By Skimum Paula
Contrary to what most people think, Salt Lake City is one big party the last week of January. Each year, tens of thousands come here from all over the world to attend the Outdoor Retailers Show, the state’s largest convention that showcases the newest and hottest fashions, gadgets and gear for the recreation industry, and they also come to a little old film fest called Sundance. Oh, yes, while the paparazzi flood Main Street in Park City, the theatres of Salt Lake, Ogden and Sundance are filled with film buffs on the ultimate celluloid (now digital) buzz.
So, what Utahns give up in wine selection, we make up for in other adrenaline-filled endeavors – skiing and Sundance, for example. Not only can locals take a few ski runs and then head to work, but we can get tickets for movies everyone will be talking about throughout the year and into next year’s Oscar season. Whiplash? [sigh] Saw it at last year’s Fest. See what I posted on my Instagram account about it. Maybe I should be a Hollywood mogul! LOL Yes, Sundance is a highly addictive pleasure that many partake in but few recognize the dangers of.
There are many locals, including Skimums that indulge in Sundance in one form or another. Some are “Social Sundancers,” taking in a few movies and calling it quits. Others are “Sundance Stalkers.” You’ve seen them on the streets, iPhones in hand. These otherwise normal-looking people can have a wonderful time seeing movies alongside their favorite actors, directors and A-listers until they inevitably get sucked into and crushed by the “Fake Bono” experience. These folks usually recover, have a bellyaching laugh and move on with few after effects.
Many of us, however, have noticed this year a new phenomenon – the Sundance Hangover. It afflicts mostly local women who, not being on vacation, try to fit in a dozen or more movies into their already-packed schedule of work, school, and family… Oh, and there was some new snow! So, add skiing to that.
Yes, I too succumbed. After skiing all day last Sunday, this Skimum raced down the mountain, picked up my teen from the tutor, dashed home, showered, fed the dog, threw take out at the kids, jumped into the car and headed to two different Salt Lake theatres to see a 6 o’clock movie and a 9:30pm documentary. I should mention that I had already consumed 4 movies since Friday night.
This did not end well …
The next morning, I did the slow roll out of bed and, eyes closed, made a desperate search for Advil and coffee. Two pills and two cups later, I managed to make the kids breakfast, make one of 2 sack lunches (oops!), get my 10-year-old dressed and to school in time for pajama day. Needing more sleep, I abandoned the laundry and snuck back into bed. [iPhone rings] “Mom, it isn’t pajama day. [sniffle]” Oh, $#1^! [iPhone rings again] Son needs backpack and money and papers signed. Other child never calls about forgotten lunch.
Needless to say, things hit bottom before 10am. I think there was even an intervention by a family member at one point. More tears, more expletives. I put aside my movie plans for that evening.
I have recovered, as have the other Skimums that tried and failed to “do it all.” Because, you see, what I’ve learned over the years is – While you can have it all, there’s a lot of it I don’t want or need to make me happy, fulfilled, satisfied. I know what I like and what others seem to like about me, and I try to stay within those parameters instead of trying to do everything and getting very little satisfaction or benefit. No, I’m not going to abstain from Sundance entirely. I’m just getting pickier each year about what and how many I see. I try to see the ones I think won’t make it to the big screen, like Whiplash, and wait for the rest to hit HBO or Netflix. I don’t need to be the first to see it. After all, there is so much more to see in beautiful Salt Lake City and beyond.