Evenings at Sundance
“Do you smell anything weird?” The cab driver asked when I stepped into the van.
I can think of few worse things for a cab driver to say.
But the cab did not smell weird, I assured him as I surveyed the backseat. He was relieved. The passenger before me had stepped out of the car holding a large Ziploc bag of vomit.
“At least she came prepared.”
The partiers at Sundance are notably prepared: They’ve finagled their way on to the right “lists,” they’ve assembled the right uniform (For the women – something furry, something shiny, something height-enhancing. For the men – a fleece and tapered jeans.) They’ve approached their evening activities with the same professional rigor that the filmmakers have approached their work. How else to explain how they can wear mini-skirts when it’s ten degrees outside? They’ve either been in training or have preternaturally warm thighs.
They tend to be aggressively young – the median age is about 2 decades younger than those at the film screenings. At one party I attended, hosted by IndieVest and DJed by Tommy Lee, one nimble young woman did a series of splits on the dance floor, leaving little safe space for dancing. But no one seemed much interested in dancing anyway. They were too busy surveying the crowd for someone they may recognize from the movies.
I haven’t seen too many celebrities at the parties I’ve attended. (I’ve refused to attend any party with a cover, and I’m not too persistent about these “lists.”) I saw Emma Roberts at Tao, an offshoot of a Las Vegas club with a vibe of a vaguely Buddhist harem. Two scantily clad women offered to wash my hands with rosewater as I entered, while two other women in red and black bikinis danced by the DJ booth in a downtrodden trance. I didn’t last long there. Later that night, Ethan from Lost politely held open the elevator to a rooftop bar. For a festival where everyone’s stature is clearly demarked on a tag hanging from their neck, the party scene is – for better or worse – quite democratic. Outside the Paramount party last night, Lucy Walker, a filmmaker who’s on the jury this year for international documentaries, was made to wait outside while many young people in party-gear were quickly ushered in. “This festival couldn’t exist without Lucy Walker, and it could easily exist without me,” I heard one young man say with a bit of bewilderment as he checked his coat.
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