Of course, it’s not all butterflies and red balloons in the Beehive State. Along with our picks for the best of everything in Utah, we would be remiss if we didn’t include a list of losers as well.
Ballsiest political statement
The owner of Baristas Restaurant in Hurricane, who had been clashing with the town fathers over a liquor license, put a life-sized bull over his sign. Hurricaners love cattle, but the bull’s gratuitously humongous genitalia, not so much. Owner Stephen Ward ultimately relented and downsized the organ, not because of the outcry, but “because I didn’t like it.”
Why we’re the go-to state for standup comedy
A legislative measure that would have made sex with an unconscious woman rape troubled some lawmakers. A bewildered Rep. Brian Greene pointed out: “If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious…a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape—theoretically.” Greene represents Pleasant Grove, where—a global news audience learned—its never a good idea to nod off.
Best action film reenactment
The most-talked-about incident at Sundance ’15 had nothing to do with film. Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch, in town to promote Ten Thousand Saints, was charged with assault for allegedly choking a Paramount executive. Hirsch’s lawyer explained, “Emile consumed an enormous amount of alcohol and he has no memory of what happened.” Facing a five-year sentence in Utah, Emile could be headed into the wild again.
Best infiltration of a military base—ever!
The incursion of bikini models into Camp Williams. Military officials were apparently mystified as to how a squad of British bikini commandos slipped onto the high-security base to be photographed and filmed while shaking their booties on tanks and firing machine guns. One investigation offered a first step: Remove the “pornography that promotes sexist behavior and objectifies women or men” from the base PX. They also suggested a closer watch on who enters Camp Williams, even if the infiltrators aren’t wearing burkas.
Life imitates art at the Legislature
Rep. Mel Brown and Sen. Kevin Van Tassell appear to have sat “from-life” for Pat Bagley’s trademark cherubic-yet-pompous lawmakers. Before you Dems snicker, Sen. Jim Dabakis runs a close third.
The awkward conference moment
A year of controversies over same-sex marriage, women demanding to be made priests, LGBT weddings, polygamist reality shows, punitive excommunications and a fail at explaining their founder’s many (sometimes underaged) wives was capped by a protest action at the LDS Conference. Five devout members went way off script and shouted, “Opposed!” when the multitude was asked if they “sustained” the church’s top leaders. Usually, it’s a moment of joyous unanimous acclamation. Awkward.
Our savvy Secret Service
In the middle of Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s investigation into Secret Service screwups, like driving drunk up the White House drive, someone leaked that Chaffetz had once been rejected by the SS. Apparently, he wasn’t qualified to hire hookers or allow fence-jumpers to enter the White House.
Top two catastrophic mix-ups
1. A Dickey’s Barbecue Pit worker mistakes lye for sugar and severely injures an ice tea-drinking customer, triggering a fire sale on Dickey’s franchises in the state. (The woman recovered.) 2. A Salt Lake City Cemetery worker confuses fertilizer for weed killer and wipes out 40 acres of turf, requiring $600,000 in replanting, and also forfeiting any chance of moonlighting at Dickey’s.
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