(L–R) Greyden Benz, Hugo Molina, Andy Steele and Braden Tipton change up their set every time they play, making each performance unique. Photo: LmSorenson.net

This May installment of SLUG Magazine’s Localized highlights an eclectic range of bands with a comparably unique range of history in Salt Lake City. Gracing the stage will be bands, Martian Cult, Umbels and Coolaid. The night will be filled with pop, psych and synth-driven post-punk themes that will have you bouncing from one musical land to another. Enjoy yourself on Thursday, May 16, for SLUG Localized at Urban Lounge, sponsored by High West, 90.9 FM KRCL and Spilt Ink SLC.


When Umbels guitarist/vocalist Greydon Benz was 17, he wrote the word “Umbels” on the surface of his guitar. Reflecting on that time, Benz feels that it was an embarrassing gesture but considers it the beginning of Umbels. This nostalgic sentiment is something that is a common theme throughout their music. There are songs that Umbels still play that Benz wrote 15 years ago, such as “Mothz,” which evolved just as much as Benz has as a musician.

“I wrote the song and concepts when I was 16, but since I’ve been exposed to a lot more music, it had changed the song three or four times,” Benz says. Umbels’ music is influenced by psychedelic tunes. “It is a good mix between rock and psych, especially world psych,” Benz says. “I take a lot of influence from psych from South America, Brazilian psych from the ’70s and ’60s.” Novos Baianos are a Brazilian-Portuguese band whom Benz uses as an influential example. Listening to “Mothz” confirms this—it gives off the sense of a “psychedelic jam band” but changes its tone when Benz’s vocals come in to lend the song structure. The bass is a funky ride between psychedelic, reverb-drenched gasps and dives that create the bridge and chorus, all sprinkled by Molina’s various instruments like shakers and bongos. Guitarist Andy Jack Steele says, “All of our stuff constantly changes. We can practice it one time, and the next time, it will be completely different.”

It’s rare to find band members who can be at the same speed as everyone else, but it seems that the members of Umbels enjoy the same reasons for being in the band. Drummer Braden Tipton says, “I play my tasiest stuff [music] when I can’t remember what I played last time—even if we play the same song two days in a row, it will never feel the same.” Benz and Steele had already been playing together since junior high when Umbels began. “He was the first person I have ever jammed with. It’s been a blossoming friendship ever since,” Benz says.

“I’m sick of buying drinks, so I’ve joined multiple bands—I get twice the drink tickets.”

Steele’s and Benz’s first show was when they were 15 in a band named after Benz, though they refused to disclose what the name specifically was. Steele and Benz have a playful relationship. This is evident from the energy in the room when they are together, which plays off well with Tipton’s carefree and giggly personality. Everyone in the band seems to dedicate themselves for a different reason. Tipton wants to play on the drums, Benz wants to write and Steele says,  “I’m sick of buying drinks, so I’ve joined multiple bands—I get twice the drink tickets,” he says.

Tipton and percussionist Hugo Molina Jr. (xylophone, triangle, congos, shakers, tambourine) have a similar, long-standing relationship to Benz’s and Steele’s. Seeing as they’ve been playing together for 10 years (starting out in band Samba Fogo), they joined Benz and Steele with ease. Molina add the world music elements that Benz aims to include into Umbels’ sound.

Molina achieves this with a range of instruments he efficiently includes in the set. Molina started drumming when he was a kid, after he naturally started getting into different music like metal and The Beatles. Coming from El Salvador, Molina is excited about his musical opportunity here in Utah with Umbels. He says, “Me and Tipton play in a different band; they invited me to play percussion for them for a show last year. Loved it, love the band, the music we’re creating. It’s pretty cool. all members are extremely kind and super talented, and I’m just glad I’m part of this fun project.”

“We just want to play house parties—we want to do a tour of our friends’ garages.”

The fifth and newest member of Umbels, Dravland Brown, plays bass. Many will recognize him from 90s TV and Twilite Lounge comedy nights, where he is the only comedian. He did not yet know he was part of the band at the time of this interview or the photoshoot. So obviously, the guys in Umbels are chill as fuck. Following suit, their sets are not as regimented or strict compared to other local bands. Benz writes the songs, but doesn’t hold the rest of the band to execute them perfectly—he gives them a lot of creative freedom. “A level of perfectionism that doesn’t bleed onto others [when writing music] takes a lot of courage and is hard to share,” Tipton says about Benz’s writing style. The same lax attitude applies when practicing or playing shows: “[The current members have] been jamming six times a year for two years,” Tipton says. Umbels don’t see playing music as a race to a finish line but more like a stroll in the park.

“We just want to play house parties—we want to do a tour of our friends’ garages,” Steele says, “and it is always better when all of our friends are there.” Umbels do eventually want to go on tour but are currently focusing on writing and recording music, along with integrating Brown as the new bassist. Benz says, “Part of the reason why we never discussed touring is because I think we just focused on recording music. I really enjoy recording music and prefer that over going on tour.” Umbels is not against touring nor do they believe that bands who tour frequently are doing it wrong. They just have had other “life things” taking priority at the moment. For example, Benz and Steele have been occupied with school, with Benz just recently receiving his bachelor’s degree in linguistics, even though Benz tried to convince me he has his PhD in drinking wine.

Steele says, “We do want to follow Martian Cult on tour, but … don’t tell Martian Cult.”

You can find Umbels’ music or what they call “palm rock” on Bandcamp at and information about their upcoming shows or a hypothetical tour on their Facebook page. And of course, come enjoy their set at the upcoming Localized on May 16 at Urban Lounge.

Bike Prom is much more than a party, it is a tour for cyclists to show SLC their presence. Illustration: Ashley Fairbourne

Every day, our wacky spring weather becomes a little more spring-like as our unpredictable storms finally subside. For many of us around the valley, seeing buds on the trees and clear streets means it’s time to get our bikes out from behind the ski gear, pump up the tires and put rubber to road. The Salt Lake Bicycle Collective is gearing up to welcome this season’s riders eager to tune up their bikes and make them look pretty again. But those interested in the Bike Collective and their mission to support Salt Lake City’s cycling community should be thinking about more than shiny spokes and glowing reflectors. I’m talking about bow ties, dress shoes and frilly, flowing dresses. I’m talking corsages, up-do’s and your best dance moves. I’m talking prom. Bike Prom. And this year, it is moving to Tracy Aviary.

“We’re trying out the [Tracy Aviary] this year for a handful of reasons, but mostly because the [Tracy Aviary] is amazing and the idea of partying with the birds was too cool to pass up,” Sean Murphy says about the move. “We’re out here to raise awareness for bikes on our roadways and to have a good time, but our bottom line is about who we serve. It’s always about who we serve. So, while there are now dozens of rad places to rent space for a big party, for the sake of our mission and the people we serve, we’ve got to strike that balance between awesomeness and affordability. And the Tracy has been a blessing in helping us do so.”

“[The Salt Lake Bicycle Collective aims] to encourage bicycling as a means of transportation, not just recreation and leisure.”

After 16 years, the origins of Bike Prom are unclear [see Editor’s note below for the origins], but Bike Collective board member Shelley Reynolds guesses that it was “probably in an extra-greasy corner of the Collective, or a wild idea from an amazing volunteer or staff while on a bike ride.” What they do know for sure is that “it is a way for bike riders to announce, ‘We’re here!’ to the city, and it’s steadily grown into one of the most beloved events of the summer,” says Murphy.

In addition to helping raise funds for the Collective’s educational and community programs, Reynolds says that they hold this event “to encourage bicycling as a means of transportation, not just recreation and leisure.” It is also an excellent opportunity to help bring more awareness to our cycling community sharing the roads, as a group of well-dressed cyclists can be quite eye-catching.

Reynolds says that riders can expect “a leisurely ride through Sugar House, creative outfits ranging from various eras and themes, meeting a ton of people that enjoy riding bikes and having a hilariously fantastic time, a dance party, food trucks and beverages to stay cool on a summer night.” There is no dress code, but she says, “We strongly encourage people to dress up as if they were going to prom or semi-formal school dance. Not mandatory, but who’s kidding—it is a lot more fun when you dress up!”

Reynolds adds, “Some [attendees] will also adorn their bikes with multi-color lights, flower garlands, ribbons and even bubble machines. We just want any décor to stay on the bike [so] as to not litter or cause hazards to riding.” Murphy seeks maximal participation—“The more, the merrier!” he says.

“The Collective is a genuine grassroots organization focusing on bicycling as a sustainable means of transportation. The educational programs have expanded over the years, and our reach to various communities.”

This event is open to all cycling abilities and even different wheeled modes of transportation. Reynolds says, “The organization is focused on the two-wheeled bicycle, yet we encourage people to use most alternative-to-car modes of transportation. We are expecting that some attendees may rent scooters, but we would encourage them to try to find a bicycle (come buy one at the Collective!) to really get into the spirit of Bike Prom.” Along those lines, if you don’t have a bike or are for any reason unable to ride a bike, you are still welcome to skip the ride and go directly to the Prom. I’d suggest you take a bike taxi. The ride will also have an official police escort.

The Bike Collective is a cause well worthy of your support. Reynolds says, “The Collective is a genuine grassroots organization focusing on bicycling as a sustainable means of transportation. The educational programs have expanded over the years, and our reach to various communities.” If you haven’t done much to fix your bike yourself bike shops can be intimidating, but the Bicycle Collective is, as Reynolds describes, “a safe and welcoming place for all human beings. Beyond ready-to-roll bicycles, we have parts and safety gear available in the retail space. Staff are always keen to help and knowledgeable.”

If you aren’t able to attend the Bike Prom, you can still support their mission, as the Bike Collective always welcomes monetary donations and will even take your old bike off your hands. You can find information about the collective and Bike Prom on their website or on their Facebook.

Bike Prom will roll out Saturday, June 8, with the ride leaving Fairmont Park at 6:30 p.m. and ending up at Tracy Aviary at 7–7:15 p.m., so you have plenty of time to find a date and make a proper promposal. Admission will be between $25–30. If you are outside of the Salt Lake City area, stay tuned for details on the Ogden and Provo Bike Collectives holding their own bike proms.


Editor’s Note: The creation of Bike Prom is rightfully credited to Agnes Robl at the time Jonathan Morrison was the Executive Director of the Bike Collective.

In the words of Jonathan Morrison:

“Earlier that year my wife (Joellyn Manville), Agnes and I rode bicycles to a local woodland creature themed party.  Agnes and Joellyn were wearing prom dresses from the D.I. and Joellyn and I rode our tandem (the same one used in all the original bike prom photos by Anna Day).  During that night I blew out my knee, my dancing is not only bad but apparently dangerous and I had to get a ride back.  Thankfully Agnes volunteered to ride the tandem home alone—in her prom dress.  

Shortly after she spearheaded a group of people to organize a fundraiser for the Bicycle Collective where people could ride around in Prom Dresses—and Bike Prom was born.  The first event was graciously hosted by Bicycle Collective Founder, Brian Price.  At the time the Collective was experimenting with various other fundraisers, such as the Bicycle Film Festival. Nothing could touch the excitement that Bike Prom generates—and Bike Prom quickly became the main fundraiser for the Collective.”


More on SLUGMag.com:

Bike Prom: Going Tandem
Beautiful Godzilla: Will You Go to Prom With Me? Check _ Yes _ No

Warmshowers is a platform for bicyclists to come together and provide shelter to other traveling bicyclists. Illustration: Ricky Vigil

Warmshowers (Warmshowers.org) is a hospitality website (and app) that connects self-supported traveling bicyclists with hosts who open their homes. Lou Melini, a Utah native/resident, regaled me with his experiences of the platform. Lou was on the Board of Directors for Warmshowers from 2012 to early 2016. In his emails to me, Lou tells stories between answering questions, largely comprising elaborate bike excursions that he and his wife have made. These stories were frequent throughout the dialogue. The appeal of a free overnighting app is apparent, but this underlying note of storytelling/story-creating piqued my curiosity. Why are stories such an important part of this touring-cyclists-hospitality app?

Warmshowers’ service revolves around two central characters with separate storylines: the guest and the host. Through the app, these experiences can intermingle, but you are one or the other in each experience. It’s an app for self-supported cyclists only, meaning you must be traveling by bike and traveling by your own means. After that, you’re free to establish contacts along whatever path/trail/tour you intend to conquer. Once you’ve found a host, you have the opportunity to create a dialogue and establish a plan about your intentions. As a prospective host, you are never required to do so in any given circumstance—though this is a community-based organization, so engagement is a part of it. You can be a host to whatever extent you like—a free couch is a free couch, but conversations over prepared/presented meals together, snacks and refreshments are encouraged as well. For example, Lou says, “In 2018, Julie and I rode across the U.S. One of our stays was in the backyard of an organic farmer who provided us with organic zucchini for our dinner.”

Lou notes that the originators of Warmshowers (called “Warm Showers” in 1993), Terry Zmrhal and Geoff Cashmen, were a couple of Canadians who followed the example of biking-hospitality organizations dating back to the late ’70s and created a database from the existing members of those organizations. In 2005, Randy Fay became involved with the organization and created the website and platform from the existing database, which we know as warmshowers.org. Now, a small but dedicated group of volunteers manage the site and communication between its members.

Warmshowers.org is functional and direct. After a few clicks and some of the aforementioned dinnertime conversations, this is where you really get to tell your story—the story so far, if you will, under the profile section while creating your account. The profile creation for hospitality services encourages honesty. You could really meet these people, and this is a chance to show an authentic you. These people could be in your living room. You could be in their living room. It’s a ground-level, mutual understanding that does not show up in the profiles of other media platforms.

“Due to our touring experience, we have had the pleasure to host a number of traveling cyclists,” Lou says. “They would contact us via the WS website a week or two in advance, and we would stay in contact as the actual day of arrival came closer.  As with all guests, we negotiate length of stay based on needs of the guest and how long they have traveled.”

The brief stories Lou shares involve 10 weeks of overnight travel, hosting travelers since the ’70s, crossing foreign terrain—all while politely paraphrasing 22,000 miles of biking experiences (13,000 of those with his wife, Julie Melini) of their own. He explains how he and his wife ended up on a “must stay with list” for long-distance travelers from Japan, Argentina and several countries in Europe. Some of these relationships turned into lifelong friendships.

I’m overtaken by opportunity for such story creation and connecting. Warmshowers gives you the chance to experience new cultures in your very own home. I found myself leaning into the website as I read through all the different tales. These weren’t super athletes traveling across the country. They were “Debbie from Ohio” and “Marcus from New Hampshire”—stories of regular people having these incredible travel experiences. You think of travel as “something for yourself,” “a journey,” “you end up better”—that sort of thing. But as I read through the site, I learned that traveling, especially as a cyclist, seems to be about everything else. The individual is the only constant in these stories. Everything else is the variable, the wildcards, stuff that makes for great stories to tell over a drink sometime.

On the website, the host can list what they provide, i.e., bed, breakfast, shower, laundry and/or bike repair. You are encouraged to keep in touch with your travelers, and I was surprised to learn that some of these overnight reservations can be a whole decade in advance. Not only is Warmshowers a community, but it’s a community who stays in touch with one another. In these conversations, you can establish your evening with the guest/host and what level of involvement you prefer. Of course, before contacting a prospective host, read their Warmshowers account carefully and as always, read the recommendations for the host and guests you intend to come in contact with.

It’s a hosting opportunity for like minds, different-minds, minds from Nepal, Peru and all over Asia. You can be the traveler or a destination, two separate stories coming together—and the best part of being in someone else’s story is that you get to be the wildcard, the part that makes their story the best!


More on SLUGMag.com:

Mycelial Journey: Transcontinental Bike Touring with Erika Longino
Different Spokes: Year of the Bike

Photos: @clancycoop, John Barkiple

As we ease into May, the length of daytime in each day increases, and we awake from our long slumbers bright-eyed and thirsty for some vitamin D. What better way to fill that overdue sunshine depletion by hopping on our bikes and learning to love the outdoors again, sans snow and rain? Luckily, there are many bikeable local amenities to enhance your tour of downtown SLC. Marmalade’s cyclist-centric bar is the perfect stop for a beer and a bite, actors and performances are around the corner via our local acting company, and for the music lovers, an all-ages music venue is just a few blocks away. Local coffee and shopping are just a few blocks east, and to top off your long day of adventuring, pamper yourself at a spa that is a short ride south. Take a break. Winter was tough. Stay in town, but get out in the sun for this—your SLC Staycation!


 

Photo: John Barkiple

Skinworks

2211 Nowell C. • Tu: 9:30a-8p • W–Th: 9:30a-10p • F: 9:30a–5p • Sa: 9:30a–4:30p
801.530.0001 • skinworks.edu

Between the respectfulness of their students and the calming atmosphere, every visit to Skinworks feels like discovering a safe and cozy cocoon away from home. There’s a lot on tap: manis, pedis, waxes and luxury facials—no matter what you choose, a capable student will craft detailed feedback on how to treat your personal skin-care challenges. After a session, they may offer you specific products to handle your needs, but it’s no pressure. Located just off State Street and 2100 South, Skinworks is easy to find and low-hassle. It’s an affordable and easy go-to pampering spot for those low-energy days. Pictured: Owner Natalie Parkin. –Parker Mortensen
Photo: John Barkiple


Photo: @clancycoopKings Peak Coffee Roasters

412 S. 700 West Ste. 140    M–F: 7a–4p    Sa: 9a–2p
385.267.1890    kingspeakcoffeeroasters.com

Even the most seasoned SLC coffee aficionados are unlikely to know about the city’s newest entry to the scene, King’s Peak Coffee Roasters. They are located in a charming early-20th-century building that was the accounting office of a steel foundry, and even have the vintage vault on display. They offer baked goods from Honeycomb and Streusel, and also have Hans Kombucha and Mamacharie Kombucha, both local, all served in a cozy, exposed-brick and filament-light-bulb-adorned-environment. Modern West art gallery is right next door, which shows compelling original art that is always changing. Saltgrass Printmakers is on the other side, which makes the building a must-visit bohemian outpost. –Tyson Call
Photo: @clancycoop


City of Industry

209 E. Broadway • F-Sa: 11a–6p • Su: 11a–3p
385.419.1352 • cityofindustryshop.com

With bright baubles and crafty stationery creating the window display for City of Industry, it’s difficult to resist coming in to check out the eclectic offering. Stocking the shop with unique gifts for friends and family who prefer a more personalized touch, owner Sarah Anderson (pictured) chooses the curios in her inventory from women-owned and family-owned businesses, most of which use Salt Lake City locals. Anderson’s brand of charming kitchen and houseware-inspired pins are the hallmark of the shop, along with an area for crafting classes, which are offered about once a month. Once you’re drawn in by the tantalizing window display, you’ll want to stick around for the quirky, pop art–inspired treasures. –Ali Shimkus
Photo: John Barkiple


 

Photo: @clancycoopSLC Bicycle Collective

2312 S. West Temple    Tu: 2p–6p    Th: 2p–6p
Sa: 12p–6p    801.FAT.BIKE (801.328.2453)
bicyclecollective.org/salt-lake-city

The weather is warm and it’s time to dust off the bicycles—but during winter, the tires have gone flat and the chain has dried out—maybe that missing part is destined to keep it unused all year. That is where SLC Bicycle Collective comes in. They offer workbenches and tools to use at an affordable hourly rate, and they offer inclusive educational programming for those who don’t know a derailleur from a crank arm. The nonprofit has been in SLC for 17 years, and they seek to promote two-wheeled, human-powered transportation. They also receive donated bikes, refurbish them and donate them to people in the community who can’t afford bicycles. –Tyson Call
Photo: @clancycoop


The Beehive Social Club

666 S. State Street •  Hours: vary, depending on events
thebeehiveslc.com
Mark of the Beastro M–F: 6p–9p • Sa: 11a–2p • Su: 11a–2p, 6p–9p

The Beehive Social Club has established itself as a hub for Salt Lake City’s underground culture. From shows to flea markets, the Beehive is an essential destination for those who want to get in touch with what characterizes SLC’s punk culture. The front of the establishment is the brand-new vegan restaurant, Mark of the Beastro, and further in the back of the building is the performance space, featuring a stage, soundbooth and enough room to fit a decent-sized crowd. The Beehive Social Club is a staple for food and tunes on a bike ride around SLC. –Zaina Abujebarah
Photo: John Barkiple


Salt Lake Acting Company

168 W. 500 North    801.363.7522
saltlakeactingcompany.org

This year, the Salt Lake Acting Company (pictured) celebrates 49 seasons as a subversive addition to the Utah art scene. The 2019 season will include kid-friendly offerings and the 42nd of the famed Saturday’s Voyeur series. This year also marks the first all-woman directorial lineup. In its centrally located, repurposed church building, SLAC’s performance space and clever lineup is a must for locals and visitors—and an easy ride for cyclists. This season’s offerings are certain to whet your dramaturgic appetite, whether seeking humor, humanity or simply an entertaining and easy ride from your delicious Downtown dinner date. –Paige Zuckerman
Photo: John Barkiple


Photo: John Barkiple

Handlebar

751 N. 300 West • M-Su: 11a–1a • 801.953.0588
handlebarslc.com

Adorned by an array of nuts, bolts, tires and spokes, Handlebar provides a comfortable, low-key, bike-themed bar and restaurant. With karaoke on Monday nights and poker on Wednesday nights, Handlebar encourages a social atmosphere and healthy interactions between strangers and friends alike. Their food menu is vegan/omnivore-friendly, and their kitchen offers items like the Vegan Pig Candy ($8), which is brown-sugar caramelized “porkless” bites. They proudly offer a large selection of local beer from breweries like Bohemian, Wasatch, Squatters, Proper and many more. Hop on over to the Marmalade District’s cyclist hub and try out what they have to offer! Pictured: Bartender Chris Hooten. –Bianca Velasquez
Photo: John Barkiple


More on SLUGMag.com:

SLC Staycation (2018)
Salt Lake City Staycation (2017)

Evelin created this shadowbox art piece as a way to express herself tangibly in her journey to wellness. Photo: John Barkiple

See Me is the latest exhibit residing in UMOCA’s “Ed Space” that challenges our perception of the role of art in daily life. Through June 1, the space is dedicated to art made by six child artists and hospitalized youth from Primary Children’s Hospital. Exhibited are a series of shadowboxes that display unique journeys to physical and mental wellness, reminding us of art’s capacity as a therapeutic tool, something many adults tend to forget. With age, art slips into becoming something other people do—your role is to appreciate it, let it soothe you, heal you. We forget that making art can be the thing that heals, that you don’t need to be a master to be afforded the benefits of trying. Maybe most importantly, you can witness and support just how expressive a child can be.

The young artists were asked a simple question: “If you could look inside someone’s heart and mind, what would you see?” It’s a heavy premise for any artist to tackle, especially a child, but curator of education Erin Hartley of UMOCA found the work they produced surprising when bringing it to the museum. Hartley collaborated with Juniper Monypenny, an art therapist, to make it happen. “When setting up the exhibition with Juniper, I knew that it would be a series of shadowboxes, but had no idea what they would contain,” Hartley says. “The end result was surprisingly sweet and endearing. When I learned the [artists’] ages and names, I felt grateful that I could work with such thoughtful and creative youth.”

“In a contemporary art museum, all the pieces of work are in some way meant to be emotional and start a conversation with the viewer.”

The works the kids have produced are interesting to look at in this light. A piece by Cullen, 10, uses patterned paper, clay, wires, marbles and cutouts to depict astronauts floating in space around a rocket, surrounded by dozens of stars. Evelin, 10, has created a Noah’s Ark–like scene using popsicle sticks, clay and toy animals, with mandala art casting a shadow over the scene. Allison, 7, has cacti, trees and hearts surrounding two pink clay creatures, one looking like a unicorn. Above the shadowbox is a black paper with oblong faces etched in, one on top another, as though they are looking down, ominous yet caring, scrying the scene below.

It was always intended that these pieces would have a wider audience. “The pieces in this show were worked on slowly over many sessions,” says Monypenny. “With [artists] for whom sharing their story with others and feeling connected to a greater community has been beneficial … we approached [them] with the explicit understanding that the art products would be shared with the community to tell their stories and communicate their ideas.” It’s important to remember that when we as a community patronize these events and these works, we’re supporting the creative healing process artists are working through. We uphold vulnerability and validation as community values.

“In a contemporary art museum, all the pieces of work are in some way meant to be emotional and start a conversation with the viewer,” Hartley says. “It should be the job of the artists to tell a story through their medium and the viewers job to interpret through their own memories and feelings. Whether that be a story of healing, environmentalism or [a] political message, it’s our perspective and personal connection that we remember.”

Photo: John Barkiple
A shadowbox by Aliyah featuring a beloved cartoon. Photo: John Barkiple

The conversation started here goes beyond the question of what you might see if you could peer inside another person—I’m left reminded that one of the most worthwhile feelings a piece of art can leave you with is empathy for the artist themself. All people live with a rich interiority, young or old, and to work through that and put it on display is a brave thing. “An art-therapy session might be mixing colors of soft, soothing clay while speaking about memories of an accident,” says Monypenny. “It could take the form of using paint daubers aggressively to expend a child’s anxious energy before a scary procedure.”

Hartley believes in the programs that create these opportunities for young people’s vulnerable communication. “In its own way, art can be therapeutic and helpful for many, and just getting out to a creative workshop or Family Art Saturday can make anyone feel good,” she says. “There are a number of programs that the museum has to outreach as a source of helpful art workshops. We have our Out Loud program that helps LGBTQ+ youth connect and make art together, and we work with the Office of Crime Victims to create workshops that help us ‘Heal Through Art.’”

If nothing else, See Me is a small opportunity to celebrate that some of the most important art comes from young people, whose moxie and vitality rival that of any grown adult. Having a space to remember this feels like a gift.

You can see these works at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art through June 1 on 20 S. West Temple in the museum’s Ed Space. Visit utahmoca.org for more info and to plan a visit.


More on SLUGMag.com:

Pulitzers and You: Imagining a Better Future
Come Together: The International Tolerance Project

Beehive Bike Polo Club member observes the game at the club's city-sanctioned courts at Jordan Park. Photo: Matthew Hunter

I don’t think I’ll ever quite forget seeing the sport of bike polo for the first time. I remember being at the Downtown Farmers Market years ago and looking over at the tennis courts with a million questions. There were bikes with protective coverings over the spokes, which made them hypnotically intriguing to look at. Riders rode with mallets, simultaneously competing in an intense, fast-paced game. It was the Beehive Bike Polo Club in all of their grassroots glory. The Hive have become one of the most well-known communities of polo players in the country and have been expanding the presence.

I know what you’re thinking—how on earth do I get on with these maniacs, riding bikes, wielding mallets and smacking a ball around? Well, according to integral members Anthony Woo and Treasurer Eryn Sacro, all you have to do is show up to the Jordan Park courts ready to go, with open arms to accept what lies ahead. If you go to Beehive Bike Polo’s website, you can get a lay of the land of the game and some gear you may want to pick up. To give a quick 101, the games are usually three-on-three and start with a joust on—or race to the ball. From there, the game goes—with no set positions—with a common goal in mind, to hit the ball into the opposing team’s net. It’s fast-paced, but with the support of other players and the club as a whole, newbies are always welcome to try their hand.

“You can either be a really serious player who wants to get involved in all of the tournaments and travel and excel in the leagues, or you can take the laid-back approach, and have fun and drink beers with your friends.”

Photo: Matthew Hunter
Beehive Bike Polo in action. Photo: Matthew Hunter

The Beehive Bike Polo Club’s usual turnout is roughly 30 consistent members per gathering. New and old faces drop in periodically, and there are plenty of people to get you going in the right direction. With the recent move to a steady, safe and comfortable place to play at Jordan Park in late 2017, the club has been taking advantage of the privilege by holding several tournaments including the upcoming NAH Southwest Regional Qualifier Tournament right here in Salt Lake City. The creation of polo courts at Jordan Park have had a huge impact on the success of not only the bike polo club but also the broader community. The courts inspire some other leagues and the public, in general, to get involved and get outside.

Players can take the sport as far as they want. “You can either be a really serious player who wants to get involved in all of the tournaments and travel and excel in the leagues, or you can take the laid-back approach, and have fun and drink beers with your friends,” says Sacro. No matter what your end goal is, the Beehive has your back.

Their courts were the old tennis courts of Jordan Park, which BBPC repurposed by taking down the net and building their own enclosure to form the courts. They have further plans to make the courts a permanent home and optimal for polo. “We’re still pursuing an actual refinish of the surface and getting an  actual permanent enclosure—something that will last a lot longer than wood,” says Woo. “The ideal goal will be to get something akin to the hockey courts you see all over Colorado.” Water tends to damage wood courts, and the Colorado courts they look to emulate are made of hearty fiberglass. Beyond being awarded grants to fund it, “We throw events and tournaments to try to raise some money, and that all goes toward our club funds to help with facility costs,” Woo says.

“We have a bunch of WTF (women, trans, femme) members, and [we] pretty much welcome anyone to play. Whether you’re religious or not, or sober or not, just show up and be nice, and you have a place to play here.”

The Beehive Polo Club is “as unstructured as a structured club can be,” says Sacro. Having a treasurer, however, gives the club the stability to run some funds and help grow the club, as they did when awarded a grant from the Utah ZAP program for the first phase of their courts’ conversion. “Another ultimate goal we have is to start our youth bike polo program,” says Woo. The BBPC gained 501(c)(3) status toward the end of 2018, and look forward to further growth that being a nonprofit may facilitate.

Photo: Matthew Hunter
A group of bikers resting in between games. Photo: Matthew Hunter

Beehive Bike Polo Club attribute a lot of their success to its tight-knit community. Not only do they compete and play polo together but they are also really great friends as well. Bringing an open mind and open arms to the sport is also something that has contributed to its success. “We have a bunch of WTF (women, trans, femme) members, and [we] pretty much welcome anyone to play. Whether you’re religious or not, or sober or not, just show up and be nice, and you have a place to play here,” says Woo. The Beehive Bike Polo Club’s notoriety also comes from the dedication of the members within the club. Woo and Sacro both mention some of the club’s members, such as Tina Medley Greene and David “Dove” Barthod as some of their more experienced and integral members to the club.

Both Woo and Sacro have extraordinary personal experiences with the sport and all of the places it had taken them. Amid traveling to participate in BBQ tournaments in Kansas City and international tournaments in Puerto Rico and Colombia, bike polo culture is equally strong here in SLC and worldwide. If you’re interested in playing or getting involved any other way, the Beehive Bike Polo Club uses social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to get the word out. The Southwest Regional Qualifier Tournament is June 8 and 9, and BBPC are deliberating what their next tournament will be after that, which will take place early to mid-fall.

Hog Wallow’s quesadilla makes it interesting by including steaming smoked brisket and black-bean-and-corn salsa in the cheese. Photo: Talyn Sherer

3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd.
P: 801.733.5567
thehogwallow.com

Mon–Thur: 2 P.M.–1 A.M.
Fri–Sun: 12 P.M.–1A.M.

The unmistakable roar of a motorcycle surfing the highways and byways is every rider’s rite of passage as spring and summertime shine its rays upon Utah. The open road calls, as does the innate desire to meet up for a bite or beer. Our Bike Issue pays homage to the local watering hole, Hog Wallow, located at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Hog Wallow is the perfect locale for not only libations but incredible food options.

Smoked in-house, their meats, hands down, should top best-of lists in Utah. It could possibly rival the country’s best in a smoke-off. Meat that is upfront with bold hints of smoke, mouth-watering in flavor and a finish that leaves you begging for more is a perfect pairing for an afternoon ride all summer long. Now, let’s be real: I don’t ride, myself, but I can relate to the desire of open-air roads, whether as a back warmer (aka passenger) or with the top down.

Starters & Sides

Photo: Talyn Sherer
To tap into your inner-meat-eating self, start with the Smoked Wings ($12). Photo: Talyn Sherer

Thirst for this kind of experience lives in all of us, and why great rides and the best watering holes are highly sought after across the nation. To tap into your inner-meat-eating self, start with the Smoked Wings ($12). They are the must-try order to share or keep for yourself at Hog Wallow. Smoky, moist perfection is the only way to describe such a wing. Yes, celery and carrots come on the side, as does your choice of ranch or blue cheese. However, these wings do not require the accompaniment.

The next menu destination is sweet potato fries. These are done right—not too soft or mushy, and just enough flavor to keep your fingers reaching for more. Pair with a local beer, or PBR if you must, but keep it real. I was so into the smoked theme that I had to try the Cheese Quesadilla ($10) with Smoked Brisket ($4). A blend of cheddar cheese, black-bean-and-corn salsa, sour cream and melt-in-your-mouth smoked brisket wrapped up with a buttery, just-enough-crunch-of-goodness tortilla. The brisket adds something special to the quesadilla, although on its own, the quesadilla is satisfying.

Before you think it is all about the meat, they offer a more delicate side. House Salad, Southwest Salad and Blueberry Lemon Salad with feta, fresh veggies and several hard ciders also adorn the menu.

Drinks

On tap, you will find local craft beers a such as Moab, Uinta and Wasatch. If this doesn’t suit you, you won’t be disappointed by the large selection of premium bottled beers and domestic. To add to their libations, Hog Wallow offers a great variety of patio sippers (cocktails) and seasonal mules, not to mention wine and prosecco options. There is something for everyone—beer, spirits, wine, cider, hard seltzer, craft shots, craft cocktails and nonalcoholic options.

Burgers

We’ve talked about everything except burgers! Hog Wallow doesn’t disappoint with its burger selection. If you are a burger junkie, you will not be disappointed in The Hog ($12) and The Johnny Cash ($13). The Hog combines the burger, BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion straws, chipotle ranch and bacon. Bacon is the cherry on top of this classic, all-American, burger. Now the Johnny Cash walks the line of heat with sriracha, jalapeño peppers, cherry peppers and onion rings, topped on top of meat and, of course, bacon. If “Ring of Fire” would be a food, this is it.

Overview

The vibe of the place is local watering-hole-meets-sophisticated-patio wine-drinking. Take a shot at pool, watch a sporting event on TV, belly up to the bar, enjoy the outdoor space, or come out late to get into the groove of the guitar strings. It’s unique, rustic and everything you would want in a ride meet up. It’s close to the canyon, in the middle of the city yet tucked away like you are in your own little world, away from it all. To get there, turn north off of 7200 South onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, just west of Wasatch Boulevard. (It’s a small road that twists and turns downhill off the main road.)

If you are on a scooter or bicycle, walk in owning your uniqueness—the hotspot embraces all. It’s a bar, restaurant and live-music venue. Genres range from Americana, reggae, blues, funk, soul to jazz. Music begins between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know I’ll be there this summer, rain or shine. It’s a low-key great time, afternoon or night.


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Mike Brown: Beer, Barons and Bike Culture
FFMoto: The Flying Frenchwoman

 

L–R) Blair Draper, Derek Clark, Justin Richardson, Elowyn LaPointe and Jared Asplund wax and wane their music styles through Martian Cult to provide a unique sound. Photo: LmSorenson.net

This May installment of SLUG Magazine’s Localized highlights an eclectic range of bands with a comparably unique range of history in Salt Lake City. Gracing the stage will be bands, Martian Cult, Umbels and Coolaid. The night will be filled with pop, psych and synth-driven post-punk themes that will have you bouncing from one musical land to another. Enjoy yourself on Thursday, May 16, for SLUG Localized at Urban Lounge, sponsored by High West, 90.9 FM KRCL and Spilt Ink SLC.


Followed by the remnants of former local band Daisy and the Moonshines, vocalist Jared Asplund and bassist Elowyn LaPointe were led down a path of synth-heavy music and dystopian storytelling to form what is now known as Martian Cult. LaPointe and Asplund are accompanied on this journey by guitarist Justin Richardson from the band Terra Cotta, synth player Derek Clark and drummer Blair Draper (also known as Milo, depending on the day).

This group forms a unique sound that incites a sense of adventure, nostalgia and frantic longing for a tragic love story we don’t know yet. Experiencing their music gives the same spike of adrenaline brought on by playing a game of Zelda or Fallout 76. As someone who has played many shows alongside Martian Cult and who is their friend (if they’ll have me), I wouldn’t hype them up if I didn’t mean it from an objective standpoint—I don’t think they would stand for that bullshit.

Like many bands, Martian Cult struggle with the definition of what their “sound” is. This elicits an internal conflict, as Asplund says, “You kinda go back and forth between being pigeonholed or having a place to fit.” Cheater’s Wave has a distinct sound that’s hard to put a finger on. It has rock n’ roll elements that Richardson provides with lead guitar that draws from garage and post-punk styles. The band also features a severely funky bass with a heavy lean on the synth for the melody, which provides an ominous/spooky vibe. Asplund almost plays a storyteller role as opposed to a singer. Songs like “Lonely Android” tell stories of a dystopian wasteland with political and social references that sit you down and buckle you up for a potential catastrophe in our future. Imagine a robot going through a breakup all the while trying to save the earth and human race from extinction. This is the weight of Cheater’s Wave.

“It is a totally different lifestyle with waking up and having to be in a different city, and you get to see friends that you only see a few times a year when you tour.”

As Daisy and the Moonshines decided to call it good, Asplund aspired to form a band with more defined objectives. “It had to do with wanting to start a band that was a little bit more regimented and strict with a purpose of touring,” Asplund says. However, there is residual love and appreciation for Daisy. They all remain close friends. “[Playing in Daisy] was really cool and really fun,” LaPointe says. “We played great shows.” Daisy provided LaPointe and Asplund a springboard that helped corner exactly what they want in a band—touring.

As has nearly every band in our generation, we’ve watched movies such as Almost Famous that romanticize touring. And for those of us who actually had to fork out the money, time and energy to pile into a van and survive off of Del Taco for a week, it’s easy for tour to discourage or break bands. Martian Cult have a different tone—and they clearly love it, seeing as how they’ve trekked around the country five times in the span of two-and-a-half years. Asplund says, “It is a totally different lifestyle with waking up and having to be in a different city, and you get to see friends that you only see a few times a year when you tour.”

“The intention is to make the songs easier to sing along to. We want to make it more universal.”

Martian Cult’s love for touring is more about the experiences and relationships cultivated while being able to see eye to eye with other touring bands. Hospitality is a core value for Martian Cult, and they see touring as more than going out there into the unknown—it’s also about what you can bring back home. Asplund says, “The most important thing with touring is getting bands to want to come here … It is really rewarding to have bands stay with you and take care of them.” This has proven to be the case, as bands like Ice Cream and Spooky Mansion, both from San Francisco, come to SLC and stay with Martian Cult often.

After this solid of run of back-to-back tours for Cheater’s Wave—which came out in 2017—Martian Cult has refocused on taking a different direction with a new album. “Simmer Down,” a single released late 2018, is the first step toward a different kind of sound. “The intention is to make the songs easier to sing along to,” Draper says. “We want to make it more universal.”

As Cheater’s Wave was more of a story to tell, the upcoming album will be much more personal for Asplund. Keep an eye and ear out for the next adventure Martian Cult embark on, whether that is the next tour or new album. In the meantime, you can see what they have to offer now at May’s Localized at Urban Lounge. You can find their music on Spotify and keep up on Instagram @martiancult.


More on SLUGMag.com:

Local Review: Martian Cult – Cheater’s Wave
SLUG Soundwaves #299 – Martian Cult

St. George Bicycle Collective Director Judith Rognli has helped the community focus on bicycle commuting and enabling different groups to feel empowered via bikes. Photo: Amy Osness

St. George Bicycle Collective
bicyclecollective.org/st-george
70 W. St. George Blvd. • 435.574.9304

Since October 2017, Utah bike culture has experienced a whole new space for community growth and collaboration at the St. George Bicycle Collective (STGBC). Having started small, the Southern Utah chapter is picking up a ton of speed.

“We went from a group of five to 10 volunteers working together to fix donated bikes for the homeless population to a total of 412 volunteers, spending 4,500 hours here to help us fix 600 bikes last year!” says STGBC Director Judith Rognli. “We have great blueprints from our partner shops in Salt Lake, Ogden and Provo … and we’re ever improving as we go.”

Rognli came Stateside from Germany for her partner’s career. She found an unexpected home with the STGBC, which has thrived with her at the helm. The response from the community has been enthusiastic and supportive. “We receive very strong support from the City of St. George and other bike shops in town, the Public Health Department, Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance, etc.,” Rognli says. “We’re able to sustain more than 70 percent of what we do with income from bikes and parts sold in our community bike shop. We mostly sell kids’ bikes, entry-level mountain bikes, some road bikes and commuter bikes. We run a couple of youth programs, a bustling volunteer day, a Bike Kitchen at the homeless shelter and the community bike shop with one full-time and three part-time staff.” This is on top of community rides, a Juvenile Justice Class and a Women’s Night.

“I think so many people can relate to the experience of riding a bike as a kid, the sense of independence, momentum and freedom that comes with it.”

One of STGBC’s most critical components—and a unique community service-—is their array of “ride-able” bikes available for purchase. It’s been a standard for STGBC to offer refurbished bikes that can be bought or earned via volunteer hours. “We noticed that we’re missing a segment of potential customers that are looking for bikes that cost under $100, just to get started or to ride around the neighborhood,” Rognli says. “[These] ride-able bikes are bikes we briefly checked over and tuned up so that they are safe to ride, but we don’t do any major repairs. The bikes come with an hour of free bench coaching, so people who want to get into deeper repairs can do so with our guidance.”

The St. George Bicycle Collective in action. Photo: Amy Osness
Photo: Amy Osness

Rognli’s cohort has created an array of events that suit diverse riding styles, including the Trail Prom which was upcoming at the time of this interview and happened on Apr. 27. “We’ll be celebrating bikes, our trails and our community with a fun, short, social bike ride and a dance at our brand-new bike park. People will get to experience what it is like to formally dress up and go for a ride together, and they’ll be able to enjoy food, music and the bike park during sunset afterwards!”

The central mission of Rognli and her colleagues at STGBC is grounded in the shared freedom many of them associate with ridership. “I think so many people can relate to the experience of riding a bike as a kid, the sense of independence, momentum and freedom that comes with it,” she says, “but then, somehow, we lose that along the way. We like to show that it doesn’t have to be that way.”

This sense of valuing this freedom of owning a bike translates beautifully to the programming offered by the collective, including youth opportunities. “For our youth, we love to give them the ability to try out hands-on mechanical work, teach them an appreciation and understanding of all things mechanical and possibly give someone a starting point for a career as a bike mechanic.”

“The larger goal for me is to foster the Bicycle Collective as a well-known, well-functioning resource for people interested in or new to biking who might not have the tools, knowledge or courage to start riding.”

STGBC supports the growing demand for bike infrastructure beyond the standard Moab slick rock associated with the region. “The more people ride in a community, the safer it gets for everyone because of increased awareness of cyclists, including our children who ride or walk to school and are so easily overlooked,” Rognli says. “There are the elements of choice and equity. Finally, bikes are part of the picture when it comes to making our communities more sustainable and economically resilient. Bikes are not the solution but a piece in a large puzzle of creating sustainable, healthy and happy communities.”

STGBC depends on the ongoing involvement of their community via crucial volunteerism and donations. Rognli describes the workload as labor-intensive with many moving parts, so much that it couldn’t exist without the contributions of volunteers. She also credits STGBC founders Dannielle Larkin, Jack Moran, Bud Flowers, Ray Olson “and so many others who put countless volunteer hours into getting the Bicycle Collective off the ground,” Rognli says.

Community members at all skill levels and abilities have an ongoing opportunity to donate bikes, parts and volunteer in the shop and at events. As for personnel growth, Rognli has an eye on expanding the team: “We’re constantly looking to bring on new part-time mechanics and will probably soon be hiring a program assistant.” Growth on all levels appears on the near horizon for STGBC. “The biggest change we’re anticipating is moving to a new location. If anyone reading this has any connections or ideas pertinent to a new home for the St. George Bicycle Collective, let us know!

Rognli, her colleagues and the community are gearing up for these changes and looking ahead on the trail to new challenges and new terrain in which to excel. “The larger goal for me is to foster the Bicycle Collective as a well-known, well-functioning resource for people interested in or new to biking who might not have the tools, knowledge or courage to start riding.” Visit their site for more information about the St. George Bicycle Collective and their events.


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(L–R) Saturday Cycles Owner Mark Kennedy and Director of Social Media Engagement Steve “bykmor” Wasmund organize one-night overnight bike trips for busy SLC dwellers to get to the great outdoors quickly. Photo: John Barkiple

Imagine finishing your 9–5 job on a Friday afternoon and being able to bike from work right up into the foothills. You can decompress for the night, enjoy an evening with some new friends and still make it back down to the city for your Saturday commitments. Owner Mark Kennedy and Director of Social Media Engagement Steve “bykmor” Wasmund of Saturday Cycles want to help make that dream a reality for the commuter bikers of Salt Lake City with their overnight bike-touring trips.

Kennedy founded Saturday Cycles in 2005 to cater to commuter and beginner- to mid-level cyclists, whom he found shops in Salt Lake were neglecting in favor of the high-end road and mountain bikers. Their mission is simple: “Just get on your bike and ride,” says Wasmund, who’s also been with the shop since 2005. Through these overnight bike-touring trips, Saturday Cycles’ aims to grow a stronger cycling community in SLC and expose those who might be everyday bike commuters to the other possibilities a bike can expose them to.

Bicycle touring is essentially backcountry camping, but instead of carrying everything you need on a pack on your back, you attach it to your bike and ride as far from home as you like. Saturday Cycles’ overnight bike trips take root in an idea created by the founder of Rivendell Bicycles based out of California. “Sub-24-hour outings are intended to get bikers out in their own backyards camping, wherever that may be,” says Wasmund. The point of the trips is to show people what’s accessible less than an hour from where they live. By getting riders out on trips like these, the two hope that riders will become more confident in their skills and decide to start taking longer bike-touring trips to Moab and further.

“There’s enough community involved that everyone’s supported and no one gets left behind.”

The trips leave on Friday nights when the shop closes at 6. Being located in the Northwest corner of the city makes it easy to access the foothills above the Shoreline Trail where attendees can enjoy killer sunsets, good company and maybe a few beers (which I find is always deserved after any sort of physical activity). In the morning, the campers usually enjoy a cup of coffee before riding back down into the city. Through these trips, Kennedy and Wasmund highlight how easy it can be for Salt Lake residents to escape the city and enjoy the great outdoors, even if this time is limited.

Regarding a favorite memory from one of the overnight bike trips thus far, it doesn’t take Kennedy long to recall a woman who came with her 30-year-old mountain bike and struggled the whole way up. That same woman proceeded to have such a great time that she upgraded her bike and is currently bike-packing the entire Continental Divide Trail, which is typically a six-month commitment. It’s fair to say that attendees of the overnight trips must have a good time.

Kennedy’s example perfectly highlights why Saturday Cycles wanted to start these trips, to expose Utah residents to the outdoors they love in ways city commuters typically don’t experience. Often after I watch some sort of outdoor-adventure movie, I get an urgent feeling that I need to go out and do something I deem cool immediately. Talking with Kennedy and Wasmund about the overnight-bike-packing trips left me with a similar feeling. It’s easy to see their love for biking while talking to them. Their passion to help expose new people to bike-packing and share the outdoors with more people is not only good for business but great community-building as well.

Photo: Steve "bykmor" Wasmund
Photo: Steve “bykmor” Wasmund

The biking experience needed to participate on an overnight bike trip is low. However, the Shoreline Trail does get steep, so a certain level of physical fitness doesn’t hurt. “There’s enough community involved that everyone’s supported and no one gets left behind,” says Kennedy. A trip like this would be ideal for those wanting to keep their skiing legs strong this summer, or for people who enjoy camping and want to add an extra element.

Wasmund also assured me of the benefits of it only being an overnight trip. If you forget anything, nothing that terrible will happen to you. Worst-case scenario, you forget your sleeping bag and you just bike home to go to bed. In my personal experience, however, the trips where something goes wrong are always the ones I look back on and can laugh at the most. It’s a great test of ingenuity and resourcefulness as well.

One of the biggest perks of living in SLC that’s helped the city grow in recent years is the proximity to the mountains. Saturday Cycles is making that close access more attainable to those with busy schedules or those who have maybe never done a trip like this before but are interested in trying with a group. I meet a lot of people who say they moved to Salt Lake for the winter and stayed for the summer sports. Bike-packing could be the summer activity that you’ve been missing. If you’re interested in signing up for one of their overnight bike trips, the easiest way to reach them would be calling the shop or visiting the Saturday Cycles Facebook page.


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