An evening at the Republican with Stephen and Angela.
—by Greta Belanger deJong
The Republican, a tavern on State St. gets the prize for the most foreboding exterior with the friendliest interior.
On my first visit, maybe 10 years ago, I was with my friend Keith Carlsen, after a bicycle film fest and fixie contest at the Depot. We, along with what felt like half the downtown, were on bikes. That night, after a lifetime of bikeriding, I finally learned how to really ride a bike. Keith taught me that road rules are secondary to your own senses: Quick wits win the ride. I’ve felt so much safer on the road ever since.
We stopped on the way for gas station tacos, got into a conversation with some bikers about gas mileage (those hogs are hogs, I learned, much to my surprise), stopped in at Bar X for the tail end of the Slippery Kittens Burlesque Show and Bake Sale, and ended up at aforementioned Republican.
The Republican looks like an abandoned biker bar from the outside. “Stay on your bike when we get inside,” Keith instructed. We rode through the entire bar to the back, to a large bike rack.
I was there in late April to wrap up a project with Stephen Dark, staff investigative writer for City Weekly, and Angela Brown, longtime editor and publisher of S.L.U.G., a monthly that looks at the local action sports and music scene and which, I tease Angela, guarantees people over 40 can’t read because the typefont is so damn small.
Stephen has been working on a story about Angela and me over the past month or so. It’s intimidating to have a prize-winning investigative writer profile you. And if there’s any dirt of interest in my life, maybe something I’ve forgotten about because it probably happened a long time ago, Stephen will have found it. I think he even interviewed my long-deceased parents. This man’s skills are formidable.
Angela is young enough to be my daughter. The truth is I see her as an ageless wisdom goddess who pretty much inspires me every time we get together. And, considering the wide difference in style and content of our publications, we can still talk shop endlessly.
I haven’t seen the story yet, as I’m sure I won’t before it’s published (sometime in early May, I’m told). I think it has to do with our years as female publishers in Salt Lake’s alternative press scene.
For this, our concluding interviews, we were meeting together over beers. It was one of the best conversations to occur in a bar, who knows, perhaps aided by the fact that all three of us are Capricorns? I won’t talk about it because, hey, maybe some of it will make it into Stephen’s story. And it is Stephen’s story.
Anyway, check out City Weekly this month for Stephen’s story if you’re interested in the evolution of Salt Lake City and the local alternative press scene, particularly from the women’s viewpoint. Read Stepen’s writing any time you see his byline; you can be sure the man has done his homework. And thank you to City Weekly editor Jerre Wroble and to publisher/editor/longtime crony John Saltas for wanting to tell this story.
Let’s all meet at the Republican, again, sometime soon.
Greta Belanger deJong is editor and publisher of CATALYST. Greta@CatalystMagazine.net.