DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Attack Cat: January 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sundance Film Festival - 01/26/06

Wordplayers: Director Patrick Creadon (center), editor Doug Blush (right), Creadon's brother (left)

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Thursday dawned liked many of my days in Park City. I tried and failed to get into see Wordplay. Damn it!

Seriously, I'm getting angry at this film. Okay, I'm not angry at a movie. Not really angry. Maybe a little disappointed.

Still got one more chance on Friday. If I don't get in I'm taking that pencil they handed out with the promotional crossword puzzle and I'm jamming it right in my eyeball.

No, no, no... don't be silly. I'd never do that.

I'd jam that pencil into my throat and open up a big vein. The pencil in the eye thing would be horribly painful and probably not fatal.

Well, the rest of the day wasn't a total washout. Okay, the part where I wait listed for Stay, written and directed by Bob(cat) Goldthwait, and didn't get in was kind of a washout too, but the rest of the day after that wasn't so bad. I did see Goldthwait walk, apparently unnoticed, through the tent with about 150 people waiting in line for his movie.

Headed down to Main Street looking forward to visiting the Music Cafe for a set by Brazilian Girls. The Music Café isn't so much a café as it is a bar. It's a nice little space with terrible sight lines. Unless you're super tall, it's kinda hard to see the stage unless you're down front. I hang out on the balcony-ish area where the main bar is located. If I hang out over the railing I can see the stage... kinda.

Blurzilian Girls

One of the nice volunteers -- the ones in the grey Kenneth Cole ski jackets who tell you which busses to get on and, increasingly, that you're not getting into this movie -- scooted over enough for me to sneak up to the railing next to her.

Sarah is from St. Louis and took two weeks off from college to volunteer at the film festival. She tries to convince me that she's the "bitchy" volunteer who gives the gruff but to-the-point directions on how to wait list. I hear her spiel and realize that she was the one who was at the Racquet Club Theatre where I was waiting for Stay earlier in the morning.

We chatted about music. She said that she's a Brazilian Girls fan and I tell her that I've heard good stuff about them and have heard them on the radio. She's surprised that they get any radio play. I tell her that she should listen to KCRW on the web when she gets back to St. Louis.

They do a nice little set. They play for about 30 minutes, maybe a little more, but it's a free show so I can't complain. However, I can complain about the three idiots standing in front of me who talk, rather loudly, through the entire show. I have yet to understand people who go to see a band and then don't actually listen to the band (more on this later). I'm more surprised when I hear that the woman in the group has something to do with the band. I believe she's a manager or some such thing. Apparently she's a manager who doesn’t like her client's work. I send up a small prayer for black ice beneath their collective SUV as they drive home.

After the show, I walk back down Main Street. Stop in at Harry O's where Cargo magazine has set up shop for the latter part of the week, promoting themselves and others (T-mobile, iRiver, Cole Haan) with a series of live shows. I only want to get in to see Liz Phair, who's playing on Friday night. I walk in and poke around a little. I ask the guy who looks the most in charge what it takes to get in to the show. He says to come back tomorrow between 10am and 4pm and I can get on the list. I am stoked.

Continue down Main Street to the Alpine Internet Café to catch up on email and post some more to this blog. I crank out as much as possible and then rush back to the condo to meet up with the rest of the crew for birthday dinner for the boss at the Blind Dog. Good food, they specialize in seafood. Yes, seafood in Utah. They do a good job. We see Julia Stiles leaving as we're getting ready to order.

Manage to do another interview with Neal for the Rabbit+Crow podcast before passing out on my bed.

Movies: none

Music: Brazilian Girls

Sightings: Julia Stiles

Weather: Snow and high of 31˚

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sundance Film Festival - 01/25/06

Did a little more wrapping out of the HD House this morning after getting shut out on the wait list line for Special .

Wandered about Main Street and did a little shopping, picking up some Park City souvenirs. Posted yesterday's entries from the Alpine Internet Café.

Next wait list shut out came at Eccles for the 6pm screening of The Darwin Awards. There was a huge wait list crowd for this film. I'm not sure if it was the draw of Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder or news of the death of Chris Penn, who is also featured in the film.

Later I wait listed for the 9:30pm screening of This Film Is Not Yet Rated and this time I actually got a ticket. The film, directed by Kirby Dick, is an expose of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the veil of secrecy that surrounds the members of the ratings board and its proceedings.

This is a really fantastic film. The best thing I've seen at the festival. I believe it already has distribution, but regardless of that, if you are at all interested in filmmaking, you should see this movie.

It goes over facts that many already are aware of: Sex is rated more harshly than violence, sexual pleasure for women is rated more harshly than the same for men, gay and lesbian sex is rated more harshly than hetero sex, and independent films are rated more harshly than studio productions. The nice thing about it is that he brings together all of these facts and illustrates them well, all in one place.

A big part of the film is Dick's desire to uncover the identities of the ratings board members, who wield so much power of films and filmmakers and how much each might ultimately earn.

One of the most enjoyable moments is when he announces that he will be submitting his film, which names both the members of the ratings board as well as the members of the appeals board, to the ratings board.

I don't want to ruin too much more, so I'll just reiterate that everyone should seek out this film.

When I got back to the condo, I got a call from Neal over at Rabbit + Crow about doing an interview podcast on the festival. That interview, conducted from the condo's hot tub as snow fell can be found at Rabbit + Crow. Enjoy.

Movies: This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Sightings: none

Weather: Still cold, though it snowed in the afternoon and evening.

Sundance Film Festival - 01/24/06

Tuesday is the last day of the HD House. After a panel by Melissa and Brandon Balin, a pair of filmmakers who used the Viper Infinity on their independent production, Freezerburn, we began breaking down our little piece of Sundance.

In the evening, I drove into Salt Lake City to catch a screening of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out documentary on The Police directed by Stewart Copeland. It's a compilation of Super 8 footage shot by the drummer during the band's rise to fame. As a documentary, it's not a great film. Stewart is a great drummer, but he's not a great filmmaker based on this film.

As a fan, I enjoyed it as a peek behind the scenes of one of my favorite bands. You get the chance to see the other side of all those pictures of the band where you see Stewart holding his Super 8 camera.

It's fun to see some early moments in the composition of some of their hits like "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." You also get a pretty clear picture that though Copeland respected Sting's talent, there was no love lost between the two. He lays the blame for the end of the band squarely on the singer's shoulders, though I've never heard Sting deny that this is true.

The downside is that the sound, which was probably recorded on a little mag stripe on the Super 8, is far from hi-fi. The scenes from concerts are more fun as a record of the band's point-of-view than as a source of newfound live tracks.

Since it was a screening in SLC, no one from the production came down for Q&A, though I've seen in the trades that all three members of the band have been in Park City. In addition to being one of the subjects of this film, Sting along with his wife Trudie Styler, are in town as producers of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. I'm assuming that Andy Summers was here to support Copeland and his film.

I've always thought this and the film really illustrates it well, but Andy really reminds me of a chatty version of Harpo Marx. Not only does he look like him, but he also has that sort of sense of humor.

I wouldn't recommend this film if you're looking for a great movie, but if you’re a fan of The Police, it really is a must see.

Movies: Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out

Sightings: none

Weather: Cold and clear

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sundance Film Festival - 01/23/06

Julien Temple, director of Glastonbury

Had to wake up early-ish again, but this was for a good reason. I actually had a ticket in hand for Julien Temple's movie Glastonbury. I had just a short walk down the street to the Holiday Village Theatre, where I had waited unsuccessfully to get a ticket for Wordplay the day before.

Grabbed a coffee and muffin at the nearby Albertson's and by the time I got back to the line it was nearly time to go in. Got my seat and settled in after peeling off multiple layers.

I enjoyed the film a lot. It's a history of the festival as well as a survey of acts, mainly from the last few years. Temple shot the festival from 2002-2005, but also go access to archival footage going back to the beginning. It's not the most in-depth of documentaries, there are not long expository interviews about the history and meaning of the festival, but the on-the-fly discussions with farmer and festival founder Michael Eavis give one a good idea of where the festival came from and what it's all about.

Temple eschews sit-down interviews and titling to identify performers and time frames, but as he described in the post-screening Q&A, he wanted the film to be as from the festival-goers' perspective as possible. Along those lines, he has included lots of footage shot by fans. He also focuses on popular British acts, though foreigners like Cyprus Hill show up, as do plenty of acts who've made it big on this side of the Atlantic, such as David Bowie, Coldplay, Bjork, Joe Strummer, Morrissey and The Prodigy.

In addition to excluding titling, he also uses moving images exclusively. While I'm sure there's a wealth of still images available, again Temple wanted to keep the subjects moving, as one would experience were one there on the Salisbury plain in late July.

Besides the musical acts, there's plenty of screen time given to the fans who attend, who are just as much part of the spectacle and experience as the musicians are. The costumed characters, the drunken yobs, the Travelers and the everyday folk make up a crazy mosaic that's as entertaining as the music.

Sightings: Rosie O'Donnell, Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl and festival premiere Art School Confidential) and John Malkovich

Movies: Glastonbury, Art School Confidential

Weather: Still cold and clear.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sundance Film Festival - 01/22/06

Sunday morning was pretty much a repeat of Saturday morning except I got there a little earlier and actually got into the box office. My main goal, to get tickets for Wordplay was once again thwarted. I did manage to get tickets for Stephanie Daley.

Did a bit more of the marketing of the HD House. Also, put up posters on kiosks. The putting-up-of-posters-on-the-kiosks game is interesting because everyone promoting something is putting up posters all day long. Posters hung at 10am will very likely be covered over by posters for Small Town Gay Bar, The Trials of Darryl Hunt, or a selection of flyers from the good folks at Troma Films by noon. The HBO people are especially tenacious and have no qualms about covering and entire side of a kiosk with their posters. There must be a half-foot of glossy paper stapled to those kiosks by the end of the festivals.

My first screening of the festival was Stephanie Daley. It was a late night screening, 11:30pm, at the Library Theatre. Picked up a little pizza on Main Street to have while waiting in line. Got into the theatre and got situated. They run this, for lack of a better term, screensaver while the lights are up before the screening. It's an image of a movie theatre audience made up of cut out images of past Sundance film characters and some old-timey lookin' characters. You can see several characters from Kung Fu Hustle, "Napoleon Dynamite, Super Size Me and others.

The film's writer/director, Hilary Brougher, along with the DP, editor and actors Amber Tamblyn and Melissa Leo were in attendance, all but Tamblyn doing Q&A after the screening. The film doesn't have a lot of light moments. It's a hard subject matter, but performances by Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn are quite good. The scene of the bathroom birth, while shot with "less is more" approach, is nonetheless hard to watch. I'd recommend the film, if you're in the mood for a heavy drama. This one's no light romp.

Sightings: Amber Tamblyn (in addition to the screening, on the Main St. earlier in the day), Giancarlo Esposito, Sally Kirkland

Movies: Stephanie Daley - My first Sundance screening - 11:30pm at the Library Theatre.

Weather: Cold and clear.

Sundance Film Festival - 01/21/06

Get up early to head to the main box office. If you can't get tickets in advance, don't have a press pass, are not a volunteer or festival pass holder, the first step in trying to get tickets is to wake up waaaaay too early and head over to the main box office. They open up at 8am and sell whatever tickets they have available for that day.

I got there around 7:15am, which apparently is not early enough. The people near the front of the line had blankets and other sleeping gear, indicating that they had been there for some time, arriving much earlier than I was willing to do. I wasn't really near the door to the office when they announced that all of the screenings for the day were available by wait list only.

The second way to get tickets is to show up at the venue least an hour before the start time and get in the wait list line. They hand out numbers in the order you lined up and then start selling tickets about 15 minutes before the screening starts. For some reason, they don't actually count the number of seats available, because there's a chance that you could purchase a ticket, get into the theatre and not find a seat. At which point you'd have to go back to the wait list tent and get a refund.

I was going to try to wait list for the 11:30am screening, but was caught up in the duties of my actual job here in Park City. Crazy, I know, but what're you gonna do? The work was actually kinda fun. I was doing some "guerilla" marketing for the HD House, which included being driven around to various screening venues and gathering spots for festival goers and filmmakers and dropping off postcards promoting the HD House. Since we're not an official sponsor or anything fancy like that we have to do this on the down low. It's not really as sneaky as I'm making it sound, but I do have to be a little sly dropping the cards.

After all that, we headed back to the HD House. My duties are... well, they're not that intense. Mainly, I'm a greeter. I point people to the Viper or into our little theatre for one of the panel discussions that happen twice a day. In the evening, I actually was converted to mixologist as I was charged with mixing up batches of the "Infinitini," a cocktail celebrating the camera we're showing.

The drink is a mix of vodka, blue curacao and lemonade, garnished with a slice of fresh lemon. I think the recipe that this drink was adapted from was more like a real martini, meaning the lemonade was replaced by fresh lemon juice, making the drink more alcohol-y. We made them a little more drinkable using Newman's Own Lemonade, a nod to Butch and Sundance.

There was a good turnout, people got plenty tipsy and a fine time was had by all.

Sightings for the day: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steve Carrell walking by the HD House being interviewed.

Movies: none

Weather: Cold and clear.

Sundance Film Festival - 01/20/06

After the little adventure in Las Vegas, I got into Salt Lake City with little fanfare. Shuttled up to Park City directly to the HD House, where I'd be stationed for the next five days. Demos and panels of the new Viper Infinity HD camera are the order of week.

We spent most of the night setting up and opened up the HD House at 11am on Friday. Didn't get out much at all, but did visit with Cecil at the Slamdance press office.

Sightings for the day: Laura Prepon, walking past the HD House.

Movies: none

Weather: Lovely snow falling for most of the day.

Back at the condo in the evening, enjoyed a nice hot tub under the stars with writer and fellow HD Houser, Elina.

The view from the condo, looking east.

The plan for Saturday is to wake up early and try to get tickets for Wordplay, edited by Doug Blush, a friend of ours. The film is a documentary about Will Shortz, the man who writes the New York Times crossword puzzle and is NPR's Puzzlemaster.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sundance Film Festival - 01/19/06

Got invited to work for a week at the Sundance Film Festival. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and never having been to "Sundance," as those in the know call it, I asked my boss for the week off and boarded a plane for Utah.

The adventure begins barely after leaving California. Flying Southwest Airlines, I had to change planes in Las Vegas. The trip from LA to "Vegas," as those in the know call it, is usually the most uneventful flight you can book. You take off; the serve you a drink; you land. That's really all there is to it.

But not this time.

As we're coming into land at McCarren, we had some slight turbulence, but nothing that worried me. It wasn't until we were just about to land that things changed. At that point where you've just gotten over the runway and you can see ground coming up to you, you usually feel the nose of the plane kick up and you set down gently. Rear wheels first followed by the nose wheel.

Well, as we were at those final few feet of descent, probably the last several hundred feet, it looked and felt like the plane was going down faster than it was moving forward. It was a very flat drop and only at the very last moment did the nose pull up a little. I felt the wheels, or perhaps just the right rear wheels touch down, but things still felt a little off.

At this point, I turned from my window and looked inside the cabin and realized that we were actually tilted to the right. Before the rest of the wheels touched down I felt the engines power up and we took off before even really setting down.

At this point the cabin was abuzz with lots of "heys" and "whoas" and "what the fucking fuck?" The latter being what was going through my mind. I've heard about the touch-and-go landing before, but never experienced it. The closest thing I've been through was a take-off where the pilot aborted before leaving the ground. What I realized pretty quickly was one of two things: Either the pilot fucked up the landing or some serious wind fucked up the pilot's landing.

It turns out the latter was true. The pilot came on the p.a. a little while later, too much later if you ask me, and said that they had gotten a wind shear warning as they were coming in and decided to abort. I guess I should count myself lucky. Wind shear has put enough planes into the ground that I appreciate the fact that we landed in one piece, even if it took two tries. Upon completion of the successful landing, there was applause from the passengers. I just wanted to get off the plane and scoop the poop out of my shorts.

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Next up: Destination Park City, Utah.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hot Nude Ladies!

I just wanted to pass along a little TV recommendation for Sunday night.

Some of you know Christen Sussin (formerly Nelson) some don't.

Well, she, along with her friend Carrie Aizley, have created the show Campus Ladies which is going to debut on the Oxygen Network on Sunday, January 8, at 10pm. In addition to creating the show, X-10 and Carrie are also the stars.

The not middle-aged ladies play a couple of middle-aged ladies who decide to go to college after one is widowed and the other finds her husband cheating. It may sound a bit like two women doing the Rodney Dangerfield "Back to School" schtick, but it's more than that.

I saw this back when it was just a presentation at the Groundlings and I've seen an episode or two of the finished show and it's really good. Don't let the fact that it's on Oxygen scare you away. Guys... it's not going to lower your testosterone level to watch Oxygen for thirty minutes a week.

Handling the executive producer duties along with X-10 and Carrie is Cheryl Hines of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

X-10 and Carrie are alumni of The Groundlings Theatre which has spawned loads of talent over the years, including SNL cast members Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Lisa Kudrow, Cheri Oteri, Julia Sweeny, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer as well as stars of other TV shows and movies like Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers), Jennifer Coolidge (Joey, Legally Blonde), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan, The D List), Michael McDonald (Mad TV), Phil LaMarr (Mad TV, Pulp Fiction & voices on Futurama and Samurai Jack).

Campus Ladies has been getting lots of good press:

Los Angeles Times

New York Times

Hollywood Reporter

TVGuide interview with Cheryl Hines

If you don't get Oxygen or live outside the U.S. you can catch a stream of the first episode at

There are also lots of clips and outtakes on the Oxygen site.

...and the direct link to the Campus Ladies area of

So, check out the show. Let me know what you think or even better, let the people at Oxygen know what you think:

Monday, January 02, 2006


There's nothing I can add. The hype's already beyond the atmosphere.

Greatest game of the year?

Greatest college match-up ever?

Hard to tell until after the game.

Most anticipated game since last year's most anticipated game?

At least.

We all got a little Trojan fix seeing the band march in the Rose Parade this morning. My heart goes out to them and everyone else who participated in that five and a half mile swim down Colorado Blvd.

fescue @ flickr

I got an additional fix stopping by the SC bookstore to pick up some Trojan swag.

Missed the pep rally at Citywalk.

I still don't have tickets, but will be in Pasadena watching the game somewhere... unless you have a pair for me.

Fight On!

Beat the Longhorns!

Happy New Year!

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Get some hype:

1540 the Ticket

L.A. Times Rose Bowl coverage

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