Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Back from Sedona. The beautiful, red, Martian landscape of Sedona. It's interesting: everything - all the buildings, traffic lights, even the bus stop benches - is painted some shade of red to blend in with the natural environs. From a mile away, the city would be completely camouflaged. Sedona is one big chameleon. Must be a city ordinance or something.

Surprisingly, the hippies are not as plentiful as I expected. I didn't smell patchouli once. It's more of a wealthy, retired astrology guru kind of vibe. More Manhattan Beach than Venice Beach. Real estate is fairly expensive, and tourism is a big business. A few extra yoga studios and art galleries per block, but most of the people on the street looked over 40. Whom hippies aren't even supposed to trust!

Spent one night chatting with a former IBM salesman turned ordained minister, self-help author and bartender. He was serving us drinks at an Italian restaurant owned by an eleven-year-old. (Inherited from a man who fathered him illegitimately and basically disowned him, leaving this shocker in the will, so the story goes.) The bartender told us about the religious book he's writing, "Does God Prefer Roses Or Tulips?", which he assured us the answer was "neither", God being very diplomatic and loving us all equally, and told us about a nearby area being turned into some sort of religious leader's co-op with swaths of land purchased by the Dalai Lama and himself, among others.

More highlights of the Sedona Film Festival:

1. Stee had a rented convertible and we drove up into the mountains with the top down; breathtaking views.

2. The amazing hotel that they put us up in, which was much classier than we're accustomed to. It had a French name, for God's sake.

3. Sitting by the huge fireplace late into the night in the lobby of the hotel, drinking whiskey and Coke and musing over our next project.

4. Getting to actually see movies at a film festival - at Dances With Films I spent most of the time in the mixing room trying desperately to be ready for the screening. Saw "Dogville", which I loved, and a good war movie called "The Forgotten".

5. Meeting other directors at the Filmmaker’s Party, which was unfortunately on the last night.

My only major complaint is that things were pretty disorganized at the festival (apparently due to some very recent management upheaval). Seeing John get the award was exciting, although the ceremony was very overbooked - I ended up eating my plate of pasta standing up in the back.

We drove through Flagstaff for a change of scenery, and on the ride back, we got a flat tire in the middle of the Mojave desert. Yay! So, we got to see Lake Havisu (at least the part with the tire stores.)

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