Lyle Lovett

Hot girls, man-cleavage and the awe-inducing Celine Rattray

Hot girls, man-cleavage and the awe-inducing Celine Rattray

Paula Froelich and Celine Rattray, producer of THE ROMANTICS

Is it terribly wrong that I find Lyle Lovett insanely awesome and hot? So the other night I finally got to hang with my pal Celine Rattray, who produced THE ROMANTICS and another flick here. Fun Fact: Celine started her career at HBO and then started Plum Pictures with her pal Gault Niederhoffer (whose daddy Jimmy was in foreign exchange and blew up the Thai Baht in the 90’s) and other friend Daniella – they kicked ass and now Celine is leaving to partner with Peter Fricking Guber. I mean – that’s amazing. (Gault will focus on directing now and not sure what Daniella is doing. I mean – I don’t even know her last name, so…). Celine always makes me feel like I need to revise my 5 year plan. (which currently consists of curing Karl Froelich the wonder dachshund of his grudge-pooping habit, nursing my liver back to life and trying to avoid turning into a complete stereotype).

So Celine and I decide to catch up, get a drink before hitting the Variety party at the St. Regis at Deer Valley.

Opening Night, aka who the hell wants to be sexy at Sundance?

Opening Night, aka who the hell wants to be sexy at Sundance?

Still from HOWL.

So, I’m doing my schedule for this week and at one point I was wondering if Sundance was a film or a music festival. Seriously. ASCAP has a music series with LeeAnn Rimes, Joey + Rory and the Fray, along with like 20 others. Lyle Lovett is here, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, John Legend, you name it. And I am in heaven.

The festival has finally started – slowly. By tomorrow you wont even be able to walk down Main Street without thinking horrible, dark thoughts about the couple in front of you who insists on strolling slowly down the narrow sidewalks, holding hands – and therefore holding up the foot traffic for miles. And the weather ain’t helping. Eight inches of snow dropped last night and they are expecting at least another six more tonight. Thank God for waterproof boots! Although, the amount of high heeled snow boots I’ve seen already is astonishing. I mean, seriously? Who the hell wants to be sexy at Sundance? It’s like picking up someone on the treadmill. Yech.

Making music at Sundance

Making music at Sundance

Still from ODDSAC.

Music is surely a strong theme at this year’s Sundance Film Festival: In Sam Taylor Wood’s NOWHERE BOY, a teenage, pre-Beatles John Lennon finds an escape from his dysfunctional family through music (watch a clip here). The band Animal Collective will debut the film it has spent years collaborating on with Danny Perez, ODDSAC, a psychedelic mix of abstract music and visuals. TWILIGHT’s Kristen Stewart stars as rocker Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning plays Jett’s bandmate Cherie Currie in Floria Sigismondi’s rock-and-roll biopic THE RUNAWAYS. And that’s just for example.

SPECTACLE REPORT: Elvis Costello's Must-Hear Songs by John Prine, Lyle Lovett, and Ray LaMontagne

SPECTACLE REPORT: Elvis Costello's Must-Hear Songs by John Prine, Lyle Lovett, and Ray LaMontagne

Elvis Costello and Lyle Lovett.

Some people imagine I have a head start with my SPECTACLE encounters simply because my guests and I share an occupation.

However, the location of the specific common ground has often been unusual or obscure.

For example, Lyle Lovett and I both contributed to Robert Altman’s motion picture, SHORT CUTS.

I wrote the song “Punishing Kiss” for Annie Ross to perform, while Lyle, rather more crucially, was featured as a sinister confectioner. So, there was not much cause for dialogue, other than to remark upon this coincidence.

When I started my career, my unfortunate face and manner of speaking, which has often been mistaken for insolent at international borders, had me frequently described as “aggressive” or – perish the thought – “surly.”

In truth, I foolishly imagined that my songs might flourish while I remained out of the spotlight, but my natural shyness and impatience to get on with my work was often incorrectly decoded.

So while Ray Lamontagne may have found it hard to imagine that SPECTACLE’s M.C. was in anyway reticent, I can appreciate how his own natural reserve could be lazily mistaken for being “difficult.”

All I can say is that throughout our conversation Ray spoke with the same singular clarity and generosity found in his songs.

For all the contrasts between our three guests, one idea stands: they are all singers who have prevailed after initial comparisons to other performers, even when these supposed resemblances were intended to be complimentary.

I’ve always believed that a lot of good songs have been written while unsuccessfully attempting to copy the style of another writer. A lot of pop music is like this; you start out with someone else’s rhythm or voice in your head, and in utterly failing to duplicate it, you find your own.