Celebrity People Watching in Park City

Park City Arts Festival
Park City Arts Festival: Finding the celebs is like a game of WHERE’S WALDO?

I’ve made no secret that I’m a voyeur of society. And somehow I’ve managed to eke out a living documenting my twisted, yet entertaining, POV on the cyber pages of this blog. Even though I feel anyone who ventures outside their home is fair game for some serious scrutiny, the best kind of people watching occurs when celebrities invade my little mountain town. I’m particularly sharpening my eyeballs and wit for this weekend when the second biggest celeb-infested event descends, that being the Park City Arts Festival.

As you might imagine the granddaddy BIGGEST celebrity hooha we play nursemaid to is the Sundance Film Festival in January. How fortunate that these two mega events are six months apart, because that’s about how long it takes to get the smell of Sky Vodka and Kenneth Cole Reaction cologne out of the indoor air ducts after Sundance heads home to Hollywierd. And similarly it’s not until about Christmas that we finally drop the words “innovative mixed media” from our collective vocabulary whenever we talk about any tchotchke made out of scraps gleaned from a recycling center.

So in honor of The Park City Arts Festival taking over Main Street starting this Friday, August 2, I thought it might be fun to namedrop a few celebrities with whom I’ve had encounters at both Park City Arts Festival and Sundance. If you’re going to be around for Park City Arts Festival this weekend, you might want to bring your camera. You never know who you might run into while perusing an artist’s booth on Main Street.

A Performance Times Two

Park City Arts Festival Dermot and me
Dermot Mulroney and me at the premier party for his movie THE RAMBLER

During the Sundance Film Festival a few years back I sat next to actor Andy Dick in the Egyptian Theatre when his Sundance movie The Hebrew Hammer screened. He initiated chitchat with me before the movie started, which I thought was nice. But once the lights went down and his scenes came on he enthusiastically mouthed all his lines along with his big screen alter ego and mimicked his body movements from his seat. I got an elbow in the ribs more than once, which he never noticed because he couldn’t take his eyes off the movie. It was like sitting next to an epileptic octopus with Tourette’s Syndrome.

The Park City Arts Festival Taxi

One of the volunteer positions of the Park City Arts Festival is to drive these golf-cart type shuttles up and down Main Street, delivering water and supplies to the exhibitors. The year I had that job Cheech Marin (one half of the 1970s comedy duo Cheech and Chong) flagged me down on a sweltering Park City Arts Festival Saturday afternoon. We weren’t supposed to be a taxi service for anyone, but this was Cheech Marin, for cryin’ out loud. Of course I let him hitch a ride. What were they going to do? Fire me from my volunteer position? Even so, it was worth potentially getting sacked. I was thoroughly entertained by his running commentary for the 15 minutes it took me to get him from the bottom of Main Street to the Main Stage in the Brew Pub parking lot.

Table for Two, Please

Park City Arts Festival Ed Burns and me
Ed Burns and me taking a selfie at the Sundance Awards Party

A couple of Sundances ago my friends and I were in Bistro 412 on Main Street for dinner after just seeing Donavon Leitch in the Music Café. For those of you born yesterday Donavon Leitch is the singer “Donavon” (no last name) of the 60’s and 70’s who had the hits Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, and Hurdy Gurdy Man, just to name a few. Anyway, a couple of minutes after we were seated the hostess (who was a friend of mine) took me aside and asked if we’d do her a favor and share our table with a celebrity and his guest, even though they didn’t have a reservation. It was Donavon and his 30-something daughter. Of course, we said YES. Turns out Donavon and Daughter were delightful. We had a great time and exchanged emails afterward. I think Donavon actually kept in touch with my San Diego friends for a bit, as they had a lot in common, none of which had anything to do with the entertainment industry.

Meat-free Dining is Music to My Ears

One year, while walking on Main Street during Park City Arts Fest, a super cool looking dude came up to me and asked if I knew of anywhere he could get a vegetarian meal. He acted like he knew me, and it took me a few minutes to realize that it was Ron Blake, baritone sax player of the Saturday Night Life Band. He did in fact know me through my son, Derrick, who is also a sax player. Ron Blake was in town for a jazz clinic for kids and Derrick had been in his class. I had met him earlier in the week. Ron stayed on over the weekend for Park City Arts Festival. I led him to Taste of Saigon (Vietnamese restaurant), which is on Main Street, but hidden. He was grateful, and I found out later he ate there several times from then on during his stay in Park City.

My encounter with Ron Blake later inspired me to write a small article for Park City Magazine entitled Gluten-free PC, which included a list of restaurants in Park City where one could enjoy a yummy gluten-free meal. And yes, Taste of Saigon was on that list.

Interviewing an Interviewer

During Sundance I review movies and interview filmmakers for KPCW radio. Sometimes I see as many as 40 movies in that crazy 10 days. One year when I was sitting in the Eccles Theatre waiting for the premier of Phoebe in Wonderland to start, I realized I was sitting next to Roger Ebert. I introduced myself, telling him I review movies for local radio. He was extremely nice and treated me like a comrade in arms, as we chatted about films we’d seen and filmmakers we’d interviewed. After the movie was over I asked him what he thought, and he slyly said, “Stacy, you of all people know you have to wait for my review to come out to get the answer to that.” Then we walked to the shuttle together and he told me how much he loves coming to Park City because he gets to wear all his cool scarves.

Oops, I have more, but I have to run. I think I just saw Dennis Rodman picking out a new guernsey patterned purse at the Java Cow. Or…maybe not.


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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on FirstRun.tv. She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.