WOW’s fearless leader, Randy Barbato, reports on the events of the Independent Spirit Awards in a tent in Santa Monica:
On Saturday, I went to the IFP Independent Spirit Awards. It’s the only time of the year I drink Turning Leaf wine (a corporate sponsor). The awards ceremony was fun. I’m not sure what other event in LA gives you:
• Dennis Quaid in overly, and I mean overly distressed jeans
• Quentin Tarantino chatting (very loudly) at the bar about how nice it is to see people fuck in movies. (Actually why do I think he does this a lot?)
• A Bravo promo over the urinals with the tagline “What a Relief”
• Tom Arnold singing a song (very badly) about best picture nominee Sideways, with a bottle of Turning Teaf wine in hand
• A swag bag that includes a beanie baby and bottle of Turning Leaf wine
• Virginia Madsen accepting the award for best supporting actress with child in tow instead of Turning Leaf wine
• Oodles of stars totally styled to look un-styled
After the awards were over and the bottles of Turning Leaf consumed, I headed over to Shutters for IFC’s after-party. They were serving more Turning Leaf, in addition to mini turkey burgers and strange cheese patties with beets on top that looked very much like macaroons.
There were more stars looking very much like stars not trying to look like stars, which can be very unsettling. For a while, it seemed like the highlight was watching Mario and Melvin Van Peebles cut the rug; it was oddly sentimental and the place was really starting to feel like a family house party. But then I noticed a hush over the crowd; okay, I’m exaggerating, but i did suddenlly sense that a true star was in the room. My celebrity sensors led me through the crowd and out onto the patio and, sure enough, bam, there in the corner a true star, looking like a star, had somehow managed to penetrate the distressed jeans, unkempt hair, and joe-next-door vibe that was threatening to overtake the party.
It was Austin Scarlett, from Bravo’s delicious series Project Runway. He was wearing a light blue suit with a very subtle plaid, a pink gingham shirt and a maroon ascot. He was deep in conversation with his executive producer, the spunky Jane Lipsitz, and I had no choice but to barrel over there and demand an introduction. After some initial chit-chat, which I must say was absolutely satisfying and everything you would expect, lots of flipping of the big hair and that incredibly wide-eyed look, I noticed something was different about Austin. As we chatted, I found myself distracted, he was giving me everything I wanted, but something was missing. Something wasnt quite right. Suddenly it hit me – there was no lip gloss! Was he testing us all? Was this a new down-to-earth look? What was going on? I had to say something, but I didn’t want to offend him. So after stumbling a bit, I casually said, “I love how your lips always seemed to be freshly glossed on the series.” He was like, Oh my god! and quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out the gloss and slathered it onto his lips. It was an amazing moment, you know, like when you’re chatting to Cher and she has some lipstick on her teeth and you lick your teeth in front of her to give her the cue. We bonded! [Ed. note: Um, yeah, we hate when that happens when we’re chatting with Cher. Why, just the other day. . .] Austen seemed happy about Jay winning the show, and we talked a little about his collection. Then he explained that he too had done a collection for the finale, which can be seen here.
Two hours later, I found myself having dinner – or actually watching Austin and his EP Jane and her sister have dinner. I ordered some Turning Leaf and ate their leftovers. (Austin ordered a burger and managed to eat it while keeping his lips fresh – U love that). Then we all headed over to a party for Jonathan Caouette, the director of the fabulous documentary Tarnation. I asked Jonathan what his next project was and he said he was exploring a lot of different things, but that he was also really looking to get some acting gigs. He’s currently acting in a film with Thora Birch. I asked him if knew about Thora’s mom’s involvement in the original Deep Throat. He didnt. Do you?
Meanwhile, the party was at a house in Hancock Park. It was rumoured to be the home of Karen Black, who was happily strolling through the party acting like a gracious host. The house was filled with very hip Hollywood types – all successfully working that look that all the stars at the Independent Spirit Awards were so desperately trying to achieve. But this was the real deal. Austin was besieged by fans. It was interesting to watch. Everywhere he turned there was a posse of people dying to take his picture or pat him on the back or just tell him that they loved him. Even here, at this very hip, very cool party, his celebrity cut through. It was fun watching hipsters being reduced to fans. After a while, I asked him how he was enjoying his celebrity. Before he got a chance to answer, this girl came over and said to him, “You look taller and older,” and he just smiled. Then she clarified: “You look taller in person and older on TV.” And he was like, “So are you saying that I look older now, or younger?” And she was like, “You look younger in real life than on TV.” He seemed relieved – then I watched him digest it. Was he worried that he looked old on TV? Which would he prefer? Looking younger on TV or in real life? Which was more important? He seemed to be thinking about this when I asked him again how he was enjoying his new celebrity status. He said he liked it, but that someone came up to him and said that they were surprised to see him wearing what he was wearing tonite. They were disappointed. He explained to them that he was really dressed for daytime, that he hadn’t expected to be going out for the evening and, had he known, he would have made a quick change into something more appropriate. Just as he finished telling this story, a woman came up and gushed over him and then asked him about his outfit. I got to hear him explain to her that he was dressed for daytime. As he apologized for his outfit, I thought to myself, Thank God he wasn’t wearing distressed jeans! i headed to the bar for some more Turning Leaf.
– Randy Barbato
[Ed. note: Former WOW employee Michael Pressman was also at the blue-carpet ceremony and after-party and blogged the events on his Pop Muse site.]