Sundance, as a film festival, always progresses through an adoration of what is cool and what tries to remain chic. In recent years, alot of the personification has become situated people who are barely on the fringe of the industry in terms of involvement coming to be seen which is all well and good but removes from the nature of what the festival really is which can be reflected in the change from the original vision of founder Robert Redford.
Hearing Redford speak at the Sundance Resort, the idea becomes one interestingly enough of moving with the times and opening up new avenues. While, in his words, the festival has become such a huge event that is bigger than anyone person to control, he also seems very proud in particular of the documentary focus the past couple years which was consciously done.
Different films traversed the landscape with the elements of “Black Rock” and “Robot & Frank” emerging as the best of the ones seen. “Black Rock” succeeds in its “Deliverance” overtones in reverse by bringing a vividly primal element without losing a bit of its mainstream appeal while “Robot & Frank” works within a simplistic near-future structure because of a dynamic performance by Frank Langella who is able to elevate the material in a meditation of technology and emotion.
Music, parties and dinners represented a great distinction of the fest but in an interesting move of scheduling and programming, the ability in seeing some of the better and anticipated movies on the big screen required picking from one or the other.
In terms of dinner, Chefdance, which celebrates multiple films within a downstairs boudoir underneath the former music club Harry’s Os, brought out the texture of New York chef Donatella Arpaia who blended notions of classical perception with an ideal of nouveau riche texture.
The event of this specific evening was to highlight the premiere of director Spike Lee’s film “Red Hot Summer” which screened the night before. Sitting with his entourage and actors at the next table, Lee remained somber but engaged as his cast, a couple of whom are involved in HBO’s “Treme”, brought about a secturnal of music as dessert was completed,
After imbibing a cherry-infused Bulleit Bourbon cocktail courtesy of the Snake Oil Company in the adjoining room, the initial amuse provided infused a scallop crudo marinated with citrus-pickled spicy pepper intermixed with basil which was both tantalizing with a slight bent of edginess.
Revolving the first course, prepared risotto gnocchi with white truffles and pocerino fondue gave a certain creamy weight within the proceedings while the main course of wine-braised short rib waxed structurally but it was the inclusion of chopped brussel sprouts within a parsnip puree that made the presentation stand out.
Integrating through the dessert with aforementioned music, yogurt from a nearby cold room flowed with abandon, especially with the chocolate milkshake flavor while the lemon bodino mixed with raspberry shortbread created the right amount of levity.
Revolving around in musical structure, hip hop took more center on the first weekend with less rock acts than usual probably as an interrelation to the music film programming. Despite this, the relaying late Monday set by The Crystal Method at the Downstairs Bar, co-owned by Danny Masterson, reveled through the night as hard beats and swaying bodies populated the darkness.
Different structures played habitat to different parties with interspersed ready made venues and off the path establishments providing diversity within a structure of late night tendencies.
The Lifestyle/Fulcrum Hub connected with Blue Iguana hosted a bevy of late night soirees, some lasting until 5am in an extended personification of relaxing Utah laws. The “Keep The Lights On” Party packed itself to the gills but it was the HBO Networks Party with a DJ Set in the back atrium spun by Biz Markie that set the place spinning while Vodka Kona blends painted the ceiling.
Interring up Main Street, the “Sleepwalk With Me” party hosted at the Acura Lounge, just corner to the Sundance Co-Op, resurrected space buzzed with the texture of dark dens as Stella and quesadilla intensified within the beatnik registry and shot interludes.
Spinning down below the Sky Lodge and Easy Street, the Gen Art confab resolutes in shadowy textures of blue and black while the heavy house music permeates with gingerita-fueled thumping that peels the eyes bright.
Further down, near the Library, the hidden lair which has been host to all soirees from the Twitter House to the premiere party for “Inside Deep Throat” over the years brought an 80s revelry to celebrate “Liberal Arts”, the new film from Josh Radnor, replete with dessert textures ice elements through the cold and vivid dance floor.
Leagues away, in the aftermath of the cold snow drifts near Prospector Square, the after party for “Wrong” goes against the grain opting for the life giving richness of a local pizza establishment Fuego altered to reflect the film’s inter-textured plotline.
Retiring the intention after many a bagel and coffee at the down home hospitality of the NY Film Lodge mid tier on Main, the cozy resolution of the Fender Suite, down-structured but still comfortable blazed as the acoustic buzz of a hybrid function of Collective Soul reflected its way from the melting streets.
Sundance continues to change and mold, finding its identity between the necessities of modern interaction and a changing film landscape where choices must be made, lines defined and sleep forgotten.