COLUMN: Block Heads to Logan

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to CacheValleyDaily.com. Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at hacaines@gmail.com. His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

On October 6th and 7th, The Block film & art festival will take over downtown Logan. And, Your Humble Columnist will host a Quizzo during The Block as a featured attraction.

I’m an artist!

My Quizzo will be held at The Factory Pizzeria (119 South Main Street) on Friday, the 6th at 10 PM. This might be a good place to explain what Quizzo entails.

Quizzo is a structured trivia game that I played many moons ago at the New Deck Tavern near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania back in my hometown of Philadelphia. I brought the game to Cache Valley a decade ago. I have asked to come out of retirement to offer the game at The Block.

If you want to experience “full frontal Harry”, bring a team of one to six players, answer four rounds of 10 questions on general knowledge trivia and stand in awe as I—aka, The Round Mound of Profound—has a nervous breakdown in front of a room full of people. I believe very attractive prizes will be offered for the best scores. As of this writing that has not been confirmed.

I am just a small part of The Block. The two day event has so many features worthy of your time and consideration that it will be hard to describe them all in a single column. But, darnit, I am going to try.

I recently spoke with The Block’s co-producers, Mary Urban Clarke and Mason Wendell. The fatigue that comes with constructing a weekend-long festival that features over 60 films and 50 musical acts, as well as multiple events outside of those two realms, was abundantly obvious. They looked tired. I asked them what was the mission of this amazing event.

“We are an independent festival run by independent artists to empower independent minds”, Wendell told me. And this is not a for-profit venture for the producers. “Nobody gets paid,” Urban Clarke said. To which Wendell added, “We want to get paid.”

This is what is so amazing about this festival. No profit is made. No awards are given out. This is a labor of love to help bring artists together in downtown Logan for two days of informative entertainment.

The main film attraction for The Block will be on Friday when the documentary “Dying In Vein” will be shown at The Lyric Theater (28 West Center Street) at 7 PM.

This film, which is a joint venture of The Block and Utah Public Radio, tackles the subject of the opioid crisis in Utah. Preceding this important documentary will be a panel discussion at the Starrsteppers Dance Studio (70 West Center Street) at 5 PM. Many in Utah have personal stories about opioid addiction; this event should speak to their concerns and their suffering with this difficult issue.

Panel discussions are a part of the “Learn” program that is a major feature of The Block. Featured among the many panel discussions will be a panel discussion including Michael Ballam. Entitled “The Importance of Community Events and the Arts”, it will examine how the arts are a major function for areas the size of Cache Valley. Like most “Learn” discussions, this will also take place at The Starrsteppers studio on Saturday at 1 PM.

I attended many of the panel discussions last year. They were highly engrossing. As was the music. And this year’s music lineup should be just as amazing. A majority of the music acts will be performing on the Block Stage, located in the parking lot area behind the buildings located on 100 West and Center Street, adjacent to The White Owl.

Cache Valley’s a great location for live music. My Instagram page can attest to that. There will be visiting musical acts, such as Salt Lake City’s Sarah Anne Degrow and the Oddjobs (Saturday at 8:30 PM) that will venture here to entertain us. Treebeard will jazz things up as the act leading into my Quizzo at 9 PM at The Factory.

Did I mention my Quizzo?

For me, the highlight of The Block—other than my Quizzo—will take place all day on Saturday.

One word: Robots.

Officially named “Robotics@TheBlock”, robots will partake in task-oriented competitions all day leading to a finals tournament at 4:30 PM. In the Finals, the robots will hunt humans…the ultimate prey.

I made that up. I do not know if the robots will hunt down the audience. But they’d be stupid to tell us if they will…so just show up and take your chances.

This event is important as a means to get kids to see the fun science can be as an area of study. “Less and less kids are into science,” Urban Clarke lamented. By seeing this competition, kids can see the joys that come with building robots. “These opportunities are there for them,” Urban Clarke explained.

I encourage my dozens of readers to check out ticket prices and the list of events at <a href=”http://www.loganfilmfest.com/” target=”_blank”>http://www.loganfilmfest.com</a>. Tickets for all students–high school or college—are only $5. General admission tickets for non-students are as high as $45, but can be bought for only $20 if purchased at Caffe Ibis, the Island Market, The Waffle Iron or Morty’s. All are great locally-owned businesses whose support for The Block should be rewarded with your patronage.

My Quizzo is free to the public. Just sayin’.

I often use this space to bemoan the lack of great activities in downtown Logan on the weekends. Quite a few of you have agreed with me on this subject. It is a pleasure to promote The Block as the remedy to this problem. Movies, music, informative talks, alternative artists, Quizzo and robots will be in Logan on October 6th and 7th. Downtown businesses—especially eateries—will make money. A buzz will be in the downtown air. Events like this will only succeed and continue if you show up and enjoy yourself.

See you there!

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