I’m Your Man

January 21st, 2006

Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, and the MTV News team is in the hotel room watching “Austin Powers.”

Well, not exactly. Smita and I are working. I’m writing a piece on the hip hop doc “Beyond Beats & Rhymes.” Smita’s cutting a piece on music documentaries. Vanessa and Pat are taking a break from cutting news briefs. And Luke is checking out what we’ve got on the web site. But we all have beers in our hands. And “Austin Powers” is on the TV. Seven hundred thirty-five films at the festival, and we’re watching “Austin Powers.” Though it is a pretty funny film.

Ryan, Alyssa, Damien, Josh and SuChin are out shooting a parties package. They’re hitting seven parties in seven hours: GenArt, Entertainment Weekly, Blender (Paris!), Motorola, “Dealbreaker” (Gwyneth!), Premiere, and Boost Mobile. Basically, my worst nightmare. The only parties I plan on attending are my buddy Neil’s, and the Independent Television Service’s 15th Anniversary Party.

Those are my peeps, the documentary types. I met a great house full of ’em today. In an effort to balance the Us and People magazine vibe of our coverage, I pitched a piece on festival alternative. So we hung out with “Tribe” filmmaker Tiffany Shain and her colleagues (like composer Paul Godwin who scored Tony Kushner’s “Hombody/Kabul” in San Francisco — it all overlaps, huh?) as they ladelled out bowls of matzah ball soup, screened the fill then had a group discussion, all in front of a raging fireplace. They were great people, all very San Fran: arty, interesting, unphased by Gwyneth and Paris and all that EW bologna.

I screened “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” this morning. I’m interviewing (get this!) The Edge and one of my favorite singer/songwriters Rufus Wainwright on Monday. All I knew of Cohen was his staggering song, “Hallelujia,” which Jeff Buckley covered on his “Live From Sin-e” EP. Ends up he’s rediculously revered. Everyone from Bono to Nick Cave worship at his alter. And hearing him speak, and hearing his lyrics, I can see why. He wrote some genius lyrics.

Everybody knows the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost

The film itself was just o.k. It was basically a tribute concert with some sound bites between songs. But in so much as it made me want to pick up my guitar and write again, well, I guess that makes it some kind of a success.