Wise Guys' triad of venues in Trolley Square, Downtown Ogden, and West Valley City holds an ever-rotating calendar of nationally touring and local comics. A cavalcade of beloved standups has graced Wiseguys’ brick-backed stages, including Norm MacDonald, Chris Kattan, and Bob Saget. The West Valley City location also serves a café-style menu of sandwiches, appetizers, desserts, and more than 20 types of beer.
Most years, an MLS team would be disappointed by an 11-12-7 regular-season record. That wasn't the case for Real Salt Lake. In 2009, RSL rode that very record to the final spot in the MLS playoffs. Embracing a "Team is the star" philosophy, the squad banded together and swept through the playoffs, besting some of the league's top franchises to capture their first ever MLS Cup. Ever since, the team has been a Western Conference powerhouse behind head coach Jason Kreis, who started his career at Real Salt Lake as team captain before trading his captain's armband for a coach's sense of accountability. Real Salt Lake plays their home games in Rio Tinto Stadium, a 20,000-spectator facility that opened its massive doors in 2008 with advanced technology that includes a 60-foot video screen and LED video ribbons stretching 200 feet across both sidelines.
Gangrene Film Festival has been ground zero for the short-film community for 15 years, showcasing comedic vignettes from independent filmmakers from around the world. And each year, the festival gets weird with live entertainment that coalesces around a single theme. While 2013, for example, featured rock-and-roll hits played on tubas, the 2014 edition of Gangrene celebrates a space-lounge motif with a 20-piece big band playing the Latin-tinged, space-age lounge pop of composer Juan Garc?a Esquivel.
After the film festival itself triggers its last giggle fit, the Gangrene Film Festival Creative Symposium takes over. Leaders in a variety of media, including writing, music, filmmaking, and visual arts, host seminars about how to make money in their industry. Presenters include fantasy novelist Paul Genesse, who wrote The Golden Cord, short-film screenwriter Blake Casselman, and filmmaker Ali Barr.
EVE SLC is a sprawling New Year's Eve celebration?so sprawling that it takes three days. Its epicenter is the Salt Palace, where DJs spin in two ballrooms, filled with thousands of beach balls in honor of the event. However, it reaches across the city, too, with art exhibits, film screenings, and comedy shows at venues from Clark Planetarium to Off Broadway Theater. The event even stretches into the sky, with jaw-dropping fireworks displays.
The Utah Flash tears up the hardwood in the NBA Development League, honing the skills of its gravity-disbelieving athletes for the NBA's Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks. The Flash’s prospective pros, such as guard Orien Greene and guard/forward Pape Sy, use their sphere-bouncing skills to stun spectators, rankle league rivals, and agitate juggling circus bears throughout the Flash's 2010–2011 schedule. The premier box puts hoops-hungry fans in the heart of the aeronautical action, with all seating situated in rows one through nine of the Utah D-League Arena.
This season, the Utah Grizzlies, fearsome ECHL vets, take to the ice led by the slicing skates of captain Nick Tuzzolino, who, along with assistant captain Cody Lampl, helms the ruthless checks of the team's newly acquired defenseman. As the brawny lineup pressures the Condors' defenses, goalie Andrew Engelage attempts to keep pucks from sneaking into the net, which fills with monarch butterflies after every team victory. The Salt Lake Tribune analyzes coach Kevin Colley's new roster, musing, "more size and more talent…beyond just scoring more, the Grizzlies hope to flat-out intimidate opponents." Since 1994, the ECHL premier AA hockey team has sent 200 players up to the NHL, a statistic nearly as delectable as the fresh-cut shaved ice for sale rinkside.