People come to Sundance to tell their stories, and in that spirit, we eschewed talking to directors and actors (you know, art people) to listen to tales told by Sundance's swag baronesses. Viva independent film!
On the left is the very sweet Elisa Noel, a Salt Lake City native/teacher/massage therapist who had driven down to Park City to take part in an elaborate pamper suite touting an upcoming hotel. Thus far, Noel had not been able to make time to see any films, though she saw and loved the Jason Ritter vehicle Good Dick when it played in Salt Lake the previous year. While administering a chakra-balacning hand massage and a "cuti cocktial" ("Someone said it smells like nature's bubblegum"), Noel discussed this festival year's somewhat diminished star quality.
ELISA: So this is for your heart chakra, and I'll put this scrub on your arms as well. For your choice of scrubs, you have sugar with lavender, or salt with ginger...
DEFAMER: We're all about sugar. Have any stars come in?
ELISA: A couple, yeah. Kevin Sorbo. And then you saw Danny [Franzese], he was just here. We've had a lot of, like, agents.
DEFAMER: Is it hard to get agents to relax? How do you get them to put the Blackberry down?
ELISA: Nobody puts them down. They all set them up here and watch. [laughs]
For Sundance attendees who cared not for free boots or fake-bakes, there was always the Pet Pad, where celebs on Main St. could come in and hug a rescue pet (swag with no carbon footprint!). The face of the Pet Pad was Dr. Karen Halligan (above right), whose mission it was to talk up pet insurance. "People don't think about it," she told us. 'Like, Andie MacDowell came down, and I said, 'I'm promoting pet insurance,' and she goes, 'pet insurance?!'
DR. KAREN: I've been a shelter vet for the last ten years and it's changed my life. I'm in negotiations for my own talk show right now, I'm on Animal Planet all the time, Dogs 101, Cats 101, the hit show Groomer Has It, which is being premiered in Moscow as we speak...
DEFAMER: The same version?
DR. KAREN: You know what's really funny? You're right, it's [dubbed]! Like, who's doing me in Russian? Or Joey Villani, who's a Jersey guy. Jai Rodriguez is the host, and he's in Russia right now promoting it. I can't wait to talk to him when he gets back to get the scoop: "Did you have some good vodka?" That's the first question!
It was Dr. Karen's first trip to Sundance, but if she has her way, it won't be the last. The eye candy alone was stunning, she says.
DR. KAREN: Celebrity people have been so sweet. And, oh my God, so many good-looking men.
DEFAMER: Non-celebrity, good-looking men?
DR. KAREN: Yes. The odds are stacked for the girls here, OK? So that's the impression I'm coming away with.