The Sundance Film Festival Diaries / Part 1
DAY ONE: January 23, 2012
Gather the troops. Lance Mountain and Stevie Caballero fly in together from Los Angeles, grab Mort and a shuttle and boot it up to Park City, Utah, the ski town hub of the Sundance Film Festival. The two legends' footwear reflects a native California background: a fresh pair of Nikes and a vintage pair of collab Half Cabs. Sneaker pimps draw a tear with every step in the airport slush. By the time they exit the shuttle to the rented cabin, a few blocks from the Main street ski lift, the white stuff is packed calf high. The West Coast boys walk gingerly. Michael Furukawa from Skate One and Dan from Juice magazine had driven in the day before from Santa Barbara and readied the crash pad. After 15 minutes in the cabin, furnace blasting, gazing out at snow stacked a foot high on the porch, Lance declares he's already suffering from cabin fever.
Rodney and Traci Mullen, Stacy Peralta and Steph, editor Josh Altman and his wife and Tommy Guerrero had set up house the day before in another rented cabin one block down the hill. Mike McGill and wife are holing up in a nearby hotel. Tony Hawk couldn't wiggle free of Australian skate/musical festival commitment so he's MIA in OZ with Soundgarden and Kayne West.
The crew gathers at Stacy's. Some things never change and Tommy's already cracking sarcastic and talking about walking on the snow with a pair on tennis racquets tied to his feet. TG's the smooth cat among his peers who drape mostly skater-issued clothing over themselves. He's sporting a jacket purchased on a music tour in Japan that draws admiring glances all week.
TG leads the charge into town.
Everyone strolls into town, a three-block walk from Stacy's cabin. The roads are steep calf-burners and randomly patched with black ice. People start sliding and bets are thrown on who'll go down first. TG, aka "City Mouse," is the favorite, but his balance is too good and he's more used to bombing hills than anyone else in the group. Everyone descends unscathed and cruise Park City's half-mile Main street drag.
Premiere time. Everyone overstuffs the van, scrunching in, sitting on laps, fogging windows. Furukawa is at the wheel, Stacy shotgun. Automatically, Furukawa is the designated "adult" of the trip. Promo gear (shirts, pins, hats) is stacked like Lego in the back. Tommy starts cracking about Lance peeing into Gatorade bottles. It's like getting back into the DeLorean and zapping back to a 1985 Summer Tour.
The premiere is delayed so the Brigade loiters around the green room. Sean Penn drops by for a brief talk with Stacy. Most everybody fans out and the more brave Brigade members try to remain cool while discreetly snapping photos. Glen Friedman joins the group for tonight only. Stacy is jangling from nerves, sitting on a cheap plastic chair drumming his fingers on the leg. The Brigade walk the red carpet, answer questions, get flash blasted by a few photographers before heading into the second largest screening theater at Sundance. In Sundance terms, being booked on a screen that giant translates into buku backing. (One of the festival heavyweights specifically asked to meet Rodney after viewing the screening DVD.)
"Trust me, you won’t look at Animal Chin the same way after watching BONES BRIGADE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY."
Standing O once the credits roll. Tommy seems stunned. He's the only Brigade member who hadn't previously seen the film. Stacy and the boys take the stage and answer audience questions before fans flood down and mob around the skaters for autographs and personal contact.
Bail back to Stacy's cabin, hang around the family room with a fire crackling. Everybody is buzzed from the overwhelming positive reaction and being together. Rodney even passes on skating an underground parking garage that he and Stacy cased the night before. "I think I'll just relax," he says. Relax and Rodney may be alliterations but they aren't often paired together.
Tommy DJs with his iPod and introduces people to Rodriguez, a psychedelic-tinged folk singer from the early 1970s with a totally unique sound.
Stevie talking about Lance chasing Gonz across a street course.
Tour stories, behind the industry curtain stories, kicked-by-girl stories, lizard impersonators eating pizza stories are woven together by the skaters in the room. Tommy is the first to surrender and heads to his sofa, pulling a blanket over his head. Tony is texting from Australia, reading reviews and sending links. Says he's "in a sea of drunk Aussies." It's after 2AM when people head to bed.
More report and pictures for Day Two will be posted on Monday.