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Sundance Day 3 Recap: Lil Jon, big night

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Lil Jon, soulful and silent behind those shades? Nah. Let’s get krunk! Yea-yah!
Photo: Xania Woodman

I love Lil Jon, don't get me wrong. I mean, I wish someone would pay me $8,000 to shout informal affirmatives like "Yeah," "Yes" and "Okay" over a track of my own song instead of singing it. But hosting at Danny Masterson's Downstairs Nightclub on Sundance's first weekend, you'd think the "Yeah!" rapper could maybe use the mic for more than ordering his next round of drinks? Nope. Stepping on the good songs all night it was either, "I need a six-pack a' beer right now! A six-pack a' beer!" or "Bring me a fucking shot right now!" In the wise words of Mary-Kate and/or Ashley Olson: "How rude!"

Still, from his cushy spot in the DJ booth with Apollonia (yes, Prince's Apollonia) and DJ Jus Ske, Lil Jon did what he does best — got krunk — and kept all eyes in the room on him. Well, except of course for the eyes that were on Malcolm in the Middle star (and Danny's little brother) Christopher Masterson, and the guy who looked enough like Avatar's Wes Studi that at least 20 women begged for a photo with him. Maybe it was him? I didn't stick around to find out.

Lil Jon and DJ Jus Ske at Danny Masterson's Downstairs Nightclub during Sundance 2010

Meanwhile, the scene at Tao's party at The Lift just down the road was, by all appearances, a calm and peaceful affair — there was no line-up outside, no heaving throng vying for the doorman's eye, no movie types promising riches or threatening hellfire and brimstone to be let in... That is, it appeared that way until you opened the front door, where just within, all of the above posturing was occurring and more.

This was the party to be at! I could tell by the rowdy soccer hooligan batting the C-word about as he was being escorted off premises. My face buried in a tall, thin man's back (it turns out, actor Adrian Brody) things only got more out of hand when I was unexpectedly swept from my place at the door frame into the entrance hall by Brody's even taller entourage.

"You with Adrian?" I was asked, and while I did not lie, I did not exactly protest either. But that still only got me as far as being hand-delivered to the person of ultimate power, the doorman, or in this case, Strategic Group's Deb Grimmel. That's right, the Wizard of Oz is a woman.

Standing in front of her I witnessed the best performance at Sundance when a loudmouthed would-be patron was hypnotized, disarmed of his ego, and even cajoled into genuine remorse by Grimmel. (A benevolent ruler, I believe Grimmel did finally let that supplicant in... eventually.) So fascinating was this Zen power-play, and so different from the typical doorman rules of engagement (ignore, ignore, ignore), that I almost was a disappointment when she wrist-banded and sent me on my way into the party.

But go I did.

Despite the late hour, I was within moments double-fisting a Stella Artois (the only beer of Sundance) and a plastic cup o' mystery tequila, proving that even in Utah, all things can be had for a price. In the Lift's back room, traditionally home to the Heineken Green Room (Heineken, the other only beer of Sundance), where I once watched a turntable summit of DJs AM, Danny Masterson, Steve Aoki and Jus Ske, I this year watched actor Crispin Glover (Back to the Future) make sweet like to a lady one third his age and nearly twice his height.

The evening's partner in crime, actor Bobby Nico, pointed out American Pie's Thomas Ian Nicolas, but I was too busy ogling Simon Rex (aka Dirt Nasty) while listing to DJs Brent Bolthouse and Devin Lucien spin Rex's song "1980." Elsewhere in the room, I'm told, were Paris Hilton, Stephanie Pratt and Wilmer Valderrama, but I was infinitely more fascinated by the sight of Lil Jon sauntering by, alone and oblivious. Momentarily mute, a microphone-less Lil Jon was in his own world behind his dark sunglasses in the even darker lounge, contemplative, aloof — more monk than krunk.

Oh, and if Adrian Brody did make it into the party, we did not reconnect, so I now send him my formal apologies for the makeup on the back of his jacket. Send me the bill, Adrian. My bad.

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