Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Ticket Tuesday with Empress Youth Theatre
Winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday courtesy The Empress Theatre. Stay tuned for future giveaways!
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!