How to Succeed at Sundance Without the Burden of Being a B-List Celebrity

Posted February 4, 2010 in

What the hell is an Ultra Lounge? Why would someone wait in line for 2 hours in the freezing cold for the chance to party with Pauly Shore?

Honestly I don’t know, yet there I was again carrying another 20 pounds of prominently branded crackers, jackets, lotions, sunglasses, headphones, body spray, water bottles, flash drives and chapstick. Tons of chapstick. Not to mention stumbling upon secret Banksy stencils in an alleyway.

Banksy Artwork in Park City

Besides the films, what really happened at all of these top secret exclusive events with lists that are harder to get on than a Mormon missionar? What was hot at Sundance this year?

Here’s the rundown on the best "Unofficial” Sundance parties and lounges from opening weekend:

1. AXE Party
Held on the top floor of Park City’s Sky Lodge overlooking Main Street, AXE presented DJ Steve Aoki, Danny Masterson, and Mia Moretti. Wandering around this beyond-capacity event was a bit surreal. Between Adrian Brody on the dance floor surrounded by Victoria’s Secret models, and Bob Saget dancing on a couch, it was like a VH1 special. Also in attendance? Martin Short, Khloe Kardashian, Vince Shlomi (of ShamWow fame), Christopher Macdonald (Shooter MacGavin from Happy Gilmore) and a herd of Victoria’s Secret models. Check the video here

Musically, Mia Moretti’s DJ set, featuring Caitlin Moe on electric violin, was a unique highlight. The effect was a "live remix" of some super popular jams by MGMT and others. I don’t know if the crowd was quite ready for the exceedingly violent blonde explosion or the ear-screeching violin, but it definitely set the mood for rowdiness and alcohol abuse.

Of course all of the B-list celebs and the gorgeous view of Main Street, didn’t stop Danny Masterson (That 70’s Show) AKA DJ Mom Jeans from playing Lady Gaga while text messaging. Check the video here

2. Runaways After Party presented by Bing
Joan Jett on the dance floor and Frankie Chan on the tables, Microsoft’s Bing lounge was a pretty hot spot throughout the festival—not the easiest place to just waltz in. A reappropriated mining museum, the atmosphere was more of a bizarre, well-lit cocktail party than dance party rager. Celeb sightings: Q-Tip, Danny Trejo, Sting and Bill Gates.

Franki Chan DJ's Joan Jett's Runaway party at Microsoft's Bing Lounge.

3. 8: The Mormon Proposition party at House of Hype
Celebrating such an emotional and powerful film, the party for 8: The Mormon Proposition was a bittersweet event. Footage and photos of the Prop 8 protests were displayed around the bar, and an inspirational speech by both the director of the film and CEO of the Human Rights Campaign brought about a raucous applause along with tears in the eyes of those that were personally hurt by the hateful and illegal actions of the LDS Church.

Although the typical disco attitude of Sundance’s Queer Lounge was noticeably absent, the party had the energy of revolution rather than a poppers-infused disco.

4. Skintimate / New Low Party at the Greenhouse Actors Mansion
At a secret location at the top of some inappropriately long stairs and a garage that actually goes through the mountain, the cast of New Low met up with SLUG writer Jimmy Martin to discuss the film.

Long Stairs from Park City Main Street

Jimmy Martin interviews the cast and crew of New Low

Mia Moretti was back on the tables with Caitlin Moe on violin one more time. Everyone was sent home with fancy gifting bags chock full of Skintimate shaving products, a few lucky enough to receive iPods and Subjekt Headphones.

5. Alive Green Gifting Lounge / Red Carpet Gifting Lounge
Going green was a huge push once again at Sundance, and both the Alive Green and Red Carpet lounges were pushing a large variety of green cosmetics, lotions, dog treats, foods, etc. One of the most fun little gifts this year were the Poken social media electronic business cards ( These fascinating little USB device buddies hold all of your contact information, which can be wirelessly transmitted to your friends poken by giving a mini-hi-five.

6. Village at the Yard - Fred Segal Fun, Aveeno, Wii Fit Plus, T-Mobile Cafe
The most illustrious lounges and the only "official" Sundance lounge, Village at the Yard was more like an exclusive conference center (each ‘booth’ providing free fares, food, an oxygen bar, etc) and by night, some of the best parties for the cast and crew of some of the biggest films at Sundance. First was the Fred Segal Fun gifting lounge, which required hard-to-get appointments to gather the free swag. Lil Jon, Jessica Alba, John Legend, America Ferrerra and Kareem Abdul Jabbar (I know… what?) were just a few of the celebs grabbing free stuff from Parish Nation, Affliction, Krew, Dillon Rogers and Poken. It sort of reminded me of how you need to serve food or booze to get friends to show up at the party—you need to serve $1000 purses and watches to get celebs to show up.

Next the T-Mobile café was showcasing some new T-Mobile phone gadgetry that was incredibly unintuitive to use, requiring the diners to text in their drink orders and requests to the DJ. I don’t know who kept texting "Lady Gaga," but it made me text "3 vodka sodas" pretty quickly.

7. Luxury Lounge
This svelte stop next door to Harry O’s was by far the most chill and well put-together lounge type event on Main Street. When we stopped by, the menu was a tomato mint soup and balsamic reduction baby green salad with a vegan lemon poppyseed muffin, and as I was informed by those much more intelligent in the foodstuffs, the tomato soup was excellent, as the chef had prepared it to perfection to remove the acidity but keep the flavor. It was a fair description, but I was going to say, "fucking delicious." Sponsored by Tesla, I was hoping to be gifted an electronic sports car, but I settled for snacks and chill out time.

8. Thee Mike B at Stansfield Lounge
One of LA’s best DJ’s, Thee Mike B played to an oscillatingly drunk and fun crowd, showing that mixing hip hop into daft punk can not only be done, it can be masterfully pulled off. Ran as an afterhours destination with an open bar, no reliable reports of the evening can be found.

All of these events focused on the first weekend led everyone to near exhaustion, and by Tuesday, most of Los Angeles had gone home, leaving only movies for the people that care about film and such things. 2010 saw a bit of a party revival for Sundance, and I support this debauchery—it is everyone’s right to free drinks, tiny plates of crackers and enough branded chapstick to wax a greyhound bus. I don’t know if you can actually wax with chapstick, but I think that if I really needed chap stick I wouldn’t use car wax. Sundance is really the same way if you think about it. It leaves your lips chapped and it tastes like chemicals.