Words By Zoe Zorka
Ever since moving to Utah three years ago, people have asked me three things: Do you snowboard year-round? How many wives do most people have? What’s Sundance like?
In response: No, it’s hotter than Satan’s armpit in the summer. I’d say about .75 wives- Utah chicks are hella skinny. And finally, it depends.
Sundance, which typically takes place during the last two weeks in January, is a magical time in which the outside world suspends their preconceived notions about Utah as a sober-living, cousin-loving mecca as it’s transformed into the hottest place in the nation to take selfies and pretend to be important.
While the vast majority of Sundance consists of plowing through self-absorbed, narcissistic, wannabe internet celebrities and pretending to understand the subplots of obscure indie films, each year promises to hold a few gems.
Some of the people, places, and events that are worth attending at this year’s Sundance are as follows:
Saturday, January 20th at 9:30pm at the Ray Theatre.
Idris Elba makes his directorial debut in Yardie, a dramatic film about a young Jamaican man seeking revenge for his brother’s death. The gritty film paints a grim and depressing picture of gang life and the seedy underworld of London’s streets.
Art: Banksy on Main Street
In 2010, enigmatic street artist Banksy paid Park City a visit and graced the area with seven works. Two remain visible to the public today- “Camera Man and Flower” at 402 Main Street and Praying Boy at 537 Main Street.
Film and Party: “Heat of the Beat”
Friday, January 26, 7 pm, Infiniti Event Center, Salt Lake City
If comedies with amazing soundtracks are more up your alley, check out the Heat of the Beat all ages premiere and after party, which will take place in the far less-crowded Salt Lake City. Performances featuring artists from the film will follow as well as displays of artwork from the movie. Mix and mingle with the actors and the crew from what’s sure to be your new favorite go-to buddy cop comedy.
Film: “Assassination Nation”
Sunday, January 21st at 11:59pm at the Library Center Theatre
There’s no greater horror in today’s social media-obsessed culture than having one’s secrets and scandals spilled all over the internet. But what happens when one’s online reputation becomes a matter of life or death? Based on a true story, Assassination Nation makes its debut in the “Midnight” category and promises to be “one of the wildest cinematic experiences of the year.”
Hang out: Chase Sapphire Lounge
Jan 19-26, 11 am-5 pm, 573 Main St.
One of the main festival lounges located in the heart of downtown features a myriad of panel discussions, local food and drink, artist Q & A’s, and if you’ve been draining your batteries taking too many photos, charging stations.
Documentary: MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.
Sunday, January 21st at 11:59pm at the Library Center Theatre
This long-anticipated documentary, which features a “cache of personal footage spanning decades,” will finally get its debut at the 2018 festival. The documentary promises to showcase the personal life of M.I.A. as well as feature some of her most provocative art not yet seen by the public.
Party: “Can’t Be Stopped” Party Premiere and Concert
Tuesday, January 23, 7 pm at OP Rockwell in Park City
A fusion of film, music, art, and live performances kick off the four-day premiere of “Can’t Be Stopped,” a documentary featuring the history, influence, and artwork of one of the most influential and recognizable graffiti crews to emerge out of the U.S. The movie tells the story of Hollywood’s “Can’t Be Stopped” crew as they grew in notoriety and acclaim and transcended from vandalism into a major contemporary art form, breaking the stigma and stereotypes associated with graffiti. The party, hosted by Kosha Dillz, will take place at Park City’s legendary OP Rockwell venue and will feature artists such as Street Profits (Street Jesus & Sam FM), Mr. Vandal, Brisk, and J Law, as well as surprise appearances by other industry performers.
Concert: Tribal Seeds w/ special guest The Original Wailers & The Expanders
Wednesday, January 24, 8 pm at Park City Live
The critically acclaimed popular reggae group. Commonly known for their spiritually driven, reggae-rock fusion headline a midweek concert at Park City Live, one of Park City’s most popular venues. They are joined by special guests The Original Wailers and The Expanders.
Concert: DJ Logic, Chali 2na, Kocha Dillz, and Ocelot
Friday, January 26, 8 pm at The Cabin Park City
Check out some of today’s most authentic entertainers in one of the city’s most authentic bars (it’s not really a cabin) as DJ Logic hosts the House of Vibe with live performance by Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, Kosha Dillz, and Ocelot.
Bar: No Name Saloon
447 Main Street
A leftover relic from when Park City was a wild west silver mining town, the No Name Saloon is the ultimate locals apres ski bar. Get there early and post up on the rooftop bar and feel like a king or queen as you look down on California tourists attempting to navigate the icy sidewalks in their knock off Louboutin heels. The food and drinks are also on point.
Saturday, January 20th at 11:59pm at the Library Center Theatre
In the era of sexual assault and #metoo, this thriller, the brainchild of Nicolas Pesce (who shocked Sundance two yearst ago with his black-and-white horror film “The Eyes of My Mother”) is based on Ryu Murakami’s 1994 novel about a businessman who abandons his family with the intentions of hiring a prostitute and then murdering him. However, the prostitute proves to be a tougher match than the protagonist could have imagined, resulting in a gripping plot and played out by a star-studded cast.
If you’re burned out on movies, events, and consuming copious amounts of alcohol (yes, you can drink in Utah), you can always try skiing. With its varied terrain, Park City mountain is one of the best places for both novices and experienced skiers alike. If you really want to commemorate your trip, you can always get a tattoo at The Artist Den Park City, because apparently tattoos don’t hurt as much at high altitude. Or so I hear.