At the Gateway Center, which is an atrium mall taken over by the festival to sell tickets and T-shirts, the Queer Lounge expanded from one to three rooms, all hosting parties. A wristband got you into any of the rooms but, rather democratically, if you didn’t have one you could simply loiter in the atrium and watch the comings and goings.
On the night that noted interior designer Barclay Butera (shown here with dachshund) hosted a celebration of all the great dramas being shown at the fest, Nick Nolte (above) sat imperiously in a frock coat and swank fedora, a walking stick in his hand. Sitting next to the ever-youthful Timothy Hutton, who seems to have one of those rockin’ yoga bodies, Nolte looked – how shall we say? – rather pimpesque, a marked contrast to the character he plays in Off The Black. In that low-key small town baseball outing, Nolte hits it out of the park as a shambling, deliciously drunken baseball umpire who kinda-sorta adopts the angst-ridden teenage pitcher of the local team played by new Sundance prince, Trevor Morgan. Let’s rave about Nolte – whom we have worshipped ever since Rich Man, Poor Man – for just a second: His gruff but surprisingly tender ump was certainly one of the truest characters in a Sundance film (OK, I saw only, like, seven and walked out of one, Puccini for Begginers, which should have been called Woody Allen Lesbians For Dummies).
Another great performance came from Ryan Gosling, as a crack-smoking outer-borough history teacher in the deeply depressing, turgidly paced Half Nelson. Also at the same party as Nolte, we found Jim Gaffigan (the guy with the red beard, above) whom many in LA know and love as the cute cop in the Sierra Mist commercial. Jim, who looked a little misted holding up a wall, is a comedian, it appears, and was cast in Stephanie Daley, a movie with Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn that no doubt needed his comic savoir faire.
– David A Keeps