Category Archives: Scene

Sundance Questions

Hello Jill, I’m Chris-

Later this week, I’m going to be paying my first visit to Park City, luckily and coincidentally it’s during the final weekend of Sundance.

I was browsing around finding out more about the activities and film festival so I could take advantage and experience it. I stumbled upon a blog site where a posting had been submitted by you. I found it interesting and informative, but at the same time a little disheartening. It seems to me that an everyday average guy…me being from St. Louis, and a divorced 30something, that there’s not a whole lot of involvement for people like me. Since I won’t be walking around with VIP stamped on my hand, or have a tie-in to the movie industry, is it more going to be me getting shunned out of restaurants and away from anything fun? I know that sounds kind of negative, but from what I’ve read, that seems to be the case in a lot of ways. So, I turn to you for some advice…how can a couple of average Joe’s from St. Louis go out and have a grand time in Park City, and take in the whole experience of Sundance. Oh, for the record, while I think it’d be cool to run into a celeb walking past me on the streets, chasing the stars around is not my idea of fun..haha.

THANKS! (I did enjoy your blog post by the way)


St. Louis, MO

Hi Chris- I wish I had better news for you but unless you are a ragingly hot chick, your chances for the hookup are quite slim. The women at the Fest are primarily interested in celebs and filmmakers- those who can open doors to the private parties and beyond. That said, there are a few places where Sundance meets Park City-
For dining:
Prime Steakhouse (tell Brian Morgan, Jill Adler sent you), Blind Dog (you might have to bride the concierge), Wahso, and Shabu.
For people watching, these Sundance venues allow the general public “space permitting”: The Leaf Lounge (winetasting and schmoozing), 751 Main Street, 3-9 pm.; Entertainment Weekly Café, VWHQ, HP Snapshot Chalet, Stella Artois Patio, Aquafina Alive all at the Kimball Art Center; AOL Cyber Lodge, 614 Main St., Delta Sky Lodge, 449 Main, KRUPS at the Rabbit Hole, 333 Main St..

The hot thing this weekend is to score a ticket/invite/name on the list to the Zone Bar – a four-night acoustic showcase hosted by multi-Grammy Award winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Joss Stone, Bird York and legendary guitarist Stanley Jordan, Joan Osborne, Jonny Lang, Keb Mo’, Sean Lennon, Lindsey Buckingham, Shelby Lynne, Shawn Colvin, Daniel Powter and Marc Broussard, and surprise performances from special guests are part of the evenings from Thursday to Sunday, 6-9 pm.
If you do miss it, the concerts will air in high-definition as a one-hour primetime special on the WE cable network later this spring.

Ride the buses!!! For one thing, it’s free and saves stress from the parking nightmare that has become Park City. For another, you can eavesdrop and find out about what’s going on around town. You never know. Someone might just invite you guys to join them.

Sundance Day Two; Swagdance

It’s insane in Park City this weekend. Spend anytime near the Town Lift (aka Village at the Lift) and you feel like you’re smack in the middle of Times Square. I can’t walk Main Street without pressing my nose to someone’s black coat back. The T-Mobile Café spills over with puffy jackets, dark glass and beanies. Hugs and double-cheeked kissing are as common as ordering a latte here.

There’s no room for the bags we’re all sporting. Shopping bags spilling with boutiquey items gifted at the various lounges and houses that make Sundance, Swagdance. It began with the Premiere Lounge’s Backstage Creations Celebrity Retreat. I hiked the stairs of the Riverhorse to find it much more cramped as a gifting suite than a restaurant. Intermix is here. The luxury boutique in NY, L.A. Boston, The Hamptons, etc. had their table in the back of the room with a rack featuring couture lines Aulo trouser jeans and Chan Luu sweaters. They handed me their “Black Book” – a travel guide for fun, hip spots in the cities where they have stores. I was quick to swoop down on the BaByliss Pro travel blowdryer by Conair. I’m sure this little “baby” has come in handy for many a VIP at Sundance. In the main room there were new and improved Rembrandt Whitening strips – all that coffee-drinking this week takes it toll, Bean Pod soy candles, Livs crochet boots (!), Sweet Leaf sweetener, and a Utah company called Tahitian Noni that makes a line of natural skincare products and now natural teas. No celebs walked in while I was there but it was early. Soon I would be proceeded by Teri Hatcher..AT EVERY SITE. That’s one over-exposed lady. I was excited to learn that she’s human. She gets regular Restylane injections. The line-filler company had a table at The Marquee to educate us on injectables to keep us more youthful. Though Hatcher pretended to shun the company, an inside source told me she’s one of their favorite customers. It takes more than good genes to look younger than your years! What I don’t get is why she wouldn’t want to admit she’s not perfect? It would be stellar promotion for the company, and the rest of the world wouldn’t feel inadequate at 45.

The Marquee, a slick take on the Marquee Club in New York, hosted AG Jeans (cords are still in style), La Coste’s new women’s line of sexy polos and henleys, Polaroid (gifting their little i630, 6mp digi in the hopes that celebs will bust them out throughout Sundance) , and Lia Sophia jewelry. The line is sold similar to Mary Kay and doing quite well; probably because the bold designs are so original. The best part of that lounge (besides getting a gift certificate for a free Restylane treatment!) was getting a skin consulation from Dermalogica (and products). Who knew there was a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?? Apparently, if your skin has fine lines and the texture of tissue paper, you’re dehydrated.

Fred Segal Salon at VAL was my next stop. The place has the ambiance of a fine boutique rather than a trade show. I picked up silky panties from Le Mystere, black Habitual jeans, Alora fragrance diffusers, more skincare from DermaNew (a personal microdermabrasion kit) and haircare products from Kerastase and L’Oreal (they have a new lightweight professional hairspray called Infinium). Teri Hatcher whizzed in and grabbed a boxful of T-shirts from Little Miss. The line of super cute cartoon smiley faces are about to take off. Teri and Tara Reid liked the Little Miss Naughty, Chatterbox and Shy. Making their Sundance debut, boots from Earth Shoe (the company with the negative heel technology. The heel’s lower than the rest of the sole.). I especially like the ankle-height, winter Igloo boots with suede and faux fur even though the stars were grabbing the knee-high boots.

As I bounced from the various houses a trend was emerging. Instead of the “big players” plastering their logos and brand all over Sundance, the event has become a place for small upscale companies to target a particular clientele – one with bucks, power, and taste. Each had a smattering of companies trying to get their names known- kind of like the actors, writers and directors attending Sundance. We’ll visit more hotspots when I return.

Sundance Day- The Groundlings

Sundance is off and running. The streets of Park City, Utah, are a nightmare to navigate, parking non-existent, theater lines inconvenient, and ticket prices ridiculous (if not sold-out). This is a festival by and for independent filmmakers – actors, writers, directors, all hoping to land a big project based on what they show of themselves at this event. The only place for Park City locals is on the sidewalk.
Film distributors and producers, agents and CEOs, spend night and day through Jan. 28 hunting for their next hit. Paparazzi and tabloids comb Main Street and gifting lounges hoping for a glimpse at Justin sans Cameron or Tara Reid’s cleavage. My guess is that this is probably the biggest collection of Hollywood stars outside of the Oscars or Cannes. Just hang out around the Village at the Lift (lower Main Street) for 15 minutes and I guarantee you’ll see an entourage of bodyguards and publicists surrounding a diminutive “name” in over-sized sunglasses walking out of Fred Segal with arms full of shopping bags. Just look for the frenzy of flashing bulbs.

The celebs are here promoting their films – Teri Hatcher, Kate Bekinsdale, Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi, Heather Graham, Chris Klein, Molly Shannon, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Slater, and on and on. They’re not skiing- between interviews, screenings and swag collecting, who’s got the time? And you must look closely as they’re often hard to spot. The PR assistants look more like starlets than the actual starlets. I spotted John Hensley at the DC Mountain Lab ( Matt on Nip/Tuck) and thought he looked familiar. I could have sworn he was that Taco Bell manager who hit on me at Cisero’s five years ago.

In the days leading up to this annual event, my excitement and anticipation grows. I grew up in Los Angeles, went to school at UCLA, grad school at USC, worked in the film industry (acting as well as an agent’s assistant at ICM Talent Management) and have several friends in “the business” that I invariably bump into at some point during the 10-day event. I think it will be like homecoming. But then on opening day, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I see these strangers in black, with finely made-up skin, tailored jeans and expensive, flowing scarves (Utahns don’t wear scarves), talking into their Bluetoothes and I catch myself actually feeling embarrassed to say I’m from Utah. Get the irony? I live in a place that others spend thousands of dollars to visit and I’m feeling self-conscious! I want to slap myself and yet I can’t stop. It’s the vibe. You can’t help feeling like an outsider at Sundance. Everyone, and I mean everyone, looks at you wondering why you are here and who you are. Unless you have an industry pass or are related to someone in the film biz, the average Joe gets snubbed.

Locals often use the word “tolerate” in the same sentence with the Sundance Film Festival. This year, despite the supposed influx of 60+ million dollars to the State, they say they can’t stand these last two weeks of January. There is no free parking anymore. Some greedy city official made the free lots near the high school $10. And the parking lots behind Main Street are charging $30! The buses are free but they move slower than the Tortoise. Hitchhiking is the only way to travel now. Or try to catch a ride in one of the several VW escorts cruising around town (act like you’re with a film in the Fest).

If you’re here just to watch films, you should have bought a festival pass long ago. Only the serious film buff will find it worth the money. Many of the flicks at Sundance are hit and miss so why spend $15 (it was $10 last year) to see a bad movie? The good ones will arrive at theaters, rental stores and TV stations soon enough. Instead, take time to walk up and down Main Street, check out the shops, have coffee and eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations. Sundance is more about ‘the scene’ than participating.

There are three things I love about Sundance and none of them are related to the Festival organization itself- The Village at the Lift, Chefdance, and the gifting suites.

VAL turns the Town Lift into a minihub for the movie and TV industry. Every storefront morphs into a space sponsored by big corporations like T-Mobile, Fred Segal, Philips Lighting, and Heineken; where ‘VIPs’ and media network. I’m visiting tomorrow so check back.

Chefdance is run by Utah local Kenny Griswold, who owns the Harry O’s building on Main Street. He hosts the food and wine event in a space downstairs that will soon be a year-round Mediterranean restaurant called Onassis. In the meantime, guest chefs from Boston, Florida, New York, California and Utah premiere a menu of their choice to a select list of invitees. The place is packed, wall-to-wall, with boisterous personalities from everywhere- including Utah. This is one event that oozes warmth and vibrance. We’re here because someone invited us and here’s to a damn fine evening! At my table sat the owner of WireImage, two girls from Us Weekly and an editor for Star Magazine. One table over was a group from Salt Lake City that sells wholesale foods to a major restaurant food distributor. Another table of Indianans clinked glasses of House Wine (that’s the name of the wine) and laughed about college days. The food was better than any movie screening last night- the chefs from Social Hollywood and Social Miami served up lobster risotto, braised short rib, seared Kobe beef, whipped potatoes and a decadent Mexican hot chocolate with churros for dipping that was like a spicy, melted pudding.

My evening didn’t end until 11 p.m. Now, that’s the right way to start Sundance.
Tomorrow, the gifting begins. To say Utah lacks fashion sense is like saying 0 degrees is cold. Sundance brings culture and couture. It establishes trends (remember the pink Motorola Razor phone?) and displays before-unheard-of companies. They do it by way of The Premiere Lounge, The Marquee, The Ultimate Green Room, The Style Lounge, The Global Green House, The Delta Sky Lounge, The Fred Segal Salon, The Warm Winter Retreat; places that during the rest of the year are Park City’s fine restaurants, art galleries, second homes and real estate offices. This week, they house boutique brands and name-brands- and even charities. Tommy Hilfiger, Kiehls, MAC Cosmetics “gift” VIPs in the hopes that a photo might be taken of Antonio Banderas wearing a pair of Timberland Boots or Sharon Stone in a 2 Be Free sweatshirt; or mention made in a national magazine or newspaper. What I like is that unless I was down in front for the display, I’d still be wearing Gap jeans and Express sweaters. I never knew James Jeans could fit and look better on me or Le Mystere bras and panties kicked butt over Victoria Secret. My belts were Gap too …until I found Linea Pelle. I can’t wait to see what’s hip and cool in 2007. And for that Utahns have Sundance to thank.

Jill Adler has lived in Park City for 16 years, teaching skiing, writing and chasing style.

Sundance Arrives!!

Sundance Day 2
I woke at 7:30 a.m.. That’s three hours of sleep. The zzzs’ll have to to come in February. It’s because of skiing. I have friends in town that wanted to make turns at The Canyons and they could care less about the Sundance Film Festival. So I had to go, because this was my only chance to catch some of this fresh snow before everything got nuts on Main Street. Skiing and Sundance are separate entities. There’s just no time to do both or you wind up sleeping only three hours.Like me,
The Fest is about the movies, the meetings, the swag suites and the parties. Try to do both and you’re toast. After a few hours on the hill, I cruised into the SkiHouse on The Canyons’ plaza. At first, it looked subdued- cubed sofa couches, muffled lounge music and a smattering of seated guests. Mac gifted tinted lip sticks with SPF15, a perfect item for the harsh outdoors and Prive Salon dolled out products to protect your hair from winter’s elements- like the Reparative Conditioner ($29) made with Rose Hips and ginseng to leave dry hair baby soft. The facade deceived. I stuck my nose around the corner and into a warehouse-sized space filled with what you might call “apres ski” companies showering gifts on the fortunate. 2BeFree’s handpainted grafittied sweats, ts and tanks were not only hip but some of the softest items yet. Hanes had these four-way stretch, sheer “Perfect Panty” that never rides up, and leaves no-panty-lines. I can’t wait to try them under my new Sacred Denim Jeans. It’s better to have my ‘fans’ check out the painted pockets than my bulges. I shared a shot of Patron Anejo Tequila with other VIPs, chatted with Ashley Dearborn ( about her line of boutique shoes, which she began drawing at 14 while watching Purple Rain and other favorite movies. The Vineyard Vines boxers and ties with little two-people chairlifts all over them were irresistible. The exit led me through the Booty Parlour section and, boy, was I surprised to see bright pink sex toys and all sorts of body slathering accessories. This is not nromal Sundance swag. My eyes alighted on the Midnight Cravings Love Kit (with pocket vibe, massage oil, lubricant, condoms and disposable vibrating couple’s ring) soon to be added to upscale mini-bars worldwide. “[Sundance] is an intimate setting where we can talk one on one but celebs aren’t chased by paparazzi as they hold the Freddy or BlingBling vibrating ring,” said Booty Parlor Owner Deb Myers.
A treacherous, snowy drive up to a giant house in Deer Crest (back side of Deer Valley) delivered me to The North Face House where the during and apres activity theme started today, continued. From your morning coffee spurted out by the Tassimo Personal Hot Beverage Maker, to Wigwam socks, The North Face base layers, hats and gloves, to the cozy Keds, and sleek, westerny Lee Jeans (that always fit me, oh so well), celebs like Rob Lowe and Aisha Tyler marched Park City in style. Ski athletes Scott Scmidt and Ingrid backstrom, represented TNF, to get those VIPs out on the hill at Deer Valley and actually testing their gear throughout the week. I need to mention right now that you can spend 10 days at Sundance and never see a movie. I ran into a Beverly Hills Bank exec who showed me his itinerary which was packed with meetings and parties; no films. He smiled proudly.
At The Marquee- named after the New York nightclub and meant as an exclusive high-end gifting house- Paris Hilton, Elizabeth Shannon and corporate women swooned over Intermix (upscale online and NY ‘fashion destination’) and LaRock’s boutique rabbit vest and beaded tanks. The new Godiva drinking chocolate was almost better than sex and the AG baby blue cords hugged me better than my boyfriend.The Sundance ‘exclusive’ Lia Sophia black diamond hoop earrings and intricate olive green Linea Pelle leather belt complimented the outfit. For those wondering how to keep the figure for these clothes, TABEnergy, a revamped TAB drink, just launched their diet energy drink.
Gifted out, I raced home to shower change and head back from the Method Fest party at Easy Street. Though the bar was packed, there wasn’t a single recognizable face. Open bar to the rescue. Ryan got off work and we walked up a frigid Main Street to Harry O’s to catch the end of the Damian Marley show but it was too late. We walked back to Easy Street and snuck into the premiere party for “Thank You For Smoking,” a film getting a fair amount of buzz at this year’s Fest. How do you get in? There’s one famous move I nearly forgot. Wait for a group of people to get ushered under the rope (because they’re on a list or know someone) and attach yourself to them. They usually don’t do a head count. We closed the party and went home at 2 a.m. to sleep before I did it all again.

Celeb Sightings:
Paris Hilton working the sidewalk in hot pink and white pleather with full-face white plastic sunglasses. It looked like one of those Disneyland characters had stopped for the tourist photo op. Anne Heche, with long blond hair and looking slightly mousy and annoyed, stood behind me to get into the SkiHouse main gifting area. Shannon Elizabeth and Laura Prepon worked The Marquee room. Gwyneth Paltrow dined at Prime Steakhouse on Lower Main but I only saw the back of her head. Apparently, Rob Lowe and Aisha Tyler had hit up every major gifting suite because where ever I went I heard, “They were just here.” Terrence Howard hung outside the W Las Vegas Tent waiting for his celebrity poker match to start; Lance Bass and Amber Tamblyn walked out of the Fred Segal Store loaded with bags from Timberland, Pony, Rocawear and Bric’ss Luggage.

Sundance Wraps

Sundance Done

Well, that’s a wrap. One seriously crazy time over the last 10 days of January comes to a close with a stellar outcome. More press, more money, more important films sold, more parties, more people than ever before. Makes you wonder if our little resort town can handle the Sundance Film Festivals of the future.

The final Saturday night awards party at the Park City Racquet Club had the indoor tennis courts looking like a snazzy night club with mood cubes on cocktail tables, glowing white towers, DJs spinning hip hop mixes and waiters passing around cupcakes with Sparkler candles stuck in them.

With the famous faces gone, the room overflowed with talented (and very happy) writers, directors, publicists and press. The climate at this year’s Fest seemed much more relaxed about the competition and the sales of films. One thing of note was the abundance of political films that took home awards. The American Documentary Grand Jury Prize went to Why We Fight, a film that examines the economic, political, and ideological forces that drive American militarism and the war in Iraq. The Festival’s first-ever World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize belonged to Shape of the Moon, about three generations of a Christian family living in modern-day Indonesia, the largest Muslim community in the world. The Hero (Angola/Portugal/France) took the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. It follows a 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war who returns to the capital city of Luanda. Canadian film Shake Hands with the Devil won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award for its story of Canadian Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire and his controversial United Nations peacekeeping mission to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. The Danish film Brothers, about two brothers dealing with family dynamics after one is sent to war in Afghanistan received the World Cinema Audience Dramatic Award.

Other winners included:

Forty Shades of Blue – Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.

Hustle and Flow – Dramatic Audience Award

Murderball – Documentary Audience Award/Special Jury Prize for Editing

Jeff Feuerzeig, The Devil and Daniel Johnston – American Documentary Directing Award

Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale – Dramatic Directing Award (The squid also won The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award)

The Education of Shelby Knox – American Excellence in Cinematography Award

After Innocence – Special Jury Prize for Editing

Family Portrait – Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking

Wasp – Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking

So what happens now? So far, 20 Sundance films have been bought by independent distributors, TV markets and major studios- and that doesn’t include the 26 premieres you will soon see on the silver screen. The most expensive film to date is Hustle and Flow which sold for $16 million. I believe that’s a record for Sundance. Some reported there was an overabundance of sexual explicitness running rampant in this year’s selections. If there was, I couldn’t find it (darn it :)). In the 10 films I saw, only Inside Deep Throat touched that statement. But I found it compelling rather than nauseating or offensive. Still, be prepared for a little shock value when these flicks hit the screen sometime later this year.

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