Today, was a day in Sun Valley unlike any we’ve ever seen.
Over the years, we’ve had Mogulympics.
We’ve had the horror of Burning Mogul.
We’ve had a group Acid Trip.
We’ve had a Build A Bike session.
We’ve had harrowing white water raft trips in which many of us were close to dying.
We put on a production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
We’ve had a speech from my daughter, Connie, about how Gen Z was coming to destroy old Hollywood’s business.
And we did a disastrous Improv Night.
I could go on and on – just look at the archive posts at the bottom of this post for examples.
But, I can now say, nothing was as weird and pathetic as what happened tonight.
To set the stage…
Elon Musk arrived in Sun Valley tonight.
His Space X / flying Tesla car rocket landed on a barge on the Duck Pond which was cleared by Sun Valley Lodge Security. Supposedly, all the ducks were put in a neutral area (or in a cooking pot claimed off-the-record from a couple of intern kitchen workers on social media).
Once he landed, it wasn’t the pending Twitter acquisition he wanted to talk about, or the mounting criticism about his politics – he wanted to talk about a play he had written.
A play set on Mars.
He described it as “Our Town” but set on Mars amongst the first settlers there.
Elon Musk: It’s called “My Mars” (based on a play by a non-futurist socialist without a clue how the world works).
Why he decided to take a shot at a long-dead Thornton Wilder at a conference for billionaires is beyond me – but he still did it.
His condition on coming to Sun Valley was that this play would be mounted with some of the moguls as actors and Herb Allen agreed.
This play was written by Elon Musk. (Based on a play written by a ‘dead white guy’ – Elon’s description.)
Directed by Elon Musk.
Produced by Elon Musk.
The role of the Stage Manager to be played by… Elon Musk.
I later learned there were billionaire Hollywood and Silicon Valley moguls who had been rehearsing this play in a secret location for weeks and it was to be performed tonight in the “Great Hall of The Moguls” (Ballroom B).
The food and drink for the audience was going to be things that would survive on Mars without spoiling after several months of space flight – Cheetos, Slim Jims, and Jim Beam.
These were not bad alternatives considering how horrible Herb Allen’s BBQ & Smores-toporia was… which was our lunch.
Those of us not in the play were brought to the ballroom around 7:30.
The set was bare – floor painted red (for Mars) and just a few “Mars” rocks placed around some taping on the stage to give the actors directions. There was a painted backdrop with the solar system behind with a center focus of the planet Earth.
Elon Musk was sitting on a Mars rock reading a virtual book, ignoring the audience.
The Jim Beam and beef jerky were very popular and the audience was getting quite loose.
At exactly 8:00 – everything went BLACK.
And then it went RED.
And then a pin spot on Elon – reading. He looked up, surprised.
Elon Musk: Oh, hello… I didn’t see you there. I wasn’t expecting an audience tonight. I was just reading “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury. Funny stuff. Kind of a joke, really. Would you… like to know what life is really like on Mars?
With that line, several of the Tech and Hollywood moguls came onto the stage.
No reaction from the billionaires in attendance. A couple of coughs and more drinking and bored doom scrolling on their phones.
John Stankey of AT&T in overalls and a Mars oxygen helmet.
John Stankey: Over there is the rock were I live in my oxygen powered sleeping bag and eat my rations. Mars is incredible!
Elon Musk: Here on Mars we keep to ourselves. Brian Roberts doesn’t have to worry about cable prices or churn, he just has to worry about supply chain and whether the next rocket will make it with the food needed to survive.
Brian Roberts: But, of course, it will make it – it’s a Space X rocket, right?
Elon Music: Of course, your Tang is on its way!
This went on and on and on and on… but because he was worth over $100 million (not counting recent plunges) Herb Allen wouldn’t pull the plug.
But a few of us had to leave.
Me and the Bobs from Disney split – as well as almost all Hollywood moguls.
The others, who thought they needed Elon in some way down the line, I suppose, had to sit there.
The rest of the night was me, Barry Diller, Rupert Murdoch, Bob Iger and a couple other older moguls sitting in the bar and lamenting that there was once a time when we released big summer movies that made a lot of money which made it very easy to take August off in Hawaii.
Those days appear to be over.