In which I luck out and find myself in Cannes

Years ago, I wrote about an experience I had in Utah involving a car service ride and a very famous person who almost deprived me and my friends of our adult beverage stock for the first few days of our ski/Sundance Film Festival trip. I recently used that experience for a work contest entry, the prize being a business trip (not vacation) to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. This is the entry, with my day job’s name omitted:

Sundance Film Festival, 2008. Sarah Jessica Parker stole my ride from the airport, leaving me and my friends to scramble in Utah on a Saturday night over MLK Day weekend to get to the state liquor store in Salt Lake City before it closed.

We found it, after driving through the mean streets of SLC in a beat-up serial killer-type van, which was the only vehicle the limo company had left. And we cursed Sarah Jessica Parker all the way.

If I find myself at Cannes in 2022 and Sarah Jessica Parker is also there thinking she’s going to steal Team [Company]’s ride, she’s in for a surprise. And I don’t care how convenient it is getting libations in France. I’ll have an entertaining story to share, because that’s what we really do on the Brand and Creative Team, right? Tell stories that engage people.

I realize this all sounds massively unhinged, but so am I. The entry was submitted blind and four judges chose it as one of the four winning entries. This was both awesome and terrifying for me, as you know, COVID. And whatever they’re now calling that pox. Plus some family health issues that made my leaving home for a week a bit dicey. It wasn’t the best time for me to be leaving for a week in France.

It all worked out, though, and I went. Like I said, it was a business trip – my three colleagues and I went to different sessions during the day on a range of creative stuff, some of which featured famous people talking about creative stuff. We spent a lot of our dinners actually talking about work, though drinking bottles of rosé made it not so horrible. While SJP was not there, Paris Hilton was (talking about bitcoin and mugging for the cameras). The event organizers did an amazing job of keeping her and all the celebrities from public view beyond their appearances on stage. I didn’t see any of them out in the wild.

We did have some downtime to check out the area in which we were staying, which is considered Cannes’ “Old Town.” Or as I will henceforth refer to it, “Charming as Fuck.” Because it was. In the first hours we were there, we ate at a café right outside of the apartments we rented and in that time, the following vehicles passed by us: Goofy trolleys full of Italian tourists who took our pictures; small electric buses; smaller cars of the variety that you rarely see in the U.S.; a group of young women tourists on Segways; standard-issue pedestrians of all types; and THIS, clopping by:

Deux gendarmes sur deux chevals.

Horses. Who stopped by the entrance of the café to visit a young woman who probably gave them carrots or something. I didn’t see. It felt like the French Tourist Bureau went out of their way to impress us.

I’ll spare you a moment-by-moment accounting of the trip, which involved attending my first and probably last rave-like event. It included a laser beam walkway (that messed up my phone’s camera lens) and beautiful drag queens dancing on pedestals to synth pop, including a song called “Jolean” that earwormed its way into my brain for the rest of the trip and beyond.

But here are some other pictures, including a slide show of weirder things I found during the trip, which I am always on the lookout for.

There’s a big “Cannes” sign up the hill that can be seen from the surrounding area. Kind of a fun callout to its sister sign in California.

Also: You can see a purple dot on the “E’ that’s damage from the laser beam lighting. Don’t point your cameras at crazy lighting, kids! I’m really glad I didn’t upgrade my phone before the trip.

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