LDS Church’s Ensign magazine
Ensign had a particularly nasty surprise when it discovered that one contributor, Ukrainian convert Oleg Barabash, was sentenced last August for two class A misdemeanors of lewdness involving a child. Barabash’s editorial contribution to the October issues of Ensign and Liahona magazines, about reactivating his LDS faith, made it to the pages, but the editorial department was swift in alerting the public. Turns out they run thorough background checks on contributors but that Barabash gave in to Satan only after cashing the check. “Ensign editors regret that this story was published after the status of the author had changed,” a church statement read. Does this mean past contributors can expect more background checks before current issues of Ensign make it to microfilm?
BEST UTAH-THEMED ART EXHIBIT YOU NEVER SAW
John Arndt’s “Empire” exhibit at Chicago’s Gallery 400
Don’t believe it when people tell you Wendover’s Utah side is nothing but trailer homes and one suffocating blanket of depression. True, Chicago artist John Arndt had to venture far out from his artist’s residency at the old military base and into the desert salt flats to find what he was looking for. He found them all the same, then assembled it all for his Empire exhibit, one part fascinating found objects with other parts a haunting sound-recording and photo exhibit. Yeah, maybe an old typewriter, “Preserved,” and tire, “Bonneville Flat” (get it?), encrusted in crystallized salt do more for big-city Westerners, but give the man credit all the same. We can only hope Arndt might one day take the exhibit back closer to its origins.
BEST DOWNTOWN SLC RESTORATION
The Stratford Apartments at 2nd & 2nd
Except for the low-income tenants who lived there, not many people shed a tear when the old Stratford Hotel was gutted by a June 2005 fire. Now, thanks to developer Ben Logue and a partnership grant from the city’s housing and development department, the Stratford has been restored and revamped, pleasantly and surprisingly, into one of downtown Salt Lake City’s small crown jewels of old architecture. In fact, this project is so spiffy, you’d hardly guess it was restored for its old purpose of low-income housing. Solar panels on top of the roof are a nice bonus, too. In short, the Stratford is everything we could hope for in a redevelopment project: classy, “green,” and something good for the disadvantaged. Kudos all ’round. 175 E. 200 South
BEST MIDSUMMER DOWNTOWN TART-UP
Main Street Planters
Mindless consumers may have abandoned downtown’s remaining shops and businesses to the tender mercies of the LDS Church real-estate juggernaut, but those of us with taste are still mindful enough of Main Street’s (potential) charms. Therefore, we offer our thanks to the city for providing and maintaining eye-catching planters up and down the street during the warm season. One particularly attractive container featured a simple yet effective mix of asparagus fern and fibrous begonia—it bloomed the entire season. We suppose the irksome and commonplace zinnia/lobelia mix featured at The Gateway suited some people, but we’re glad to work and shop downtown.
BEST ASHTRAY SUBSTITUTE
Main Street Planters
Trashcans are flammable and throwing your butt on the sidewalk is tacky, tacky, tacky. What’s an addict to do? Fortunately, until merchants start once again providing ashtrays for their customers instead of passive-aggressively omitting this genteel service, those lovely Main Street flower containers are available. Sure, it looks like hell, but it’s better than quitting. And, apparently, tar and nicotine aren’t as poisonous to asparagus ferns and fibrous begonias as they are to human lungs.
BEST WILD THING
A wildlife artist for nearly 20 years and one of the top colored-pencil artists in the country, Jan Henderson’s work captures the personality of animals like few can. Animals literally come to life for her. “You just can’t get the softness of fur with oil or acrylic that can be achieved with colored pencil,” she says. Her work has been reproduced as posters, limited edition prints, wallpaper borders, puzzles, T-shirts, needlecraft kits, and greeting cards. Pet portraits are her specialty. Draw her wild work into your life. JanHendersonArt.com
BEST MAGAZINE MAVEN ON MAIN
As owner of the jam-packed Utah Book & Magazine, Marshall is one of Main Street’s most colorful characters, selling used general-interest and out-of-print books, vintage adult magazines, old comics and Mormon books. Marshall, rumored to be related to the Hollywood Marshalls (Garry and Penny), is the third generation to run the shop (his granddad founded it in 1916). After 43 years, Marshall must love what he does; he works from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Watching who shows up to browse at 6 a.m. can be a pastime in itself. Utah Book & Magazine, 327 S. Main, 359-4391
BEST DEMOCRAT Readers’ Choice
Yeah, a lot of people get up in this man’s grill for voting like a Republican more often than a Democrat. But this is Utah, where we call that an “independent” political mind-set and “reaching across the aisle” more often than “traitorous, opportunistic bait-and-switch” politics. And what would you rather have instead? A Republican in both word and deed? Nah. Take this 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. for what he is and, more importantly, may yet become if more Democrats take power in coming years. And here’s a shout-out to Matheson’s gnarly communications director Alyson Heyrend: Someday you, too, will return City Weekly’s press call.
2. Peter Corroon
3. Pete Ashdown
BEST MORMON ARTIST
When Annie Kennedy isn’t teaching art to school kids at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, she’s making extraordinary pieces exploring her relationship with the LDS Church. Her exhibition last October and November showcased her use of traditional Utahn imagery such as the sego lily, the beehive and the angel Moroni using various textiles, fabrics and surfaces such as Veil (pictured above) which is salt crystals grown on felt. At times celebratory, at others ambiguous, Kennedy brings a sharp, fresh eye and a vivacity to her belief system that makes Mormonism so much more accessible than any number of trips to Temple Square. AnnieKennedy.ShawnRossiter.com
BEST BILLABLE HOURS
Hutchings, Baird & Jones
Hiring the law firm that House Speaker Greg Curtis recently joined turned out to be money well spent for developers. The Legislature gave easy passage to a slew of laws to smooth the way for Curtis’ private legal clients, particularly Anderson Development. Anderson, gearing up to build homes on land once home to Geneva Steel, won passage of a law that lets it out of costs of cleaning up the old Geneva site (costs that may be borne by the public thanks to another Anderson-friendly bill), as well as laws that strip Park City of power to stand in the way of Anderson’s plans to pave over Summit County wetlands. It’s good to have friends in high places.