Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Beyond your Demographic: Cross Over Films
I grew up in a rural town of Salt Lake County known as Riverton, Utah. It’s not a small town anymore, the urban sprawl has eaten up most of the open fields, but when I lived there cows were my backyard neighbors. Most of my culture came from the movies, television, and the occasional community play. I didn’t know any gay people growing up; at least none that were openly gay to me. My exposure to the gay community came in the form of 90’s television stereotypes, the quirky best friend that never gets the girl but never seems to mind, or the tough gal who fixes things and wears a leather jacket. I vividly remember after high school two young men from a restaurant I worked at took me to my first Salt Lake City PRIDE event. This is probably as a good time as ever, to come out and admit I’m straight. From that day forward I have been so impressed with the warmth of this community, they accepted me for me, didn’t try to change or recruit me, and have never looked down on me for my narrow-minded sexual identity. The more I hung out with these friends, saw their struggles and celebrated their triumphs, the more our differences faded away and they ceased being my gay friends, and me the straight girl, and we were just friends.
Nine years ago I began working for the Utah Film Center and one of my first major events was the Damn These Heels film festival, the only LGBTQ film festival in Salt Lake City. The festival celebrates its 14th anniversary this year and is an opportunity to honor our differences and relate to one another through the commonalities. Over the past nine years I have worked with numerous directors, producers, and actors as they tell the stories that they don’t see in mainstream media. If these films were shown at the multiplex, we wouldn’t need an LGBT film festival. But for reason’s I don’t care to dignify with a discussion, these films -- many award-winning films from international film festivals -- don’t see the widespread distribution that they justly deserve. Films like Pushing Dead, which will be shown Sunday July 16th at 12:15 pm. This film has received one the highest honors a festival can bestow on a film, the Audience Choice award, not once but four times, along with two Jury awards, and a Best Director award! Pushing Dead tells the harsh truth about what happens when you’re thrown off your Medicaid because the government thinks you make too much money. This topic hits home for many Americans but when you add that the character is HIV positive, we call it an LGBTQ film. (While the film might sound like a downer, truth can be funnier than fiction so don’t pull out your tissues just yet. )
In the film industry we call them “cross over” films -- films that appeal to wide audiences regardless of your sexual preferences and gender. As with the mainstream media we can’t pretend to know what films will resonate with each person or “demographic.” I’d hate to be contained in the white, heterosexual, woman in her 40s box. I want to see films that make me laugh, cry, or challenge the way I view the world.
In order to program for such a wide array of interests, Utah Film Center curates a community programming team to view hundreds of films and whittle the choices down to 35-50 films at which time our programming staff selects the best 20 or so films. This year’s line up is rich with talent, subject matter, international representation, narratives and documentaries. Chavela is one of the a documentaries at the festival, it screens Saturday July 15th at 10 am. The film traces the legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas whose beauty and charm gave her success worldwide but she couldn’t outrun her demons and only found happiness when she began to live her truth by coming out at 81 years young.
As parents, I know all we want is for our kids to be safe, healthy, and happy. This struggle is even harder when your kids are faced with discrimination and bullying and not just on the playground but by adults who should know better. In Raising Zoey, Ofelia Barba fights for her daughter to have a safe future where Zoey is free to pursue her happiness.
Raising Zoey screens Saturday, July 15th at 2:30 pm.
Whether straight, L.G.B.T. or Q these films don’t separate us, or categorize us, they are meant to bring us all together under the umbrella of humanity. No matter where you reside, or what demographic box you fill out, I hope you’ll join the Utah Film Center July 14-16th at the Rose Wagner Performing Art Center for the Damn These Heels film festival and then lets just all be friends.
-Mariah Mann Mellus
Mariah Mann Mellus is currently the Development Director for the Utah Film Center, but has previously held the title of Marketing Coordinator, Outreach and Membership Coordinator, and Education and Community Program Manager. When not at Utah Film Center Events she supports the community by way of the Utah Cultural Alliance, and multiple community boards. She and her husband Derek have two beautiful children whom they hope to raise to tell their own stories and to listen, serve, and support the community wherever needed.
Ticket Tuesday to SLC Jazz Festival
Winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday contest courtesy Jazz Arts of the MountainWest. Stay tuned for future giveaways.
Destinations to Explore: June 28 - July 11
We've had a great summer so far, and we're excited to continue exploring with you! With the 4th of July holiday coming up we have included opportunities for the next two weeks where you can earn stamps in your ZAP Kids Summer Passport (June 28 - July 11). Enjoy your experience or learn something new? Share it with us on Instagram using #exploreZAP!
Destinations are FREE unless otherwise noted.
Get in touch with the natural world
Wednesday, June 28 | 11 AM - 2 PM West Jordan Library
Participate in a drop-in, BioBlitz activity
with the Natural History Museum of Utah . Bioblitz is an interactive
citizen-science program where you can learn how to participate in scientific
research by making your own observations right in your backyard.
Wednesday, June 28 | 4 PM Wasatch
Explore the Wasatch Community Gardens Tomato Garden and then
learn what it's like to grow your own food in the city. Go on a tour of
the gardens, meet our chickens, taste some fresh garden produce and make a take
a seed pot while supplies last. Located at 800 S. 600 E.
Friday, June 30 & July 7 |
6:30 PM Midvale
Council is presenting free summer concerts in the park on
Friday evenings with activities provided by the Boys & Girls Club,
Copperview Community Center and the local library. Enjoy performances by
the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band on June 30, and A Western
Variety Show on July 7.
Collect an art experience at the library
Saturday, July 8 | 10:15
AM Hunter Library
The internationally renowned One
Voice Children's Choir will perform
a musical concert highlighting some of the incredible songs they will also be
singing in France this year!
Thursday, June 29 | 4:30 PM Herriman Library
and Tuesday, July 11 | 2:30 PM Columbus Library
to create funny monsters in the Line Monster Game with Visual Art Institute !
Using only pencils and sharpies, kids will create their own unique and colorful
monsters all while playing an immersive game.
Tuesday, July 11 | 4 PM Sandy Library
Enjoy some improv with Youth Theatre at the U as
they bring their KAZUM JACKSON'S HILARIOUS PLAGUE improvisation troupe to play
creative and imaginative games with the audience.
Destinations you can visit all summer long
Earn stamps at any of these locations
throughout the summer.
Garden Park is
open to the public free of charge. Come walk through a water pipe, learn to
make compost or identify plants. Explore the Garden any day of the summer and
get a stamp in your passport! Garden hours are from 8 AM to 8 PM, Monday
Visit Discovery Gateway Children's Museum and explore educational workshops,
programs and exhibits that inspire the whole family to discover the power of
play together. Present your passport for $2 off the price of admission.
Empress Theatre supports
local talent to provide family-oriented fun for Magna and its surrounding
areas. This summer's shows are Peter and the
Starcatcher and Honk Junior. If you present the ZAP Kids Summer
Passport to the box office, you will get in free with the purchase of
an adult ticket ($12).
Leonardo is a museum of
creativity! Inside, you can discover the wonder of FLIGHT in their newest
exhibit, delve into the mind-bending wonder of our exhibit on PERCEPTION,
unleash your inner artist, scientist or engineer in one of our three hands-on
laboratories, and even be moved by the exhibits in our Human Rights Gallery.
Whatever you're interested in, The Leonardo will spark creativity and help you
discover a whole new way to see the world. Present your passport for $2
off the price of admission.
free weekly group piano lessons for beginners of all ages. Drop in for hands-on
music instruction at Salt Lake Public Library-Glendale,
every Saturday beginning June 10 from 11 AM to 12 PM.
Off Broadway Theatre offers
original family-friendly comedies and musical parodies for parents and kids
alike. This summer's shows are Pirates of the Carabeener, The Marx
Brothers in A Night at the Imperial, and Utahoma! Present the
passport and each member of the family will receive a $2 discount off
the regular (Adult, Student/Senior, or Child) price.
Utah will provide
children with a scavenger hunt of the art and architecture of Memory Grove
Park. Passport stamp and scavenger hunt can be picked up at the Memorial House
(375 North Canyon Road, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM).
Salty Cricket Composers Collective offers El Sistema Summer Camps that
empower young people to become effective citizens. Mention your passport when
you call or email to reserve your spot at the camp to get 15% off one
week's tuition. Bring your passport on the first day of camp for a stamp.
Aviary has more
than 135 species and 400 individual birds on display. Guests are encouraged to
wander its 8 acres and appreciate the different colors, sizes and sounds of our
feathered friends. Present your passport at the gate for a $2 discount
on the price of admission.
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Ticket Tuesday with Taylorsville Arts Council
Winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday courtesy Taylorsville Arts Council.
Stay tuned for future giveaways!
A Conversation with the Conservation Garden Park
The Conservation Garden Park is your resource to help you
“localize” your landscape to work in harmony with Utah’s challenging climate. The
6-acre botanical garden is located at the center of the Salt Lake Valley at
8275 South 1300 West in West Jordan and is a convenient stop for any county
resident wishing to enjoy the beauty of Utah in an artful environment.
While the Garden may be a “living museum” of Utah-happy
plants, it’s different than other public gardens in that the plants and
techniques shown here are intended to reach into your own landscape. During
your visit, you’ll learn about design, irrigation, planting and maintenance for
your own yard. If you want more assistance, you can access a wide range of
classes, tours, and activities, as well as ask questions of our horticulture
and landscape experts.
The Conservation Garden Park demonstrates how the arts can
have a very real impact on important societal issues. Utah’s population is
expected to double by 2060 but the water supply won’t. Data from Utah Division
of Water Resources indicates that unless progress is made in water conservation
and new sources are developed, Utah will not have enough water to meet expected
future demands. Water conservation is a vital first step to ensure that Utah’s
water supply will be able to support our own children and grandchildren.
Utahns agree that conservation matters. A recent study by
Envision Utah (http://www.envisionutah.org/projects/your-utah-your-future)
found that 85% of the more than 50,000 Utahns surveyed believe water
conservation is a vital issue affecting the future of the State and we should
reduce our use. However, putting that belief into action is a little more
difficult—and that’s where the Conservation Garden Park fits in. Utahns have
reduced their average use from the baseline year of 2000 but there is more work
to be done if we are to achieve the state’s goal of 25 percent reduction in per capita use by 2025.
A frequent question our staff receives from visitors is “Can
you tell me where the waterwise plants are?” Most visitors are surprised to
learn that a water-efficient landscape can also be lush and vibrant (not
cactus, lava rock and cattle skulls). Visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour of
the Garden and enjoy the various landscape education exhibits, some of which
were made possible by the ZAP program.
As there is no charge for admission to the Garden, it’s a great place to bring
the family either as part of the ZAP Summer Passport program. You can take this
as a self-guided tour or check out one of our activity backpacks from the main
desk to keep kids engaged during the visit.
Hours of operation for the Garden change seasonally but we
will remain open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday-Saturday until September. Check the
Garden’s website for more information.
The Conservation Garden Park offers more than 50 landscape
classes per season in our state-of-the-art education center. Classes are taught
by our own expert staff and staff from Utah State University Extension. Each
class addresses specific challenges homeowners experience when trying to create
and maintain a beautiful landscape within the extremes of our climate.
The Conservation Garden Park website offers free resources,
such as a plant database of more than 1,000 plants. These plants have all been
tested for Utah-friendliness in the Conservation Garden Park. We also offer
free design plans that you can adapt to your own lot, as well as information on
how to make the switch from a generic “blandscape” to a vibrant, beautiful
Localscape. Learn more about Localscaping for any part of Utah on the
Localscapes website: http://localscapes.com.
Our most popular annual event is coming up on Saturday,
August 19. “Party in the Park” is a mix of fun, education and awe. The
highlight of the event is the release of 500 butterflies over two different
release times. The event is free and we encourage families to come and
introduce their children to the wonders of nature in an exciting atmosphere.
In addition to the butterfly release, USU Extension
volunteers will have activity booths to teach children about urban pollinators
and a butterfly scavenger hunt. Enjoy games to learn about water conservation
and treatment, watch live animal shows, and even tour a water treatment facility
to learn how water works in Utah.
Party in the Park
- Saturday, August 19, 2017
- 4 pm- 7pm
- 8275 South 1300 West
- West Jordan, Utah
Admission to the event is free. Food is available for
purchase from several food trucks. Follow Conservation Garden Park on Facebook
for updates (http://facebook.com/conservationgardenpark)
or watch our website for more information. http://conservationgardenpark.org.
ZAP has made many of the exhibits and possibility of the
Garden Park a reality. If you haven’t visited the Garden, we think you’ll like
what you’ll find here. If you’re just interested in a stroll in a park-like
setting or looking for great, Utah-friendly landscaping ideas, you’ll find it
all at Conservation Garden Park.
Cynthia works to translate the technical nature of water
conservation into public-friendly messaging as the Outreach Coordinator for the
Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in
Landscape Architecture from Utah State University and over the past 20 years
she’s been involved at every scale of land design and planning from large
regional projects to residential landscape design.