Did someone say "Legion M" and "Churros"?

When I was twenty-five years old, I fled from the annual terror of nor’easters wiping out
the eastern seaboard and sought refuge in the warm, precipitation-free beaches of Los Angeles. I
swore I would never return to any state that entertains winter ever again. But if there’s one thing
that could make me abandon all sense and break that promise to myself and my body
temperature, it’s the Legion M Lounge at Sundance.

The opportunity to attend Sundance wouldn't have even been possible without Legion M.
Not only did they provide a compelling reason to go (free pizza and drinks at the Legion M
lounge? Sign me up!), but when Matan and I asked the Legion M community for leads on last-
minute lodging at Sundance, one member reached out and offered us space in her hotel room. If
it weren't for Sheryl Briggs, it's probably pretty safe to say we wouldn't have been able to come.
She was an incredible travel companion, and I'm so grateful to have connected with her through
Legion M. She made an amazing experience even better just by sharing it with us.

The Legion M lounge was, frankly, the hottest spot at Sundance this year. Loudest shout-
out in the world goes to Red Banjo Pizza for hosting us. And, you know, keeping up with our
rapid rate of consumption. I think I ate twelve full pizzas over the weekend, and I'm allergic to
gluten. But it was so good (and did I mention free?) so I assailed my body for a few days and
assuaged my taste buds. On the last day, I learned that they had gluten-free pizza.

Every day in the Legion M lounge was a slate of new talent and fascinating panels. I didn't get to see them all (come on, I'm not that greedy) but I thoroughly enjoyed all the ones I did attend. It made me really bummed that I didn't have full access badges for all the screenings because everything sounded so good. That's the problem with flying by the seat of your pants at Sundance – everything is sold out, and good luck getting a coveted waitlisted ticket. I suppose I could have just robbed Damian of all his. But between shushing drunk people during live broadcasts and doing a load of labor that would make Sisyphus weep, I think that poor fella took enough of a beating.

Because I had no tickets to anything, I spent most of my time hanging out with fellow
Legion M members, who also had tickets to nothing. It was great to catch up with people from
all over the country that I've seen at so many Legion M events every couple of months and hear about what they were getting up to in Park City. Everyone was decked out, head to toe, in Legion M swag. It was pretty special. That was probably the most fun I had all weekend – just hanging out with like-minded, cool Legion M folk.

The most memorable part was the San Diablo Artisan Churro vendor. I'm pretty sure the
guy thought Matan and I were stalking him. We camped out in front of the stand before they
even opened, then salivated over not one, not two, but the first three trays of churros made
exclusively for the cast and crew of Mandy hanging out on the balcony upstairs. By the time they
were making churros for us little people, I guess the vendor decided Matan and I had earned the
first taste.

They had myriad flavor options – from the caramelicious Dulce de Leche to the
delectable Nutella to the luscious Sweet Cream, you couldn't be disappointed. They even made special Mandy-inspired flavors with black sugar and raspberry filling. By the end of the night, we were making up our own off-menu hybrid flavors like Nutella-Raspberry. And yes, I did try a Sweet Cream with a cricket. I should have eaten the cricket on its own because it got totally
enveloped in the churro and was entirely lost on my taste buds.

There are a few things I would do differently if I went to Sundance again. For starters, I
would probably get tickets to it. I would probably look into all the movies ahead of time and
decide which ones were worth waitlisting. Now that I have a feel for the process, I think I could
do it.

But if Sundance could take place when the sun is out next year, I would really appreciate
it.

Michelle P. CarterComment