The People Watcher's Manual
How to play a paparazzo for a week in Park City.
By Scott Renshaw
We’re not here to judge: Some folks revel in the brush with celebrity that comes from Utah turning into a slice of Hollywood each winter. Here’s what you need to know if you want to play amateur paparazzo for a week.
Park and Watch in Park City
The stretch of Main between the Kimball Art Center and the Egyptian Theatre can be filthy with bundled-up celebrities just strolling by—but you’re not likely to spot them if you’re strolling, too. Picking a window seat to grab lunch and observe the human parade is best, and you’ll find that the stretch from noon to 4 p.m.—after everyone’s finally awake, and before they head indoors for the private dinners and parties—is prime time for finding folks just out for some fresh air.
Don’t bother getting up early. It’s true that many stars are in town to promote a movie, but they’re also vacationing in the mountains—and that means late-night revelry. You’re not likely to find familiar faces strolling down Main Street at 9 a.m.; you may not even find them at screenings for the movies they’re in at 9 a.m. Filmmakers will be there for Eccles Center 9:15 screenings, but don’t count on cast members coming along after the premiere the night before.
Premieres Your Best Bet
Eccles evening Premieres are king. The red carpet photo walk at the back of the theater is a credentials-only affair, though you might be able to catch a quick peek if you’re in the right place at the right time. Best to actually try to get inside the theater, where you can count on most of the available talent being there for the first public screening.
SLC Not the Place to Be
It might be easier to get tickets to screenings at the Rose Wagner, but don’t go because you think you’ll rub elbows with beautiful people. Actors in particular rarely make their way down the mountain to the local screenings of Premiere category films, generally inspiring a groan of disappointment from the crowd when announced; filmmakers are more likely to be on hand. If you do get someone for a Q&A, consider it a pleasant surprise.
Where Celebs Hang
The Park City Marriott Hotel in Prospector Square is the official Sundance headquarters, a place where publicists and their charges congregate. Hanging out on a chair in the lobby can be one of the best, warmest and most inconspicuous ways to spot famous folks, and the streets near the hotel provide some of the only available free parking in the city if you grab a spot early enough in the day.
Afternoons in Park City offer the best chances to catch a glimpse of a celebrity, much better than parties, even those in bars. In short, don’t bother with the parties. Even if you manage to get into the venues—which you probably won’t—you’ll find that everyone who’s supposed to be anyone is doing the VIP thing.
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