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Seeing The Sandman Premiere at George R. R. Martin’s Cinema

August 4, 2022
Schedule for The Sandman premiere at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Sandman on Netflix is going to be amazing. I can’t believe I got to see the first two episodes a whole forty-eight hours before the rest of the world! And I saw them in George R. R. Martin’s Santa Fe Theater!

That’s it. That’s the tl;dr version. But keep reading if you want to see goofy pictures of me and answer the question “What was a well-known lover of D.C. doing in a capitol other than that of the Nation?!?”

The fact is that one thing led to another, and Cake Man and I decided to spend a week driving around New Mexico. Why? Because nature is big here and some of the stuff that isn’t nature is weird in a super-fun way. For instance, Roswell.

Fake alien launch showing both author and alien seated in launch chairs.

Add to that Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. I didn’t know what to expect. Something about a psychedelic haunted house and prices that made me avert my eyes while Cake Man was purchasing tickets. I had heard that George R. R Martin, who lives in Santa Fe, donated A LOT of money to help Meow Wolf get started with an exhibition warehouse. I had a great time there, and it was in quantity.

Author emerging from a Meow Wold exhibit refrigerator appearing to be a portal to another dimension.

There’s this thing my eyes do when I look at a smartphone right before bed—they show me large patches of flickering white light. Emerging from Meow Wolf was like that except it was neon colors, and they flashed through my whole body. Also, I discovered a new version of clowns to give me nightmares.

Meow Wolf exhibit showing florescent pink-hued, puffy, crowded-yet-happy-looking sculptures.
Meow Wolf exhibit still of video showing a woman dancing with a disco ball made to look like the planet Saturn.
Meow Wolf exhibit showing a human-sized, necklace-wearing crow looking inquisitively through vine-like metal bars.
Meow Wolf exhibit scary clowns decorated with common household objects on their faces.

Needless to say, there was a bit of recovery for me and Cake Man after Meow Wolf. It took the form of copious free snacks at a hotel happy hour. I mean, cookies were made to be eaten, right?!? Plus, there was a bit of relaxing with Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and Becky Chambers’s A Prayer for the Crown-Shy. It was some classic geeking.

I was also casually looking for something super-chill to do in the evening. Cake Man and I have been known to see a movie at an actual theater on vacation. It feels ridiculously extravagant when we do it. I wasn’t thinking about George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema, though I’ll admit I’ve been on the lookout for Martin since we rolled into Santa Fe.

The movie search lead me to hide my iPad from Cake Man. No one needs The Sandman premiere to be dangled before them only to have it snatched away.

Tweet from George RR Martin about The Sandman premiere at Jean Cocteau Cinema.

A narrow escape from Carlsbad, New Mexico, earlier in the trip earlier had emboldened me to believe that with a bit of persistence things could be made to work. All I’m saying is that our Carlsbad rental car was given away to someone else, and for twenty-one hours we lived with the possibility of being trapped in tiny Carlsbad for three more days. Thanks to a sorta taxi service and a definite series of extremely kind people, we still managed to see Carlsbad Caverns!

Carlsbad Caverns natural sculpture the walrus.

So, like I said, emboldened.

It turned out that the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe was just one-tenth of a mile from the hotel. And tickets were free. First come first serve.

With a cushion of verbally lowered expectations regarding the possibility of getting into the premiere, I showed Cake Man my iPad. We proceeded to hightail it out of the hotel and over to the theater.


I was pretty excited. It was that bubbly, over-talking excited where I want to hug strangers. Not for the first time. Pictures were taken!

Author and Cake Man at the entrance to The Sandman premiere at Jean Cocteau Cinema.
Author holding a sign that says "You shouldn't trust the story-teller; only trust the story" at The Sandman premiere at Jean Cocteau Cinema.

The premiere was such an unexpected treat. We had more snacks and chatted with other fans of Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. There was a thirty minute video chat between Gaiman and Martin that had been recorded for the premiere. The chat had that convention feel to it that the fans love. And then the first two episodes of The Sandman played back to back. They were mesmerizing. Tom Sturridge as Dream was perfect. I’m ridiculously excited to see more!

In the meantime, I have this nifty souvenir and the pleasure of having stumbled into a unique Santa Fe experience. I still can’t believe we got into the premiere!

Photo of the special edition The Sandman comic distributed at the Jean Cocteau Cinema on premier night.

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