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(Little Big Town performs on New Year's Eve at Park City's Eccles Center. (Courtesy photo) )
Weekend Express: Your fun-stuff planning tool for New Year’s weekend
First Published Dec 30 2011 12:23 pm • Last Updated Dec 30 2011 08:34 pm

We’re here to help you plan your weekend, with best picks from our entertainment reporters, critics and bloggers.

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EVE » Nightly through Saturday, downtown Salt Lake City, various venues. Pass good for all nights: $12 advance, $15 at the door. Kids under 10 free with paid adult. For more information, www.eveslc.com. See David Burger’s report from the Thursday’s opening night: bit.ly/sSrKBx.

New Year’s Eve » Heartless Bastards play at The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City; 9 p.m.; $40 at thestateroom.com; Little Big Town plays at the Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City; 8 p.m.; $24-$150; Comic Jenna Kim Jones performs Friday and Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. at Wiseguys Trolley Square, 505 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City; $40 at wiseguyscomedy.com.

Nightclubs » For our listings of New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations, from the Legends show at The Complex, or the NYE prom at The Hotel, visit bit.ly/tkDItP.

OUT & ABOUT

Alta Torchlight & Fireworks Parade » On New Year’s Eve, the parade follows the main cat track from Watson Shelter to the base of the mountain. Visitors wishing to participate in the parade should bring goggles and must be at least intermediate skiers who can ski blue runs. Lift loading begins at 5:15 p.m. with the parade beginning at 6.

Provo First Night » 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Provo Towne Centre Mall, 1200 South Towne Centre Blvd. Activities include live bands, Big Band Dance, Top 40’s Dance, food court, concessions, New Year’s crafts, professional face painters, games, balloon artists, performers, karaoke, photo booths, entertainment and fireworks. Pre-purchased wristbands $4 for those 13 and older, $3 for children 12 and under, 3 and under are free with a paid adult. Day-of admission is $1 more. For more information, www.utahvalley.com/events/details.aspx?ID=90 or 801-852-2401.

34th Annual Beat the New Year 5K » 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sugarhouse Park, 1330 E. 2100 South. The 5K running course starts near the north east corner of Sugarhouse Park and includes two laps on the paved road. Parking and check-in at Highland High School, 1700 East and 2100 South. Enter the main entrance to Highland High School on the east side, by the flag-pole. Registration $15-$25. For more information, www.slctrackclub.org or 801-455-7104.

New Year’s Revolution Run » 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Utah Olympic Oval, 5662 S. 4800 West (Cougar Lane), Kearns. The New Year’s Revolution Run is a four-hour running, walking and exercising party before the party. It’s 95.5 laps for a full marathon. How far will you run? Join us as we count laps, give away thousands of dollars in prizes and raise funds to support the Autism Council of Utah and the Utah Food Bank. Registration fee $35. For more information, www.newyearsrevolutionrun.com/ 801-968-6825.


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Noon Year’s Eve » 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, The Shops at Riverwoods, 4801 N. University Ave., Provo. Welcome the new year with Radio Disney and The Shops at Riverwoods. We will be giving away prizes, playing games, and celebrating 2012 as we count down to the noon hour. For more information www.shopsatriverwoods.com or 801-802-8430.

Kaysville New Year’s Celebration » 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Kaysville City Park. There will be bingo (at City Hall), story telling (at the Library), music and dancing (at the Senior Center), kids carnival (at Kaysville Elementary) and food (at the Recreation Center). Then join together for a countdown at the clock tower at midnight. For more information, 801-546-1235.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks & Torchlight Parade » 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Giant Steps Lodge, Brian Head, 329 S. Highway 143. Enjoy a torchlight parade followed by a fireworks show. Admission free. For more information, www.brianhead.com or 435-677-2035.

First Day Hike: Buffalo Point » 1:30-3 p.m. Sunday, Antelope Island Visitor Center, Syracuse. Come and welcome the new year with a hike at Antelope Island State Park. Enjoy the views of Great Salt Lake from Buffalo point during the 1.75 mile round-trip scenic route up to the point. Dress warm and prepare for the wind. Bring water and snacks. Admission $9 per vehicle. Information at 801-721-9569.

MOVIES

Christmas Day is often the last day of the year when movies are released -- and, in this case, it’s a day for a very good movie.

Before that, though, are three new movies opening Friday -- and two of them are pretty good.

"We Bought a Zoo" is writer-director Cameron Crowe’s return to form (after misfiring with "Vanilla Sky" and "Elizabethtown"). He directs a sweet, whimsical story (based on true events) of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), a widower who decides to move his family to the country -- and the house they find turns out to be attached to a rundown zoo, so he gamely takes over operating it. The supporting cast includes Thomas Haden Church as Mee’s doubting brother, Scarlett Johansson as a dedicated zookeeper and Elle Fanning as her country-girl cousin.

The other two movies opening Friday are French. One is "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life," an eye-opening and occasionally surrealistic biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, who was as legendary for his music as he was for his bedroom conquests -- including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin. Actor Eric Elmosnino plays Gainsbourg with a rakish charm and a brooding dark side.

Also opening Friday is "The Women on the 6th Floor," a comedy that starts promising but never delivers. It stars Fabrice Luchini as a Parisian businessman, circa 1962, who starts noticing the conditions for the Spanish maids who live upstairs in his apartment building.

OK, now for the main Christmas Day opening: Steven Spielberg’s "War Horse." (The review will be posted online later Friday.) It’s a stately, old-fashioned epic built around the simple story of a teen, Albie (Jeremy Irvine), and his horse. What’s not so simple is the setting: England, just before the start of World War I. The story follows the horse, Joey, as he is taken into that war. Joey experiences many episodes — some harrowing, others uplifting — and so does Albie. Spielberg’s craftsmanship is on full display, and some of the scenes are astonishingly beautiful.

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