Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Amy Berg, left, director and screenwriter of the documentary film "West of Memphis," poses with, from left, producers Damien Echols and his wife Lorri Davis, and producer Peter Jackson at the premiere of the film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. The film uncovers new evidence surrounding the arrest and conviction of three men -- Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. -- in the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Kirby: Even for Lady Gaga wannabes, it’s hard to get arrested at Sundance

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 24 2012 03:00 pm • Last Updated Apr 05 2012 11:38 pm

Park City • The cops threw Lady Gaga in jail Sunday evening. They thought they saw Wonder Woman at first, but closer inspection revealed Lady Gaga.

Note: A second and more detailed inspection revealed a rather hairy young male with a wig, dress and no real discernable music talent. A debate ensued over whether any of that precluded his being the real Lady Gaga.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Gaga/Wonder/Guy was part of the Occupy Wall Street’s Park City demonstration Sunday afternoon. That isn’t what got him thrown in jail ,though. He went solo, took his act on the road (literally) and struck a passing car with his protest sign.

None of the other occupiers got arrested. In fact, the demonstration itself was rather benign. About 75 people showed up, hollered slogans, waved signs, passed out handbills and did their best to attract attention. All told, a mere 3.1 on the Loon-O-Meter.

Even so, that was about as lucid as Park City streets got on Sunday. The Sundance Film Festival had attracted every unmedicated extraterrestrial in the galaxy, all of them willing to stand hours in the cold for just a chance to get hammered with celebrities.

Granted, this was only the view from the window of a police vehicle. There could have been (and likely was) plenty of important art stuff going on inside the venues. I never saw it.

Outside is where most of the police activity occurs during Sundance. In a town that bends over backward to accommodate free artsy spirits, the line between being a good host and an accomplice to anarchy can get a little fuzzy.

For cops, it comes down to keeping traffic moving and people alive. This is harder to do than it sounds, particularly when dealing with the sort of people who even when sober can’t understand why there has to be "so much #%&@! snow" in a ski town.

Unless otherwise summoned, Park City cops keep it on the street. Whatever festival attendees want to do in the privacy of their temporary abodes is private business. But the police are just right outside.

For example, nobody I saw in two days of riding with Park City PD got arrested for passing out drunk in a rented bed while clad only in cowboy boots and a plastic firemen’s hat. But it’s a whole other story when the same thing happens in a snow bank.


story continues below
story continues below

At least part of the problem is that so many of the Sundancers are flatlanders. They fly to Utah and soon find that going from 7 feet above sea level to 7,000 greatly aggravates the effects of alcohol (or whatever).

Quite often they only find this out when they wake up in a public place covered in vomit and surrounded by cops and paramedics.

It’s the exception. For every 500 Sundancers who can party and have a good time without attracting the attention of the police, there are always one or two who can’t understand it outside of a jail cell.

Pity, actually. This would be a much more exciting column if I could recount dozens of arrests during the festival. But in two days I only saw the Lady Gaga one.

It’s a long way from Park City to the Summit County Jail. Stretched as thin as they are during the festival, arresting someone who doesn’t really need it is counterproductive for the cops.

Most of the time I saw cops getting people back to their rooms, into taxis, or with friends who could take care of them. Anyone who went to jail really had to push it.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/notpatbagley.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.