Sunday, January 20, 2013

Meanwhile, at Sundance...

With the Sundance Film Festival going on in Park City, Utah, I thought you'd like a glimpse of what Park City is like. I never attended the festival. I'm not important or independent enough. This was from October, 2005 but the mountains and Jeff Katzenberg are still there.

Here’s a travelogue you thought you’d never see – me in Utah. Along with my partner David, and Peter Casey (one of the creators of FRASIER) I am writing a feature. Peter has a condo in Park City and graciously suggested it would be a great place to sequester ourselves and really get some work done. So for four days I was in the land of the Osmonds and Gary Gilmore.

A stewardess was once fired for saying over the PA to passengers “Welcome to Salt Lake City. Please turn your clocks back one hundred years”. Landed in Salt Lake, did just that, then headed up the mountains to Park City, one of America’s premiere posh ski towns. I have never been to any ski towns because I do not ski. I know for many people skiing is an absolute passion but it’s cold, requires a lot of bulky equipment, is costly, and let’s face it: no one ever broke a leg sitting in a movie theatre.

That said, the panoramas were positively breathtaking. I can just see a Park City man coming home from a hard day, stepping out onto his balcony, gazing at the magnificent vista and saying to his wives “Hey, Trixie, Jane, Gloria, you gotta get out here and see this!”

There’s no snow yet so there are no tourists. Peter’s condo is part of a gorgeous lodge. You walk down the deserted hallways, past the cavernous vacant dining room, through the expansive empty lobby and realize…

You’re living THE SHINING.

All that’s missing is the maze. But the quiet was most welcomed and allowed us to get a lot of work done on the script. Thought you’d enjoy a preview. Here’s one of many scenes we wrote.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

I think we have a good chance of selling this one.

Took a tour of nearby Deer Valley. Peter pointed out the chair lift pole that an expert skier crashed into splitting open his skull. He also showed us the spot on the road where trucks spin off if there’s a little ice on the ground. Later I learned that skiers on certain runs must carry beacons so if they’re buried in an avalanche they can be found.

Charles Gibson of GOOD MORNING AMERICA owns a huge house on one of the hills. Circular and all in glass and chrome, it looks the Cat in the Hat’s hat. Jeffrey Katzenberg also owns an impressive chalet. So I guess when he’s not in Hawaii taking my lounge chair he’s up here.

Elayne Boosler says this about Utah: “My favorite store here is maternity gowns for Mother of the Bride”.

Girls in Park City all look like pioneer women.

REDRUM. I don’t know why I just wrote that.

Deer Valley hosted the slalom portion of the 2002 Winter Olympics… although the event was held up for three hours because Jeffrey Katzenberg reserved that ski run.

David and I walked down Main Street in Park City (picture Knotts Berry Farm for rich people) and got a number of stares. I’m sure we were the first two Jews of the season. Kinda like the first robin of spring. Soon more Jews would follow and it would be ski season.


Favorite Main Store establishment: Bad Ass Coffee.

During the winter, reservations at most restaurants and emergency rooms are recommended.

Park City is the home of the Sundance Film Festival every January. So for two weeks any rustic or quaint charm is completely obliterated as Hollywood agents, deal makers, opportunists, sharks, managers, hucksters, lawyers, carnies, boot lickers, snake oil salesmen, and Katzenberg invade the area as if it were their personal Baghdad. But if you’re a skier that’s the time to come because no one is on the slopes. Which begs the question: why not hold the film festival in summer when it’s warm and there’s no skiing anyway?


During Sundance every theatre screens cutting edge independent films. The other 50 weeks they show DODGEBALL.

Not a lot of Sonny Bono records played on the local radio station here.

There are almost as many SUV’s here as in the parking lot of the Encino Gelson’s.

Events I unfortunately will be missing: “Howl-a-Ween Dog Parade” down Main Street featuring a whole pack of costumed canines. And the “Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair”. I’m upset about missing that one because who writes better poetry than Gabby Hayes and Chill Wills? Plus they’re going to have a colt starting clinic.

I can’t afford a place here but my agent has one. Hmmmmm?

Thanks again to Peter for being the perfect host.

It stays dark every morning till eight make Jack a dull boy.
The ski lifts carry nobody make Jack a dull boy.
Most restaurants are closed and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

A book of my travelogues -- WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED -- is still available. You can order it here. Perfect reading while you're waiting for the chair lift.


JayKogen said...


This Jew was there a few weeks ago and stopped by the No Name Saloon for a BBQ Buffalo burger and it was definitely the best thing I've had in my mouth since I stopped dating. I suggest you brave the crowds and go there.

Breadbaker said...

This Jew has also been there and one of my Jewish former law partners used to live there. Park City is where "people who have to work in SLC because of business but are culturally incapable of handling SLC itself" live.

What happened to the script you were working on?

Why am I up? I just finished watching the tennis. An incredible match.

Off to bed.

Tudor Queen said...

Consistently very funny! I identified with your comments on skiing - I had exactly one ski lesson, from my very patient stepmother, before stating that I had just done two hours of hard physical labor - including repeated legs on that medieval torture device, the rope tow - for one minute of 'whoosh'. It was a wonderful whoosh, but it wasn't, in the end, worth it. I'll stick to the hot chocolate and the fireplace at the ski lodge.

"Heeeeere's Johnny!"

Johnny Walker said...

Exciting! I can't wait to hear about what you guys have come up with.

chuckcd said...

You know, Ken, you are really funny. You should do this for a living ;)