Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stargazing at the Bing Bar

Posted By on January 22, 2012, 9:00 AM

Dodging the blizzard at Sundance Saturday that will surely be talked about for years to come, at least by anyone who witnessed I-80 over Parley's at some point, I dropped in on the Bing Bar for a little celeb-stalking.---

The Bing Bar is one of the corporate entities that sets up shop during the Sundance Film Festival to pimp their product, in this case the Bing search engine, by enticing fest-goers with concerts, special events, a bite of food and some free Stella Artois. Who am I to turn down such an opportunity, right?

Actually, my visit was mostly due to the presence of comic and actor Aziz Ansari, who plays Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation. He sat down for an hour-long chat about his background and career at the Bing Speaker Series, and it was definitely worth the time of everyone on hand. Originally, I believe Marc Maron was going to interview Ansari, according to a press release I got a week or so ago, but by Saturday Maron was off the bill, replaced by Extra personality Maria Menounos. The interview wasn't particularly incisive, but it served as a good way for Ansari to tell a lot of jokes and toy with Menounos, to great comic effect.

One typical exchange: Menounos asks Ansari, "So, social media. How has it helped with your branding and your projects?"

"First of all, I hate words like branding and projects," Ansari threw back, before answering the ringing cell phone that someone left in their purse before leaving the room. The impromptu conversation with the woman's friend was worth some good laughs.

After the conversation, I wandered around the rest of the Bing Bar, which has set up shop in the old Claim Jumper hotel on Park City's Main Street. On the top floor, I found a little taste of heaven: free turkey sandwiches! Oh, and the lovely likes of Lizzy Caplan with some friends, as well as the kid from Dawson's Creek and Fringe who isn't Dawson (I looked him up later: Hi, Joshua Jackson!). A few entertainment-media types lurked around the scene, as well, but we're not going to call them celebrities since they have to work with the likes of Mario Lopez and Billy Bush.

Future fest events at the Bing Bar include concerts by Drake, Deer Tick and the Civil Wars.

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Dan Nailen

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