2011 Sundance Exclusive as witnessed by MP&MY
Saturday, January 22nd
How can an innocent stroll on Main turn into an exercise in debauchery? With Day and Night at Cisero’s! Challenging assumptions of broad daylight we are seduced by nearly-naked vixens with Jackie-O shades. We are forced (totally against our will, of course) into a sweaty two-hour drill of table dancing and Champagne rain to thumping house hits. We try to resist, to fight, reestablish some sense of moral sanity at 4:25pm. Useless. Like a Shvits at a bathhouse…It hurt so friggin good! Iconic event organizer Randy brought the NYC flavor; and midst the bacchanal, Thor was quietly enjoying his dinner.
“Thus, he journeys into the heart of darkness that is branding…” reads one review for Spurlock’s Greatest Movie Ever Sold. And thus, the two of us chug down the hill, White Russians swishing in our bellies. Hunger has taken over and at such altitudes makes us feel like giddy schoolgirls. We strike gold at Carrera where
sushi chefs are slicing custom rolls and POM gals push rum-spiked beverages. Leaving with pocketfulls of cigars and Bustelo cappucinos…genial and expansive.
We stumble into Moving Pictures at The Studio for some facetime with the publisher, Peter Trimarco. Moving Pic’s show is on our network, SirkTV, and his graciousness is only complimented by Kelly who gives us a tour of the upstairs where forever-divine Andie Macdowell and her daughter Rainey are in the middle of a photo shoot. Patron shots are in order and we will not soon be forgotten as there lives a bartender in Utah who now knows how to crack a Stella with a lighter. Base to the thumb… Base to the thumb!
Hours later we scratch our itch at Bing Bar where head Bubblefish, Veronica Welch, from SundLAnce, introduces us to her school of tiger barbs. The door is a Fort Knox of police men and there might as well be a sign out front “99%Rejection Rate Guaranteed.” A scruffy townie flips off one of the men in midnight blue. “Bing this!” As if by osmosis we are whisked inside to a sea of partiers and gulp down Jack and ginger as if air. Veronica has on the coolest conundrum of a T-shirt by Future Heretics. It reads Compton Yacht Club. How awesome! Her Rubber Duck booties are nothing to sneeze at as well. Trek Jogger, she points out. And I want a pair in black for men. Bubblefish was handling The Nivea for Men House presented by FLAUNT magazine in a gorgeous private home nestled in the mountainous landscape. The place had cast dinners, premier parties, and some serious swag from Diesel, Ben Sherman, and MCM bags. Trent Magnano’s Midas touch was turning anyone into a celebrity. The Proper Barber’s cut is truth.
Half past one Bing is to the gills and Veronica leads us to her after hours. At this cockeyed point MP and I find it best to each shut one eye not to see quadruple. I the right, he the left. Our two-headed Sundance monster walks best this way. In a dark subterrane we are told to strap on Ion Time Sports Watches made of the natural mineral Tourmaline, used as a semi-precious gemstone and responsible for many health benefits. A meditative state takes over. We are focused and alive, concentrating very heavily…is it
the watch? Or the bartenders and waitresses in revealing bunny outfits at The Playboy Lounge? Dear Lord I can’t feel my face. MP smiles at me. His lips are red. Did I do that? His wife will chop mine off for sure! More importantly, an executive decision is made on the fly. To pound shots of Tequila Fortaleza with Katerina The Bald Beauty. This is one beautiful, hand-crafted… tequila! Feeling like Mexican outlaws in a Richard Rodriguez film we plunk down $120 and repeatedly demand the rabbit ears off a bartender’s head and directions to the grotto. G-d help us had we had a Bowie knife…
4am. Sans rabbit ears. The two of us have taken down a large cheese pie, two chicken sandwiches, a bowl of fries, a mesclun salad, various deserts, two sodas, and small child in a stroller, accidently. What business does he have that late at a pizza place anyway?! We tip our waitress $100 (Karmatically making up for the fallen infant) and she weeps with joy in our arms.
Sunday, January 23rd
To walk into Superdry is to be awakened by a horsewhip on the backflesh. Personal fetishes aside, it’s the one we’ve been waiting for. Superdry USA, a UK fashion brand, hosted a two-day series of events. Superdry was created in 2003 following the owner’s inspirational trip to Tokyo. It’s a brand with a vintage Americana flavor, Japanese-inspired graphics, and a UK edge. Very cool stuff! The Brad Leather Jacket is my favorite.
Tonight, Danny Masterson’s Downstairs is a pumping hub bub of the biting and the beautiful. A sexy crush of actors and celebs moving and shaking with NY and LA’s top party promoters and club owners. Special performances by Adrian Grenier’s Honey Brothers and up-and-comer Adrian Vera are followed by DJ sets by MomJeans (Danny Masterson) and Cisco Adler. Penn Badgley was breaking a few gossipy hearts, Twilighter Chaske Spencer and Cassie Scerbo were hanging with killer Ronnie Vannucci and former gun Matt Sorum, Caribbean pirate Vanessa Branch and pro-shooter Christopher Mcdonald all celebrated with foosball and darts.
Shadow PR repped the event with their standard taste for quality and sharp eye on craftsmanship. Coordinated by the hot pink-clad Kinley Cross from Shadow’s LA office this was one super smooth night and hands down the MOST fun on Main this Sundance 2011.
The Indie Mogul Party in Deer Valley…A true filmmaker party. Rich Kalinsky from Fujifilm had invited us to a distinct lodge with a kaleidoscopic crowd. The popular and the scholarly, the cult and the cliched, old and new. Having just screened Kevin Smith’s Red State, Rich praised the film as Michael Jackson reminded us that Billie Jean wasn’t his love while a few revelers sucked something or other at the Oxygen Bar. MP ended up happy after a well-needed complimentary massage. FujiFilm, Avid, and Raleigh Studios backed a solid mixer.
The coolest cave that is the House of Blues is filled with rock and roll boys and girls that never die! And TicketCake’s Dylan Jorgensen makes us feel like royalty…or rather like inside a plush living room of one of rock’s most decadent and respected. Dylan is the man when it comes to scoring tix to a hot event. Come hither sneers and tight minis up to here and Slash hosting a private event for the release of his Slasher Films. That’s what I’m talking about! Slash’s company will focus on a sub-genre of the horror film which typically involves a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with chainsaw or scythe. The slasher as a genre has it’s own set of characteristics which set it apart from related genres like splatter films.
Slasher has four films currently on their slate. We most anticipate Nothing To Fear which will reportedly be about the real town of Stull, Kansas, which many believe to be the ‘gateway to hell,’ and Theorem, the story of a mathematician who discovers the equation for evil (Aronofsky reverse Pi inspiration? ). What fresh air to bring back character-driven and intelligent horror films with depth like in the 70’s and 80’s! Thanks Slash. And for that girl on the corner of Hebert that squeeked to her girlfriend “Who’s Slash?”…Slash, buddy, can you please base a “final girl” character on her in one of your films? But don’t spare her to tell the story.
Monday, January 24th
Dinner at Chimayo is so exquisite that I can’t even begin to describe it. Nor will I. I’m not a restaurant critic. Hell, it’s my first time writing about parties and events even! A word of advice: Stay away from guys named Dominic from Chicago that bark about “shift changing” the women they are with even before the dessert arrives. Try not to notice them popping a pill in front of the wait staff. And whatever you do definately do not believe them when they say “My friend runs that restaurant we go in through the back the kitchen like Goodfellas tell them Dominic sentchyou you with Dominic.” Because the doorman at the restaurant knows no Dominic and Dominic just kept walking past this restaurant. Getoutaheeya!
The Best Complimentary Liquor Award (if we’d have one…and I will bring up at next meeting) goes to a yet-officially-unofficially opened Silver. As Ole Blue Eyes would peg “a classy joint.” Salvation Boulevard had their film bash and Vegas Cosmopolitan hotel was onboard. This David Rockwell designed, sleek spot introduced us to a new rye vodka. The stealth Belvedere bottles, labeled Belvedere Intense, were poured beside original Belvie and for two guys that swore not to go out tonight it all blended into one beautiful flight change. The drink to be had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the 508. Hendrick’s gin, simple syrup, basil, thyme, chili flakes, and of course Belvedere…nectar of the gods.
Tuesday, January 24th
The slab of exotic land with running water is the coolest centerpiece we have ever seen. Hands down the most grass in a room that we wouldn’t dare smoke. As everyone picked at crispy dumplings and chicken skewers, The INAUGURAL SUNDANCE INSTITUTE | MAHINDRA GLOBAL FILMMAKING AWARD recipients were announced. Emerging artists from Romania, Mexico, Malaysia and Israel selected for their visionary projects, were awarded each $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support. That is quite a lot support seeing that most aspiring filmmakers usually must max out their folk’s credit cards and run around in circles memorizing The Guerilla Bible of Filmmaking before the rejection letters from festivals start landing in their mailboxes…
Nevertheless, the Winners of the 2011 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award are:
Bogdan Mustata / WOLF (Romania) In this surreal tale, a 16 year-old boy’s dearest wish is realized when his absent father is quite literally reborn and joins the family once again, with complicated consequences.
Ernesto Contreras / I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE written by Carlos Contreras (Mexico). A rare indigenous language already on the verge of extinction faces its final threat when its last two speakers, very old friends, have a fight and refuse to speak to one another.
Seng Tat Liew / IN WHAT CITY DOES IT LIVE? (Malaysia). The unexpected presence of an African immigrant hiding in a small Malaysian village arouses the superstitions of the local residents, calling into question whether home is defined by the place you live or by the people who surround you.
Talya Lavie / ZERO MOTIVATION (Israel). A sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.
Buy the ticket…take the ride.
We RSVP’d with Steve Wilson from BWR PR and are happy that we were able to experience this ceremony. The event directors / organizers are genuine people that have a self-less interest in the cause while securing a foundation and nurturing aspiring filmmakers. We watched these four filmmakers accept their awards with admiration. Their’s now is a mysterious unknown. We pray their hopes not decimate in life’s travails…somehow we think these beautiful dreamers will be alright. Reach for the stars…you’ll hit the moon.
Oh! And we saw some movies. People, this is a film festival after all.
And if you have gotten this far down please check out our interviews from the festival on this site and broadcasting on our national college television network SirkTV.
Thanks and see you all soon…
by Max Yampolsky
To announce Los Angeles’ Red Carpet Summer, LA Inc, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, hosted a media reception to highlight the inventive possibilities coming to the City Of Angels hosted at the immense and glorious manor of Candy and the late Aaron Spelling.
The Spelling Manor, which is located on 4 1/2 acres in the exclusive Holmby Hills area just off the Wilshire Corridor, is one of the most exclusive of all homes and relatively hidden, much like the Playboy Mansion which is located next door. One would never know its location with its seemingly tranquil surroundings but without the need to drive up the essences of Mulholland to reach its precipice.
Spelling, who has recently put the Manor on the market for 115 million dollars, looks to be moving onto the next step. She is on the board of directors for LA Inc. and is their ambassador of goodwill. In her husband’s former screening room in the front of the house which is undeniably grandoise as a screen rises from the floor and pictures lift from the walls to reveal a projection booth, one realizes the extent that Spelling’s empire encompasses.
Patti McJennett, Sr. VP of Marketing for LA Inc., spoke that Los Angeles’ biggest draw is still tourism and that the international market takes up a great percent of that. With destinations like Korea, China and Japan from the Far East as well as UK, Germany and France, the lure of foreign visitors continues to dominate the marketplace.
Representing different companies of interest in the Los Angeles area, three specific outlays were brought forth.
The first was Thomas See, VP Of Sales for Universal Studios Hollywood, who announced the opening of the new King Kong 360 3D attraction, being created by Peter Jackson which is set to open this summer. It replaces the original attraction which was destroyed in the massive fire some years back which decimated this ride as well as much of the backlot. The attraction involves, at one point, the tram being surrounded on all sides by 3D screens on Skull Island stuck being a fighting Kong and a T-Rex. Jackson’s WETA did much to all of the 3D work on the Cameron opus “Avatar” so the effects and technology involved should be groundbreaking. The backlot is also reopening with the classic NY street back intact but with new modern brownstones being availed as well.
Jeff Rudolph, CEO of the California Science Center, announced the opening of the new wing: “Ecosystems” which offers a different range of interactive experiences. The promotion video shown spoke more than a passing comparison to Epcot’s former “Living Seas” pavilion at Disney World Florida. In addition to this attraction, no matter what any theater owner would have you hear, the Science Center boasts the true IMAX at 7 stories tall. Currently and progressing into the summer, “Hubble 3D” will be playing. Rudolph reflects that the journey through the galaxies million of light years away through actual images will astound.
Lastly, Philip Ferentinos, Director Of Starline Tours, spoke of the popularity of the Celebrity Homes tour. The Starline Tours date back to 1935 when Sid Grauman thought that it would be a great idea to show people around to where the stars lived. It wasn’t something he could bring to bear but his driver Bud, who knew where everyone lived, could. He bought a couple limos and began making the progress.
In the 1960s, a fellow entreprenuer who worked in the parking garage next to the Chinese Theater decided to take over the business and grow it. Currently as Ferentinos jokes, the vans are now “topless” and everyone has a personal headset as to not distract the residents. In a list of most requested homes to look at, Michael Jackson is at the top. His home was in the same Holmby Hills district as Spelling’s and the reality is that a Starline Tours bus was there when he was taken to the hospital. Many of the videos of that moment was taken by tourists on the tour. Other star homes that are of interest that they pass by are Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise and, of course, Spelling Manor.
Candy relates that Aaron sometimes would go out and see the tour buses and even jump on. The reasoning is that it was those fans on the bus that put him where he was and that should not be forgotten. Ferentinos mentions that just this week Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, who were shooting their new film at Gucci in Beverly Hills, waved to passengers. Because they are so ingrained and constantly on tours, the drivers tend to know where things are going on in the city at any given point.
After these elements, a brief tour through the house was given. The multiple alcoves provided undeniable possibilities with all kinds of art covering the walls although impressionism seems to have taken a center seat. The small group we were part of was led by none other than Rick Hilton himself, father of Paris. He lives very close by and apparently (it seems) is involved in some way in helping to sell the house. His conversation while showing the house is that in terms of buyers (they have had interest), all aspects are negotiable including keeping some specific furniture in the house as well as the projection room.
Some of the very interesting rooms include Aaron’s office on the main floor which contain alot of his scripts and the main foyer where pictures including Victorian costumes of his daughter Tori as well as pictures in the room of Candy and Aaron with Prince Charles are extremely poignant.
Heading downstairs into a whole other world, the hobbies and fun of the Spellings come forth. One room is completely Candy’s doll collection which is impressive with everything from burlesque to turn-of-the-century to a doll that can actually smoke, all encased behind glass. The main room coming out of this sanctuary is a lithe pool room, slick but light in its decor. Heading down the next hallway which is made more specific by dog painting (specifically one with a dog head on a human body), a side door leads into a fully operating arcade game room which includes Ms. Pac Man. At the end of the downstairs corridor, a bowling alley, still fully operational, makes itself known. On the back wall lined by a wraparound couch is many of Aaron’s awards and nominations including many certificates for Golden Globes which was lost on many of the HFPA members who were in attendance on the tour. The People’s Choice glass awards line the side wall in full view reflecting Aaron’s thought process that the fans were infinitely important.
Leaving the property and returning to the streets around Holmby Park, one realizes the power of what this kind of estate represents especially in sharing it in part with the people of Los Angeles. It shows what is possible and what you think might be far away is right there under your nose.
The advent of D23 last year in the vision of its expo showed the sheer devotion of many Disney fans in their intent to make a new exclusive fan club their own kingdom. With panels and high wattage stars like Johnny Depp and John Travolta making the trek to Anaheim, the thought would be to keep the energy flowing.
In buzz building fashion, the D23 Expo will be alternating every two years to keep the vision fresh while bringing a new function is Destination D to the forefront. This conference will be held in September in the Disneyland area but will be focusing on the aspect of the park, its lore, the creation of the rides and numerous other behind-the-scene experiences instinctual to the neo-phytes who thrive on the details.
In giving life to the intention of the club, Disneyland hosted a 1st Anniversary Party after dark optimizing the vision of Fantasyland in the late night hours with the newly revitalized Captain EO playing in endless run in Tomorrowland.
With pastries and cupcakes adorned in luscious icing and sweets beckoning around every corner with Disney characters from the witch in Snow White to the Bears of the Jamboree opting for photos, the rides allowed for free reign as these park riders know how to optimize. Snow White offered the most newly minted thrills as the forests had a bit of the darker nudge as “Small World” reverberated with echoed sentiments.
Heading through the castle intensity, the talk of Richard Sherman holding court near the carousel gave a whimsical attention to the proceedings. His music graced the vision of “Mary Poppins” and gave life to the underrated gem “Bedknobs & Broomsticks” starring Angela Lansbury.
The re-emergence of “Captain EO” held particular interest having only opened days before. The current interest in 3D always harked back to this experiment in 1985 using prototype cameras. The question was the aspect of the technology holding up. In a much more compacted space of time, the need was to nitpick and watch the abilities of the camera. A behind-the-scenes featurette outside the ride recollects the cameras and sets used to create this unique collaboration.
Upon the viewing the initial progression is to whip the idea back to the 80s but the sheer energy of the music prevents that from happening. Jackson has an innocence still that infects the screen against all better judgment. Using certain humor, more “Blade Runner” in terms of Sebastian than “Star Wars”, every shot seems retrospective of a work of art able to be rewatched. In seeing the short film three times in a row, the technical bumps fell aside for the sheer pinpoint performance.
The 3D itself, seemingly structured on the multi-plane elements of early animated films works on the basis of separating the effects plane in certain scenes. This might be not very cost effective on bigger films but shows the true structure of 3D which to this reviewer was always related with the idea of something expounding forth from the screen. This film takes full advantage of that but understands the editing necessary to make it work.
Ultimately though it is not the filmmaking but the showmanship of Jackson that wins out in the structure of creating a necessary and fantastic background upon which to create these moments. Captain EO retraces those happy accidents between artists which happen in selective progression which allow experimentation to take hold and flourish.
This kind of implementation truly personifies D23 because it is a community of fans and technical knowledge junkies that wanted to know the workings, backwards and forwards, of one of the most imaginative arenas on Earth.