renewal peasant


As with my last long trip, I will break this up into segments so as to give myself time to compose, as well as to assuage the eyes of my readers.

Faye and I arrived in Salt Lake City around 12:30 and were promptly picked up by Dom and Sarah. On our way to Park City, we stopped at a strip mall to eat lunch at the “Training Table” and buy some new pants for Sarah. The Training Table was an interesting concept wherein people find a seat, decide what they want to order and then pick up the phone that’s behind their table and call in the order to the front. When your order is ready, they call you on your phone and you go up front to pick it up.
As we ate our burgers, Dom noticed a drip coming from the ceiling and landing onto his tray, dangerously close to his food. The drip was a suspicious brown liquid leaking from a creepy swell in the ceiling above our heads. We decided to finish eating as fast as possible, and get out of there, lest a rotting corpse crash through the ceiling at any given moment.
Our next stop was the Nordstrom Rack, so that Sarah could replace the jeans she’d trashed in a drunken outing the night before. The place was packed with scary ladies and skankilly clad teenage girls. Welcome to Utah!

We pulled into our condo in late afternoon and got settled in. Ben was waiting for us. I very briefly met one of the other girls who were staying with us (friends of Sarah’s from Colorado). The other girl, I never met, for reasons that would become clear eventually.
Next, we hit the grocery store for essentials like tea and bread for toast and felt pictures to color with markers.

After a brief rest, we headed to Main Street to check out the heart of Park City. Immediately, we had a celebrity citing in the form of Nick Nolte. He was just as liquored up as when then the others saw him a few days earlier. How do I know this? Well, he was hanging his head out the window of an SUV like a puppy, gawking at the passersby. I can only hope, for his sake, that he was as tanked as he looked.
We didn’t stay out too late, as we were travel-weary and we couldn’t really get in anywhere anyway. We didn’t have the energy to stand in line and pay covers. We figured there would be plenty of time for that later.

We were supposed to see a shorts program at 8:30am, one of which was written and directed by Bob Odenkirk. We had tickets and everything. The trouble was that the box office was in one direction, and didn’t open until 8am, and the theatre was in another direction. There was no way we could make it. Instead, we ate breakfast and moseyed at a country pace over to the box office to pick up the rest of our tickets. Given my lack of understanding for Utah geography (one theater was apparently a good 3 hour drive away), as well as scheduling conflicts, we had to exchange most of our limited pre-purchased tickets for vouchers. This is the first of many lessons learned about the whole festival process, should we ever decide/have reason to come back. 1) DO EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH ON MOVIE TIMES, LOCATIONS AND PARTY SCHEDULES BEFORE LOGGING ON TO PREPURCHASE YOUR TICKETS DURING YOUR LOTTERY TIME. They don’t let you come back, or exchange for other shows, and by the time you get to Park City, everything will be sold out. You can wait in waitlist lines in case people don’t show up, of course, but who wants to do that for every show? Apparently, us.
We decided to get some lunch at a Thai restaurant. We were seated right away and the food was delicious. Sarah called us from having breakfast with her Colorado buddies. In the time it took us to head to Main Street, get tickets, find a place for lunch, sit down and get served, Sarah had been waiting to be seated and eat at another location. She joined us just as we were finishing up our delicious meal.

After we finished eating, we wandered the streets looking for free crap. There is much free crap to be had in Park City. Unfortunately, most of the GOOD stuff is allocated to people with “credentials” (i.e. filmmakers with films in the festival and actors who are recognizable). We discussed choosing celebrities we could pass for. Dom, it turns out, bares a striking resemblance to the current incarnation of Paul Giamatti. We know this because there is a picture of Mr. G in a Sundance publication and the similarities are uncanny. (side-by-side comparison forthcoming). Faye and I were really screwed, however. The closest celeb Faye could pass for is a young Jane Curtain and I a fat Thora Birch. We couldn’t think of anybody for Ben. Jacob looks just like Tom from Queer Eye, but he hadn’t arrived yet, and we were pretty sure that if we didn’t know his last name, we couldn’t pull it off anyway.

Instead we settled for the plebian freebies which included lots of magazines, mints, chap stick, vitamin supplements, sunscreen, mints, crappy DVD’s mints, coasters and mints. Everybody had a damned mint with their logo on it. Nobody in Park City had a reason for foul breath.

We also checked our email briefly at one of the free email stations. Dom came over and told me that he’d just seen Fairuza Balk upstairs. Of course, I ran upstairs to see if she was still there. I heart Fairuza. She WAS still upstairs, wandering around looking confused.

Sarah took her leave of us and then we began the exhausting task of trying to find somewhere to watch “the game”. I generally not in the least bit interested in football, but Faye and Ben wanted to watch and I wanted to drink with them. Dom came along because he is cool like that. As we wandered, we ran into someone that Ben new from a movie he was in. We chatted briefly, and continued our search, eventually finding a table in a basement bar called “Bandits”. Just then, Mark called me and I talked to him as best I could with loud sports fans shouting around me. A Denver game was just finishing up. We ordered some beer and Dom tried to order a snack, but they were apparently out of everything he wanted.

Then, the guy Ben knew walked in with his wife. The young Seattle couple, Holly and John, were also looking for a place to watch the game, so we invited them to sit with us. Everyone enjoyed the first half of the game, and then the bar owner informed us that we had to leave at half time due to a private party coming in. John went to scout another location, and came back minutes later to tell us that there was actually a small faction of Seahawks fans in the bar next door. Not only that, but there was PLENTY of room for all of us. We drank up and went next door. Indeed there was a faction, lead by a very drunk man in an Ichiro jersey (even I, a non-sports fan, can appreciate the humor in that). He was extremely excited that the amount of Seattleites in the bar had just doubled. As a show of his gratitude, he bought us all a round of “Seahawks”, a blue drink he’d just invented which looked like barbicide and tasted like cough syrup. Still, a free drink is a free drink. We muddled through them. The waitress informed us that we had to order food if we were ordering drinks. John asked her if this was one of those weird Mormon rules, and she said that it was.

To my surprise, they had a “full strength” beer menu alongside their 3.2% menu. I immediately began ordering Stelllas to make up for the urine-colored water I had been drinking previously. The rest of the game went by swimmingly, as the Seahawks kicked ass. And I found myself enjoying the camaraderie and city spirit. I’m still not a football fan, but I love Seattle, and I’m glad that such things can make my city happy.

After the game, we met up with Sarah and went to the No Name Bar. When we got to the door, the bouncer informed us that it was “one in one out” and to wait in line outside. Just then, a group of locals entered the bar. He told them the same thing. One lady loudly proclaimed “but I live here and I know ______”. He let them in. We waited patiently outside. More people saw us in line, went in anyway, and were ushered outside. Eventually, about 10 people had left, and he said we could come in. In Utah, bars are allowed to have full-strength beer if they are “private”. That means that they can charge you for a “membership” which is good for 3 weeks, and, with that membership, you can bring in up to 8 guests. Sarah bought a membership, and I guess, there was a cover as well, because Faye forked over $20 for us and we were let in. The place was standing room only, the music was loud and it was full of fratty types. It was the kind of place where, in Seattle, I would have turned right around and walked out. But we were on an adventure and we’d paid, so we stayed. Eventually, we wormed our way onto a table. Dom and Ben left and it was just us three girls. We shared the table with a gay couple for a while. They were waiting to get a “call” so that they could get into the private party at the Queer Lounge, where apparently, the year before, they’d witnessed Alan Cumming dry humping someone in a corner all night. After they got their call, the three of us had seats, and the straight men in the bar swooped in like vultures. It was alright for a while. They were gentlemanly enough and they paid for our beer. Lots and lots of beer. Faye played shuffle board with one of them. Eventually, though, new guys showed up and started getting a little pushier. I had to pull the “that’s my girlfriend” move on Sarah and we realized it was time to go. We had been drinking (albeit lots of weak beer) for 8 hours, so there was little argument on the matter. As we were gathering our stuff, I heard a guy behind me chatting up two girls. “I’m the executive producer of this movie”, he told them. I turned to see who he was. Just as I turned, I saw him point directly at me and say “and she’s the star of the movie. That guy over there, he’s in it too. So is she.” “Aha,” I though. He’s pulling the old “I’ll make you famous” scam on them. But outside the bar, Sarah gave me a postcard she’d gotten from the director of the very movie the guy was talking about. And lo and behold he WAS an executive producer. Why he told them I was in his movie is beyond me. Perhaps he was so drunk that he thought I was someone else?
We got back to the condo, I drank uncomfortable amounts of water, we carb loaded, and then went to bed.

Poor Faye awoke with a terrible illness. Not a hangover, mind you, but some sort of horrific, vomitous, feverish flu. She wasn’t going anywhere for a while. Sarah and Dom went to try and catch “Giant Buddha’s”. I gave Jacob a call because I realized that we had NO IDEA when he was getting in. Jacob called me back and said that he was at the SLC airport and would be at the condo in an hour.
He arrived in time for me, Jacob and Ben to catch the Q and A for “Science of Sleep”. Well, we WOULD have, had there been a Q and A. But apparently, Michel hadn’t shown up for the screening. Instead, we walked back to the condo in the snow. It was a pleasant and short walk. I picked up some fries and milk shakes for us and Faye at BK and we ate them while watching Patton Oswalt’s Comedy Central special. Laughter and grease did not help Faye feel any better, unfortunately. She was not well enough to go with us to wait in line for “Art School Confidential”.

Ben, Jacob and I agreed to wait in line for Dom and Sarah, who had just spent the morning in a line and didn’t want to do it again.

We passed the time with free magazines and Battleship on my cell phone. The 3 hours went by quickly. We managed to squeeze in to the theater and Dom and Sarah arrived JUST in time to squeeze in with us.

I really liked “Art School Confidential”. It was written by Daniel Clowes and directed by Terry Zigoff, the same team that made “Ghost World”. To me, it felt exactly like a Daniel Clowes graphic novel, with off-beat (and sharp-featured) characters, bizarre jokes and an ambiguous ending. Sure, it had some problems, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. After the movie, was, perhaps, the WORST Q and A I have ever witnessed. Questions like “you were really funny in this movie! You’re really funny! Are you going to be in anything else?” and “I would like to preface my ‘question’ with a very long, pretentious ‘insight’ into your film and then ask you something asinine that I think makes me sound intelligent and impressive.” Luckily, Clowes fielded most of the questions and he refused to pander to such inanity.

After the movie, I bolted to the bathroom. Ben, I guess, had lingered behind. I met Dom, Sarah and Jacob in the lobby. Dom was on the phone to Ben, who was telling Dom that CRISPIN GLOVER was still inside the theatre. There was a bit of confusion (by Dom) and panic (by me), as we tried to figure out what was going on and if Ben was once again going to get to meet one of my favorite people without me. Ben knew his testicles were on the line, so he snuck me back into the theater. At first, I had trouble FINDING Crispy. I was looking for an 8-foot tall pale man with black greased back hair. Instead, Ben pointed me toward a perhaps 6 foot tall tan man with light brown hair. Crispy was Hollywood. But he was still smartly dressed in a blue pinstripe suit and escorting a TINY blonde woman. I nervously approached him, told him I was very excited to meet him, that the Beaver Trilogy is one of my favorite movies, and could I trouble him for a photo. He was very cordial, agreed to the photo and asked where we were from. I told him Seattle, at which point, he plugged his “What Is It?” tour and told us to check the website for a future date in Seattle. And then he went on his merry way, and I was left in the afterglow. I wasn’t nearly as smooth as I’d imagined I’d be and I couldn’t remember any of the questions I’d always wanted to ask him, but he was clearly trying to get somewhere else and was nice enough to stop for as long as he did. And now I’m met Crispy. New MySpace photo forthcoming. Thank you, Ben, for sharing your “Jessica’s Idol” magnetism with me. I forgive you for the Joss Whedon incident.

Then we headed back to the condo. We stayed there briefly, and then Dom, Sarah, Jacob and I headed to a cast and crew party for “Crossing Arizona”. Sarah and Dom had met one of the producers in line at a previous movie. In their conversation, she discovered that the producing team was also behind the “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” documentary. Since pretty much all of us are huge Hedwig fans, the producer said we should come to their party. It was held at a Mexican restaurant in a strip mall. The drinks were free (and mixed by the crew themselves), as was the chips and salsa bar. Yum! We chatted with a bunch of people and promised to try and see their movie later in the week.
We decided to walk back to the condo, which I really enjoyed. The magic of being in a wintery wonderland still hadn’t worn off for me. Everyone else, I think, was just cold.

To be continued…


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