1 of 14
Deseret News
The Harp Twins, far left; Caitlin Connolly, upper right; and LaRose Soffe, Bonnie Nelson and Jeanne Soffe, lower right.

SALT LAKE CITY — A baker’s dozen: good for doughnuts, and good for end-of-year recaps.

Our Arts & Entertainment team wrote a bunch of features in 2018. Combing through them all, we picked 13 that captured our year. Happy reading.

‘Jeopardy!’ champ Ken Jennings shares tips on how to dominate HQ Trivia and other quiz apps

Sarah Ause, Deseret News
Ken Jennings jokingly silences people at Barnes & Noble during a book signing at Deseret Book on Sept. 30, 2006 in Orem, Utah.

When we interviewed Ken Jennings, he’d won approximately $29 on the HQ Trivia app.

“It’s a big comedown after ‘Jeopardy!,’ I got to say,” Jennings told us. (His “Jeopardy!” winnings totaled more than $2.5 million.)

He still loves quiz apps, though, and plays regularly. Given his expertise, we had Jennings tell us how to maximize the HQ Trivia experience. Thanks, Ken.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Lagoon’s bygone era of incredible concerts

Photos provided by Brian C. Record and Gene Davis
Janis Joplin, far left, and Jimi Hendrix, middle, during the performers' visits to Lagoon amusement park in 1968; and Gene Davis, far right, who emceed many of Lagoon's concerts during the 1960s as a DJ at radio station KNAK.

Having someone recall Johnny Cash crashing cars at Lagoon amusement park, while allegedly “stoned out of his mind”? These are moments we can't forget.

Farmington’s long-running amusement park has no shortage of stories, especially when it comes to musicians. During the 1950s and ’60s, Lagoon hosted practically every big name in big band, jazz, pop and rock. It was an incredible run, but it ended in 1969. We looked into why, and tracked down folks who saw these concerts firsthand. Lagoon’s musical past is fascinating.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

ASL interpreters have to think fast on their feet — with their hands — at Utah's Timpanogos Storytelling Fest

Thomas N Thurston
Dale Boam interprets at a previous Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Boam has been interpreting for the festival for about nine years.

Puns and pig Latin are confusing enough, even for those with good hearing. Translating those into ASL is another matter entirely. Sign language interpreters told us about working at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, where linguistic minefields abound.

“I have to remember (that) the story is a very cultural idea in the deaf community and so … I have to, in my interpretation, sort of give a nod to the ASL story grammar and structure, but I also have to try to preserve what the storyteller is trying to bring across,” one interpreter told us.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Know what the Harp Twins are good at? Everything, but especially Iron Maiden covers

Provided by the Harp Twins
The Harp Twins

Camille and Kennerly Kitt are identical twins. They play the harp. They are former Junior Olympic swimmers, trained horseback riders, skilled rifle marksmen and third-degree taekwondo black belts. And, yes, the Harp Twins also wear matching clothes.

“But everyone basically dresses alike — we just dress alike on the same day,” they told us.

Though the twins are based in Chicago, they’ve become a huge hit at the Utah Renaissance Faire — and with our readers. Long live the Harp Twins.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

‘A work in progress’: Utah artist Caitlin Connolly on what art and infertility taught her about the worth of a soul

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Caitlin Connolly poses for photos with her twin sons and dogs at her home art studio in Provo on April 12, 2018.

“Not a mother, not a nurturer, not a good woman — just not enough.”

That’s how Caitlin Connolly said she used to feel about herself. The renowned Utah painter dealt with infertility for seven years before giving birth to twins in late 2017. Her experiences with motherhood, and her own journey of self-worth, mirror the things she learned in painting and sculpting. We visited Connolly at her Provo studio, where she explained the parallels.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Classical 89 will stay on the air as a 24-hour classical music station

Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Ryan Trapp edits music for radio station Classical 89 at the BYU Broadcasting building in Provo on Oct. 27, 2017.

They’re Baaaaaaaach. When BYU Broadcasting announced it was discontinuing Classical 89, a 72-year-old radio station that had become a Utah institution, folks got upset. Six months later, BYU Broadcasting changed its tune. The station is here to stay.

“It was miraculous, really — and the timing,” said Michael Dunn, BYU Broadcasting’s managing director. “Everything worked out.”

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Good or not good? Two Deseret News reporters debate Justin Timberlake’s Utah show

Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News
Justin Timberlake performs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on April 12, 2018.

Bob Ross would call this one a “happy accident.” Two Deseret News reporters were mistakenly assigned the same concert review. Instead of settling it the old-fashioned way (see: a duel), they joined forces. This became the first installment of “Good or not good?” It won’t be the last.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

‘It was always about my weight’: Go-Go’s icon Belinda Carlisle chats stardom’s pressures

Provided by Paradise Artists
Belinda Carlisle

Before Carlisle played Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre this summer, she told us about her journey back to sobriety.

“I never had a problem with (my weight) until the media put such a focus on it. … It really, really messed my head up,” Carlisle explained. Drugs, she added, helped her lose weight, which “kept people off my back.”

Carlisle said she left drugs and alcohol behind in 2005, and her husband has played a major role: “He said that he always saw the divine person (I was) underneath all of the crap.”

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Need a romantic balcony set? Utah Opera has you — and the country’s opera companies — covered

Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Verona Green, costume director, sorts through costumes in the warehouse of Utah Opera's production studio in Salt Lake City on Oct. 5, 2018.

Utah Opera’s costume and set department has become a major resource for opera companies around the U.S.

“We’re in a dry environment, which makes it a lot better because the companies on the East Coast have to (work) to take the humidity out,” said Verona Green, the company’s costume director. “So it’s the luck of the draw. If we were paying for the massive systems to suck the air out, we couldn't afford to do that.”

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

‘The Far Side’ was a weird comic. This BYU professor helped us translate it

Court Mann, Deseret News
Kerry Soper, a professor of humanities at Brigham Young University, poses for a photograph at his office in Provo on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. Soper's new book, "Gary Larson and 'The Far Side,'" analyzes the work and life of cartoonist Gary Larson.

What makes a “Far Side” comic a “Far Side” comic? Kerry Soper, a professor at Brigham Young University, has a thing or two to say about that. He published “Gary Larson and ‘The Far Side,’” a deep dive into Gary Larson’s absurdist comic sensation. During our interview, Soper picked a “Far Side” strip and explained its brilliance, piece by piece. There’s a real method to Larson’s madness.

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

Before ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ an old Deseret News article that may have started it all

David Lee, Focus Features
Spike Lee, from left, Topher Grace and Adam Driver on the set of the film "BlacKkKlansman."

Not many people realized the main character in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” was based on a former Utah police detective. Even fewer realized the film’s genesis sort of began with a 2006 Deseret News article. We tracked down that retired detective, Ron Stallworth, and a bunch of others who gradually helped bring his story to the world, and figured out how it went from a Deseret News feature to an Oscar-worthy movie. (We weren’t sure this article was going to come together, but hey, sometimes you get lucky.)

Read the story here.

___________________________________________________________________________

The story of ‘Hamilton’: From Mexico to Broadway to Salt Lake’s Eccles Theater (finally!)

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Parker Cox, left, and Lizzy Cox take a photo as they stand in line for opening night of "Hamilton" at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles theater in Salt Lake City on April 11, 2018.

Utah’s most-anticipated theater event of 2018, “Hamilton,” came to the Eccles in April, so we wrote a bunch of content about it. The best of them was this retelling of how “Hamilton” came into existence — from a hammock in Mexico to the White House to Broadway and beyond — as well as the show’s unique Utah connections.

Read the story here.

Comment on this story

_____________________________________________________________

Netflix hasn’t killed this Utah video store — Bountiful’s Top Hat surviving and thriving

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Shanna Earl, store manager, looks for a video for a customer at Top Hat Video in Bountiful on Jan. 26, 2018.

“We don’t look at it as being a survival story. We look at it as a success story,” Top Hat Video’s co-owner, Lona Earl, told us in March. She and her husband, Lee, have been running the Bountiful video store for 35 years, and said the store continues to attract lots of customers. They started with only 197 videos. These days, it’s almost 34,000. Are you still watching?

Read the story here.