Pride Memories

Utah is about to celebrate Pride month in various ways in various cities. I remember our very first celebration of back in 1974 in City Creek Canyon and at the Great Salt Lake. Basically, it was a kegger up the canyon followed by more frivolity at the lake’s unofficial nude hangout, Bare Ass Beach. Joe Redburn, the recently deceased owner of the Sun Tavern provided the kegs, and a great summer party was created. I dropped in on my motorcycle and then headed out with a GF to the beach. Sadly, my bike couldn’t do the ‘road’ to the beach and so we headed back to Joe’s bar for our first Pride.

Around the same time, I was publishing a women’s newspaper called ‘The Rocky Mountain Woman’ (pre ‘Network Magazine’) and had writing and layout skills. A group of us were meeting at what we called the Gay Community Center and I volunteered to print a gay community magazine of news, dirt, and ads. Most of the ads were for drag queens running for Emperor or Empress of the Royal Court and different bar events. It was called ‘The Salt Lick’ and had a short run mainly because the community center didn’t last that long, but other publications followed (The Open Door and Triangle and now Qsaltlake). Fast forward a few years and the AIDS pandemic hit the world and our community.

Before we knew what the disease was, we heard that some of our gay male friends were getting horrible pneumonia-like colds and strange cancers. I had been going to a general practitioner whose patients were mostly gay. I went in for a check up one day and the doctor himself looked like crap-tired, bags under his eyes. I asked him what was wrong, and he replied, ‘I’ve had so many men some in with the weirdest symptoms, sick as dogs, and they aren’t getting better!’.  Soon we knew the dis-ease dubbed ‘gay cancer’ was HIV/AIDS.

By 1985 the Utah Dept. of Health reported 17 persons living with AIDS in Utah. There were still folks in the bars thinking the disease was spread by using poppers, and not by rando sex with strangers in the tea rooms (bathrooms of gay bars) or gay bath houses. The gay bathhouses were given cessation notices from the Salt Lake City attorney who charged that the businesses constituted “a brothel as a place of lewdness assignation or prostitution.” Yet the gay bars lived on and they became not just a place to meet up and dance but a sanctuary for post funeral celebrations of the never ending gays who fell to the HIV/AIDS plague. Frankly, during the mid to late 80’s all I can remember doing is going to funerals of friends and the wakes thereafter at our bars.

Gay Pride has been publicly celebrated for almost 50 years in Utah. We’ve morphed from a gay community to an LGBTQ+ group as varied as there are colors of our rainbow. AIDS/HIV is still an issue and I thank God for the continued work of the Utah AIDS Foundation and the fact that our gay bars have survived this current pandemic.






Home Remodeling

When you can’t find a new home to buy it may be worth your while to remodel the won you own. Granted you may pay extreme amounts for lumber and wait months for appliances, but every dime you drop into upgrades should give you a great return on your investment when you sell.  And doing so will make you happier in your new space!  Remodeling magazine has released the key remodeling trends specific to Salt Lake City that will give you a great return on your sweat equity or your cost of hiring contractors. Here’s what’s top of the list:

-Replacing garage doors to electric and /or doors with windows that let in ambient light.

-Adding stone veneer to the exterior of your home’s street-facing façade to give it a different look, using river rock or something local.

-Updating exterior siding. Old siding is wide, sometimes made of asbestos or painted aluminum that chips and fades. Upgrade to less wide planks in more modern materials.

-Minor kitchen remodels. Replace cabinet and drawer fronts if the boxes are of good quality. Update your appliances, sink and fixtures. Or simply add ‘roll outs’ to your cabinets-rolling tracks to pull out to see everything in the cabinet.

-New front door! There are so many choices these days in front entry styles made from wood and/or metal. Make sure you replace the casing around the door and update your locks to a Nest-like system that you can control when you’re not home.

-New roof and add/update your insulation. Plus, instead of large expensive skylights, add solar tubes for ambient light. These tubes are great for when you get up in the middle of the night and must use the toilet but don’t want to flick on bright light.

Now that warmer temperatures are here there are inexpensive things you can do yourself to add sweat equity to your home. I generally suggest these for outside and inside:

-New larger numbers on the exterior of your home. Generally I find that signals to people that you’ve updated and paid attention to details.

-Some type of security camera system and door locks. You can buy these now from discount stores like Costco.

-Closet organizers. One bar to hold your hanged clothes is stupid. Break up that space with at least two bars and maybe but up a found set of drawers to add for extra storage.

-Re-caulking bathroom tile/tubs. New bath fixtures can be inexpensive. Cabinet/drawer pulls can be handmade and artsy or you can buy simple modern ones on the web.

-Wallpaper is back from the grave and is in great designs and colors. Do one wall in your home say in the dining, rec room, kitchen or bedroom as an accent to make your home pop.

-Updating light fixtures. New LED fixtures for your ceiling can cost $30. You don’t ever replace the light bulbs, you replace the fixture several years down the road to the newest design in LED fixtures. Easy peasy!

Temple Square Reopens

What are the best places to visit in Utah? According to they are Lake Powell, Antelope Island, Moab, Park City, Salt Lake City, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. None of those on the list are a surprise to us locals, and many of us ventured out closed to home at these places during the Pandemic. What’s the number one place to visit in our capitol city? Temple Square of course, which has been closed for major renovations since December 29, 2019. reports that an estimated 3 to 5 million people flock to Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake each year, which is more visitors than all five of the state’s ‘Big Five’ national parks combined.

The Salt Lake Temple itself, an icon of Western Gothic Architecture muchly needed a safety and seismic upgrade. The mechanics, electric and plumbing systems were aged and had we experienced a major earthquake the building may have crumbled. We had a big tremblor one morning back in March of 2020 of a 5.7 magnitude. The subsequent shaking caused the golden trumpet on the Angel Moroni to fall off and some of the smaller spires had minor displacement. The major shaking was almost an alarm not just to employees and visitors but to some a signal that God was bringing his wrath upon the peoples of the earth with the rampant Covid 19 pandemic.

To protect the historic building from future damage, Church officials authorized installation of a ‘base isolation system’, one of the most effective means of protecting a building against the forces of an earthquake. A base isolation system is a method of seismic protection where the structure (superstructure) is separated from the base (foundation or substructure). By separating the structure from its base, the amount of energy that is transferred to the superstructure during an earthquake is reduced significantly. This system installs one or more types of bearing to support the weight of the structure through things like sliding plates and elastomeric pads, like shock absorbers to dissipate the energy of the quake. If you’ve driven by Temple Square in the past year, you’d have seen bulldozers digging several stories deep around the Temple