Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In my mind, I'm a hot chick who sings and plays the guitar

When I was little, I used to think that I was going to grow up and be a singer. I think most young girls believe they will one day be famous. We can't help but think that way considering we are bombarded from the moment we enter this world by fame. From television stars to movie stars to musicians...we see them everywhere and are somehow made to believe that they are better than us because they are famous. And well, we care because we pick up the magazines, read the articles, watch the interviews and try our hardest to look like them. And I am not going to deny that my fascination for celebrities is just as strong as it was when I was a wee lass (even if that is embarrassing to admit). So yeah, it makes sense that my goal was to grow up and be a singer.

My slant though, was that I was going to write my own songs and play the guitar. I was going to be the edgier Jewel. Clearly, that never happened. Now in my 30's, I still find myself imagining that I am the one on stage at a concert. I picture what my outfit would look like (leather pants of course), and imagine that I am playing a glittery pink guitar while singing to an arena full of admiring fans. Then I come back to reality and realize that I am the admiring fan and I don't even know how to play the guitar.

I guess its time to give up on my dream of being a famous singer. I mean, I did try out for American Idol when they held auditions in Salt Lake a few years back and I didn't even make it past the first round. I still sing but now its mostly to my cat and dog and sometimes I am not sure how they feel about it. I used to sing to my sister's cat and the cat would get this crazy look in her eye and attack my leg. That may be a sign.

Despite my failure to become a professional singer/songwriter/guitar player, I cannot help admiring those who have made it. Who took the time to learn how to play their instruments and really worked to get to where they are. On a 13-hour plane ride to Taiwan I watched the documentary on Katy Perry and gained a whole new respect for her. She never gave up, no  matter how hard things got. And look at her now. Same with Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj and the list goes on. I guess I just didn't want it bad enough.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed a female singer/songwriter who really left an impression on me. She hasn't made it as big as some of the other celebs listed above, but she is talented. And beautiful. And has tattoos. And I love her voice. Christina Perri is who I am referencing and I strongly suggest checking her out. If I can locate the story I did on her, I will be sure to add it. I just discovered that she will be playing in Salt Lake on February 1 as part of the To Write Love on Her Arms tour. I missed the show she played here when I interviewed her nearly two years ago, so, I may just have to go see this one.

And this time, when I am watching her play the piano or guitar and listening to her sing and wishing it was me, I will make myself feel a little better at least knowing that I spoke with her once and sometimes, that is good enough.

Check out the song Christina Perri did for "Breaking Dawn part 1." As a Twihard, I love it for many reasons!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I still write now and then even through an identity crisis

After losing my job as a full-time staff writer at IN magazine, I quickly became absorbed in a whirlwind of chaos. I found out that IN would no longer exist in a format that needed full-time writers five months before my wedding. Realizing that I would not have a steady income to help finance my wedding was a terrifying thought. I launched in to applying-for-jobs-mode and luckily, I found a job before my last day at the magazine.

I am now the Communications Manager for Make-A-Wish Utah. The experience has been an interesting one to say the least. The organization is amazing and the mission is one that I fully support and believe in, but it has not been easy. I have a long list of responsibilities in my new position and work a lot of hours. This has resulted in me doing less writing and ultimately coming to terms with the loss that I feel over not being a part of IN anymore.

I do continue to freelance for the Salt Lake Tribune for their Nightlife section. Currently, I focus on reviewing bars. It is not my dream assignment, but I am grateful to be out there writing and am especially grateful that I get to continue to write for the Tribune.

As the new year begins and I prepare for another year at Sundance, I find myself in the same place I am every January during the Sundance Film Festival. I feel like I am not where I should be in my writing career. I feel like I should not be living in Utah if I want to accomplish the goals that I set for myself so long ago. I feel like now in my 30's, I have waited too long to try and get to where I want to be. It's a lot of self doubt and a lot of questioning of myself and why I never left Utah to pursue my dreams in writing.

In a weird way, I kind of like this annual identity crisis because the self doubt results in a yearning to be more. To try harder. Now that I have settled in to my day job a little, I can focus on putting myself out there again. The rejection letters will start coming my way but that means that I am actually trying to get to where I want to be. So, in that sense, I look forward to them. I hope that an acceptance letter or two makes its way to me as well though.

I am excited to be up at Sundance again this year to meet fellow writers who are living what I perceive as "the dream." Working full-time on the red carpet, interviewing glamorous stars and getting that adrenaline rush that can only come with the buzz of a crowded movie premiere.

I will keep you posted on my efforts. In the meantime, check out my most recent article for the Salt Lake Tribune.

Bar Exam: Pizza, beer and celebrity sightings at Canyon Inn
Bar exam » Rustic Canyon Inn remains favorite with skiers, snowboarders.
First Published Jan 04 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 04 2013 01:01 am
After a day of shredding fresh powder at Salt Lake area resorts, local skiers — and superstars, too — like to stop at the Canyon Inn for affordable pizza and beer.
The bar at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon opened in 1948 and ultimately became a popular hangout known for its burlap-covered walls, dark atmosphere and nightly fights.

Jim Stojack purchased the business 22 years ago and has worked to change the image while preserving the venue’s rustic heritage. Take, for instance, the brick arches that were once a solid wall. Now, they lead to a room with five pool tables, another bar and the wall-mounted breathalyzer. The machine, which takes a credit card for its $2 fee, tells you if you’re over the legal limit. Then you can "hit the button and it calls a cab for you," Stojack explained.
Canyon Inn has become a favorite stop for skiers and snowboarders, and was named by International Ski magazine as one of the Top 25 bars in America.
During the winter, it’s common to see top athletes such as Shaun White, Stevie Bell, Mark Frank Montoya and Tommy Moe unwinding after a day of riding. "At the end of the Dew Tour season, all the top snowboarders in the world are in here," Stojack said.
Because of its snow-loving clientele, the Canyon Inn makes every Thursday a ski and snowboard industry night. Occasionally, rails and ramps are set up in the parking lot for riders to show off their stunts. Inside, patrons can watch video clips and win prizes.
But the bar caters to others, too, with its theme nights. On Monday nights, there’s a sports theme, while Extreme Tuesdays features a live DJ and has become a favorite for the college-aged crowd. Canyon Inn offers $2-$3 whiskey shots on Wednesdays and live local music on Fridays and Saturdays.
No matter the night — or the outside temperature — a favorite spot to sit and sip a beer is the large outdoor fire pit. In the summer, the bar’s horseshoes pits are also popular.
"It has always been a fun place to come hang out and grab a pitcher of beer, play pool and relax," said Natalie Carroll, who stops by with her husband regularly.
Food is another draw. The Canyon Inn serves pizza with a unique crust, made with a combination of rice and wheat flours. "You can eat and not feel bloated," Stojack said.
But the bar’s signature dish is the Popper Pie — pizza dough stuffed with jalapeƱo peppers, cream cheese, pineapple and five cheeses, and served with marinara and ranch dipping sauces. Small and large sizes ($7 and $11) are available. A small is big enough to share and the heat of the peppers will get your nose running. Manager Zak Hurst calls it a "one-of-a-kind Canyon Inn item."
The bar draws regulars for similar reasons. "It’s off the beaten path," Hurst said.
Original story here.
Find photos for this article by Kim Raff here.