Are You Okay + dorothy World Premiere
Clubhouse, SLC, UT
IT'S MONDAY morning, early. The garbage truck is loud through my open window, and a few moments later the church bells bong. I open my eyes. I don’t want to, I try and do everything not to, but I can’t help it. The noise is too loud. Besides, I need to take stock of last night. I look around my bedroom, and see the late-night food wrappers, empty beer cans, and general detritus that signifies the beginning of premiere season. I stay in my bed, eyes open, not moving. The Clubhouse. Yes, we were there. I remember it. I remember all of it. It was the first of the season, of course. There were Jell-O shots and two videos and a fight, but before that I was running late because Dylan and Yoni wanted hot food. More than a snack but less than a meal. Think 7-11 taquitos or those microwave White Castle burgers you get in the frozen section of the grocery store.
We pulled into the Maverick station downtown and I check my phone, 7:10. The flyer said the doors were at seven. Knowing snowboarders, I figured everybody would show up late. But what if I was wrong? What if I show up to realize fashionably late is out of fashion? What if I miss somebody’s grand entrance or some secret pre-premiere premiere of a hidden video that would only be played for the ones who really care? What then? We got out of the car. Dyl and Yoni walked towards the Maverick while Derek and I loitered and sauntered—and loiter some more. They came back and told us the store was closed. Dylan said they’d just get something at the gas station across the street from The Clubhouse. I tried not to show the relief coming over me.
Ten minutes later and we parked a few houses down from The Clubhouse. Once again, we go our separate ways. Dyl and Yoni crossed the street to find food, while Derek and I slowly made our way up the sidewalk to find the venue. I say slowly because Derek had sprained his ankle skating the night before. We finally walked up, and I see it, I see everything. I see all the glory and memories and history that make The Clubhouse so special. There was a time not too long ago when seemingly every piece of snowboard theater took place at The Clubhouse: Countless Torment release parties, a Sims video, Dustbox on Halloween, the list goes on. Not to mention of course, Bryden Bowley’s first feature film, How Dark Blue Feels. That was two years ago, and it felt good at the time—still does now. The expectations for a similar feeling were high.
We climbed the steps; the porch was nearly empty. Honestly, it was just the cast. Kennedi and Emma, Bryden, Phipps, Gian and Finn. Desiree was there too; I feel like she might kill me if I don’t mention that. We had heard rumors of free beer, so Derek and I said some hellos and then checked out the bar inside. The bartender said no, in fact, there was no free beer. I should’ve known. I was naive to think otherwise. There’s no such thing as free beer. Not ever.
Eventually more people came, and The Clubhouse filled up. It began to resemble The Clubhouse I fell in love with, the one I had come to know so well over the past three or four years. Premiere season, especially the first premiere of the season, holds a special place in snowboarding. Sure, there’s probably premiere fatigue and burnout when we’re still doing this in early December, but now, September at The Clubhouse—it’s special. You walk into any of the rooms on any of the three floors and you see somebody you know. Maybe it’s somebody you haven’t seen in a while. We’re skipping ahead, but after Finn and Gian showed are you okay? (don’t worry, we’ll get back to the videos. I just told you though, we’re skipping ahead a bit) I asked Goop what he thought of it. His response to my quiet question in a loud room was simply, “I don’t know what you said. All I know is that when you do the Torment thing, let them know I’m seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time.” Well, this is me letting you know. That’s why premieres are special though, you get to see people. You get to see your friends do amazing things. You get to see their art. Both dorothy and are you okay? created zines to showcase the videos, and both were just as beautiful as the films they document. Hell, I even got Kennedi and Emma to sign mine. That’s what premieres are: lovely little pockets of time that bond the privileged few who happen to make the effort.
Ok, now the videos. See, I told you we’d get there. Are you okay? played first and, since the cast and crew are all international, Gian and Finn were the only two able to make the journey. Finn said that Marco Morandi was probably off somewhere making risotto and—at the risk of contradicting everything I just said about the importance of attending premieres—I was jealous. I don’t know Marco, and I don’t know where exactly he’s from, but the thought of risotto in some European country…not bad.
The video started, and I realized I’d forgotten about all the idiosyncrasies that make premieres exciting: The cheer when the crowd sees a familiar face in a broll clip, the collective shout when a song picks up, the half laugh half groan when we see somebody eating shit. And, of course, the wall of sound that comes from the audience when the video ends and the credits start. Are you okay? ticked off all the boxes. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s something generic, designed to fit the mold. The screams and cheers and groans were all genuine. How could they not be? Seb and Gian and Finn are battle tested jibbers. We’ve seen what they can do, and we know they can do it well. Better than most. It’s also impossible to miss when you have cameos from folks like Jake Kuzyk and Louif. They can do no wrong.
The video ended, and there are even particularities about that. The heard moved out to the porch for an intermission of cigarettes, fresh drinks, and well-deserved talks of praise for the international homies. We’ve all done this before. We know when to go back inside. The next video is starting.
Kennedi, Emma, and Bryden take the stage. Cheers, applause, then quiet as they start to speak. They give thanks, to us for being there, to the sponsors who make it happen. They keep it short. They know what we really want. Dorothy.
It’s probably best to address the cameos first since they were both abundant and sweet. To those I don’t mention, forgive me. However, as I just said, there were a lot. Kuzyk’s back three and Robby’s back two can, from here on out, serve as textbook examples of how you do those tricks. Take notes. Please. JP’s suzki grind was some new wave big brain shit, and who is Justin Phipps if not new wave and big brained. He skipped the after party to get rest for his mass comm law test the next morning—need I say more? And then there’s Sierra. Sierra who, with her mom in the crowd to watch, gave us a fifty to pole jam that sent the crowd in a frenzy. I could keep talking about it, but it’s one of those things that you should probably just watch.
While the cameos were great, and they were great, the film truly belonged to Emma and Kennedi. No offense to any of their previous work—it’s all been terrific—but this was it. This is what we have wanted to see. I really don't want to speak for either of them here but, if I had to guess, I’d say that this was the riding they wanted to do. You can feel it. There’s an energy to their snowboarding that’s impossible to name, difficult to describe. It begins with Emma on Pyramid Gap and it ends with Kennedi well, well I’m not going to say the ender. But with those two points as anchors, the rest of the video falls effortlessly, brilliantly into place. I want to say more, I do, but I can’t. I can’t put into words what you can only experience on your own. It’d be a disservice. I don’t want to be rude.
The video ends, the crowd cheers, the heard moves. It’s a dance we’ve done a thousand times. It was nearly last call, the porch was packed. A neighbor walked up, at least he said he was a neighbor. Said he lived in the house next to The Clubhouse, and he told us to shut the fuck up. Actually, ironically, he screamed it. Then he screamed it again. He started screaming other stuff too, stuff that I can’t repeat but let’s just say I don’t think this guy is a friend of Dorothy. The heard moved towards him. This strayed from the typical group migration we’ve become accustomed to over years of premieres. The waltz is different. He’s screaming and we’re screaming, and he’s screaming some more. I think he slapped Hoj in the face. I don’t know how the situation deescalated. The group was thick, and I was too far away to hear any of the diplomatic chatter—if there was any. However, the consensus was clear, fuck that guy... let’s go to Bongo. Kennedi and Emma wanted to go to Bongo. For those who don’t know, Bongo’s a dive. As Kennedi said, “we don’t have bars like that in Vancouver.” When in Rome, I suppose. We dispersed with plans to reconvene at the bar. We packed ten of us into Dylan’s van, nobody was comfortable. We were all whining and itching to leave, hoping once we exited that the feeling would return to our legs.
It seemed like forever, but we made it. Everybody flopped out of the van. Goop looked at me, shook his head, and pointed out, “I just want to throw it on the books that we ended up at Bongo.” He wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t sympathize with the despair. I like Bongo. There’s no dance floor, no fancy to-do. It’s just a pool table, a bar, a dart board. We ordered some beer, then started placing stacks of quarters on the pool table, each trying to get a turn. Finn Westbury partnered up with this woman who may have been the best pool player I’ve seen in person. I didn’t get her name, and I apologize for that. All I know is they won the first game, then the second, then the third. I don’t know how many more games they won but by the time I called my Uber, I was pretty sure I could still see them on the table.