It was 11 p.m. on the crazy Saturday night of Sundance’s opening weekend last year, in the middle of a blizzard, and Bravo personality-lifecaster Julia Allison clearly had enough of party hopscotch.
“As far as I can tell, evenings at Sundance are a series of "Where are you? I'm at [x] party. Probably leaving to go to [z] party soon," she tweeted. The night before, Chris Ryan, curator of the famous Party List and a nominee for favorite local, called it quits himself, overwhelmed by the options at the cocktail party buffet.
As the next in an ongoing series of Hollywood Public Service Announcements, here’s the 10 best new things at Sundance this year, with the hashtags to show off how you’re tweeting your way through the clutter.
Warning: The weather forecast has temperatures in the teens. The last place you want to be is curbside or in transit. Here’s what everyone will be talking about this year.
When: Opening Weekend
Tweet: @Uber, and get the app.
Genius move. The on-demand car service is pulling in to Park City for the festival. Game the system and get one of your country-mouse buddies who is a newbie to sign up for a new account. Virgin riders get $20 off the first trip with the code “PRDEPTVIP.” So far, no word on how they’ll fit chains on a Lincoln Town Car.
This is the Friday night event.
Grohl’s rock-doc about the Valley recording studio that captured Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Guns N’ Roses, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac and other mega bands screens on Friday. Expect an all-star jam at Park City Live with a plethora of surprise guests joining Grohl’s “Sound City Players.” The single from the film included Paul McCartney, which explains the “McCartney-Nirvana” union at last month’s “12.12.12 Concert for Sandy.” The 300 general-public tickets were gone in a flash. Now it’s who you know -- or who you can beg -- to get in to this slice of SXSW in the mountains.
This event comes on the heels of singer-turned-movie-producer Alicia Keys celebrating with the star of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” Jennifer Hudson, at a Hennessy VS party on Thursday.
Grey Goose Blue Door
Behind the frosted glass (it looks like the bottle, get it?) is a two-story space crawling with un-indie talent. The hyper-organized, preferred place for above-title talent dominated the scene at Toronto and has had its Sundance-card locked up since mid-December, the earliest of any major programmer.
Last year it was Richard Gere in “Arbitrage” and “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” This year, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Carell, Guy Pearce, Octavia Spencer, Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page will celebrate films here. For Dessert: Hot Apple Pie Cocktails.
The most volatile of all the hospitality sectors finally uncorks some new entries this year.
NYC’s West Village buzz machine The Westway (@TheWestwayNYC) is coming to Main Street, but it won’t be exclusively DJs. They have an afterparty for Jessica Biel’s movie in the intimate space on its opening night. Expect a vice-like door.
The Nikki Beach (@NikkiBeachWorld) aesthetic is sand, teepees, bonfires and sparklers. How’s that going to transplant to the 14-degree weather in Park City? Nikki’s smartly found one of the only indoor-outdoor hybrid venues (the top of the Sky Lodge hotel) for a series of parties, and they’re promising bonfires. With snow expected, it should match the all-white everything aesthetic of the South Beach and St. Tropez institution.
Following their Vegas competitors northbound up the 15 freeway, the massive -- and massively popular -- nightclubs of the Wynn Resorts (@XSLasVegas and Surrender) are invading. They’ve produced a trailer heralding their takeover of Park City Live. Avicii, Afrojack and 2 Chainz each headline nights, and good news -- these are open to the public. Bad news, it’s open to the public, so it’s a cash bar and cash bottle service, just like a real nightclub. Except for Friday night (the Grohl concert) the space is now known as Park City Live, is open and has new owners.
Returning Hall of Famers
At the bottom of Main St lies “the anchor.” Perennial favorite TAO (@TaoLasVegas) returns to the Village at the Lift, with DJ Vice (@DJVice’s) high-energy party Friday night and a performance by Nas (@Nas) on Saturday night. Everyone from Paris Hilton to Harvey Weinstein hangs with Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg (bottom left) in this underground parking garage. Look for the long line at the bottom of Main Street.
On the same block as Westway, Hyde (@HydeSunset) returns. As of Tuesday, they had 1,000 RSVPs for a space that holds 145.
No more Bing Bar?
Bing Bar: Take Stewie Griffin’s time machine to 2011
Goodnight Gansevoort: Friday
No more Bing Bar, but they are still a “leadership” sponsor of the actual festival.
But don’t be fooled as you pass by 573 Main St. on Friday night. It will look as full throttle as when Drake, Florence and the Machine and Aziz Ansari performed under the Bing banner in years past. The One Group (as in STK, Bagatelle, Tenjune and Gansevoort) transfer “Goodnight Gansevoort” to this much larger space. Last year, this was one of the most sought-after lists, and Friday night’s party should follow suit. Music by Viceroy (@ViceroyOfficial).
Village at the Lift
Two years away from its Bar Mitzvah, PMK*BNC, Jeffrey Best and Strategic Group have been reinventing this public space for a long time.
What’s new? There’s a more upscale tack this year: The gifting bazaar on the ground floor is gone. The Stella Artois dinner is no longer borrowing the menu from the Peach Pit, but is bringing in L.A. carnivore paradise Animal to cater. Annie Leibovitz hosts a party Friday, having shot Sundance’s official beer sponsor’s upcoming campaign. While VATL is billed as an “escape,” everyone knows it’s still the place to go (day or late late at night at TAO) to see everyone else. Even the paparazzi camp out at the base of the stairs.
Why No Workout?
With millions in sponsorship money flooding Park City, not one Equinox, Sports Club or ambitious personal trainer looking to become the next Bravo star thought to gift (or even charge) all of Hollywood with a chic place to sweat? #Fail. #SweatDeprived
“The Next Big Thing”
Festival breakout hype is contagious. Two years ago it was Lizzie Olsen, star of "Martha Marcy May Marlene," suddenly A-list in Park City. (Below, Olsen with Sigourney Weaver at the Grey Goose Blue Door)
Wireimage co-founder Jeff Vespa (@JeffVespa) sees it first. As the official photographer of the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, “I’ve watched so many actors and actresses from the beginning of their careers, all the way to becoming top, A-list talent,” he says.
Now he wants a bigger say in breaking them. Vespa is launching a digital magazine, “Verge,” exclusively dedicated to featuring up-and-comers (@DiscoverVerge).
For the audience that already trolls Wireimage every morning, he has the authority to point to the “next big things,” all the while capturing those “before they were known” shots. The launch party on opening weekend features his taps for “Sundance’s 2013’s Breakout Actors.”
Speaking of “the next big thing,” there’s a Samsung lounge going in to the Village at the Lift that’s the technology equivalent of the NFL combine. Less gifting suite than reprogramming lounge, the army of easygoing (and easy on the eyes) technology butlers who have already seduced many in to trading in their “boxy Cupertino Volvos” for one of the sleek Korean Ferrari handsets, tablets or phablets will provide the hospitality.
Just don’t count on trying to charge your iPad in here. Do expect to check-in, check-out and see a lot of @SamsungMobileUS, especially when they host the aforementioned Vespa/Verge shindig on Saturday night.
A few days later, beauty line Fresh aims for the same. Their “Fresh Faces of Sundance Brunch” ties in to a film featuring Dakota Fanning and Olsen (all thing considered, still relatively fresh) and Demi Moore and Ellen Barkin (past the expiration date, but still on the shelf.)
The House of Luxury
When: Sunday and Monday
Tweet: @TheLuxury Review
Anybody want a little bit of Robb Report or Bel-Air in their Sundance?
Sponsored by Rolls-Royce and a private jet company, I hear that Porches and Audis will be shuttling VIPs off of Main Street to this 14,000-square-foot place known as the “Dream House,” worth $22 million. Produced by Rand Luxury, we have no idea what happens when you get there, but we’re hoping for a good dream -- please no “Eyes Wide Shut” but Lord Grantham’s Mormon cousins are totally acceptable. If there’s any kind of swag bag, I’m taking two.
Hey Wait, What Happened to the Famous Swag Suites?
The sun set long ago on Hollywood’s original swag storm, but here’s the most capitalistic ways a famous face can spend one hour of free time in 2013. The top five gifts up for grab, in no particular order.
>>Free Snowboarding: One could show up naked and go from mope to slope with free gear, free one-on-one private lessons, and riding with the pros at Oakley’s Learn to Ride. (@Oakley)
>>iPads: Something to read scripts on while on the plane ride home. At the Gateway Center Gifting Suite (@FingerprintComm)
>>Spa Services: At the Eco Hideaway at Stein Ericksen Lodge (@ProducerDeb)
>>Computers: Talent Resources (@TalentResources) is gifting the convertible notebook/tablet Lenovo Ideapad Yoga. (This thing won a “Best of CES” award).
>>Nintendo 3DS XL: Going only to “very select talent” at Nintendo’s lounge. Translation: If you’re nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis last year, “pass”. If you’re Quvenzhane Wallis this year, probably. It’s also a lounge, so lounge around with warm drinks and don’t just grub off the gear. (Hashtags: #WiiU and #3DS)
Above: Spike Lee at the Nintendo lounge in 2012
A late-developing photo trend here. Chef Donatella Arpaio and Spike Lee at Chefdance.
Don’t Forget To Eat
There’s 3 choice tables.
As Chefdance turns 10 (@ChefDance, Friday-Tuesday), the chefs usually get top billing over the stars of the films they host. Marcel Vigneron and Whitney Miller are among the kitchen artists paired with a different Diageo pour each night (Ketel One, Don Julio, Tanqueray, etc.) It’s supposed to be a break from the noise and a place for civilized, seated conversation courtesy of MorningStar Farms. However, if you’re lucky, it’s James Franco singing to you in a blonde wig.
Ludo Lefebvre (@ChefLudo), France-via-L.A.’s it-boy chef, serves up four seatings when the Samsung lounge powers down at night.
Gluten-Free eats. Despite the lack of fitness options, there’s still one corner of Park City explicitly catering to narrow industry palates and idiosyncratic health rigidity. Udi’s Gluten Free Table (@UdisGlutenFree) is serving 11 a.m.-4 p.m. inside the Miami Lounge (625 Main St.). There's also gluten-free Patron shots/drinks.
I’ll be live-tweeting photos and the scene, and not just Spike Lee, throughout the opening days on a pop-up feed, @SundanceParties.