PARK CITY, Utah — Parties at the Sundance Film Festival typically feature maverick filmmakers, the best in nouvelle cowboy cuisine and plentiful pours of high-end spirits and Utah microbrews.Perhaps they doth protest too much.
But the bash thrown by Hollywood's powerful Creative Artists Agency on Sunday night took festival revelry in an unexpectedly bawdy direction, as Sundance guests mingled with lingerie-clad women pretending to snort prop cocaine, erotic dancers outfitted with sex toys and an Alice in Wonderland look-alike performing a simulated sex act on a man in a rabbit costume.
For decades, CAA has carefully maintained a reputation as Hollywood's most meticulous talent firm, but CAA's leave-nothing-to-chance attention to decorum vanished in that Bacchanalian blizzard on the snowy streets of this mountain resort.
Some CAA clients found the party so shocking that they said it made them embarrassed to be associated with the agency.
"I said to my agent, 'Is this how you want to brand yourself? Pole dancers? Really?'" said Oscar-nominated writer-director Naomi Foner, who was at the festival with her film, "Very Good Girls."
And Foner, who is the mother of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, said she didn't see the sex toys.
"I would have been much more verbal if I had seen that," said the 66-year-old screenwriter of "Running on Empty."
The performers were part of a Las Vegas troupe, the Act LV, which was hired by the Mint Agency, CAA's party planner for the evening.
"The performance by Simon Hammerstein's The Act LV was more explicit than intended," CAA said in a statement. "We regret if this created an uncomfortable setting for any of our guests."
The party planners and CAA had wanted to "wow the crowd," said Jordan Fogle, the chief executive of the Mint Agency, a Toronto-based marketing and events firm.
The Act LV is known for delivering lewd thrills that toe the line between performance art and impropriety.
"They [CAA executives] were a little bit concerned," Fogle said following the public relations backlash to the party. "It's not the image they want to portray — a slutty, trashy image. It's the antithesis of what they are as a brand."
But continue reading.
BONUS: At the New York Post, "Greedy celebs flock to Sundance for the swag." Yeah, swag. Like "prop" cocaine and Alice-in-Wonderland sex toys. You can't make this stuff up.
EXTRA: The Wall Street Journal actually talks about the films from the film festival, "Filmmakers in a Frisky Mood."