‘Snowbiz Like Showbiz

For an intense week and a half in Park City, Utah, every day is independents’ day


Once the Little Festival That Could, Sundance—the annual gathering of film heavies and wannabes in Park City, Utah—has become the Big Phenomenon That Is. Just what, exactly, it is—hip scene, legit showcase for independent filmmakers, or both—stirs passionate debate. “It’s not trendy,” maintains actor Eric Stoltz, who first came in 1992 to show his film The Waterdance.

Maybe. But then again, at this year’s festival, Sheryl Crow did show up for a quickie midnight gig at Cisero’s, a local restaurant (R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Suddenly Susan’s Kathy Griffin were in the audience). Meg Ryan, Glenn Close and Rosie Perez turned heads as they socialized at Lakota, another hot spot in town. And Lyle Lovett brought his guitar to a loft on Main Street, where he entertained a small crowd that happened to include Patricia Neal and Gina Gershon.

Then, too, there were the Hughes brothers, Allen and Albert. To promote their documentary American Pimp, the twin directors brought along a gentleman named Rosebud, one of several procurers interviewed for the film. “The women loved him,” said Allen. There was no word on whether they also loved actor Frank Whaley, who, while promoting his directorial debut, Joe the King, said, “I think tonight I might get on top of a table and dance naked.”

Stephen Baldwin took a more mellow approach, telling reporters, “I’m just here to have fun, relax, see some films, do a little snowboarding.” William H. Macy was on the same wavelength. “This is my third year at Sundance, and I love it,” he said. “Last year we had a snowball fight, which we thought was so young and gay.”

Actress Heather Matarazzo, 16, did a little networking at the festival. “I said to my mom on the plane, ‘I’m gonna meet Glenn Close,’ ” she said. And she did, getting a hug and a kiss in the process.

No doubt speaking—and understating—for many, Ben Affleck told Sundance founder Robert Redford, “This is a nice little festival you have.”

Fatal Clues Wanted

The ad in News-day’s Jan. 25 edition was headlined in large black type with a single word: REWARD. It sought an “eyewitness who can possibly identify the white tractor trailer with red letters that sent a 7 ft. pipe crashing into LIE [Long Island Expressway] Eastbound near Exit 48 on Thursday, Nov. 19, 1998. Pipe crashed through windshield of victim’s black Volvo wagon, causing fatality.”

What the ad didn’t say was that it had been placed by the family of director Alan J. Pakula (Sophie’s Choice, All the President’s Men), who died at age 70, from injuries, about an hour after the freak accident.

In addition to posting the reward, which Pakula’s stepson Robert Boorstin, 39, characterizes as “at least several thousand dollars,” the family has hired a private detective. “We’re not looking for money,” says Boorstin, a senior official in the U.S. Treasury Department. “We’re looking to find out what happened. But I’d like to have someone to blame.”

Although a police spokesman says the reward offer might help, he isn’t optimistic. “Finding a white truck with red lettering,” he says, “is like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Scent-imental Value in a Former Love

A perfume by any other name might smell, and even sell, as sweet—but Ivana Trump wasn’t taking chances with The Donald. The bouncy Czech is claiming rights to those two words, saying that her “bad English” resulted in the now-familiar phrase for former husband Donald Trump, 52, and their son Donald Jr., 21. She recently filed a trademark application for the name and has vague plans to market The Donald as a fragrance for teenagers.

Last month, Culture Club, a Manhattan disco with a 1980s theme, offered specialty drinks such as The Donald (a Manhattan straight up) and The Ivana (Moet champagne). Ivana claimed the names were her “intellectual property,” and club owners agreed to take the cocktails off the menu. The resulting publicity alerted the real Donald to the fact that his former wife now wants to own his nickname. Amused he was not. “Ivana is just trying to make a living off my name,” fumed the casino and real estate mogul. “She ought to get a life.”

Says Ivana, 49: “He didn’t think of it. Too bad.” She already markets a perfume named for their daughter Ivanka, 17, and laughs when Trump says that “the name is me,” noting, “There are a lot of Donalds in this world, including Donald Duck.”



Radio’s perennial tightwad turned big spender when Jack Benny commissioned a $250,000 redbrick Georgian colonial home on Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Drive in 1937. The comedian and his wife, Mary Livingston, used the 20-room showplace—complete with library, screening room and pool—to entertain neighbors like Jimmy Stewart, Hedy Lamarr, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Bennys eventually sold the home in 1965. The current owner is asking $7.5 million—a figure that might shock any tightwad.

  • Setting Off a Depp Charge?
  • According to Linus Moran, a photographer for Britain’s Sun tabloid, actor Johnny Depp, exiting Mirabelle restaurant on Jan. 30, told paparazzi seeking pictures of him and his reportedly pregnant girlfriend, French singer Vanessa Paradis, “There won’t be any photographs tonight, or there will be a fight.” Seeing Vanessa, a photographer snapped, and so did Depp, grabbing a long piece of wood and giving chase. Someone called the cops, who held Depp, 35, a few hours before releasing him. Says his rep: “Johnny Depp is a person who guards his privacy. He had asked photographers to abstain from photographing him. Unfortunately, they persisted and intentionally provoked him.”

Tim Allen Ends Home’s Run

Home Improvement ends its eight-season run on ABC this spring. The show’s star, home handyman and Taylor family patriarch Tim Allen, talked with Scoop from the show’s Burbank set.

Why end the show now?

Eight is my lucky number. It’s been tougher to get the stories we want; there aren’t as many young kids in the show, so some of the cuteness has gone out of it, and the contrast between adult issues and kids’ point of view is gone. And I have been unable to pursue movies like I want to.

Will you return to stand-up?

I went to Broadway recently and saw some shows, and it got me a hankering to do it again.

Were you competitive with Jerry Seinfeld?

That’s a media thing. They were very different shows. We were both very competitive people. The reason he moved to Thursday from Wednesday is that we absolutely floored him. They moved to Thursday, tail between their legs, to get away from us. And they take all the credit for taking over Thursday night, but at the time it was a retreat. But I never felt any kind of competition because we were a family show, and they could say or do anything, so it was not in the same league.

Ever considered elective office?

Yeah, me and Jesse “the Body” Ventura. We wouldn’t have debates. We’d just wrestle.

Will you miss the Taylors?

I can’t bear the thought of saying goodbye to these people.

How will you end the show?

I know, but I can’t tell you. We’ve invited back our original director, John Pasquin, and he will have quite a say in this. It will be just family, kind of closure on a lot of stuff, and just more of what we do best—great fun. There won’t be aliens or anything like that.

Bel Air Gets Fired Up

Bel Air, Calif., may be a fancy address, but that doesn’t mean it always gets special treatment. When locals wanted a new fire truck to replace a 19-year-old model, city officials said they’d have to wait in line behind other communities with even greater needs. So advised, a number of noted Bel Airites—including Vanna White, Jay Leno, John Fogerty, Natalie Cole and Jack Lemmon—embraced a campaign to raise up to $500,000 to buy a state-of-the-art engine for Station 99 on Mulholland Drive. So far, thanks in large part to a community bake sale and auction in December, they’ve collected about $60,000. Among the items sold: a Stratocaster electric guitar donated by Fogerty and a movie script from Lemmon. White hopes to see the campaign through. “When they get it,” she says, “I’ll take Nicholas [her 4-year-old son] by for a ride in it.” It could be a long road. “They’ve got about $440,000 to go,” says Fire Department spokesman Capt. Steve Ruda. “That’s a lot more brownies.”

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