There happens to be TWO Fourths of July in Utah
And they’re both about parades and fireworks. One is conventional Independence Day Weekend, and then there are twenty days until Pioneer Day, which celebrates the arrival of the founders in this area from the U.S.A. It also once meant over three weeks of fireworks, but urban sprawl and common sense has slowed down casual use of these hazardous pyrotechnics.
It was a coincidence, but as the air began to clear from black powder residue, the northwestern winds brought in long trails of forest fire smoke that afflicted the valleys of the entire West between the Rockies and the Sierras/Cascades.
USA! USA! USA! — The 4th of July is ON!
Oops! There were only two bands at Ladies That Rock at the Woodshed (Grogan’s Venture Inn A Go Go) and I was late for MiNX. The second group, party band ESX played their last show that night, so although the music was wonderful, there was something that felt different. Crystal the leader said that she planned to be singing at her own funeral, though, and that cheered me up immensely. (I asked her to send me an invitation.)
July 24 — “Pie & Beer Day” and Pioneer Day too!
When I was growing up in Salt Lake City, the big Pioneer Day Parade was a highlight of the summers — often hot miserable summers. I have been in these parades associated with floats and wagons, sold popsicles as a vendor (didn’t take long to sell EVERYTHING), suffered on the sidewalks watching the thing, and even ran some road races along the parade route, which sounds crazy now, but at least they were over before the heat got intense.
This year, KRCL-FM did a fund-raising event at an establishment called The Beer Bar that emphasized matching specialty beers with various flavors of pie. It was called “Pie & Beer Day” in honor of the regional holiday. It was well after the parade, so I went down to help out my old radio station.
It was very successful, despite the surprising number of folks who jammed the place, and waited in Hammer of Hell heat to get inside. What made it work so well was simply the general good nature I associate with KRCL’s staff and fans — people came prepared to laugh and relax. I’ve since read that the term “Pie & Beer Day” wasn’t exactly a fresh idea, but it was new to me, and I enjoyed the silly fun.
Valley air getting you down? Go to the mountains!
Although there’s an investment in gasoline, journeys to the cool green mountains above the crowded Wasatch Front are always worth it for the lungs, heart, and relief of big-city stress.
The wildlife coexists with human beings quite well in Big Cottonwood Canyon — congratulations to whomever has done the hard work of making it happen that way.
A spontaneous invitation to an RDT preview:
I was aware of a crowd-sourcing project that RDT was conducting to aid aspects of their Fall Concert — the choreographers utilized a methodology called GAGA in their classes and onstage work. It had nothing to do with Stephanie (Lady Gaga) Germanotta, but when I reserved a ticket for Gaga’s upcoming show, I thought of RDT and donated to them right afterward. In a very generous gesture, they invited me to see a preview of By The Snake from the upcoming concert in October on July 25.
What I saw started as three separate duets that became pieces with the three unchanged couples dancing almost as three entities with three identities, separate from the young dancers who performed those intricate and beautiful duets with extraordinary focus and precision. Six people onstage, and as many as nine personalities at times. The big bonus was a “finale” that read more like a sextet rather than multiple couples, but it was so intricate, I could have guessed wrong. The energy of the dancers radiated like shining stars throughout the whole concert, which it was — a whole concert.
Whatever GAGA means in the context of Ojad’s and Noa’s teaching, it was electrifying for those talented dancers that day! Three of them were totally new acquaintances to me, I was on nodding terms with two others, and was mighty proud of my recently-met friend Efren, whose long duets with Ursula kept me riveted throughout the concert. I have been SO fortunate this last season to see young dancers like Efren and Tyler do such brilliant work in RDT, and fine practitioners in other groups around Salt Lake — like SB Dance and the Porridge for Goldilocks gang. I surely would have missed some or all of this artistry if I hadn’t done my research for the workshop last May. This was also the second time this year I’ve been blessed to see a Dance preview!
The concert was held on Linda C. Smith’s birthday — In the past, I’ve praised her ability to bring out the best, in people and in our culture, and I’ll likely do it again in the future. I’m also going to praise her right now for making possible the chrysolite of wonder that I saw on that Friday afternoon.
Coming up in my NEXT post …
I may have some catching up to do this week, but at least I’m not goofing off in Amsterdam. (I’ll goof off there later.)
Online Versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom Novels:
REMINDER: Research this prolific author on ERBzine.
And thereby hangs a tale As good luck would have it As merry as the day is long At one fell swoop … (We’re stealing from Elizabethan/Jacobean Theatre, like Shakespeare did.)
Read my very personal review of 004’s CD State of Affairs: HERE
Buy one through RAUNCH Records’ Facebook page!