Anyone who has ever attended a film festival or television market knows that these events tend to center on very specific venues, leaving little time to explore the city or region in which they’re based. This being the case, RealScreen has compiled some trivia about the U.S. home bases of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, NATPE and the RealScreen Summit. (I bet you wouldn’t learn all of this on a bus tour.)
Park City, Utah (Sundance)
* ‘Utah’ is derived from a Native American word meaning ‘those who dwell high up’ or ‘mountain-top dwellers’.
* The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City (the state capital) took 40 years to build.
* State law prohibits swearing in front of a dead person.
* Contrary to popular belief, Utah is not a dry state, but alcohol consumption is limited to very specific establishments: private (members-only) clubs, brew pubs or taverns and restaurants with a liquor license.
* Utah’s Great Salt Lake covers 5,400 square kilometers and is four times saltier than any ocean.
* In 1916, a resident of the Beehive State mailed a 40,000-ton brick house across Utah to avoid high freight rates. Ever since, the U.S. has had a law on its books that makes it illegal to ship an entire building through the post.
* Keep an eye on the sky as you stroll the streets – Utah’s state bird is the seagull.
New Orleans, Louisiana (NATPE)
* New Orleans is one of two U.S. cities (the other is Las Vegas) that doesn’t have laws governing when stores and restaurants must close.
* In Louisiana, biting someone is simple assault, unless you have false teeth, which constitutes aggravated assault.
* Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the French-speaking Acadians, who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s for refusing to pledge allegiance to the King of England.
* Until 1921, New Orleans was a bilingual city. Canal Street marked the division between the English and French parts of town.
* Ever wonder how Baton Rouge got its French name? In1699, Pierre and Jean Baptiste le Moyne were part of a French expedition traveling down the Mississippi River. At the point where the city is today, there was a 30-foot-high pole serving as a dividing line between two Native American tribes. The pole (baton) was stained red (rouge) with the blood of fish and animals.
Washington, D.C. (RealScreen Summit)
* Washington, D.C., has the highest per capita viewership of TV evangelists.
* The Capitol Building has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. The building also sits where the District of Columbia’s four quadrants – Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast – all meet.
* No building in Washington, D.C., is more than 13 stories, as structures are forbidden to be taller than the Washington Monument, which stands 168.7 meters.
* In 1988, a National Geographic survey revealed that 12 million Americans did not know that Washington, D.C., was their nation’s capital.
* A mutual dislike between Supreme Court Justice John Jay and city architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant is blamed for the fact that there is no J street among the capital’s alphabetized roadways.
* The city’s motto is Jusitia omnibus, or justice to all. Incidentally, D.C. has more lawyers per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. – and more psychiatrists.
* D.C. is the ninth national capital city. York, Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Princeton, New York, Lancaster and Trenton all previously held the honor.
* Billie Burke, who played the good witch Glenda in the film The Wizard of Oz, was born in the U.S. capital.
All information compiled from the Internet