A kid from a suburb of Cincinnati heads to Park City and casually rubs elbows with A-listers? This sums up the week that is Sundance.
Now that I have actually been able to digest everything that actually happened this past week, I will try to put my experience at Sundance into words.
The first day we arrived (my great friend Tommy went on this crazy adventure too), we took in the mountains of Salt Lake City, a view like no other. I can't find the words to describe the mountains... Deep? Large? Beyond Belief? Beautiful? All those words would somewhat summarize the mountains, but none of them would accurately describe the overall breathtaking-ness of the range.
I digress, the first day we arrived, we checked into our Airbnb. Now, this was the first time I have ever used an Airbnb before, so I was a little skeptical, but nonetheless it was a great space for us to stay... and the cheapest option by far. (Contrary to popular belief, we aren't movie stars) We really didn't do much the first day... We went to Wal-Mart to get some groceries, we went to Best Buy to get a phone charger, we went home. We were exhausted from travel, caught a 4am out of Dayton with a layover in Chicago that turned from a 30 minute layover to a 4 hour layover... ugh.
Day Two was the first official day of the festival, although no movies premiered until that night we still decided to go downtown to walk around town and see what the buzz was. Personally, I like to get all the souvenir knick knack shopping out of the way at the beginning of the trip, so after spending a little over $100 in the Sundance Shop and about $80 in your run-of-the-mill tourist trap shop, we tapped out and had lunch at Pizza and Noodle. Legendary. The garlic knots are literally legendary, pizza is meh, definitely not a $20 pizza, but who am I? A food critic or a hungry college guy? Pizza is pizza. We ended off the day by driving back to Salt Lake and walking around the ground of the Mormon Temple, which, believe it of not, was a very neat thing, in my opinion. I am in no way a Mormon, no way want to become a Mormon, blah blah blah. But, I do enjoy indulging in the culture of the cities I travel to, I enjoy sight-seeing, local eateries etc.
Day Three was exciting, it was busy. Really busy. Everyone was seeing movies. Lots of movies. And the city felt alive. We woke up and arrived to the box office to try to get tickets to the film Goat, which Tommy and I are both in... We already had tickets to the showing the next day but were excited to see the film. We didn't get tickets to that and ended up walking around the next day to check out the sponsored lounges, pretty much companies come in and sponsor buildings and you walk in and the give you free stuff.. a relatively easy concept to grasp.. This is the day our trip took a turn from cool to awesome.. Samsung was a major sponsor of the entire event, and they sent Tommy and I on some really cool adventures through their #EmojiAllAccess promotion... So on Day Three, which is Friday Jan 22nd, they informed us that they would like to send us on a snowmobiling adventure on Saturday Jan 23rd... I will get into the trip in the next paragraph.. After that, Acura got in contact with me and hooked me up with some cool stuff (can't disclose that contractually) but Acura was very good to us... So after that we we went back to SLC and went to see a screening of "The Fits", I am not going to become a movie critic in the summary of my trip, but it was a good film, I don't necessarily think the mainstream crowd will pick it up, but artistically it was a beautiful piece. After the film, we headed back to PC and ended up attending a Kickstarter event, then a few producers we met earlier took us out for a bite to eat. Then we went to the Goat after party and called it a night and went home.
Day Four, which is Sat Jan 23rd at this point, we started off the day with our Snowmobiling adventure, so we drove from SLC to PC (oh yeah, and we paid $25 for parking EVERYDAY we were there) then Samsung drove us from PC to this city called Midway (i think) and we signed some papers, "if you die we aren't liable blah blah blah" and then off we went up the side of a mountain... Now let me tell you this, there is something about driving an open vehicle that makes you feel so ALIVE... Hitting a straight away at 50-60mph, hitting a ramp and catching some air... It had my adrenaline pumping the entire day... So we finished that, took some pics, and headed back into town... By this point in our trip, Tommy's friend Garey had arrived, he was a pretty cool cat, a lot more outgoing than me, and has been growing his beard for 6 or 7 years... After we got back from the snowmobile adventure, we stopped by the Indie Lounge, then the Acura Lounge, then Atticus Coffee and went back to SLC to catch a showing of Goat... After the showing of Goat we went back to PC and met up with our pal Chike Okonkwo, from the INCREDIBLE film, The Birth of a Nation, and went to the IMG Lounge (?) and hung out for a little bit before went home... Oh yeah, and Samsung gave Tommy a $300 Smart Watch and informed us that we were going on a private helicopter ride the next day...
Day Five, Sun Jan 24th, we woke up, we went to the Film Cincinnati Brunch, which was epic, then we went to Samsung and they drove us to some remote location (I fell asleep on the ride out there so they could've driven us to Canada at this point, however I do recall passing a Karl Malone car dealership, Karl... ya selling cars now?) So the helicopter ride was epic, it got my adrenaline pumping and gave me a unique look of the world... I did start to get a little sick at the end of the ride (mostly because I hadn't eaten since we had been taken out for dinner two days ago) so our Samsung person went and got us Taco Bell, #GodBless, and they had it ready for us when we landed... After we landed and ate our heaven sent Taco Bell, we went back to the Samsung Lounge and they gave us more free stuff, no surprise, and invited us to the after party for this film called "Sing Street", which, was apparently very good. I didn't get to see it, so I can't say... At this point it was snowing like 3-5 inches a day, and myself being Mr. Cheap convinced Tommy that a compact car was perfectly fine for us... So here we go back to SLC in out Mitsubishi Mirage (never buy one, seriously.) and finally make it home so that we can put some nice clothes on and head back to PC for the after party... We went to the after party, it was dope, we went to Pizza and Noodle, that was dope... We went to bed, I love sleep, so that was practically my favorite part of the day...
Day Six, Mon the 25th, the final day, we end up rush packing that morning so we could leave the bnb on time... Our host was very grateful that we literally we never home because that means that all those aforementioned groceries we purchased went straight to his fridge! We went into PC in the morning, the city had really cooled down, we had stopped by the Chase Sapphire Lounge and met with this really neat company that distributes indie films, we then went to the BMI (?) speaking engagement at the Samsung Lounge and met up with this super funny guy who goes by the stage name, Jus Reign. We went to find the Banksy in Park City, then we went to the Acura NSX event, where I famously wore a $14 outfit to an event for a launch of a $315,000 vehicle... We went from that event to grab some of these incredible waffles, like these were great. Cinnamon Sugar covered waffles with this weird formula where they mixed the syrup into their dough so it wasn't sticky and could be eaten as a finger food (?) it was great. Then we went back to SLC for the final time to head to the Utah Jazz game, it was a fun game, we met Shawn Bradley and he was tall, really tall, the game came down to the final possession then Tommy and I began our rush to catch our flight.
We left the Jazz arena and literally had no idea where we were... we walked in a giant circle to find our Mirage, then we rushed to the airport and we realized, we didn't fill up our tank, and we sure as heck weren't paying Hertz (more like hurts your head to deal with their employees) to fill it up at $10 a gallon, so we drove 15 minutes back to SLC to fill up, the rushed back to the airport, waited in line to check our car back in and by the time we checked in we were rushing to the terminal... By the way, SLC's airport sucks, no outlets ANYWHERE... So we caught our flight and were then headed to CLT for a layover, then home to Dayton... The trip was over and I was glad to be back with my family.
Until next time Sundance,