Monday, February 01, 2010

Smart smart smart smart smart. Here's something I didn't expect to be saying anytime, well, really ever - Sarah and I just spent a quick weekend in Salt Lake City.  And it was pretty cool.  Decent coffee (Salt Lake Roasting Co. - a bit rough around the edges, but they know what they're doing).  A totally funky all-about-the-details boutique hotel (Hotel Monaco).  Good sushi in a vibrant, fast-moving cafe/bar (Takashi - one of the only lively spots we found downtown).  We really liked the cafe named Coffee Garden in the 9th and 9th micro-neighborhood that provided above average people watching along with average to slightly better coffee (don't bother with the sandwiches or quiche).  Beyond that, we ventured over to Park City for a chunk of the final competition day of Sundance.  No celebs cited.  Thankfully.

SLC also benefited considerably from having Sundance screening films on a bunch of screens.  We saw "Waiting for Superman" that won the Audience Award for documentaries.  I'd give it a bit of a harsh rating - a straight C.  The style is just what you'd expect (brutal realism joined by quirky, animated cut segments) and the subject is a simplistic take on what's wrong with America's primary school education system.  According to this movie, charter schools=good; bad teachers=bad.  The kids shown struggling to get slots in better schools in tough areas (DC, NYC, LA, etc.) all break your heart.  But aside from prompting some good conversations about a tough problem, this doc won't solve anything. 

The best cultural moment, though, involved the Mormons.  We went for a walk through the Temple Square Saturday night after dinner.  We playfully dodged the young and friendlies.  And when we ventured into the building where the Tabernacle Choir performs where some dude was doing his bizness on the monstrous pipe organ, an adorable old elder swooped in to see if we wanted to take pics or come back Sunday morning for music and prayer.  Maybe cookies, too.  Sarah was quick to say that we had an early flight, which was a lie (we left closer to noon).  So we're headed to Mormon hell (or at least she is if our case comes up for review).  Regardless, after we got back to our hotel, we watched that brilliant "South Park" episode about the formation of the Mormon religion.  The perfect counterpoint to the real thing.  Most importantly, I agree with the sentiment that I respect their right to believe whatever it is that they believe.  Just don't ask me to join.  And since I didn't see any of them at the coffeehouses or the bars we spent some time in, I'm glad we got a chance to meet them (in principle) on their turf.  Because they have a nice place.  Not sure if "this is the place" as they like to say.  Potaytoe, potahto.

Hope your own travel guide adds a few surprising pages today.  Rock on.

No comments: