the smell of my desperation has become a stench


So Jon and I really do have all-access passes to the Sundance Film Festival, not because either of us has anything to do with the film industry, and not because we really did anything worthwhile to earn these passes, but because, and I’m totally convinced of this, at one point in our life we both paid ten percent of our gross income to The Mormon Church Corporation and we’re finally seeing a return on investment. God does indeed answer prayers.

So we’ve done nothing for the last several days except watch movie after movie after movie, and watching any single movie at the festival involves standing in the icy cold for at least two hours among the huddled lines of the other 1,000 people who want to catch a glimpse of indie royalty such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Hope Davis as they field ridiculous questions at the Q&A session at the end of the film. Questions like, “Did you get to keep that wig you wore in that scene?” or “Was it hard to play a Canadian?”

And we’ve seen some stunningly brilliant films this week, films that made my knees and my gut ache as I watched the credits. And we’ve seen the requisite gaggle of celebrities, the ones who do enough independent work that you totally feel justified in peeing your pants, like, oh my god, there’s Steve Buscemi, he really is cute in a totally creepy way!

But regardless of the great work we’ve seen on screen, despite the scripts that have almost inspired me to give up on this whole unemployment thing, despite that great sex scene between William H. Macy and Maria Bello where they both show their less-than-perfect naked bodies and make you believe that less-than-perfect is the most perfect thing in the world, it’s really hard to be around a concentrated group of people whose lives revolve around that industry, people who treat life like it’s a neverending year of high school.

I’m talking about the people who show up to Park City, Utah, in January wearing spaghetti-strap tank tops and mini-skirts who clamber their way up to Ed Burns after the show and bark over the low roar of the emptying crowd, “I really love your work,” and he gives them a look back like, “Have you seen my work?” Or the people dressed entirely in black wool doing their best impression of Tina Fey, glasses and flippy hair ablaze, chattering on their cell phones and remarking much too loudly, “Actors are so overrated.” I’m talking about the people so aggressively unkempt and grouchy that they are all but screaming, “I am indie. Adore me.”

And while I’m sure not everyone attending the festival is one of these people, it’s hard to ignore the purist fuckwad waiting in line next to us who has to let everyone know that he remembers the way the festival used to be, when independent was really independent, whatever that means, and people could experience the art without the interference of such unnecessary celebrity appearances as Britney Spears.

And I’m like, BRITNEY?! HERE? WHERE?!!!

  • April

    2003/01/24 at 9:56 am

    I am so indie, I don’t even know what “indie” means.

  • LK

    2003/01/24 at 9:59 am

    there should be a new word for indie. the word is so overused it has lost its meaning.

    bah, who needs LA when there’s Sundance in Utah? However, it’s been in the 70s here lately…

  • nita

    2003/01/24 at 10:02 am

    I liked ___________ before he was popular/she was well known/had plastic surgery/lost all that weight.

    So there.


    2003/01/24 at 10:05 am

    i’m second!

  • sheila

    2003/01/24 at 10:08 am

    I hope photos are in the works.

  • Craig

    2003/01/24 at 10:11 am

    These are hipper versions of the people who give me funny looks at “indie” rock shows. I went to see Death Cab and the Dismemberment Plan a few months back and I was catching looks because I don’t dress like an indie kid. Or maybe I don’t have cool “scene hair.”
    I just like Rock music and eccentric movies. Styles are fleeting.

  • Paul Gutman

    2003/01/24 at 10:13 am

    I despise the trend of claiming indie cred when all you are is unwashed. If you’re indie, stop proving it to me and just BE INDIE.

    [On two side notes:
    1. SX70, sorry, but it doesn’t look like you were second.
    2. I’d like to apologize to all for my rather egocentric “Paul Himself” label from the last post–I forgot I wasn’t commenting on my own site. Forgive me please].

  • anna

    2003/01/24 at 10:18 am

    wait, are you saying that william h. macy doesn’t have a perfect body?

    i am SO disillusioned now.

    on the subject of tina fey, however, i must say she is awfully adorable in that way that jimmy fallon is awfully adorable, which makes watching SNL news a sort of weird conflict because i think i really want to kiss them both.

  • Rock People

    2003/01/24 at 10:22 am

    I see these same narrow assed overly hip snobs out at the rock show all the time.

    I just want to grab three of four of them by the neck (they’re small) give them a good shaking and scream “I spent all the money you used on pea coats and hair product on RECORDS!”

  • Quesodiablo

    2003/01/24 at 10:23 am

    AT one point or another i have considered trying to be indie but there was just too much stuff to remember and stuff and so i was like i cant remember all this stuff so i didnt.

  • Heather #2

    2003/01/24 at 10:24 am

    Sheila, dear. Photos from the festival would be sooooo un-indie.

  • Ismat

    2003/01/24 at 10:27 am

    Dooce, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was totally into that band about three years ago, before they sold out. I read the script of that movie on the Internet in ’97 and I knew just being made would be the worst thing to happen to it. And I think Tina Fey got that flip and big glasses from me when we ran into each other when SNL was just a gleam in her eye.

  • Jason

    2003/01/24 at 10:27 am

    I think she did get to keep the wig.

  • Kate the Great

    2003/01/24 at 10:29 am

    I’m so indie I don’t even know it. See my rectangular bakelite-framed eyeglasses? You should be impressed right about now. No, seriously.

    I’m related to recently coronated Hollywood royalty, so there goes my indie cred right down the drain. And I spent years imitating those scenester antics!

  • ericalynn

    2003/01/24 at 10:39 am

    let’s get, let’s get, let’s get rocked!

  • rosebaby

    2003/01/24 at 10:41 am

    Seattle is now that way during the Film Festival. It’s a good run of movies, and it cured me of dying to go to Sundance. The lines are awful, it’s hard to get tickets, etc etc. Granted, the celebrity factor isn’t as high. Although a couple years ago Parker Posey showed up drunk and silly promoting Party Girl. And Julianne Moore was just as pretty in person. I am, however, envious of the Steve Buscemi siting. How are the bathrooms?

  • Ze-na?

    2003/01/24 at 10:43 am

    No, really was Britney in the mix? I want details.

    Sometimes i think indie stands for “in” as in “in-crowd” in which case I think i’m a “audi”

  • Sarah B.

    2003/01/24 at 10:45 am

    We were skiing in Park City during Sundance when I was a freshman in high school. I walked by a theater with my little brother and then I bought an M.C. Escher T-shirt. Yet another chance to almost be not really cool at all.

  • SpiKe

    2003/01/24 at 11:09 am

    That was a joke, Dooce — the spaghetti-strap tank top and mini-skirt I was wearing — it was a joke, I tell ya! And you make it sound so … so Christine Aguilera-like. It was just a joke.

  • scotty the body

    2003/01/24 at 11:28 am

    So what IS the new super-Indie film fest these days? I have a friend who just made a feature, and he’s hell-bent on Cannes and Sundance, but basically, you need clout or a star to get in those. So what’s the Next Big Thing?

  • Brent

    2003/01/24 at 11:49 am

    Ah, Dooce, what ought we to think? You write that it’s hard to be in a Utah that’s so blazingly white, so Uber-normal, but then when Hollywood comes — with all its weirdness — you find that hard too. Hmmm… maybe you might try Canada. They might have the perfect blend of whack and wonderful.

  • PJ

    2003/01/24 at 11:51 am

    Was Ed wearing a beret?

    Also, I am glad you are not what my friend Carmen and I used to call a ‘star-fucker.’

  • shotwise

    2003/01/24 at 11:54 am

    I wandered into the London premiere for Double Whammy by accident, and during the question and answer session, the director kept making references to his “very, very gay friend Steve Buscemi,” who was in the movie. Well, he was also in the audience and he kept shouting out, “I’m not gay!” I ended up with his autograph, but I’m still disappointed he wouldn’t sign it, “I’m not gay, Steve Buscemi.”

  • jen

    2003/01/24 at 12:28 pm

    See, if you live in Canada, and not Toronto or Vancouver, your celebrity sightings are; “hey, didn’t that guy play the dad on Different Strokes?”

  • Devin

    2003/01/24 at 12:50 pm

    if you are wonderind if you are hip. Here is the test and some tips on how to fit in at the next emo show you go to.

    As a park city resident I have noticed that sundancers are the whinest people ever. I have never seen more sore vulva’s.

  • rd

    2003/01/24 at 12:56 pm

    My husband and I disagree about whether Steve Buscemi is cute in a creepy sort of way or not. He thinks he is and I say he’s just creepy. But he is a great actor and plays great roles. Those teeth, though, are just plain awful.

  • Irk

    2003/01/24 at 1:54 pm

    There is no way you can convince me that there is anything attractive about Steve Buscemi. Christopher Walken, maybe, but not Steve Buscemi. And frankly, I’m not real comfortable with the William H. Macy/Mario Bello combo, either. I guess I have to see the movie.

    I don’t care what anyone says. Tina Fey’s a hottie and “I thought it was a crazy straw!” will continue to be my most favorite Joke-Off line ever.

  • K

    2003/01/24 at 2:05 pm

    Stevie B. is creepy????? WHAT!?

  • K

    2003/01/24 at 2:07 pm

    Stevie B. is gay!!!!!!! What!?

  • Heather #2

    2003/01/24 at 2:38 pm

    Wasn’t Stevie B. a one-hit wonder from the late 80’s/early 90’s? That song “One More Try?” or something. Timmy T., Stevie B. It was something like that.

  • dirty

    2003/01/24 at 2:47 pm

    IRK:What’s wrong with William H. Macy? How could you can not be thrilled to tears that he’s getting some action!

    If Steve Buscemi’s gay (which I don’t think he is or at least i don’t care) does that mean he can’t be cute or does it mean he can’t be “indie”?????? I’m so confused.

  • Jane

    2003/01/24 at 2:48 pm

    I was wondering who Steve Buscemi was (from reading Dooce’s blog)so I looked his name up in Yahoo and lo and behold he’s that dude! He’s an awesome actor; I’ve always liked him. Yes he is creepy in a creepy kind of way, but he’s creepy/cuddly (does that even exist?. Now I know his name.

    What is so good about being indie? What are the perks?

  • allisonic

    2003/01/24 at 2:56 pm


  • god

    2003/01/24 at 3:26 pm


  • mr. pink

    2003/01/24 at 3:44 pm

    I’M NOT GAY!

  • K

    2003/01/24 at 4:04 pm

    Heather2k32k: Maybe it was Sheila E. or Kunta KintE? I love the alphabet.

    Mr. Pink: You ARE gay. Gay as the ass I sit on. Or… something else… that’s um, gay. Hm.

  • Suzyn

    2003/01/24 at 4:07 pm

    The Mormon Church gives away passes to Sundance? That’s a nice bene. Catholics–pass out of purgatory; Episcopalians, pass out of using the wrong fork for salad; Protestants, pass into stiff upper lip; Mormons, pass into Sundance. Gotta see the good in that.

  • Anna

    2003/01/24 at 4:10 pm

    Thank GOD I’m not alone with the Steve Buscemi is “cute in a totally creepy” yet still cute way.

  • sarah

    2003/01/24 at 4:13 pm

    Somebody had a good joke for, “how many indie kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb” and now its killing me because I can’t remember the punchline…someone help please?

  • the propagandist

    2003/01/24 at 4:20 pm

    i’m aggressively unkempt and grouchy, but in the indie way.

    you know, the way it used to be before it was cool to be aggressively unkempt and grouchy.

    ahhh, the good old days…

  • Pinkie

    2003/01/24 at 4:48 pm

    Hey Sarah, here’s the joke.

    Q: How many indie kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A: What, you didn’t know?

  • rosebaby

    2003/01/24 at 5:13 pm

    ms hamilton: there’s a britney standee (you know, the big cardboard life size dumbass marketing things) down the hall at work. drop me a note and we’ll talk shipping addresses.

  • rosebaby

    2003/01/24 at 5:19 pm

    p.s. today’s poop:

    legendary farts:

  • Brenda

    2003/01/24 at 5:25 pm

    Jen, as for not seeing celebrities in Canada, I have four words: John Cusack in Calgary.

    Oh yes.

  • Sheila

    2003/01/24 at 5:47 pm

    Heather #2,

    Not if they’re Dooce’s.

  • purist fuckwad

    2003/01/24 at 6:38 pm

    You are the Bard, Dooce!

  • PD

    2003/01/24 at 8:12 pm

    “Dedicated to the revolution of youth culture personified in Avril Lavigne.”


  • LK

    2003/01/24 at 8:33 pm

    Sarah: I think this is the joke.

    Q: How many emo kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A: None, because they would all rather sit in the dark and cry.


  • Slocore

    2003/01/24 at 9:40 pm

    Britney gave a great performance in that movie Crossroads. I know people will immediately disagree with me but she really did.

  • sarah

    2003/01/25 at 12:52 am

    thanks to all those who brainstormed to find the punchline. If I were emo, I would give you my zine.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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