Hello to all you video-making, comment-inducing, society-examining, viral-watching, race-relating, ire-inciting, media-exposing, is-this-really-the-best-we've-got-to-show-in-Utah? enthusiasts. --- If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will in the next couple of paragraphs, as Utah yet again becomes the center of attention for the wrong reasons, only this time it happened on YouTube. In lieu of a 337 Wall update, here's some randomly posted wall art from around downtown SLC.
Well ... let's just dive into the topic on everyone's lips this week: the “BYU Blackface” video, as its being called by anyone inside the state of Utah. To catch you up in the short version, Chicago-transplanted comedian Dave Ackerman had himself painted in blackface to shoot a video where he asked students of BYU about Black History Month. What he got (which he admitted on Radio From Hell on Friday was heavily edited) was a lot of students knowing jack shit about a period in American history that is taught periodically over six of the 12 years you spend in school before you hit college. Since it went up just four days ago, the video has started going viral and received attention from local and national outlets, sparked conversations over racism and education in Utah and America in general, and has received commentary ranging from praise to general outrage to community members and students demanding an apology from Ackerman. To play devil's advocate for a moment: Yeah, BYU needs to be ashamed of its students, and colleges in general should fear this stereotype reflecting on the general education of any campus. Had this been an honest journalistic study or documentary piece, it would be held as a brilliant moment in human study and observation on race relations, and deserve every kind of supportive praise it has received so far ...
... But here's the thing: It wasn't. It was a “comedic” schtick done on a whim by a stand-up comedian to make fun of BYU students by showing how ignorant they are of social and human injustices that fueled racism and divided our country less than 50 years ago -- shamelessly portrayed by a man who has never known, and probably never will know, that level of suffering and humiliation and struggle just to have the same rights as everyone else. And don't think I'm preaching from some soapbox here, I'm in no higher position to speak on these topics and add any social commentary to them. But the idea that this guy pulled the social equivalent of playing with some fireworks in the woods, and now he's getting praise because that wildfire just happened to burn some dead wood -- that's bullshit. And deep down, Ackerman knows it! He's slowly getting away with something that would have earned him an extended hospital stay in other parts of the country. This wasn't a statement, this was a joke edited to look like a statement. But don't take my word for it, just go look at the YouTube video description where (as of the time this was posted) Ackerman didn't explain what he was trying to accomplish with the video, but instead encouraged you to buy his comedy albums on iTunes.
Moving on, let's change the mood and go from race relations to sex -- specifically, sexual literature. This little notice below made its way around the e-mail circles yesterday, asking for photographers and writers for a new literary anthology. Mind you, this isn't your standard Penthouse letter forum, this is meant as an artistic collection. If you've been meaning to scratch that itch for the longest time, hit up the e-mail below for details.
From sex to film -- and not in the way you're probably picturing -- the Radio From Hell Film Festival has returned for a third year. This festival has slowly been growing as a fun little competition for local filmmakers, and a chance for the morning show to see what kind of work you can produce. But this year, the stakes are just a tad higher as the grand prize includes passes to the first weekend of Coachella -- yeah, that one sold-out concert in the middle of an old airfield with lots of major musicians! Click this link here for details on what you need for your film and enter quickly before they stop taking nominations.
Speaking of radio, a radio-like entity made its return this week. UtahFM has resumed broadcasting on the Web as of Monday Feb. 6, bringing an end to the almost five-month hiatus that put the community station on the backburner. It may not have a Facebook and their Twitter is hit and miss, but it's back. If you're hoping for the lineup of old, think again, as many of the previous staffers would rather wait to see what happens to UtahFM for a while before trekking down to the new South Salt Lake station. Keep your ears peeled for further developments!
Switcing over to events, let's get right to the nitty gritty of how much Valentine's Day sucks ass -- well, maybe for a lot of people; I just choose to ignore it. It's not a holiday and I don't get paid double for working on it. Today, over at the Sprague Library in Sugar House will be “Love Stinks: An Anti-Valentine Zine Workshop” presented by the wonderful minds of the SLC Alternative Press. Basically it's a zine-making workshop, totally free to attend and they'll help you out if you're a newbie. It all kicks off at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, down in Provo, Velour will be holding its own kind of Valentine's Day concerts: the annual Valentines Masquerade, where all are encouraged to come dawning masks. ($5 with, and $7 without.) Playing tonight will be Soft Science, Timber!, Spencer Russell and Salazar. This is usually one of the most attended shows of the year; get in quick before the room fills!
Moving on to Tuesday, Muse Music and The W Lounge will be having their own events to celebrate the heart-filled and heartbroken. Muse Music will be throwing two shows in one, with eight performing bands for just $6. Click on its Website for more information on the performers. And W will be holding its Soulville Love Affair dance party with DJs Feral Cat and Colonel Condor spinning the hits all night long. Check out the Facebook link for the night for more details.
With the exception of a few shows, including the somewhat-return of Form Of Rocket at both Urban Lounge and Kilby Court, a lot of next week is kinda boring until we hit next Friday with a pair of events. The first is the Submerged In Art fundraiser show. We did an interview about it last year on the blog, but for a quick recap, bands and artists come together for a two-night event to perform and sell art in the space above Lumpy's, all to raise charity for The Road Home. This year, you'll see art from Iosua Tai Taeoalii, Adrienne Taeoalii, Daniel Overstreet, Darrell Driver, Mason Fetzer, Chris Madsen, Ryan Worwood, Adrian Prazen, Brian Gerber, Kali Mellus, Jorge Arellano Molina, Lucky Seven, Jared Knight, Sonya Evans, Joshua L. Johnston, Alex Boyton and Chris Oakley. Go check it out, buy something, and donate to a good cause.
Meanwhile across town, The State Room will play host to the 7th annual PechaKucha night in SLC. The nonprofit organization brings together artists, designers, organizers and other community innovators in a single evening to showcase 20 slides at 20 seconds a piece with a focus on the city they call home, as an opportunity to “reflect and inspire out place.” The show kicks off at 7:15 p.m. and is just $10 in advance but $15 at the door. This looks to be a pretty interesting night considering some of the names involved.
As for the blog: The next couple of weeks get pretty interesting as we recap the City Weekly Music Awards with some interviews, take a look at two very distinct plays, head back out onto Gallery Stroll for pre- and post-coverage of that evening, and visit with a broadcasting name from the past about a station of today. At least, that's the plan. Who the hell knows how the next 24 hours will go, let alone the next two weeks? As always, we'll see what happens.
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