Hello from scenic Park City, Utah, where you know things are crazy because I am considered a V.I.P.! Well, really by proxy, because my Dad is a V.I.P., but I get a superslick nametag and access to lots of schmoozy events, which facilitate heretofore unheard of dreams such as my being in the same room as Justin Timberlake. But more on that later.
This morning I woke at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am to catch a ride to the airport. My flight to Salt Lake City was relatively uneventful, except that about five seconds before take-off, I was about to move into the unclaimed aisle seat next to me when an older gentleman enthusiastically plopped down, saying, by way of introduction, "I'd rather sit next to a pretty lady." Don't you hate it when you are forced to fake sleep for five hours? I sure do.
You may be asking yourselves, what does one do in Salt Lake City? Why, meet the mayor of course! Upon landing, Dad had a meeting with the awesomely named Rocky Anderson at a local Mexican joint, and I played fly-on-the-wall while enjoying my flautas. Rocky (as Rocky himself pointed out, you can't not call a Rocky by his first name) is somewhat of an anomaly, as he is a very progressive liberal mayor in a largely conservative state. He's pro same-sex marriage, pro legalization of marijuana, you name it. He had a kind of first term Bill Clinton look about him, hugged the hostess at the restaurant and seemed to know everyone by name. The reason Rocky was meeting with my Dad was to discuss some human rights/environmental initiatives he hopes to devote himself to after his second term ends, and while I had very little part in the discussion (except to exclaim over the fact that there is an annual convention of mayors -- for some reason this struck me as hilarious), I enjoyed it.
After our meal, Rocky took us back to the ornate, 18th century City and Council building, to meet his parrot, Cordozo, who lives in his office. We also got an awesome tour of the bell tower from Security Guard Jacobsen. Dad and I felt really bad when, after huffing and puffing up fourteen or so flights of steep, rickety stairs, our guide paused and muttered, "I should have brought my asthma inhaler." We soldiered on nonetheless, and it was worth it, because up the stairs, under some low-hanging beams, past the four clock faces and the 18th century bells, we came out onto a tiny platform about 6 feet across, from which we could see the city, the mountains, and all the sky beyond.
From there it was on to Park City. I guess with all the Sundance hoopla I was expecting to see celebs packed three abreast in the street, but Park City is basically a small, sleepy ski town. It's really cute, with lots of buildings that look like the outside of a Lincoln Logs box. Except instead of woodsmen, there are lots of agents and angry-looking PR people with BlackBerrys. Fun!
We stopped at the swanky Sundance Headquarters at the Marriot to pick up our tickets and V.I.P. IDs, and then wound our way to our "unit" at the Deer Valley Resort. The "unit" turns out to be a totally rockin', two-story apartment with a full kitchen, living room with leather couches and TV (Grey's Anatomy, I will not forsake thee!), and two big bedrooms, each with a private bath. I have to admit, I was not feelin' like a V.I.P. until I saw this pad. And yeah, maybe some V.I.P.s don't sleep in bunk beds, but some V.I.P.s can suck it because my bunk beds RULE. I have four of them and I can build forts.
Our first movie of the festival was "Black Snake Moan", a sort of dark southern gospel with Samuel L. Jackson that I was surprised to see on the schedule since I'd already seen previews in theaters back in New York. It seemed like a hot ticket, but we didn't realize until we got there that it was the premiere, which meant that director Craig Brewtser (Hustle & Flow), and the cast, which included Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake, were there. It wasn't like a big NY or LA premiere with red carpets and such, but there was still a kind of fever in the air. The movie was actually quite good, with great performances by Jackson and Ricci, and after the last credits rolled the cast got up on stage for a question and answer session. So I was pretty close to Justin Timberlake. That, to me, is a good day.
More tomorrow. And if you want an account of the festival without the sarcasm, head on over to my Dad's blog (cross-blogging at Sundance! Oh yes we are!), at http://garala.typepad.com/garalog/.