Category Archives: Politics

Salt Lake’s Anti-Racist Solidarity Rally

Photo: Mike Jones

In response to the protests on Saturday August 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the League of Native American Voters organized a rally against racism at the Salt Lake City and County Building. Around 2000 protesters attended. Whole many groups participated—such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists, Indigenous resistance, Students for a Democratic Society, Pandos, Utah Against Police Brutality, and others. There were also many individuals who came to show solidarity, with some being armed. Observing the growing crowd of demonstrators, one protestor, Josh Straugther said, “Being here is amazing, because… this is not the most black city out here.”

Read the full article published by Utah Stories!!

Experience the New Chic of Vintage Clothing

Cosmic Wolf Vintage.
Photo by Steven Vargo.

If there was an effort to move away from the trappings of fast fashion, consumers have quite a few options in Salt Lake City’s many thrift shops.

In Utah, there is a strong buy local movement, and many consumers go out of their way to shop at local stores. “I think Utah’s pretty good on that, honestly,” says Kristin Thomas of Cosmic Wolf Vintage. “I was actually surprised working at Unhinged—because a lot of it’s local—how many people are there because they want to buy local.”

Read the full article published by Utah Stories!!


Tailor Cooperative is a fairly new addition to the growing creative community on Pierpont Avenue. They set up shop in May 2016 and seized the opportunity to tailor quality-made suits in the local market. Only three people run The Tailor Cooperative, Co-founders Adam Malmborg and Chase Murdock and Personal Tailor Eduardo Xavier. Both owners have travelled abroad extensively, coming across robust tailoring businesses. Murdock, who spent time in Southeast Asia, became familiar with their tailoring practices. Though he admits that the quality was a bit underwhelming, the experience was one he wanted to bring home to the U.S. “Tailoring is a lost art here in the U.S.,” says Murdock. “There aren’t a lot of corner-shop tailors. There’s certainly not a place where you can go and get a suit made, and they know you on a first-name basis; [where] they keep your pattern on file and they know your style preferences.” To address this, The Tailor Cooperative seeks to provide just that with a more upscale experience.

Read the full article on THE TAILOR COOPERATIVE published by SLUG Magazine.

Salt Lake City Marches Against Trump

Man waves banner in protest of Trump’s presidency
Photos by Jesse Stewart

On January 20, 2017, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protested the inauguration of the Trump presidency. They protested in conjunction with others nationwide. Between 1000 and 1200 protesters organized at the Wallace B Federal building. Among them were members of SDS, Black Bloc Anarchists, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, students as well as many other individuals—young and old who represented all walks of life. Many held signs with creative slogans like “Send Pence To A Conversion Camp,” “ Pussy Grabs Back” or “Welcome To Fascist America.” Some protesters displayed flags symbolizing Anarchism, Anarcho-Communism, Communism, LBGTQ or upside down Stars and Stripes…

Read the full article published at Utah Stories!!

Rocky Mountain Power Proposes Increase on Solar Energy Rates

The popularity and accessibility of solar energy is on the rise, and according to Rocky Mountain Power, solar panel implementation had a projection of nearly 17,230 new customers for 2016.

To try and meet the demand for clean energy, Rocky Mountain Power has been buying energy from solar and wind plants around Utah. Customers who install their own panels are able to connect to the grid via a net metering program. This program pays customers for excess energy that is generated and sent back through the grid.

Read the whole story about Rocky Mountain Power and Solar Energy published at Utah Stories!!


Photo courtesy of Amy Greer

This Saturday, Dec. 17, Aggro 1969 will set up a pop-up shop at Velo City Bags (341 W. Pierpont). Amy Greer runs Aggro 1969, which is known for selling Warrior Clothing England, Alpha Industries and their own Aggro 1969, brands inspired by mod and reggae subculture. Nate Larsen Nate Larsen invited Greer to set up shop—just in time for the holidays. Admittingly, Greer doesn’t do pop-ups very often, since Aggro 1969 usually attracts a particular, subculture-minded clientele. However, Greer says, “It’s a good time of year to do business.”

Dig the full article on Aggro 1969 published by SLUG Magazine!!

An Ethos on Climbing: Shingo Ohkawa

Photos of Shingo Ohkawa by Andrew Burr

When in Salt Lake City, Shingo Ohkawa can be found working at the climbing equipment shop, IME (International Mountain Equipment). There, he finds himself in an interesting and sometimes, conflicting spot when it comes to the materialism side of the climbing culture. “In this town, or towns like Boulder, Colorado, or other places, it’s become sort of a subculture,” Shingo says. “You’re kind of identified in your tribe by what you wear and what you’re seen with. That’s sort of weird ‘cause climbing, before it got popular, used to be something that only fringe people did.” This “clique” side of climbing is a far cry from what Shingo is familiar with.

Dig the full article on Shingo Ohkawa published by Utah Stories!


Photo: John Barkiple

Coffee Garden has long been the staple of 9th and 9th along Harvey Milk Boulevard. The coffee shop opened in May of 1993 amid a rise in popularity for specialty coffeehouses. In 1992, Alan Hebertson had lost his job at a hotel. Facing the prospects of working at RC Willey, he and his husband, Dieter Sellmair, decided to go into business for themselves. “It was just before the coffee thing really took off, but I had a pretty good idea about it because I had a friend who lived in Seattle,” says Hebertson. “We were driving up there, and we saw how the new coffeehouse thing was beginning to come to life in Seattle.

Check out the full article on Coffee Garden and 9th & 9th published at SLUG Magazine!



Not OK PDX is a non-profit organization founded by Kelly Vaughn, Dani Verbus, Frankie Howell, and Jessica Rosengrant in Portland, Oregon. Coming from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds, they seek to create a support and healing network for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. On October 31, 2016, Not Ok PDX will be hosting their first fundraiser. They plan to host several more throughout November. The October 31 fundraiser will be held at Pop Tavern (825 N Killingsworth ST). To get some backstory on Not Ok PDX and their future plans, they agreed to reveal to readers what one can expect from this new and budding organization.

NixBeat: What inspired forming Not OK PDX?
Rosengrant – Oh man. That’s such a huge question. There are the personal reasons that we all became involved in this work, and then there are the numerous societal problems that lead to the need for this kind of work. Initially, this was Kelly’s project, and when we look back at what we wanted to do in the beginning, and compare it where we are now, we’ve added a lot of components. Kelly’s original idea of starting a support network for survivors is still very much at the center of what we’re doing though. Every one of us who has had a hand in forming this organization has also had personal experience with the things that we’re fighting against, and of course that helps to drive us forward. Once we started forming, we started hearing more and more stories from other survivors, and of course that is an inspiration as well. If you look at the statistics though, this is such a common experience for so many people.
Dani- There’s a huge need for more services catering to folks who have been affected by gender-based violence because it’s so prevalent. A recent report from the Women’s Foundation of Oregon found that over half our state’s female population has been subjected to some form of domestic or sexual violence. Oregon actually has a higher rate of this type of violence than the national average. So, yeah, it’s a huge problem and it really hits close to home. For me, becoming involved in an effort to fight this type of injustice helps quell the feelings of powerlessness and isolation often experienced by those of us who have been affected firsthand.
Rosengrant – And there is just so much silence surrounding it. Survivors are so often made to feel that they don’t have a voice, and that is not ok. They’re made to feel alone, and embarrassed; they’re made to feel as though they are to blame. I think, for me at least, combating that is one of my biggest inspirations.

NixBeat: What kind of services does Not OK PDX offer to the Portland community?
Rosengrant – We are just getting off the ground, so we won’t be offering services until January of 2017. But, when the time comes, we’ll be offering regular support groups to survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and abuse and we’ll offer a program that will match trained advocates to survivors to as they navigate life after an attack—these folks will accompany survivors to the police station to report an attack, to court dates, to medical appointments, etc. It can be very scary to do that by yourself, and it is never a bad idea to have an extra set of eyes and ears when going through something that can be so traumatic.
Verbus – One of the first services we’ll be offering is a training program for bar staff on how to recognize and interrupt behaviors leading to sexual assault. It piggybacks on similar bystander-intervention programs that have been successful. We know alcohol consumption is a correlate to sexual assault; with some studies showing alcohol was involved in upwards of fifty percent of sexual assaults. It makes sense to have the folks who are serving it trained in this area. Everyone deserves to be able to have fun in a safe environment and we hope this training will aid in that.
Rosengrant – In the long term, we hope to have an emergency rental assistance fund for people who need to leave abusive domestic situations, regular legal clinics for people who need to seek the assistance of a lawyer, and, one of my personal favorites—social worker ride alongs with the officers who respond when there has been an attack; I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about the police inadvertently triggering, and intimidating survivors.

NixBeat: Not OK is registered as a nonprofit, what was the process like to attain this status?
Rosengrant –Theoretically, it’s just a lot of paperwork—you have to register with the Secretary of State, the Department of Justice, and the IRS… Realistically, it took a lot of discussion between the four of us. Even just coming up with a mission statement that succinctly explains what we’re about took weeks. We had to come up with our bylaws, which includes a lot of legal jargon that none of us is too familiar with, and of course none of this even includes program development or implementation. Fundraising is a whole different story, because we can’t do any of this if we don’t the money to get off the ground. We’ve been working on all of this since June of this year, and are just now seeing all of our plans and goals actually start to take shape.

NixBeat: What kind of reception has Not OK received from the Portland Community?
Rosengrant – It’s been overwhelming, but in the best way possible. We’ve been receiving messages from complete stranger who just want to tell us to keep up the good work, which I think helps motivate us. And the list of local businesses that have donated to us for our fundraisers keeps growing by the day. I keep saying that we couldn’t do any of this without the help of our community, and it’s true.
Verbus – It’s really great to know people care about what’s going on in our communities and are willing to help out. We’re able to donate our time and experience to this cause, but without the support of the community, Not OK would not exist.
Rosengrant-People have donated beautiful works of art for an art auction we’re holding in mid November, people have donated spaces for us to hold other fundraising events, people have donated their time and consultation services to us so we can figure out how to best move forward. The support that this community is giving us has just been really beautiful, and we couldn’t be more grateful for it.

NixBeat: I noticed that Kelly Vaughn posts on Facebook and Instagram about abuses experienced. What do you hope sharing these posts will accomplish?
Vaughn – My hope with those posts is that people will recognize the fact that the language and approach they use when talking to a survivor can be greatly triggering. Also, I want to raise awareness in general—these issues are not faceless, and the people affected by them have names.

NixBeat: What has the reaction been like to these posts?
Vaughn – The responses have been overwhelmingly supportive and positive. So many survivors have reached out to me with their own stories, and I will always encourage them to do so! Our voices need to be heard, because for so long we have been told to be quiet. Speaking out, when one is ready, can not only be therapeutic, but it can also serve as a beacon of hope for other survivors who are struggling. By coming forward, we have unity. With unity, we have healing. With healing comes the ability to love yourself and others again, and with all of that comes personal growth.

NixBeat: On October 31, there will be a fundraiser for Not OK. What does Not Ok have planned for the Fundraiser?
Rosengrant – So, we’ll actually be hosting fundraising events all through the month of November, but Halloween is going to be our first kickoff fundraising event, and we’re super excited about it. We’re hosting a Halloween dance party at Pop Tavern in North Portland—this is a bar that Kelly helped build, and the owner has been hugely supportive of our cause. We’ll have four awesome DJs, one of which will be Kelly, really cool raffle prizes from local businesses like Paxton Gate and Stonedware Company, and a costume contest, which will have a pretty sweet grand prize. We’re asking for a suggested donation of $5-$10 at the door, but people can give what they’re able—we’re not going to turn anyone away who wants to support us and learn about the work we’re doing. We’re also asking for an additional donation to enter the costume contest, and then of course we’ll be selling raffle tickets. I think it’s going to be pretty fun.

NixBeat: How much are you hoping to raise with the fundraiser and how will what you raise go to support Not OK PDX?
Rosengrant – Our fundraising goal for November is $5000, which is what we need to really get off the ground running. Of course, we don’t expect to raise that much on Halloween, but any percentage of that amount will be a good start. None of us is being paid for the work we’re doing, so 100% of what we raise will go directly to the costs associated with starting a nonprofit. This will help with administrative costs, supply costs, the costs of program development and implementation, etc. A lot of our expenses up until now have been coming out of our own pockets, and it’s becoming a little bit of a drain. I think we’re all happy to personally pay for things as we are able, but that’s not really a sustainable way of doing things.

NixBeat: Where would you like to see Not OK PDX go from here?
Rosengrant – Well, there are the programs I mentioned previously, and those are of course our main focus right now. When I look to the future of our organization though, I see big things. I’d love to see us become known for the services we provide in the Portland area, and I’d love to for us to be known as an innovative organization in terms of those services. We are certainly not the only organization in the area that provides services to survivors, but I think that there is a pretty big gap, and hopefully we can help fill it. Additionally, I think some of the approaches we take in terms of combating the issues we’re talking about, as a society, are pretty stale—I think there needs to be a fresh approach, and I’d like us to be very much involved in figuring out what that approach is.
Verbus – We are looking to connect with other agencies in the Portland area that are already providing services. We would like to learn from them about which populations they see falling through the cracks, and what services need to be expanded in order to meet service user needs. We’re meeting with the Executive Director of Bradley Angle next week and are really looking forward to learning from her expertise.

For more on Not OK PDX check out their Facebook and website or on Instagram @NotokPDX

SDS Fundraiser: A Night of Punk Rock for the People

On September 30, the University of Utah Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society will be putting on a fundraiser at Diabolical Records. They are hoping to raise enough money to send 10 of their chapter’s members to the SDS Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The convention will be held on October 9 and 8.The fundraiser has an impressive lineup with locals All Systems Fail, Bancho, Cady Heron, Sympathy Pain, Hylian and touring act neutral shirt providing the entertainment. Also included during the event will be art, tasty treats, and a raffle. To find out more, I sat down with University of Utah’s SDS President Theresa and member Doug to find out what can be expected from this event and from the University of Utah’s SDS chapter.

NixBeat: What is the agenda for the SDS National Conference in October?
Doug and Theresa: The conference consists of plenaries and workshops for both Saturday and Sunday; workshops have a variety of topics, while plenaries set out broad outlines for the coming year for national SDS. For example, our current national campaign, Education for All!, is a broad outline of goals such as support for affirmative action, undocumented access to education, and tuition decreases, and was passed at last year’s conference.

NixBeat: How did you attract bands like All Systems Fail to play the benefit show?
Doug: To a large extent it was just a natural outgrowth of the really great DIY ethic held up by the bands who are playing. We were able to get in contact with people various ways, through personal connections and the local music scene generally, but the folks who agreed to play didn’t really need any prodding or persuasion. They’re just great people generously donating their time as a great testimony to Salt Lake’s local music scene.

NixBeat: The San Diego Lo-Fi pop group neutral shirt is also on the bill, what’s the story there?
Doug: A friend of mine was a very hard working person organizing a lot of DIY shows in Salt Lake, but they moved off to Sweden. So neutral shirt was looking to put on a show in Salt Lake on the 30th for a while and they got a hold of my friend, who had actually helped us with some advice organizing our show, who forwarded them to us and we threw them on.

NixBeat: What other activities will the SDS fundraiser include?
Theresa: We’ll hold a raffle and have some speeches from SDS members.

NixBeat: Does this show include the participation of other organizations?
Doug: We’re hoping to see some old friends from other groups (in addition to new friends, of course) but, while we work with various groups on campus and throughout our communities. No other activist groups are formally involved in the fundraiser itself.

NixBeat: How much money does SDS need to raise to get its members to the conference?
Theresa: We are hoping to raise about 300 dollars.

NixBeat: Why is SDS having their fundraiser at Diabolical Records?
Doug: Diabolical and its owners, Adam and Alana, are great resources in local music and host shows really often, generally for free. They were definitely the most obvious option among (sort of) established venues in Salt Lake, and they were kind enough to tell us yes when we asked.

NixBeat: Does the local SDS chapter coordinate with other national branches of the organization?
Theresa: Absolutely; national work amongst members from various chapters has been crucial for local work and building the national student movement. We give each other advice, help build new SDS chapters, and plan national events like the national convention through regular conference calls and communication on social media.

NixBeat: SDS stands in solidarity with 17 year-old Abdi Mohamed who was shot by an officer of the SLCPD. What actions is SDS taking to support Mohamed and stand in opposition to police brutality?
Theresa: Many SDS members consistently attend solidarity events for Abdi organized by Utah Against Police Brutality.

NixBeat: What other campaigns is SDS involved in?
Doug and Theresa: SDS’s main focus is the Education for All! campaign. We demand access to state-funded scholarships for undocumented students in Utah, which is currently illegal under state Senate Bill 81. We’re trying to build momentum and support around town and on campus for this goal through rallies, call-ins, and education (flyering, panels, etc) in order to amend—and hopefully, eventually repeal—this bill. Beyond this, we have also worked behind the slogan Dump Trump! and we organized a protest of Trump when he was in town. We try to stay abreast of struggles going on in our communities—usually not in as much of a formal group role, but to lend our support as individuals to organizing around town.

NixBeat: Has the recent controversial rhetoric used by GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump inspired curiosity toward SDS from the wider student population on campus?
Doug: We had a big presence protesting him when he was in town in March which got our name out to some people, and a lot of people can get behind “Dump Trump.” So it’s a slogan we have on some of our pamphlets and such. I would describe it as Donald being a man that people can easily agree to oppose, so we’ve used that a little bit.

NixBeat: What’s next for SDS?
Doug: We’ll continue to focus on our demand for state-funded scholarships for undocumented people, and the amendment of SB81; we’ll post about future events to that end on our Facebook page and spread the word on campus. We’ll continue working on this concrete, material goal and on building the student movement, and anyone interested in helping us is welcome to join. Attendance at future events, meetings and our fundraiser this Friday will be hugely appreciated and go a long way towards progressive change in Utah.

The requested donation for attending the fundraiser at Diabolical Records is $5. According to their event page, all donations will go to the planning of and travel to the National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information on the University of Utah’s SDS chapter, check out their Facbook page: