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Sundance Snapshots: Text Driven

TI tries to get his bearings  in Park City , UtahTI tries to get his bearings in Park City , Utah

Being out of context is a heady thing and since Saturday night when I touched down in Salt Lake City I've been so out of context it has led to self-enlightment. That hit me on Friday night when my party, spearheaded by Miss Dree Hemmingway was cutting its way through the mobs clogging Old Main Street. We were climbing up the steps to this Italian restaraunt when a tall blonde man exclaimed "Oh My God.Look who just strayed in." It was a family friend of Dree's who was in town for the proceedings and so he steered us over to another group who quickly circled Miss Hemmingway, battering her with questions about her Mom and sister and Idaho and Sun Valley. I spoke idly with a few of them..y'know... idle chitter chatter on the level of "So how long are you here for?" ("The weekend." ) and "What do you do?" "I'm not too sure ," I ventured , "Officially I work as an editor . But really, I'm thinking I should be a stripper." One of our combined group, a strong featured woman with the most patrician voice ever looked over with an eyebrow raised. "Its recession proof," I finished . After dinner I found out it was Jodie Foster. I'll respect the privacy of the parties involved and not relate the night's entire bitch wit conversation but let's just say Jodie Foster is real and lives up to expectations.

The Sunday morning light that washes down on the snow fields of a high mountain town is unforgiving of my hangover. I bolted awake at 7.30am feeling like a vampire. But staggering out to the back of the house where we were staying we found an amazing view (Super-blue skies, snow capped mountains, three story townhouses, winding roads, a ski-lift two blocks away and our own jacuzzi) . The night before, we had swung over these same mountains on a quick trip from the airport to Park City by helicopter and the Rockies had been misted over by the layered shadows of the night . Now in the high white daylight you could see that Park City was also ski heaven. So clear, so clean, so pure. I don't know about skiing but long boards are very directional. TI would take up snowboarding just for the jumpsuits and goggles.

Later that Sunday morning, plunging through the throngs again on a search and destroy mission for coffee it hit me that a whole micro-culture was swirling around us and we were not involved. Our involvement was entirely about bringing gothic starkness to a snow wrapped mountain vista. Think isolated figure in big black Rick Owens winter coat with witch hood trudging through knee deep snow in goatskin boots and skintight Nom de Guerre jeans. Though this crowd was not driven by twisted fashion moments . Sundance on first glance is very Fashion Week convention frenzy with snowboards, ski-lifts and cinema. Hundreds of independent films were hunting for a home. The walls thick with layers of flyers and posters ...the promotional get-ups and giveaways and branded lounges (Britta, Asolut, Myspace, Southwest Airways, Ed Hardy,) attested to that. Thousands of actors, directors and writers were courting (or being courted ) by agents and managers and publicists in these little cafes and brassaires all over town. The real rock stars were the acquisition teams from the Hollywood studios . You could tell them by their very good coats with the little fur trim. Like feathered birds fluffing and presenting, the burnished men and women of Hollywood were throwing down their power and privilege in the form of a fabulous coat. Which is why it was funny watching the scattered paparazzi littered about the street when Dree would go by in her thinspirational black skinny jeans, swathes of ash gray scarves and black leather jacket under Patrick Ervill black alpaca hoodie. Click. Click. Cliiiiiick? In due time dudes

That the Sundance Film Festival is about FILMS was properly brought home by IMG's head honcho Ivan Bart. I ran into him at the corner of Main and Heeber. He was in town ring mastering the six ring circus that had sprung up around the short "Acting For The Camera" directed by Justin Nowell , produced and lensed by his boyfriend, Grant Greenburg and starring IMG model/actress Mallory June . After that Page Six blurb a whole frenzy had sprung up around the film and it was very charming watching Justin's sweet bewilderment about the abrupt Hollywood frenzy. At a hurried brunch (the waitress clearly couldn't wait for next week's return to normalcy) I chatted with Justin, Mallory , Thomas Nowell (the screenwriter) and Grant . I got a crash course in how the Sundance career game is played out via short films as well a fantastic heads-up from Ivan on a couple of the essential screenings to catch, the favorite being "Hump Day". More on that later. For instance if it wasn't for Thomas' insider scoop, I would have blown off a 7.00pm Chris Rock dinner. His film, inspired my his daughter's hair drama was a mega-hot ticket . I sat and wept in my wine when the group went off to a 5.30pm "The September Issue" screening about the behind-the-scenes of the making of a US Vogue edition. I had seen a glimpse on fashionolgie.com and wanted to watch Grace Coddington throw withering stare after withering stare at uncouth documentary cameramen but had no ticket. That is what is great about being out of context. A new matrix. New variables. A new chessboard to master. Next time.

But my reason for being in Sundance was the Elite Sunday night bash hosted by La Dree . At the last minute we decided to dress down but accessorize up. She went plaid shirt, gray cape,leather jacket and that ponyskin hoodie but with heels, not boots. Totally Alexander Wang. TI...wore the same shit from the morning . At the door of the club is a milling mob. Because it is a private party it has turned into the center of the vortex that is all these damn parties up and down Main Street. The party for ex Guns n Roses' axman, Slash ends? The kids swoop down here. The Vice magazine party winds down? The kids come flocking. How Stacey Eastman kept his poise, charm and mind I don't know but that is one lovely human being given how he sorted out that madness. We make our way downstairs into a motley crew of film indies, snowboard aficiandos ( board pro Sean White is in the house), heads like Elijah Woods and Colin Farell, the West Coast Elite kids, the director of Crash, and some local kids straight out of Ralph Lauren central casting . We find a comfy couch by a fireplace with a library as back drop. Odd, mad, New Yorkers start skidding our way. One really beautiful publicist boy pops out a digi-cam with a snap of him with Paris Hilton. "Is she here!" one of the kids asks quivering with excitement. "No, she's down the street but I told her to head over after wards" . Suddenly bluegrass fiddling music comes over the speaker and all these pretty little kids with pristine mountain air skin start to hoe-down to the beat. It is so insane it becomes directional. "Oh My God. I feel like I'm at Beatrice!" remarks Dree. See! You always got to put new experiences in context.

Taste is a dictatorship.

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