City Weekly 25th (plus 1) Anniversary | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly
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City Weekly 25th (plus 1) Anniversary

Celebrating 26 years in the Utah alt-weekly biz.


When former rail spiker, Wendover blackjack dealer, bartender and professional job seeker John Saltas, a son of Bingham Canyon and Carbon County miners, began publishing The Private Eye in June of 1984, not even he knew what form his entertainment newsletter might take in the years ahead. He’d be the first to admit he was winging it in the early days. Fast forward to 2010, and the paper he founded has passed the quarter-century mark, employing a staff of more than 40, publishing 60,000 copies 52 weeks a year, and distributed at 1,600 locations from Logan to Moab. He’s proud of the paper’s awards for investigative journalism and the alternative voice the weekly has afforded residents of Salt Lake City, but truthfully, he’s now more focused on divining a digital future for City Weekly.

With this issue, we mark the passage of a quarter century, first within the community at large and then, in the following feature “A Different Drum,” within the paper. We also take a look at what has changed in Salt Lake City’s entertainment offerings. Finally, we catch you up with past employees’ whereabouts and showcase 25 past issues.

Investing two and a half decades working and playing in Utah’s capital city requires an abiding love of quirkiness. The people and institutions of Salt Lake City come together not as the harmonious, homogenous Mormon Tabernacle Choir but as a group of conga players in a Liberty Park drum circle—a loosely held-together clump of folk who dance to different beats and join in when they feel like it. Sometimes, there’s sound and fury, and sometimes it signifies nothing. But more often than not, they’re glad to be here, catching the beat.

We asked 25 denizens to isolate what stood out for them in the city’s past quarter century, or conversely, what they think the next 25 will bring. Their answers point to a community that sees itself on the brink of something—good or bad, depending on how full one’s glass is. But overall, people seem to love Salt Lake City rather unabashedly—maybe in the way they love their crazy eccentric uncle or maybe a sapling they’ve nurtured into a tall cottonwood. And no matter who is thought to “run” this town, there are too many dynamic forces in the mix these days for anyone to be too smug and comfortable. Change is always ’round the bend. And that’s likely why City Weekly still has a reason for being, and why our readers keep reading.

Let's Do the Time Warp Again
A look 25 (plus 1) years backward and forward in Salt Lake City

A Different Drum
How Salt Lake City got its "altie" groove

Chief of DIY
By Tom Walsh

Flying Dinosaur Days
By Christopher Smart

Got Juice?
By John Harrington

Sleepy SLC?
Believe it or not, these are the salad days for the culturally curious in Utah.

26 years of City Weekly Covers, a video montage

SLC Scrapbook Photo Gallery
Remember these SLC musicians?

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The comings and goings of the illustrious City Weekly staff

Got Back
By John Paul Brophy AKA J.P. Garellini

Magic Mountain Times
By Scott Renshaw

Frost Bites
By Bill Frost

CW editorial staff roster by the year