Ah Sundance. What a shame it’s here again. Well, not really, more so it’s a shame the celebrities have to come to town with it. I dig the whole original spirit of Sundance but have been getting more and more jaded by the whole thing the last few years. It seems to have morphed into just another avenue for celebrities to get more press and stroke they’re already over-inflated egos. I don’t know, maybe I’m just overly critical, but I remember my first Sundance about 10 years ago, back when Park City was still a sleepy little ski town, where no one cared who was walking down the street. Celebrities were treated no different than the locals, and most importantly, most of them ACTED no different than the locals. No entourage, no big limos, no pretense.
Now, both the town and the attitudes (mostly of the celebrities) has changed. The town was completely re-done for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, transforming its soul from the quaint mining-town-turned-ski-town with wholesome values into a glitzy terribly over-priced resort full of pretentious shops that cater exclusively to the rich and famous. Gone are the cool little local shops that sold local crafts, antiques, or showcasing local artists. The celebrities now roar into town in limos or high dollar SUVs (yeah, those things that pollute and kill, and that these same people wouldn’t be caught DEAD in back in LA) and they march down the streets with their “peeps” or “posse”, competing with each other for the privilege of recognition. It’s interesting that the only time you’ll hear a horn honk in Park City is during Sundance. See, they don’t understand that this isn’t LA and they aren’t Gods. The roads are small and traffic is congested during Sundance. The locals know and expect this. They’re good folks who know that during this time, it takes a bit longer to get from point A to point B. They adapt. They leave a little earlier and know there will be delays on the roads. They also know that blowing the horn isn’t going to magically part the red sea of brake lights so they can get where they’re going. They accept the traffic as part of the plan during these times. The same can’t be said about our esteemed visitors, who feel that their celebrity should gain them special favors. I’ve seen it first hand, over and over.
I’ve worked security for some of the venues and I’m still amazed at the number of times I was asked to break the rules so that some self-inflated ego could get a closer parking place, or access to an event simply because of who they are. Well Skippy, if you were that important, maybe you would have been invited mkay? Now move along. Buh bye. I really enjoyed the time a certain actor (whom I admired) turned to his toadies after I (a) refused to let him in, (b) acknowledged that yes I did know who he was, and (c) offered to let him in if he would simply show me the proper credentials; and said “Can you believe this guy? Some $6.00 an hour loser thinks he can keep ME out of here?” I still laugh at that one for a couple of reasons; first, I was a volunteer, so I wasn’t making $6.00 an hour, and second, yeah, I did keep him out! Sure, I could have let him in, and no one probably would have known, but I learned a little something during my 23+ years in the Military. Rules are there for a reason, whether we agree with them or not. Until the rules are changed, we need to abide by them except in extreme circumstances (sorry, but getting face time at “the” party isn’t extreme). And integrity; Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one will know otherwise. I’m sure (especially by the way he acted when trying to get me break the rules for him) he would have been grateful had I let him in. He probably would have remembered my “kindness” for all of about 6 or 8 steps past the barricade. However, I could not sacrifice my integrity for his temporary approval. I can only hope that maybe, just maybe, he had an inkling that you don’t always get what you want just because you have a bit of fame and money. From what I can see, I don’t think so.
Sundance is here again, and even Robert Redford has noticed the change in his creation. I hope he can get the festival back to its original intent, but somehow I’m afraid those days are done. Too bad, it used to be a real nice deal for all involved.