Monica Bielanko
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Star Spotting At Sundance And Other Tales

It's kind of tradition to go to the Sundance Film Festival while nine months pregnant. If doing it twice makes it tradition, I mean. See, here I am, big as a circus tent, in 2009 just days before delivering Violet:

We made the trek up to Park City that year to see the first screening of An Education because a friend of ours adapted the screenplay. In a misguided attempt to impress people I don't know (Seriously. Who is looking at the nine months pregnant local idiot at a fancy movie screening?) I was dumb enough to wear boots with heels. But what if, just what if, Brad Pitt showed up and saw my boots from across the room and was all, Oh my God, what am I doing with this Angelina chick?

It could so happen.

So there I am, limping around in my boots. At one point, while we were waiting in line for the movie, a band - I still don't know which one - pulled up in front of a venue across the street and alighted from their black SUV. Screaming crowds roared across the street. I got caught up in the madness and was knocked down in the middle of Main Street. It was one of those slow motion moments. Huge, pregnant woman tumbles onto the road, skinning her knees and palms. I remember looking up at one point and seeing several dozen people staring down, mouths shaped in gaping O's as I tried to roll over and stand up.

Woman down! Woman down!

When you're sporting an extra fifty or sixty pounds, someone can pretty much blow on you and down you go. No center of gravity and weak appendages, you know?

Serge helped me up while trying not to laugh at the spectacle. I think my ego was more injured than I ultimately was but from time to time my ankle does still hurt from that incident.

This year a friend of ours flew out from Brooklyn to attend some movie screenings so we drove up to Park City to meet up with him to say hello. And also try to spot celebs. I mean, Chip, our friend, is nice and all but what about Lindsay Lohan? What if she's there? We're shameless, we don't care. We love star spotting. We don't try to play it cool either. "SERGE! SERGE! THAT'S ELIZABETH BANKS!" I'll shout at the top of my lungs while pointing excitedly at the blond waif floating down the sidewalk.

While we act like complete goons several other locals dress in their best "Hollywood outfits", throw on their most expensive sunglasses and try to act cool. They roam up and down the sidewalks, eyes sliding right and left, investigating every passerby to see if they might be someone famous. That's almost as fun to watch as the celebrities.

Best Sundance story: A friend of mine sat at a bar talking with Ben Affleck for hours, not knowing who he was for much of the time. I know! How do you not know who he is? She's kind of an outdoorsy, granola chick, is her only excuse. Anyway, she ultimately ended up making out with Affleck. This was in the Project Greenlight days. Remember that? When I asked for details of the Affleck make-out session all she could really remember was that "He has a big head. Like, a really big head." To his credit, he remembered her when they ran into each other the next year.

Didn't see anyone amazing this year. Do you even know who Elizabeth Banks is? We did see Michael Rapaport but you likely don't know who he is either. Still, it's fun to wander the street, never knowing who you might run into next. We're still hoping for that big Mariah Carey sighting, you know? The one where she's wearing matching snow outfits with Nick Cannon. Maybe a pink ski suit and giant fur boots? And she's carrying a dog... that would be our ideal sighting. Jennifer Aniston... meh. Give us a reality TV star or a Paris Hilton over serious actors honing their "craft" in independent flicks any day.

Reader Comments (14)

Oh my hell.... I died laughing while reading this! Wait, I'm really not dead, just trying to be funny. No? I'm not? Okay, I'll give up... Anyways, I too am a local, and have yet to spot any celebrities (real or otherwise), but it is fun to get caught up in the Sundance atmosphere. And Park City is a great escape from the January inversion. *cough, hack, cough* Oh my! Please excuse me!

And a make out with Ben Affleck? Pretty damn cool.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME??? Michael Rapaport? I AM SO IN LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE WITH HIM! Ever since Zebra Head (see how good I am)? Did you see his doc on a tribe called quest?
Anyway, looking good lady!

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A

I'd be the same way with spotting celebrities. The cheesier the better.

By the way, Michael Rapaport is there screening a documentary on A Tribe Called Quest that he directed. I can't wait to see it.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

OK, the question popped into my head so I'm just gonna ask. Re: Ben Affleck - which head?

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjls

Ok, remember when you wrote that Babble column and mentioned Charles Manson and right away someone posted correcting you about what ever mundane comment it was that you'd made about the guy?

Maybe it was Manson. He had been caught with 2 internet capable cell phones in jail in the past 3 months!!!!!!!!!

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersheba

Lucky! I work for a foundation that funds artists and we had two films there this year. I would love to just be able to pop in for the day. It's such a hassle and expense to go out if you don't have anywhere to stay that I've actually never been.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

Cool picture of Violet with Orson Welles and Dom Deluise.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterserge

Not sure whether to laugh or be offended, assface.

February 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterMonica

where? I only see the one with Violet, Brad and Uma.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

You do not even look pregnant in that picture! You are just a beautiful little family.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

yeah, seriously...I agree with look teeny! TEENY! maybe you're puking off the weight? hey, you'll fit right in with all of those hollywood types at least...

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine from Canada

I guess camel is the new black. Slenderizing!

February 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Seriously, are you pregnant in that picture? I had to look at it three times. You are so tiny!!!! OMG. sorry, good Sundance post, I'm just obsessed with your tiny pregnant self.

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz aka EDW

NO WAY. I flew all the way from Pittsburgh PA to go to Sundance this year, and had I seen you there, I would have totally done the celebrity squeeing in your direction. As it was, I only saw a couple people from SNL, Danny Glover, and the dude who plays Landry on Friday Night Lights. Saw some celebs in the theatres at movie premieres, but that doesn't really count I don't think.

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjive turkey

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