael Nykqist) bent on starting a nuclear war. Director Brad Bird, making his live-action debut after his great Pixar work ("The Incredibles," "Ratatouille"), keeps the action moving fast and furious, and the script stays true to the series' all-for-one ethic. (The movie opens today on IMAX and select XD screens, and opens everywhere next Wednesday.)
Nearly as good is "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," director Guy Ritchie's second attempt to turn Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's renowned detective into an action hero. This one works better, largely because Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has a deliciously devious opponent, Prof. James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Holmes has his trusty friend Watson (Jude Law) on his side, as well as a gypsy fortuneteller (Noomi Rapace). The action is kinetic, and the script stays surprisingly faithful to Conan Doyle's "The Final Problem."
(Both "Sherlock Holmes" and "Mission: Impossible" feature actors from the Swedish version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Rapace played Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander, and Nykqist played journalist Mikael Blomkvist.)
Also good this week is "Young Adult," which reteams "Juno" director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody in a scathingly funny character study of a pretty girl gone bad. Charlize Theron is terrific as Mavis, a semi-alcoholic writer who decides to go back to her small Minnesota hometown to reclaim her high-school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) who's married with a new baby. Also good is Patton Oswalt as a nerdy former classmate who sees through Mavis' self-delusion.
The other big studio movie this weekend is "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," in which the singing computer-animated furballs are stranded on a deserted island. It's the best of the series, though that's not saying much Â and there are far better children's movies out there ("The Muppets," "Arthur Christmas" and "Hugo" among them).
On the art-house side, there's Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss," a documentary about the death penalty that examines a Texas triple-murder case. Herzog's interviews, especially with the about-to-die killer Michael James Perry, are incisive, but there's not much added to the discussion that you wouldn't find on a cable-TV documentary.
Lastly, there's German writer-director Tom Tykwer's "3," an artily pretentious romantic comedy-drama about a woman and her boyfriend who both fall for the same guy.
Sean P. Means
Utah Grizzlies vs. Colorado • 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Maverik Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City. Tickets, utahgrizzlies.com.
Utah men's basketball vs. Idaho State • 7 p.m. Friday, Huntsman Center, 1825 E. South Campus Drive. Tickets, utahtickets.com.
BYU men's basketball vs. Baylor • Noon Saturday, Marriott Center, 500 E. University Parkway, Provo. Tickets, http://www.byucougars.com.
Utah women's basketball vs. Texas Southern • 3 p.m. Saturday, Huntsman Center, 1825 E. South Campus Drive. Tickets, utahtickets.com.
Utah State men's basketball vs. Seattle University • 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, 900 N. 800 East, Logan. Tickets, http://www.utahstateaggies.com.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy • The Southern California-based swing revivalists are bringing their show "A Swinging Christmas" to Park City, with a blend of traditional songs such as "We Three Kings" as well as boisterous originals like "Zat You Santa Claus" and "Rock-A-Billy Christmas." Trumpet player Glen "The Kid" Marhevka said in a Tribune interview that although the band has written enough holiday material to have a show consisting solely of originals, the band also loves the "weirder" traditionals. The group has two holiday albums 1997's "Watchu' Want for Christmas?" and 2004's "Everything You Want for Christmas" and even old chestnuts such as "Jingle Bells" gets the "salsa funk" treatment. The group's annual Christmas shows have become a tradition for the band over the past six years, and Marhevka said the rollicking spirit of the shows gets them in the spirit of the holidays, with most of the band members family men with kids at home.
When • Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Where • Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City
Tickets • $18 to $65 at ecclescenter.org
Hank & Cupcakes • Innovative indie-dance duo Hank & Cupcakes will be playing at the Vertigo Room at The Complex. The band has been busy recording the follow-up to its debut; the new album will be released early in 2012. The band hails from Tel Aviv and Melbourne, and its edgy, distinctive sound reflects the time spent in those places. Codi Jordan Band, Funk and Gonzo and Junior Giant will open.
When • 7 p.m. Friday
Where • The Complex, 537 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $8 at 24Tix
Jon Schmidt • Bank of Utah hopes to warm bodies and souls this holiday season by holding a warm clothing drive in conjunction with the bank's annual sponsorship of Jon Schmidt's Christmas concert. The bank will accept donations of new or in-good-condition coats, hats, scarves, gloves and blankets, and new children's underwear. All will be donated to Crossroads Urban Center in Salt Lake City.
When • 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where • Libby Gardner Concert Hall, 1375 E. Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $18.50 at Kingtix
Dwayne Perkins • Brooklyn native Dwayne Perkins is already a vet in the comedy game with appearances on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The Late Late Show," and "Premium Blend." He also has his own "Comedy Central Presents" half-hour special.
When • 7 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where • Wiseguys Trolley Square, 505 S. 600 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10 at wiseguyscomedy.com
Bar J Wranglers • Warm up another holiday season with the Bar J Wranglers. Bring the whole herd out for a toe-tapping, side-splitting, wrangling good time. These ever-popular Jackson Hole cowpokes mix a little cowboy poetry, stellar musicianship and a healthy dose of down-home ranch humor.
When • 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where • Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main St., Logan
Tickets • $16-$22 at centerforthearts.us
Xmas Bash featuring Glasses Malone • Once banned from a Utah prom, rapper Glasses Malone is perfectly welcome at Teazer's this night for a unique celebration of the holiday.
When • 9 p.m. Saturday
Where • Teazers Bar & Grill, 366 36th St., Ogden
Tickets • $15 in advance, $20 day of, at SmithsTix
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis • Fill your head with the energizing sounds of Seattle-based hip-hop artist Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis at In The Venue.
When • 7 p.m. Saturday
Where • In The Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $15 in advance, $18 day of, at SmithsTix
Theta Naught • The local minimalist jazz group performs its 10th annual holiday show with guests The Folka Dots.
When • 7 p.m. Saturday
Where • Nobrow Coffee and Tea Company, 315 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $5 donation appreciated but not required
Get Naughty 2011 • V2 Events and Bondad Productions bring you a holiday party with Porter Robinson, R3hab, Steez, Aiden Chance, Jake Williams and Foxtrot.
When • 7 p.m. Saturday
Where • The Complex, 537 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25 at SmithsTix
Red Rock Rondo's "Secret Gift" • A new orchestral song cycle featuring popular chamber-folk group Red Rock Rondo will be accompanied by The Salt Lake Symphony. Utah Food Bank will be on hand at intermission and after the concert to accept checks and cash donations to help feed the less fortunate.
When • 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where • Libby Gardner Concert Hall, 1375 E. Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10 by calling 801-531-7501 or at the door with cash, check or credit card.
Peter Breinholt • Peter Breinholt's original pop-folk music has been a Utah favorite for years and his best-selling Christmas album is an annual staple on Utah's radio stations. He'll be joined at this show by his band and a string ensemble.
When • 8 p.m. Saturday
Where • Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $15 at ArtTix
Jazz Vespers Christmas Kool • David Halliday and Courtney Smith will lead some of the area's best jazz musicians in the final concert of the Jazz Vespers season.
When • 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where • First Unitarian Church, 1300 E. 569 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • There is no cover charge but a plate is passed
ONE CHEAP CHICK
Target sale • Target has a two-day sale starting Friday at 5 p.m. Items throughout the store are discounted, and shoppers who spend at least $75 in-store get a free $10 gift card. Details are at https://www.facebook.com/target?sk=app_139229522811253.
Free e-cookbook • Amazon.com is offering a free e-cookbook, Christmas with Family & Friends. Go to http://amzn.to/tiYKi3 to get this free book. Although this book is available in Kindle format, you don't have to have a Kindle e-reader to read it. You also can read it on your personal computer and a variety of other devices. Amazon also has hundreds of free e-books. Go to http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store/zgbs/digital-text for more top-selling free titles.
Utah State fans will get to do something on Saturday they haven't done in 14 years watch the Aggie football team play in a bowl game.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN), to be exact, where they'll take on the Bobcats of Ohio.
(It's the bowl formerly known as Humanitarian, by the way.)
And here's hoping the Aggie faithful will also get to do something they have done in 18 years celebrate a Utah State victory in a bowl game.
Elsewhere on Friday •
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (7 and 8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): The team builds a home for the family of a woman who has a brain tumor.
Chuck (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Ellie and Awesome's date turns dangerous.
Grimm (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Nick and Hank re-open a cold missing-person case.
Great Performances (8 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): The San Francisco Ballet performs "The Little Mermaid."
Sanctuary (8 and 10 p.m., Syfy): Will and Magnus are trapped in a cave-in.
Elsewhere on Saturday •
Men's college basketball: Baylor at BYU (noon, BYUtv); Seattle at Utah State (7 p.m., KCSG)
College football: New Mexico Bowl Temple vs. Wyoming (noon, ESPN); New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Diego State (7 p.m., ESPN)
Women's college basketball (2 p.m., KCSG): BYU at Utah State
NFL (6 p.m., NFL Network): Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
America's Most Wanted: U.S. Marshals Special Edition (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): This two-hour special features the 15 criminals who are most-wanted by the U.S. marshals.
Saturday Night Live (10:30 p.m., Ch. 30): Jimmy Fallon hosts; Michael BublÃ© performs.
Primeval (7 and 10 p.m., BBC America): Connor disappears.
Elsewhere on Sunday •
NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at St. Louis Rams (11 a.m., CBS/Ch. 2); Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Chiefs (11 a.m., Fox/Ãh. 13); New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (2:15 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2); Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers (6:15 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5)
Survivor: South Pacific (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Somebody will win the million bucks in the two-hour season finale will it be Utahn Rick Nelson? And then everybody gets together to talk about it in the Survivor: South Pacific Reunion (9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2).
Masterpiece Classic (7 and 9:30 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): Two installments of "Downton Abbey" one of the best shows of 2011. (Repeat)
Leverage (7 and 10 p.m., TNT): Hurley is caught up in a drug deal.
Hell on Wheels (8, 9 and 11 p.m., AMC): Durant faces ruin; Lily confronts her late husband's family.
Dexter (10 p.m., Showtime): In the season finale, Dexter races to catch the Doomsday Killers.
Homeland (11 p.m., Showtime): In the season finale, Saul investigates Carrie's theories; Brody makes final preparations.
All-American Muslim (11 p.m., TLC): Ramadan ends; the football team desperately needs a win.
Scott D. Pierce