June has come and gone and I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights of the first 6 months of regional theater here in Utah. I … Continue reading The Best of Utah Theater 2022 So Far
Fun Recent Activities in Utah
It’s no secret that I spend a lot of my life cooped up in doors. Sometimes people will say the weather has been bad but I don’t really know because I’ve been inside all day! So lately for my sanity I’ve been trying to get out and go to more activities- particularly plays and concerts and I thought I would give you a round up of what I’ve seen. Let me know if you’ve seen any of these and what you thought.
First cool experience is I got to go to the Utah Symphony to hear a concert called An American in Paris which was half Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and half Schubert’s Symphony No 7 in C Major. I preferred the Gershwin but as Utah has one of the best symphonies in the country it was a great experience.
Next, if you’ve been following my blog you probably know my favorite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Well, after 13 years he has a new book called Bridge of Clay which I am dying to read. He came to Salt Lake for a lecture and book signing and it was really neat. He autographed my book and I was able to tell him how much his writing meant to me. So cool!
Then I tried out a new theater in Provo called The Hive. They were putting on a new original play called The Bookbinders Tale, which I had heard great things about. Unfortunately I found it to be a bit hipstery for me. I think it felt it was being more groundbreaking in its themes and messages than it really was. Still, I like what they are trying to do with the theater and would definitely give them another chance.
Anyone who has been following my blog knows how much I adore Josh Groban. One of the coolest experiences of my life was in 2007 when my friend Camille got bumped from the nosebleeds to down right by the stage! I also love Idina Menzel and have seen her in concert. So I was thrilled to see they were touring together and snatched up a seat (a terrible seat but I was sitting by nice people so it was fun). They did an amazing job and sung all the songs I wanted them to. My only qualm was that the big screen was broken so we could barely see them (the photo of them is from the Deseret News). But other than that a fantastic concert!
I also had the chance to make a new friend named Ashley who is a member of a theater group I follow on facebook. Always good to go out of your comfort zone and meet someone new. 🙂
As I was driving around in my hometown of Draper I noticed a sign for ‘A Night of Broadway’ by the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society and decided to give it a try. To my delight it was such a great experience! Everything was so well done with so many different shows covered by talented singers and dancers. There were a few minor hiccups with microphones but other than that it was amazing and I hope to go to many more of their concerts
I was very excited to see Hale Center Theaters latest version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I had seen it there once before years ago (at the old Hale of course) and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately this time I left with mixed feelings. It was fun and I enjoyed seeing it with my family I thought some of the casting was a little off (not great chemistry) and the show isn’t very memorable. I couldn’t tell you a single song. Also it doesn’t use the Sink Me and iconic poem very well. The production of the play was very good and great costumes.
Next I was able to see 3 shows at Hale Center Theater Orem. 2 of them were at a double header of sorts. First I saw The Velveteen Rabbit, which is a play for children written by my former teacher Dave Smith. It was a very sweet little play for kids. Next I saw Anything Goes which is a bright and bubbly play full of Cole Porter songs. Naturally I loved it!
But the greatest surprise was seeing Daddy Long Legs which is a 2 person show based on the classic book (which I’m not high on and I like the movie even less). I went into it with low expectations but I wanted to support Dave and I ended up being delighted. The songs are great! It’s very romantic and I was amazed how they could learn so many lines! Very impressive!
Finally I went to another ‘Night of Broadway’ this time at the Scera theater in Orem. It was full of talent and they mixed in the standards with some more obscure picks. It was great. My only complaint is the seats in that theater are so small I could barely sit through it and you can’t move the seat arm rest up making it quite uncomfortable. Oh well
So there you have it! It’s been a pretty fun Fall for checking out the arts. There are so many great things to see and do that it can be quite overwhelming. I’m grateful to live in such a artistic and talented place.
What have you been doing lately? Been to any plays or concerts? Any recommendations? Let me know! Thanks!
The last few years I have been able to attend Salt Lake City Comicon and have had a blast. This year because of a moronic legal decision it is called FANX18 and like most years I also had a blast. Unfortunately this report is late because I also got a classic case of Comicon cold where I was sick for a week after but it was still a ton of fun.
One thing I have learned from going to a number of these conventions is I like panels. I don’t like photo ops or getting autographs (they are so expensive, poorly organized and just overall unpleasant). I also don’t love being on the vendor floor. I venture out a few times during a con but the crowds and lines are overwhelming.
Nope I like going to panels! I like hearing what the actors or panelists have to say about the property or their career. Even if they are somebody I don’t know much about or don’t follow their work I think it is interesting to hear about their experience. I am sure that some of it is showmanship for a very zealous crowd but even that can be fun.
With that in mind this year I went to 21 panels over 3 days and they were amazing! The particular standout was in Friday where I got a perfect seat in the Grand Ballroom and stayed there all day through 10 panels! The highlight was a Smallville panel with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum who were hilarious. I want a Welling/Rosenbaum road trip comedy movie!
It was also really neat on Thursday I got to hear from Paige O’hara and Robby Benson who of course voice Belle and the Beast in the animated Beauty and the Beast. I loved hearing about their story and experiences working on one of my favorite movies. It was cool because Paige said she had aged out of voicing Belle (which shocked me!) but she was brought back for Wreck-it Ralph 2. This made me more excited for the princess scene in Wreck-it Ralph 2 because it meant so much to her. Also it was kind of funny because you could tell they weren’t too high on the 2017 remake. LOL
The other panels I attended were Luna Lovegood panel, Star Wars fan film, Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary panel. Superman 78 tribute, Lucy Lawless/Renee O’Connor, Evangeline Lily, Rainn Wilson, David Tennant, Jeff Goldblum, Manut Bennet (who I was unfamiliar with but was very sweet with a very compelling and sad story), Karl Urban, Gaten Matarazzo, Chuck Norris, Jennifer Morrison, Star Wars Rebels panel including James Arnold Taylor and Freddie Prinze Jr, Ian McDiarmid (yes the emperor and he was great!), Brandon Routh, Brent Spiner and the Twisted Toonz which are always a highlight of the con.
I also got to meet up with my friend AJ which was a ton of fun. I didn’t do cosplay this year and I regret that a little bit but it was great to see all of the other cosplay participants. It’s amazing how creative and original people are with their costumes.
I know some people who did photo ops were very frustrated with FANX18, but I had a great time! It was informative, fascinating and just a ton of fun. I also won a free multipass to next years event so that’s just awesome!
Have any of you been to comicons? I know there is the big one in San Diego but it’s hard to imagine it is much better as far as guests than SLC and the lines are certainly more manageable. But let me know your experience at cons.
Take care and happy nerding out!
I did updates on my youtube channel after each day. Here is the recap of day 2:
Hey guys! I just wanted to tell you quickly about a new place to dine here in Salt Lake County. My friend Jacqueline has just opened up her restaurant called … Continue reading Jacqueline Cooks
Utah Theater Profile 4: AMC West Jordan 12
For this weeks Utah Theater Profile I had planned on doing an arthouse theater but things got in the way and I wasn’t able to take photos the way I … Continue reading Utah Theater Profile 4: AMC West Jordan 12
I’m so grateful to live in Utah!! It is such a fabulous place to live in so many ways including a wonderful history of cultural arts including of course the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the top 6 ballet company Ballet West and the world renown Utah Symphony. They perform at Abravanal Hall which is an art deco masterpiece of a building with fabulous acoustics and have had top rate directors such as Keith Lockhart over the years.
Earlier this year I went to a Bravo Broadway performance of Rogers and Hammerstein classics that was fabulous and tonight I went to a show called Cirque de la Symphony with circus acts performing along with the orchestra and it was fabulous.
My friend Emily came with me and we had a lovely time. And for 3rd row the tickets cost $18 each!!! Pretty remarkable I think. I don’t know anywhere else in the country where you could see that kind of quality on a regular basis for that price.
It was fantastic and I’m so awe inspired by people and the talents God has given them. What amazing gifts we all have. I’m so grateful to live in a place where I can see so many wonderful performances at reasonable prices with a family values theme. It is a great blessing.
For my Utah readers- have you been to the symphony? What have you enjoyed?
Next up I’m going to their Messiah Sing-in. It is a tradition of mine but I am usually out of town for the symphonies version but this year I am staying put for Thanksgiving! What a treat that will be.
They played Night at Bald Mountain which was really fun as it is featured in one of my favorite segments of Walt Disney Classic Fantasia!
In Defense of GSL
I was asked at work to write a blog about a fun thing to do in the outdoors in Utah. So I put together this post on the GSL. Most of it will be review for regular readers but I thought I might as well share it.
In Defense of the GSL
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Utah? Most Americans would probably answer 1. Mormons and 2. Great Salt Lake (maybe skiing or the Olympics for 3rd?).
I’ve lived in Utah for most of my adult life and the interesting thing is until 2011 I had never been to see the Great Salt Lake. I had driven by it but not stopped to take a look and certainly not swam in it. I would bet 80-90% of Utahns were like me and had never set foot near the Great Salt Lake. This is funny because daily buses of Chinese tourists come up to take a look at it.
Why don’t people go to the Great Salt Lake? Well, the long and short of it is- it smells.
One blog said:
“Yea, I was going to say, who would want to stink like the Great Salt Lake!??! You can smell it as you start to drive near it. My daughter went on a field trip there, and her shoes stank for at least a week. A co-worker once went out there and her shoes stank up the whole office afterwards.”
Sounds pretty unpleasant right? WRONG!
I was in the ‘who swims in GSL?’ camp most my life but in 2011 I discovered open water swimming and my life has never been the same. As great as pool swimming can be (I love any kind of water) there is something special about being out in nature where the water is unpredictable and full of surprises.
And no body of water is more unpredictable than the Great Salt Lake. It’s a totally unique and exhilarating experience.
You step in the water and your skin prickles. My friend calls it going for a quick pickle. Every pore in your body reacts and burns (people think it is like the ocean and it is not at all). It’s a wild experience but to me that is part of the fun of it.
There are so few times in life we can do something special and when I swim the GSL I can honestly say I’m 1 of only a handful of dedicated swimmers who have that same experience each year. That’s pretty cool! Plus, it really is beautiful.
The older I get the harder it is to be genuinely surprised by anything and each time I swim in the Great Salt Lake (or any open water) it feels new and unexpected.
Every year on the first Saturday of June my swim club Salt Lake Open Water (SLOW) sponsors a 1 mile swim in the Great Salt Lake and it is tough in every way. But it is also exhilarating. I have done it 3 times and each time goes down as one of the best days of my life.
To challenge and conquer nature is an experience every human being should have.
- Make sure to go early in the summer (May and June) because later there are too many spiders and bugs.
- Always go with friends when open water swimming and wear a safe swimmer so you are visible to boaters.
- Keep a swim to an easy return level because conditions can change rapidly at the GSL (windstorms can come on and I’ve been in 6 foot swells without warning)
- You will have brine shrimp (only living organism in the lake) on your body and suit but it washes right off. (There is a hose to rinse off in. Rest comes off in the shower. No big deal)
- Contact SLOW on facebook and find out when swimmers are going and join in. There are members of the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club who swim GSL year-round!
- Have great goggles. I usually tuck an extra pair into my suit because you do not want to have goggle problems at GSL
- Drink lots of liquids before and after because that salt will dehydrate you fast
- Where possible have a kayaker accompany your group giving water, checking safety etc
- Count your strokes. This has helped me so much with open water. The shoreline can feel like a mirage but when you focus on 20 more strokes, 50 more strokes, you will get there. I promise!
- Sighting can be helpful but GSL is tricky since nothing grows around it that’s why best to go with group.
- Smell does not last for weeks. Take a hot shower and launder your clothes in hot water and you’ll be fine
- Oddly the smell is much worse just outside the lake than when you are swimming in it. I don’t know if you just don’t notice it but it really is a non-issue in the water.
- Wouldn’t recommend shaving anywhere right before going in the GSL. It will burn!
I’m probably not making it sound like very much fun but swimming in the Great Salt Lake is an adventure. It’s something you can gather with friends and take on together. It’s a beautiful part of my home state and I recommend everyone give it a shot, smell and all.
Open water swimming also teaches me about life every time I am in the water. The shoreline can feel so far off but if I push through and don’t give up I will prevail. That’s one of many lessons I’ve gotten from the sport over the years.
Oh and you do float which is kind of cool!
Here I am getting interviewed after my 2013 race, which was incredibly difficult for me to finish but I did it!
Next time you are in Utah let me know and let’s swim GSL together!
I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my favorite Utah restaurant which just opened a new location in Sandy about 10 minutes from my house, Blue Lemon!
Blue Lemon serves American cuisine, both entrees and desserts. It is fine dining level quality without the high price tag. Honestly cooking is more for personal enjoyment when you’ve got something this good for this reasonable a price.
For $12 including a drink I got chicken curry meal with rice pilaf, veggies and a pear blue cheese salad. I couldn’t make all that for $12 for just me. No way. It was delicious! I’ve rarely had a miss at Blue Lemon’s other locations.
In fact, last year I went to the Black Sheep Cafe in Provo and spent double what Blue Lemon cost me and I prefer the Blue Lemon meal. Black Sheep wasn’t bad but i definitely wasn’t worth double.
It is served cafeteria style so you also save in waiter fees and tips. The assembly line is out front so you can see your food being made. They also have a large booth of delicious desserts. Last time I went I got a flour-less chocolate cake and it was so rich I could only eat half of it. Delish!
Not only is the food great at a great price but the ambiance is special too. I love the design of the table sections with the wood, sofas and chandeliers
And the rest of the design is modern without feeling cold.
So if you haven’t been go check out Blue Lemon. You won’t be disappointed.
11372 S State St
Oh and they also have a full breakfast menu that is delicious.
Now I’ve made myself hungry. May just have to go there for lunch!
Phases and Smiles
Do you ever go through phases? What I mean is I tend to get really excited about something and dive into it and then my interest will lessen for a time and I’ll be hyper-focused on something else. I still always like whatever it might be but my focus can slightly change from time to time.
For example, since the beginning of the year I’ve been really into movies. Part of it may be my recent interest in videography and I’ve always liked movies but lately I’ve just found them so fascinating. There are so many aspects of the art of film that can be analyzed and discussed and even a bad movie can be interesting to think about.
I hope you haven’t gotten bored with my movie posts of late because I’ve had a blast writing them. I’ve said from the beginning that these are my silly thoughts about life and that can include movies, books, whatever phase I am in. I love writing about it!
For those of you who are not into movies you may be glad to hear that I think I’m about to enter a reading phase. This is partly due to the fact that I swear I’ve told like 5 people that I will read a book for them or with them.
Currently I’m listening to the book by frequent commenter of this blog Christine Plouvier, Irish Firebrands, and am greatly enjoying it. http://irishfirebrands.wordpress.com/ . I was asked to be a beta-listener for her audiobook and at first the voice took a while to get used to but now I really like it. It’s a sexy and romantic story about a Mormon woman who’s kids are grown up and feeling brave moves to Ireland and meets a lonely widower.
I’m also reading a book about Margaret Thatcher with my Mom. It was my present to my mother for her birthday. Not just the book but that the 2 of us would read it together and discuss. That’s the relationship we have. When My Mom and I talk about politics we are saying I love you. (How many people can say that about their parents?). Really just intelligently discussing anything has always been the best part of our relationship.
I also have the book for book club Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which have been a blast to read again. I’m really looking forward to club meeting and our discussion. My sister and I are reading Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim together and that should be great.
And yesterday I got the rewards from a kickstarter campaign I did last fall. It was for a clean romance novel set called Ripple Effect Romance and they are written by mostly local authors and all are women with pretty decent writing resumes.
Even if they are silly I still think I will enjoy reading them. It’s so hard to find clean romance novels but in an age of the death of the romantic comedy I’m missing my cheesy romance! You can order the first one Home Matters on Amazon. More about the authors can be seen- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/968976456/ripple-effect-romance-series-six-romance-novellas
And there are others. Like I said I have a lot of books I’ve been putting off and need to get with it! Luckily a book phases is coming and I’m enjoying it just as much as the film phase.
Do you guys ever go through phases like this? I guess I’m just a hyper-focused person.
Presently I have also felt happier than I have in a long time. It’s strange because there is a lot of uncertainty in my life, but I don’t really care (a big step for me). I can’t really get into it but just trust me- there’s uncertainty and potential excitement and disappointment. Fingers crossed for excitement! (cryptic enough for you).
There are a lot of reasons I’ve been smiling lately. One is how much fun I’m having shooting, editing, and learning about videos/youtube. I’m happiest when I’m learning new things and have new projects. The response has even been exciting. I have a video with almost 3,000 views!! It’s just fun.
I’ve also had great times with friends- getting to spend 3 nights this week with different groupings of them (Sunday, Thursday, Friday). I have the best friends.
The weather has been stunning. Perfect and the air has been clear for once. The mountains gorgeous. How can you not smile when you see this out your door?
I think another reason I am smiling is I finally feel 100% better. I was so sick at Christmas and it took me 2 months to feel completely better. I can breathe freely. It’s just a good feeling to feel strong and energetic again.
Also, I have finally found a swim coach and have been in the water more in the last 2 weeks than I was in the last 3 months!! I am remembering how happy it makes me. In fact, I made this video I was so happy after my Thursday swim.
I think it took a while for me to get the bad taste out of my mouth after the Slam the Dam treatment and disappointment. That was very discouraging. Swimming is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to make me feel bad about myself and my swim times.
When I got in the water the last few weeks I remembered how happy it made me and I feel a renewed desire to train, get ready for GSL. I had actually been debating about even entering this year because it has been so difficult for me in the past but somehow I turned the corner and am really excited. Like I said, you can’t wipe the grin from my face after the pool.
Oh and I also went to an amazing play on Thursday- Big River at Hale Theater Orem. So great! Here’s a review of the show on Deseret News. Had a great time with my parents. My Dad and sister are going to Germany for a month and it is going to be fun hearing about their adventure.
So, life is good. Some phases. A lot of fun and a lot of smiles. Thanks to all of you for reading no matter the phase. I love you all (for real). Thank you so much!
Speed Dating and Sisters
Tonight I am exhausted but wanted to give you an update on my last weekend.
It all started on Friday with my most recent 8 at 8 singles activity. I was expecting around 15 people and to my shock 56 people came. I felt kind of bad that I wasn’t more organized but luckily everyone was easy going and the restaurant was very good to us (especially because I had been confused over the reservation). I am also very grateful to a girl in the group named Carly who took a leadership role on the activity and saved the day. I still can’t believe that so many people came! Who knew speed dating would get such a crowd?
Saturday and Sunday I spent with my sisters Megan and Anna. Meg was in town for the weekend on a special discounted airfare from a an airline called allegiant airlines. I think her ticket was around $100. Just as a point of contrast my last ticket to California was nearly $400, so its a tremendous bargain.
Sometimes I think the small breather of a trips are the best and most refreshing. Doesn’t give you enough time to be sick of each other and you don’t have to do as much bending to change work, school and other schedules around to accommodate visitors. We kept it pretty simple but went to my favorite bakery Bake 360, watched Best in Show and then Sunday took a walk on Draper trail, taking a photo by the dinosaur a resident has in their backyard (random I know).
One last update, I have been having success in my work and in preparing for Slam the Dam. I feel confident in both. Just today my boss said I was a ‘lifesaver’. It meant a lot to me especially given I was gone for so long. The other great thing was that I truly took a vacation and hardly worked at all for the 10 days I was gone. I haven’t done that in nearly all my adult work-life. I’m not exaggerating with that statement. When I worked for JWA I worked so much my boss had to tell me to get off the computer and enjoy Hawaii. The same when I was doing the rentals full time and definitely true when I worked for Grabber.
I’m not trying to sound ungrateful for my past work experiences. Far from it. I’m just grateful to Poler for allowing me to take a real break from work. It may also be that I am learning to let go and relax a little more but I doubt it? Either way, I’m grateful for my job.