Far from the craziness and the cold of Sundance and Park City, the annual festival got a worthy send-off via the Canadian radio show "Q" on Thursday night. The two-hour taping, parts of which will air today at 6 p.m. on KCPW 88.3 and is available via podcast in its entirety, featured smoother-than-thou show host Jian Ghomeshi and a wide range of guests previewing a diverse set of movies debuting at Sundance.
The highlight was the dual appearance of Canadian author Margaret Atwood and director Jennifer Baichwal promoting the Friday premiere of "Payback." The pair engaged in witty banter with Ghomeshi and likely ensured that as many members of the 300 members of the sold-out audience would see the film as possible.
Another must-see movie discussed was "China Heavyweight," with writer and director Yung Chang. Chang detailed his recent trips to China for the creation of the film and an impromptu meeting with former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson. The intriguing story debuts this weekend at Sundance.
Also, throughout the taping Denver-based indie rockers Tennis played songs from their upcoming album "Young and Old." The roughly mixed indie pop didn't really seem to engage the audience, but Tennis remains an intriguing band and it would be fun to see them in The State Room all by themselves. Ghomeshi also engaged in funny banter with the audience before, during and after the taping and won over the crowd with an endearing monologue saluting Salt Lake City and its battle against stereotypes.
Surprisingly, Salt Lake will host a trio of radio tapings in the first half of the year with "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" set for February and RadioLab arriving in April. NPR fans should be aware, however, that shows will have a tough time topping "Q."