Monday, January 21, 2008

Sundance With Me

If you are gay, the first Sunday of the Sundance Film Festival is THE day to go. For my money, it is the only day to go. There is plenty of gay stuff that goes on at the festival, harkening back to the early 1990s when gay films won both best documentary and best feature in the same year. It was the birth of modern queer cinema and Sundance has had a healthy gay sheen to it ever since. But at this point, for the casual observer, the big gay parties on Sunday are the reason to come to town.

The fun started yesterday with the Queer Brunch. It is sponsored by HERE! TV so there is usually a nice smattering of HERE! stars there (this year Reichen!) mixed with current and past queer filmmakers, journalists and cute local Utah boys looking for a free meal and sex with an out-of-towner. For me it is a chance to see all the gay people I need to know, but never see because they live in Los Angeles or San Francisco. I dragged my Utah friend Jasey with me because I hate wandering through these things alone.

I saw Reichen of course. He was in good spirits and had even been skiing, so he was having a well-rounded adventure weekend in Park City. Honey Laborador was there, and I hadn't seen her since she filled in for Romaine one week this past summer. Harrison was there, competing with Reichen to be the most tan gay person in town (Harrison won,but Reichen pulls it off better). I ran into Jeremy, actor/indie producer and boyfriend of Chad Allen. The only downside of the big gay Sunday at Sundance is that it is a little bit like a gay cruise. You keep seeing the same people over and over again. So I assured Jeremy that I would see him nine times yesterday. And each time we spotted each other across a knot of homos, I would hold up a number of fingers representing how many times it had been at that point.

All my usual HERE! friends were at the brunch especially Chris and Josh (Ben Harvey is of course enroute to Borneo so he couldn't make it) who were working and spent most of the morning looking frazzled and irritated. Having worked this same party planning job at a movie studio, I know that everyone has fun at the party but you. And party guests take the whole thing WAAAAAAAY too seriously. It's just a room full of people, some free cocktails and a gift bag. No one but you cares that your free Ginch Gonch underwear isn't in your size or match your eye color.

From the Queer Brunch, Jasey and I had some time to kill so we met my dad for lunch at a szechwan place in Park City. Still missing Panda Express (always), I ordered the orange-flavored chicken. It was okay, but not the same. Like the bbq patty at Subway just isn't a McRib (which is back in Utah and I might have ordered two on Friday and will have another two today and, if my heart doesn't stop, two tomorrow on my way to the airport). Then it was off to the Queer Lounge for the GLAAD "And The Nominees Are..." party (thanks Ross for the shout out).

Romaine and I have an interesting relationship with GLAAD. She used to work there and when the Advocate went to town on them a couple of years ago, Romaine happily threw in her two cents on record. Last year, our show joined the folks at HERE! in condemning the old rules for getting a GLAAD award (The L Word, a show about gay people created by a gay person and appearing on a Viacom network was eligible, but Noah's Arc, a show about gay people created by a gay person and appearing on a Viacom network was ineligible). However, GLAAD has since changed the rules, for the better I might add, to reflect 21st century media and I am pleased with the change. But when I finally met the head of GLAAD Neil Giuliano (who is a lovely and handsome man, by the way) there was a sudden glimmer of recognition in his face as I was talking and all of our past transgressions as a show flashed before his eyes. That being said, Damon Romine, who works at GLAAD listens to and loves our show and he assured me I was on the list for the party this year.

Jasey and I waited patiently outside for the GLAAD party and when the doors opened up, it turns out I wasn't on the list after all. Fortunately, Damon Romine was within earshot and cascaded down the stairs in his best Hostest With The Mostest mode and whisked us past security right to the (much to my surprise) photo line! Last year no one took my photo at the event, but this year I was ushered into the press room like an actual celebrity and posed for a photo with Neil Giuliano! I felt like a star! What can I say? I am easily pleased and impressed and true to my previous assertion, Sundance is the place where a C list celebrity goes to be treated like an A list celebrity. Although in my case, it is a place where a nobody can be treated like a C list celebrity, which is good enough for me!

I spotted Jeremy for the seventh and last time at the GLAAD party. I was certain I would see him later at my fourth and last party of the night but I guess he got tired of my mug and called it quits. Rex Lee from Entourage was there to announce the nominees and I didn't get to say hi. He is a sweet guy and never misses an opportunity to harass Romaine on our show about her continued refusal to see his show. My old HERE! friends (plus new HERE! friends Billy and Ross) were happy to see that they had been nominated this year. Later, Damon wandered over to our group of three and said "congratulations on all of you being nominated this year" and then he turned to me. I pretended to burst into tears because of course everyone was nominated in the group but me. "We don't have a radio category," Damon offered, "but maybe next year." Whatever. Just getting into the party filled with free booze was award enough for me. Plus, there was a giftbag, and on our way out, they gave us each two of them!

After the GLAAD party, things started to get really weird. At the event, we met a couple of guys named Don and Mike. Mike was soooo cute and very flirty. They were both corporate lawyers which would normally mean lame, but they were actually really fun. So Jasey and I went with them to the Turning Leaf lounge, along with Josh from HERE, who had some time to kill before his dinner with Paris Hilton. Turning Leaf has the best scam in town. It is a party where you pay a dollar to get in and you get up to six free glasses of Turning Leaf wine or Stella Artois beer, as determined by hash marks on your wristband. But if you are a dedicated alcoholic, you can just rip off your wristband, pay another dollar, walk in off the street and start the process again. We all got good and boozed up at the event. Jasey met some rappers in super awesome fur coats who thought he was great and wanted him to fly with them to Vegas in their private jet for the night. I was sober enough to realize that this was a very bad idea. What if he accidentally got separated from them and was stranded in Vegas. It was all very shady but exhilarating.

Josh left us at the party and from there the four of us went off to a premiere party for a movie called Portland that was up in The Yurt, a tent-like structure up in the middle of nowhere that required a van ride and a Snowcat to get to. While waiting at the Yarrow for the vans to take us to the Snowcat, I winnowed down my four GLAAD giftbags that I had been carrying all night, down to one big gift bag filled with the stuff I cared about. The other three, I abandoned like orphans in the lobby of the hotel. We piled into the van and then from there climbed into a giant sixteen person Snowcat for a harrowing ride through the snowy wilderness. It was a night fraught with danger and excitement and our intense intoxication only made it more heightened.

Once at The Yurt we were greeted by a large empty room with a bartender, an open bar, and a chock-filled chocolate fondue station. The four of us chatted aimiably and flirted a bit with the other three homos (Craig, Craig and Craig) who had joined us on our journey to the middle of nowhere. All of us wanted to get to the final party of the night for Paris Hilton's new movie "Hottie Or Nottie" but the Snowcat only came once every 20 minutes so timing was everything. I traipsed out into the snow to find the heated portapotty and along the way was creeped out by a lone radio speaker near an abandoned ski lift playing music to an empty area. In my head I thought, "if this was a horror movie, this is the point where the deranged killer with the axe would come out of nowhere and hack me up just outside of earshot of my friends partying in The Yurt."

Instead of serial killers, we were instead greeted by more alcohol and a few other stragglers who came in on the Snowcat. Don and Mike joined Jasey and I out on the abandoned ski lift where we all took a series of outrageous drunken photos. Moments later, the Snowcat arrived and we all tried to make our escape. The three Craigs joined us in a van headed down the hill, but Mike and Don somehow got lost in the shuffle and were last seen boozing it up in the warmth of The Yurt. In the van on the way down the hill, while lamenting the loss of Mike and Don, I realized I also left my GLAAD giftbag behind as well. Three hours of lugging that crap around only to leave it in a yurt.

We arrived at the Paris Hilton party just before 11pm. Chris from HERE! had said the party would start between ten and ten-thirty, so eleven was the perfect time to get there. And then we waited. An hour! In the freezing cold and snow. My toes froze solid. But we waited patiently in the guest list line, all the while watching people who didn't wait patiently, get ushered into the party. Finally, we got up to the front and lo and behold for the third time that day (including the Queer Brunch), I wasn't on the list again. Finally I spotted Josh out on the balcony and begged him to come down and rescue us from the relative obscurity of the gutter we were told to wait in.

Once inside, we warmed up, but were still pretty cranky about the whole thing. The party was in full swing and Paris was still there. Jasey really wanted a photo with her but I had a feeling that was going to be pretty impossible. She was in a private area and only emerged briefly to leave. She strode out of the area into the heart of the party with her arms in the air, giant grin on her face, and a determined strut out of the party. I must say, it was a high quality exit. Jasey did get his photo with Reichen, which was a fair substitute. And by the time they threw us out at 1:30am, I was all partied out. After fourteen hours straight with the same gay people, I was really ready to go home.

Overall, it was a very successful day at Sundance. I met plenty of fun and cute people. Had a few drinks. And even though I was allowed to feel like a celebrity for a few fleeting moments. I was repeatedly reminded that I wasn't all that famous after all. In the end, I don't mind. I much prefer being an ordinary citizen to being famous. Paris may have had a good time at her own party, but she didn't get to meet anyone new or interesting or just hang out in a corner and have a conversation about why the gays prefer Hillary to Barack. But I suppose that is the difference between us. That and millions of dollars and hotness.

1 comment:

CW said...

Goddamit, you are a celebrity to us! Your escapades are so much fun to read. Please get your video podcasts going again.