Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sundance Kid

Turns out Colin was right, I could have packed the clothes I needed for the Sundance trip in a carry-on. Paul Reiser, Julia and I were the only people in our party who brought their biggest cases. But they were performing. I missed the email that said there would not be time to go snowboarding, so I needn’t have bought new (and expensive) ski pants and coat.

At least my case wasn’t overweight by two pounds like Paul’s and I was able to take the manuscript for his latest book, Familyhood, thus saving him $95 in excess baggage.

It pained me to have to pay $25 each way to check in a suitcase filled with outfit changes and six pairs of gloves in different shades that I didn’t use. Lesson learned.

I didn’t care that Paul could only get Julia into the first class airport lounge with him. Lori (Julia’s manager), Joan and I were happy in the Malibu bar drinking champagne and Bloody Marys with a surfboard as a table.

The gigs at the ASCAP Music Café on Main Street were a triumph. I loved being in the green room with the young rock bands who were also on the bill, so full of enthusiasm and excited about being on the road. Our favorites were The Manchester Orchestra, who became firm pals.

Paul was ready for a celebratory whisky after the last gig, but the young rockers had drunk the two liters ASCAP provided. Well, it was four o’clock in the afternoon. I went and found Paul some single malt and therefore proved myself invaluable on tour.

Julia and I were in an apartment with a fan that blew cold air - the Reisers, meanwhile, were slumming it in the Waldorf Astoria.

Thanks to Paul’s great celebrity, we were invited to many places and events where companies line up to give away their wares. I brought home hoodies with earphones sewn in, the headphones of Colin’s dreams, Ralph Lauren aftershave, a camera, drinking bottles, Moleskine notebooks, jewelry, a bracelet to be worn at all times to make me “balanced,” sweatshirts, ski hats and a pair of Shape-Ups. The vodka in my rucksack was confiscated at the airport, but my big case was able to hold the rest of my bounty.

We were determined to see at least one movie, and let Paul and Paula choose. It’s not as easy as you might think to see a movie at the Sundance Film Festival. The good ones are sold out well in advance and you need to get to the main office, a bus ride away, to collect your tickets. It’s incredibly well organized, though, with free and abundant buses and shuttles. Each shuttle stop has a volunteer on hand to point you in the right direction.

With great ceremony, Lori handed out our tickets, collected earlier by a nice lady from ASCAP. We had to be at the Egyptian Theatre at 9 p.m. sharp. We went for a farewell dinner before the movie, and it was there that Paul and Paula flaked, saying they were too tired. I had three words for them. Rock. And. Roll. But there was no budging them.

The rest of us raced to the cinema and were the last ones to take our seats in the packed theatre. I was sat behind the tallest couple in the world. The film was Cuban with sub-titles I had to crane my neck to see. It was a cheery tale set in 1993, where the impoverished, homeless, young protagonists deliberately get infected with AIDS so they can get a permanent bed in a hospital with regular food. There was some incest thrown in for good measure. The soundtrack was heavy metal. Death and misery and lots of suffering. Kind of the Buena Vista Anti-Social Club. It was called Ticket To Paradise and will probably win best foreign film.

The next morning at the airport, I gave Paul a hard time for a) choosing such a bleak film and b) not even sitting through it with us.

There’s talk of gigs in New York, San Francisco and possibly the UK in the late spring. I’ll be traveling light. And choosing the movie.

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