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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Rachael Yamagata stands out in SLC concert

By Ben Hansen

November 17, 2008 | Last week, the Hotel Café tour rolled through Salt Lake City. Although there has been a constantly rotating lineup throughout the tour, this night of the tour included the always popular Rachael Yamagata, accompanied by folk artist sensation Meiko, Lenka, Catherine Feeny, Thao Nguyen and Emily Wells. The all-female lineup played to a packed house at the Avalon Theater, and did not disappoint.

The women took turns rotating out their respective talents at multiple points throughout the night, giving each an opportunity to take the stage. Many included a full ensemble of all others in their set, with everyone given the chance to shine.

No one shined brighter in the evening than Yamagata.

Dressed in high heels, black tights and a bright red dress, she was met with loud cheers when she walked onto the stage for the first time, and joked, "I think that my aunt brought all of my friends tonight."


Yamagata works the crowd / Photo by Ben Hansen


Arming herself with her acoustic guitar, she then moved into the new track Faster from her latest Elephants . . . Teeth Sinking Into Heart album. She then switched seamlessly to keyboards to belt out her early hit Be Be Your Love, which initially aired on the show One Tree Hill, among others.

After rotating through the set of girls again, the audience was delighted to see Yamgata return for a second set. Again, she delivered in both stage presence and performance, declaring to the captivated audience, "Don’t even try to get up and get a drink . . . I will stop this whole song until you turn around and sit back down!" She then went directly into the title song off her album, the Billboard No. 3 single Elephants, followed by Sunday Afternoon, also off of the new album.

The show concluded with a massive group song session, with all artists again onstage performing together. The show ended somewhat abruptly, as the set had run up to the noise ordinance curfew for the area, and had to be shut down.

For having to share a stage for so much of the night, Yamagata still found a way to connect with her fans, delivering a choice of songs that helped display her songwriting ability and individuality. She has some serious talent, and her music is definitely worth taking a listen.

For more information on Rachael Yamagata, be sure to check out her album Elephants . . . Teeth Sinking Into Heart, on iTunes, or check out her Web site at



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