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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2007 | Goods & Services Page 2

Posted // June 11,2007 - BEST BLACK-BOOT BONANZA
Vientos del Sur
Set up by two Argentine couples and a Uruguayan family two years ago, Vientos del Sur encourages the founders’ children to continue the folkloric traditions of their parents’ country of birth. Members of the group, which number 40-strong including students, can be seen dancing at everything from Living Traditions to the annual party held for Uruguay’s Independence Day. Importing their costumes from Argentina, the most expensive are the flashy soft-leather black boots central to their act. While the women swirl their voluminous skirts and wave handkerchiefs, the men duel not with knives but impressive displays of black-boot twisting and stamping virtuosity. 519-8905

Melodies From the Heart Vol. 2
Next time you stop by Colorado City’s dairy shop and pick up a bag of squeaky cheese—it squeaks between your teeth—check out CDs for sale by the till. Melodies From the Heart features songs about stalwart figures from polygamy’s recent history, including the long-running and popular Bishop “Uncle” Fred Jessop, who died in exile. Quaintly genteel New Age melodies, these songs are certainly different from those allegedly listened to by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. What he made of alt-metal band Godsmack’s self-proclaimed Wiccan lead singer Sully Erna’s wailing can only be imagined.

Starry-Eyed Puppets
On a sabbatical until November when they’re planning on returning for a bumper Halloween show, Starry-Eyed puppeteers Mary Anne and Matt Heider and their writer/director partner George Plautz will be sorely missed this summer by kids who’ve thrilled to their performances since 1999. At their version of Pied Piper in the Sandy library last August, kids brayed at the corrupt mayor wheedling his way out of paying the Piper his due, while adults laughed at the Schwarzenegger accent and the judicious mentioning of “story-foreshadowing.” 272-7710,

The Beer Nut’s Wine Making Kit
The Beer Nut folks complain they haven’t had a Best of, although across the road, the Bayou has them by the boxload. True or not, it seems churlish not to celebrate those friendly folks down on State Street who’ve done so much to popularize making your own suds and vino. Admittedly, it ain’t cheap. You’ll need over $100 for a wine starter kit. But the thought of reaching out to pour yourself a glass of red wine from a bottle bearing your own label offers a pleasure second to none. 1200 S. State, 531-8182,

Natalie Hewitt
While Hewitt was growing up, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and other outdoor activities were a family tradition. Out of that childhood also came a fascination for leaves. When her leaf collection got too big, she turned to preserving and framing them, and so, Leaf Décor was born. The 29-year-old’s framed works turn leaves into the most gentle art forms. Her pictures show leaves in many different lights. She leads you to appreciate not only colors and textures but also the leaf’s life cycle and how much like a human being it is—the skin, the veins, the skeleton. 864-6321,

Elemental Inspirations
You know it’s hard out here for a pagan in Zion. If you want to find a place that celebrates your distinctive brand of spirituality, try Sugar House. You’ll find tote bags, platters and other gear proudly sporting pentacles. You can pick up a carved broomstick. You’ll even be able to pick out that new wand—willow, walnut, rosewood just to name a few options—that you’ve been needing. Blessed be. 2152 S. Highland, 455-2165,

Engh Gardens
As nurseries go, Engh is as much about education and kids having fun as it is about selling fuchsias and peonies. Would-be gardeners can learn about lilacs, edible flowers, growing perennials for your cottage garden and caring for lavender through events offered spring through autumn. But it’s the kids club that draws the most appreciation, at least from gardening parents. Flower-garden story time, an Easter egg hunt, learning about butterflies; kids leave Engh with a hunger and love for nature that parents might otherwise struggle to instill. 8214 S. 700 East, Sandy, 748-0102; 6220 S. Highland, 277-3908; Della’s: 3985 S. 2000 East, 277-9338

Dragon’s Keep
Manager Mike Osborne’s been into collectible fantasy card games for decades. He’s three months into the job of running the Provo-based, 19-year-old game store. What surprises him most is customer loyalty. The store’s been through three owners in the past couple of years. But despite the ups and downs, the role-playing gamers keep coming in, hanging out, talking and playing War Hammer fantasy battles on Wednesday or Magic the Gathering at get-togethers on Fridays. 260 N. University Avenue, Provo, 373-3482,

Kids Etc.
For 15 years, Kids Etc. preschool director Stephani Froisland has pursued the idea of a kindergarten as a place for education, enrichment and soul-shaping, rather than a glorified baby-sitting service. In the morning, kids focus on phonics, maths, music and art and, in the afternoon, dance, sports and drama. She pairs sweet, nurturing teachers with louder, more active ones. Come Christmas and the end of the school, the children put on extravagant performances that showcase not only the dance skills they’ve learned but also the close bonds teachers and students enjoy. 9825 S. 1300 East, 523-8500

Second Chance for Homeless Pets
Seven years after Rhonda Hughes started her campaign to find homes for dogs and cats on animal-shelter death row, the experience, she says, is “bittersweet.” Although she has a no-kill policy, sometimes animals are so sick from disease-ridden shelters, there’s no choice but euthanasia. And then there’s the stagnancy of the Christmas-to-taxes period when no one wants to adopt. But put that against the joy she feels each time a dog or a cat finds a new home, and it’s not hard to see why she soldiers on with her fund-raising to build a facility in Murray, where she’s currently renting kennel space. “We want to save them all,” she laughs, “and put ourselves out of business.” Open by appointment only, 232-2354, SecondChanceForHomelessPets.

Expressions in Hair
Sandra Shipman grew up in California with a barber father and a hair-stylist mother. She’s been cutting hair in Salt Lake City for 20 years, and her salon, Expressions in Hair, rings with laughter and camaraderie. Expressions, which got a makeover itself this March, is truly one big family. Shipman extends that definition to clientele who’ve fallen on hard times. “I know they need help and can’t afford it,” she says. Shipman goes down to the shelter, picks up old clients, does their hair, feeds them and lets them hang out for the day. She’s like a wing to shelter under, a loving soul who understands what looking good does for the damaged soul. 6066 S. State, Murray, 261-0646,

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