Swag Shopping at
::By Lindzi Scharf, Originally written for Hollywood.com::
While jetsetters arrived within hours of taking off for Park City, Utah, my trip to Sundance started at a different pace. Eleven hours in a car landed me at the film festival just in time to miss Blender Sessions’ Cabana Productions event hosted by Gael Garcia Bernal & Diego Luna. (Bernal & Luna hit Sundance to promote their subtitled film: Solo Dios sabe).
After I deemed true the saying, “Time is money,” a friend and Hollywood insider text messaged, from his comfortable rental on Main Street, “When you think that way, jets don’t seem as expensive for the rich.” I decided, naturally, I’d find a way to jet set next year. But for this trip: We immediately hit the sack and prepared for our long day of swap shopping.
The Luxury Lounge
"It was too crowded down there," Robert Downey Jr. exclaimed upon returning to The Luxury Lounge, which overlooked Main Street. He’d already stopped in for items from Klegg Electronics and Pippo Italian Watches, but spent extra time at the lounge, attempting to avoid the mob scene below. Fortunately, West Hollywood’s Rescue & Foot Spa was on the scene for a little relaxation.
A day earlier, Ashley Judd stopped into Boiron, where a pharmacist was on stand by for anything ailing celebrities on-the-go. No doctor was necessary, but Judd told a Boiron rep, “I need Arnica right now for my son’s neck.” Also on the scene, Jeffery Donovan picked up Boiron’s Armica and Oscilla, admitting, “I try not to go to the doctor. I believe that the body has the ability to heal itself. That’s why I like homeopathy.”
Greg Kinnear made his way to the 7 For All Mankind Jeans booth, where their children’s line was on display. Kinnear exclaimed, “Oh my god. My daughter is going to look so cute in those jeans with the crystals.” Fortunately, I’m sure they sent him off with a pair. Meanwhile, Rob Lowe picked up a pair for himself and teased, “I’m making Paris Hilton look like an Amish Housewife.”
Other notables: Solas Fashion Handbags with a patented light inside, Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment, makeovers (like they need it!) from MAC Cosmetics, and a photo shoot with celebrity photographer Kevin Mazur.
The VW Lounge…
I wondered why actors were scattered through out the lounge doing video interviews, but soon learned it was the official lounge of Sundance. Anyone and everyone stopped in to promote their film – including Jennifer Aniston, who’d signed the hood of a VW car for a Sundance auction. While celebrities were on stand by for promotion, I was there for—what else—their gifting suite.
It was totally worth attending for the Michael Stars booth alone. Young Hollywood agreed! Leslie Bibb picked up their Supima Henley for her Sundance film premiere that night while Jessica Biel walked in already wearing a Michael Stars shirt underneath her sweater. Later that evening, Bai Ling was seen wearing the Shine Tie Cardigan she’d picked up earlier in the day.
And what goes best with cute tops? Equally cute jeans from Taverniti and Yanuk. Kelly Garner and Liz Phair picked up Taverniti’s Courtney jeans while Matt Dillon and Adrien Grenier were fans of Yanuk’s Flip Pocket in Mystic. Even James Van Der Beek shocked reps when he chose Taverniti’s Jimmy jeans, which are described as “very European, very trendy, and fashion forward.” Tyler Hilton charmed Yanuk’s reps by inviting them to his concert that evening. Naturally, he walked away with Yanuk jeans as a parting gift.
As I approached Jaeger-Le Coultre Time Pieces’ booth, security greeted me. I knew right away I wasn’t walking home with any of these items. But who was? Leonardo DiCaprio picked up their Master Grand Reveil, days earlier, at the Golden Globes. And Clive Owen ordered their Master Minute Repeater in platinum. Otherwise, if anyone was walking away with a watch, they’d likely have handcuffs to match.
Shannon Elizabeth cuddled up with Columbia’s Ore-gomi Down Parka in white. She posed for pictures with it after stopping by GameTap. Who knew she was a video game fan? Upon learning she’d be given 3 trial months to check it out, she exclaimed, “Gametap is awesome.”
Bridget Shuster, a designer out of Vegas, was psyched to learn Jennifer Aniston loved her line. A rep from her company chased Aniston down to gift her a Swarovski fleur de lis accented Alegra Bag in black crackle. When offered other purses, Aniston told them the Alegra was “perfect.” Later in the day, Terrence Howard went home with Shuster’s Honeymoon weekend bag while Adrien Grenier picked up the pony skin Escape bag.
Lance Bass drank Odwalla as he oogled the gift options. Tommy Lee sipped on Equal’s Café Rumba stating, “[Its] so good that it makes my head spin,” as he admired bags from CBGB. Unfortunately for him, the line isn’t launching until later this year.
Other notables: Jack Henry’s “by appointment only” boutique, Antik Denim (Terrence Howard & Patrick Fugit were fans!), Elvis Presley clothing, Sorel Boots, and catering from The Sonoma Diet.
On the go…
At the Self Magazine Lounge, we bumped into Adrien Grenier, Matt Dillon, Marlee Maltin (again), and Gregory Smith. We shared an elevator with the “so stoked” Stephen Jenkins who’d just scored a free Burton snowboard. He was ready to ride it and on his way to the slopes. I asked, “Are you any good?” With a serious look in his eye, he answered, “Oh yeah.”
The Marquee Lounge…
The Marquee Lounge was hopping by the time we entered the premises. In fact, we’d heard Jennifer Aniston hit it up before it’s official opening. If it was necessary for Aniston, it was necessary for us!
First stop, AG Jeans. We’d brought along Everwood’s Justin Baldoni to indulge. As he tried a pair on, he chatted it up with PR chic Kelly Brady. Upon introducing myself, I could’ve sworn I’d met her. Her response? “I used to be on MTV’s Power Girls. I’m a publicist now.” Ahhh, remember her? Neither do we…
Next stop, Kooba Handbags. As a personal favorite, I wanted to know who picked up what. Turns out, most celebs were in agreement. The Marcelle was the bag to take home. It was exclusive to Sundance, but don’t worry. If you’re not Aniston, you can pick up the purse in March for the right price. (Though Kate Walsh won’t be one of them. We spotted her picking up goodies from Kooba.)
Across the room sat Jenkins who, a half hour earlier, couldn’t wait to use his new snowboard. Why wasn’t he on the slopes? He explained, “I got outside, all pumped and ready to go then Vanessa [Carlton] calls me and is like, ‘Oh no, we have to go shopping.’ Can you believe it?”
As he sipped on his Godiva hot chocolate, he continued, “Oh my God. This is liquid crack cocaine. I’ve been drinking this for half an hour. This is a ploy to keep me from complaining. I know it is.”
Meanwhile, Baldoni tried on a Raymond Weil watch, but walked home with a logo cap instead. Wonder if Hill Harper had the same luck when he stopped in…
Other notables: Lia Sophia jewelry, Linea Pelle belts, and Intermix featuring LaROCK, KORS by Michael Kors, Splendid, Mint, and Vince.
On the street…
Not far from the Marquee Lounge, William H. Macy and Thomas Jane were seen chatting with members from video press. As they wrapped their brief, impromptu press conference, Macy picked up a snowball and teasing threw it in Jane’s direction. With that they were on their way. As Macy and Jane attempted to make their way through Main Street, fans followed the pair. They continually stopped and politely obliged for photos.
In the Chrysler Lounge…
As Marlee Matlin finished a public Q & A with The Creative Coalition, her rep talked with celebrity hair stylist Jonathan Antin (of Bravo’s Blow Out) about switching her hair appointment. He later divulged, “Marlee’s great. I love doing her hair.”
Was he attending Sundance for work or pleasure? Antin admitted, “I’m here with Jonathan products to talk about hair and great product. Especially in these kind of conditions. It never hurts to look a little dirty. So we brought the moisture and we brought the dirt. Sundance to me is as good as it gets.”
And Antin was a huge hit with the ladies. Women stopped him every three feet for photos. “It’s a shame Blow Out doesn’t have cameras following the craziness of this trip,” I teased. He hushed, “We do. You just don't see them.” Ooh, wonder if they caught my close-up.
We caught David Krumholtz hanging in the lounge. He was busy editing a project via The Movies by ActiVision, a video game that allows individuals to create their own full length feature. He’d titled his “Monkeys in Heat.” Wonder how that turned out. Better than his first evening in Sundance. He admitted, “We went to the ICM party last night. I didn’t want to leave, but once we left we screwed ourselves because we couldn’t get into any other party. It’s so crowded here.”
Any tips for party hopping? Krumholtz divulged, “I think the best thing to do is stay at one party all night. Everybody winds up coming through anyway. Staying at one party is the way to go because it’s cold! It’s freezing ass cold and snowing!”
Between party hopping, screenings, and editing, Krumholtz found time for some swag shopping. “We went to the Marquee one,” he said. “Tomorrow is the big swag day because we have nothing else to do. People just drag me places and hand me free stuff. What about the starving children in the world? What have I done to deserve this stuff? That’s all I can think about. It hasn’t stopped me from taking anything.”
Earlier in the day, a Moviefone rep observed Joe Pantoliano as he attempted to hit on a woman working in the lounge. The woman seemed oblivious to who he was and disinterested regardless. But Pantoliano persisted, “You’re from New York? I’m from New York.” Still no such luck…
Shannon Elizabeth Cocktail Party at Cesar Spa…
“Get out of the picture!” a rude female photographer snapped at me. The Cesar Spa was Sundance’s animal retreat for pets of the rich and famous. And it seemed celebrities and their pets were the stars, leaving no room for common folk—in the literal sense. You couldn’t move an inch.
But it was all in the name of charity! On the evening of the 21st, Shannon Elizabeth held a cocktail party in honor of Animal Avengers, where attendees had the opportunity to bid on items benefiting Elizabeth’s charity. Lance Bass, Kelly Osbourne, and Justin Baldoni joined Elizabeth and posed with their pets.
Despite the cold weather outside, inside an overwhelmed Osbourne kept dabbing her face between interviews and photos. PR guru Lizzie Grubman assured Osbourne she “looked fabulous,” coaxing her to further pose for the shutterbugs.
“The photographer was so mean and snippety,” Osbourne observed, as she held her sleeping pup. Who was her little friend? She divulged, “This is Jazzie. I guess you could say it’s rescued because I bought it from a pet store. She can sleep through anything. It’s awesome.” A fortunate occurrence since the cocktail party was a mad house.
While it was Osbourne’s first visit to Sundance, she was already a pro by day two of the festivities. In a hushed voice, she admitted, “I saw a porn film. It’s called Districted. It was six directors’ views on what porn is. Some of them were funny. A friend of mine directed it. I went with [singer] Rufus Wainright. I thought it was so interesting.” Any time for swag stops between screenings? Osbourne said, “I’ve only done dog swag. That’s it.”
Elizabeth stood close-by with Winnie, her log haired chiwawa. She divulged, “I got her a little over a year ago when I was working in Toronto. She’s my little Canadian dog. I usually don’t travel with my dogs, but this was the right event to bring her to.”
As a Sundance veteran, Elizabeth reflected, “It used to just be about the raw, gritty, independent filmmaking. Now it’s so much about the gifting and the press and the publicity. Even big studio films are premiering out here. So it’s changed from what it originally was meant to be, but it’s still the greatest event ever.” Does that mean she doesn’t indulge in swag? With her self-proclaimed “best friend” Lance Bass by her side, she laughed, “What do you think? Of course, we do!” Bass chimed in, “We’ve been up since eight o’clock this morning.”
What was the craziest thing the two had gotten into during the trip? Bass said, “It hasn’t happened yet. Tonight we’ll have a good one for you,” while Elizabeth added, “Nothing crazy. Except every time we went somewhere, Lance was like, ‘It’s too crowded. I don’t want to be here.’ So we’d leave. I was like, ‘Ok. I’m going to bed.’ I don’t like crowds either, but Lance really didn’t want to be around them. You leave one [event] to go to another and it’s the same people doing the same thing. What’s the point?”
Blender Sessions @ Tao…
Ms. Shannon Elizabeth was right about bogus party hopping at Sundance, but that didn’t stop me. (Or them. I spotted Elizabeth and Bass early in the evening.) Besides, I’d missed the previous nights’ festivities and wasn’t about to miss Ms. Paris Hilton’s bash featuring a performance by Damien Marley.
I observed Kristen Bell standing briefly in front of the Tao venue, but she disappeared shortly thereafter. The front line was insane. Wonder if it deterred her from attendance. Didn’t she realize she didn’t have to wait? Nor did we. We walked right in and waited for the evening to begin. A few hours later, we were joined by Eve, Bai Ling, Hill Harper, Daryl Hannah, and Joel Madden who partied in the VIP room upstairs.
On the press line and on stage, Paris Hilton posed for a few pictures before the show got underway. With Damien Marley jamming and our spot in the VIP section downstairs, I looked to my right and noticed Andrew Keegan and his crew; to my left, sat MTV host and pro skier Jonny Moseley. Sundance truly brought all types out!
The following day…
Shannon Elizabeth, Justin Baldoni, and Lance Bass returned to Cesar Spa to celebrate celebrity photographer Christopher Ameruoso’s release of “Pets & Their Stars,” a book featuring photographs of celebrities and their pets.
Ameruoso admitted, “One of the most high maintenance dogs was Henry Winkler’s! Believe or not! He has a Labradoodle and Labrodoodle’s are a little nuts. The dog was defiant like a little five year old child, but we pulled it off.” Who gets the award for best behaved? “Hilary and Hayley Duff’s dogs were really well behaved” he said. “They’re real cuddlers.”
As for the book’s cover girl, Ameruoso admitted, “Nicollette Sheridan, who I love and adore, was supposed to be in my first book, but got voted out. So I made sure I got her in this one.”
Other Cesar Spa notables: Summer Sanders and dog Smalls, Benji Madden, and Kristen Bell.
The Sun stops Dance-ing…
After a screening of Zen & Zero and trip to the Moving Pictures Magazine party, I learned there was a search party out for the thieves behind Justin Baldoni’s stolen swag. And I fit the description of the guilty.
According to Baldoni, security identified “a cute blonde girl” as the culprit behind his missing swag bags. (Barely possible as I couldn’t begin to try and carry those alone.) Admittedly, with the help of a few friends, I loaded my car with his goods so he could walk home with ease. We’d discussed dropping it by his place later in the evening since he’d also left items in my car. Confused, Baldoni assumed his goodies had been stolen.
I stopped by Baldoni’s Park City home to have a good laugh where he and co-star Gregory Smith were hanging out before heading out to a celebrity poker game. Smith teased his co-star, “How does it feel to have three grown adults carrying your swag for you, Justin?”
I didn’t wait around to find out the answer. Because Sundance isn’t a place to sleep, I was ready to nap during our eleven hour drive home.
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