Chase Sapphire on Main Street

Sundance Film Festival 2020

After my long day shifts at Sundance, I had some days off (and nights on) when I could explore Park City’s Main Street where lots of the festival festivities are held. Without a doubt Chase Sapphire’s space with it’s sophisticated hygge vibe is my favorite. It’s got locked cubbies where you can charge your phone or tablet, panels with filmmakers in the basement. Midday there’s free tea, hot chocolate and appetizers. At 3:00pm there’s a whiskey tasting. It’s a great place to recharge or chat with fellow festival goers.

I got to see two film panels when filmmakers discuss their work. On Monday I heard the cast of Downhill starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and Will Farrell and Tuesday I heard the cast of Charm City Kings, a flick set in Baltimore that focuses on a teen who’s an expert in dirt bike racing.

I also loved the food and drinks offered each day and the opportunity to chat with other festival goers.

Miss Americana

Steven Crowder offers a thorough review of Taylor Swift’s film Miss Americana. I saw this twice at the festival as it was shown twice where I was volunteering.

I just don’t follow Taylor Swift’s music as I’m of the era of The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, etc. I feel she sings for a younger fan. I did learn something about her life and saw how she presents a dazzling image on stage. Again, a highly produced, dazzling show doesn’t wow me. I’m content to see musicians in street clothes performing live to an audience that’s less than 100.

The documentary presents Taylor without much input from anyone else. I wish there were interviews with the music teachers or voice coaches and people who knew her when. Instead we see this young singer talking and talking to the camera giving her views on her life. During the post-film Q and A, where no audience questions were allowed, Taylor Swift said that she wanted to make a film that wasn’t propaganda. That comment verified my thought that this was a propaganda film. All the ideas came from the subject or were approved by her. She may be a wonderful person, but I’d like others to speak up and say so.

The documentary includes some early footage from her childhood and teens, but I was left wondering exactly who chose to make her records. Who gave her a break? No one succeeds without help and that’s not a bad thing necessarily. However, the film makes it seem that Taylor Swift’s success is solely due to her efforts. While she probably does work extremely hard, she has to have help from others. Also, it’s just more interesting to show different memories, different stories, and different perspectives.

Steven Crowder makes some excellent points about how Taylor probably has glossed on to some ideology without analyzing information, without comparing what her team tells her with other information sources. I agree that she has made some big mistakes in her thinking. Her 4th wave feminism hurts women and creates a straw man to vilify.

In short, this is a film for avid Taylor Swift fans, though they probably already know all this. I feel the film was a waste of my time.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I’m recovering from volunteering and attending the busy Sundance Film Festival. I was assigned to usher at the Eccles Theater, which is the largest venue. I got to see the Premiere where Robert Redford spoke and producers and featured cast members of the film Crip Camp spoke. I saw many films and exciting panels about new movies like Downhill starring Julia Louis Dreyfess and Will Ferrell.

My favorite films were Minari and The Truffle Hunters, which were more inspiring and heart-warming than a lot of the fare on offer here. I saw Minari 2 times all the way through and the ending two more times all because sometimes a shift starts at the end of a film.

I’ll post reviews soon.

I have enjoyed Park City with its charming Main Street, the snowy mountains. People seem nice and helpful. Their free busses make it easy to get around.

Today I’ve toured the public library and am impressed with all they offer. You can check out a telescope, ukuleles, a podcast recording kit, sleds, snowshoes, projectors, a Go Pro, photo light kits, a Cricut machine, a horseshoe set, a fog machine, a guitar, a bocce ball set, a DVD drive, and more. It’s an example of the Library of Things movement, where libraries share items that people want to use occasionally and don’t want to own.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I have to be on my way to the airport to catch a 6am flight to Salt Lake City as I’m going to volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival for the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been working a lot and really enjoyed recruiting at the libraries and at the League of Women Voters where I met some very active, smart women. We had a talk by our local state Senator Laura Fine about the juvenile prison system in Germany. 

Perhaps even bigger news is that the Executive Director at the library where I worked is no longer there. It’s quite vague, but here’s a news article.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. Such gravitas.

German Criminal Justice

Today I attended my first League of Women’s Voters meeting and the two speakers presented information on how Germany handles juvenile offenders. Dignity is the hallmark of the German system. The speakers said that in Germany:

  • People under 14 can’t be put in jail.
  • People up to age 21 are assigned to the Juvenile Justice system.
  • While on the outside the structures looked like prisons, inside they looked like community college campuses.
  • When in prison, from the start, the goal is to prepare the inmates for successful life outside.
  • Inmates either work on vocational training or a high school diploma.
  • Everyone gets their own room and a key to it. They can open their cell doors to enter, but a guard must let them out.
  • People in prison can decorate their cells with pictures.
  • There’s a system for inmates to shop online using the allowance they receive each month from the government.
  • Guards wear street clothes, not uniforms. They are not armed.
  • Guards study for tw0 years to qualify for their jobs.
  • The interior spaces looked bright and clean.
  • Inmates can use a communal kitchen.
  • They can watch whatever TV shows they like.
  • There’s a farm they can learn to work.
  • Because the prison personnel believe drugs will get in to the jail one way or another, there’s a box for used needles and a way to get clean ones. (That was too progressive for me.)
  • Recidivism is much lower than in the US.
  • When first sent to jail, inmates are examined and assessed to determine how they may be affected by mental illness. If they have psychological problems they’re sent to another facility.
  • As for women’s prisons, offenders with small children can keep them with them until the child reaches age 3.
  • Even in solitary confinement, you have a window to look out and see trees, the sky, nature.

It was a fascinating talk, and some of these practices can be tested in our prisons. If these changes could impart dignity and reduce recidivism, they’re worth a try.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I tried Balinese Gong Meditation, which was definitely different, and I was mesmerized by Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire. 

For the last day of the official Christmas season, I went to mass at another church from the list of the “Eleven Churches Not to Miss When You Visit  Chicago” I attended mass at St. John Cantius and stopped in to take some photos of St. Stanislaus Koska, which is also featured in this article. I’m still blown away by both churches.

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St. John Cantius

Christmas actually lasts until the Sunday following January 6th. The reading is about Jesus entering public life.

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St. Stanislaus Koska, Chicago

I’m half way through a “cosy mystery” called Duck the Halls. I’m not that impressed as I’m on page 80 and so far there’s no real mystery. I think I can guess who’ll get murdered, but let’s get on with it.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that New Year’s Eve is not a big holiday for me. It’s too expensive and frenzied. So I have nothing to report on 12/31.

I did go to another church from the list of the “Eleven Churches Not to Miss When You Visit  Chicago,” St. Alphonsus in the neighborhood of Lakeview in Chicago. Again I was blown away by an 19th century church. This has a sapphire ceiling and marble altar. I snapped dozens of photos, but got home and 2 out of at least 50 were kept. I don’t know what happened with my camera.

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As I wanted photos with the Christmas decorations still up, I returned yesterday. For their Epiphany mass they had a full choir, horns, an organ and drums. The homily was relevant and meaningful. Afterwards, I took more photos. The ones that were still on a device were taken on my phone and iPad. All those taken with my camera (and were of higher quality) are gone. I hope it’s just a problem with the memory card.

I worked a lot for the Census and got to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I was impressed with the sense of true community shown by the members towards each other and the hospitality I was shown. The best part of the job is getting to see new sides of my community.

Friday a friend and I went out to eat and then drove around Sauganash, an area where when we were kids was known for the homes with over the top holiday lights. While it wasn’t as dramatic as we remembered, there were some very festive. I was happy to see some homes commemorate Hanukkah. While Hanukkah is a smaller festival in Judaism, it’s good to see that these families wanted to share their faith with their neighbors.

*My phone’s charging so I can’t use my (poorly shot) Hanukkah lights so I’m sharing these.