Sundancin': Swayin' To The Music

CriminyPete hauls his ass to Utah to pitch in at that big ol' film festival, potentially hob-nobbing with celebrities but most likely slipping on ice patches and busting his skull open at inopportune times.


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CriminyPete in MormonLand:
Ruminations on Preparations for Sundance Operations, Libations and Permutations

That's right, good ol' Criminy Pete, weird-ass movie goof, is going to Bobert Bedford's silly little get-together in Park City, Utah. Don't worry, they don't let any two-bit jerk-off with a website in as an official critic or anything - I got an "in" and I'm going to be volunteering there, running a movie theater, telling Ethan Hawke where he can sit, maybe making popcorn or walking around with a headset looking like I think I'm more important than I am. But still, it's an interesting proposition, worth blathering about on a site about movies.

I'm excited about this, even though I'll have to be doing my real job remotely during the day, then running a theater at night, but I'm told "the parties don't really start until 1 AM" or something like that, so maybe I'll even do some of that. Oh, and maybe, just maybe, I'll catch a flick or two.

Yet I feel the light tug of that nefarious little emotion known as dread, along with its scalawag compatriot calling itself anxiety, simply because of the fear that I will screw something up colossally and make a complete ass of myself in front of lots of famous people. Not that famous people are more important not to screw up around for some imagined regality they posess, but simply because A) famous people have a greater forum for spreading the news about how some jackass at Sundance fucked everything up for everybody, adding to my shame, and B) I've got a small history of embarrassing myself in front of the 'privacy challenged.'

Now I haven't met a lot of famous people, and my meetings with Neil Young and Linda Perry went well enough, but of late I've been trying to brainstorm interesting ways to talk to a celebrity without sounding like the trillionth sycophant in a long line of blithering idiots. I mean, really, there's nothing you can SAY to a celebrity whose work you enjoy that may stand any chance of standing out in their memory, make them interested in you and maybe, just maybe, say "You know what? Come live at my house, I'll pay all your debts and we'll be best friends and I'll introduce you to Janeane Garofalo, who's expressed an interest in finding an opinionated layabout to shack up with." Try as you might.

So I tend not to give a damn about attempting to meet the famous. I'll generally be content to admire them from afar, enjoy their work and stay out of their lives, since they've already got a million people in their faces all the time anyway. Autographs are lame, too, usually. I've got Denis Leary's autograph, but who really cares about somebody's John Hancock?

However, my first embarrassment tale comes from the time I went to the Joan Osborne concert a while back. I know what yer thinkin' - "That 'what if God was one of us' chick? Holy jeez, I hate that song." Thanks to the radio, I ain't that fond of it, neither. But also thanks to the radio, none of her other songs have been ruined by media murder, and I'm glad for that, because there's some good stuff there - check out her latest album "Righteous Love." She's got a very balls-out bluesy growl to her, and in concert she was a knockout. During the show, however, a chime flies off of the tambourine she's playing and smacks me in the face. I go down for a moment, scramble around and find the chime, and she's asking me if I'm all right, I reassure her I'm fine, she stops between songs to make sure I'm all right, I reassure her again, and the show goes on. I'm right up against the stage, see. It's not until some chick comes up to me and says "Dude! That's your backstage pass!" that I start thinking about the whole 'celebrity meeting' thing... especially because, in this case, I wouldn't mind it if she said "You know what, you're so cool, you should live on our tour bus with us and enjoy coitus with me," or other such ridiculous stuff.

So now I'm running potential scenarios through my mind as I'm loitering around outside after the show - no, they didn't let me backstage, not that I'm good at finagling things like that anyway. Trying desperately to come up with something memorable, wry, amusing, interesting, captivating or even just mildly original to say to her when she comes out to autograph posters for the handful of us that are silly enough to wait in the chilly night air for someone to write their name on something. Yes, it occurs to me how absurd this whole concept is, but I've caught the 'bug.'

So finally she comes out, looking weary and beat, so I immediately feel even more lame for waiting around to bother her. So I'm the first guy to come up to her, and she says "Hey, you're the guy that got hit with the chime." And my brainstorming of interesting conversation starters culminates in my response:

"Yeah, I was hoping you could kiss it and make it better."

And it's not until she says "Uhh... no." that I realize "Wait! That's not clever! That's CREEPY! ARGH!" So I immediately assure her that I was just kidding and fall back on the standard 'love your work, love your album' mantra, I get my poster signed, and I wander off feeling like a complete moron, because not only will she remember me as the guy she hit with the hunk o' tambourine, but she'll probably also remember that I was that creepy dude what came onto her after the show.

This event, coupled with that time I unknowingly invited Eddie Izzard to share a one-person bathroom with me which could easily have been construed as the sleaziest of come-ons, makes me fear what wacky-creepy misunderstandings will occur when I arrive in Park City. I already feel like Jack Tripper without the handy 'everyone gets to get the correct explanation' denouement that soothes the agitated nerves.

Anyway, I hereby promise more reports from the mountainous slopey bowel infarction known as the Sundance Film Festival. I don't know what that means, either, but I wanted to say 'bowel infarction.' When interesting stuff happens, you'll be the seventh or eighth to know, or thereabouts. Maybe eleventh. No guarantees.

Onto the Dailies!

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