RADIO HOUR EPISODE 7: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BLUE CARBUNCLE, ROSE WAGNER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 & 8:30 p.m., $20

The Radio Hour radio plays done each Halloween via a partnership between Plan-B Theatre Company and KUER's RadioWest have been some of my favorite theater experiences in Salt Lake City. For six years, the radio plays performed during the Halloween season offered the chance to watch voice artists express themselves vocally into their microphones for the benefit of radio listeners, and physically in their chairs for the benefit of the live audience. And as impressive as those performances have consistently been, as well as the stories like Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein, my favorite aspect is watching the sound effects team scurrying behind the voice actors, bringing the radio plays to vivid life through their aural efforts. After a year off, the Radio Hour is back with a Christmas-themed Sherlock Holmes mystery adapted by local playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett--an experienced hand at the task after penning a couple of the Halloween radio plays. The 7 p.m. show Tuesday is sold out, but there were still a few tickets available for the 8:30 p.m. as of Monday morning. It will likely sell out, so hit that link above and grab tickets if you can.

You can listen to a clip from the show by clicking right here.

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA, THE DEPOT, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., $20 advance/$25 day of show

The music of Frank Zappa is kind of a love-it-or-hate-it thing for most, including this music geek. I never caught the bug some of my friends did--the love of Zappa's surrealistic "jazz from hell" jams full of abrupt stylistic shifts and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. I was a big fan of the artistic freedom Zappa stood for, particularly in his advocacy for musicians' rights in the fight against the pro-censorship Parents Music Resource Center back in the '80s, when my love for rock and roll was taking hold. But I never got too much into Zappa's music. His son Dweezil, though, was a part of my record collection as soon as he released Havin' a Bad Day, his teenage effort in 1986 to showcase his chops at Van Halen-style pop-rock (he famously played guitar on Don Johnson's Heartbeat album back in the day, even appearing in the video). It seems natural that Dweezil would carry on his father's legacy via his current project, Zappa Plays Zappa, in which he tours with a set of remarkable musicians, knocking out his dad's oeuvre like no one else could.