The CATALYST 100
by Alice Toler, Greta deJong and Jane Laird
n the 30 years that have passed since CATALYST began, the valley has changed profoundly. Salt Lake City has opened coffee shops, brew pubs, and gourmet restaurants. It has welcomed immigrants and refugees from all over the world, produced writers and artists of international renown, and begun to wrestle with the fundamental issues of environmental conservation and public health. We are the melting pot of the Great Basin, a place where practicality, spirituality and creativity all meet and mingle to create a unique essence. Out-of-towners, expecting a monoculture, are constantly surprised by the vibrancy they find here. Congratulations, then, to our 100 catalysts. You have made our city, our state, and the wider world a better, kinder, more fun and more gracious place to live. We honor you, and the many we couldn't fit on this list who have helped you. Here's to another 30 years—and more!—of evolution.
Caru Das Adhikary
When you think about Utah and religion, you think about…the Krishnas? It’s true, though. Spanish Fork's Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple hosts the biggest Holi festival celebration in the Western hemisphere every year in the spring, and throughout the year free yoga and meditation classes are available. Regular Hindu services are held year round and at a sister temple in Salt Lake City. The president and founder of both the Utah Krishna temples, Caru Das has been responsible for expanding the cultural diversity in this state and making it, quite literally, a much more colorful place to live.
Anderson is a poet in her own right. But over the past 40 years she has also made her legacy as a catalyst for other writers. She began organizing poetry readings and workshops in 1965 while still in high school. In the '70s she began a reading series called Word Affair, which morphed into City Art, and guided that organization for two decades. It continues to this day, with monthly readings at the Main Library.
This quiet and unassuming guy is the founder and CEO of Utah’s first independent and oldest Internet service provider, XMission, and also happens to be one of its first rave promoters. Back in 1992 Ashdown and two friends threw the state’s first rave at a recently closed club space downtown, spending the night in the DJ booth fending off requests for the Smiths and Depeche Mode in order to introduce electronic dance music to
Rocky Anderson Salt Lake has had liberal mayors for the past several decades, but even so, electing Rocky was a stretch. Always outspoken, Rocky held true to his colors throughout his tenure, leading the national campaign to impeach George W. Bush, and taking a strong environmental stance for his patch of turf. He put Salt Lake City on the map for sustainable practices, and brought the rest of the nation to notice that not all of Utah is lock-stepped Mormon and Republican.
Cosmic Aeroplane/Steve Jones, founder
he Cosmic Aeroplane Bookstore, 1967-1991, connected Salt Lake to the San Francisco youth scene and all things progressive, from poetry and eastern philosophies to modern music, metaphysics, psychedelics and underground comix. A killer bulletin board, many talented employees and sponsored events helped make the Aeroplane the place for seekers heading off the beaten track. It provided space for band practice, theatre groups and draft resistance counseling. Sometimes an initiator of cultural change, always emblematic of changes taking place in the '60s and '70s, the Cosmic became a central establishment during the '80s and spawned a whole new breed of businessperson, including Tony Martinez/Blue Boutique; Smokey Koelsch/ Smokey's Records; Camille Chart/Chameleon; Brad Collins/Raunch Records; Jon Bray/Cinema in Your Face and Dr. Volts Comics; Ken Sanders/Dream Garden Press and Ken Sanders Books; Robert Firmage/Fifth World Books; and others. Its final (and most famous) digs, mid-'70s-on, were on First South between 2nd and 3rd East—above the Blue Mouse, a small basement movie house which is an ancestor of the Salt Lake Film Society; and below the original office of KRCL-FM90.9.
the local populace. Ashdown also challenged well-entrenched state senator Orrin Hatch in 2006, running a tight campaign on very little cash, and championing copyright reform and sensible policies regarding technology. He is also a philanthropist, supporting many local nonprofits by providing internet service.
Pat Bagley The Salt Lake Tribune’s worldclass political cartoonist has been lampooning those in charge since 1977, when Time Magazine picked up Bagley’s first published cartoon, which he had submitted to the BYU student newspaper only weeks before. He is presently syndicated in over 450 American newspapers and is regularly honored by various editorial cartoon indexes. He is the author of several books of satire, and also several children’s books.
D’ana Baptiste Baptiste, yoga teacher, trainer and founder/owner of the 10year-old Centered City Yoga as well as the nonprofit yoga outreach Yogis in Service, holds the distinction of receiving the most nominations for the CATALYST 100. Her thriving practice on 9th & 9th has a hip vibe that attracts students who not only love her but believe her work changes lives.