Sometimes you have to toot your own horn a bit. We here at Cornerstone Promotion, the geniuses behind The Tripwire.com and the publishers of The Fader magazine, decided back in the fall to wreak some havoc on this year’s Sundance Film Festival (you know the annual gathering of film snobs in picturesque Park City, Utah). Partnering with Levi’s Type 1 Jeans and renting the finest piece of turf in town to have a few friends stop by and check out the free swag seemed like the plan. Greg Poole was tapped as house DJ and got an assist by Salt Lake local, DJ Juggy. The morsels were served up by Kelly and Stacey of Tastefully Yours, and photographer Kai Regan and his uber-assistant/model/original party pimp Christian Erm documented the whole she-bang.
The welcome mat was rolled out and then our friends started dropping in faster than G.W.’s bombs will in Baghdad. There were the cats from this little band back in the ’80s and ’90s affectionately called GN’R — Slash, Duff & Matt. Estella Warren and William H. Macy from Sundance fave The Cooler rolled through. Black Eyed Peas flew in for some reuben sandwiches and Levi’s gear, not leaving before busting some old school moves in the foyer. Rosario Dawson came in looking like she just shredded up at The Canyons, but was merely rocking the ski pants because she “likes the look.” And there was Jason Schwartzman and Donovan Leitch and Jessica Lange (tell me you don’t remember her in King Kong) and Joan Allen (they don’t come any classier than that, kids) and Salma Hayek, who flew in straight from the Golden Globes to support her directorial debut, The Maldanado Miracle. Gina Gershon popped in to tell us about her scheduled performance later that evening — check this out, in support of her film Prey for Rock And Roll she cold-rocked a 250 person capacity bar with GN’R (she fronted with Shooter Jennings — none other than Wayland’s son and lead singer of Stargunn.)
But the centerpiece of the week, and the Sundance party to end all Sundance parties, was this little (alright, so maybe it wasn’t so little) jam Cornerstone threw with Levi’s and HBO. As this was our first trip to the festival, we had to hook it up right, so we hit the crowd with one rock/folk/soul icon and one in the making. Beck and Ben Lee were tapped to dazzle the crowd at Harry O’s on Main St., and the performances were nothing shy of spectacular. First Lee, backed by rhythm guitarist McGowan Southern, took control of the schmoozy crowd and made them notice as he jammed with Jason Schwartzman and then rock goddess Liz Phair (their rendition of Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything” from the center of the dance floor was a show stopper). But nothing could prepare the revelers for a building, brooding set by one of today’s finest voices. Beck rose above the din of the obnoxious deal makers who were more interested in hearing about how much dough Harvey Weinstein wasted on this year’s mediocre buzz film than in his soulful, sincere offerings from Sea Change. But in typical Hansen style, he brought the show to a crescendo with “Where It’s At,” complete with “two turntables and a microphone” courtesy of DJ Z-Trip. His encores — “Nicotine and Gravy” and a boisterous medley of Nelly’s “Hot In Here”, a Tom Tom Club rarity, Busta’s “Put You Hands Where My Eyes Can See Them” and Prince’s “Erotica” — simply brought the house down. And who was that spotted in Kai Regan’s photo booth? You’re right if you said Party Monster‘s Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green and Chloe Sevigny, Rachel Leigh Cook, Dominique Swain, and Mickey Rourke. Mickey Rourke? — yes, Mickey Rourke and his dog Loki. And although we better know him as Jefferson from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Sundance juror Forrest Whittaker was in the mix as well.
Oh yeah — and apparently they also show movies at Sundance. So we checked out the Grand Jury Prize winner American Splendor, which stars Paul Giamatti as cartoonist Harvey Pekur and Hope Davis as his wife (you may remember this cat as the one who made frequent appearances on Letterman in support of his graphic novels and who ultimately got himself banned from the show for his misanthropic behavior). In one of the most unique stories ever told on screen — large or small (the pic will premiere on HBO later this year, although the producers should heavily weigh a theatrical release as the film could easily be an award winner) — we learn about a misanthropic file clerk’s take on the complexity of ordinary life. There was also a buzz surrounding Pieces of April, which United Artists will release later this year and Audience Award Winner The Station Agent which was picked up by Miramax.
Rumor has it that it’s going to be hard for Cornerstone to top its inaugural visit to Park City, but we hear that a sequel is definitely in the works and it’s going bigger, longer and uncut.