Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Special Feature

Washington takes Sundance
Park City is home to 8,000 residents, but during The Sundance Film Festival, Park City’s main throughfare(Main Street) transforms into Utah’s version of Sunset Boulevard..

The champagne started to kick in somewhere around 3 a.m. between the Velvet Revolver cover of Guns N’ Roses’ classic Patience and Led Zeppelin’s epic anthem Rock & Roll. The second level VIP suite of venerable Sundance nightlife haunt Harry O’s is an industry cauldron of sweat, blood, cheers, and jeers. Nightly during The Sundance Film Festival, independent film notables and hopefuls congregate here like predators and prey at an oasis in the Kalahari Dessert. Producers with cachet, billionaires restless after waiting in line, actors promoting films (and themselves) and press mix with

bleary-eyed film junkies movie-stoned from 12 hours of back-to-back screenings. This is sensory overload. This is Sundance after dark. And this is as good a place as any to jump headlong into the world’s premiere independent film festival.

Nightlife venues are to Sundance what the Great Pyramids were to ancient Egypt – temples of celestial access. Getting in confers heavenly
status, and each industry deity is followed by an entourage of hipster pharaohs claiming divine right to be beyond the velvet rope of VIP afterlife. Tonight, locals Mark Ein and Christopher Tavlarides have secured a slice of VIP heaven for an entourage of 50 fellow

Washingtonians. It wasn’t easy. Whether selling a film or securing a table, nothing at Sundance comes without negotiation.

The stage below explodes in a cataclysm of sound. Velvet Revolver (minus lead singer Scott Weiland) is in the middle of an inspired set. Paris Hilton slinks backstage like a bleached blonde shade. Later, she’ll be photographed lip-locked with Jared Leto. The image will disseminate globally with such avidity that teenage girls in obscure Baltic states will be using it as a mobile screensaver before Paris even wakes up. The only things that stay behind closed doors during Sundance are film rights negotiations and skiers relaxing at home after a long day on the powdery slopes. Snowboarders still go out.


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