Wednesday, November 30, 2011
There is so much going on in Utah this season. Last Tuesday, Studio 5 let me come on the show and talk about several events. And that just scratched the surface.
The following events are ones featured on Studio 5. You can see the segment here.
Gingerbread Competition at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo
The Shops at Riverwoods is starting a new tradition this year with their gingerbread house competition. Each of the businesses created a large gingerbread representation of themselves, and they are on display at the shops, and the public has been invited to participate in the competition as well. You can buy gingerbread house kits with the basic tools at the Blickenstaff’s toy shop. All building materials must be edible. The competition will run through Dec. 2nd and the winner will be announced on Dec. 3rd at Shops “Festival of Giving.” Read more about the rules and regulations
International Creche Exhibit at the Homestead Resort in Midway
Dec. 2-5 it is the 13th annual International Creche Exhibit in Midaway, and this year it is hosted by the Homestead Resort. This is a free exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world. The Homestead will also have light refreshments and some fun activities for kids including cookie decorating and crafts for a small fee. The weekend of the exhibit is also Midway’s Swiss Christmas which includes craft vendors, musical performances, and a visit from Father and Mother Christmas. Midway’s outdoor skating rink is also open.
The International Creche Exhibit is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Beehive Bazaar at the Bell Room in Provo
Dec. 8-10, Thurs. Fri.10 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
My favorite craft bazaar of all time, the Beehive Bazaar is opening its doors for three days starting Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Bell Room in Provo—that’s on the corner of University and Center street. This is a true artisan show. All of the vendors are artists and everything is hand-made. These are unique, really creative gifts. You’ll find paper goods and prints, clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, bags, vinyl, custom chocolate, glassworks…it’s sort of a hipsters market place.
Echoes of Christmas: Live Nativity at Liberty Park
Dec. 15-17, 19-21, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
For those who are looking to experience the true meaning of Christmas in a new way, the “Echoes of Christmas” live nativity presentation at Liberty Park lets you participate in the story. Shepherds with torches lead the audience from scene to scene, as you follow the story and draw closer to the stable and the Christ child. This is a 40-minute show with original music. There is about 20 minutes of walking, and the audience should dress warmly. This presentation has been enthusiastically received ever since it opened three years ago. Admission is free. You can see pictures and a video at their website http://www.blogger.com/www.echoesofchristmas.com.
Imagine Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker”
Founded by former Ballet West principal dancer Raymond Van Mason, Imagine Ballet Theatre (IBT) is Utah’s pre-professional ballet school for kids and teens. Their production of The Nutcracker is truly a unique, Utah production. The scenery has been painted by local artists; the score has been arranged by a Utah composer, and the choreography is by Raymond Van Mason who has also choreographed for Ballet West and the Utah Opera. In most productions of The Nutcracker, Clara and her nutcracker prince dominate the first act, but the second act is taken over by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier. In IBT’s version, the focus remains on Clara, as the story is very much from her point of view.
This is a production that appeals to children. The scenery, the child actors, the story…it’s all magical. There’s a reason this ballet is Christmas tradition for all ages and interests.
Imagine Ballet’s Nutcracker runs Dec. 14-17 and the 19th 7:30 p.m. at the Peery Egyptian Theater in Ogden. There is a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday the 17th.
Christmas Riverboat Cruise
This season, you don’t have to wait for snow for a sled ride. Take a scenic tour down the Provo river with thousands of lights reflecting off of the water. There are Christmas scenes along the shore, Christmas music, and Santa even comes along in his canoe. The barges can hold up to 40 people. The trips happen every 30 min. on the hour and half-hour. This part of the Provo River is very beautiful and isolated; there are tree branches arching over the river. This is a great activity for families. Forget the mall, the line to see Santa, the frightened toddlers. Tickets are just $6 per per person—less than movie tickets. Dec. 2nd-26th, Mon.- Sat. 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. 3606 W. Center Street in Provo, by Utah Lake. Dress warmly.
Diversity Trees in West Valley
The Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley currently has an exhibition entitled “Trees of Diversity.” Fir trees are decorated to represent different countries and ethnicities. Each one has been donated and decorated by a different ethnic group. This is a great way for families to introduce their children to Christmas customs from around the world. There are also nativity scenes and gingerbread houses.
This is a free exhibit, and it is ideal for grown-ups and children, friends, families, singletons—anyone who is looking to broaden their horizons this holiday season.
The exhibit runs from Nov. 17 through Dec. 27th, Mon.-Thurs. 9:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays by arrangement.
Monday, November 14, 2011
This little consignment shop in Springville, just a couple of blocks away from the art museum, is one of the sights that inspired this blog. I had a job in one of the gorgeous old buildings on Main Street in Springville, and during my lunch hours I'd often wander around town, popping into stores and hunting up the best chicken alfredo pizza (which can be found at a gas station).
Wandering Wardrobe was one of the little gems I found. It wasn't far from a used book store I'll tell you about sometime. After a triumphant lunch time jaunt during which I found a pair of jeans that flattered my rump, I thought to myself, "I'll bet a lot of people don't even know it's here. I ought to let people know."
Wandering Wardrobe is in a lovely little brick home with a bell on the door and a winding wooden staircase inside that takes you up to the "landing" where you get first glimplse of the shoes.
Every piece is stylish, good quality, and in excellent shape. The inventory isn't extensive, but they carry children's as well as women's clothes, and they have an excellent selection of jackets. While I was prowling the racks last Saturday, I saw labels from Wilson's Leather, Ann Klein, Chicos, and GAP. I also saw the perfect shoes...a size and a half too big. (Sigh.) I walked away with two scarves.
Wandering Wardrobe also carries books, DVDs, and some home decor. I spotted a handful of little girl velvet dresses--perfect for holidays, as well as a...wait for it...a triceratops so big you'd have to lift your toddler on to it.
Visit Wandering Wardrobge and tell them you heard about it on "Been There, Done That." You won't get a discount, but it would be cool for me.
Monday, October 24, 2011
18 vampire brides! You gotta admit, Drac has a way with women. And Ballet West's Dracula is all you could wish for: tall, dark, formidable, and bloodthirsty. In the first act, he stalks about desperate for a drink, but his fanatically devoted mistresses are empty husks of their former selves. Unable to slake his thirst, Dracula sends his minion Renfield to the pastoral village at the foot of the mountains.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I'm a huge devotee of the ballet, Halloween, and gothic Victorian mystery. So when I heard Ballet West was bringing Dracula to the stage, I geeked out in the way only a balletomane can, by pirouetting across the room.
After I picked myself up off the floor, I contacted Ballet West's PR department, and commenced begging. They very considerately let me sit in on a dress rehearsal. I even got to walk up on the stage and galk at the massive sets, and they are impressive.
The first act takes place outside Dracula's castle and consists of a series of dances and impressive moves from Dracula and his brides--some of whom fly. This ballet, by Ben Stevenson, debuted in 1997, but it hearkens back to the classic ballets like Coppelia and Giselle. The story just provides backdrop for the dancing. The first act reminds me of another classic Les Sylphide in which the stage is filled with ghostly ballerinas. The first act culminates with Dracula feasting on the latest offering brought to him by Renfield. Once he's satisfied, he leaves the remains for his brides to finish off while he sets off for the village below.
The second act opens in the village below. It's a time of celebration for Svetlana who is turning 18. The village celebration is dampened slightly by an old woman who has a premonition of somthing evil. Svetlana's beau Frederick proposes, and Svetlana joyfully accepts, but not before she 1) dances around a lot; and 2) makes Frederick ask her father for her hand in marriage. This provides one of the lighter moments in the ballet.
Just when a happy ending seems assured, thunder and lightening break up the scene and Dracula's carriage sweeps on stage. This does not bode well for the newly betrothed couple.
You'll have to see the third act for yourself. One of the highlights for me was Renfield's solo number. His frenzied movements made me believe he could give the Orkin man a run for his money.
Costuming, music, choreography: beautiful. While I've seen it close-up in rehearsal, I can't wait to see it again in performance.
Dracula runs through November 1st with matinees on Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.
Audiences are encouraged to come in costume!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I arrived at Capitol Theater tonight, 6:45, only to be greeted by a "cancelled event" sign. Not cool, Ghost Investigators. Not cool. So, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find the new location of the former Elizabeth Tea Room's steak and mushroom pie. I eventually settled for "pommes frites" at a Belgian waffle stand. There was a busker playing a Swedish violin--something I'd never heard before--that made the whole cancellation worth it. It was heavenly.
But the best news of all! (Drum roll please.) Ballet West is going to let me sit in on a dress rehearsal for Dracula! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! I can't wait to bring you the inside scoop. I feel just like Jill Krementz!
You know, Jill Krementz?
Photo journalist and author...wrote "A Very Young Dancer?"
Monday, October 17, 2011
Also on my schedule for the remainder of this month:
Utah Symphony's Spooky Symphonies October 24-25 (come in costume!)
The Haunted Canyon experience on the Heber Creeper
Ballet West's performance of Dracula
And tommorrow night, I'm going to learn about local spooks from none other than the Ghost Hunters of Utah with the Wasatch Paranormal Investigators. Their presentation is actually part of "Dracula Fest," a series of activities put together by Ballet West in conjunction with the debut of the ballet. October 18th at 7:00 p.m., paranormal fans will gather at Capitol Theater to hear local legends and some recordings made by the Ghost Hunters of Utah.
(While I wouldn't class myself as a "fan" of the paranormal, I have watched several seasons of the X-files*, and I love an unexplained mystery.)
One more, non-Halloween event you should know about. The King's Singers will be performing with the Utah Symphony on Oct. 28 and 29. I became a fan when I was 20 and a roommate introduced me to their version of "A New Day."
Do you have any suggestions of Halloween activities in the valley that I've missed? Or maybe just a really great Halloween house I ought to drive by? Leave a suggestion in the Comments.
*my friend bought me a Scully doll at a garage sale! She comes with a stretcher and a body in a bag! How cool is that?
Monday, September 26, 2011
With October just a week away, I'm already making a list of all the Halloween haunts I've got to hit. But I'd like some suggestions from you. Any Halloween-themed activities going on in Utah Valley and SLC that you'd like me to visit and blog about?
Meanwhile, here's a little challenge: photos taken at locations across Utah and Salt Lake Valleys. Can you name the shop and/or site? A prize for the person who gets the most correct.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Once a year, the Olympic venue at Soldier Hollow hosts world-class athletes of the canine variety. It’s the Soldier Hollow Classic….and it is a sight to behold.
If you’ve seen the movie “Babe” (or watched any Welsh television) then you know what I’m talking about. Except—and let me be perfectly clear about this—the Sheepdog Classic involves real live dogs and no animatronic talking pigs. No pigs at all. Sorry. However, there is actually a movie in the works about this event.
Make no mistake, this ain’t no beauty pageant. These dogs are tough and smart and amazingly skilled. (Okay, and beautiful too.) Dogs and their handlers come from all over the world to compete here. It’s mesmerizing to watch them work.
Can you really spend an entire day watching dogs run around herding sheep? Yes. Yes, you can. If you need a break from the competition, the venue also hosts a range of food vendors (many of them serving locally sourced lamb), craft vendors, and a petting zoo. Various entertainments and dog-training demonstrations run throughout the day. It’s a very kid-friendly event. (But leave your family dog at home, please. No spectator dogs allowed.)
Bring binoculars and/or a zoom lens for your camera. The course covers a large area running at least half a mile up into the hills.
There is plenty of parking at the venue, but expect an additional charge. Stadium seating is available. You may also bring chairs or blankets and sit on the graded dirt areas; that’s what we do since it gets us a little closer to the dogs. Stay for the medals ceremony and you get a Scottish bagpiper brigade as a bonus.
P.S. I owe my discovery of this event to my sister, a Heber Valley resident. Thanks, sis!
Monday, August 29, 2011
Timpanogos Storytelling FestivalThursday-Saturday Sept. 1-3, 2011
Mt. Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon
Everyone loves a good story. Little known fact: the first cave drawing is directly related to the phrase, "you should have seen it; it was THIS BIG!" While the desire to be entertained is universal, I think Utahans have a special place in their hearts for story. It's a fundamental part of our cultural heritage. Maybe that's why the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is one of the largest in the country.
Approximately 26,000 people from across the country (and the world) make the trek to Utah for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. In 2005, the city of Orem designed the Mt. Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon to accomodate the ever-increasing crowds. Timpanogos attracts world-renowned storytellers. That's right, we get the best of the best like Donald Davis, Bil Lepp, and Charlie Chin.
Every Labor Day weekend, my "KAG" compatriots fly in to Utah and we attend the festival together. I have laughed until I've cried, and cried when I've experienced carthasis in a story. I have been transported to different cultures, different countries, even different worlds.
This is a can't miss opportunity for families. I've sat in tents and watched children transfixed by a single voice, not an electronic device in sight. Because, in the end, I believe everyone wants to hear a story...humorous, informative, fantastical, nostalgic, spine-tingling, inspirational.
Main events for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival start Thursday night and run throughout Saturday. You can purchase tickets for single events, entire days, or the entire weekend. I find the weekend pass to be the best bargain. That lets you in to two days of storytelling at Timpanogos Park and two nights of hilarity or horror (depending on whether you go to Laughing Night at the SCERA Shell or Shivers in the Night at park.
A Navajo friend of mine told me her father used to take the kids outdoors at night in the Arizona desert and tell them all of the legends of the constellations and how the world came to be. The sharing of stories is primarily a oral tradition in the Navajo culture, and she's she worried that the stories arefading away. While I'm all for writing things down, I believe that everyone could benefit from practicing the art of telling and listening to a story.
In addition to the storytelling tents, the festival is packed with life musical performances, puppet shows and excellent food provided by prominent local restaurants. I'm looking forward to indulging in a little grilled pineapple from Toucano's as well as a breadstick from Magleby's.
Visit the official Timpanogos Storytelling Festival website for a schedule of the weekend's activities, ticket prices, and a list of the featured performers.
Parking for the general public is not available at the park. The festival runs shuttles every 15 minutes from parking lots in Orem and Provo. Click here to see the shuttle locations.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
This past month I have had my car in for repairs twice, so I did experience a moment of guilt as I stared at my bulging book bag. But I had calculated the cost in my head, and I have stew and salmon patties in my freezer at home, so I’ll still be able to eat until pay day.
I love books.
Then I went to a new bookstore where I bought a copy of a new book that a friend of mine has illustrated…
…and I bought one more book that caught my eye.
Even now, I’m sitting at the Barnes & Noble café, typing out this entry.
I have a sickness, people!
This is not a cry for help. (I can stop any time I want.) It is a cry to arms! Our bookstores are failing! The news of Borders bankruptcy caused me to drop my head into my hands and groan, “Oh, how are the mighty fallen.” Then I promptly went to pick the carcass by loading up on three of the discounted paperbacks from my favorite mystery series.
Now I admit to being a part of the problem. Larger booksellers like B&N and Borders are faltering, in part, because of online bookstores and the fact that retailers like Walmart and Costco order NY bestsellers by the boatload and sell them cheaply. Yes, I love that I can find obscure books on Amazon. And I bought “The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society” at Costco (where, incidentally, I also got an excellent herbed cheddar).
But the cruelest blow of all happened in Kansas City, KS (my home away from home). The “I Love a Mystery” bookstore is closing its doors! Aack! My favorite genre!
This time, it’s personal.
I realize that I usually feature Utah-based businesses. But today, I’d like to use the entry to lovingly eulogize one of my favorite retreats.
The “I Love a Mystery” bookstore specialized in…mystery. The interior of the bookstore looked like it could have been the library in which Colonel Mustard was caught with a lead pipe. Mystery “artifacts” were scattered throughout the store: a deerstalker’s cap, a calabash pipe, a dagger, or a skull. The store sold both new and used, every author of note. (And some not.) There were chairs for sitting and a tea cart.
You can find any mystery author of note there. I first discovered “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series at “I Love a Mystery.” Last year, I did Christmas shopping there. Every year, my book club has Christmas party and we each bring a favorite used book to gift—white elephant style. In anticipation of the event, I went to “I Love a Mystery,” to get the first books in two of my favorite series: the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series by Anne Perry and the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters.
Although I’m only in Kansas City about once a year, I’m on the email list for “I Love a Mystery.” That’s how I got the devastating news. So, I’ve put on my black arm band and had my moment of silence.
And so I finish my eulogy with these words: 40 % off all new titles, 50% off all used titles, vintage and signed editions brought out daily. Everything must go.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
American Fork, UT 84003
Mon-Thur 7:30am-7pm, Fri 7:30am-8pm
There is a wonderful treasure, tucked away on a side street in American Fork. You wouldn’t even know it was there if it wasn’t for a sign out on the main road with an arrow and the words “toasted sandwich and homemade soups.”
I’m talking about Flour Girls and Dough Boys, of course! Let’s go there together. I’ll point out all the things I love as we go along. First off, how great is it that it’s just slightly off the beaten path? As we enter, I point out the various kinds of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Then I redirect your attention to the floor which is tiled in orange white checks.
However, your attention has been wholly taken up by the gorgeous array of baby cakes and cupcakes in the display case to the left. Hungrily, your gaze rakes over the shortbread chocolate chip cookies, the muffin tops, and the pumpkin chocolate chip bars with cream cheese frosting. Behind the counter, the racks are filled with baguettes, alpine sourdough, sunflower honey oat, and focaccia.
Let’s stay for lunch. I’ll have the chicken, avocado, panini. I can see you’re torn between a meat pie or the turkey and brie sandwich on cranberry walnut bread. I’ll also have a cup of the Tuscan sausage and white bean soup which is packed with vegetables, so I’ll feel good taking a couple of large, soft ginger cookies home with me.
Everything at Flour Girls and Dough Boys is made from scratch. Heavenly!
Thanks for joining me. Your company is a pleasure anywhere, but the aroma of freshly baked break makes it a perfect outing.
Flour Girls and Dough Boys also has a dining area tricked out with some fun stuff for kids. So next time, bring’em along.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Friday, June 1st 8:00 p.m.
Provo Town Square Parking Terrace Rooftop
1969. It was a very good year. The year 1969 gave the world Sesame Street, Monty Python, the Apollo 11 moon landing—and me. And, more to the point here, the Beatles’ album Abbey Road.
Of course the Beatles split up while I was still a squalling infant, but thanks to their ubiquity and musical genius (and the tutelage of my sister’s high school boyfriend), I grew up to be a Beatles fan. Like, a really big Beatles fan.
Like, I own all the Beatles albums, films, anthologies, and special editions of Rock Band. I’ve seen both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr live in concert. I’ve seen Julian Lennon in concert. I’ve seen any number of Beatles tribute bands in concert. I’ve even made the pilgrimage to Liverpool.
Oh yes, and to Abbey Road itself—the now-famous street in London where the Beatles recorded at EMI studios.
Abbey Road has been ranked the 14th on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time list. Which is pretty good, especially considering it’s only the fourth or fifth best Beatles album of all time. And which is why, if you’re in the neighborhood, you won’t want to miss Downtown Provo’s free Rooftop Concert Series this Friday night.
(Oh, hey! Do you know who else enjoyed free rooftop concerts?)
If you’re a Beatles fan, you already know that John, Paul, George, and Ringo never performed the Abbey Road songs together in concert; they had long since quit touring by 1969. All the more reason to hear their music performed live this weekend!
And even if you’re not really a Beatles fan, you still know the songs from Abbey Road: Come Together. Something. Octopus’s Garden. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Here Comes the Sun. You’ll be singing along, trust me. (You might not be singing along throughout the less-familiar Side Two epic medley, but you’ll enjoy it. Trust me.)
To get you primed for the Abbey Road Show, here are some of my favorite insider tidbits about Abbey Road. Now you can be a Road-ie too:
- Abbey Road is a very busy street. If you go there and if you insist upon recreating the album cover photo in that famous zebra crossing, be prepared to cross quickly and get a few grumpy looks from passing motorists—not to mention interference from other tourists there ruining your shot. (“Zebra crossing” is what the British call crosswalks. You are not likely to spot any actual zebras in one.)
- Take a closer look at that album cover. Notice that Paul is the only Beatle crossing the street barefoot. This is allegedly one of the clues that contributed to the whole “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy theory. Also, do you see that man standing on the right-hand pavement, next to the black taxi? Turns out that guy was a passing American tourist who had no idea he was photographed until he saw the album cover. Well, that’s the official story, anyway; I think maybe he is the Angel of Death, stalking Paul.
- “Something,” one of two George Harrison classics on Abbey Road, so impressed Frank Sinatra that he hailed it as “the greatest love song ever written.” Sinatra may just be right about that.
- John Lennon hated “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (written by Paul) and refused to participate in recording the song. I kind of don’t blame him.
- “Because” features producer George Martin on the harpsichord and George Harrison on the Moog synthesizer. Moog is a funny word.
- The translation of John’s chorus in “Sun King”? “Mundo paparazzi mi amore chicka ferdy parasol”? Yeah, it’s gibberish. A faux mix of Romance languages and Liverpuddlian nonsense.
- Nobody really has an explanation for “Octopus’s Garden.” Not even Ringo, and he wrote the blooming thing.
- “Her Majesty” is the shortest song in the Beatles repertoire at 23 seconds long. (Tip: Try singing it in the shower. Hair care experts recommend massaging your scalp for 30 to 60 seconds while shampooing. Sing “Her Majesty” through twice and you’re pretty much on the money. You’re welcome.)
- “The End” was, appropriately enough, the last song recorded collectively by all four Beatles. And in the end, the love you take / is equal to the love you make….
One more thing. If the Abbey Road Show only whets your appetite, there’s more where that came from. Southern soul band Booker T. & the MG’s recreated Abbey Road (with Moog!) as an R&B album, McLemore Avenue (1970)—McLemore Avenue being the street in Memphis where the legendary Stax recording studios were located.
P.S. I’ve made a pilgrimage there too.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Okay, not really. That was Johnny Appleseed. But the strawberry is the fruit of choice in Pleasant Grove, and we're celebrating it in a big way this week!
I've lived in Pleasant Grove for seven years. I love this little community. From the annual Firemen's Breakfast to the concerts in the park, P.G. loves to get together and celebrate. The City of Fun carnival is in town this week, located at the city park right on Pleasant Grove's historic main street. In addition to the carnival there is a pie eating contest, art show, parade, charity chili challenge,and of course, the nationally famous Strawberry Days Rodeo.
A friend recently clued me into a Strawberry Days tradition I hadn't yet participated in, Huck Finn Day. They flood Battlecreek Park, stock it with fish, and allow everyone in the community to bring fishing poles. There are also pony rides and pioneer games. You can view a list of Strawberry Days activities and their details here.
For the past couple of years, I've had a booth at the Strawberry Days Boutique in the Old Community Center. I make bits and bobs with paper, each year experimenting with something different. The booth is actually an indulgence in my hobby rather than a money-maker. You've got to have a lot more artistic talent than I've got to make a profit. But every year, somebody buys a thing or two and I feel validated in my crafting craze. Some people have enquired about my website...I don't have one. I'm not that organized, but this year I set up a blog where people could go to see the kinds of things I'm making. If you're interested, you can take a gander at "Your Picture Here." It's not a blog that I update on a regular basis. I've simply created an entry for each type of craft I'm working on.
This weekend, consider coming to Pleasant Grove and getting a cup of strawberries and cream for $1. Take a whirl on the ferris wheel. And be sure to try the fresh cut fries!