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Jan 31, 2012

THE SUNDANCE EXPERIENCE

Sure, we’ve all heard of Sundance and it’s reputation as a film festival precedes it. But if you ever wondered what it’s really like to attend this ten day festival, take a look at our Sundance Experience from attendee and PPLA correspondent Coco Quinn.

Some People Do Marathons, Some People Do Sundance

My friend Jesse said this to me halfway through Sundance 2012, capturing an amount of endurance that is needed to make it through more than a week of bounding through the snow between films, swag lounges, concerts and chateau parties on a steady diet of circulated appetizers and open bar beverages. “I do both,” Adam Shapiro who plays DJ Spaceface in I am not a Hipster told me with a laugh when I mentioned the marathon comparison as we shuttled between theaters, “and Sundance takes more out of you.”

It certainly does. This was my second time taking in the Park City, Utah film festival, but the first time I did 10 full days. Now that I’ve caught my breath after the frenzied ‘dance, I’d like to share some of what makes Sundance surreal.

At Sundance It’s Common to Have Communal Accommodations

Friday is the first official day of the festival. That morning I got set up at the three-bedroom condo I was to share with eight other Angelinos by inflating my mattress in the corner of the dining room. (The living room was host to a couch sleeper and a second air mattress.) Once my toiletries were set up along the sink downstairs and my pajamas were unpacked and ready for my late night return, I bundled up and headed down the hill for a half-mile walk to Main St.

The snow was beautiful and I pulled my phone out of my pocket to snap a quick picture of the majestic view when I had my first snowy slip, catching myself before I fell, but not before sending my phone flying. It hit the grate of a storm drain, the impact popping the back off into the snowy street and the battery four feet below, while the phone managed to land perfectly balanced on a one-inch wide bar of the grate. This was my first Sundance miracle. The second was that I had another battery back in the condo so I could keep on schedule getting into town and the third was that I had a crafty condo-mate who went all-out MacGyver and rescued and revived the battery that had gotten away.

At Sundance You Can Anticipate the Cold, But Not All the Cool

My plans for my first afternoon were thrown out when I signed in to Twitter at 12:30 p.m. as Jason Mraz tweeted he’d be livestreaming a concert from the Bing Bar on Main St. in half an hour. Even with the phone fiasco, I made it into the concert before he’d even finished his opening song. His second song was a catchy little number off of his soon to be released album “Love is a Four-Letter Word” called “You F’n Did It,” which he dedicated to a friend of his named Daniel who was in the audience.

When he got to his Grammy award-winning duet “Lucky” he sang both parts, doing Colbie Caillat’s part in falsetto, then went into a verse he sung in Spanish. “This next verse is in Japanese,” he said, taking a pause before breaking into the “ooh ooh ooh’s” of the song and cracking up the crowd. Jason was at Bing to promote a film called In Search of Incredible, sponsored by Intel and ASUS, which allowed him to travel the world from Joshua Tree to Morocco collecting many of the stories depicted on the screen.

Bing is a great home base at Sundance. It’s right in the middle of Main St. and there is literally a wall of Jack Daniels whiskey behind an open bar waiting to warm you up at almost any time of day or night. Luckily, they were also stocked with plenty of Vita Coco and Hint Water, or I might have had to cut short the marathon before crossing the finish line.

Your LA Clothes Won’t Keep You Warm, But Swag Lounges Will “Cover” You

Before Surrogate (a film about a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity) won two awards at Sundance, its star William H. Macy scored some cozy swag for himself and his wife. Felicity Huffman and I now have matching purple Paul Frank beanies. Chris Kattan grabbed a couple bright blue striped Paul Frank skull beanie’s and joked that the color was, “Perfect for when you’re on ecstasy…. and I’m on ecstasy a lot!” I can’t speak to his declaration with any authority, but I got the green skull beanie for a friend who lost his hat the first day and I couldn’t lose him in a crowd once he put it on. Other swag favorites at Kari Feinstein’s’ Style Lounge were Koolaburra boots and sandals. I tried on shoes next to Mimi Rodgers and Laura Prepon, and fell in love with a pair of six-inch, lace-up, fur-lined, open-toe boots in camel. Great for an LA winter, but not practical for the streets of Sundance.

Over at the Talent Resources Suite, Matt Bernson Black “Dakota” Boots became my favorite footwear of the festival. They were pretty enough to pair with a dress and tights and tough enough to make it through more than one puddle of melted snow. “I got the same ones in brown,” True Blood’s Carrie Preston told me when she noticed my shoes before a screening of her directorial debut film That’s What She Said. Carrie palled around the Talent Resources suite with Lizzy Caplan who stared in two films at Sundance, Bachelorette and Save the Date.

More about the movies I made it to between the parties (13 of them including That’s What She Said and Save the Date) and how there is such a thing as a free meal if you’ve got the right wristband, when my Sundance 2012 roundup continues!