Arts and Culture

rainbow gathering
Wikipedia

Over the holiday weekend—and in the days leading up to it—you may have heard us report on something called the Rainbow Gathering. The event, which took place over the weekend, is a meeting of the self-proclaimed Rainbow Family, a group formed in the early 1970s at the height of hippy culture. The group has met annually since 1972 at its national gathering, and this year, about 8,000 Rainbow Family members convened just a few miles east of Heber City, Utah.

Ever since the location of this year’s Rainbow Gathering was publicized, there were concerns about a clash of cultures arising between the free-spirited attendees and the small-town residents of Heber. But did that conflict really pan out?

It’s the Fourth of July, and I’m having lunch at a busy burger joint in Heber City, Utah, called Dairy Keen—not to be confused with a different burger joint with a very similar name. As you could probably guess, business is booming today, and an unofficial survey of customers reveals that most people are from out of town. But no one here looks like they’re heading to the Rainbow Gathering today. I asked Dairy Keen manager Kim Houtz if she had actually come into contact with the Rainbow Family.

Layton Teen Sings His Way To Broadway Stage

Jul 3, 2014

There’s no business like show business, and after a week performing on stage in New York City, a Layton student plans on turning musical theater into a career.

Performing on a Broadway stage is the dream for many theater students, but recent graduate of Northridge High School, Matthew Richards, has already had that experience.

After winning Best Actor in Utah’s regional competition, Richards participated in the National High School Musical Theater Awards, or Jimmy Awards, in New York City this past week. He won third place, $2,500 and the chance to sing a solo on a Broadway stage.

"I was just really honored to be chosen as a finalist. It was so cool to just stand there and be all alone on stage and just sing my heart out," he said.

A man in a suit sits on a bench, with his back to the camera, looking on at a large painting on the wall.
Impulsive Eye Photography

What do the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, and the Utah Arts Festival all have in common? It may not be what you would initially think. The answer? The Utah Division of Arts and Museums helped to found each of these organizations. 

It’s no secret that the arts in all their forms are flourishing in Utah. In fact, Utah is home to the oldest arts council in the nation.

Laurie Baefsky is the Grants Manager of Utah Arts and Museums.

“If you look at how arts and museums are particularly valued by the citizens of Utah… we have some staggering statistics. For six years running we were voted ‘Top 25 Arts Destination’ by American Style magazine. We also have the highest per capita piano ownership in the nation, right here in Utah,” said Baefsky.


"Flippin' Sweet!" Napoleon Dynamite Turns 10

Jun 12, 2014
Fox Searchlight

Ten years ago this week the film "Napoleon Dynamite" hit the silver screen and became an almost instant success. Social media is abuzz with talk of the 10-year anniversary. UPR's Matt Jensen went back to Preston, Idaho where the film was shot to see where it all happened.

It’s the last day of classes at Preston High School where much of "Napoleon Dynamite" was shot during the summer of 2003. The independent film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival the following January and made its debut in theaters later that summer.

The bible is making a mighty comeback in the U.S. with the highest rated show in the history of the Game Show Network: “The American Bible Challenge.” This high energy program brings together a colorful range of teams from every religious denomination across the country to put their knowledge of The Good Book to the test.

Deborah Dushku Gardner is a member of the first ever Mormon team to compete on the show. They call themselves “The Mormon Moms.”


Two men singing a duet with a chorus of women in the background. Appears to be a scene from the play Les Miserables.
Utah Festival

Over 250 high school students will strut their best stuff  at the 4th Annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards at Utah State University. 

Months of preparation will culminate in a spectacular evening on Saturday, May 10 featuring young aspiring actors and actresses from across the state of Utah. The competition is partnering with several programs including the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre to provide winning artists with scholarship, mentorship, and apprenticeship opportunities. 


The cover of this DVD, showing a photograph of a woman and her baby, as well as three small photographs from three of the experts highlighted in this film.
The Power of Mothers

This year marks the 100 year anniversary for the celebration of Mother’s Day in the U.S. For the past three years, two local filmmakers have traveled the globe, compiling the perspectives of experts and mothers into a special Mother’s Day DVD. 

To go beyond the usual flowers and chocolates, local filmmakers Shelly Locke and Barry McLerran have set out to honor mothers in their new DVD entitled “The Power of Mothers.” Together they scoured the globe to gather wisdom and insights from world leaders and mothers themselves.


Woman in a red volunteer vest poses, smiling. Has a volunteer badge attached to shirt.
Logan Regional Hospital

Since October of last year, patients and visitors at Logan Regional Hospital have been enjoying the soothing ambiance music provided by volunteers. This new program, called "Musicians for Healing," has provided university students and members of the community the opportunity to donate their time and talents to create a peaceful hospital atmosphere.  Ramona Fonnesbeck, the Director of Volunteer Services, worked with the administration to bring this program to the hospital. In the process, she was able to secure a brand new, baby grand piano.


Part 6: Aging Alone

May 7, 2014
woman stands in front of house
Utah Public Radio, Elaine Taylor

"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part six of six.

“My name is LaRue, and that's L-a capital R-u-e. It means ‘the street’ and I always figured it meant I’d been walked on all my life [laughter], which is not true. Anyways, my address is ‘home.’”

As baby boomers hit retirement and the U.S. population ages, more and more people are left living alone in their later years. And more are choosing to stay at home.

LaRue Willis was born in Idaho in 1928. She married her husband in 1953 and together they had eight children. Three years ago her husband passed away, leaving LaRue to forge a new life for herself – alone. On the day I met with LaRue in her ranch-style house in northern Cache Valley, she described how hard the last few years had been.

“The hardest part is the loneliness. Sometimes I get panic attacks when I am alone and it’s really difficult.”

Part 5: Green Living On An All-Natural Orchard

May 6, 2014
Facebook.com

"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 5 of 6.

“My name is Lorin Harrison and my name is Ali Harrison, and our address is Paradise Valley Orchard.”

Paradise Valley Orchard is one of the only pick-it-yourself orchards in Utah. People come from around the United States come to personally pick apples off the trees.

Through their naturally grown orchard, which includes 250 apple trees, a three-quarter acre garden, a food dehydrator, rabbit fur clothing, a commercial juicer, and chickens, Ali and Lorin say they try to practice green living day-to-day.

“Our effort here is to be sustainable for ourselves. 75 to 80 percent of what we eat we try to grow here on the property," Ali said. "We like to trade things, we trade vegetables for eggs and dairy and cheese. So, I think trading is a way to be sustainable.” 

Ali said the orchard is all naturally grown.

“We’re not certified organic, so you have to be careful about the term because they don’t like you saying you’re organic if you haven’t done the certification," Ali said. "What we tell people is that we grow everything naturally."  

She said that includes no added chemicals and no non-organic pesticides.

Regardless, Lorin said killing off bugs with chemicals is not always beneficial.

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