Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Send Palin Packing?

[Palin Watch] Namaste! Even in India, they are talking about whether John McCain should replace Sarah Palin with a new vice presidential pick.

Except then we might be stuck with Mitt Romney. (Holly Mullen)

In Other Doomsday News...

[Post Apocalyptic Reading] Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us will be speaking tonight at the University of Utah about his best selling book that imagines what happens when real jungles reclaim concrete jungles and what vestiges of humanity will survive long after we're gone (think Tupperware vs. Mona Lisa). You know, cheery stuff to think about while we're on the verge of an economic meltdown-- but hey, you might as well start planning ahead for the end of civilization right?

Weisman's best-seller does take an interesting, multi-faceted look at the mark we leave on the earth and vice versa, and does so by slicing the question from a variety of angles: environmental, archaeological, sociological, spiritual etc... So come hear the author himself tonight, Tuesday Sep. 30, from 7-9 pm at the Libby Gardner Hall, the event costs $10.

But if that prospect seems like too much of a bummer to you, don't worry, there's other literature out there to teach you how to make the end of times the best of times. (Eric S. Peterson)

City Weekly: Governor Approved!

[Media] Wha? Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. told KUER 90.1's RadioWest yesterday that City Weekly is "the only reliable newspaper in the state." Sarcasm? Pure, scalding truth? We'll choose the answer we like. And check the "I'm waaay liberal!" mini-rant that follows in the handy player below:

(Bill Frost)

Rockin' the Wasatch

[Earthquake Alert] Is your house right on the Wasatch Fault Line? This video from the Utah Geological Survey has answers! Sort of! Somewhere, former City Weekly editor Ben Fulton is mind-screaming "I told you so! I told you so!"

(Bill Frost)

Dead Zephyr: Week 255

(Bill Frost)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brandon Burt's Losing Captions

[Cartoons] In my spare moments, I sometimes enter the New Yorker cartoon caption contest. None of my three or four entries has yet made the finals--yeah, boo-hoo--but I can dream, can't I? It's a fun pastime.

Trouble is, even if my entries don't make the cut, I still like them, and it seems a little sad that the poor little waifs never see the light of day. So I'd like to start sharing my losing entries. Feel free to submit your own in the comments.

From the Sept. 22 contest, now undergoing voting:

"However, before issuing your band, I am legally required to advise you that the Restaurant Clause Provision is severable."

Now, my humor mentor is Bill Frost. (He didn't sign up for the position, so I just have to take my lessons as they come along.) I'm pretty sure he'd call this one "too thinky." Should I have said "the Restaurant Claws Provision"? No, that makes it worse. ... Also, the band/bond thing is utterly opaque--but I think the "severability" of the "claw" is pretty funny. No? No? ... OK, no.

(Brandon Burt)


With promises of cold weather approaching, it was time for me to get in all of the last minute warm weather outdoor festivities that I could before it was too late. So I hauled my big ass out to the X96 Big Ass Show on September 27. Held at Usana Amphitheater, instead of its usual Utah State Fairpark stomping grounds, I was curious how the new set up would fly. I’ve only been to Usana one other time about six years ago.

The band roster included 12 headlining acts—including Yellowcard, Hawthorne Heights, Head Automatica, and Lostprophets—most of which I have never heard of, but that could just be my age showing. Perhaps I’m getting a little too nostalgic. If memory serves, past Big Ass Shows seemed to include an impressive lineup of bands that surpassed the amount showing for this year. Generally this included four stages with music going at all times. This year seemed to be lacking that completely.

I arrived in time to catch Local H. Once they started, I had some hope that this would be a pretty amped up show with a bevy of bands going on, but mid-set, I looked out into the crowd and thought that maybe it is time to lower the Ritalin dosage in today’s youth. During a very energetic set the band was met by a crowd of kids standing in a zombie stance, not even bobbing back and forth. You could tell that the band was not even that into it and they mentioned that they will be back in November, probably to a more welcoming crowd I hope.

Even security looked bored at this point, their eyes practically begging for just something to happen. Local H ended far too quickly and being overdressed for the seasonal the trickery of fall; I was overheating and headed out to look for a beer while waiting for the next band to show up onstage.

Ironically, the concert was sponsored by Budweiser, which meant I was able to purchase a frothy beverage for a harrowing $8 a pop (which leads me to believe that maybe it is about time that Budweiser started sponsoring me). At this point I didn’t mind though. I just needed something to take me up a couple notches for the next band that came up.

Ludo came on, and again it may just be my age showing, but it was just your average clich├ęd pop/punk. Some bands think if they say “fuck” enough it will get the crowd riled up and it did wake up a few audience members, but the set was too predictable. That is until they led the crowd into a confusing sing along to the Star Spangled Banner. Maybe that Bud was worth every penny?

Part of going to a concert and enjoying it however, is being able to get up close by the stage. Something about our wristbands got many a languid headshakes "no” from security, though the area in front of the stage was only 1/3 full. This kept me at a far distance from being able to witness anything but dots onstage. That feeling of being left out began to burn less when Ten Years went on, making it seem like that amount of time that they were playing. This was really beginning to feel like the Half-Assed Show to me.

I wandered off in a frenzied search for another stage in hopes that we had at least one local band playing somewhere. Lo and behold, off in the corner of the amphitheater performed our homegrown musicians The Elizabethan Report. This is where the show began to pick up for me, though I came to find out it was a little late in the game.

The band that was up went on to give a quick lecture on not smoking and dived right into their set. I realized if I didn’t watch the overzealous singer too much that this band was really good. Not only that, it was a sigh of relief to be over by these stages because you could get up close, and every single person over there was dancing and enjoying the show to the fullest extent possible. Right as I was noting to my friend that they were very reminiscent of the Talking Heads, they went into a rousing cover of Psycho Killer. It was very impressively done for a group of young kids, leading me to be suspicious that they were from Provo.

I searched high and low and could not find a roster at all for the local bands that were playing, which was disappointing because I was far more interested in this stage than I was at anything else going on around me. After speaking with the band, I found out they actually are from Provo. That place is an untapped well of amazing music that too rarely leaks down to SLC.

I was quite excited to see what other non-roster surprises that the Live & Local stage had to offer me, but when I left momentarily and came back, they were taking the stage down. At this point my interest had waned and I half-listened to the last band, Trap,t go up before sneaking my way out of the Usana Amphitheater, stepping over tired looking teens laying on the lawn. Maybe next year the ball that seemed to be dropped on this show will be picked up again, because this was one of the festival shows that I have really loved in days past, but this year it just didn’t quite cut it. I did get a sweet farmer’s tan out of the deal though.
(Dominique LaJeunesse)

The Race For Third: Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr

[Politics] The Obama and McCain debate is over. The third party presidential candidates are escalating their campaigns to fight exclusion and garner mainstream attention. A common thread within these candidates is their opposition to the Wall Street bailout package.

Ralph Nader, Independent candidate, has been particularly busy. Before the debate, supporters were encouraged to “hack” the debate with online comments questioning Nader’s exclusion. Following the debate, supporters were directed to Thirdpartyticket.com. Trevor Lyman, who was behind Ron Paul’s multi-million dollar money bomb fundraisers, wants to organize a debate among all six of the major presidential candidates. The catch is that Lyman wants 10,000 donation pledges by Oct. 8. The website is just a day old and 5,578 people have already pledged.

Constitution Party Candidate, Chuck Baldwin, is picking a fight with “misleading” voters' guides. The Baldwin campaign urges supporters to contact the American Family Association questioning McCain’s conservative credentials. Included in the Baldwin Insider is a sample letter to the AFA stating, “Christians are being deceived by your blackout on a viable candidate for president. To make matters worse, you're asking them to send you money to help you deceive them.” Baldwin is also struggling to be included in Opensecrets.org voters’ guide.

Libertarian Party Candidate, Bob Barr, held a counter debate on Friday night which highlighted Barr’s opposition to the Wall Street bailout package in contrast to McCain and Obama’s position. Thousands of new supporters have joined, according to the campaign, because, “[Americans] are angry, confused and unable to understand why our government wants to give away $1 trillion dollars of our money.” Shortly before the debate, Barr was removed from the Louisiana ballot. But the campaign is fighting the decision with an appeal to the Supreme Court. (Joseph Bateman)

Sarah Palin: '80s Sports Babe

[Campaign '08] Went looking for that beauty pageant swimsuit footage, found this instead. How's the ozone layer up there?

(Bill Frost)

Rio Tinto? Barely Knew Ho!

[Real Salt Lake] It appears that mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has won the naming rights to the new Real Salt Lake soccer stadium in Sandy--has quite a ring to it, huh? Right up there with Xango (the RSL-sponsoring juice, not the dark intergalactic overlord from beyond the stars).

No doubt, it will come to be known as RT Stadium, since "Rio Tinto" won't exactly strike fear into the hearts of opponents: "You're going down in the Rio Tinto tonight, Beckham!"

Nope, not gonna happen. Sounds like a buffet-and-margaritas challenge at Chili's. (Bill Frost)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh, What a Tangled Web

[Men in Trees Sporting Goatees] According to The National Enquirer, "shocking allegations" of Sarah Palin's 1996 affair with burly snowmobile salesman/presumed Palmer, Alaska, Councilman Brad Hanson have elicited nothing but denials from Palin and her burly husband Ricky Gervais--er, that is, Todd Palin. Still,
Hanson family insider, Jim Burdett, has gone on the record and passed a rigorous polygraph test, revealing de­tails of the affair to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER in a world exclusive interview.
So, you see, you never know when being a Hanson family insider is going to pay off.

Are you an "insider" with some tenuous connection to a political candidate? For instance, did your poker buddy's brother-in-law once have a groovy three-way with Jason and Julie Chaffetz? Like, eww--but why not cash in on your vaguely powerful, icky connections? If you can go "on the record" and pass a "rigorous polygraph test"--the rigor of which presumably involves a $12 galvanic-response meter and a disgruntled ex-Scientologist--why not contact the Enquirer today? Or, better yet, send me blog fodder. Utah's boring campaign season could use a little sexing up.

I can't pay, but at least you'll know that the story will be better copy-edited than the Enquirer's--I promise not to use commas to set off restrictive appositives such as "Jim Burdett," and I'll remember that hyphens belong in compound modifiers like "world-exclusive." Mrrowr.

(Brandon Burt)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Letters Round-Up

(Brandon Burt)

Watch Your Language, Rolly!

[Media] I normally enjoy Paul Rolly's column, but in an item about LaVar Christensen's fund-raising efforts, either Rolly or an overeager copy editor seem to have gotten confused by politically correct Republican buzzwords:
[LaVar] Christensen sponsored legislation for a constitutional amendment promoting traditional marriage ...
Remember that amendment that promoted traditional marriage? Me neither. Rolly is referring to the 2004 amendment that made it illegal for government to recognize gay and lesbian marriages or civil unions. "Traditional" (which is the P.C. Republican term for heterosexual and monogamous) marriages were unaffected.

(Brandon Burt)

Ryan Seacrest Wants to Meet Your Mom

[Reality Hell] Just when you thought Reality TV production (excluding MTV) couldn't sink any lower, here comes Momma's Boys--from NBC and Ryan Seacrest! And they're casting in Salt Lake City! The Very Important Message from NBC casting, who are only looking for "good-looking, fun guys," so all you homely, dull dudes can just move along to The Biggest Loser:

"I was told this was THE magazine of Salt Lake City by our NBC affiliate in town. We will be in town from October 1st to October 6th. We will be hold casting events at the following locations:

Thursday, October 2nd:
9:30 am- 10:30 am - Curves - 2142 S. Highland dr. Salt Lake City
9pm - 11pm - Studio 600 - 26 E. 600 S. Salt Lake City
10pm - 12pm - Green Street - 602 E 500 South Salt Lake City
12am - 1:30pm - SkyBar - 161 W 600 S Salt Lake City

Saturday, October 4th
10pm - 12am - Huka Bar - 151 E 6100 S Salt Lake City"

In case you'd like to know exactly what you're auditioning for (an afterthought for most reality-TV hopefuls), read these:

THE magazine? KSL 5 knows we exist? (Bill Frost)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Countdown to Suspension of U.S. Constitution

[The Coming Police State] Oct. 1 will mark the first deployment of a military combat division on U.S. soil since post-Civil War restoration. This news comes to us from the tin-foil-hat bloggers and conspiracy nuts at ... oh, oops. It comes to us from ArmyTimes.com.

Yep, it's really happening. The division, to be known in milspeak as CCMRF (pronounced "sea-smurf"--again, not a joke) will be under control to "help" people in the "homeland" in case of natural disasters, terrorist attacks or, say, domestic unrest in the wake of a blatantly stolen election or federal confiscation of our money to prop up the lavish lifestyles of failed "free-market" CEOs and other short-sighted fat-cats.

Perhaps those of us who enjoy the exercise of our civil liberties have simply waited too long--I for one have been kind of pinning my hopes on a major political shift this November. However, wouldn't you know it, the nutcase Dominionists and neocons in charge of the GOP don't see any need to consult the electorate before instituting their glorious plans for the nation. Once they start deploying the military against domestic political opponents, it'll be too late for those of us in the loyal opposition.

And, now, I'm really depressed. Hey, look! A cute video: Cats are sooo weird:

(Brandon Burt)

UtahFM.org: Pinpoint SLC 4

[Media/Podcast] UtahFM.org's fourth local entertainment podcast is here--this time, it's about the Sego Art & Music Festival, and singer-songwriter Paul Jacobsen (interviewed by City Weekly's own Jamie Gadette).

McCain vs. Letterman

[Campaign '08] What happens when you blow off David Letterman? For Katie Couric, no less? You get this:

Still predicting a Utah landslide for McCain, of course, with Mitt Romney running a close second. (Bill Frost)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dungeons & Dragons & Rotten Musicians

[Local Music] Have we mentioned how much we love the Rotten Musicans lately? If "20 Broadsword" isn't the first hip-hip song about Dungeons & Dragons, it's gotta be the best--the tune's from the forthcoming CD Say You Love Her, being released Saturday Oct. 18 at Kilby Court. Till then, here's the video magic:

(Bill Frost)


[Claywatch] The Clay Aiken shocker (he's gay!!! Omiheck, omiheck!!!) got picked up in the D-News.

Some of the comments are funny. I like the one who sonorously reminds us not to set store in FALSE IDOLS! (Get it?)

Frankly, I have little use for Aiken--that kind of music puts me to sleep, and, as a "sex symbol," the apparent genetic offspring of Sandy Duncan and Shelly Duvall is too much of a twinkie for my manly-man tastes, which run more toward the likes of Sam Elliott than of Sam Harris. But, now that he's actually had the guts to come out, I loathe him a little less.

(Brandon Burt)

The Sutherland Institute and Salt Lake City Skate Ramps

[Noise Pollution] The Salt Lake City miniramp controversy is gaining momentum as it's been featured in this weeks paper and also in the trib. Owners of backyard half pipes and ramps were outraged to find that unbeknownst to them, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department has classified their private ramps as noise pollution and that by merely owning one, individuals could be liable for civil charges.

Skateboarders, bikers and others have cried discrimination considering that their personal ramps have been banned outright without decisionmakers having sought their input, while other backyard recreations from barbecues to trampolines, only have curfews applied to them.

City Weekly sought out a perhaps unusual voice of support for skate ramp enthusiasts, from Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute, the conservative thinktank known for making policy recommendations to legislators and other government agenda setters.

Mero's take on Salt Lake Valley Health's skate ramp ban:

"I think its an intrusion into the private lives of people," Mero says. "It's so funny in lawmaking how we tend to just project our own preference onto society. Not based on substantial rule of law or a sense of common decency--its just more like 'you know what, I hate those guys, so lets pass this law against them.'"

Mero imagines the skating culture has the perceived negative element of counter culture probably working against it in government matters such as this.

"That could be part of why people are treating this differently," Mero says adding "But all things being equal-- it's private property, those are private lives, let the parents deal with the children. If it’s a noise or nuisance, then this sort of regulation should mirror any other noise regulation."

Next week the county will be allowing those who agree or disagree the chance to make their voices heard as the ramp issue will be discussed publicly on Oct. 2 at 7:30 am, Room 2003 of the north building of the County Government Center, 2001 S. State. (Eric S. Peterson)

Oil Shale Extraction Coming To Utah

[Environment] Rather then breaking our oil addiction, legislators are scouring the land for any sign of oil as strung-out junkies looking for their next fix. Our state’s lone Democrat, Jim Matheson, is the dealer pushing eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin for oil shale production. Matheson managed to push through legislation lifting the previous moratorium on oil shale production.

Southern Utah Wildness Alliance is hosting information sessions exploring what oil shale production means for our western landscape. Conservation photographer Garth Lenz and energy analyst Randy Udall will share images and stories about similar extraction in Canada. The first session will be Monday September 29 at the University of Utah inside the Theater of the Student Union Building from 7-8:30 p.m. The next day the information session will be in Moab at the Grand County Public Library (257 E. Center Street) from 6-7:30 p.m. (Joseph Bateman)

Feeling Helpless About The 2008 Election?

Arguably, while there might be some truth to "As a Utah voter, my vote won't help Obama get into office," there is something you can do to effect change in key battleground states. Why not get started this weekend when a group of Obama supporters will carpool up to Colorado to talk to voters in Grand Junction or Fort Collins about our country's need for a positive new direction? Sign up and learn more about the campaign here.
Also, ask organizers what they think about using the following video to get people motivated

(Jamie Gadette)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Idle Threat

[Air Quality] Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Becker and County Mayor Corroon launched the "idle-free" campaign at Hawthorne elementary school. They want parents who wait to pick up their kids at school to kill their engines if they're idling for more than 10 seconds.

Look, I'm all for turning off my car whenever I wait for anything ... from dry cleaning to fast food to a dinner date ... when it makes sense to do so. Sorry, if it's snowing, and I want to keep the car warm and the snow from collecting on my windshield, I'll likely keep idling.

I'd like to be able to turn off my car at stoplights or if stalled in freeway traffic, where I know vehicles are pumping crap into the air by the boatload. But it's not safe and it may not be legal. Why isn't there a technology for cars that puts engines in a "sleep" mode when the car is not moving? That would be far more efficient than relying on the driver to turn the car on and off—all of which can't be that good for your car's ignition system and battery.

I don't disagree with the no-idling premise (as long as it's a suggestion and not a law). But man, do I resist "public awareness" social-engineering campaigns—all costing taxpayer bucks, that involve "toolkits" of logos, posters, window hangers, PSAs—and that are introduced at schools so kids can then bug their parents. Look, let me decide to do the right thing. (I am Andy Rooney and I approve this message.) (Jerre Wroble)

Attention, Claymates

[Media] To all the Claymates who've sent us hate mail in the past for daring to refer to Clay Aiken as "gay," suck on the next issue of People:

Sure, the "news" comes from Perez Hilton--but when has he ever been wrong?
(Bill Frost)

Spotlighting SLC Art, Music, Fashion

Dew Underground's coverage of downtown SLC during its stop two weekends ago aired on Fuel TV Sept. 21. For those who don't subscribe to the cable channel, check out Fuel.TV for brief clips that seem to be updated daily with additional content. Watch cool spots on FICE and Lake of Salt, among others. So far, no online footage of local bands' live performances. Keep your fingers crossed.
(Jamie Gadette)

Riot to End World Hunger!

[Charity] OK, OK we get it, it's ironic to hold banquets to raise money to fight hunger. But look, swallow your sarcasm and just come out to support a good cause. Tonight, Sep. 23 the University of Utah's Lowell Bennion Community Service Center is putting on its eighth annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet, themed "Riot to End World Hunger." The whole "riot" thing is just a theme and guest speaker SLC Mayor Ralph Becker will with his soothing voice be making sure things stay civil, no actual rioting, just good food and good causes. So come check it out at the Olpin Union Saltair Room at 6pm. You can get in for just $5 or five canned food items. The night will also feature speakers like Jim Pugh director of the Utah Food Bank. All proceeds will go towards the Utah Food Bank and Oxfam America. So go stuff yourself and fight hunger--your own and those who are really hungry--it's a twofer! (Eric S. Peterson)

Dead Zephyr: Week 254

(Bill Frost)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good Cops

[Law Enforcement] Between Taser happy troopers and cop unions shutting down civilian review boards, sometimes the police are a pretty easy target for us media folks. Of course police abuse of power is one thing alot of people complain about, and is always worth shedding light on-- its just a shame it blights out the amazing and heroic things many of our friends in law enforcement do on a regular basis.

This past weekend I saw something that scared the ever-loving shit out of me! And also one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen as well. Driving down 3300 south at about 1 am last Friday me and a friend came across a motorcycle accident. It was not pretty. The man did not have a helmet was bleeding from the head and was totally unconscious. Some people gathered around and we called 911 and waited. Soon at least five police cars blocked off one end of the road and cleared us all out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Every one's adrenaline was pumping already just seeing the guy splayed out on the street in a pool of his own blood, and just when things seemed under control is when things actually got really crazy.

Out of nowhere a truck came roaring down the street and decided not to worry about the five police cars with light flashing. Not slowing down the truck decided to weave through the blockade by cutting a path down the middle lane and around all the cars. The middle lane is also where the injured motorcyclist and several police officers happened to be. In a split second this truck was a moment away from running over one officer and the injured biker, when the officer reached down and pulled the injured man and himself out of harms way.

I shit a brick! Ive never seen anything so simultaneously heroic (the cop pulling a man who could already have been half gone, out of harms way) and so insane (the driver of the truck who decided five cops was not enough to slow him down).

Luckily they caught the guy later on down the road and the ambulance took away the biker. I hadn't heard if he was OK and hadn't seen it in the news. But to the officers I saw that night and especially the one who pulled the biker out of the way of certain death, mad props to you officers. You deserve thanks from me, from everyone there, from the injured biker and even the idiot driver who thanks to your heroics will only be facing reckless driving charges instead of manslaughter. Thank you. (Eric S. Peterson)

Palin, the Carbon Queen

[Campaign 2008] Excellent environmental writer and Torrey, Utah resident Chip Ward gives us one more reason to question Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's judgment, knowledge of environmental issues and general ability. Ward is always thought-provoking and a few yards ahead of most of us on issue of social justice and the environment. In fact, this recent piece may be one of the few published items that seriously questions any of the candidates' position on sensitive environmental issues. With the drowning economy headlining all the news of the past 10 days, it seems no one cares much for how the next president and his veep will keep the Earth in balance. (Holly Mullen)

Why I love Altie Media

[Mainstream Media] After reading this on Saturday morning, I was reminded how happy I am to no longer work for The Salt Lake Tribune. I have no patience for such bat-shit silliness. (Holly Mullen)

Chile Today

[Food] For many folks, a slight chill in the autumn air means football and watching the leaves turn. For me, it all about CHILES! We’re smack dab in the middle of New Mexico’s green chile harvest.

In many southwestern states, but not Utah since it’s illegal here, chile vendors set up temporary roasting stations in parking lots and along the roadside where customers line up to buy freshly roasted Anaheim chiles hot off the grill.

To my knowledge, the only place locally to purchase freshly roasted chiles by the bushel is at La Hacienda Mexican restaurant at 1248 S. Redwood Road, since I’m told chiles are required to be roasted and sold in a licensed restaurant. Mick, a favorite chile informant of mine suggests a “peasant’s” supper of fried eggs, crumbled fresh Mexican cheese, roasted tomatoes and garlic, sprinkled salt—all wrapped up in heated tortillas with roasted green chiles and cold Coronas. Sounds like a 4-star supper to me!

La Hacienda sells their freshly roasted chiles for $27 per bushel (cash only). One bushel provides about a dozen quart bags, which works out to about $2.25 each. Cheap! If anyone else has a secret fresh-roasted green chile source, let us know. (Ted Scheffler)

Whose Fault Is it?

[Quake-Up Call] Check out this 10-minute flyover of the Wasatch Fault. After the video highlights the path of earthquake destruction and the fact that we're long overdue for the Big One, its cheery narrator optimistically concludes "We can't change the fault but we can learn to live with it." Aside from spending millions to retrofit historic buildings and U of U facilities, just how does one learn to live with it?

(Jerre Wroble)

Free Stuff! (Live Theater Edition)

If you've been waiting for just the right time to check out some terrific local theater, please save the date Thursday, October 16. Also, save a lot of money.

Local entertainment portal Now Playing Utah is serving as the Utah sponsor for Theatre Communication Group's national "Free Night of Theater" program. Around the country, theater organizations will be making free tickets available to Oct. 16 performances. And in Utah, those organizations include Salt Lake Acting Company (A Slight Discomfort), Egyptian Theatre Company (Pageant), Utah Shakespearean Festival (Moonlight and Magnolias) and Pygmalion Theatre Company (Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter). You can get a maximum of two tickets when they become available on a first-come, first-served basis at Now Playing Utah on Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. local time. Don't miss your chance. (Scott Renshaw)

On Location Location

My love/hate relationship with MTV's reality train-wreck series, The Hills, continues tomorrow night when a song by Salt Lake City's Location Location (Marcus Bently's electronic project) will fill the long silences between Audrina and Lauren. Tune in just long enough to hear "Starpusher." The Hills airs at 10 p.m. (ET).

(Jamie Gadette)

Friday, September 19, 2008

UtahFM.org: Pinpoint SLC 3

[Media/Podcast] In this week's installment of UtahFM.org's Pinpoint SLC local entertainment podcast, SLUG's Andrew Glasset talks to Kid Theodore, and Utah Symphony & Opera's Crystal Young-Otterstrom gets all classical (music) on your ass. Not that she'd put it exactly that way ...

Hear Pinpoint SLC now at UtahFM.org. (Bill Frost)

Rock! This Just In

Eagles Of Death Metal are playing Urban Lounge November 5. Anyone who went to their last gig at The Depot knows what this means.

(Jamie Gadette)

Idol Kills News Anchor Brain Cells

[Media] And to think this happened just across Main Street from us yesterday. How did we not sense a disturbance in The Force when Darth Cowell was near?

(Bill Frost)

Utah's 15 Minutes

[TV News] ABC News and USA Today are doing a "50 States in 50 Days" report leading up to the presidential election. On Sunday, Sept. 21, Utah gets its time on World News Sunday (airing on ABC4 at 5:30 p.m.) when Brian Rooney travels to Price to report on natural gas drilling in Nine Mile Canyon.

That's all well and good, but I guess that also means Utah's quirky political cards (a Mormon in the White House?) have officially played out. No Charlie Gibson/Diane Sawyer probing interviews as to why Gov. Huntsman jumped on the McCain bandwagon before it was politically expedient to do so, or how Utahns are supporting or rallying against the upcoming California marriage amendment or even how Utah created a political opportunist and strategist like Karl Rove (old news, I know, but I never tire of it).

The Utah angle is that of us being just a plain old Western state with oil shale to exploit and what "Drill, baby, drill" is doing or will do to us. Important, yes, but not too imaginative.

Probably oughta watch it. Many of us don't know near enough about Nine Mile Canyon. (Jerre Wroble)

Band On The Run: Oh Snap!!

Day 9

Tour is a series of coincidences, luck, (good and bad), mishaps, a mess of constant confusion. It's seven weeks of never really being grounded. You're always on the go and every time you don't take the time to do a thorough "dummy check"and something gets left behind.

For example. back on Day 1 we were practicing in Denver in the basement of our friend, Corey from Hello Kavita. My bass head (in it's bright purple JC Penney suitcase) was left in a mess of laundry. Corey is shipping it to Chattanooga TN.

Then on Day 5, we were playing in Austin TX at The Mohawk, and while setting up our gear my bass stand was crooked and Thunderbird toppled over! The head snapped from it's neck. There was blood everywere. My stomach turned in knots, my eyes jumped from my head like a cartoon, and a quick loud "FUCK!!!" filled all of downtown Austin.

I'm now out a bass head, and my bass.

After my show at The Mohawk we walk down to Emo's where our friend Matt Bauer was playing. Matt gave us some more Lonestar drink tickets and I clichely (is this a word?) tell bartender Jacob how my heart was broken.

"I just snapped the headstock of my Thunderbird, it's hanging by a thread."
"Bummer man," he says, and pauses. "Man, I got this Squire you can have if you ship it back to me. I've had it forever and just trying to get rid of it." This is when my opinion of Austin changes.
"Holy shit, that'd be awesome, can I just buy it off you or like $50?"
"You know what man? You can just have it."

So he gave me his number and address and I was supposed to pick it up. We sleep at a friend's house, who has a bass head that I can buy for $100 which I quickly borrow from our drummer Charlie.

I call Jacob, and he never answers, so we drive to his house. He lives in a small house, with what it looks like a couple roommates, a bar bottle ashtray on the front porch and a beat up Passat in the driveway. I knock loudly on the door. A few seconds go by. I hear fumbling and loud hungover footsteps walking towards me. He swings open the door in a T-shirt and boxers and in his left hand hands me a very free, black, Squire, telecaster GUITAR. Not a bass. I graciously and very awkwardly take it to the van. (I just didn't have the heart to tell him it was a bass that I needed, I can still use it as leverage towards a bass I thought.)

I'm up a Squire guitar, and down a bass.

This story is getting ridiculous. Basically, I end up getting a bass from our friend in Little Rock AK, who agrees to let me borrow it if I ship it back to Little Rock from NY. I have an appointment to get my bass fixed in NY. Then I'll sell one of the bass heads to pay for all the shipping I'm doing along with my bass repairs.

The scary part is this story is only about half way through. This has been the roughest vacation yet.
(Trever Hadley, Band of Annuals. Blogging for six more weeks!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Fitting Tribute

[D.F. Wallace] Sure, you can go on and on about how you once interviewed him, and how he was your very favorite author--or how you became so after news of his death alerted you to his existence. But--excluding J. Gadette's succinct and well-placed outburst, which I fully support--all this literary hand-wringing doesn't add up to a hill of beans in this crazy old world.

At last, there's a powerful organization that's doing something about it.

(Brandon Burt)

Eavesdropping on KSL

[Radioactive] Sometimes I imagine if I crossed over into another time/space dimension, like in an old Star Trek episode, and became my own evil twin that I would be a proud conservative sporting a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on my SUV barreling down I-15 while listening to KSL radio on the way to work.

Well, without even having to locate a wormhole or anything, I actually did tune into KSL radio on the way to work today and was rather disoriented to hear Grant and Amanda joined in by Doug Wright all dissing President Bush for being such a pantywaist about the economy. Wright was especially vexed after listening to the president’s press conference this morning wherein the prez could only muster the weakest of bravado, saying: “My administration is focused on meeting these challenges.” Wright was, per usual, outraged: “Where is the president in all this?”

So, Doug, Grant and Amanda, I have to ask: Where was this outrage back in the day when it might have been useful, when this crisis had its start? It's a little late in the day to be pissed, isn't it?

Bush even opted out of attending a fund-raiser today, since his base from the good old days may be turning on him.

Later, while running an errand, I still had my radio tuned into 1160 AM.

Lo and behold, my ears were filled with the dulcet tones of Sean Hannity interviewing my former mayor, Sarah Palin. I noticed how many of Palin's sentences were choppy fragments as she haltingly considered ways to plug in her talking points. I'm baffled by how inarticulate she has become. Here are a few snippets:

HANNITY: Who's responsible for these failing institutions in your view?
PALIN: I think the corruption on Wall Street. That — that is to blame. And that violation of the public trust. And that contract that should be inherent in corporations who are spending, investing other people's money, the abuse of that is what's got to stop.

… The cronyism that has been allowed to be accepted and then leads us to a position like we are today with so much collapse on Wall Street. That's the reform that we have got to get in there and make sure that this happens. We have got to put government and these regulatory agencies back on the side of the people.

It's what John McCain and I — we have very consistent track records showing that we are capable and we are willing to do this, ruffling feathers along the way, but it's what we're expected to do and what we're promising to do.

And real reform is tough and you do ruffle feathers along the way. But, John McCain has that streak of independence in him that I think is very, very important in America today, in our leadership. I have that within me, also.

And that's John -- why John McCain tapped me to be a team of mavericks, of independents coming in there without the allegiances to that cronyism, to that good old boy system.
It reminds me a little bit of beauty-queen contestant babble. Sorta like …. dare I make the comparison?

(Jerre Wroble)

GOP: Thanks, Hacker!

[Politics] The much-publicized hack into Sarah Palin's quasi-personal Yahoo! mail account couldn't have worked out better for the McCain-Palin campaign.

As a result of the exploit, the account now has been deleted, meaning that Palin can spare herself the uncomfortable questions that would arise if she were to, say, erase evidence in the Troopergate investigation by deleting the account herself. Other uncomfortable questions include: Why was she using insecure Yahoo! mail accounts for official business in the first place? If it's because she was worried that her official (and presumably much more secure) .gov account was subject to open-records laws--not to mention court subpoenas--what was she hiding?

More importantly, is Palin's fetish for back-door secrecy a sign that, if elected, she would continue Dick Cheney's "I'm not part of the Executive Branch" policies of secret government?

The "hacker" also screwed up the data--it was released in screen shot form, for Pete's sake. A real hacker would have swiped a copy of the actual mail spool--creating a searchable text document complete with full mail headers, which would have been much more useful (and, likely, politically damning).

As it is, the "hacker" chose to include things like snapshots of Palin's kids--muddying the waters with a false impression that an elected official can carry out official business in secret, and that the public's access to official government records is somehow a "violation" of the government's "privacy."

So, on behalf of the neocon shadow government, thanks, hacker! You just solved a huge problem for McCain's unvetted running-mate. Couldn't have done it better if you were a GOP political operative. Psst! You can pick up your check at Karl Rove's office.

(Brandon Burt)

Body Worlds' Fiber Art

[Exhibit preview] Until today, I never thought humans were the stuff of fiber. But a tour through Body Worlds 3 and The Story of the Heart, opening Sept. 19 at The Leonardo, revealed a certain "fiberosity" of being: Nerve fiber, muscle fiber, organ fiber, lung fiber, fibrous tendons, even the vast blood vessel network surrounding organs and muscles—when isolated and highlighted like it is in this exhibit—looks like a fine mesh of fiber, or fragile red baby's breath.

And who knew the spinal column is rather drenched in blood from a dense mesh of vessels and capillaries that attach onto it? Seeing how interwoven these vessels are, how needy each organ, muscle and bone is for blood, makes one appreciate what a colossal bummer a heart attack might be.

My observations will no doubt make Dr. Angelina Whalley (above) happy. She wants me to think about my body and treat it nice. Quit my vices. Get fit. Revere it, even.

Whalley's the wife of the exhibit's creator, the mad-anatomist and Plastination patenter, Dr. Gunter von Hagens. She also serves as designer of the exhibits.

Creating this exhibit, for her, borders on a religious experience. At today's press conference, she noted that going back to the days of the Renaissance—when bodies were dissected and examined in churches—looking inside the body is a chance to examine "God's work."

As the 47th city to host Body Worlds, Salt Lake is a bit overdue to receive this exhibit. But at least, it's given Body Worlds a chance to work out all the kinks. Apparently, when they first kicked it off in Japan in '95, they displayed the bodies in straight-forward upright positions. The Japanese said it was too scary. So the von Hagens began positioning bodies into striking poses, highlighting the muscle groups needed to make such movements.

I'd show you some but Body Worlds won't allow posting their photos on blogs.

Thus, you'll just have to see for yourself, starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. at 209 E. 500 South. And/or wait for Brian Staker's upcoming review in City Weekly. And/or read this week's Five Spot.

And good on you, Leonardo. Nice to see the old library come alive again, even if it's filled with dead people. (Jerre Wroble)

Dew Underground: Salt Lake City

I did the Dew tour last weekend, and though I felt old, uncool, and slightly naseous after paying $6 for a draft beer, I earned a newfound appreciation for the sheer amount of man/woman power that goes into setting up an action sports tour. Fuel TV's busy bees worked overtime to capture the most significant facets of the hugely successful event, even stopping by a couple of Salt Lake City venues to film several local bands. Now you can do the Dew from the comfort of your own home, should you subscribe to Fuel TV, that is. Catch the premiere of Dew Underground: Salt Lake City this Sunday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. (ET). Featured acts include:
Tolchock Trio, Form of Rocket, Furs, Loom, Team Mom!, Navigator and Bad Apples. But wait! That's not all. Fuel TV also caught up with local artists Trent Call, Nick and Erin Potter, Kier Defstar, Jaleh Afshar and Brian Kubarycz. Sounds pretty cool, actually.
Or, totally extreme!!
By the way, this isn't Tolchock's first encounter with Fuel TV

(Jamie Gadette)

The Bison Brief

[Bites] According to the National Bison Association, production and sales of bison have been increasing at an average rate of nearly 20 percent for the past two years. There must be something to this bison business, maybe because it's relatively low in fat, high in protein and has a beneficial cholesterol profile. If you’re interested in trying natural, sustainable bison, a number of downtown restaurants are featuring bison dishes during the Downtown Dine O' Round: Acme Burger (bison burgers), Metropolitan (bison short ribs osso buco), Faustina's (bison sliders), The New Yorker (braised buffalo short ribs) and Squatters (BBQ buffalo burgers). In addition, this weekend Whole Foods in conducting a “Buffalo Bonanza.” Mmmmm ... bison! (Ted Scheffler)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Most Awesome Cell Phone

[Tech] It's nearly impossible to buy a phone that doesn't also double as a camera, camcorder, iPod, PDA, GPS and personal hadron collider. Life is so complicated. Sometimes you want a phone that's just a phone.

That's why I love SparkFun Electronics' Port-O-Rotary. It's an old, black, standard rotary phone converted to a cell phone.

In case you've never seen one before, you dial a rotary phone by inserting your index finger in one of those little holes and physically rotating the dial until your finger contacts a little metal capstain at the lower right edge. When you remove your finger, a spring mechanism returns the dial to its original position, producing a number of clicks corresponding to the number dialed.

Equipment at the central office automatically interprets those clicks as numbers, routing your call accordingly. The same "click" can also be generated by briefly pressing down on the switchhook located under the handset. This is a helpful feature during those dramatic moments in life, when you can lift the handset and feverishly tap the switchhook while crying, "Operator? Operator!"

The "ringtone" is produced the way the gods intended ringtones to be produced: by an actuated mallet striking a metal bell. Imagine walking down the street talking on one of these puppies! According to the Website, it weighs two pounds, so you could also use it as a weapon to fend off an attacker. Try that with your fancy iPhone.

(Brandon Burt)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Robbery Update: My Personal Theory

[Crimesolvers!] Now, I'm no criminologist. But the idea that the bank robber is an UrRu? Kind of ridiculous. A Skeksi might rob a bank, but not a poor, old, wise UrRu. Face it, the robber is probably not any kind of a Muppet. Snuffleupagus is too slow to get away, and it's been years since Animal robbed a bank; it was the love of a good Muppet, Janice, that helped him kick his heroin addiction. (It's a touching, inspirational story told in her upcoming autobiography Do I Love You? Fer Sure.)

But then I read about another bank robber with a big nose and a wig ... from New York City! (As they say on the Pace condiment commercials, "New York City?!? Get a rope.")

This one is, apparently, a non-Muppet human named Samuel Manoharan:

The similarities are ... well, not exactly uncanny, considering you can't really see much in the security photos. But the similarities are at least plausible. Still, given that he was caught in August robbing banks in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Manoharan is probably in custody. Or is he?!? Maybe he skipped the $30,000 bail. Hell, for all I can tell from a quick Google search, and what I've learned from episodes of Law & Order, he could be on Mars by now. The Murray Police Department undoubtedly has better search tools. And better training videos.

At any rate, if the authorities do apprehend the suspect as a result of this information, it was my pleasure. No need to thank me. Part of my job, etc. On the other hand, if the bank recovers its losses, it might consider some sort of thoughtful gesture. Just sayin'. I've always thought those promotional toaster ovens looked nice.

(Brandon Burt)

Henson Is as Henson Does

[Crime] Sources seem to lean heavily toward describing this alleged robber of a Murray bank as possibly being of Muppet origin.

So far, he/she has been called Snuffleupagus, Animal from The Muppet Show, and--my own opinion--one of the UrRu from The Dark Crystal.

Note: If you want to rob a bank, it might be a good idea to make sure your disguise isn't too entertaining; next thing this hapless guy will know, his photo will be in blogs and e-mails across the world. Not to mention all over LOLRobbers.com.

(Brandon Burt)

Everlast: More Than One Song

[Live Music] Not that you've heard much about it, but former House of Pain rapper-turned-urban-bluesman Everlast plays the Bar Deluxe (666 S. State) tonight; the show was moved from the now-defunct Paladium with little fanfare.

Local radio stations would have you believe that the ONLY song Everlast ever recorded was the maudlin "What It's Like," and it's unlikely any of them are even aware the man's in town tonight while they spin that tune for the fourth time in 24 hours. Here's a far cooler one, "Black Jesus":

(Bill Frost)

Phony Excellence

[Wine Hoax] I've always been a tad suspicious of the all-too-pervasive Wine Spectator restaurant awards for wine lists since it seems like every other restaurant has one. Well, so was Robin Goldstein, author of a book called The Wine Trials. To test whether Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence was legit, Goldstein created a phony Italian restaurant—Osteria L'Intrepido—along with a phony wine list stuffed with "reserve" wines which included some of the lowest-rated in Wine Spectator history. He also created a phony Website and phone reservation line, all of which took about three hours. Next, he submitted his Wine Spectator Award of Excellence application, a copy of food and wine menus, and, most important, the $250 application fee. Seems that the latter is what Wine Spectator is most concerned with since they never investigated Goldstein’s restaurant to determine if it was even real. The nonexistent Osteria L'Intrepido won a prestigious Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Read about Goldstein’s shenanigans here. (Ted Scheffler)

Dead Zephyr: Week 253

(Bill Frost)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Green Desert Festival Canceled

Apparently the local music festival scheduled to take place Sept. 19-21 just outside of Eureka has been shut down due to misperceptions of it being "one giant rave." Our friend Gavin has the scoop.
(Jamie Gadette)

Snowboarders Vs. Skiers

[Snow Sports] The age-old question about which sport is better continues to burn. Rather than adding more fuel to this fire, let's have a battle between two snow movies, the Grenerds vs Tanner Hall. The victor gets bragging rights, and hopefully will silence this debate- once and for all.

In this corner are the Grenerds. Danny Kass, the two-time Olympic silver medalist as well as multiple U.S. Open and X Game winner, leds the pack with their latest "The Boned Age". The movie pays tribute to the cult classic "The Stone Age" and features the infamous Grenerds and their antics alongside world-class snowboarders like, Travis Rice, Lucas Mongoon and Benji Ritchie.“The Boned Age includes plenty of wipeouts, skits, and the freshest tricks in all aspects of the sport from Magoon creating new rail combinations to EJT--Experimental Jump Technologies,” said Danny Kass.

The Utah premier of "The Boned Age" takes place tonight (September 15) at The Hotel (155 W 200 S) Salt Lake City. The movie starts at 11 p.m. with DJ Felli Fel continuing the party until 2 a.m.

In the other corner is ten time X Games medalist or as the press release declares "the best all-around skier on the planet", Tanner Hall and his latest movie "The Massive". This might be an unfair fight as Hall resides near Park City and even includes street rail scenes filmed in Salt Lake. “From some of the scariest lines up in Alaska to slick urban rails down in Salt Lake City, we mixed it all in. It’s a really solid blend of progressive skiing backed by a soundtrack of my favorite reggae music. In a nutshell, that’s what ‘The Massive’ is all about,” said Hall.

"The Massive" premier goes down at 8 p.m. Thursday (Sept.18) on Lower Main Street (between 7th and 9th Street), Park City.

May the best planker win. (Joseph Bateman)

Palin and Experience...Again

[Campaign 2008] A tip of the Salt Blog/Values Voter hat to Feministing.com, which posted yet another reason why we need to know more about Sarah Palin. As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, she vowed in her RNC acceptance speech to back funding for special needs education programs.

Yet she's a member of a political party whose stalwart right wing for more than three decades has tried to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. (Go here and here for more.)

Step away from your handlers and tell us what you really think, Gov. Palin. (Holly Mullen)

RIP David Foster Wallace

I can't decide whether I'm sad or pissed off by this turn of events. Probably a little bit of both. You brilliant/stupid bastard.
(Jamie Gadette)-

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Magical Hand of the Free Market at Work

[Data Infrastructure] In an interesting case up north, a telecommunications company is suing a Minnesota town for issuing a bond to install a fiberoptic network--after the telco refused to bid for the job.
Municipality: We want our town to enter the 21st century. Would you mind installing a fiberoptic network here?

Telco: Sorry. Our shareholders wouldn't like it.

Municipality: Pretty please? The townsfolk all want broadband, and we'll give you a shitload of tax breaks.

No, you see ... it's all about market forces, supply/demand, insufficient corporate resources--things you government hacks wouldn't understand.

Municipality: Well, our studies show that it would make the town more competitive by attracting high-tech industry and a well-educated workforce.

Sorry ... computer says "no."

Municipality: Okey-dokey, then. Guess we'll have to build it ourselves.

Say hello to our lawyers.

Municipality: Uff da!
Lest you think this is just another example of corporate greed going against the public interest, keep in mind that the telco is only doing this for the town's own good. (Note that it was only after the bond issue was approved that the telco suddenly discovered that the wayward winds of the market had begun blowing in favor of fiberoptics.)

Now, if there's one thing the '00s have taught us, it's that neocons have an implacable fetish for privatizing governmental functions, including corrections, education and even defense in an age when private security firms like Blackwater seem to get better public funding than our boys and girls in the military.

Supposedly, this is because the private sector is able to deliver services more efficiently and economically than the public sector. This theory has turned out not to be true, but at least the privatization model provides for those desirable multimillion-dollar CEO salaries and shareholder profits that the public-sector model thoughtlessly forgot to include.

All this corporate efficiency and effectiveness was thought to stem from free-market forces. Unfortunately, private corporations like competition even less than the public sector does. So, once they get their fat government contracts, they become deaf to taxpayer demands. (Try this: As an upstanding, concerned taxpayer, try attending a board meeting for a publically funded private corporation. Enjoy getting thrown out on your ear.)

The Minnesota case seems to be the wave of the future: pre-emptive privatization. Now the privateers have stopped even pretending that they are capable of solving problems better than the public sector. They just want to use the courts to ensure that those problems stick around long enough that, in case they ever get around to solving them, some plucky town won't have beaten them to it.

We can only hope that, if successful in fending off the lawsuit, the Minnesota town will learn from past mistakes--as well as past successes.

(Brandon Burt)

Band On The Run: Right Behind Ike

Norman Oklahoma: We just woke up after playing The Opolis with Matt Bauer and Sheree Chamberlain, dehydrated and on the humid floor of a mister Tate James. He responded to our over the mic request by Jay asking for a place to crash that night. We are always surprised and grateful by the amount of people that help us out on the road.

Campus TV: Joe is 72 yrs old. He's run this small shop in the college district of Norman since starting the shop back in 1960 (also the year that Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely" came out)

Jer was dodging the sticky rain and slid into a shop filled with a key coping machine, an outdated dust-collected array of musical accessories, plus a white-haired Joe (the saggy grand-father type, who muttered in a slow, low southern accent), and Jack, his fat black cat sprawled across the floor like a wicker welcome mat.

The prices on cables, guitar strings and harmonicas have raised in the last few years but Joe didn't bother with changing the signs. Maraca's, shakers, tambourines, blocks, triangles and other but more random percussion instruments were hung from the ceiling while pulled apart mechanical machines were scattered on the ground. The walls were wallpapered with guitar cables, slides, stands, and guitar strings.

Our receipt read as follows.

lee oscar harmonica holder $19.95
tension rods (snare drum) $4.30
2 curly chords $7.95
4 gold Hohner harmonica necklaces each $2.53
Marine band F harp $25.95
Marine Band C harp $25.95
six keys copied (3 for van, 3 for trailer) $9.75

The keys were ground out by hand on a machine that looked like it was purchased the year the shop opened.
I think we gave Campus TV a good day. Although we never saw one TV at all.

(Band of Annuals. Stay tuned. We'll be blogging for the next seven weeks)