Sundance 2012: 5 things that happen while waiting for Drake
I wasn't expecting Drake to be on time. After all, rappers aren't exactly known for their punctuality. But when the 25-year-old showed up to greet a clutch of reporters at the Sundance Film Festival three hours after he was scheduled to arrive, I'll admit I was just a tad surprised.
On Saturday night, at a bar sponsored by the search engine Bing in downtown Park City, Utah, Drake was scheduled to perform one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the festival. Hundreds of young women, inappropriately dressed in faux-fur leopard-print coats and miniskirts, crowded the street outside the venue in the midst of a blizzard in hopes of getting into the invite-only party.
Once inside, partygoers were packed like sardines in the basement, sipping free cocktails and bumping their heads to some overpowering bass. Meanwhile, I hung out by the door with some other journalists and photographers, waiting for the rapper to arrive. And as you might expect, a number of interesting things transpire while waiting for Drake for three hours.
1. "The Bachelor" shows up. Yep, Ben Flajnik, the star of the ABC reality show. You know, the Sonoma-based winemaker who has no connection to the film industry? As it turns out, Monday's episode of "The Bachelor" was conveniently filmed in Park City, and Flajnik was on hand to promote it. Oh, and to score some free Sorel snow boots. And to "rub elbows with real actors."
Flajnik said he'd seen the Australian thriller "Wish You Were Here" and dined with actor Michael Cera -- an event apparently coordinated by the entertainment television show "Extra." Flajnik said he was enjoying being starstruck after the last few months, during which he has been approached on the street by fans of "The Bachelor."
"I've been stopped a lot by younger women who are like, 'Hey, can we take a picture?'" he said. "And finally it was my turn to say, 'Hey, can I take your picture?'"
2. Quincy Jones slaps you (gently) on the face. Yep, that's right. The music legend patted me on the cheek after gushing about his daughter, Rashida Jones, who stars in the Sundance film "Celeste and Jesse Forever."
"It takes me on a ride every time I see it," he said. "It's very emotional. It touches me that way."
I asked the music veteran what he thought about Drake's tardiness. "Oh, whatever," he smiled.
3. You meet Drake's cousin. Well, maybe. After spotting one young man who eerily resembled the rapper, our photographer approached the possible relative to ask if he shared blood ties with Drake. He denied any connection, but his friends insisted otherwise. "He is Drake's cousin, and he always lies about it!" they yelled. "Take his picture!" And so we did.
4. Anthony Mackie fills you in on the ins and outs of judging Sundance films. The actor is one of the jurors for this year's festival, and it appears he takes his duties rather seriously. After viewing a new film, "The Adjustment Bureau" star said he jots down a short essay describing his feelings about what he has just seen. So what is he looking for exactly? Clarity of storytelling and dedicated acting. "Being able to go that extra mile and not just try to be James Dean and handsome," he said.
5. You go from loving to hating to loving Drake again. Although he kept us waiting for what felt like an eternity, when Drake actually did arrive around 12:30 a.m., he was frustratingly nice. And really, how could anyone get mad at the guy who played Wheelchair Jimmy on "Degrassi"?
Drake insisted he was late not because he was being obnoxious, but because his plane had been delayed and he was caught in the snowstorm. So why did he make the apparently arduous trek?
"Sundance has always been this thing I wanted to attend, no matter what," he said. "I like the acting crowd, you know? It's less confrontational."
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Drake talks with reporter Amy Kaufman. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times