Archive for June, 2013

My family has a number of annual traditions but among them are a late-June trip to Bear Lake’s Ideal Beach and an extended-family soiree at my parent’s house on the 3rd and 4th of July.

Last July 4th, a group of us sat outside in the shade and had an impromptu drum-circle-esque jam session. I had been playing the Uke for about 6 months and by then my mother, brother, cousin and niece had also picked up Ukes of their own, mostly out of interest in the instrument but also due partly (I think) to the recent passing of my late grandfather John, a life-long ukulele player.

Because we were a rag tag group of assorted musical tastes, we stuck to covering mainstream and well known songs that everyone could join in on. After a few rounds of uke-ified Justin Bieber, Train, Beatles, and Coldplay my cousin Alex suggested — jokingly — that we try some Beyonce.

What followed was a simplified acoustic version of Single Ladies that I’ve played probably a hundred times since and has become something of a signature piece for me. Almost every time I’ve seen my brother in the last year we’ve talked about how we needed to film a cover of the song, but we could never quite find the right time to do it.

So this year, as we enjoyed our week of lakeside R&R on the Utah/Idaho border, we finally got the thing done. The video is nothing special, just the two of us jamming on the grass with some scattered haphazard b-roll of us goofing around.

At some point I think it would be fun to film a black-and-white version mimicking Beyonce’s famous music video. But for now, this will do. If you like it, put a ring on it.

Also, I uploaded the recording to bandcamp.com so if you’re interested in a free download click here.

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I was thinking recently how I hadn’t seen a good documentary in a while, which then got me thinking about how I’ve written relatively few blog posts on Wood’s Stock on the subject of documentary film.

I always like to say that one of the main reasons I love film is because it allows us to see the world through the eyes of another person. In no format is this more true than a documentary, where we are given the chance to view real people affected by real stories and listen to their unique perspective. Very few arguments, debates or even discussions result in a person walking away educated or informed about a topic, but a well-prepared documentary can often present us with an issue that we have little experience with, or show us a perspective we had never considered.

But sadly, most people don’t watch documentaries. So if you’re looking for recommendations, or if you’re in the mood to watch a thought-provoking narrative on a controversial subject, here’s four documentaries that left a profound impression on me.

Hot Coffee 

You’ve heard the story of the woman who burned herself with McDonald’s coffee, filed a lawsuit and was awarded millions of dollars in damages, yes? Of course you have, everyone has. They made an episode of Seinfield about it.

But have you heard all of the story? Like how the woman wasn’t driving at the time of the spill but was actually a passenger and the car was parked in the lot? Or how she received third-degree burns to the insides of her legs that required skin grafts? Or how prior to her incident, McDonalds had received dozens of complaints from people who burned themselves with the coffee, but the corporate giant continued to dictate in its employee manual that coffee be stored at an unsafe temperature?

Then there’s my favorite part. The exorbitant millions the clumsy woman received was equal to one day’s-worth of coffee sales at McDonalds. Just one day. Just coffee. And it worked, after the lawsuit McDonald’s changed it’s policy to turn the temperature down a few degrees.

That story is just one of the examples used by director Susan Saladoff to demonstrate how you, me and everyone we know has been manipulated into believing a stream of mistruths about so-called “frivolous lawsuits” by the very people who stand to benefit the most from their demise: criminally negligent corporations.

Watching this sizzling documentary, you come to despise phrases that you’ve likely never encountered before, like mandatory arbitration, which affect each and every one of us in ways we don’t notice, until we do.

In clear, reasoned and hard-to-argue-with tones, Saladof gives you a peak behind the curtain at the financial motivations that influence partisan ideologues and explains how limiting “frivolous lawsuits” only limits an individual’s access to the courts (one of our constitutional rights) and undermines a powerful judicial power of using financial punishment to encourage organizations to change their behavior for the better.

Sicko 

Health Care is a touchy subject in the United States. Most sides agree the system is in dire need of reform, but few are able to agree on how to proceed and fewer still have the courage to tackle the issue seriously out of fear of being labeled a socialist and run out of town on a rail.

Michael Moore has always been one to wear his motivations on the brim of his baseball cap, which is what gives his films their distinct brand of passionate activism. In Sicko, Moore argues that the U.S. needs socialized medicine, or universal healthcare by another name, and to prove his argument he goes about disproving every myth that surrounds this boogeyman of political subjects.

Those myths include how U.S. healthcare is the best in the world: it’s not. Or how countries with socialized medicine have terrible health care systems that residents have little faith in: they don’t. Or how wages for doctors in a socialized system are so low that quality professionals are forced out of their careers leaving lesser physicians to care for they sick: they’re not.

In the meantime, Moore also shines a bright, ugly light on the failures of our U.S. system. He talks with regular Americans who were left in the lurch, effectively to die, by loopholes in their insurance policies as the bills mounted up. He talks with Americans abroad who sing praises of inexpensive prescriptions, manageable taxes and comfortable care. He talks with tourists fearful of traveling in the U.S. where they may inadvertently require a bankrupting hospital visit and, in one memorable segments, takes a boat full of the uninsured to Cuba to receive the medical attention they have long been denied.

After Tiller 

Despite the constant hemming and hawing about the despicable practice of late-term abortions, few people realize that only four doctors in the entire country practice the third-trimester procedures. Those four doctors are so despised, when After Tiller premiered at Sundance, organizers beefed up security in fear that having all four “killers” in one place would lead to a security threat.

And while luckily no threat manifested, those fears were not unfounded. The title of the film refers to George Tiller, the man who trained today’s four doctors and who was killed in 2009 in Whichita, Kansas by an anti-abortion bomber.

The film bounces back and forth between the four doctors, interviewing them about their chosen line of work. These men and women are conflicted, their shoulders sag under the profound weight of what they do, and yet they press on through death threats and protests because they believe the service they provide is a necessary evil. In one of the more telling segments, Dr. Warren Hern talks about his work with the Peace Corps were he encountered women who had mutilated themselves with hangers and other makeshift apparatuses in a desperate attempt to perform an illegal abortion. He said the experience haunted him, and he came home and immediately went to work with Dr. Tiller.

It’s those stories, as well as the stories of the women who seek out these doctor’s care, that are hard to set aside. The “If it’s legal it’s safe” argument is bandied about a lot, for abortion, drugs and the like, but to hear these doctors discuss their craft and to hear the trembling voices of their clients, it’s hard to feel overly sympathetic to the picketers standing just outside the reinforced walls and secure fences of the clinics.

8: The Mormon Proposition

Watching the tides of public opinion shift so quickly on gay marriage over the last several years has been nothing short of astounding. What was unthinkable just 10 years ago is already seen as an inevitability by most Americans, including those opposed to marriage equality.

But in 2010 when 8: The Mormon Proposition premiered, those who espoused equality were still very much the minority and Prop 8 was still worming its way up the legislative process to its ultimate demise this week at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

What makes Reed Cowan’s stellar documentary shine is his reluctance to simply put together a stinging rebuke of the Mormon church and its well-documented involvement in the pro-Prop 8 campaign. Instead, Cowan turns his camera on those members of the church who, while remaining committed to their religion, support equality out of love and sympathy for their gay friends, children and neighbors. Studies show that the single-largest indicator of those who support gay marriage are those who have friends and family who are gay and in 8, Cowan puts a human face on the debate, showing us the individuals and couples to whom the decades of vitriol and rhetoric have been directed.

Cowan’s documentary seems almost prescient in today’s political landscape, but for those who are still evolving on the issue of marriage equality, it’s difficult to come away from viewing and not wonder what all the fuss is really about.

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Coming of age tales are to independent film what romantic comedies are to the mainstream Hollywood corporate machine. I don’t mean that as an expression of quality (the average coming of age indie is creatively and artistically miles ahead of the average Katherine Heigl starrer) but as an expression of quantity and, at times, an over-reliance on familiar tropes and rote mechanics.

On paper, you’d be forgiven for thinking The Kings of Summer is just another version of a movie you’ve seen before and will see again: three high-school age teenagers, frustrated by the oppressive hand of their obnoxious parents, set off on their own in search of life, love, freedom and adventure. It is similar in spirit to last year’s Moonrise Kingdom, and this year’s upcoming The Way, Way Back, in that its portrayal of a carefree youthful summer is nostalgic to the point of pseudo-fantasy. But it also shares with those films a vibrant, colorful and infectious joy that reminds us why we bother romanticizing childhood in the first place.

Kings tells the story of best friends Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso), who head to the woods and build an impressive makeshift home to escape from their homes, families and the doldrums of teenage existence. Joe is the son of cantankerous widower Frank (a perfectly surly Nick Offerman) who we learn has drifted apart from his children after the death of his wife. Patrick is the son of an overly-involved WASP couple played by Megan Mullally (Offerman’s IRL spouse) and Marc Evan Jackson, whose smothering parenting style has cause their son to break out in hives.

Patrick and Joe are joined on their adventure by Biaggio (Moises Arias) an intense idiosyncratic enigma who appears out of nowhere and proceeds to spin comedic gold out of every second of screen time he’s given.

The film’s sparse plot follows the boys approaching a quasi-religious Nirvana in their own personal Walden while their anxious parents search with the help of a pair of small-town police officers (Thomas Middleditch and 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub). At the same time, the movie is structured as a series of comedic vignettes, some of which inform character and plot while others are played for nonsensical comedy. It’s a winning combination of heart and wit that tells us what we need to know while conscious there’s no sense wasting a stellar cast of comedy actors.

Things eventually come to a head when the boys relationship is soured by the one thing that inevitably sours a teenage friendship in movies like these: a girl. Her interference is the ripple in the water that leads to a falling out between our three kings and to Joe being forced to confront the idea that he’s maybe not as ready for a life of self-sufficiency as he thought.

I truly loved this film, for its quiet beauty and for the hearty laughs it provides in spades. But I admit that its ending leaves something to be desired, perhaps because it’s light tone doesn’t allow for a satisfying confrontation of the emotions between parent and son. And despite the utter, tear-producing hilarity of Biaggio, the third member of our musketeers is mostly a punch line and never made into a fully-realized character.

But those criticisms are the difference between a perfect and near-perfect recommendation and are partly due to my personal discomfort in giving out two A grades in a single week. See this film, I beseech you! It is a captivating and inspiring piece of cinema, one of those rare gems that makes you long for the beauty of days past and yearn for the beauty of days to come.

Grade: A-

*The Kings of Summer opens in Utah on Friday, June 21.

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When nerd extraordinaire Joss Whedon took up Thor’s hammer to direct the mega-blockbuster Avengers, many fans were rightfully concerned that the auteur’s days of quiet, emotional ensemble pieces were behind him. But to their and our (and my) joyful surprise, Whedon followed up the superhero team-up extravaganza with a micro-budgeted black-and-white modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, filmed entirely at Whedon’s California home with a cast of regular Whedonverse contributors who are, in their own part, a who’s who of underrated Hollywood talent.

If reports are to be believed, Whedon was directed by his Marvel corporate bosses to take a small rest between principal photography on Avengers and the laborious post-production process. But Whedon, never one to sit on his hands (his web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog is one of the best things to come out of the 2007-08 writer’s strike) instead invited a gang of pals to his home for a 12-day shoot that, once Avengers was completed, the writer-director shopped around at film festivals before finally releasing for the world to enjoy.

And “enjoy” is truly the operating word, as this latest take on a Shakespeare work is one of the most effortlessly charming films to hit cinemas this year.  A sense of renegade filmmaking bleeds into every scene of  Much Ado, as the stripped down production captures all the emotion and nuance of a film 100 times its size.

The actors are loose and casual, less worried about creating a character as much as simply being a character, and rattle off Shakespearean prose with the same air as though they were gabbing with girlfriends on a Sunday morning walk down Santa Monica boulevard.

It is essentially the Greek ideal: simplicity, perfection and order.

Much Ado tells the story of two couples, the cynical combatants Beatrice and Benedick (Cabin in the Woods’ Amy Acker and HIMYM’s Alexis Desnisof) and the lovesick innocents Claudio and Hero (Cabin in the Wood’s Fran Kranz and Whedon discoveree Jillian Morgese), who are each manipulated for good and ill by the calculations of those around them. Beatrice and Benedick have individually sworn off the notion of love and collectively are engaged in a “merry war” of wits, but are moved to profess their love for one another after overhearing fictitious tales of the other’s affection.

Claudio and Hero, on the other hand, become engaged while Claudio visits the home of Leonato, Hero’s father, played by Marvel MVP Clark Gregg, but in the lead-up to their wedding day Claudio is led to believe that Hero has been unfaithful to him due to the trickery of Don Jon (Firefly’s Sean Maher), the bastard brother of Don Pedro (Franklin and Bash’s Reed Diamond), a companion of both Claudio and Benedick.

That mix up is the titular “Nothing” from which much ado arises, but after a series of misunderstandings all is made right by the bumbling actions of guardsman DogBerry, played in this film by the indispensable Nathan Fillion, whose short but sweet entrance into the film is the cherry on this already delicious cake.

I suppose that last paragraph was technically a spoiler and for that I apologize, but if you really don’t know the story it’s your own fault for sleeping during your high school English class.

Much Ado is the perfect antithesis to the summer blockbuster schedule. It is a welcome break from the barrage of explosions and carnage and had me laughing out loud and squirming in delight for the entirety of its running time. While it may not have the shiny toys of more expensive Hollywood creations, it’s probably the most fun you’ll have in a theater this season and try as I might, I can think of nothing to criticize. All we can hope is that as Whedon’s Hollywood star brightens, he continues to find time to experiment with films like this in the ever shrinking gaps in his schedule.

Grade: A

*Much Ado About Nothing opens in Utah on Friday June 21

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Back in 2009, OkCupid released a series of reports studying the way its members interacted with each other. They found that on average, women were more likely to respond to men who engaged them on the basis of their interests or personality as opposed to just their looks. The report included specific phrases that increased the likelihood of a response (it’s nice that, fascinating) or decreased the likelihood of a response (sexy, hot, cutie).

The site found that women respond positively to male self-effacement, with men who included phrases like “sorry” or “awkward” as opposed to boastful bravado increasing their odds of a reply by 30 to 40 percent.

OkCupid also looked at the way people of different races interact and match with each other. You can read a concise breakdown of those results by Lisa Wade here, but the long and short of it is that if you’re going to try online dating it helps to be a white man. The officials OkCupid sum up the game as such:

“White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%.”

One would think, then, that I am well-suited to finding romance in this relatively new medium. I am, in fact, a white male, I absolutely hate myself and I would never, ever, begin a correspondence with the kind of “hey sexy lady” nonsense of my protein shaking, tank top wearing peers.

But wait, that’s not all I have going for me. Apparently Salt Lake City has been ranked 20th on the list of most romantic North American cities by MissTravel.com (shout-out to my colleague Wendy for sending me this report). Sure, good ol’ SLC fell behind notable travel destinations like San Francisco (no. 1), New York City (no.2 ) and Las Vegas (no. 4), as well as three cities in Canada (really? Canada?), but still, number 20 is nothing to sneeze at.

“All cities are not created equal,” says Brandon Wade, Founder & CEO of MissTravel.com. “Picking the right destination could mean the difference between finding a platonic connection and falling in love.”

So even though last month we learned Salt Lake City was the single most superficial city in the U.S., apparently SL,UT is a hot travel destination for the star-crossed lovers on MissTravel.com.

What is MissTravel.com? I’m so glad you asked.

While I support doing away with the stigma attached to online dating, I also acknowledge that sites like MissTravel are the reason that stigma exists in the first place. On this particular niche dating website, attractive young singles are paired with older generous gentlemen who are more than willing to pay for the travel expenses and lodging of their youthful paramours (you can see a handy video explaining how the process works by clicking here).

The young ladies get to see the world at little or no cost to them, the generous men get a chance to put their wealth to good use facilitating cultural experiences for the next generation. For whatever reason, these “couples” have chosen Salt Lake City as their 20th most popular destination.

MissTravel.com, where “Beautiful People Travel Free!” Trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds (it’s exactly as bad as it sounds).

As for me, I already live here in la vingtième ville de l’amour and thanks to my aforementioned demographic identifiers the online dating world should be my metaphorical oyster. Except it isn’t, as I’ve described in the very blog series you’re currently reading.

photo(1)This is the “Social” folder on my iPhone, which functions as ground zero for the My Life Online project. As you can see, I have the apps for my two free online dating services, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish, free dating app Tinder and then LinkedIn, which is kind of like online dating for a job, which is also kind of like prostitution.

Savvy Wood’s Stock readers will notice that one is missing. That is because the imbecilic overlords of my niche dating service (hint: it’s not GothicMatch.com) have apparently written off smartphone use as a passing fad not worth the effort of creating a mobile application. I would find this egregious lapse in basic consumer knowledge shocking if not for the absolute programming ineptitude manifest on said website, but since I can’t tell you what website that is, there’s no sense beating a dead horse (simply put, it’s awful).

Now, remember a few months ago when I predicted that the boffo success of Tinder would lead to the tinderization of other online dating sites? As with most things it appears that my prediction was completely accurate and bordered on divine prescience. About two weeks ago the OkCupid app received an upgrade that included a very familiar swipe left/right pattern.

photo(2)Add that to the already-existing “Meet Me” feature on Plenty of Fish (more widely known by its street name POF.com), and it would appear that the Midas touch of Tinder is alive and well, proliferating its way through the landscape and giving people even more opportunities to make snap judgments based on little more than a person’s appearance.

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But believe it or not, it was not these new exciting features that led to my latest online date. It was, in fact, my original niche dating service (hint: it’s not ‘StachePassions) and a few serendipitous turns of events. To tell that story, I need to go back a few years.

In the summer of 2009 my girlfriend Katie dumped me and moved to Chile. I spent a few weeks flailing, briefly going out with Sarah the vegetarian and Mary the Idahoan before eventually meeting Cami the cute tennis player who had recently called off a wedding. We met on a Saturday night, thanks to an outdoor viewing of Fast and Furious that mutual friends had put together, and immediately hit it off.

The next Saturday I took her out on our first date and we proceeded to spend 14 inseparable days together. She met my family, I met hers. Then, exactly a fortnight after our first date we doubled with a friend of hers and when I dropped her off that night I told her I wanted to slow things down and just like that we really never spoke again.

Flash forward three and a half years and it’s December 2012. I was covering a Christmas event at a local elementary school for work and while there I noticed a teacher’s assistant with gorgeous curly dark hair who I knew I had met before but whose face I couldn’t quite place. After the event we chatted and it came back to me that his was Chelsea, Cami’s friend with whom we had double-dated on that fateful night three summer’s prior.

We exchanged pleasantries — Chelsea had recently moved back to Salt Lake City after a stint in the Midwest — and with that, we went on our respective ways.

Flash forward six months to three weeks ago and a message appears in my inbox.

Chelsea: Oh hey, I think I’ve seen you before… 🙂

She had seen me before, but I assume she was being either flippant or coy. We talked about mutual friends from college and I invited her to join me and my band of merry men for an evening of sushi and Star Trek, to which she generously relented.

I learned two things from this experience. 1) It’s considerably easier to meet up with a stranger from the internet when they’re not actually a stranger from the internet and 2) My success rate online is increased dramatically when I’m not the one initiating a conversation (remember Tess?).

Because we men are really just drooling beasts waiting to be told what to do. Should I ever enter into a mature, adult relationship (which past experience would suggest is unlikely) I imagine it will be due to a woman saying to me “Ben! You’re going to date me now!” to which I will most likely nod in submission and say “Yes ma’am.”

That’s the dream.

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Despite his status as the most iconic of comic book superheroes, Superman has always been (in my opinion) a rather boring character. He is effectively indestructible and quasi-omnipotent – possessing super strength, super speed, x-ray vision, heat-ray vision and the power of flight to boot – and has been historically prone to feats that stretch the suspension of disbelief, such as reversing time by flying backwards around the earth or relocating the moon to combat a photo-sensitive foe.

He’s also a Boy Scout (in the non-political sense of the term) standing for truth, justice and the American way. That sort of metaphorical Manifest Destiny nostalgia worked in 1938 in the wake of the great depression and on through the years of the creeping Red Threat but in today’s cynical, hyper-connected, “there are no front lines” society, the Last Son of Krypton comes across as a little, well, quaint.

Enter Man of Steel, the latest attempt by director Zach Snyder to insert Superman into modern relevance. It’s a respectable offering, considerably more so than 2006’s milquetoast Superman Returns, making Clark Kent a stranger in a strange land (in this case, Earth) rather than a spotless idol. But at 143 minutes long, Snyder’s creation is both overly-long and unsatisfyingly-empty, jumping from one dramatic moment to the next without giving the viewer a reason to care before culminating in a dull, roaring bout of skyscraper-crashing fisticuffs between two seemingly immortal beings.

The plot begins on the planet Krypton during an elaborate and visually-enchanting prologue that sees a military coup led by General Zod (a fuming Michael Shannon) in response to wasteful leadership that has brought the planet to the brink of destruction. Jor-El, Krypton’s chief scientist, retrieves an item called the Kodex and ships it and his son Kal-El off to Earth to safe his race from utter extinction.

From there we meet a grown Kal-El, now the Kansas-raised Clark Kent, drifting hunter-gatherer style before finally ending up at a NORAD dig in arctic Canada where the U.S. government and Pullitzer-prize winning journalist Lois Lane are investigating a mysterious craft buried beneath the ice. Clark and Lois share a meet cute and a dose of Kryptonian exposition follows, followed by a time-consuming sequence of Lois tracking down the mystery man with the bulging biceps.

At this point you’re halfway through the movie before Superman dons the iconic red and blue suit and the villainous Zod returns, threatening Earth’s existence if Kal-El is not surrendered to him. His plan, we learn, is to rebuild Krypton from the ashes of Earth and he needs Kal-El and the Kodex to do so.

The latter third of the movie is consumed by a series of escalating skirmishes between the alien visitors, who relentlessly attack each other despite the rather apparent knowledge that no damage can be done to them.

But damage can, and is, done to the puny human ants that attempt to intervene and the structures they’ve erected. A very New York City-esque Metropolis is all but decimated in a sequence reminiscent of The Avengers, only without that film’s sense of fun or emotional tension. When the music stops and all is finally quiet, you feel more viewer relief than celebration.

Amy Adams, at 38, is an odd choice opposite the 30-year-old Cavil. Independently, each actor brings a fresh take to their respective roles but together the chemistry falls flat. Of the supporting cast, Russel Crowe’s stoic Jor-El stands out while the remaining characters have little time to do anything beside gape in wonder.

Man of Steel is burdened by the task of rebooting a familiar origin story. Snyder makes attempts at elevating the story, including a few interesting allusions to Plato’s The Republic and the just city, but much like 2005’s Batman Begins (which was directed by MOS producer and cinema-extraordinaire Christopher Nolan) the film is burdened in back-story but shows promise of future growth now that the requisite set-up is out of the way. It could very well end up being the weaker first entry in an otherwise strong franchise but for now, fans and newcomers alike will have to settle for a modern Superman that flies, but fails to soar.

Grade: B

*Man of Steel opens nationwide on Friday, June 14.

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This weekend was the Utah Pride Festival and Pride Parade in Salt Lake City. I’ve been meaning to go for years but my schedule never allowed it but luckily everything worked out this year. The festival itself was awesome. Organizers couldn’t have asked for better weather and the whole event was bursting with positivity and joie de vie.

As for the parade, I couldn’t pass up the chance to snap some pictures. The lighting was crazy harsh and I unfortunately got into a position where everyone was walking away from the sun so forgive me if a few of these seem washed out.

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I was going to lead this post with another picture, since most media coverage of the Utah Pride Parade will inevitably focus on the Mormons Building Bridges group and the perceived conflict in Salt Lake City between the LGBT community and the Mormon Church, but at the parade it was obvious that MBB was a centerpoint. The group itself was massive this year and when it rounded the corner onto 200 South the crowd erupted into cheers.

Also, it should be noted that Salt Lake City was named the Gayest City in the U.S. in 2012 and recently it was reported that SLC has the highest percentage of same-sex couples with children.

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Most of the “floats” consisted of groups of people walking down the street. Visually it’s not as striking as, say, a Thanksgiving Day Parade, but at least everything is vibrantly colorful.

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Also, the spectators are just as fun as the parade itself.

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The Smith’s entry, which featured a squad of rainbow-adorned shopping carts.

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Sen. Jim Dabakis, the only openly gay member of the Utah Legislature, spending time with a potential voter.

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Flag twirlers from West High School

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The Human Rights Campaign, carrying their signature blue equality flag. I love the way the light goes through the flag and makes a mirror image on the ground.

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The men and women of Wasatch Roller Derby jumping in the street. This picture was fraught with problems, the sun washed everything out and I  ran out into the parade trying to capture this guy in mid-air but was too late.

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“Real Men Sing!” I couldn’t agree more, though I would add “…and play Ukulele!”

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The beautiful men and women of Club Hydrate.

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I didn’t catch what group this was (American Express?) but loved the visual of these colorful flags lining the street.

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Fierce!

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My favorite float of the parade. These guys had a whole choreographed number to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and the colors were great.

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The Moab Pride Festival guys representing. We had a chance to explore this float the night before at the Pride Festival and it’s absolutely chock-full of gadgets and flair. You can’t see it from this angle but on the other side of the fan there’s a rope swing on an extended beam.

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I had to work in a balloon-rainbow photo.

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Salt Lake City’s Bike Share

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