Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Sundance Film Festival Diaries
It's A Marvelous Night For a Sundance Party (January 21)

by Richard Schwartz

PARK CITY, Jan. 21 - After too many hours spent in dark crowded rooms watching some pretty obtuse cinema, it was time to stick our heads outside and see what life was like in the exterior world.

In a word, frigid. But that didn't stop us. We were about to check out the Sundance party circuit.

So get out the checklist. Dress is casual; any sweater will do. Preparation is minimal since most official functions are open to any fesival attendee. Conversation is topical - the "Kurt and Courtney" controversy is still a hot topic as is the traditional gabfest starter, "So what films have you seen so far?"

Our first stop was the Canyons resort in Park City. New Orleans legends the Neville Brothers and slide guitar-pickin' Keb' Mo shook the walls of the Canyons "bubble" as they headlined a party sponsored by Northwest Airlines. The Minnesota-based airline was celebrating its commitment to on-flight independent films (perhaps now they can make a commitment to some edible in-flight food). But most eyes were on the Nevilles' ten-piece band, whose repertoire included a jamming version of favorite "Iko Iko" and Aaron Neville's lush vocal stylings on such solo hits as "Don't Know Much." Gosh, I'm starting to sound like Casey Kasem here.

That location will be the same site of another rock-and-roll bash Friday night, as BMI presents Joan Osborne and Cracker. Incidentally, Cracker's David Lowery co-stars in and contributes music to the American Spectrum film "The River Red." I have no idea why Joan Osborne is in town, however.

Then we hopped a shuttle and made our way to the Lakota bar where the cast of the film "Slam" was gathering after a well received screening. Everyone from the cast is there including director Mark Levin, who senses a distribution deal might be around the corner. Also stopping by was actress Alfre Woodard, fresh into town after a Golden Globe win Sunday night.

Next we planned to check out the party for the Irish-flavored drama "Snitch" in hopes of catching a pint of some imported Guinness (every local brew in Utah can only have a maximum 3.2 percent alcohol). Forget the Guinness, we couldn't even find the party. Guess we'll have to save the hobnobbing with Colm Meaney for another day.

So we pulled up tent and headed back to the modest Chateau Apres ski lodge (which I believe translates to "The House of Before" and will never be mistaken for the Chateau Marmont) to catch some sleep and prepare for the Wednesday night party circuit, highlighted by an Absolut cocktail hour featuring a live performance by El Vez, called "the world's best Mexican Elvis impersonator." Viva Park City!

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