The Producers @ Sundance: Deep Inside…The Hottest.

2011 Sundance Exclusive as witnessed by MP&MY

Saturday, January 22nd

Day and Nite at Cisero’s

How can an innocent stroll on Main turn into an exercise in debauchery?  With Day and Night at Cisero’s! Challenging assumptions of broad daylight  we are seduced by nearly-naked  vixens with Jackie-O shades. We are forced (totally against our will, of course) into a sweaty  two-hour drill of table dancing and Champagne rain to thumping house hits.  We try to resist, to fight, reestablish some sense of moral sanity at  4:25pm.  Useless. Like a Shvits at a bathhouse…It hurt so friggin good!  Iconic event organizer Randy brought the NYC flavor; and midst the bacchanal,  Thor was quietly enjoying his dinner.

“Thus, he journeys into the heart of darkness that is branding…” reads one review for Spurlock’s Greatest Movie Ever Sold.   And thus,  the two of us chug down the hill, White Russians swishing in our bellies.  Hunger has taken over and at such altitudes makes us feel like giddy schoolgirls. We strike gold at Carrera where

MY, MP & Morgan Spurlock

sushi chefs are slicing custom rolls and POM gals push rum-spiked beverages.  Leaving with pocketfulls of cigars and Bustelo cappucinos…genial and expansive.

We stumble into Moving Pictures at The Studio for some facetime with the publisher, Peter Trimarco.  Moving Pic’s show is on our network, SirkTV, and his graciousness is only complimented by Kelly who gives us a tour of the upstairs where forever-divine Andie Macdowell and her daughter Rainey are in the middle of a photo shoot.  Patron shots are in order and we will not soon be forgotten as there lives a bartender in Utah who now knows how to crack a Stella with a lighter.  Base to the thumb… Base to the thumb!

Hours later we scratch our itch at Bing Bar where head Bubblefish, Veronica Welch, from  SundLAnce,   introduces us to her school of tiger barbs.   The door is a Fort Knox of police men and there might as well be a sign out front “99%Rejection Rate Guaranteed.”  A scruffy townie flips off one of the men in midnight blue.  “Bing this!”  As if by osmosis we are whisked inside to a sea of partiers and gulp down Jack and ginger as if air.   Veronica has on the coolest conundrum of a T-shirt by  Future Heretics. It reads Compton Yacht Club.  How awesome!  Her Rubber Duck booties are nothing to sneeze at as well.  Trek Jogger, she points out.  And I want a pair in black for men.  Bubblefish was handling The Nivea for Men House presented by FLAUNT magazine in a gorgeous private home nestled in the mountainous landscape. The place had cast dinners, premier parties, and some serious swag from Diesel, Ben Sherman, and MCM bags.  Trent Magnano’s Midas touch was turning anyone into a celebrity. The Proper Barber’s cut is truth.

Link To Photos: Link 1 Link 2

Half past one Bing  is to the gills  and Veronica leads us to her after hours.  At this cockeyed point  MP and I find it best to each shut one eye not to see quadruple. I the right, he the left.  Our two-headed  Sundance monster walks best this way. In a dark subterrane  we are told to strap on Ion Time Sports Watches made of the natural mineral Tourmaline, used as a semi-precious gemstone and responsible for many health benefits.  A meditative state takes over.  We are focused and alive, concentrating very heavily…is it

Katerina The Bald Beauty @ The Playboy Lounge

the watch? Or the bartenders and waitresses in revealing bunny outfits at The Playboy Lounge? Dear Lord I can’t feel my face.  MP smiles at me. His lips are red.  Did I do that? His wife will chop mine off for sure! More importantly, an executive decision is made on the fly. To pound shots of Tequila Fortaleza with Katerina The Bald Beauty.   This is one beautiful, hand-crafted… tequila!  Feeling like Mexican outlaws in a Richard Rodriguez film we plunk down $120 and repeatedly demand the rabbit ears off a bartender’s head and directions to the grotto.   G-d help us had we had a Bowie knife…

4am.  Sans rabbit ears.  The two of us have taken down a large cheese pie, two chicken sandwiches, a bowl of fries,  a mesclun salad,  various deserts, two sodas, and small child in a stroller, accidently.  What business does he have that late at a pizza place anyway?!   We tip our waitress $100 (Karmatically making up for the fallen infant) and she weeps with joy in our arms.

Sunday, January 23rd

To walk into Superdry is to be awakened by a horsewhip on the backflesh.  Personal fetishes aside,  it’s the one we’ve been waiting for.  Superdry USA, a UK fashion brand, hosted a two-day series of events.  Superdry was created in 2003 following the owner’s inspirational trip to Tokyo. It’s a brand with a vintage Americana flavor, Japanese-inspired graphics, and a UK edge.  Very cool stuff!  The Brad Leather Jacket is my favorite.

Tonight, Danny Masterson’s Downstairs is a pumping hub bub of the biting and the beautiful.  A sexy crush of actors and celebs moving and shaking with NY and LA’s top party promoters and club owners.   Special performances by Adrian Grenier’s Honey Brothers and up-and-comer Adrian Vera are  followed by DJ sets by MomJeans (Danny Masterson) and Cisco AdlerPenn  Badgley was breaking a few gossipy hearts, Twilighter Chaske Spencer and Cassie Scerbo were hanging with  killer Ronnie Vannucci and former gun Matt Sorum, Caribbean pirate Vanessa Branch and pro-shooter Christopher Mcdonald all celebrated with foosball and darts.

Shadow PR repped the event with their standard taste for quality and sharp eye on craftsmanship.   Coordinated by the hot pink-clad Kinley Cross from Shadow’s LA office this was one super smooth night and hands down the MOST fun on Main this Sundance 2011.

Link To Photos (Credit Jamie McCarthy, WireImage):  Link 1

The Indie Mogul Party in Deer Valley…A true filmmaker party.   Rich Kalinsky from Fujifilm had invited us to a distinct lodge with a kaleidoscopic  crowd.   The popular and the scholarly, the cult and the cliched, old and new.   Having just screened Kevin Smith’s Red State, Rich praised the film as  Michael Jackson reminded us that Billie Jean wasn’t his love while a few revelers sucked something or other at the Oxygen Bar.  MP ended up happy after a  well-needed complimentary massage.   FujiFilm, Avid, and Raleigh Studios backed a solid mixer.

The coolest cave that is the House of Blues is filled with rock and roll boys and girls that never die!  And TicketCake’s Dylan Jorgensen makes us feel like royalty…or rather like inside a plush living room  of one of rock’s most decadent and respected.  Dylan is the man when it comes to scoring tix to a hot event.  Come hither sneers and tight minis up to here and Slash hosting  a private event for the release of his Slasher Films.   That’s what I’m talking about!  Slash’s company will focus on a sub-genre of the horror film which typically involves a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with chainsaw or scythe.  The slasher as a genre has it’s own set of characteristics which set it apart from related genres like splatter films.

Slasher has four films currently on their slate.  We most anticipate Nothing To Fear which will reportedly be about the real town of Stull, Kansas, which many believe to be the ‘gateway to hell,’  and  Theorem, the  story of a mathematician who discovers the equation for evil (Aronofsky reverse Pi inspiration? ).  What fresh air to bring back character-driven and intelligent horror films with depth like in the 70’s and 80’s!  Thanks Slash.  And for that girl on the corner of Hebert that squeeked to her girlfriend “Who’s Slash?”…Slash, buddy,  can you please base a “final girl” character on her in one of your films?  But don’t spare her to tell the story.

Monday, January 24th

Dinner at Chimayo is so exquisite that I can’t even begin to describe it.  Nor will I.  I’m not a restaurant critic.  Hell, it’s my first time writing about parties and events  even!   A word of advice: Stay away from guys named Dominic from Chicago that bark about “shift changing” the women they are with even before the dessert arrives. Try not to notice them popping a pill in front of the wait staff.  And whatever you do definately do not believe them when they say “My friend runs that restaurant we go in through the back the kitchen like Goodfellas tell them Dominic sentchyou you with Dominic.”  Because the doorman at the restaurant knows no Dominic and Dominic just kept walking past this restaurant.  Getoutaheeya!

The Best Complimentary Liquor Award (if we’d have one…and I will bring up at next meeting) goes to a yet-officially-unofficially opened Silver. As Ole Blue Eyes would peg “a classy joint.”   Salvation Boulevard had their film bash and  Vegas Cosmopolitan hotel was onboard.   This David Rockwell designed, sleek spot introduced us to a new rye vodka.  The stealth Belvedere bottles, labeled Belvedere Intense,  were poured beside original Belvie and for two guys that swore not to go out tonight it all blended into one beautiful flight change.   The drink to be had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the 508Hendrick’s gin, simple syrup, basil, thyme, chili flakes, and of course Belvedere…nectar of the gods.

Tuesday, January 24th

The slab of exotic land with running water is the coolest centerpiece we have ever seen.  Hands down the most grass in a room that we wouldn’t dare smoke.  As everyone picked at crispy dumplings and chicken skewers, The INAUGURAL SUNDANCE INSTITUTE | MAHINDRA GLOBAL FILMMAKING AWARD recipients were announced.  Emerging artists from Romania, Mexico, Malaysia and Israel selected for their visionary projects,  were awarded each  $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support.  That is quite a lot support seeing that most aspiring filmmakers usually must max out their folk’s credit cards and run around in circles memorizing The Guerilla Bible of Filmmaking before the rejection letters from festivals start landing in their mailboxes…

Nevertheless, the Winners of the 2011 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award are:

Event Organizers and Winners

Bogdan Mustata / WOLF (Romania) In this surreal tale, a 16 year-old boy’s dearest wish is realized when his absent father is quite literally reborn and joins the family once again, with complicated consequences.

Ernesto Contreras / I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE written by Carlos Contreras (Mexico). A rare indigenous language already on the verge of extinction faces its final threat when its last two speakers, very old friends, have a fight and refuse to speak to one another.

Seng Tat Liew / IN WHAT CITY DOES IT LIVE? (Malaysia). The unexpected presence of an African immigrant hiding in a small Malaysian village arouses the superstitions of the local residents, calling into question whether home is defined by the place you live or by the people who surround you.

Talya Lavie / ZERO MOTIVATION (Israel). A sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.

Buy the ticket…take the ride.

We RSVP’d with Steve Wilson from BWR PR and are happy that we were able to experience this ceremony. The event directors / organizers are genuine people that have a self-less interest in the cause while securing a foundation and nurturing aspiring filmmakers.  We watched these four filmmakers accept their awards with admiration.  Their’s now is a mysterious unknown.  We pray their hopes not decimate in life’s travails…somehow we think these beautiful dreamers will be alright.  Reach for the stars…you’ll hit the moon.

Banksy?? in a Sundance Alley

Oh!  And we saw some movies.  People, this is a film festival after all.

And if you have gotten this far down please check out our interviews from the festival on this site and broadcasting on our national college television network  SirkTV.

Thanks and see you all soon…

by Max Yampolsky

Cool Libations & Short Interludes: Palm Springs & The 2009 Shorts Fest


Palm Springs in the summer is a hot affair so sometimes the element is to keep it shorts. The Palm Springs Shorts Fest, the smaller sister to the annual film festival confab in January, is deftly positioned and very intrinsic in their program despite some logistics issues in terms of venue capacity and time frame admissions policies.

While seeing material became less intrinsic, two programs shown persuaded different inclinations of vision, which the fest is effective at highlighting.

“Sex & Lust”  offered a variety of persuasions with two distinctive films standing out both for their perspective and their honesty despite a definite difference in tone. The first: “Orange Peel” uses a mix of negative projected animation to paint the story of a girl in London who speaks of interesting ways of making money. The mix of 80s revelry, provocative persistance and literal images of metaphorical persuasion make it both stylish and inventive. The second: “Lost Paradise” is a tale of an illicit affair but with a sociological twist. While speculative in ways to the New Wave, the tenderness and sexual desire between this man and woman nakedly entwined is most elicited when, while petting her, the man removes a piece of paper hidden inside her panties, which he unrolls and read “Happy Birthday”. It is really subtle but undeniable. When they begin putting back on their clothes, you recognize from small details that they are in Israel. He puts back on his black outfit and you realize that he is Isreali and she is Palestinian. She smiles quietly and tells him she will go “first” as he sits in a chair, silently contemplating and watches her leave.


By comparison “Obsessions” as a program is more relegated with the psychological confines of the mind and its perspective of choice and desires plays tricks. The first one is a brief animation called “Reach” which while mirroring elements of Pixar, is exceptional at its execution in making a small robot who runs out of power a study in the concept of primitive logic. The second: “Down & Out” has Ricky Schroeder (of “NYPD: Blue” and “Silver Spoons” fame) playing a past his prime boxer who takes his desire to win to a destructive level. Comparisons to the young boy he played in 1979’s “The Champ” are inevitable but the haunted feeling allows you to disappear in the grief that could consume him despite a genre induced twist.


Parties are always inevitable to the productivity of the creative community because the paradox of the pitch and the dealmaking are always in flux. The thread of cocktails and mistaken glances always enhances the flow. Starting in the Stella Filmmaker’s Lounge at HQ at the Palm Springs Hilton, the pouring of ideas matches the smoothness of the draft. Hotel Zoso that night populates the first soiree with vodka, rose and pasta swirling within cozy booths. Dinks on Palm Canyon to follow nestled its liquor-infused wares with knowing glances as tales from visiting visual effects mavens set the standard and hard lemonade straightened the vision.

The great aspect in visiting this desert pinpoint where an essence of freedom presents itself is that, for the first time in recent memory, from a tourism and getaway standpoint, Palm Springs, as a city, is realizing some of the new boon business in play as the allure of Vegas drops in the minds of young people with the inclination of the casinos’ increasing desperation to attract customers in a continually sloping economy pushing said demo to pursue a new alternative.

Palm Springs, in comparison, is building their base quietly and appealing more to the customers in the know. Two properties seem to be leading this charge. One is the newly revamped “Riviera” which is retaking grasp of the heyday of its youth in 1959 where Sinatra and Martin hung at the pool and where Elvis chilled. The other is a new kid in the ACE Hotel & Swim Club which takes that thought of Hollywood chic without the cat eyes and brings it 21st Century.

ACE, located on East Palm Canyon right outside of town, revels in the community element and bungalow style of life it is creating. Hidden in plain view and deftly affordable, the ACE has been building by word of mouth and was packed for the three days visited. The key is interaction. Most hotels you would not open your door and chill with a cigar as the passersby peered in.


The room structure, especially pool facing, is quite intrinsic. The lush bed, down in every persuasion, glows especially when the lighting is keyed. At one point, late night, it can bathe in blood red as the fire burns outside. It was the element of cool…a W club vibe without the pretentiousness. Across the way, at the Commons, private parties are the key. Granted the interactions go late but that is part of the charm. And inside even with the music pumping outside, privacy and insulation keep things the way you want them.

The main pool great in the afternoon for sunbathing and chilling under the misters hums with male and female interaction, a nice relaxing spot from which to launch certain liasions. The group size hot tub in full view of the Short Bus (a new bar due to open soon) bristles into the late night. Pool time is 24 hours which is the way the young like it as one night swelled with dark swimming until 4:30 when the barely light started to peek from over the mountains.

For a quick bite within the ACE, King’s Highway intermingled in a building which used to be a 60s Dennys uses the art deco architecture and makes it visionary and affordable. During evenings, the place is packed to the gills bathing in practical lights and jazzy musical riffs that permeate its chasmlike structure. Lunch is a perfect time to escape the head and experience filling but not overdone excursions in taste. The fish tacos, simply prepared wrapped in corn tortillas in a zesty salsa verde sauce and zipped with a light cream sauce melts in the mouth while an accompanying side of fries raptured in garlic and dipped in a creamy aioli sauce is  light and delicious.

The Riviera’s “Circa 59” in terms of culinary is a different experience in vision. The architecture hidden within the heart of the ultra beautiful hotel speaks to its intent. The black and blood red chandeliers hidden among the texture of the leather chairs that disappear into a maze of mirrors is both gothic and sexy as the view out into the pool shows the jist of visual splendor cavorting in the pool and the angle of who might sit at the table next or behind you is shrouded. Like ACE, this is one of the places that young Hollywood finds to escape and hang low. Word of mouth permeates the buzz.

The culinary superlatives at 59 are enhanced by a knowledgable staff. Starting with a creamy lobster bisque augmented by a tangy piece of crustacean meat and paired by a Cable Bay Savignon Blanc from New Zealand tinged with a bit of citrus,  a wedged lettuce draped in a lucid jalapeno dressing and topped with honey roasted slices of bacon (seen in the photo above) spelled simply divine. The main course, seared yellowfin tuna ensconced in a Moroccan spice rub and bathed in a sea of rich and vivacious risotto, was accompanied with gusto by a 2009 Hangtime Pinot Noir out of Napa before a rich, hot-to-the-tongue lava cake simmered the embers.

Simmering visions integrate the essence of golf, which is considered a staple of Palm Springs with the intrinsic element of the green in the desert. Golf is slowly learning to angle to the younger vision with celebs like Justin Timberlake leading the way. The edge and privacy of doing meetings and deals in this setting ensures an ability of anonymity, controlled access and facetime.

The Tahquitz Creek Resort Golf Course, off of Dinah Shore Drive, uses the expansiveness of the desert to paint its progression with simple yet, at times, competitive strokes. The immenseness of the nearby mountains in contradiction to the stark landscape gives pause. In terms of complexity, Hole 7 with its consecutive and strategic water jumps allows for calculation while its predecessor at 6 revels with a grand vista which shows the immenseness of the valley. Hole 12 jars in tandem with a rock garden challenging the slice while 15 requires precise criss-cross hits in a sea of obstructed persuasions. The heat burns the vision but the focus is right.

Palm Springs continues to examine its evolving or perhaps continuing transcendence for a new generation. With new ventures like the laid back and cool ACE, the reverberation of the resurrected Riviera with its Circa 59 gothic silkiness and artistic soirees like Shorts Fest, the allure to new Hollywood from the Springs will continue to take shape as the lust of Vegas subsides. Hotness has a secret in the desert 99 miles removed. Spread the word.