[Idaho trip summary is still in the works, once I get off my busy/lazy butt and upload the photos.]
My writer friend Ted is spending the month of June traveling across the country, staying with kind friends along the way. Ben and I managed to convince him to make a weekend stop in Utah along his journey. It has been rainy and stormy and chilly the entire weekend, effectively presenting Ted with the image that Utah has a wet, temperate climate. Though we can certainly use the rain here, this is a false image. It’s also ruined our plans to take him on scenic tours, short hikes, and have a barbecue.
We attempted to win a hot air balloon ride on Saturday morning, getting up at 6am to do so. We watched the balloons inflate, but then were given the sad news of some “safety first” crap because of incoming storm cells and that meant the balloons would not be launched at all. This made Ted very sad. I still feel guilty, even though the weather was not my fault.
Some friends came over Saturday evening and helped us inaugurate the new cornhole boards. We were able to clear out space upstairs to play this otherwise outdoor lawn game, and it went very well. Our Utah friends seemed to enjoy this Cincinnati-based game that started to become popular while I was living there in the early part of this decade. (Can we say “early aughts” or is there some other way to say it? Early 00s or Early 2000s just don’t seem right.) Once the cornhole craze died down and winners of a mini-tournament were declared, we headed downstairs to play Rock Band. Ben succumbed to (a lot of) peer pressure and sang. He’s the Guy Who Doesn’t Sing In Front of People so this was a very big deal. I’m very proud of him. Though I know it may never happen again.
Today was another crappy weather day, and we postponed a scenic drive up to the Sundance resort until after 4pm. When there was a break in the weather, Ben, Ted, and I jumped in the car and actually saw a little sunshine heading up Provo Canyon. Now, I volunteered the past two years at the Sundance Film Festival, and have worked a few heavy-lifting shifts this summer for the Summer Labs, so I could look all cool and stuff by saying hi to one of the Sundance Institute managers.
The timing was good, and we were invited to sit down in the screening room with a crowd (under 100 people) of visiting directors, writers, producers, and Sundance staff for a private screening. It’s great to know people! The Summer Labs are for creative types (who have to go through a competitive application process) to workshop some scenes from their manuscripts.
The screening consisted of 1-6 scenes from each of about 10 screenplays, and we were warned beforehand that they were very rough cuts. Some looked more promising than others, but it was really cool to glimpse into the lives of Professional Film People. We were cautiously aware that we didn’t really belong, so we tried to be inconspicuous.
And we kept our cool when Alfre Woodard was introduced and then sat right behind us. And also when the lights came up at the end and we noticed that Alia Shawkat was sitting three empty seats over from Ben. She put on a baseball cap and slinked off pretty quickly, not giving any of us the opportunity to walk up to her and awkwardly/fannishly say hello and then maybe lick her face. It’s probably for the better.
This whole volunteering for Sundance thing is turning out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. It makes living in Utah a little brighter, even on a somewhat dreary day like today.