Monday, October 29, 2018

Grand Theatre Company Holds Auditions for First Date


Auditions for First Date, to be performed on Salt Lake Community College’s Grand Theatre stage, will be held by appointment only on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be made online or by calling the Grand Theatre Box Office at 801-957-3322.

Please prepare 16 bars of a song in the style of the show. An accompanist will be provided. Headshots and resumes are encouraged. Prior to your audition, please download, complete and print the audition form to bring with you to your audition.

Auditions will be held in the Grand Theatre Facilities & Arts Annex at 1610 South 250 East, Salt Lake City, 84115. Parking is available at no charge in the southeast parking lot off of 1700 South. Please, enter the building through the north entrance.

Callbacks will be on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 from 6-10 p.m., and the show will run Feb. 14-March 2, 2019. Rehearsals will begin on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 and will be held (apart from tech week) Monday - Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

First Date will be directed by Jamie Rocha Allan.

The Grand Theatre is committed to diverse, inclusive casting and actively seeks talented actors of color on an ongoing basis. All qualified performers are welcome without regard to disability, race, color, national origin or any other basis prohibited by law, unless otherwise specifically indicated.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

SLCC Hosts Men of Color Summit, Addressing Success in Education


Salt Lake Community College is hosting the Men of Color Summit, designed to help males of color succeed in education, on Oct. 25, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its Multipurpose Room on the SLCC South City Campus located at 1575 S. State Street, Salt Lake City. Though it is a free event, participants are encouraged to register in advance.

The summit, focusing on how to make equity across the education pipeline a reality for men of color, will address the challenges, achievements and opportunities to attain academic success. The all-day workshop is designed to serve as a platform “where information and awareness meet action, not merely highlighting the challenges males of color face throughout the entire educational pipeline, but to initiate the construction of a sustainable model to establish progressive change.”

The summit is also intended to provide participants with tools and resources to actively nurture inclusive environments for men of color and to gather ideas on improving equity within the education system. Research shows students who feel included on campus earn post-secondary degrees and certificates at higher rates.

The summit’s two keynote speakers are Frank Harris, III, and Luke Wood, both professors at San Diego State University. Harris is professor of postsecondary education at San Diego State’s College of Education and is the institution’s co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) – Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3). Wood is the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education in the College of Education at San Diego State. Wood also serves as the director of the Joint Ph.D. program in Education between San Diego State and Claremont Graduate University.

Brother 2 Brother Helps from Within, Out in Community

Brother 2 Brother members (l-r) Rael Styles, Chris Toney-El, Misi Bloomfield, Brent Pese and Jessica Mendez at East Midvale Elementary School


On a sunny Thursday in October, Jessica Mendez and her Brother 2 Brother peers shoot hoops and horse around outside with students before reading and donating books to them at East Midvale Elementary School.

Two stories emerge on this day – Jessica’s recent coming out while at Salt Lake Community College as transgender and the college’s community service project at East Midvale.

Inside the school, five members of Brother 2 Brother (B2B) introduce themselves. Jessica goes last, flashing her impeccable lavender nails against the backdrop of a plaid shirt. They break off into groups after each child chooses a book for themselves that they can take home – the school gets to keep the rest.


The donation of books is made possible by a Community Engagement Award offered at SLCC. B2B mentoring coordinator Tevita Hola applied for the award. “SLCC Brother to Brother’s literacy project is exactly the type of program the Community Engagement Award was designed to support,” says Jenifer Seltzer Stitt, director of community relations for the SLCC Office of Government and Community Relations. “East Midvale Elementary faculty worked with Tevita and students to develop a reciprocal project that placed Brother 2 Brother students as mentors and leaders within our community while providing young people with encouragement and positive role models.”

B2B member Chris Toney-El, 19, came up with the idea to help East Midvale. Students join B2B, Hola says, to feel “safe and wanted,” to embrace diversity, face challenges and not let circumstances dictate their outcomes. “First-year student Brent Pese, for example, decided to come (to East Midvale) last minute when he heard about this community outreach project,” Hola says. “With his wife and their two little girls along for the ride, they bundled up and came to the school in support of the project.”

Tevita Hola

Hola says the entire event at East Midvale is able to put smiles on the faces of about 35 children. And like the B2B program, the experience at the school has a positive effect on the SLCC students. “The theme or the motto of the Brother 2 Brother mentoring program is ‘Saving Lives, Salvaging Dreams,’” he points out. “We as a chapter strive to build this motto not only within our community but also with the students in our program who are invested to be better and to succeed at whatever they choose to do in life. It is important these students understand how to give back and to remember where they started from. Overall, projects like these make education transformational and create memorable imprints in our lives.”

Earlier, outside on East Midvale’s playground, Jessica, who reveals only that she is in her late 30s, says it’s never too late to go back to school. “I’m all about education,” she says. “I really think it’s empowering.”

Unlike the typically male-sounding monikers on the badges of her B2B buddies, the name “Jessica” begets a question. “I just love it,” she replies. “Jessica is a name I’ve had for the past four years.” They are years that she admits have been “hell” at times. But when she came out to the guys in B2B, they were supportive and understanding, according to Hola. Jessica agrees. “The fact that I can be honest, just be me, my authentic self – and here at SLCC the fact that no one judges me – gives me the confidence to be able to do this,” she says about being involved and out while at SLCC. “So, it’s been positive to be myself. Thank goodness I haven’t had any bad experiences yet at Slick (SLCC).”


Jessica Mendez