Sundance Diary, Day 1: Snoop Dogg & Spike Lee…The Ultimate Kick Off!

Fri, January 21, 2011 4:48am EDT by 9 Comments
Getty Images

Getty Images

Although the festival doesn’t really get crazy until Friday, Thurday’s opening night started things off with a bang!

Today was an easy day at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Still recovering from the Golden Globes last weekend, I got a late start to the day and was pleased to wake up to sunny skies and gorgeous slopes. In typical fashion, I hadn’t secured tickets to for the film I really wanted to see (the Spike Lee produced Pariah), so my partners in crime and I headed down to the theater hours before the screening, with hopes of scoring last minute seats.

It was like we had won the lucky ticket. At Sundance if you don’t have tickets for a particular film, you stand in a wait list line two hours before the show and get a number. We had numbers, but on our way to the freezing cold waiting line, a kind gentleman from the Annenberg Foundation randomly presented us with three free tickets. SCORE! We quickly made friends with said gentleman (his name was Jamie) and sat down in prime seats in the theater.

Pariah, writer/director Dee Rees’ debut drama, struck an emotional chord with a large crowd (1,200 seats) and earned a standing ovation. The film tells the coming of age story of a young African American woman coming to terms with her homosexuality and identity. Needless to say, we left the theater teary eyed and touched.

SIDE NOTE: While in line, we ran into the dude who played the UPS driver in Legally Blonde and it totally made our night.

Flash forward to about 11 p.m.: we’d left the theater and headed to Main St. to Harry O’s, where Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon were playing (sponsored in part by Skullcandy and Express). Thanks to some great friends, we skipped the epic line out front and headed straight in just in time to catch the last of Lil Jon’s DJ set and see Snoop Dogg himself. He performed many of his classics, including “Gin and Juice” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” We couldn’t have asked for a better set list.

Partying in the VIP section next to us was Mr. Ron Livingston (Burger from Sex and the City) and The City‘s Whitney Port.

Now it’s time to unwind and prep for a crazy day tomorrow, filled with gifting suites, short films and WAY more celebrities (we’re coming for YOU, James Franco). Check back soon for all the latest Sundance happenings — and if you want play by play action, following me on Twitter (@kirstinbenson).

With reporting by Annika Heinle & Mel Bridges