The Craft Lake City mixer is a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the finest artists, entrepreneurs, and DIYers in our city. A gathering of those who share their gifts with Salt Lake City, the Craft Lake City mixer brings together exhibitors who will be presenting their wares and services at Craft Lake City’s DIY Fest from August 8th-9th. The event was organized by Craft Lake City and orchestrated by a handful of volunteers. There’s something uniquely reflective about knowing that you are in a room filled with people who are incredibly talented and have decided to make their talents and passions accessible to the community. So much creativity and hard work is represented through the individuals and businesses at this event that one cannot help but be impacted and inspired to support or contribute in our own way. A deserved reprieve, the Craft Lake City mixer is aimed at allowing the participants to engage with and for each other; laying aside for one evening the pressures and stresses of running your own business and building your dreams to cultivate relationships. I had the opportunity to witness these conversations and capture the people who are shaping and empowering our community.

It is a remarkable thing to witness people from a myriad of backgrounds, talents, and passions serve a common goal: to enrich the community around them. The SLUG holiday party is the one time a year when the humans at the front line of community engagement come together and celebrate the impact they are creating. This year the theme was “A Punk Rock X-Mas” and was executed with perfection. Many SLUGgers have lives that are demanding outside the walls of SLUG’s office on Pierpont Ave. and this provides the opportunity to meet new faces, significant others, friends, and contributors who have made what SLUG Magazine is today. Every SLUG holiday party is a blast, and this year did not disappoint. Divine Esté pizza and drinks were served in the underbelly of SLC’s Metro Bar in their new location on 100 South. At first glance, an outsider may have pondered if a cult meeting of ghouls and golems was taking place, but upon further inspection would notice the warmth and “cheer” was genuine and anything but cold.

Music for the evening was spun by SLUG’s own illustrator DJ Tanner, who played tunes they certainly wouldn’t allow at my daughter’s Christmas recital. After feasting on pizza and libations, there was a white elephant gift exchange that made all other gift exchanges at your neighbor’s ugly sweater party a complete disgrace. I have not seen that many amazing gifts premeditated with love. It was impossible to receive a bad gift this evening and many probably would consider their gift better than their top item on Amazon. Before you get all jealous and teary-eyed, realize that there was also a tremendous amount of work and thought that went into making this event a reality as SLUG’s Editor Angela Brown doesn’t say thank you with a sausage and hot sauce collection; she says thank you by knowing how to throw a great f****n’ party. Honestly, that’s enough for me.

This year, I encourage the reader to spend time with those who care about them. Don’t even think of shopping at Walmart, and get or make something for someone who needs it.

 

How does one quantify the impact that SLUG has had on our community over the last 27 years? Throw a damn good party at Metro Bar in downtown SLC, that’s how. I don’t think that a forum of SLC patrons boring us with the tales of contributions and moving stories of local heroes comes close to the booty shaking, cross-dressing, libation pouring, music-making and epic mayhem that was experienced by all those who came to show their support for the anniversary party of SLUG Magazine. It’s hard enough to stay alive and attractive for 27 years, let alone keep something running and evolving to meet the changing landscape of physical medium journalism and cultural editorials—SLUG has not only managed this, but has created a haven for writers, poets, photographers, artists, musicians, geeks, gamers, snow lovers, foodies and more.

Read more about the evening's performances in SLUG's March issue.
Read more about the evening’s performances in SLUG’s March issue.

The evening was supported by performers dressing up as members of the 27 Club (famous artists who each passed away at the age of 27), including Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and others … as well as local artists who adorned the upper area of Metro Bar with their pieces. Alcohol was sponsored by local distributers including Southern Wine, and unique drinks were crafted just for the event. I’m pretty sure anyone who’s anyone was there, including the entire staff of SLUG magazine, who had every right to parade as artists basking in their greatest work.

What impressed me perhaps the most about the evening was the range of people in attendance. Many in attendance were there simply because they are either involved with the magazine or friends with those who are actively involved in the Salt Lake City community. I enjoyed that though not everyone has a direct tie to SLUG magazine and it’s extensions, they recognize the contributions and work that SLUG has been a part of for the past 27 years. Local business owners, local artists and just plain locals all joined in one voice to celebrate. Thankfully, I don’t anticipate SLUG joining the 27 Club anytime soon, so you should have the opportunity to celebrate with us next year. Just get there early, cause I suspect that next year it will sell out!

The crowd was really thick at this point and it was difficult to get a good shot, but Cat Power had stage presence that could be felt regardless of where you were watching. Photo: johnnybetts.com

This evening was proof of the power of the voice. While I was perusing Pioneer Park before the Aug. 17 Twilight Concert and taking pictures of vendors, patrons, artists and the like, I witnessed an amazing event. At first, there was some stirring from the speaker cones onstage and a few feedback peaks, but as soon as Belle Jewel started singing, it was as if a hypnotic tide had started receding.  This “tide” was calling people to the front of the platform to listen to an unknown yet somehow comfortingly familiar voice in the same fashion that the ocean calls the sand and shells from the shore to join in its party beneath the waves. People started materializing and filing up the spaces near the stage. Accompanied by local musician Joshy Soul, it is possible that Belle Jewel filled as great if not greater shoes than the acts that followed her and set the bar for what was to be an absolutely wonderful evening.

Phoebe Bridgers (L.A.) took ghostly form following Belle Jewel. “Ghostly form” meaning the type of ghost that grabs your hand via unknown forces and carries you to a melodically mythical place. Bridgers’ haunting songs created a silent stir throughout the crowd that couldn’t be heard and could only be joined through sonic connection. Many people came to the show to see Cat Power and left with much more than only a single talent.

Cat Power truly showed her experience in performing and her unique ability to craft what appear to be simple songs into symphonic masterpieces. She would start with one chord and then, without our even realizing whether or not that chord had changed, we would find ourselves swept into another world that most found better to experience while lying down in the grass or hugging each other for fear that something both terrifying and euphoric might happen.  At the close, in the same fashion that the tide slowly deposits its prey back on the shore, people slowly wandered back to their Lyft, bike or car to ponder what they had just witnessed and if it could ever exist again.


Click images to view captions