Friday, August 07, 2009

Travelogue: Salt Lake City and Park City

Wow! What a week! I definitely need a vacation to rest up from my vacation.

After John and I returned home from our Utah trip in Monday's wee hours, we were greeted by two things: 1. our brand new air conditioner was causing a leak in our HVAC system closet, and 2. our neighbors across the street had their two motorcycles stolen. So, we've been dealing with getting the AC repaired and taking estimates on home security systems, amongst other things. And, I ended my great internship in the Registrar's office at the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. Suffice to say, I've been busy.

But now, I can share with you all the excitement and beauty (along with the uncommon and unsettling) parts of the trip.

Although I've described a bit of one of the days on Altered Plates, I'll go into much more detail here.

The first day:

From Salt Lake City July 2009


My plan for the first day was rather modest -- I'd spend the morning at the main branch of the Salt Lake City library and meet my mother-in-law, Connie, for lunch before doing a little shopping. Well, the universe had other plans. About 1/2 mile from the library, Connie calls me on my cel as I'm negotiating the rental car around downtown SLC. She asked me where I was and suggested that I stop by the big demonstration happening in front of the courthouse (AKA, the City and County Building). She mentioned that there was a big gathering of fundamentalist LDS families involved in a land dispute milling about on the courthouse lawn. She wasn't kidding.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


By the time I parked in back of the library and walked up the two long blocks to the front of the courthouse, the greens were pretty well packed with folks who looked like they were in reinactment costumes. Except that they were using digital camera, wearing fancy shoes and sunglasses, and eating fast food.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


It was by far the quietest demonstration I'd ever experience. Actually, I'm not sure it was a demonstration at all. It seemed more like a huge show of support for the people who were inside fighting for their land. The people who were protesting were dressed in modern gear and holding signs while yelling at other folks just walking along going to work or about their business in general.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


When I made my way around to the front of the courthouse to get up the steps and take some photos, I encountered the very friendly bike police of Salt Lake City. They are quite used to tourists, so I introduced myself, told them I was from New Jersey and had no idea what was going on, and could they please tell me. They did not go into any kind of detail, but just mentioned a vague land dispute. The fellow on the right quickly changed the subject and asked me what vacation plans I had there, and I told him about being an MLIS student and how I wanted to see the library. He talked to me about it a bit, then recommended some fun activities going on in Park City that weekend. It was more of a conversation than I'd wanted (yet less than I needed, for infomation's sake), but friendly nonetheless.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Ah, the library. To say that it's an impressive bit of architecture would be selling it quite short. It's an enormous glass atrium of a structure, with very cushy reading areas, easily accessed stacks, and very friendly and helpful staff. When I first walked inside the atrium, I was stunned to see a line of stores and a cafe along the left side.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


I'd never heard of a library store. What a great way to acquire additional funds for the library! It's run by some very clever folks. Just look at how they used an old card catalog to display their wares.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


There are several ways of getting around the library.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


The stairs (and there are several sets of these, both in the formal atrium and within the stacks areas).

From Salt Lake City July 2009


The glass walkways at either end of the atrium, and the glass elevators. Each of the glass walkways has sentiments etched into their left sides.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


In the middle of the atrium is a giant hanging sculpture that impressed me immensely. From all different angles it appeared to be entirely different mobiles.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


I'm not normally afraid of heights at all, but I did feel a bit wobbly since there weren't many barriers from the edge.

Probably my favorite part of the library is the the rooftop garden, which isn't so much of a garden as it is a park. From every angle, there are excellent views, whether of downtown, the Wasatch mountain range that surrounds the SLC valley, or the suburubs.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


While I didn't do this, there is a way to walk down the entire 5 story distance to the surface from the roof. I'll have to try it next year.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


This is the view of the courthouse from the rooftop garden:

From Salt Lake City July 2009


And, even more incredible views. Did I mention the weather was incredible? We'd come from awful, hot, humid, rainy weather back east to dry and temperate weather in Utah. Such a gift!

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


Back inside the museum, I went to the art galleries. Works by Bret Hanson and John Sproul were on display.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


In a side display, there were book plates on view.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


Do go visit your local library and find out what kinds of things are in their special collections. You won't be disappointed.

Moving on...

Downstairs in the atrium, I had taken advantage of the stores to buy a few gifts for my family, and waited for Connie so we could take them back to the car. When she arrived, we walked down the block, put the gifts in the rental, and headed back up toward the city and county building. All of a sudden, we heard shouting, "Run! Run!" Connie thought she saw someone running from the Trax station (like an above-ground subway for the city). As we continued walking next to the library, as we approached the Trax station, we could see that at least one person had been hit by the train.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Someone had taken off his shirt and begun getting under the train to pull the person out, and by that time, we had walked up to the corner and were encountering the crowds of FLDS protesters. The weird thing was that three people in our journey after that felt compelled to tell us what we had already seen. Fortunately, the two boys (20 year olds) were not critically injured, just lacerated a bit. They had been fighting and ended up in front of the train as it was stopping. Seems this happens rather frequently. No less than two weeks earlier a 50-something year old man had been hit by a Trax train. Perhaps something ought to be done about this.

You would think that we had lost our appetite after that. But no.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


I had read about Este pizza and had to try it (not to mention the fact that they sell zeppoles with agave nectar!).

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Connie had the gigantic pepperoni, while I had a slice of mushroom onion and a particularly tasty salad.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


I love when restaurants put olives in the salad (but not raw onions!). Overall, very good pizza for SLC. However, it would be average if it was sold here.

We ate at Connie's office, and by the time I left, it was close to 2 pm. On the way back to her house, I did some shopping at the big REI store (which is running lots of sales now, both online and in-store, by the way) and a few other of my favorites before heading back and going on an on-location date night with John.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Where did we go on our date night? To see the MLS All Star vs. Everton game at the Rio Tinto stadium not far from my in-laws' home in Sandy. That was a lot of fun, although we found the game itself rather boring. I tried taking many action shots, but few did well. Here are the ones that are the least awful.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


The Real Salt Lake team fans, who provided much musical entertainment during the game.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


Parachuters bringing us the game ball.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Flags of the world brought in by the children of Sandy. John and I joked that they were trying to re-use the flags from the Olympics.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


U.S. in blue, Everton in white.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


It was a sold-out game.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Out come the goalies for the shoot-out tie breaker. My favorite is Casey Keller, but he missed one, so we lost.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


That's the Everton goalie, who happens to be American Tim Howard, who trained under Casey Keller.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


It was a good experience, but we wished we were watching a better American team.

The following day, I visited one of my favorite places in Salt Lake City, the Red Butte Gardens.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Like the rooftop garden at the library, I was by myself most of my time at the gardens. And, I loved it.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Then, kids and families started coming, but we went in different directions, so I had my solitude for most of the day.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


I wanted to lounge with the lizards, but was afraid of snakes joining me, so I didn't.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


One of the best things about Red Butte is the sense of whimsy.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


Finally, the day before we left to come home, Connie and I attended the Kimball Arts Festival in Park City. One nice advantage to having Park City as an option is that it's not that far away and it's about 5 degrees cooler there (a bonus on those hot, Utah summer days).

From Salt Lake City July 2009


We arrived early and walked to the top of the main drag to avoid the crowds and see all the art.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


There were all kinds of art works displayed, from mosaics to kinetic sculptures. Oh, and loads of jewelry. Connie nearly bought herself a necklace, but decided against it at the last minute.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


I loved that carved gourd. It was one of the more unique items I'd seen all day.

There also were two music stages and lots of music around the tents during the festival.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


This was my absolutely favorite piece of art -- artist's books in ceramic, decorated with poetry by the artist.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Just to remind you where we were:

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


The found art pieces also had my attention.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


The cast bronze by Jason Johnston was remarkable.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


Audrey Heller's photographs were so clever. She takes model train people and puts them way out of scale with ordinary objects.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


This was in front of the Kimball Art Center.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


More kinetic sculptures.

From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


From Salt Lake City July 2009


I bought one of these because I loved the story of the little boy throwing starfish into the sea. An old man asks him why, there are so many, how can it make a difference? The little boy says, it makes a difference to this one. See? We all can make a difference, one starfish, one person, one action at a time.


One last thing, my condolences to the family of John Hughes. I grew up in the '80s, and his movies, especially Some Kind of Wonderful, were pretty meaningful to me as an overpriviliged teenager who felt more like "other" than anything else. I have the soundtracks to several of his films from that era, and still listen to some of them today. John Hughes, wherever you are, you did a great job on all those movies. Thank you.

4 comments:

quba said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Patricia

http://lioneltrains.info

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks for your comment Patricia. I appreciate it!

Teresa said...

Finally got around to reading this. The library looks incredible. The Bodleian Library in Oxford has a store too. They weren't using old card catalogs like that though! The Rhett Gardens looked lovely, I especially like the idea of a birthday cake of flowers!
Anyway hope all is well.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Teresa. All IS well. Hope you're having a good visit with the Mr.