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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2011: Media & Politics


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Best Person to Give White Mormon Dudes a Good Name
Jimmer Fredette, BYU

We might as well get used to the idea that our exciting nightlife and forward-thinking politicians are never going to retool the nation’s image of Utah. So, where to look other than Jimmer Fredette? In case you’ve been living in a cave, Fredette is BYU’s star basketball player who regularly posted 30-40 points a night in the 2010-11 season and was practically a permanent fixture on ESPN’s SportsCenter. He’s no smooth-shooting athletic powerhouse, but rather a slightly dorky, clean-cut white dude who would still look at home dribbling around in the church gym. Still, if he makes a splash in the NBA draft, we’re happy to be sort-of cool by association.

Best Talk Radio Show
RadioWest, KUER 90.1
Host Doug Fabrizio and intrepid producer Elaine Clark pack more intelligence, information and heart into a single RadioWest hour, five days a week, than most stations (public or commercial) can manage all month—or all year, in some cases. Just as Utah is lucky to have an NPR affiliate like KUER, we’re even luckier to have a show of RadioWest’s quality and cachet produced in our own backyard. But, as always, we have to ask: What’s a guy as good-lookin’ as Fabrizio doing on radio, anyway?
Weekdays 11 a.m.-noon, KUER 90.1, 2. RadioActive, KRCL 90.93. The Nightside Project, KSL 102.7/1160

Best Soul-Stirring Lectures
Jung Society of Utah
Psychologist Carl Jung, compared to his peers, continuously went out on a limb in his research, from validating mystic divination to studying alchemy to relating his theories on collective unconscious. He was a luminary and, for that, today he remains revered. Machiel Klerk founded the Jung Society of Utah in 2009 not only to honor the psych guru but also to create educated, meaningful dialogue in Salt Lake City. The monthly meetings, on the first Thursday of each month, offer lectures on relevant topics, be they addiction, love or mythology.

Best Street-Taco Connoisseur
Kelly Peterson,
We all have our food passions, but not many turn those passions into an invaluable resource for others. From a simple mission statement that he summarizes as, “I love tacos!” Kelly Peterson has set out to chronicle the restaurants and street vendors who serve up Salt Lake City’s finest collections of meat, cheese and condiments wrapped in a tortilla. Reviews and taco-related ephemera are part of the regular blog postings that have given fellow tacoficionados an invaluable way of guiding their gastronomic wanderings.

Best Urim & Thummim of Mormon Politics
KSL Radio’s Doug Wright
Over the years, Doug Wright’s talk-radio show has become a confessional for local political leaders. Wright’s political banter is akin to a Boy Scout chatting with a Scoutmaster beside the campfire. Wright, who won the 2010 “Personality of the Year” for large market by the National Association of Broadcasters, is so earnest, in fact, that you’re apt to hear elected officials cry, rationalize their bad decisions, profess a love of their wives and/or bitterly complain about federal control. Several have made a point to launch or end their races on his show. And when they are occasionally hoisted by their own petards, nobody does “Wrighteous” indignation better than our man Doug.
The Doug Wright Show, 9 a.m. to noon weekdays, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM,

Best Local Blog
Despite their affiliation with a certain “faux” weekly paper produced by a Denver news corporation, we have to hand it to Big Shiny Robot: They know how to rally the votes. “They,” according to their own propaganda, being a team of professional robots dedicated to digitalizing the latest news and reviews in comic books, movies, TV, toys, games and all things “nerdy.” In addition to being highly attuned to their material (woe unto any geek who ventures into this realm without the facts), BSR’s editors and contributors are also pretty funny. When the ‘bots gain humor, it’s time for the humans to panic.
2. Gavin’s Underground3.

Best Sky-High Chutzpah
LDS Church Office Building BASE jumpers
Marshall Miller, 32, and Hartman Rector III, 28, allegedly BASE jumped from the 26th floor observation deck of the LDS Church Office Building on Nov. 12, 2010. (BASE is an acronym for buildings, antennae, spans and Earth—the objects from which jumps are executed.) Witnesses saw the men parachute to the ground and then drive off in a waiting SUV, evading security guards and cops. They were later identified and cited with trespassing and disturbing the peace after their faces were plainly seen in LDS Church security videos. While there isn’t a law that prohibits BASE jumping, the daredevils, while appearing to land safely, actually landed on the church’s s—t list. Miller pleaded guilty to trespassing on March 2, but Rector plans to fight the charges in court.

Best Lionhearted Furry Mascot
Leo the Lion, Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake’s mascot, Leo the Lion, is the epitome of the team he (we assume it’s a he) represents. His gymnastics on the field are matched only by his enthusiasm for stoking up the cheers of the home crowd and gently encouraging children with graceful gestures and pats on the head. Leo has a sinewy, muscular way of covering the field that complements the players. Whether he’s hanging from the stands, somersaulting on the pitch, or walking on his hands all the way down the stadium steps, he echoes the energy of the fans around the stadium with his own particular flair and verve.

Best Benefit for Local Love
Local First Utah’s “Celebrate the Bounty”
Finding people to get behind the mission of Local First Utah isn’t hard; City Weekly’s publisher Jim Rizzi supported it so much, he agreed to serve on its board. More and more, the community is turning out for Local First Utah “Celebrate the Bounty” bash held in October. In 2010, organizers got the best restaurants in town to provide delicious eats, the Joshua Payne Orchestra to provide a stellar soundtrack and Rico to open its warehouse doors to create an inviting—and huge—venue. The event helps shine a spotlight on local businesses that keep jobs and dollars in the community while adding greatly to the quality of life.

Best Columnist
Bill Frost, City Weekly
So, what else is new? Bill Frost is a fixture, and not only in City Weekly, where he has been turning out sinister copy since the Clinton administration. Readers who can’t read tune into Bill on Monday mornings when he joins Kerry, Bill and Gina on X96 for another round of “We’re cool and clever, and you are, too, but the rest of Utah sucks.” “Sucks” is most likely Bill’s second favorite word, right after penis. He’s come a long way since his early career at SLUG when he wrote under the name of Helen Wolf, a moniker he credits to former City Weekly editor Ben Fulton, who once referred to Howlin’ Wolf as Helen Wolf. Like everything else, Bill ran with it in his mocking style that has led him through stints as official Ben Fulton taunter to a wisecracking TV columnist to his biting hit, The Ocho. Today’s Billy Ocho contest: Send 1 or 8 reasons why Salt Lake City needs Bill Frost more than Ralph Becker to If your pick is chosen, you’ll get a $25 gift certificate or an evening watching the Derby Girls with Bill. Serious.
2. Robert Kirby (The Salt Lake Tribune)3. Paul Rolly (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Best Sacrilege That Isn’t
Matt Page
City Weekly generally applauds artists who put a mustache on works of art in the name of satire. This paper, after all, is notorious for Photoshopping faces of local politicians onto bodies in compromising positions. Perhaps at one time in Matt Page’s impressionable youth, our paper might have inspired the North Salt Lake graphic artist, an active Mormon, to load Photoshop and bring the quirk to revered LDS figures and ideas. His portrait of Joseph Smith rocking an iPod is a page out of our book. His work “Bee Young” shows a familiar photo of Brigham Young with a beard made up of bees. That so many of the faithful embrace Page’s irreverent humor is heartening. Maybe in some small way, we helped warm up his audience.

Best Local on Twitter
Ben Winslow, Fox 13
Is Fox 13 reporter Ben Winslow really, as some of his media peers have postulated, a cyborg fused with a smartphone and wired directly into Twitter? Or is he just the future of journalism? Hate to break it to you, crusty old newsmen: He’s street, he tweets, get used to it. @BenWinslow’s seemingly nonstop stream of headlines, info, links, retweets and the occasional snarky quip or musical selection is all the more impressive when you consider that there’s rarely a dud or a throwaway. If you want to be plugged in, follow this guy. WWJD in SLC3. Dooce

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